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What is the Carnivore Diet Plan: Your Guide To Health

Our hands-down can't be beat guide to starting a carnivore diet and achieve measurable results towards your goals.
Josh Koop
January 18, 2020

This is meant to give you a hands-down all-inclusive information package about the Carnivore Diet. This is my attempt to help you find a perfect fit for your start of the diet and how to maximize your results while loving what you get to eat and how your body feels.

What is the Carnivore Diet Plan? An all-inclusive guide built to help accelerate your success on conversion to the carnivore diet. Showing the benefits, drawbacks, and errors which can sabotage your attempts at changing your way of life. This way you lose the problems which have plagued you, quite possibly your whole life.

Let's dig in and go over the basics of what the carnivore diet is, what foods are available while on the diet, and a basic plan to get started successfully for your first 30 days.

The goal is to start you on a path to amazing success and results which drive you to push longer and harder and to spread the word, knowledge is power.

What is the Carnivore Diet Plan? Eating good wholesome and tasty meats instead of lectin and junk filled foods.

What Is The Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet is a change from the agricultural heavy current Standard American Diet or Western Diet. The Carnivore Diet has a focus on whole foods from animals, instead of a focus on vegetables and fruits.

It means choosing to have complete proteins from cows, pork, deer, and many other real foods. The carnivore diet intends to full avoid fruits and vegetables due to their inherent high sugar content or anti-nutrients which cause us physical ailments when we consume them.

This is a big culture change for most people as they start to learn about a carnivore diet and have been told their entire lives that meat is "bad" for your health. Like how it will supposedly destroy the kidneys, or like saturated fat somehow "clogs your arteries".

In fact, what you may come to learn is that none of these have any factual basis but have been parroted so much that they have just won the information overload lottery. Believed because someone told them that was the truth and there was no further investigation.


I think this may help you understand why Carnivores look to avoid plant consumption unless there is an absolute shortage of food, maybe this will help understand.

Animals' self-defense is their body and their ability to cause physical harm to anyone who should threaten harm. A plant's self-defense is toxicity within themselves to anything which chooses to consume them to gain access to those resources.

This means that without a physical ability to defend themselves plants can be far more deadly to our systems by allowing them access.

Since we have moved more and more into a plant focus with our parents, in most cases, telling us we HAVE to finish our vegetables it comes as no surprise the rise in GERDS, IBS, and other inflammation and irritation related diseases which we have no fix for.

Carnivore Diet Food List

When you are attempting to start a new way of eating sometimes what you need is an easy cheat sheet of what is and isn't ok. We have listed a quick guide to good and bad foods below to help you. We also have a PDF shopping guide that is totally free you could keep on your phone.

Approved Carnivore Diet Food List

Focus on these core items, this is a list of what to eat on a carnivore diet and to get the results you are looking for.

Type of FoodExample Foods
Red MeatBeef, pork, lamb, wild game, birds
White MeatChicken, turkey, fish, seafood, sashimi sushi
Organ MeatLiver, kidneys, tongue, heart, brain
Animal FatsBone marrow, tallow
EggsChicken eggs, goose eggs, duck eggs

Foods to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet

Sometimes just having a list of what is acceptable doesn't help. Below we provide a list of foods you are not allowed to eat on a carnivore diet.

Type of FoodExample Foods
Dairy*Heavy cream, cheese, butter, ghee
VegetablesCauliflower, broccoli, kale, etc
FruitStrawberries, blackberries, banana
GrainsBread, cereals, flour
NutsPeanuts, almonds, macadamia
DessertsChocolate, ice-cream, protein bars

* Some people still choose to have some dairy products like cheese on the carnivore diet.

Fried steak with pepper marinade and basil leaf, nicely pink inside  - Benefits Of The Carnivore Diet
Fried steak with pepper marinade and basil leaf, nicely pink inside

Benefits Of The Carnivore Diet

There are quite a few benefits that have been talked about due to the carnivore diet, though there is a lack of studies in depth the number of personal experiences from people online can't be overlooked.

Some of the biggest benefits I have specifically called out below to show the vast array of benefits you could see by making this change.

Weight Loss

Focusing on eating a strict Carnivore Diet can help you lose body fat faster and more effective than most other diets. By focusing on eating only fat and protein from animal sources, you force your body to adjust its main energy source from glucose to fat

As you spend more time in your Carnivore Diet you'll become fat-adapted, this is also known as being in ketosis. When this occurs your metabolism can utilize both dietary and stored body fat for a fuel source.

This means if you manage your food volume you can burn off your own body fat for use as energy.

As for protein and fat when consumed together can be very satiating to your body which will allow you to go hours without a thought about foods.

