The Carnivote Diet

The Carnivore diet is a therapautic tool which can help address many issues when it comes to sensitivity to plant toxins, nutrient absorbtion, gut health and more.

Is Carnivore a new thing

To many a carnivore diet sounds very strange and only a diet that has recently came about. However this could not be further from the truth. There is evidence that we have evolved to be hunters around 2 million years ago when we could hunt animals in organised groups and had the tools to eat all parts of the animal. This is long time before we started using fire around 500K years ago. Our brain has been growing exponentially ever since, primarly due to the fat content that comes with the protein when eating meat. This should not come as a surprise. We need around 60% of caloric intake for energy. Did our ancestors have access to so much carbohydrates? Hell no. Depending on the time of the year there might be fruit around for short periods of time but for sure not enough to cover their caloric needs and not enough to meet the high demand of nutrients our brain has especially in omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA).

The human developement both in terms of brain growth but also height kept going until around 12K years ago at which point there was an explotion of agriculture. At that point there are also suggestions that the decline in the human health started. One could say that even though our ancestors followed a mostly carnivore diet, this was not optimal for health and longevity. However, the evidence suggests otherwise and this change came about mostly in order to a meet the growing demand for food of a growing population.

Why follow a Carnivore diet

Let’s dial time forward and come to the present. We have solved many of the survival issues our ancestors have. We have sheltor, warmth, a medical system and we mostly don’t run the danger of being run down and eaten. What would be the reasons to follow a carnivore diet?

Animal food has a caloric superiority 

When trying to thrive you need plenty of nutrients. Following a Carnivore diet will give all the nutrients you need without the need to overeat due to its caloric density. You need both plenty of protein and fat on a daily basis to thrive and only animal sources have this balance and have a great bio-availability. And you can get most of the vitamins and minerals by eating a not only muscle meat but also organs such as liver. 

Anti-nutrient and toxins in plants 

The most common reason people start a carnivore diet is plant sensitivities. Plants can’t run away but equally don’t want to be eaten, so they have developed ways to protect themselves by releasing toxins to let the predator know they are not edible. And there many toxins in most plants

  • Sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables
  • Oxalates in spinash and nuts
  • Flavanoids in kale and onions
  • Lectins in beans
  • Phytates, Saponins, Gluten, Tannins etc

And the list goes on.

Some people will be more sensitive than others to these compounds but as a population there is an increasing number of people having gut issues, skin issues, joint pains which are all inflammatory conditions which make us weak and vulnerable. Following a carnivore diet has the power to address such inflammatory condition and give your gut the opportunity to heal itself.

Planning for a carnivore diet

We are aiming for around 30% protein, 50% fat and the rest %20 carbs.Your week’s cooking should include

Soups

  1. Bones for bone broth
  2. Whole chicken for chicken broth

Main sources ( Meat , Fish , Eggs)

  1. Rib-eye steaks for fried steak
  2. Osobouko for your stew
  3. Lamb chops
  4. Ground beef burger
  5. Bones for bone broth
  6. Chicken (with skin)
  7. Pork belly
  8. Sardines 
  9. Eggs

Organs

  1. Small amounts of Liver, heart, kidney on a daily basis as a side dish

Others

  1. A2 Dairy from sheep or goat (if you can tolarate it)
  2. Lemon juice
  3. Salt and Spices
  4. Zucchini, squash, pumpkin
  5. Raw honey
  6. One piece of seasonal fruit per day

Some Tips

  • Drink some ACV before every meal. We don’t want to run into digestio issues because of increasing the amount of fat.
  • Choose fatty cuts of meat. Note that the ratio is around 2:1 of fat to protein
  • Eat slowly. Carnivore is very satiating so ensure you don’t overeat. Track closely your calories.
  • Try to find get grass-fed (or Bio, organic)  meat and note the price difference. It is probably not so big and well worth it.
  • Lightly cook your meat. Even better to stew it. Over-cooking it (or charring it) releases carcigenerous toxins and you lose most of the nutritional value of the meat
  • Break your fast with bone broth. Bone Broth contains collagen and glycine which is needed to balance methionine. On days where you don’t have bone broth take collagen.
  • Include organs on small amounts on daily basis. Try to batch cook them maybe 3-times a week
  • If you really miss your salads go with a simple option like cucumber, avocado, parsley and a sauce of Olive oil, lemon, mustard, honey

The ketOntrack opinion

Although a carnivore diet is indeed the way our ancestors thrived, it has not been extensively studied for it’s long term effects.

