The essence of a carnivore diet is easy: fuel yourself with fatty animal protein and eat to satiety. You will quickly learn what to eat on a carnivore diet because it is just so simple.
A carnivorous diet is a diet based exclusively on animal foods.
“Carnivore Diet” is a loose term used to denote the absence of plant foods, however there is no one uniform way to follow. How you craft the diet will depend on personal preference and tolerance. It may or may not include eggs, dairy, and animal-sourced carbohydrates like honey and raw milk.
Sound boring? It’s not! There is a wide variety of foods to choose from.
What to Eat on a Carnivore Diet
Eat animal foods to satiety. Meat, eggs, and more meat. Salt liberally.
Prioritize red meat over chicken, pork, and other fowl. Beef, lamb, sheep, bison, and other ruminants have a superior nutritional profile, fatty acid content, and tend to digest better overall.
Contrary to what the medical establishment teaches, the essence of a proper diet should be red meat. Ideally, grass-fed whenever possible. Supporting grass-fed meat goes beyond personal health and builds up regenerative agriculture and healthy economic systems. It’s not always viable to purchase grass-fed, but do the best you can. Connecting with local suppliers and buying in bulk are two ways we save money on our monthly food budget.
All foods from the animal kingdom are on the table:
- Fatty meat f
- Fish, seafood, and roe (note: fish and seafood tend to be quite lean, add fat as needed)
- Chicken, pork, and other poultry
- Aged meats
- Fermented meats (yes it’s true! There is a long tradition of preserving meat this way, and we now enjoy high liver from time to time)
- Organs meats (start with liver, beef heart, and bones)
- Eggs, optional (depends on tolerance, see below)
- Dairy, optional (depends on tolerance, see below)
A COMPLETE carnivore diet grocery list is available to download for FREE in our members’ section. It is a 3-page pdf with a shopping list, tips on how to budget, ways to connect with local food producers, and online shopping resources.
A complimentary list with corresponding macros is also included the members’ section for those of us who want to track macros. It’s all FREE for you!
Different Degrees of Carnivory
Perhaps unexpectedly, a carnivorous way of eating is satiating and satisfying. The ease of preparing simple meals only adds to the many benefits.
If you feel like experimenting with the varying degrees of carnivory, I highly recommend my Quick Start Guide to Carnivory + 21 Day Meal Plan. It will walk you through a 3-week diet plan that begins with a full spectrum of animal foods and progresses to a narrower scope week by week
It’s fine to ease into it by slowly weaning off plant foods (vegetables, nuts, fruit, etc.) or jump in right away. There is no one way to do it. Whatever you think will give you the most confidence and long-term success should be the way to try!
The goal with a carnivore diet is to know what foods you handle well and eliminate all the others
Due to the highly satiating nature of animal foods, a seemingly “restricted” level of meat only is surprisingly enjoyable (this is coming from someone who has spent years in the kitchen and written three cookbooks!). Most people do not feel any loss
Organ Meat is not Required
We promote eating a nose-to-tail diet and our whole family enjoy organs. Organ meats tend to be very affordable and are highly nutritious. They give a tremendous nutritional “bang for your buck” return on dollars spent.
Aside from being economically viable and nutritious, they are also quite delicious and add depth and variety to the diet. I have a dedicated section of The Carnivore Cookbook on the proper preparation of organ meats and bones. The simple recipes and assuring advice will gently guide anyone interested in the wonderful world of nose-to-tail eating.
People survive and thrive on a meat-based diet without organ meats. If the idea doesn’t appeal to you, don’t force it. It takes time to warm up to nose-to-tail foods. When you are ready, I have plenty of recipes for beginners to get you started.
Are there Carnivore Carbs?
There are certain animal-based carbohydrates like raw honey, raw whole milk, plain yogurt, and cheese which may be beneficial to someone who is underweight or healing from a period of vegetarianism or veganism (malnourishment).
Using carnivore carbohydrates in conjunction with fatty animal protein will help increase caloric intake and facilitate healthy weight gain. However, please note that if fat loss is the goal, carbs should be kept at low levels or eliminated.
Will a Carnivore Diet put me in Ketosis?
Depending on your goals, a carnivore diet may or may not be ketogenic. Ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel, is achieved through carbohydrate restriction. It is the lack of carbohydrates in the diet that triggers this shift.
Our bodies can use tw of the three macronutrients for energy: carbohydrate or fat. If we aren’t using carbs, we must be using fat. This fat can come either from our plate in the form of dietary fat or from our bodies as we burn (lose) fat.
Animal protein is exceptionally satiating; therefore, if done correctly, hunger tends to be low on a carnivorous diet. Low hunger makes it easy to lose body fat.
For more nuances on a keto carnivore diet, please watch Is a Carnivore Diet also Ketogenic? Ketone Confusions & Carnivore Heresy
If you are looking for specific advice, dialed into your unique situation, participate in our next Keto & Carnivore Collective. After enrolling, you will have access to custom advice from hands-on, dedicated coaches (that’s Tristan and me!) in a supportive environment of like-minded people. We dive deep into optimizing diet, sleep, movement patterns, circadian rhythm, environment, stress management, and more. See upcoming dates here.
Local selection, personal preference, and budget are the significant factors of influence that shape what you eat on a carnivore diet. Choose from a wide range of animal proteins and fats and learn what works best for your body, lifestyle, and situation.
Fatty red meat is an essential food for everyone. Fish and seafood, chicken, pork, poultry are best eating occasionally (as in a few times a week, not every day or every meal). Eggs and dairy are optional, depending on tolerance. Organ meats optional, but highly encouraged!
If you like sharing your delicious carnivore foods, join my Keto & Carnivore Diet Recipe Group on Facebook!
This article sources concepts from the Primal Edge Health youtube video: What food can I eat on a Carnivore Diet?