Studies have shown that becoming fat-adapted helps to improve your hunger hormones (ghrelin), further regulating your appetite.

Decreased Inflammation

Inflammation is the cause for many of the aches and pains people associate with "being older" and the problem won't get better until you remove the cause of your chronic inflammation.

This is a huge benefit to cutting down the sugars in your diet as they are known to cause inflammation as when you cut down on the sugars you also start to drop this water weight which is held to manage inflammation.

The extra collagen from the meat and bone broth will also help to improve cartilage health.

Increased Testosterone

Healthy fats are responsible for optimal hormonal function, which also includes your body's production of testosterone. The Carnivore Diet is contains many quality sources of healthy fats and this has been shown to improve testosterone levels.

One more cool fact, due to consuming a larger amount of protein and healthy fats while on a Carnivore Diet you should expect to see increases in overall muscle mass and strength. The increase in fat and movement to ketosis will provide you a solid base of energy and the regulation of your hormones.

Mental Clarity

Similar to Ketogenic diets, people on a carnivorous diet have said they experience increased focus, energy, along with mental clarity. This is due to the restriction of carbohydrates, which causes you to become fat-adapted, using ketones for energy.

Less Digestive Issues

We were led to believe that fiber was vitally important for healthy digestion. Interestingly, people who follow a Carnivore Diet tend to believe in the exact opposite while also using science to back it up.

Processing meat is very easy on your GI tract, removing the offending veggies can help you to have a chance to relax and rebuild.

A study conducted in 2012 found that reducing your fiber intake for people with chronic constipation caused significant improvements in their symptoms as well as levels of gas, bloating, and strain. 

How to Start The Carnivore Diet

Do a 30 Day Meat Only Challenge

Start your journey with a big bang, instead of trying to do a day or a week, set your prize at a month. After that month you can reward yourself with some junk food that you find exceptional, that way you have a goal and a reward.

What happens many times is that after the 30 days when you make it you will typically decline that food. Instead, take and eat it, remember how over sweet and gross it is, then you need to get yourself back on track for month 2 and use this knowledge to kick month 2 into high gear and get after your results.

Eat Only Meat

Don't give yourself the availability to use excuses, instead focus on what meats you enjoy and align your days into manageable meals. Don't start adding in supplements, don't add fake breaks, stay your course and eat only good whole meats.

Drink Only Water

Avoid drinking coffee, Mio, Gatorade Zero and similar drinks and instead focus on drinking water. We need water to process foods and meats well so taking time to properly hydrate will help you stay alive.

The key to very good health on any diet is to ensure you stay hydrated, as a species we can live a long time with water alone, but without water, our survival drops to nothing.

Eat Until Full

Spend this first month re-learning your actual hunger responses, if prone to overeating then try to find the triggers for why you eat more than you need.

During this conversion to a carnivorous diet, you will want to give yourself the ability to eat without worrying about calories.

Though with time this may change if you find yourself unable to lose weight, don't focus on this for month one.

Eat 1-3 Meals a Day

When you build out your meals you want to start making them for three meals. Many people eat this way on their current diet so this helps your transition to the carnivore diet.

Over the first month, you may find days where you need to eat far more than 3 meals and some days where you may only eat one. As your body adjusts and receives the nutrition it is wanting it will learn to signal less and less for food when there is no need physically for it.

Cook Your Meat How You Like It

When you cook your meat prepare it how you enjoy it the most, don't worry about the folks saying to eat it raw, nor the people who say it should basically be cooked until charcoal.

Figure out where it is the most enjoyable and eat it that way for yourself as the best way to keep adherence is to enjoy the foods you are eating.

Making It Through Your First Month On The Carnivore Diet

To make it through your first month you will want to learn about staying simple, avoid the common pitfalls and not fall into one of the more common errors. Take some time to read these and find out if any single one of these could be a potential pitfall to your diet.

Enjoy the Bare Simplicity of an All-Meat Diet

There are lots of positive testimonials of how people are feeling better or seeing a positive change in their health within 30 days of eating this way. Just try to enjoy the simplicity within and grow to love the freedom that it provides you to grow in other directions.

  • Simple Straight Forward Eating Plan
  • Not Specifically Calorie Focused
  • Eat Until Full
  • Aid In Weight Loss Goals
  • Decrease Inflammation Levels
  • Reduce Glucose Levels and Spikes

Avoid Health and Wellness Issues

While everything seems sunshine and rainbows, humans are a vast species who have thrived on a great many diets throughout their existence.

Some people will experience issues and some will outright flourish, don't worry if you have some of these side-effects in the first few weeks.

