The carnivore diet is an animal-based diet that seems to be the latest trend of diets and many people swear by it. Although I have not tried the carnivore diet at least not yet, I know some credible people (nutritionists, researchers, and qualified doctors who have clinical experiences) who I pay attention to when they discuss diets and their positive and negative effects on the body.
There is still some confusion when it comes to this strict animal-based diet. To avoid the pitfalls and mishaps here are some guidelines to give clarity to the "what is the carnivore diet" question so you can a good and effective start of what you are trying to accomplish.
-Carnivore diet is based on meat like fish, shellfish, poultry, red meat (lamb, beef, venison, etc.) However, some individuals only consume red meat and neglect the other kinds of meats. I don't think that is a good idea. Having a variety of meats or doing a rotation of meat consumption I think is beneficial from a nutritional value and adding interest and avoiding boredom from eating the same thing..
-I have listened to many followers of the carnivore diet that only eat the meat and don't follow the nose-to-tail approach. Even though meat is more nutritious than plant-based food it is less nutritious in contrast with organ meats.
-There are some who consume mostly lean meat and that is dangerous too in my opinion. You need the fat for satiety, meal satisfaction, nutrition from animal fat (ex., saturated fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, cholesterol)
-Some don’t consume dairy and that can be for two reasons that I know of: dairy has been adopted in the human diet recently according to the human history lineage and the other reason is those same people can’t tolerate dairy or at least not yet due to digestive problems.
I hope the above guidelines about this diet will provide enough clarity of what is the carnivore diet is and what isn’t. If you are following this diet for health reasons like many then it is worth giving it a try for enough time to see for yourself.
Again, I have not tried the carnivore diet myself but from researching and eating close to animal-based foods I believe the carnivore diet can be healthy for many who suffer from autoimmune diseases.
There is a reason why individuals switch to a somewhat extreme diet is that they need to heal themselves from all types of chronic disorders such as:
1-skin problems (eczema)
2-gastrointestinal problems (IBS, Celiac, leaky gut syndrome)
3-And mental disorders as well.
So yes to is the carnivore diet healthy question as long you follow these guidelines:
The difference between the two is stark. The plant-based is a fasting diet and the carnivore is a feeding diet. They both have their places in the human diet where it is good to cleanse the body since one of the purposes of fasting is to detox the body and give the digestive system a break. But then you need to start feeding the body at some point since fasting can not be done forever.
Like with any diet and misinformation, there can be problems with the carnivore diet so let’s go over them. That way you will have a solid start.
As I mentioned before, people switch to other diets because of underlying health problems they are going through and the carnivore diet can help many as long as you avoid these mishaps.
-I have one client who was eating a carnivore diet but still had the same health issues of skin problems. After discussing and investigating it turned out he was relying on meals sourced from fast-food chains and hot bars that you see in grocery stores. These foods are usually cooked with seed oils such as canola oil because it’s touted as a healthy oil.
Seeds oils are harshly processed so they are most likely rancid and then exposed to high heat again through cooking. You end up with a meal high in inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids. Cook your meat at home with lard, ghee, tallow, or grill them and add some butter if you tolerate dairy.
-Include organs with your meals and it does not have to be only the liver. Even better, have a variety of organs such as hearts, kidneys, brain, sweet bread, etc. Organs are powerhouse foods and they all have a different spectrum of nutrients. Our ancestors ate all of them and prized them very valuable superfoods. So eat nose-to-tail.
-Don’t consume lean meat only and include animal fat.
-Eating meals should be interesting and satisfactory so if you can have other meats such as chicken, duck, venison, lamb, and pork will make your diet more interesting and pleasing.
-Dairy is another added bonus if your gut can tolerate it and if not then abstain from dairy until you heal your underlying disease. The whole idea to follow the carnivore diet is to do just that, heal whatever disease you suffer from.
-Include bone broth and meat broth. Some clients I coach have gastrointestinal problems and one of the healing food is meat broth/soup. If you have severe digestive disorders such as leaky gut then focus on the meat broth soups first and after a week or two, you can try the bone broth since it is not tolerated by many individuals due to its nutrient profile.
Let me say this first, I like the carnivore diet because it has its place due to its therapeutic effect for many people who suffer from all kinds of autoimmunity and other diseases. In most situations, individuals eventually heal themselves and have a gradual transition to include plant-based foods.
Many will choose not to do that and stay on the carnivore diet and some may not be able to go back on the omnivore diet. So what are the pros and cons of the carnivore diet? This is a subjective opinion I will share with you and you decide what best fits you.
Pros of the Carnivore Diet
-If it is done correctly, the diet is nutritionally dense.
-Who does not like steak, rotisserie chicken, oxtail soup, roasted duck, bacon with eggs, and the list goes on.
What are the Cons of the Carnivore Diet
-Although I love eating steak, oxtails, and rotisserie chicken, it is still limited in my view. I like to eat salads, have tallow-fried potatoes, and wild or brown rice once in a while. Not to mention nuts and legumes.
I also enjoy honey and fermented vegetables and dairy. But maybe dairy is considered part of the carnivore diet since it is animal-based food but some don’t include dairy because it is not considered part of the true carnivore foods.
-If it is not done correctly missing out on organ meats and limiting animal fat then it can turn to an unhealthy diet.