Our Carnivore Diet blog provided an overview of the Carnivore Diet and dispelled some popular myths and concerns that many people have about this protocol. As with all nutritional approaches, it is important to experiment and ascertain which approach is best for your body in relation to your goals. If you are intrigued and would like to consider a Carnivore Progamme, we have compiled an overview of what to eat and how to approach this regime.
As we know, a Carnivore Diet consists of eating only animal meat and not eating plants. It is important to eat ‘nose-to-tail’– preferably of grass-fed animals– being sure to eat organ meats and connective tissue which are a good sources of collagen. In addition to the fatty cuts of animal meat, eggs and seafood can also be consumed along with sources of animal fat like butter, tallow or suet (beef kidney fat) and for some people, dairy.
Dairy can be a trigger impacting those with autoimmune challenges or skin conditions and because of the proteins in the milk and the higher carbohydrate content, this can also impact mood and weight gain. If you are a person who doesn’t seem to have an adverse effect to dairy, then you might include it in your diet. Alternatively, it may be an idea to experiment with goat milk as an alternative as this has a different protein construct to cow dairy and your system may tolerate it better.
A Carnivore approach tailored for you
Our ethos at Made To Thrive is to research and reveal insights to equip you with knowledge to take action. There is ‘no one size fits all’ approach and as such, it is important that any nutritional protocol is evaluated in relation to your goals, individual metabolism and the uniqueness of your own physiology.
You may wish to embark on a Carnivore Diet for one of the following reasons:
- Improve Athletic Performance
- Weight loss
- Gain Muscle
- Improve a medical condition
Paul Saladino refers to himself as the ‘Carnivore Medical Doctor’ and is a relentless researcher focused on understanding the connections between nutritional biochemistry and chronic disease. He has prepared a basic template of macronutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate) consumption for a Carnivore protocol, depending on your goal. He shares his overview herewith:
- If your goal is weight loss, I would minimise carbohydrates and dairy. Aim for 0.5g of protein per 1kg of your GOAL body weight and then add high quality animal fat to this until satiety. This will usually end up being about a 1:1 protein to fat ratio in terms of grams. Those looking to lose a large amount of weight may include supervised fasting in this plan, and to temporarily increase protein and decrease fat a bit more. High protein, low fat, and low carb is not a good strategy long term, however.
- If your goal is athletic performance, and you are already at your desired body composition, I would increase the amount of fat in your diet. Aim for 0.8g grams of protein per kilogram lean body mass, and about 1.5x this for fat (in grams). What are good sources of fat? I prefer suet and trimmings from grass fed animals rather than “liquid” fats like ghee, butter or tallow.
- If your goal is weight gain, you’re going to have to create a caloric surplus. Contrary to popular belief, it is totally possible to gain muscle mass and strength on a keto diet (like the carnivore diet), but there must be an excess of calories and an anabolic stimulus, such as weight lifting. You’ll want to be sure to get about 1 – 1.2g protein per kilogram of lean body mass and create a caloric surplus with good sources of fat.
A weekly meal plan example
How does the Carnivore Diet fit into my Ketogenic protocol?
The Carnivore programme is an interesting offshoot of a Ketogenic protocol. Once you have embarked on a Keto Reset programme, have achieved metabolic flexibility, and have perhaps been following a Keto protocol, you will be in ketosis. Given that ketosis is as a result of starving your brain and body of glucose from carbohydrates and rather feeding it with higher fat sources, a good Carnivore programme (with sufficient, fatty meats and organs), is by default ketogenic. It is important however to continue testing your blood ketones if you do embark on a Carnivore programme as each of our body’s will respond differently to the protein profiles. Made To Thrive stocks and distributes blood ketone meters for you to quantify your progress. Get in touch if you would like to purchase a unit.
Carnivore Protocol- the process of Negativa and Simplicity
For many of us, our lives are busy, complex and time-challenged. We also often reference health improvements by seeking that which we can add to improve our circumstances. We seek out the next best vitamin supplement or we’re advised to exercise more for improved health benefits. Sometimes however, the best way to achieve this improvement is to examine what can be removed in our daily regime. An interesting, but different take on things in a world of consumption and continued application to solving.
To this end, the Carnivore porgamme works on a process of Negativa– in other words it hails success in that it works on a process of addition by subtraction. The Carnivore Diet removes all junk in your diet (as was also seen in embarking on a Ketogenic programme). No refined carbohydrates. No vegetable oils. No sugars and additives. In this reduction, lies the additional benefit of simplicity. Food shouldn’t be complicated but often, nutritional regimes can be taxing on time, energy and planning. Food and the preparation and consumption thereof, should be joyful and ‘free’- the more time that can be freed up from eating and thinking about food, the more time there is to learn a new skill, read a book or spend time with family and friends. The Carnivore Diet supports this paradigm in its simplicity. Steak, eggs, beef liver, suet, a cast iron pan and repeat!