I first heard about the Carnivore Diet 5 years ago. At first I thought guys like Dr. Shawn Baker must be crazy. Unimaginable to me, at the time as a Gym Rat, living off odd amounts of cruciferous vegetables, carrots & smoothies. I couldn’t imagine how people could reject plants, despite all their clearly known benefits. And I bet you felt the same way, either right now or when you first read about it.

Just over two years ago, I encountered Dr. Paul Saladino on Mike Mutzel’s ‘High Intensity Health Podcast’ and was amazed. This guy was on to something! Built close to the literature and a paragon of health himself. So instead of reacting in a huff because my whole little world was collapsing, I assured myself to start a Carnivore experiment – just for 30 days. What harm could that do?

30 days turned into 4 years, not strictly carnivore, but rather in my seasonally-adapted, animal-based way. Today we’ll look at the main benefits, how to best set up your own carnivore experiment, and also some of the main criticisms that many voice.

What is the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is only expanded from animal foods such as meat, offal and animal products.
I know, only meat sounds quite strange.

The original carnivore diet is made up exclusively from animal foods. What exactly this means in detail is up to each person:

  • Purist: For some, it means only meat from pasture-fed ruminants, their organs, salt, and water. Mikaela Peterson’s Lion Diet is a well-known form of this.
  • All-Meat: Just as the name implies, only muscle meat of all kinds. Dr. Shawn Baker is a well-known representative of this group.
  • Animal-based: 80-90% of energy comes from animal sources of nose-to-tail: meat, organs & animal products. The remaining energy from fruits & honey. Dr. Paul Saladino is well-known in this circle.
  • Seasonal: Same as animal-based applies, but with additional focus on seasonally matching food energy to what’s growing outside: supplemental plants in summer, pure keto carnivore in winter. This is where I count myself these days, and also where I see the most sense.

The Carnivore Diet is also by definition a ketogenic diet, as there are no near-zero carbohydrates in it. Only the last two add in this micronutrient by the addition of fruits or honey.

And with that, we have our working definition:

A diet based (almost) entirely on animal sources, therefore running on a ketogenic metabolism in most cases.

6 Reasons for the Carnivore Diet

Elimination Diet – Get rid of Autoimmune Disease

The Carnivore Diet is THE elimination diet. So what is an elimination diet?

It is one that excludes all foods that can potentially irritate your body and cause autoimmune problems or inflammatory reactions. For me, my allergies and neurodermatitis were a major reason to try it initially – and it worked.

Animal meat & organs can be tolerated by anyone.1Problems can occur if your gut is sick and you have digestive problems. The only condition where meat causes problems is Alpha-Gal Syndrome, which is an infection transmitted by ticks. Seafood and fish can trigger immune responses, dairy products do for many. This is also the reason to exclude them initially. The same is true for eggs.
By eating an elimination diet for 90d you gain a baseline of health. Ailments will disappear.

For me, these were:

  • Neurodermatitis & Rheumatoid Reactive Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Stuffy nose & histamine intolerance
  • Malnutrition caused by antinutrients and nutrient deficiencies
  • Brian Fog, better energy levels and a sense of well-being

This is how you regain health. From this baseline, you can then systematically try out various food groups for 1-2W per group and closely observe how you are doing. By doing so you find your way to your individual diet, built on the pillars of meat, seafood & offal.

Get to the Root Cause of Chronic Disease

Our medical approach has it backwards. When people want to lose weight, they try to do it directly with ‘losing weight’ as the ulterior goal. Wrong…

Instead, they should stop eating junk and aim for nutrients. They should focus on health. Looks will follow health. People should address the root cause and compensate for malnutrition. Nutrition is the foundation of our well-being – yet our medical paradigm too often ignores it.

Bones are an excellent source of calcium, boron and phosphorus on an animal-based diet or a carnivore diet.
More than just meat – honor & eat the whole animal.

That’s exactly what the various animal-based diets want to do – provide your bodies with all the nutrients in bioavailable forms. You cannot get all nutrients from plants. They don’t contain zoonutrients, have low bioavailability, and are often heavily defended. Instead, nature’s true superfoods are offal – packed with unique substances.

Become chronically deficient in Antinutrients

This is actually a good thing! Antinutrients are chemical defense molecules of various plants to ward off predators.

