Although the name of this diet may seem pretty self-explanatory, people understandably have some unanswered questions when it comes to what exactly they can eat on a carnivore diet.
Basically, you’re eating any animal food and no plant foods – the opposite of a vegan diet.
It may sound a little crazy at first, but once you really start looking into it, there are a lot of good reasons to go carnivore even temporarily. Many people are seeing amazing benefits and improvements in their health.
If you have any digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or indigestion, or skin issues, autoimmune conditions, blood sugar issues, weight problems, mental and emotional struggles such as anxiety – you would probably see some encouraging results from even a short trial.
In my last article, I explained what steps you should take to remove certain foods from your diet first in order to prepare yourself for your carnivore journey.
Of course, you can dive right in!
But I find that taking baby steps helped soften the shock of such a big dietary change. This is especially true if you are coming from a Standard American Diet or a vegan diet. But even if you are eating whole foods, without transitioning into the ketogenic diet first, this may be tough.
So be easy on yourself, stay hydrated, and keep your electrolytes balanced. Be prepared for the temporary keto flu as well! I’ll be writing a future article about how I managed some difficult keto flu symptoms as my body went from using carbs for energy to using fats for energy.
So stay connected for that!
Here let’s just start with what you can eat. And please do eat until you are full. There are no restrictions on how much you eat. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Your body will know.
Ok, what’s for dinner?
Yes, this one is obvious.
All kinds of meat are fair game on carnivore. Get it? Game? 😉
Sorry, I’ll stop now.
Anyway, that means all kinds of red meat. Some people flourish on just red meat, salt, and water. Which is amazing!
Apparently, red meat contains all the essential nutrients your body needs. Yes, even vitamin C!
Eating just red meat is not something I think is sustainable for most people but has been a lifesaver for those who have had extreme autoimmune issues and had no other choice because they are allergic to absolutely everything.
That being said, trying out only red meat or what’s called the “Lion diet,” for a week or even a month could be an interesting experiment.
Red meat includes:
As I mentioned there is no general rule to exclude yourself to just these meats unless you want to or you have health reasons for doing so. So you can also include poultry into the carnivore diet, meaning:
I will say, however, these types of meat tend to be leaner. This means you can experiment with some added fats. I like to eat cold butter with chicken, for example.
And fish! My favorites are:
Now organ meats! I know, when people mention these noses get wrinkled and appetites may disappear. But organ meats truly are the real superfoods. If you can tolerate them or even get experimental with some recipes, they are worth trying out:
Liver specifically is probably the most nutrient-dense food on earth. I try to include it once a week. Others don’t eat it at all.
Eat Mostly Meat
Meat should make up most of your diet because this is what most hunter-gatherer societies would have consumed. Also, they are very nutrient-dense foods. You could, and people do, survive on just meat and animal fat.
This means there is no need to trim the fat from your meat. In fact, you should definitely eat all of it because not only does it contain nutrients as well as helping your body to absorb nutrients, it is now your primary energy source. Remember, most likely you’ve been getting your energy from carbs and this is a diet that is near zero-carb.
One thing I will mention is that with all of this meat I do usually get the grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic-free, humanely raised, wild-caught versions. I really encourage you to do the same. Try to find a local farmer through a directory like Eat Wild. If that’s not possible you could try Butcher Box and they will send pasture-raised meat right to your door!
But it’s not always affordable, which I understand. Don’t let that be an obstacle to trying this diet out. It will still benefit you even if you are eating conventionally raised meat.
I’d say that most people on a carnivore diet make eggs a part of the daily menu unless they have a sensitivity to them. This is something you already know about your body or that you will find out through this way of eating.
Pay close attention to how you feel while on this journey. Because this diet eliminates almost all foods, you will have an easier time pinpointing exactly what is giving you trouble.
If you are able to enjoy eggs, great! They are super nutritious! The yolks contain so many vital vitamins and minerals and are especially healthy for your brain. There are things in there that are completely lacking in a vegan diet such as choline, real vitamin A, D, E, and K2, B12, iodine, bioavailable DHA Omega 3 fatty acids – the list goes on!
Egg yolks are nature’s multivitamin!
Again, try the pasture-raised eggs. They can be difficult to find in some places but there is a difference nutritionally as well as ethically. But don’t worry if this isn’t an option for you right now. Do what you can.
While some people have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, even more people can’t tolerate dairy. People often complain of acne, bloating, and digestive issues. It can also spur cravings!
If you are fortunate enough to do well with it, well I’m jealous!
Cheese and heavy cream are delicious and usually welcome on a carnivore diet. Just be careful with this one as it does contain carbs, it can be addicting and inflammatory, and it can cause quick weight gain.
Therefore, it’s probably best to limit the amount of dairy you eat.
Kefir is fermented milk that is easier on the system than other types of dairy because it’s fermented. I consider it an acquired taste. It’s sour so if you like yogurt, why not try it out?
Healthy fats are extremely important for overall health. It’s a shame that fat has been so demonized in society today. We’ve been completely brainwashed. There is actually no way for our bodies to absorb vitamins without them.
And as for what we’ve been told are “healthy” fats versus “unhealthy” is a big confusing mess. The Big Food Industry has claimed that vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, and grapeseed oils are healthy alternatives to the saturated fat found in animal foods.
- beef tallow
I have to say that these days Kerrygold grass-fed butter is probably my favorite food! I so look forward to eating a cold slice of it alongside a meal.
As an ex-vegan, low-fat, high-carb person, I never thought I’d say these things!
So get your fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2!
As you’re transitioning you may feel some transition symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and electrolyte imbalances. These can be mitigated by adding more salt, magnesium, and potassium to your water or as supplements.
Your body is going through a big change as you shift its energy source. So at first it kinda thinks that you’re starving – WHERE’S MY GLUCOSE?!
But it will learn with time.
Or course, the best way to proceed is with a nutritionist who is educated about primal, ancestral, and traditional diets. This way you are clearly guided and are prepared for your experiment with the carnivore diet.
If you do have questions though, please ask away in the comments!
This site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please see our medical disclaimer.