You may have heard in the news in the last couple years that “carnivore diets” have been growing in popularity, and have some surprisingly powerful health benefits that often shock a lot of people, since this way of eating is so contrary to what you hear in the mass media.
In fact, you may have even heard that the famous Joe Rogan (comedian and most popular podcast host in the world) tried a full month of a carnivore diet last year in 2020 and said it was the “best he’s ever felt” while also losing 12lbs of body fat and losing his love handles that he could never get rid of previously. He also reported that his energy was perfectly stable for the month that he ate carnivore. He felt so good eating an all-meat diet that he did it for 30 days again this past January, and reported similar results again.
As you read today’s newsletter, I’d encourage you to be open minded and realize that most “gurus” out there that you hear from in the media actually don’t have much depth of nutrition education, and most powerful food companies that sell ultra-processed “plant based” junk food actually have a lot of influence on spreading propaganda trying to blame all health problems on meat, eggs, and other healthy animal foods because they know that you’ll buy more highly profitable “plant-based” junk food if you eat less animal food.
But when you dig into the real science, and explore it with an open mind, you actually find that most information about nutrition that’s preached in the mainstream isn’t necessarily correct, and I’ll explain some of my findings in this email.
If you’ve never heard of the “carnivore diet”, it’s basically a way of eating that focuses either entirely or mostly on healthy meat, fish, and eggs, while avoiding most plant-foods, or choosing only small amounts of plant foods based on a scale of plant toxicity… for example, with leafy greens, nightshades, grains, and beans being the most toxic plant foods, and fruits generally being the least toxic types of plant foods (I’ll explain more on that concept of plant toxicity levels in a bit)…
I’ve been intensely studying the science of carnivore and carnivore-ish (animal-based) diets for several years now, and have been fascinated by the impressive health benefits that thousands of people are getting from this way of eating. However, as with any way of eating, there are some types of people that get a lot more benefits than others.
The biggest categories of people that seem to benefit the most from animal-based diets are people with these conditions…
1. Autoimmune conditions — a very high percentage of people with autoimmunity see a dramatic reduction in symptoms, and many times, and full resolution of symptoms by following either a carnivore diet or a mostly carnivore diet that contains only the simplest and least toxic plants. For autoimmunity, it’s basically the most efficient type of elimination diet, since there’s so many types of plants that trigger autoimmune symptoms.
It’s fairly common for people with autoimmune conditions to get triggered by plant foods such as gluten-containing grains, beans (very high in lectins), nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes), oxalates from leafy greens, and other problematic compounds in plants.
2. Gut/digestion issues — since excessive fiber and excessive plant-based antinutrients and plant toxins can worsen digestive conditions, a mostly meat diet can actually be really healing for the digestive system in a lot of people, even though that statement surprises most people. Even the world-renowned digestive doctor Dr. Michael Ruscio stated in an interview that somewhere around 60% or more of his patients need less fiber, not more. Too much fiber can cause overgrowths of certain types of bacteria that can cause more digestive distress. Too much fiber can also irritate the digestive tract in a lot of people as well.
I personally know a LOT of people that are using carnivore diets and experiencing dramatically improved digestion. I also know several people with Crohn’s disease where carnivore is the only thing that has worked for them to control their Crohn’s, and they had tried everything before that. It won’t work for everyone, and most conventional doctors have never even heard of carnivore diets, so don’t expect your doctor to know anything about it if you ask. In fact, most conventional doctors (I’d say 95% of them) don’t know much at all about nutrition since there’s almost zero nutrition education in medical school. So the only MDs that know a lot about nutrition are usually just the small percentage of them that are self taught.
3. Diabetes and obesity — although carbs aren’t “bad” necessarily, especially for metabolically healthy people or people that do intense exercise, low-carb diets (including carnivore type low-carb diets) can be particularly powerful for at least some time frame for getting type 2 diabetics back to normal blood sugar and insulin functioning in the body. If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, I’d highly recommend reading this natural method for reversing Diabetes here.
Also, weight loss gets pretty darn easy when you’re eating almost entirely meat, because meat is the single most satiating food you can eat, and it’s basically impossible to overeat on calories with a meat-only or mostly meat diet. Think about how hard it is to overeat on steak. You just simply stop when you’re full. But think how easy it is to overeat on mac n cheese, cereal, bagels, bread, pizza, ice cream, and other carb/fat combos that are highly addicting. I know personally when I have pizza, bread, or pasta in front of me, I can’t stop eating it because it’s so addictive, and I end up over-stuffing myself with thousands of excess calories. But with a juicy grass-fed steak, I just eat until I’m satisfied and then naturally stop.
As for me personally, I’ve done about an 85-90% carnivore diet for about 3 years now (I’d call it animal-based, with only carefully selected plants such as fruit that I know does well with my body)… For me, this has been the absolute easiest and best diet for me, and I’ve never felt so good. My digestion is basically almost perfect since cutting out most veggies, beans, nightshades, etc., and my energy and body composition have improved as well. And my bloodwork has been nearly perfect too for these last few years on a mostly meat-based diet.
