There are a great many possible missteps a person can make when they are on a carnivorous diet, from not eating enough to quitting too fast because they "don't feel well". Today we are going to jump through the most uncommon or off-guard mistakes which derail your chance to get amazing results.
What are uncommon carnivore diet mistakes? What we term as an uncommon issue is one where it isn't well known or is under appreciated. Uncommon mistakes are typically ones which will sabotage all the results you are trying to get and can lead to you quitting the diet.
Lets dive headlong in to the mistakes and then how to use this information to more effectively save yourself from painfully bad mistakes. The goal is health and wellness, don't cause this diet to go south by your bad mistakes!
There are many common issues which people can fail at on a carnivore diet like eating too many plants and fruits. Instead today we are approaching and discussing more of the uncommon failures which drives people to quit.
When you are eating carnivore you may or may not track what you eat depending on your current needs and goals. This leads many to possibly over consume fat in relation to protein with each meal or per day.
What you should be aiming for if a more 2:1 protein to fat gram ratio which is almost calorically balanced between protein to fat since fat is 9 calories per gram to proteins 4 calories per gram. This will help ensure you take in enough fat for energy use along with enough protein to allow for healing and all the bodily protein needs.
This fat intake level is about perfect as your body can readily convert it to energy for use whereas the protein would require being converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis which it does only when demand for energy isn't met as it is a losing exchange for the body. Dr Ted Naiman has an amazing ebook on this called the P:E Diet.
Additionally there are issues which can impact humans when they eat too little fat, the body can enter what people have termed "rabbit starvation".
This is a state in which we feel full due to the protein we have consumed, but physically are lethargic and mentally we feel that we can't think clearly. This happens because our body is satiated by the consumption of protein, but it fails due to not having the fuel it needs to function.
When you intake carbohydrates your body has to keep additional water to store them along with the management of inflammation. This water volume is also what stores all the spare electrolytes which allows you to have a reserve to pull from.
When you start a diet that omits carbohydrates you will flush out this water weight in those first weeks, which is awesome but comes with some issues. The dropping of this water weight means you are now short on electrolytes as you have no spare reserve to pull from when you sweat or expel them.
One key to a carnivore diet is that to keep in mind when your insulin is low, your kidneys will excrete much more sodium and water. While sodium is very important to your keeping "keto flu" away, all electrolytes including potassium and magnesium are necessary to your successful diet.
Electrolytes are a vital need for many functions within your body. They help to manage many essential functions:
Here are some easy ways to get the correct amount of supplementation in should you find you are lacking in your intake through natural foods:
Omega fatty acids are essential to our bodies functionality, frequently though no one pays enough attention to them and to make sure they get the right amounts in the correct balance. The most common Omega fatty acids or Omega 3 and Omega 6, Omega 6 come from a great many foods like nuts, fried foods and grain-raised meats.
Should you use a service like Butcher Box to get grass-fed beef this can and will help ensure you are getting enough omega fatty acids from your foods, as these animals get Omega 3 fats from the foods they are raised on, grasses and not grains.
Many will tout the choice of fish for high Omega-3 content but this is only when they are able to live and thrive on their natural diets. Farm raised fish tend to be much lower in this Omega-3 count, if you don't know the source of your seafood you need to understand it isn't as nutritious as you may believe.
Even eating a perfect diet including pastured raised animal meats, you may still wish to supplement additional Omega-3 fatty acids. The DHA and EPA contained in them are vital for the brain. There is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of Omega-3 in the diet for:
There are a great many fish oil capsules available online, but many have questionable sources or can even be rancid before they even reach your house. This is one reason why I prefer Nordic Naturals, as they are tested via 3rd party while also following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
If you prefer a food based approach to get in your Omega-3 then I would suggest looking into Salmon Roe, these contain all the Omega-3 with none of the lab and processing side effects.
Many people will approach a carnivore diet with an approach of eating cuts of steak and similar. While this is nutritious you are actually missing out on a great amount of the nutritional value contained in the animal.
A majority of people will have never had anything other than muscle meats from cattle and other ruminants, at least here in the United States. This is due to some change which occurred when our grandparents or parents, maybe through memories growing up decided they weren't going to feed us that anymore.
Maybe it isn't that and it is the rise of fast food culture and the other parts being located in hard to locate areas within the store but we were slowly all pushed to think much of those meats as almost "dog food" and not something you used unless you were out of money and it was what you could afford.
By changing your fundamental thought process and deciding to eat in a more "nose-to-tail" style carnivore diet you can get access to far more nutrients from the entire animal.
This change requires the mental leap that since we are an animal just like them each organ in our body has unique needs and specific driving nutrients to run correctly. So, for example, our liver requires certain nutrients that support overall liver health, likewise our heart needs nutrients that allow a heart to function.
If you eat the liver of another animal you are getting the vitamins and minerals in a far more bio-available manner that your body will be able to utilize properly and efficiently to thrive.