There are a variety:

  • Lectins – attack your intestines and disrupt their protective function
  • Phytic acid – makes minerals unusable
  • Goitrogens – attack the thyroid gland and reduce its function
  • Phytoestrogens – act like estrogen on your body
  • Oxalates – decrease nutrient absorption and are stored in various tissues. Create oxidative stress.
  • Enzyme inhibitors – down-regulate certain digestive enzymes.
  • and many more: tannins, saponins, …

Not all plants contain the same amount of antinutrients. Nevertheless, plants are not your friends, but want to survive as living beings. Being eaten by you is not a valid survival strategy. Also you are not equipped like herbivores with the highly complex digestive system to fight back against antinutrients.

Adapt to the ketogenic Way of Eating

By definition, the carnivore diet is ketogenic.

Eating carnivore for an extended period of time forces your body to burn fats as energy, coupled with ketone bodies and some gluconeogenesis. Keto adaptation is very beneficial.

That said, your body should know how to run on fats & carbs. Neither years of ketosis, nor carbohydrate metabolism are optimal. Ketogenic metabolism is the default for humans except in the summer months when fruits, roots & honey are available. No carbs exist in nature otherwise.

Keto adaptation comes with some hurdles at first if you’ve never eaten this way before. Your body has to adapt to this way of getting energy first and many report 1 to 2 week symptoms like: low energy, headaches and bad mood.

Eat evolutionarily consistent with what Humans evolved

From the savannahs of Africa to every corner of the world.
From the savannahs of Africa to every corner of the world.

The main point of Ancestral Health is just that – to live as humans have always done.

This may sound new-agey, but let me explain. Our evolution has adapted our race to our environment. And while humans live from the savannahs of Africa to the fjords of Greenland, many external factors determine our metabolism.

Light is one such, setting your circadian rhythm day by day. So does hunting and animal eating. In fact, hunting big game was one of the driving factors for our species: to bigger brains, better tools, social structures, and throwing weapons-adapted shoulders. Even our guts have adapted – meat is easy to digest, so you only need a short gut. This saves a lot of energy, which in turn can benefit our brains. In return, meat often comes with germs, hence our extremely strong stomach acid on par with some scavengers!

Even though we are zoologically omnivores, we are specialized. We are specialized omnivores, eating a hypercarnivorous2hypercarnivorous = >70% meat diet (whenever we could). Animal food has shaped our race. And the further you drift from our roots, the more suffering occurs. That’s the central theme of Ancestral Health!

Saturation of your Body Fat

Very complex topic, but I keep it simple: nowadays we eat tons of unsaturated fats, especially vegetable oils. A little over a hundred years ago, they didn’t exist and all dietary fats were mostly of animal origin – and thus saturated or mono-unsaturated.

This imbalance creates quantities of problems because as monogastric animals, we incorporate these fatty acids directly into our body fat. Well adapted to saturated fats, we can convert them to unsaturated, but only in that direction. We can’t saturate unsaturated fats – cause never needed. So our body fat becomes more and more unsaturated over the years – with disastrous consequences. This leads to hormone imbalances, widespread chronic inflammation, oxidative & reductive stress, down regulated thermogenesis, pathological insulin resistance, obesity, and many more!3You are welcome to read more about this in the SCD1 Theory & ROS theories by Brad Marshall. Here he explains the biochemical mechanisms and effects.

A diet like the Carnivore diet rich in saturated fats, can slowly reverse this process over years. Brad Marshall explained it quite briefly here, with the goal of rebalancing the hormone leptin. Throwing out vegetable oils and fanatically avoiding them is probably the best decision anyone can make for their health.

How should I structure a Carnivore Diet? The best Tipps!

Only meat & organs sounds simple at first, but there are many things to consider. The goal is to stay in line with our evolution – never would humans have eaten only lean meat or avoided offal.

Ditch the ‘Diet Mentality’ for Good

Animal based diets drastically improve your hunger levels!
No need to track. Trust your intuition and baseline.

I hate the word ‘diet’ because it often has the connotation of a short-term intervention aimed at weight loss. However, I am referring to the English word ‘diet’: nutrition, the way you prefer to eat your food throughout your life.

So forget about short-term interventions, calorie counting and ‘diets’ (in the traditional sense), they fail and lead nowhere. On a carnivore diet, your body often gives you clear satiety signals and you simply find your ‘sweet spot’ of how much you want to eat and how often you want to eat during the day. Saturated fats & proteins take care of that. That means no calorie counting, intuition instead. Also, you learn that you don’t need low quality fiber to be full – satiety occurs when you have enough nutrients and food energy.

