I couldn’t stand liver as a kid and my mother would fry me chicken on days that she made liver for the rest of the family. When I was contemplating switching to a more animal-based diet, I knew that liver would be a key nutrient which made me hesitant. I soon discovered that I could get liver as well as most organs in a high-quality supplement.
Get your offal supplements!
Liver supplements were actually my gateway into my acquired taste for liver and other organ meats, and have become a regular part of my nutritional protocol in my animal-based diet.
Sliced heartwurst with avocado and herbs de provence.
Frozen package of buffalo liver from wildideabuffalo.com
Be open to change
Being a lifelong student of nutrition science and learning about new discoveries, I found that recent writings and podcasts inspired me to take a more subjective look into a carnivorous lifestyle.
I read Dr. Gundry’s book, “Plant Paradox” years ago which first raised my awareness of the toxicity in plants, but at the time, I wasn’t interested in doing a deep dive into something so strange.
For me, eating carnivore-ish is much easier to follow and provides all of the health benefits and sustainability while fitting my lifestyle and goals. I am not a strict carnivore and plan to stay an omnivore, as I like food too much, but I have begun to think of vegetables and fruits as more side dishes. My meals now come from a variety of animal-based foods, some seasonal fruit, low oxalate, fully cooked vegetables, raw, local honey, and a few supplements.
As an almost 60-year-old fitness and nutrition professional, I have been experimenting with my body over the span of my career and have recovered from several injuries, including a complete hip replacement. It wasn’t easy to regain my lost muscle, proving that even an old guy can put on muscle. Hopefully, my training protocol combined with my carnivore-ish ways and organ supplementation will keep me going for a long time.
I’m not new to nutrition and in fact, I have been in the fitness and nutrition business for a large part of my adult life. I am classically trained in holistic therapeutic nutrition and a fitness trainer. While my philosophy on food has shifted over the years, the notion of eating vegetables has been a constant, until recently.
After getting deep into my research and analyzing my own eating and cravings, I started thinking about how I always went for the meat first in a meal, and what I call “rabbit food” which is the salad or vegetables always felt like a chore to have to eat just to be healthy and have a macro balance. I am also a lifelong hunter and relish the taste of all wild game and just about any meat and fish.
Perfectly cooked rare ribeye steak
More organs please
Now that I have acquired the taste for liver and other offal, I don’t have to rely on supplements as much but I still manage to get a decent amount of plant-based nutrients. My staples have become braunschweiger, butter, chicken, bison, deer and beef liver, oxtail, fish, cod liver, fish eggs, raw milk kefir, grass-fed hard cheese, to name a few. I stay particular to the sources of these foods and mostly rely on local farms and my own hunting/gathering.
I have eliminated many plant foods that were previously a staple, and after almost 18 months, I must say I have never felt better. My workouts have shown strength gains as I have gained almost 15 pounds of muscle in a span of two years. I wasn’t having any health problems before this, but I didn’t realize that I could always feel even better. The addition of muscle is a huge win for me as I have always been a hard gainer while staying lean most of my life. Now that I am 60 years old, I am especially aware of muscle wasting and I take necessary precautions to fight the effects of aging.
I’m not saying that I recommend this type of diet for everyone, but I would like those reading this to approach the research with an open mind and follow legitimate sources. I certainly don’t claim to know everything about carnivore living and 18 months is but a flash of time in the span of a lifetime and I have much work to do.
I plan to continue on this path for now enjoying all that the animal kingdom has to offer, while monitoring, researching, and learning.
Based on my own experiences and developing my own nutritional protocol, I have created my own food pyramid.
This is not a stone pyramid, meaning that I am always tweaking and adjusting for what works for me.
Steven Ashton original animal-based food pyramid
Sign up to be part of my tribe and download my guide on micronutrient content in common animal-based foods.
Resources related to this article:
Check out Dr Saladino’s book “Carnivore Code” and his website and podcast.
Dr Shawn Baker and any of his books related to carnivore eating.