There are so many types of diets that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Paleo, vegan, keto, flexitarian, Mediterranean; there’s a diet for just about everyone, and that includes people who love to eat meat.
You’ve probably heard of the carnivorous diet before, but do you know what it actually involves? You can probably imagine that it’s a meat-based diet, but what are the health benefits? What do carnivore diet meal ideas look like? We want to help you get to the bottom of this fascinating lifestyle.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
At its core, the carnivore diet is about eliminating most—if not all—plant-based foods and replacing them with animal-based foods. If it comes from an animal, it’s fair game. This means that meat, eggs, organs, broth, and even dairy can be included in your carnivore diet meal ideas. Many folks who try the carnivore diet will make small exceptions for simple things like coffee, tea, and spices.
A carnivore diet can be considered an elimination diet, where you simplify your food choices by eliminating other food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, etc.) until you’re left with a predominantly animal-based diet. While there are plenty of myths out there around the potentially harmful side effects of eating a lot of red meat, most of them are just that—myths.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Cutting out fruits and vegetables can’t possibly be good for you, right? Well, not entirely. “Plant-based diets carry some risk of inadequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake,” Harvard Health Publishing says. Harvard also reports on a study from the United Kingdom that calls attention to some of the “serious and under-appreciated downsides” to a vegetarian lifestyle that can complicate the way we view plant-based diets.
That’s not to say that fruits and vegetables are simply bad for you; replacing highly processed, sugary/starchy foods with whole ingredients is a good choice no matter what the option. But we do want to highlight the often lopsided view we have regarding plant-based diets and animal-based alternatives. That’s what the carnivore diet seeks to address.
Things to Consider Before Trying the Carnivore Diet
Everybody is different, so the carnivore diet might not work the same for you as it does for someone else. Some people excel right away with this diet, while others need a more sensitive transition into the carnivore diet lifestyle. This can mean starting by transitioning a single meal each day to an entirely (or mostly) animal-based, or can mean settling for a diet that’s primarily, but not entirely, carnivorous.
Make sure you aren’t just eating lean meat, though. It’s important to get an adequate amount of fat for energy and health, especially since the types of protein and fat found in beef can be“highly nutritious,” “promote muscle maintenance and growth,” and are linked to health benefits like weight loss.
If you’ve experimented with low carbohydrate and/or keto-type diets, the transition to a carnivore diet will likely be much easier. Meanwhile, if you’re a carb junky, you can expect the adjustment to be more challenging.
Tinker with it and find a routine that works for you. In most cases, though, starting with fattier cuts of meat (like ribeye steaks and beef ribs) can make for a smoother transition. Some lean steaks can even have good fat added to them, too! This recipe for roasted bone marrow is just one of the many ways you can explore new and exciting carnivore diet meal ideas.
Just remember that there isn’t enough medical research at this point to unequivocally prove that the carnivore diet can radically change your life. What we do have, however, are thousands of people on Reddit, Facebook, blogs, and podcasts who have shared their success stories and are still experiencing transformative benefits as a result of their transition to a carnivore diet.
The Three Best Reasons to Give the Carnivore Diet a Shot
We’ve talked a lot about questions around “what is the carnivore diet?” and now it’s time to talk about some of the specific carnivore diet health benefits you can experience.
1. Metabolic Health Improvement
Stabilized blood sugar, improved energy, and increased mental clarity are some of the most commonly enjoyed carnivore diet health benefits. And since the carnivore diet restricts carbohydrates—something many Americans depend upon for their energy—you’ll be steering your body toward a more metabolically flexible state (ketosis) where fat is better utilized for energy.
2. Body Composition and Weight Loss
With the complete elimination of starchy/carby foods and the increase of satiating and nutrient-dense animal foods, many people soon experience weight loss after starting the carnivore diet. Some people even find better weight loss results with a carnivore diet than a keto diet.
In an interview with Men’s Health, a 47-year-old man reports his success with the carnivore diet, explaining how it helped him lose over eighty pounds. “When you find something that works for you then stick with it and challenge yourself,” he told Men’s Health in February 2020. “I feel that I am now thriving. I feel better than I have ever felt in my life and that includes my 20s.”
3. Reduction in Inflammation
Surprisingly, the removal of plant foods can lead to a reduction in chronic inflammation and joint pain. While there isn’t enough research to make this a hard fact, there is enough evidence to suggest that a diet that’s higher in fat and lower in carbs can improve heart health and lower inflammation. This may seem like a big contradiction when you consider mainstream diet advice (low fat, high carb), but there are plenty of people who stand by it.
Learn More About the Carnivore Diet Today!
Are you interested in trying the carnivore diet? Here are some great resources to answer many of the additional questions you might have:
- Kevin Stock’s ultimate 30-Day guide to going full carnivore
- MeatRx, an extensive carnivore diet community with lots of useful resources
- CarniWay, a concise summary of science and articles relating to the carnivore diet
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the types of pasture-raised and grass-fed meat options Augustus Ranch offers!