  • CONSTIPATION - Some people have to rebuild gut flora which is good at managing the digestion of meat.
  • WEIGHT GAIN - Some may initially retain water leading to some weight gain, don't fret and keep working hard.
  • FATIGUE - Some people take more time to adjust to a protein and fat-based metabolism which can result in a lack of energy.
  • BOREDOM - Some people just aren't able to survive on a menu which includes meat.

Common Mistakes and Errors

There are a few more common errors or mistakes people make while attempting to start a carnivore diet which can derail the attempt. These, when known ahead of time, can help you to survive your first 30 days with grace.

  1. EATING TOO LITTLE FOOD - Failing to eat can cause you many issues including increased or unwanted weight loss, cravings, and other physical concerns.
  2. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER - This isn't to drink gallons of water, instead what you MUST do is to drink to need to satisfy thirst and avoid dehydration.
  3. SKIPPING ELECTROLYTES - A large part of the "keto" or "carnivore" flu is due to missing electrolytes, in particular, salt.
  4. ADDING NON-APPROVED FOODS - Eating a moderate all-meat diet while adding fruits, vegetables & other types of carbs.
  5. AVOIDING FAT - Following the conventional wisdom and avoiding fatty meats, beliving that the fat and cholesterol are dangerous.

What to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet?

When you start the Carnivore Diet you may want to figure out the "must avoid" which can give you a leg up in best thriving. You want to follow the KISS principles when you first start, Keep It Stupid Simple.

What you want to do when you start is to avoid the following list of crap that won't help you at the start of your journey.

  • Anything Not Meat or Salt
  • Chicken (Poor Nutrient Profile, Inferior Meat)
  • Sauces
  • Supplements
  • Processed Meats With Additives (Sausage, etc)
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dark Chocolate

Yes, there are no vegetables on a carnivorous diet, this is due to the high amounts of pesticides and anti-nutrients found which can cause your body irritation and other issues.

They also contain things like oxylates which have been shown to help the formation of kidney stones and other compounds that can damage your thyroid and gut.

Your personal goal should be to cut out as much as possible from your diet, then perform a controlled test by slowly adding in an item to find whether you can tolerate it

Carnivore Diet Meal Plan (Example)

Some examples of what you can choose to eat with each meal are given below. The intention is not to provide you a specific meal plan as this is hardly the same for a 100 lb. woman versus a 200 lb. man.

Instead what you want to do is figure out which things in each meal would suit you and please your taste buds and then build around that.

Breakfast Options & Ideas

  • Eggs and bacon
  • Steak and eggs
  • Chicken livers and egg
  • Bone marrow

Lunch Options & Ideas

  • Ribeye steak - My favorite anytime!
  • Fresh oysters
  • Grilled beef heart
  • Burger patties
  • Sardines

Dinner Options & Ideas

  • Grilled ribs
  • Porkchop
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna

Snack Options & Ideas

  • Beef sticks
  • Beef jerky
  • Biltong
  • Boiled eggs
  • Bone broth (Good for minerals and Vitamins)

Carnivore Diet Recipe Cookbooks

If you are looking for some tasty recipes to guide you on your way, or possibly to provide you some inspiration we have a few options available for you. Check out these couple options from below and see if any of them fit your needs to get you kick-started!

  1. Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers: As his book title says there are loads of recipes for meat-loving and hungry carnivores. Check It Out Here.
  2. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbeque and Grilling by Meathead Goldwyn: Meathead is a famous cook that is able to take you through how to prepare and cook the best meat. Check It Out Here.
  3. Meat: Everything You Need to Know by Pat LaFrieda: A textbook on learning all you need to know about types of cuts, sourcing, and cooking different meats. Check It Out Here.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Carnivore Diet

While we covered a lot of information and details in the above sections there is a great amount which didn't get specific answers you may be looking for.

To help handle this I am assembling an ever-growing list of frequently asked questions to help ensure these knowledge gaps get solved for you.

Will Eating Too Much Meat Cause Kidney Damage?

While this has been in the news for over a decade, it has been shown time and again as long as you don't have previously damaged kidneys eating more meat doesn't cause any issues with your kidneys. In fact, as more research is done the more often it actually disproves this myth.

Interestingly enough, much of the research now indicates that eating the RDA or higher can help increase or help your kidneys function much better. The kidney function might improve with the removal of excess glucose within the diet and increase insulin sensitivity.

Do I Only Need to Eat Grass-Fed Meat?

By and far this has become the "net carb" of our age and while it once meant something it has become more polluted with terms like grass-fed, grain-fed, grass-finished, and more. If it is because you enjoy the taste more then it is a perfect reason to consume it.

The nutritional difference between grass fed and grain fed in the Omega-3 content is incredibly overblown and of no difference.

If you want to eat more fat from the animals then moving to a better, higher nutrition approach can make sense as the good and bad is more often stored in the fat of the meat. In these cases definitely stay focused on a grass-fed meat approach.

