Welcome to carnivore for dummies! But before we begin read my disclaimer here.
So you’ve heard about the world of carnivore and now you want to give it a go? First things first throw out any preconceived nutritional dogma out the window and settle in. It’s gonna get really weird for a little bit but I promise you, it will be enlightening!
Sorry, carnivore is what?!
Back in 2017 I heard a little podcast about a guy who decided to eat only meat. His name was Dr.Shawn Baker. I’m sure you’ve heard of him already and if you haven’t you can find out more about him here.
For those of you who know him know that he single handedly brought the world of carnivore to the limelight through his no bullshit approach to diet. Although many in the community have been eating this way for years, it wasn’t until he tried it that so many like myself heard about it. I was naturally drawn to him because I can appreciate the no B.S. approach.
Both my husband and I, although very much appreciative of the meat world had our reservations at first. How can you survive on just meat? How do you poop? What about fiber?!?!? And the scurvy!
All reasonable questions to ask. Trust me, I was skeptical too.
My journey started on May 22, 2018. You can read all about that here. But like so many skeptics we are now true believers that yes you can survive on just meat and yes, you poop regularly. Carnivore for dummies is here to address the most common misconceptions about this diet and how to go about starting.
The Carnivore Community is growing
Despite the ever popular low fat/high carb addiction of our society since the 70’s more and more people are taking notice of the current low carb/high fat movement. There is a growth that is happening as even more and more long time vegans take a swing at introducing animal based products back into their diets to try and heal from the inside out.
So what changed in the last few years and why should you want to try it for yourself? Carnivore isn’t a one size fits all diet. However there are some basic rules to follow to make sure you succeed. Carnivore for dummies is here for you to make sure you get the best out of transitioning over.
You’ve probably dealt with your own health issues and tried all the diet fads and programs every capable good marketing fitness influencer has thrown at you. But somehow you still feel like utter crap, still can’t lose the weight, still deal with chronic metabolic issues and are still addicted to food.
As an ex-vegetarian I know first hand the struggles of trying to maintain a healthy diet as well as a healthy relationship with food. So many of us struggle with food addictions that we can no longer recognize food addiction for what it is. An addiction.
Addiction is “an impulsive and mental disorder characterized by impulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences”. Take for example a full functioning alcoholic. They know they have a problem, they know they can’t control it and they know that it is harmful.
Their constant engagement in the act of drinking rewards them momentarily despite knowing the consequences of their actions. Food addiction is the same way. You know that it is a momentary satisfaction and you know you will beat yourself up over it later and probably keep “craving it” long after the initial stimuli hits your tongue. How many of you have eaten your kids halloween candy over the course of a month just to “get it out of the house”?
Me too. I’ve been there. I’ve stared down that long hallway of self talk of eating this and starting “tomorrow” and once this holiday ends before that one begins. A cycle that never ends, like an addiction. Breaking that continuity of dependency on food as an external reward/penalty starts a chain reaction that gives you hope. That’s why so many are drawn to the carnivore way of eating. The carnivore diet breaks your food addiction and allows you to heal from the inside out.
Congratulations on taking the first step to recovery!
Most never even get to this point in their lives so I applaud you for getting here. Takes a lot of courage to accept the need for change. And as the saying goes “change always starts with you”.
Please know that this will be a rocky road. You will feel like shit, you will feel defeated, the voices in your head will probably come out in the middle of the night and your family and friends will try and feed you lettuce whenever they can. Don’t do it. Stick to your guns and carry on.
First rule of Carnivore for dummies:
- DON’T listen to your family and friends
Good thing we aren’t friends and we don’t know each other so I can be honest with you. Family and friends will always try and sabotage your progress. Afterall misery loves company. Fun fact about when you undertake any diet changes is that your family and friends become well versed in wikipedia facts.
All of a sudden everyone will tell that once you start consuming only meat and get rid of all veggies you’re going to die. As opposed to getting rid of all meat and animal based products and eating only veggies will allow you live. Makes sense right? That’s what we call “vegan logic”. And why so many fall into the trap of “healthy eating”.
Here’s an indisputable fact:
The ONLY macronutrient your body cannot create is protein. Carbs as a form of fuel can be created through a process called gluconeogenesis and fats through lipogenesis. What this simply means is that your body can use either carbs or fats for fuel but the debate in the nutrition world is which one is better and more sustainable? Protein therefore needs to play a vital role in the daily makeup of your total nutrient intake as your body cannot produce it. Once again sparking the debate around carbs versus fats.
But I’m not here to debate that as you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t already interested in going carnivore. So read on fellow human and learn how you too can incorporate a carnivorous diet that will break your food addiction and heal you from the inside out!
- DON’T get on the scale
Ladies, we have a love/hate relationship with this metal confine of vanity. I suggest you throw it out and don’t look at it for at least the duration of your adaptation phase (minimum 90 days). Stop weighing yourself daily and stop lingering on weight. Weight is a poor judge of health overall and the more important attributes should be metabolic health. Pay more attention to how your clothes fit and feel as opposed to your “ideal weight” goal.
- DON’T FAST (at least not yet)
Another debatable hot topic in the carnivore community is fasting. Although full of overall health benefits fasting should not be thought of as a quick gimmick to lose unwanted weight. Too many people (especially woman) turn to this diet to shed those last pesky 10 lbs. However, I urge you to look at the carnivore diet as a means of healing. You need to heal your addiction and your unhealthy relationship with food first before you tackle on the weight obstacle. If you focus on just weight, this diet is not for you and you will forever be a slave to the food industry.
