I’m Amelia, content writer for the Nordens team. This month’s blog is a personal one, and about my own decision to try the carnivore diet for a month.
Nobody is as committed to health and well-being as Nordens Ultimate. So, it might sound a little crazy to tell you that I’m trying the carnivore diet (or no-carb diet) for 30 days. This isn’t Keto or Banting. It’s literally consuming only animal products – meat, organs, fat, lard, butter, ghee, and eggs – for 30 days. Some people only have salt as a seasoning and water to drink. I started on 9 January and I’m including a little bit of full-fat milk in my coffee (one to two cups a day) and the occasional glass of red wine, diluted 50/50 with sparkling water. But, I’m having absolutely no vegetables, fruit, or vegetable oils (including olive or coconut oil). For 30 days!
It might be my imagination, but I genuinely already feel better and it’s only been four days on the carnivore diet.
The Theory Behind It
I absolutely love vegetables. I often say I could be vegetarian. So, this isn’t an excuse not to get my greens in. But, I have ulcerative colitis and I struggle to eat…just about everything these days. I notice that it’s a lot worse when I have clear broths (with no substance) or many types of vegetables. So, I listened to podcasts and YouTube videos about the carnivore diet and I read the comments. It was the comments that won me over actually. Those are usually littered with negativity and hate. But, not one person that had tried this diet had anything bad to say about it. There’s just overwhelming evidence that it’s worked for so many people with so many health conditions.
The idea is to go back to how the cavemen would’ve eaten. They may have had the odd fruit, but they weren’t cultivating asparagus. They were living on a diet of meat, organs and fat. And, from what we know, they thrived. They were strong, energetic hunters. But, this isn’t really convincing enough for me. Cavemen didn’t have the added anxieties and diseases that we have. They didn’t fight against GMO’s, paying taxes, pollution, and so on. Still, it’s worth nothing that an entire society survived only on meat.
With problems like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, the gut biome is often completely out and there’s physical damage to the colon and intestines in the form of open, bleeding ulcers. It needs to heal, which is difficult when there’s constantly food and fibre moving through it. So, when you consume only good meat, fat and organs (non-GMO , and grass-fed, so you’re not getting grains in), you’re giving your gut biome an opportunity to recover while digesting only very nutrient-rich food that’s a lot easier to break down than many fibrous fruit and vegetables. You’re also not taking in the carbohydrates and sugars associated with these fruit and veg. This helps your entire system to be less acidic (this isn’t referring to your stomach acid, which is very beneficial and necessary) and your immune system to regain its strength and function. This is why the carnivore diet has worked for so many people.
How to Do It
- The carnivore diet is not necessarily for the long term. So, I’m starting it with the goal of keeping it up for one month. However, if I feel as great as so many others do, I’ll continue to do it for up to three months. Some people notice benefits after just a few days. Others take a bit longer to notice the positive changes.
- “Eat until you’re comfortably stuffed,” says Dr Ken Berry on his YouTube channel, KenDBerryMD. Push it and challenge yourself to eat more than you think you should. This keeps you satisfied for longer and helps to fight cravings. It also helps you to get the maximum nutrients from your food. Don’t count calories or control portion sizes. This is a challenge for me as I generally like to snack on little bits throughout the day instead of eating a few big meals.
- On the carnivore diet, I’ll be eating one to three meals a day. If there’s enough fat and protein, I won’t need or want to snack between them. So far, I haven’t needed to snack at all. In fact, I’m hardly ever hungry.
- Opt for fatty cuts of meats, not lean ones. Try to keep it a 1:1 ratio of fat to protein. But, you can experiment. Add more or less fat according to how full and satisfied you feel.
- If you usually consume a lot of carbs or sugars in your diet, transition to this carnivore diet over a few weeks. I was already off most sugars and ate low-carb anyway. So, that hasn’t been a huge adjustment for me (that’s not to say I don’t miss caramel). Take one to three weeks to transition, if necessary. Carb withdrawals are tough and very real.
- Give your organs time to adapt to a carnivore diet. Initially, you may experience diarrhoea and cramps. Your stomach acid decreases in acidity when you eat a lot of sugar and grains. It needs to recover and become very acidic to be able to digest the meat well. This high acid will be so beneficial for your digestion, but there’s a period of transition when you don’t feel comfortable after eating just meats and fats. Be patient.