Please make the try on eating organ meats at least once, I promise many times over it isn't as bad as your mental picture makes it. If you find that you can't stomach it or don't have access to good quality organ meats you can supplement, I prefer Ancestral Supplements grass fed beef organs pills.
Protein is essential to humans, they are composed of long chains of amino acids and each protein contains a different mix of these amino acids. We know that there are nine essential amino acids that we can't create and we must consume.
This means you need to get the nine essential amino acids in from your meals or from supplementation to maintain overall body health and wellness. When you consume a mostly muscle meat diet you may want to look into adding in additional glycine, in the form of collagen, to help balance out the amino acid profile.
Adding the collagen can help you balance the methionine-glycine ratio, which has been shown in this NIH study to be beneficial. This ratio being balanced helps to increase the utility of the protein, and less will become a waste product.
Another core reason to get all the essential amino acids is that it helps to ensure a better protein absorption rate. When you have a balanced amino acid intake your body can utilize them in multiple manners to allow for any needed repair process.
Should you be out of whack on your ratio and they aren't balanced, then only specific types of proteins can be created. Unfortunately, the body only needs so many of a specific protein before they are just excreted as waste products.
For you to start seeing the changes you are anticipating by making the change to a carnivorous diet you do need to keep in mind this is a big change for your body and mind. You need to give yourself the time to adjust and make the transition.
Overall when I read about people making the change online they are at a minimum typically a month to two in before getting to be rock solid in their daily lives. This means they know what to eat in emergencies and that they make the right choices when presented with bad choices.
The carnivore diet is a very restrictive diet by nature, it isn't necessarily needed to be that way forever as even Dr Shawn Baker says that you can slowly add and validate a food to see if it causes you health issues. If you can add it for a week or two and you don't experience side effects it is perfectly fine to add this in.
If you should add a food and have a poor reaction to it though it does mean that food is more than likely off the table forever unless you are willing to experience the side effects to consume it.
One thing which can plague a new carnivore or older carnivore is actually forgetting to eat often enough. Over time as your body becomes nutritionally sound it will stop sending signals for hunger and to eat, while this is OK for limited fasting, say 16:8 for example, you don't want to go days without eating in most cases.
If you aren't eating the needed protein and fats each day your body starts to utilize its stored resources, many times within the first 24-72 hours this can also be a boost to the metabolism bu the longer the fasting period goes the more your body holds onto those vital resources.
This reservation on resources can lead to metabolism drop and slowing of the calorie burn through lowering overall motion, slowing speech and similar processes. This is why fasting as a limited and specific tool can be very helpful but taking it too far, as many people will do can lead to health impacts.
One large failing for people is that they eat out, like a lot, and when people eat out they tend to make poorer decisions. These decisions may not be on purpose but you don't know what is being used to cook your foods in the back area, in addition they will bring out an appetizer which won't be carnivore friendly in 99.9% of cases.
Eating out tends to greatly change our caloric intake for the day as many meals can be 2000+ calories or more, possibly sabotaging a whole weeks worth of effort in one shot!
This leads to you eating foods which can cause health issues like bloating, gas, and more. Then it can take up to a week for it to all clear out of your body and by then its the weekend and you are heading out to eat again and starting the cycle yet again, your body never gets to be done.
If you are doing a carnivore diet right you will need to spend very little time in the kitchen making food, most of them due to the ingredients are very fast to cook and don't require the hours of preparation time. Focus on this and let the social eating become something that you don't go to if you can't make the tough decisions.
This is somewhat a correlated mistake tied to the above about eating out too often, this is that many times the ingredients aren't what you expect them to be. This can lead to eating foods which give you issues but without the ability to know you are even eating them, leading you to blame the diet.
One place where this happens a lot to carnivores is when they go to eat breakfast at restaurants and they order the scrambled eggs. Now most of you would believe this is a solid choice but many of these restaurants actually add things like pancake batter to their eggs as it helps them stay firm and, as usual, sugar helps people enjoy foods.
When you order foods you want to ask them specifically what is used in the cooking and preparation similar to people with allergies will do. You don't have to tell them you are a carnivore as much as ask what is used in preparation to ensure nothing that would cause you a health impact is involved.
Hopefully you found some things in my list above helpful as to possible errors in judgement you are currently making. If not these are key factors to pay attention to moving forward to make sure your diet transition goes without any hitch.
I love to listen to carnivore podcasts to learn more as there are a great many nuggets which will drop in podcasts. I would highly suggest the High Performance Outliers podcast with Shawn Baker and Dr Paul Saladino's podcast, they have some differences but overall are chock full of amazing information and details!
If you read this far you are amazing! I would love to hear from you in the comments below if I helped you gain knowledge and useful information, additionally I would like to know if I got anything incorrect that you believe should be researched more and updated. As always to get the word out please join our new Carnivore Rx group on Facebook and share this out on social media!