And no, despite the false belief by outdated doctors and the mainstream media that cholesterol causes heart disease, nothing could be further from the truth… in fact, the biggest causes of heart disease are actually plant foods like vegetable oils and sugar, but NOT meat. Meat, fish, and eggs actually contain important nutrients that can help prevent heart disease, such as vitamin K2, carnosine, carnitine, DHA/EPA, stearic acid, etc.
As for what I personally eat… I eat mostly red meat almost every day (grass fed beef, bison, lamb, and yak), fish and shellfish a couple times a week, eggs, and the only plants I eat are small amounts of squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado, cucumbers, coffee, wine, and sweet fruit only during the local fruit season, but not during winter. I also enjoy a small spoonful of honey a few days a week as a dessert replacement.
I personally choose to avoid chicken and pork mostly, since they have about 10x the inflammatory omega6 content of red meat (red meat only contains 2-3% omega6, while chicken and pork contain about 15-20%, since chicken and pork are fed almost entirely grains and soy, whereas red meat like beef, lamb and bison eats mostly grass and forage for the majority of their lives)… I explain in more detail why RED meat is healthier than chicken or pork in this article, and also why red meat is more environmentally sustainable too, which surprises most people.
The best diet change I ever made that had the biggest impact on improving my health was cutting out most veggies and beans over the last 3-4 years. I actually intentionally avoid almost all veggies and beans now, and this had the most dramatic improvement on how I’ve felt on a daily basis.
I personally don’t think veggies are an ancestrally consistent food source for humans, and a study of over 300 hunter-gatherer tribes showed that the average diets of hunter-gatherers around the world was about 80-85% meat, fish, and fruit, and the other 15% was basically small amounts of nuts and roots… But hunter gatherers really didn’t eat much of what we’d call “vegetables” in our modern day food supply. Leaves and stems were only 1% of the average hunter-gatherer diet, even in tropical areas.
After all, 99% of leaves in the wild are toxic, and why would hunter-gatherers have wasted time and energy gathering something that has no calories…it just makes no logical sense. The majority of plant foods our ancestors ate was actually fruit mostly (the only part of the plant that wants to be eaten so we can spread the trees seed elsewhere), along with a little bit of nuts and roots, since those are the more calorically-dense plants that would have made sense to gather.
I also think that about 50% of vegetables are actually harmful to a lot of people based on genetics and other health conditions… For example, brassica veggies can be bad for people with thyroid conditions, nightshade veggies can be bad for people with arthritis, leafy greens can cause oxalate issues such as kidney stones, and certain other vegetables can often worsen digestive issues. So as you can see, veggies can often have more detriments than benefits.
Another thing I have noticed over the years is that the majority of men in general seem to do fantastic on carnivore or mostly carnivore diets, whereas women seem to be more 50/50... some women feel amazing on carnivore, and other women feel the need for more fiber and more plant foods in general. This is actually ancestrally consistent too, since hunter-gatherers generally had the men as the main hunters and the women more frequently as gatherers, and the men had access to more frequent meat than the women in a lot of these tribes. So it’s possible that men are built for a slightly higher protein diet than women as a generalization.
Another good example is my friend Dr Paul Saladino, who wrote the popular book The Carnivore Code… he’s been mostly carnivore for 3 years now too, and eats nothing but meat, organs, honey, and a small amount of fruit, and the guy is one of the healthiest people I know, whereas when he was vegan I think 6 or 7 years ago, he destroyed his health eating that way.
Lastly, I’d recommend people have an open mind when researching things like carnivore vs plant-based diets, as there’s a LOT of closed-mindedness from the plant-based community to even consider or research anything other than what the biased information they currently believe. I’ve come to the conclusion that most humans can thrive just fine on either a meat-based diet or possibly even a plant-based diet as long as those plants are considered on a scale of plant toxicity and chosen carefully, while also getting at least some animal-based foods to balance out the micronutrients that simply can’t be obtained from plants only. And some people (if you have northern genetics) might even consider being more animal-based in the winter and early spring, when our northern European ancestors would have been mostly carnivore, and then switching to a higher plant diet in the summer and fall when fruits, nuts and roots would have been more plentiful.
Another thing is that it seems more important for longevity that we’re careful about avoiding the WORST foods that are causing most disease… with the absolute worst foods that are killing most people being vegetable oils (aka seed oils like soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed, canola, etc) and sugar, and possibly too much refined grains too. And for people that try out eating a more meat-based diet (with smaller amounts of carefully selected plant foods), they often find that it becomes really easy to avoid the worst foods like vegetable oils and sugar because they don’t need to eat any processed food and also don’t have cravings for unhealthy food anymore either since meat is so satiating.
To read more about how eating a fun and delicious carnivore style diet can potentially dramatically improve your body composition, energy, digestion, and more, don’t miss this article below about my friend Ross and his experience…