- Your gall bladder might be weak from not having to provide much bile to digest low-fat foods. It needs time to adjust, rid itself of the sludge, exercise, and up its bile production and concentration. Your liver also needs to adjust, which could take a few weeks if you’ve been eating a high-carb diet.
- Cook in animal fats only. Don’t use any vegetable oils, as these are inflammatory. Keep all the fat that comes out of your roasts or broths, or after frying your fatty meats and use these to cook.
- Use lots of good quality salt to flavour your food. For decades, there has been the incorrect notion that salt is bad for you. There’s no evidence of this. In fact, our body needs plenty of salt, which is why things like salt lamps have become so popular. Your body will get rid of excess salt efficiently. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to get some good flavour with salt.
- Organ meats are incredibly nutrient-rich. In fact, they’ve often got more nutrients in a more easily available form than vegetables and fruit. So, I’m making it my goal to learn how to cook liver and…intestines (this is a tough one for me) in a way that’s palatable.
- Get rid of the junk food, sugar, carbs, and other temptations in your house. It’s going to be so much easier to be on the carnivore diet when you’re not surrounded by challenges.
- Increase your electrolytes and minerals, which will help with cravings and make up for any shortfall when you exclude fruit and vegetables from your diet. Fluid retention that’s caused by eating carbohydrates actually means that you have more electrolytes because that fluid holds onto them. So, as you get rid of that unhealthy fluid, you lose some of your electrolytes.
- Eat the highest quality meat that you can afford. This is especially important if you’re doing the carnivore diet for chronic inflammation and conditions like ulcerative colitis. If you’re doing the diet for weight loss, even cheaper and lower-quality meats will yield great results.
Who Should Try It?
“It’s good for certain types of cases – people that have GI [gastrointestinal] issues, people that have a lot of chemical sensitivities – because it can help them. It would be good short term as they’re healing,” says Dr Eric Berg.
Many of the people that have started a carnivore diet for weight loss or to heal their chronic conditions have felt so great that they’ve continued with it for more than a year. Many people claim to have reduced depression and anxiety as a result of this high-fat diet.
After a month, I plan to re-evaluate my pain and general feeling of well-being and make a decision from there.
Basically, those who could certainly benefit from at least trying a carnivore diet are those that suffer from:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease
Food and Meal Ideas for the Carnivore Diet
These foods and dishes are great on a carnivore diet. Remember to leave out all vegetables (including tomato paste). You might want to experiment with garlic, a little bit of onion, and some sugar-free condiments and see how you fare. Some people also do well with dairy (these are, after all, animal products). But, if you’re not benefitting, try to cut these out completely (with the exception of butter and ghee; these should stay in your diet). Foods to include on a carnivore diet:
- Liver (a superfood)
- Seafood (fish and shellfish)
- Bone broth
- Pork (including bacon and crackling)
- Liver paté
- Organ meat
- Bone marrow
- Pure mince (no soy or grains added)
- Pure sausages
- Chops (lamb, pork, beef, ostrich, etc…)
- Stewed meat
- Roasted meat and fat
The best approach is to eat “nose to tail”, consuming as much of the animal as possible. Take your time to make broths from bones and knuckles, and get creative with tails, necks, trotters, and organs.
Something that really influenced me to start the carnivore diet (apart from my desperation for something that actually works) was that I could continue to eat like this and not change how I cook for the rest of the family. I simply don’t eat the vegetables that I give them and, when they snack on toast, I opt for crisp crackling or meaty leftovers from the night before. It’s crucial for me that an eating plan is do-able, not painfully inconvenient.
Supplements for the Carnivore Diet
Of course, cutting fruit and vegetables from your diet completely may concern you in terms of being short of certain vitamins and minerals. But, interestingly, Vitamin C is the only vitamin that’s scarce in meats (although there is lots of it in liver). So, while you try this amazing carnivore diet, consider adding some Liposomal Vitamin C to your daily routine. Thalovic is also an excellent source of electrolytes, and you may find it beneficial to take our Quadri Mune and Triple Immune Boost to give your immune system the strength that it needs to get your body looking and feeling optimal. Order directly from the website, or email us at email@example.com.