And we believe that a balanced diet will bring the best results for our health and longevity. Too much of anything will cause some sort of inbalance and while fixing one issue you may create others. Specifically the long-term effect on the microbiome and potentially increased acidity are areas where the jury has still not concluded on. 

However for those that are facing gut and inflammation issues following an elimination protocol such a carnivore diet will help in relieving and reversing some of those issues until which point you can try to slowly re-introduce some foods if you wish to do so.

On the other we believe that a primarly animal based diet is the best way to thrive. A nose-to-tail animal diet gives you all the nutrients you need and in amounts you can’t get from plan sources due to it’s caloric density. Following a carnivore diet will give you the opportunity to try out some organs like liver, heart, kidneys and incoporate them in your eating routine.

Further Reading

These days there is a lot of interest in the benefits of following the so called carnivore diet, which is mainly a meat only diet. Having grown-up with a Mediterranean diet and always having a “balance” between days where meat was served and days where we mostly eat vegetable and legumes I find this type of diet very intriguing. What would the benefits be to only eat meat?

As with most research out there we should start with the question. “What problem are we trying to solve”. Are there health problems which people are facing and don’t know how to fix? Seems so. About 50M Americans are struggling from some sort of auto-immune, gut condition or deficiencies such as IBS, psoriasis, megnesium deficiencies and so forth.

The Carnivore diet nutritional profile

A nutrionally diverse eating plan which includes eating different parts of the animal such as liver and bone broth, fish, eggs and some diary will cover all your daily needs. Reduced levels of glucose and insulin will also help the better utilization of certain electrolytes and minerals which means that you don’t need so much of them (e.g. Thimian). As shown in the graph above eating only steaks will not cut it. Essential nutrients are missing especially the Vitamins.

This is where nutritional density comes into play as with any diet. Feeling satiated when eating with the least amount of food while getting all the nutrients you need. On the satiety level as already discussed meat is up there so you can’t go wrong. Additionally by reducing the type of foods and simplifying the meal plan the bioavailability of certain nutrients increases. For example Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium. Other nutrients, such as zinc and iron, can act against each other. In addition, some substances in foods, sometimes called anti-nutrients, interfere with the body’s use of vitamins and minerals. Thus oxalates, found in some dark green leafy vegetables, interfere with the absorption of some minerals (including calcium, zinc, and iron), as does the phytic acid found in some high-fiber foods.

The lack of Fiber

We all know how important is fiber. Whole meals (see breakfast) are structured around getting enough fiber content. Surprisingly enough recent studies show high fiber diets promote constipation rather and hinder bowel movement.

The plant aspect

Plants don’t want to be eaten but can’t run away like a zebra can! So they have developed certain mechanisms to defend themselves with natural parasites (or toxins). The pesticides have not be in detail studied but now studies are starting to show that some of them are carcinogens. Part of the plant defence mechanism is to either have or produce compounds that depending on the amounts are very toxic. Cabbage alone seems to have 42 such pesticides. An example on how the mechanism works is that when chewing some plants there is a chemical reaction between stable compounts which interact with enzymes and produce oxidative/toxic substances (e.g sulforaphane) which depending on the consumed amounts can cause various gut disorders. This is why certain people have less tolerance to certain vegetable categories such as cruciferous vegetables ( cabbage, brocolli etc). The other dimension of consuming such toxic pesticides is that the hermetic effect, which states that small amounts of something toxic can make you stronger. Same logic as with vaccination. However the tolerance to toxins widely depends on the person and the amount consumed.

Conclusion

A Carnivore diet is aiming to address health and mostly digestive issues in a simple but nutritional dense meal plan, but removing categories of foods that are seen as potentially problematic. My personal opinion is that in the era of technogoly and information maybe we are over-thinking and over-analyzing certain situations as stand alone problems and we might be losing the big picture. In the same way over-consumption of plants has an ill effect on some of us, it could be that eating every day a low quality meat diet will also have a bad effect of some sort. Metabolic flexibility is key for all type of eating plans.

Key Takeaways

  • Incoporate in your eating plan a high variety of meats especially liver and bone broth. Meat can provide all nutrients needed if you follow the eating head-to-tail approach.
  • Do you have any symptoms such as rashes, bloating etc? Consider reducing your plant ( vegetable, fruit, nuts, etc.) intake for a few weeks.

Further reading