Avoid common Mistakes

It’s not just about adding, it’s also about avoiding. The most common mistakes are:

  • The All-Meat approach: it’s not something humans would have ever done and could do. You’re missing out on a lot of important nutrients. Therefore, eat offal.
  • Ignoring intolerances: Just because someone says raw milk kefir or raw egg yolks are good, doesn’t mean they are good for you. Eggs are rich in nutrients, I react to them though, so they are not for me. Find your triggers.
  • Heavy Metals & Environmental Toxins: Pay attention to the quality of your sources. Cattle can accumulate glyphosate or environmental toxins, wrong breeds of fish can be high in heavy metals. Ask & research.
  • Too much offal: Just as little as none, too much is also something no human could ever do. Offal is scarce and 500g of liver per week would never be huntable. Therefore, eat in ‘jagbren’ limits.

Set your Eatint Frequency & think about Fasting

Most on a Carniore diet actually eat twice a day (TMAD), some only once (OMAD). Of course, you can also eat three times. It depends on you, your lifestyle and your daily schedule. I would advise you to try different types of schedules and see how they feel for your life.

Nevertheless, you should plan fasting periods. The most mandatory is nocturnal fasting – eating only when the sun is shining or at times of the day and not 3 hours before going to bed. On top of that you can try different intermittent fasting protocols, many do great with the 16-8 protocol and two big main meals. You will also notice that you almost don’t want snacks anymore, as the meals will satiate you for a long time and reliably.

Create your Baseline

My tip to you is to start by creating a baseline. That’s what I mean by that:

  • My baseline is 500g of muscle meat per meal4Sometimes fattier cuts, sometimes leaner cuts – both have their clear advantages. with 50-100g offal each time. Twice a day.
  • Per week I try to eat 300g liver or 300g kidney for micronutrients.
  • Per day one cup of bone broth and one or two boiled out bones for collagen & calcium.
  • In the summer I eat carbs sometimes with one meal, sometimes with both meals, in the winter months purely ketogenic.
  • I do not take supplements.

With such a baseline, planning becomes much easier. You can quickly calculate how much meat you need to plan 3 days ahead, and still have room for creativity. But more importantly, it helps you keep track of all the nutrients and consume enough of all of them week after week.

So think about what you want to eat and when, and how much energy you need for your daily routine.

Think about your Micronutrient & Mineral Intake

Swallowing pills is a clear sign that the diet is suboptimal.
Swallowing pills is a clear sign that the diet is suboptimal.

You need to think about micronutrients. Like some, eating only meat doesn’t work and you miss out on many essential nutrients like folate, vitamin K2, glycine, vitamin A, calcium, just to name a few. However, you can get a handle on all of these through smart construction.

Still, there are a few micronutrients you won’t get. You will eat too little within the DGE recommendations – for example vitamin C, vitamin E, or manganese. No problem in my opinion, this post explains why in more detail.

By doing a smart baseline like above you can get most of the nutrients. The 300g liver & kidney for example will make sure you cover amounts like vitamin A, folate, and various B vitamins. You will also get plenty of zonal nutrients like choline, creatine, and taurine.

This is also the theoretically most difficult part of the planning and you have to ask yourself many questions:

  • Where do I get enough folate?
  • Do I have calcium in my diet from bones? Cheese? Sufficient in drinking water?
  • What about magnesium and potassium? Are you eating enough muscle meat?
  • And many many more…

The Carnivore Foods-ABC

Foods to Eat:

  • Ruminants: beef, lamb, bison, goat.
  • Game: wild boar, deer, wild duck, wild goose. Elk, reindeer, or whatever people shoot at you.
  • Offal: liver, bones, kidney, brain, lung, spleen, testicles, thymus, tripe, omasum, organ supplements
  • Fats: suet, duck fat, goose fat, butter, ghee
  • Fish: wild salmon, trout, herring, mackerel (look for regional test results from authorities)
  • Sweet fruits: apples, berries, bananas, plums, … (avoid them on a pure carnivore diet for elimination, OK after that, test them well).
  • Non-sweet fruits: cucumber, squash, coconut, avocado, … (same here)

Foods, the ‘It Depends’:

