The carnivore diet, or zero carb diet as it is also known, is a diet where the only things on the menu are meat. That’s meat for breakfast, meat for lunch and meat for dinner.  If you need a snack… MEAT. Eating this way means you consume a lot of fat, a lot of protein and minimal carbs. When someone asks what is the carnivore diet, I usually give the easy answer of “It’s a high fat, moderate protein and very low carb diet”. But there is more to it than that.

Going against what we have been taught about nutrition and healthy eating habits, it would seem that an all-meat diet would be bad for your health. You would expect high cholesterol, problems with your digestive system, an increase in weight and heart issues. This isn’t the case.

Our ancestors would have mostly eaten meat for sustenance. Fruit and veg weren’t easy to come by, nor did it taste very good compared the modified versions we have today. Eating meat as their main source of nourishment means our bodies have evolved to work best on a meat-based diet. This is, of course, all theory, but there is a lot of science to back it up.

George Ede MD supports this theory and explains that there isn’t a civilisation on earth that has lived a vegan lifestyle from childhood to death. However, there are plenty of examples of cultures who lived mainly on meat, and so generations of people eating this way and not having health issues seems to support the theory.

I was looking for a way to improve my failing health when I come across the carnivore diet or zero carb as it was more known then. After some great results cutting out carbs on a keto style diet, I decided to give it a try. There are plenty of positive success stories shared online, and I was eager to try this out. In this article I will explain how I went about this change, and how it benefited me.

What is the carnivore diet?

In its simplest form, the carnivore diet consists of animal products only. It’s simple in that you have a group of foods you can eat, and within that, you are unrestricted. You do not need to weigh or measure food or count macros and calories. You just eat the meat you like.

The diet consists of:

  • Meat – All meat that you like. No restrictions (Just not processed meat)
  • Dairy products – except milk. It has high sugars known as Lactose.

Spices for seasoning is fine, as is tea and coffee. Some of the stricter among us in the carnivore community cut everything out and stick to meat and water. Some stick to beef and water. Not sure I could live without my bacon!

Just to make things clear, there are no fruits, not vegetables, nuts or seeds. No matter what the carb count is for them.

Benefits of the carnivore diet

  1. It’s simple. No counting macros or calories. No web searching to see what is available. No baking complex keto deserts to settle the sweet tooth. For me, this has given me freedom from food addiction. I have meat in my freezer, and I am good to go. Plus, I love steak and bacon. It’s much easier to stick to a diet like this, as you have no cravings for cheat meals.
  2. Hunger goes away (more or less); I no longer crave food. I now eat one meal a day (OMAD) as I am simply not hungry during the day. Sometimes, I will need a little something during the day if I have been more active than normal.
  3. Cutting out sugar puts you into ketosis, which is the metabolic processes of the body, where it uses fat for fuel and not glucose. This has many positive benefits, such as weight loss and improved mental health.
  4. Weight loss can be dramatic with the carnivore diet; this is due to ketosis and the fact that without sugar, the body regulates your hormones properly. Your hormones are what dictates your weight. Insulin is the fat hormone, and so the more you produce, the more weight you will put on.
  5. Improved health is the main reason I started this way of eating and why I continue. Weight loss is great, but my autoimmune conditions caused by inflammation in the body, have all healed. I am no longer on medication for type 2 diabetes or my psoriasis of the skin and joints.

 

Surviving Adaptation 

Adaptation is the period where your body is adapting to this new way of eating. It needs to go from a sugar-burning machine to a fat-burning machine. On top of that, sugar is highly addictive, so you are breaking that addiction cold turkey. This can cause symptoms such as: 

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

This list is endless, but each person experiences this differently. Also, for different lengths of time. Also, some health problems may get worse for a bit. Some will get better very quickly, such as high blood pressure. Here are my tips to see you through.

Consult your doctor. Make sure you can monitor health conditions such as high blood pressure and blood sugar. You may need to adjust the dosage of medications. You can also ask for a blood test, then have another 3 months later to see the change in results. It’s advised to leave it 3 months to give the body chance to adapt.

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will help you with the adaptation period. Don’t underestimate the importance of this.

Expect the first few weeks to be rough. Allow yourself time to adjust. Be prepared for your energy levels to drop, to feel unwell and to crave sugars and carbs. The cravings can be extreme. Just be prepared.

Have a variety of meats and cheeses at hand. It’s highly likely you will early on get an aversion to meat. It’s your body fighting against you to get the sugar back. Hold out, it passes. You can use cheese and seasonings to help you through. Mixing up the meat you eat helps too.

DO NOT CHEAT! No matter what, do not give in to those cravings. Hang on in there, they do pass, and by week 2 you will feel so much better, and the cravings will be much less.

Do not let yourself get too hungry. If you haven’t eaten in a while, cook some meat and try it. When you start eating, you might find your hunger. It’s common to lose your appetite, then you get over-hungry, and that’s when cravings can kick in, and you are more liable to cheat.

Do not eat too little, if you have eaten 5 steaks and you still feel genuinely hungry, then have another. You will have days like this, where you could eat a horse (literally), and days you only have one meal.

Always be prepared. Make sure you have plenty of food on hand. If you are out, make sure you can get carnivore friendly food. Don’t get caught out. I have been known to carry a zip bag of bacon when travelling to make sure if I get hungry, I have something.

 

The carnivore diet FAQ’s

Here are some common questions people ask me.

No veg at all? Never? Even low carb veg?

We are told from childhood how important it is to eat our greens, to eat our veg to become big and strong. The latest science suggests this is wrong. Vegetables have vitamins and nutrients for sure, but they also contain anti-nutrients which can bind to the receptors and stops the absorption of the nutrients. Also nutrients are easily destroyed when cooking, and some need fats only found in animal fat to be able to use them.

How do you poop with no fibre in your diet?

The answer to this is, I poop just fine! We do not need fibre. It is a waste product that the body can not absorb. It is believed that a lot of digestive issues is actually caused by fibre. Fibre scratches the lining of your intestine, causing it to produce much more mucus than is needed, in order to protect itself. This is why we poop easier when we eat fibre.  When your body gets used to an all-meat diet, it will become much healthier. If you do get “backed up” then increase the amount of fat you eat, that will get things moving again.

Isn’t red meat bad for you?

This is bad, misunderstood science telling us something is bad for us when it isn’t. There is a ton of research out there that proves that red meat isn’t the problem. When you eat high-fat food along with high sugar foods, that is when fat becomes a problem. When your body burns fat for fuel, fat is the best thing for you.

My Conclusion

I am not a doctor or a scientist, and I can not say what is best for everyone.  All I know is that for me, this has helped me lose weight, get control of my food addiction and improved my health immensely.

I have also spoken to hundreds of people online that have had the same (and better) results than I have. Some people who have been on this diet for 10 years+ are fit and healthy and have no problems at all. They have thrived on this way of eating.

I can’t say this would be the same for everyone, but I can say for me it has worked wonders.  It can be hard, especially in the beginning stages. But it pays off, and I wouldn’t eat any other way.

More and more studies are being done on meat, only diets, and it’s all looking pretty positive. However, there is still a lot to learn.

If you are interested, I would suggest that you do some research online, join some Facebook pages, speak to people, speak to your doctor and if you think it’s for you jump in with the 30-day challenge.  Do the diet for, strictly for 30 days and see how you feel. See the results for yourself. At the end of the 30 days, decide if this is something you want to continue.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. 

Good Luck.