Grass-fed meat will cost you more money in each paycheck and if you are of more limited budget then it is the first thing I would bypass. You need to get started to get healthy and then you can look to increase meat quality, I prefer Butcher Box which has sent me beef and pork for the last 2 years that is incredibly tasty.

Will I Have Any Nutrient Deficiencies?

If you mean based specifically from RDA and nutrition labels then yes you are deficient. The issue is that the RDA holds no real bearing on what you require, also this RDA required nutrition is tied to poor sources that aren't very bioavailable.

Bioavailability is more important than a higher number of vitamins and minerals in the food itself, if you can't get to them they aren't of much use to your health.

When you have anti-nutrients which compete for nutrient uptake on the same receptors, you have to consume more, this doesn't happen when you take in meat sources of these vitamins and minerals.

Will It Work For Athletes?

A low carb approach with a ketogenic diet has shown tremendous benefits in medical studies to helping increase performance.

Since a carnivore diet will move your needle to ketosis and includes a good amount in protein and fat you should see an explosive amount of energy once the adaptation completes.

Can I Eat Processed Meats?

While the news has been generally down on "processed" meats this, by and large, is very poorly understood.

Your goal in processed meats it to find the food that is as much "just meat" as possible, in most cases, this is a perfect match with deli-style "processed meats".

Look to choose them instead of other "mixed" meats like sausage, chorizo, and pepperoni as these can have a great amount of mixed in "fillers" that can cause responses in some people.

If after 30 days you want to start adding in some of these try them one at a time and make sure that you don't get any ill effects.

How Long is the Adaptation Period?

For most people on the change of diet the full adaptation can be about a two week to a month-long process. With a low carb or zero carb diet, this is typically closer to the month-long process as you are fighting a great deal of poor eating habits and addictions which can waylay your journey.

Typically the first week is just getting used to cooking and eating, adjusting to how many meals on a given day. In addition this week will be when you are kicking the habits that led you to where you are today, take the time to do it right.

After the first week to two weeks you will find yourself almost entirely adapted, bread and sugar will hold less sway over you. Over time this influence will decline until you don't notice anymore that you aren't even thinking about them.

Is This a Long-Term or Short-Term Diet?

This question is highly related to your goals and needs as opposed to whether it could harm you. If you are looking for a short term weight loss to long term overall health then this can work for you.

In online forums and Facebook groups, you will find people who have meat-only for a decade or more without negative health impact.

A good place to look for information on longevity and the carnivore diet is to people like Joe Andersen and his family. They have reportedly been on an all-meat diet since 1998, which is now over 20+ years without issues or concerns.

The only one who can make this choice to become a carnivore is you, should you choose to make it your new way of life you will see and feel the benefits to your mind and body.

What Snacks Are Carnivore Friendly?

There are a great many snacks that would qualify for carnivore friending as a generic term. What you want to look out for is messy long lists of ingredients, if you need something now then look to the deli section in the supermarket and find a roast beef to eat instead of garbage bars.

Carnivore friendly meat snacks available in large quantities online include Epic meat bars, plain beef jerky or biltong. Though these may or may not be available in your local stores, if not then order and get them sent to your home.

What About Coffee and Tea?

If you are a hard-line carnivore you will not be having anything other than water. Some carnivores will choose to continue to drink coffee, though both tea and coffee have shown to at least be related to some inflammation and gut permeability issues.

Unfortunately for most of us we have a crippling addiction to something, for many this is coffee addiction. If you fall into this category don't try to cold turkey it day one as this can cloud the results of the carnivore transition.

If you are strong-willed and you believe that you can go a week without coffee or tea without going nuts or killing anyone then try to start limiting you drinking to transition away.

Note that fast changes to caffeine intake can result in some really bad headaches and other issues with the start of detox which you will need to manage through the first week to two.

What About the Risk of Constipation?

This question is one of the most frequently asked online from the communities and one of their biggest worries. Well, the good news is that "fiber" plays a far smaller role in bowel movements when you aren't plowing down vegetables and sugars.

Once you start the Carnivore Diet you will find that you have more regular bowel movements but far less overall stool per day. Much of this regularity and the less overall amount has been thought to be tied back to the fact that meat is better fully digested in the intestines with far less "unuseable" that has to be excreted.

This Bristol Stool Chart is a good overall guide about the consistency, which can and will change depending on many factors including food, and drink.

Final Thoughts on What is the Carnivore Diet Plan

I hope that this guide has helped you to start making the move to a carnivore diet and to start gaining the health benefits which will move you into the best health and wellness in your life. I hope that I have covered everything in the appropriate amount of detail that it requires.

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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