How to Start a Carnivore Diet: Idiots Guide To Success

I have only recently started following the carnivore diet and this is everything that I have learned over these last 30 days while adapting from my previous ketogenic diet. This has been a very interesting change and one which I was well suited for, I am not very sweet inclined and really have always preferred […]
Josh Koop
January 1, 2020

I have only recently started following the carnivore diet and this is everything that I have learned over these last 30 days while adapting from my previous ketogenic diet. This has been a very interesting change and one which I was well suited for, I am not very sweet inclined and really have always preferred the meat on my plate over all the vegetables.

For those who aren't well read on what the carnivore diet is, it is a diet focused specifically on protein, fat and minimal to no carbohydrate. It is a diet approach based on a whole foods approach to eating which seeks to avoid ALL manufactured foods and choose meat products only.

Below are some of the keys to your first month that I have experienced and will help you make it through this large adjustment.

Keys to Your First Month as a Carnivore:

  1. Get a Blood Test - This is important as you are going to want to track and make sure you are staying healthy and give you a way to yardstick your results over time.
  2. Your First Week Will Be The Most Difficult - The first week of most changes in diet is difficult as you break old habits and start to build new ones.
  3. Losing Appetite - What many will do is jump in with their favorite meat continually, I did this and it kept me from eating eggs again for over a week, don't do what I did, eat a variety on the first couple of weeks.
  4. Appetite/Hunger Swings - As I moved into week two my hunger started to become more of a variable, gone were any specific times to eat and it was more of a no hunger to intense hunger.

Let's jump into the diet and cover some of the basics to help ensure you get a quick start to your diet and gain quality results fast. I want nothing more than to see everyone succeed in their dietary change and to accomplish the goals they choose.

How to Start a Carnivore Diet

What is a Carnivore Diet?

A carnivore diet is a take on a more primitive approach to how we should eat, as our ancestors were hunters primarily it seeks to replicate this approach by eating largely meats. In the ancient days as a species, we made cave art of our conquests, not of wheat fields but of the animals we brought down to feed our tribes.

Over our evolutionary timeline, we have always focused on a meat-rich diet, much to the contrary of what is taught and what vegans preach. We ate what we could harvest only in times of serious hunting delays and as winter approached as the food which was foraged was able to fatten us up for the slow winter months when animals migrated on or were in hibernation.

Your focus on the carnivore diet is eating from the four primary categories below, these will provide the primary nutrients for your body.

  • Meat (Much of it is from ruminant animals)
  • Eggs
  • Butter (grass-fed)
  • Cheese

The diet does run contrary to conventional knowledge and wisdom, which centers around things like "you need to eat a lot of vegetables, fiber, and grains". This belief has contributed to the cultural push of vegan and vegetarian diets. 

These same people push that the carnivore diet should also cause high cholesterol, digestive problems, weight gain, and other problems. Though as more and more people do this diet they show the betterment of all these health markers issues.

George Ede MD shared some interesting historical observations about vegan and carnivore diets to support this theory:

To the best of my knowledge, the world has yet to produce a civilization which has eaten a vegan diet from childhood through death, whereas there are numerous examples throughout recorded history of people from a variety of cultural, ethnic and geographical backgrounds who have lived on mainly-meat diets for decades, lifetimes, generations.

Key Benefits of a Carnivore Diet

There are some key benefits to following a carnivorous diet which can help you in your goals, whether they are to lose weight, gain muscle, or just get more healthy. The diet is also very easy to follow and straight forward to manage your adherence as there is always a meat option available at restaurants.

Menu Selection

One key to the carnivore diet is that the menu is pretty straight forward and it easily fits on a single page shopping list pdf that we give away for you to follow! This makes building a menu for your week very simple and shopping is an absolute breeze, not something you need to fear or run from.

Gaining the Health Benefits of Ketosis

The carnivore diet is low carb by nature since you remove all the higher carbohydrate options, this leads to a low carb intake which will put most people into ketosis. Ketosis can be very beneficial to your body's ability to burn body fat along with better mental clarity and more ketosis benefits!

Avoid Sugar and Treats, Even in Moderation

Sugar is plain addicting, whether you choose to acknowledge this or not, it fires the same addition centers in your brain as many other substances, legal or not. This means that you need to detox over one to two weeks to really get over your driving WANT to have sugar, to make it a habit to avoid it is an important step many take for granted.

Thankfully if you can make it past the first week or two then you will find your cravings disappear or largely dissipate and you'll be on your way to success.

Effortless Weight Loss

One thing which is reported by almost everyone who has any extra weight on their frame is that they start to have almost effortless weight loss. This weight loss isn't muscle loss which is the frequent cause of fast losses but a loss in the fat stores which helps you to maintain a higher metabolism.

