125 days ago I started eating 1-3 steaks per day and removed fruits and vegetables. What began as a 30 day experiment became a lifestyle. I don't plan to stop.
The purpose of this article is to share some ideas I have about carnivory, which include:
- The adaptation phase
- The menu
- Thoughts on removing plant foods
- Micro-nutrient requirements
- How humans invented vegetables
- Giving up variety and fiber
Like any diet, this one isn't for everybody. But, for those interested, I hope this can be a resource.
If you disagree with what I say or if I offend you...good. Let me hear your thoughts in the comments.
In 2011 I began the Ketogenic diet and it changed my life in a big way. I felt so good physically, I was able to boost other aspects of my life. Since then I've spent pretty much all my free time tinkering with nutrition and fitness.
I wanted to take my training and health to the next level without pills, potions or powders; carnivory seemed like the next step.
Plus, I follow Dr. Shawn Baker on Twitter (@SBakerMD). He holds world records in two age brackets for one of the most explosive sports...rowing. He's never used steroids, which I appreciate as a natural athlete. He's fueled exclusively by meat. His success with this diet was a strong motivator.
On Valentine’s Day I came home with a heart shaped, rib-eye steak. It was grain-fed because Brittany, my girlfriend and mother of my baby, prefers the flavor over grass-fed. Until then, we ate only grass-fed beef for 5 years. Also, the packaging was perfect.
The steak was deeply satisfying. We couldn't shut-up about it. We sipped wine and talked for hours. It was a perfect Valentines dinner.
Brit said, “I could eat this every night!"
I replied, "Ok, I'll make it every night."
And so began our carnivore diet.
Brittany quit on day 4 because she's a little bitch. Just kidding, she quit because of migraines. I quit on day 11 because of neck, back and leg pain, which began day 3. It felt like severe DOMS mixed with flu like aches. No amount of tissue smashing would alleviate the pain. My fucking cells hurt. I kept trying to crack my hips and back to no avail.
The more steak we ate, the more pain we felt. I couldn't sleep, I was irritable and I lost all motivation to train. I caught a cold on day 12.
Worst Diet Ever.
I fasted for a day and recovered. By day 13 all symptoms vanished. After two weeks off, I was finally motivated to train. I got Brit back on board and her headaches didn't return.
There's definitely an adaptation to carnivore...about a week and a half. I'm unsure if the cause is the steak, the fact it was grain-fed, total carbohydrate restriction or the elimination of fiber.
The symptoms were similar to the Keto Flu, which is the adaptation to low-carb.
Brit and I were already keto-adapted and eating a low as 20 grams of carb per day. I didn't think removing that last bit would require further adaptation.
Bottom line, expect a "hell week" if going carnivore.
The Carnivore Diet Menu
80% of my diet is Ribeye or New York steak and eggs...in that order of prevalence.
Another 10% of my diet is other carnivorous foods like butter, sashimi sushi, shellfish, bacon, bison, grass-fed burger patties, bone broth (including connective tissue and marrow), birds, chicharrones (pork rinds), heavy cream etc...
5% of my diet are plants used for flavor, not necessarily nutrition. ie chocolate, garlic, peppers, pickles, herbs, spices etc. I still drink coffee in the morning too.
5% of total calories are "cheat" meals I have socially...and low-carb booze. RAGE!
I salt everything to taste.
Removing vegetables was intrinsically difficult. Everyone "knows" vegetables are healthy. It was like eating high-fat for the first time. It felt wrong. I had a deep seated belief that vegetables are absolutely necessary for health. Thanks Grandma.
America "knew" saturated fat clogged arteries just a couple years ago. Some people still think fat is unhealthy. Now, butter is a heart healthy super-food.
We are very good at getting nutrition completely wrong. I'm open minded to the possibility that we're wrong about fruits and veggies.
I know veggies are edible, I'm not arguing that. Humans can obviously eat vegetables and be healthy.
But are veggies optimal?