When I first heard about humans eating a carnivore diet, I scoffed and dismissed it as preposterous and narrow thinking. As far as I knew from my nutrition training, we omnivores should be eating a mostly vegetable based diet with smaller amounts of meat and fish. I have since realized that I was the one being narrow minded. I had not taken the time to look beyond conventional wisdom and the dogma that vegetables are king of the plate. After all, vegetables provide just about every nutrient known with the exception of some fat soluble micros. What about fiber? Don’t we need a certain amount of fiber in our diet so we can be regular?
What first intrigued me and brought out my curiosity, was listening to Dr Paul Saladino’s podcast and subsequently reading his book “The Carnivore Code“. The biggest takeaway for me, was something that I already learned in previous studies was the anti-nutrient profile of plants. Years before, I had read Dr Gundry’s “Plant Paradox“, which first made me aware of the anti-nutrients in plants. Paul Saladino’s book took the plant paradox to a new level and forced me to re-evaluate the vegetation in my own diet. I already knew about the facts that animal based foods are more nutrient dense. I began to think about how I like to eat during a meal. I tend to favor the meat and view the salad as a chore to have to eat. I would usually save the salad for last after I had savored whatever meat or fish was on the plate. I do like and eat vegetables, I just would prefer meat over them when given a choice.
What seems to be working for me is a carnivore-ish diet. I will eat a small portion of certain vegetables, usually asparagus or avocado. It took me about a month for my digestive system to adapt and become regular. There were no hard times and basically all I did was reduce my vegetable and fiber intake. I never felt ill or tired. In fact, the opposite happened and I was pleasantly surprised at my overall feeling of vitality. Nothing drastic. I was already a very clean eater, no sugar or processed foods, mostly organic vegetables, grass-fed meat, wild game and fish.
For me, eating carnivore-ish is much easier to follow and provides all of the health benefits and sustainability fitting my lifestyle and goals. I am not a strict carnivore, but have begun to think of vegetables and fruits as more of survival foods and not a regular staple. I get my good health from the variety of animal based foods and a few supplements.
The key words in a carnivore diet is “well formulated” A carnivore diet is not about eating meat in the conventional sense. Carnivores have to eat “nose to tail”, which means consumption of the entire animal. Eating a nothing but muscle meat diet will definitely lead to deficiencies just as a vegan diet without certain supplements will do the same.
Animal based foods are more nutrient dense without the anti-nutrients so prevalent in the majority of vegetables.
Check out my carnivore diet cheat sheet that details the vitamin and mineral profiles contained in popular carnivore foods. This guide can help you with the planning of a properly formulated carnivore-ish program.