- DON’T worry about macros/calories/portion sizes
Someone had to say it. If by chance you come from a very refined and restrictive diet background this one may be heard to break. We have all been told to watch what you eat and watch your portion sizes. Many diet fads still focus on the calorie in/calorie out model but the beautiful thing about carnivore is that your body will actually tell you when you’re full and when you’re hungry. You will learn to understand and listen to your hunger signals and your cravings will actually disappear. Sounds like I’m making a magical universe of unicorns but this place exists you just have to get there to see it.
The fun part of carnivore for dummies:
- DO experiment with different cuts of meat
The fun part about going carnivore is that now you can experiment with different cuts of meat and the types of animals you can consume. Being partial to beef living in Alberta is easy but incorporating chicken, pork, lamb and even wild game like moose is a bonus. Don’t be shy and order that alligator or snake. You’ll never know, they might taste just like chicken after all.
- DO give yourself a minimum of 90 days to adjust
Rome obviously wasn’t built in a day and your miraculous transformation will take time. If you’re coming from a very depleted nutrient diet it will take your body some time to adjust to the shift. Even for those who waver over from Keto find that the transition from eating even small amounts of carbs to net zero carbs takes time. Be patient with yourself. Don’t panic if you even start to gain weight initially on this diet. Your body is simply trying to figure out how to balance to achieve an optimal state. Remember: This is a healing diet, not a weight loss platform. Although the weight loss is an extra bonus!
- DO try and include fattier cuts of meat
Fat. It’s such an ugly word but I do not think it means what you think it means. Fats are a macronutrient necessary for human existence and survival. Carnivores use fat as their primary fuel to maintain homeostasis. In order for your body to adapt and tap into these energy reserves you need to decrease the sugar (carb intake) and increase the fat (saturated fat) intake. So go ahead, eat the fat. Your body by beef will thank you.
- DO drink water when thirsty
There is no set rule for how much water to consume on a daily basis despite what we have been told. To be honest a good rule of thumb is to drink when thirsty. Our bodies have this amazing mechanism that actually tells you when you need water. This amazing and self perpetuating regulation is called thirst. Is your mind blown yet? Somewhere along the way we had to overcomplicate this basic of all human instincts. Unless you’re prepping for a bikini comp don’t overdo it on the water. Your body is smart and it will tell you when you need some fluids.
Carnivore for dummies bonus tips:
- DO invest in a good iron skillet
This will be a gamechanger in your kitchen. You can literally make anything on a skillet and the beautiful part is less dishes to clean up too. Carnivore for dummies is all about simplicity. It’s elevates minimalism to a whole new level! Make sure you purchase one that is the right size for your quantity of meat. We make sausages, steak, ground beef, pork chops, chicken, liver, pork belly, and breakfast hash even when we travel. Our lodge skillet is our most prized kitchen possession!
- DON’T worry about supplements
Another hot topic for debate it supplements. To take or not to take? Again this is based on individual needs. I personally do not take any supplements outside what I eat in the form of food. However, you may need to revisit this once you adapt and get into a good routine with your diet. Remember that this is a healing diet. You won’t know what you may be lacking until your body heals first. Listen to your body first and foremost. Carnivore is an elimination diet. Depending on where you are coming from and where you want to go this will never be a cookie cutter approach. If you are still struggling find a coach trained in the carnivore community that will help you better understand YOUR situation. I suggest starting here.
- DON’T worry, you won’t die
It may seem scary and a little odd at first. Your poop may start to look a different and it may smell but trust me when I tell you, you won’t die! Speaking of poop I know you have questions. Let me break the ice here and tell you that I personally have a bowel movement every couple of days. As opposed to my “before” daily visits to the porcelain gods. Is it really normal to poop several times a day? A little side note here…
Why do we poop?
It’s our bodies way of eliminating waste that our bodies cannot use from the foods we consume. That being said if you’re pooping every day sometimes a few times a day, your body is not absorbing anything you are eating. So if you spend most of your day on the toilet you are NOT absorbing anything of nutritional value. This simple truth has been over complicated by the fiber myth. Fiber will in fact have the opposite effect and cause constipation. You can read more about it here.
So don’t worry. You may go through the initial bouts of diarrhea during your adaptation phase but you will soon start to regulate yourself. And when the next toilet paper pandemic hits you won’t have a thing to worry about! Less time on the toilet = less toilet paper + freedom!? You will no longer be a slave to stocking up on toilet paper out of fear. You’re welcome.
Extra carnivore benefits
Not only will you look and feel better but your bank account will thank you. Eating meat is not expensive despite what you may think. Eating out isn’t expensive either. When you purchase a burger you aren’t paying for the beef but all the other crappy ingredients. We can usually get 10 burger patties from McDonald’s for under $15 CDN which will feed two adults. As opposed to eating a meal for two from McDonald’s from roughly $20. Not only are you saving money you are also consuming high nutrient dense foods which leave you satiated and not scrambling for dessert an hour after your meal.
I urge everyone to take a hard long look at what you’re consuming. Foods high in sugars, grains and seed oils are the biggest health culprits in our modern day diet. Carnivore is the ultimate elimination diet. You strip away all the fillers and truly zero in on your health. Like I’ve mentioned before this is not a one size fits all diet. Experimenting will help you determine how much and how often to consume. Take your time and experiment.
Good luck on your journey and remember why you started. Feeling like shit all the bloody time gets draining. Devote the time to your health and wellness now or get ready to tackle on your illness later. The choice is yours friend.
Eat to fuel your body
not to feed your emotionsCarnivore for dummies