  • Monogastric animals: pork, poultry, farmed duck, goose & ostrich. (Accumulate dietary unsaturated fats as we do. Feed quality is essential here)
  • Eggs: (can cause AI problems. Also, raw egg white binds biotin).
  • Dairy products: Cheese, full fat dairy (If then A2 raw milk, best from goats & sheep).
  • Fish: Tuna. King mackerel, swordfish, skate, … (A lot of predatory fish are high in heavy metals).
  • Seafood: (Again, watch for heavy metal contamination and allergies. Otherwise very nutrient dense).
  • Processed & cured meats: sausages, ham, bacon, salami (Rich in histamine, OK in smaller amounts but no carnivore should live on sausages & bacon).
  • Fruit oils: coconut, avocado & olive oil (Rich in monounsaturated fats, but animal fats are better. Make good massage oils, though).
  • Leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, lettuce, … (rich in oxalates)
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, … (packed with goitrogens, glucorpahan & oxalates)
  • Roots & Tubers: Potatoes, ginger, turmeric, beetroot, … (richly defended with various phytoalexins).

Foods to Avoid:

  • Grains: flour, rice, wheat, pseudocereals, … (rich in phytates & lectins).
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, … (packed with lectins & protease inhibitors).
  • Nuts & Seeds: Peanuts, flaxseeds, cashews, … (strongly defended with the whole arsenal)
  • Solanaceous vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, … (contain many AI problem promoting defenses, many nightshades are even lethal).
  • Vegetable oils: rapeseed, sunflower, black cumin, peanut oil, etc. (probably the worst you can eat from this list)
  • Coffee & Chocolate (rich in mold toxins, xanthine alkaloids like theophylline or theobromine, and phenols like chlorogenic acid. Coffee also comes with acrylamide).
  • Processed food: soft drinks, candy, convenience foods, and all that junk….

Special Use Cases for the Carnivore Diet

Eating Carnivore as an Elimination Diet

The Carnivore Diet is a great elimination diet to combat autoimmune diseases.
Sometimes less is more.

In the front is the benefit as an elimination diet, bad. No healthy person has problems with the utilization of meat & organs. Also, all potential triggers fly out and is therefore the choice to address autoimmune diseases, chronic gastrointestinal conditions and inflammatory conditions at the root (in the gut). 90 days on a purist carnivore diet will give your body time to adjust and heal.

After this time, you can try selected foods again, one at a time, for 1-2 weeks at a time. This way you will know your triggers and know that eggs trigger you, but raw dairy doesn’t cause problems. Getting to know your body this way is very individual and no one can take it away from you.

This way you will know which foods irritate your intestines. All previous diseases originate here and are closely related to the intestinal reaction to food molecules of all kinds.

Adapt seasonally to the Ketogenic Metabolism

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I look at a lot of things through an Ancestral Lens – as well as nutrition. Especially nutrition, especially if we include issues like seasonality and longitudinality.

So if you live in northern Germany, adjust your diet to the season. Eat what you could find outside at that time. In summer, this can be more fruits like berries and apples, even honey. In winter, on the other hand, only meat, purely keto-carnivore. This is how our pre-civilized ancestors would have had to eat in the same longitudes. No one finds berries in January.

Eating carnivore over the winter forces you into deep ketosis for a few months and you get many benefits. Of course, you can determine the exact duration. That said, ketosis forever is not the answer either and carbs are also very healthy – used correctly. It is like with everything in life about the right balance, less about black & white. Ketosis is just as good for you as carbs in the right context. Just one, or the other, is not.

…because you feel smashing!

If you are doing great and feel perfect on a pure carnivore diet – keep it up! Who am I to tell you to change something when things are going perfectly. By that I mean:

  • Masses of energy for work, sports & creativity
  • Best immune system, no chronic diseases at all
  • Boosted libido & balanced hormones
  • No sleep disturbances and good stress management


..is it so for you, then go on, with my applause! If not, change something. That should be the baseline, most days. Sadly, it is the 1% exception nowadays,

In the end, the exact path here is something everyone has to find for themselves and consists of much more than just nutrition. Still, it is a big part and everything builds on it. For me, it’s the seasonal, longitudinal approach to a carnivore diet. Which one is it for you?

Differences to an Animal-Based Diet

Seasonal Carbs are very healthy. Nothing to avoid.
Seasonal Carbs are very healthy. Nothing to avoid.

An animal-based diet is another evolutionary step in the Carnivore diet. Originally so named by Dr. Paul Saladino, it adds non-toxic plants such as most fruits and honey to a nose-to-tail carnivore diet. I would add to this the two concepts of seasonality & longevity. So what does that mean in plain English?