How to Survive the First Month

The hardest time will be this first month as your social obligations and work will still happen and you will need to learn to handle social pressures that come hand in hand. Take each day one at a time, don't think about tomorrow and next week or month. Work to manage your day to day operations as this is what will give you the success you are seeking.

What you should expect to see is some large changes or fluctuations in your appetite, energy, and level of focus. In a perfect world, you would start on a week where you’re on time off, or maybe not super busy and try to work remotely if at all possible. The last thing you should do is to grant yourself a better night of sleep, try to go to bed an hour earlier as that sleep will help you tremendously.

Carnivore Diet FAQ

I have searched for some of these answers myself when starting and wanted to make it easier to get some of the questions answered, maybe ones you hadn't even thought of yet! I believe everyone should be very knowledgable about their own nutrition along with their health and wellness.

No Vegetables For Real?

Unlike you have been taught growing up we have no need for vegetables as there is no "essential" carbohydrate to a human diet, this means there is nothing in the vegetables you eat that is a requirement for your actual survival. There are more and more discussions recently which have shown that plants have built-in defenses called "anti-nutrients" which actually impact our ability to absorb the "healthy vitamins and minerals" we are told they contain.

These "anti-nutrients" main goal is to make it not worth consuming the plants by animals, yet is very under-researched by the dietary and nutrition sciences. These anti-nutrients will tend to bind to the same receptors as the minerals and vitamins which reduces the uptake in your body, then as a final nail, most is destroyed by the human cooking processes we follow.

Do You Experience Digestive Issues or Problems?

Most have heard that to go to the restroom regularly you HAVE to have fiber in your diet, you know, to stay regular. While this can be true of diets that have issues being processed through the body, like with vegetables, this doesn't appear to be the case with meats.

I will note that with the diet change many will experience issues with their bathroom trips as you may have loose or firm stools as your gut flora is changing to adapt to your dietary needs. This should be limited and pass shortly overall once you get in a groove.

Isn’t Red Meat Bad For You?

This is something that has come from epidemiology and is typically taking bad science and confounding variables to try and sell a product or service, in this case, veganism and vegetarianism. When these studies are done there tends to be a lower life expectancy from people who consume processed meats, what isn't spoken about at great lengths is the fact that this is due to more factors than the meat.

Let's take a vegan for example, they have to focus on their food choices more often leading to better and more intelligent choices. This means that affluence to afford more expensive foods plays a role.

On top of this, a cheeseburger from McDonald's is also counted as "meat" not as a carb, not as a sugary, fatty mix that our bodies react very poorly too. So facts are not as set in stone as we are ever led to believe when you start to look at these studies and how they make judgments that influence the results you start to see how we may have been on the wrong road for decades.

What About Your Cholesterol?

What if everything we were told had been a largely stretched truth, it has been spoken of that the reason statins came into existence is that it was the only thing that moved the bar on "cholesterol readings". What's interesting is then large scale mathematical jiggery-pokery is done to make the difference in using it look impressive.

Unfortunately for most of the people taking statins today, they are at best the largest scale placebo being given out making companies billions. The worst thing is it is costing those people their lives, numerous studies show that the higher your cholesterol as you age the longer your lifespan is. This means taking a medication whose sole intention is to shut down your body's ability to make cholesterol is actually a health hazard being masqueraded as a wonder drug!

Final Thoughts

Making a drastic change to your diet shouldn't be an afterthought. You should put in the proper time and attention along with research to make sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks. In addition, the reason why you want to plan out your change is to increase your odds of success which increase when you are able to shop ahead of time, purge out the offending foods and mentally get locked in.

I suggest you try an n=1 experiment (trying it on yourself for yourself) as this is a good way to start learning what does and doesn't work for you. Always do your own research before starting, things like pre-existing health conditions matter. I would also say to consult your doctor and possibly a nutritionist before making any major changes.

I hope this has helped you gain a little more understanding towards getting your foot in the door to carnivory and I have loved it so far! I am hoping to post continually while also tracking my progress at least monthly so I hope to hear more from you all.

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!

To the Carniovore Dieters Who Will Settle for Nothing Less Than Quality Meats

I have used ButcherBox now for going on nearly 3 years as finding meat that isn't raised on candy or junk like corn isn't easy. Instead of spending hours searching to get the best quality I have chosen to have ButcherBox deliver me high quality meats, from Ribeyes, Brisket, ground beef... Others may choose chicken with all cuts from whole to breasts, thighs, and more Then add in my side favorite which is heritage pork that tastes sooooooo much better than any store bought pork I have ever had.
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