  • Reintroduce carbohydrates in spring, summer & fall
  • Allowing anti-nutritive plants such as leaves, ferments, tubers or fruits in a seasonal context

Still, 70-90% of your total energy should come from meat and organs. They are still your pillars of support. The rest can be filled with plants.
Even more broadly, you can also think about traditionally prepared foods like sourdough, lactofermentation, nixtamalization, fermented raw milk products, or geophagy, depending on your approach.
Especially in terms of sex hormones, your thyroid function & electrolyte balance, simple carbs help and are a welcome change from ongoing ketosis. Also, I am now convinced that some dietary fiber is necessary to nourish your microbiome.

For more info, you can download my guide for free as a short eBook using the button below – and don’t worry, without having to give your email anywhere!

Carnivore FAQ – Common Questions & Issues

Are you not afraid of all the Cholesterol & clogged Vessels?

Ehm. Nah, not one percent. That would be the simple answer.

The long one is that I don’t think LDL cholesterol and saturated fat are the cause of artorogenesis. Sorry, Ancel Keys!5https://medium.com/karlbooklover/the-big-fat-surprise-8d22a374509e
Without pre-existing inflammation of the vessel walls, nothing sticks there either. And just because LDL sticks there, because it is present in large amounts in the blood, does not mean it is the culprit. You can read my view in detail here. LDL is even important for many processes:

  • to synthesize sex hormones, corticoids & vitamin D3
  • to bind endotoxins/polyliposaccharides from the intestine
  • many immune cells have LDL receptors. More research is needed here.
  • as a simple transporter for fats in the blood

Also, many data point in the direction that the oldest people usually have high cholesterol. Also, people who have genetic cholesterol abnormalities like familial hypercholesterolemia often have fewer problems than people with reduced levels. What do you say, Keys?6https://carnivoremd.com/dave-feldman-the-truth-about-cholesterol/ – Dave Feldman is a great resource for all things blood lipids and up-close research. Here is his blog: CholesterolCode.

Are you getting sufficient Vitamin C?

  1. On an animal-based diet, yes.
  2. On a carnivore diet, no.

But what does sufficient mean? By that, we mean the DGE’s definition of a recommendation of 100-200mg per day. For several decades, however, there have been good theories that question this recommendation, especially for people who eat ketogenically and are not chronically inflamed:

Meat, offal and fruits on the carnivore diet contain plenty of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
Linus Pauling was a little off the mark. Nobody needs 1g of vitamin C.

Also, there are very exciting scrobut studies showing that clinical scurvy is completely avoided with doses of 10-30mg. These amounts are easily obtained by consuming fresh meat & offal. So I don’t see supplementation as necessary, also high dose antioxidants like 1g of vitamin C can paradoxically increase oxidative stress and break down to oxalates. No Bueno…

Does the Gut ‘work’ without Fiber?

A clear: yes! Better than you ever imagined. Still, this is about context and fiber is important for gut health – but far less than the recommendations would have you believe. Also, the sources should be different. Instead, I think this one is more important:

  • No bloating or gas – there is nothing to ferment.
  • Only a slight full feeling, as meat is much easier to digest than plant foods.
  • Stable blood sugar levels and no crash after eating.

I believe that fiber is needed for people and good intestinal function.11https://chriskresser.com/myths-and-truths-about-fiber/ They are positive for the microbiome, because they can form short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, and short-chain fatty acids have positive effects on a number of things. For example, they serve as food for our intestinal cells and are therefore necessary for an intact intestinal membrane. If this is not prevalent, the intestine becomes ‘leaky’ and substances can pass from the intestine into the blood.12https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2020.00025/full

With very little fiber, only from selected seasonal plants, your gut should already be getting plenty. This is also my main point against long term carnivore & animal based diets.

We all search for Truth!

4,000 words later on meat, I believe the Carnivore Diet is a powerful tool. It conveys many benefits and helps restore health after years of garbage that the big corporations of the modern world sell you as ‘food’. For some it is even a lifestyle choice. To whom it suits always to. However, I believe that a seasonal animal based diet is even closer to the truth of what it means to be human. When fruits or honey were around, we ate them – tubers, too, in fact. Only they were there less often than we think, and look completely different in wild form than their modern-grown relatives.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the Carnivore Experiment to anyone. You have nothing to lose and only insights to gain. Even if it is only a learning journey into a world so distorted by propaganda and commercialization.

I hope my tips & thoughts could give you a first picture without too much dogmatism. Even though the Carnivore Diet sounds very strange at first, due to the narratives we are taught, it is a great learning journey after asking the question:

What does optimal human health look like?

And the answer is not a one-liner, but an ongoing process.

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