CARNIVORE DIET MEAL PLAN
When you tell people that you’re about to start on the carnivore diet, they may well respond with something along the lines of “Ugh! I couldn’t live without carbs.”. And, for many, transitioning away from our high-carb lifestyle can be a real challenge. In an age where we’re working harder and for longer hours than ever, we turn to the food industry to give us foods that require no or minimal preparation and can be quick and easy to eat wherever we are.
And this need for convenience has pushed us further and further towards high carb, high sugar, low nutrient convenience foods. Not only are these foods bad for us, they’re also addictive meaning that we feel we can’t live without them.
Getting Started With Your Carnivore Diet Meal Plan
The carnivore diet is all about transitioning away from the modern eating habits that are slowly killing us and eating more like our hunter gatherer ancestors. The Carnivore Diet is based around a simple equation.
Meat + Water = A Healthy Diet.
For those who are tired of over-complicated diets, it’s the perfect antidote. It absolutely couldn’t be simpler.
Whether you’re looking to improve your health by eliminating processed foods, achieve your gym goals by supercharging your protein intake or you simply can’t get enough meat, the Carnivore Diet Plan can help you to achieve your goals safely and sustainably.
Know your dietary needs
Right now you’re probably thinking “Can I really get all the nutrition my body needs from eating meat alone?”. We don’t blame you for being skeptical. After all, since you were a kid you were probably encouraged to believe in the food pyramid and the importance of a balanced diet. But this well meaning advice fails to take into account the East African herdsmen who eat nothing but meat or the inuit tribes whose diet consists almost entirely of whale meat and blubber.
Think about what your body needs, and you’ll realize that meat is a comprehensive food.
Proteins are the building blocks of all sentient life on Earth. Proteins are made up of different amino acids are are essential in the building and repair of muscle tissues as well as our skin, hair and nail cells and pretty much everything else within our bodies. It’s safe to say that protein is an essential part of our diets, and meat has it in spades.
Most of us have been taught from a young age to fear fats. The proliferation of low fat processed foods on the supermarket shelves likely haven’t helped matters. But the truth is that fats are our friends. They’re not only a readily available energy source, they support new cell growth and help our body to absorb nutrients. They also help to keep our hormones balanced which is why they’re so important in losing excess body fat.
It may seem paradoxical, but fats are essential in losing body fat. You just need to get out of the antiquated mode of thought that says the fat you eat is the fat you wear.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Vitamins and minerals are essential in helping our body to carry out the millions of functions every day that keep us alive. They keep the machines that are our bodies running. But the good news for vegiphobes is that our bovine friends process the vitamins and minerals in plants (as well as producing a few of their own) so we don’t have to. This brings us to...
READ MORE: LOSING WEIGHT ON THE CARNIVORE DIET
What carnivore foods are best?
The Carnivore Diet Plan is a completely zero-carb meal plan which means that you’ll be living solely on meat. But let’s not forget that all meats are not created equal. Obviously heavily processed meats like bacon, sausage, pepperoni and pastrami are out (they’re chock full of additives, nitrates, nitrites and even sugars in some cases). But if you want to hit the ground running on a carnivorous diet plan, your diet needs to start with ruminants.
WHAT ARE RUMINANTS?
Ruminants are four legged mammals that get all of their nutrients from plant based foods. You and I might know them as cows. But unlike humans, they have evolved a superior digestive system which ferments their food and makes it easier to extract nutrients during digestion, using microbes.
They convert cellulose, which we humans can’t digest into energy and store it in their muscles and organs. Something a human can't do anywhere near as efficiently. This makes for delicious and nutrient dense food for humans.
One cow, with enough ambient sunlight and water can feed a human for an entire year.
In this regard, the ruminant stomach is one of the most sophisticated machines devised by nature. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, humans are now well equipped to extract nutrients from plants.
We're equipped to extract nutrients from animals.
HOW DOES RUMINANT DIGESTION WORK
Ruminant digestion is highly sophisticated and occurs sequentially in a stomach consisting of four separate chambers.
Plant matter is first taken into the part of the digestive system known as the Rumen. Here it is exposed to bacteria that ferment it into short chain fatty acids and break down the cellulose which is a highly dense energy source. The trouble is that most animals (like us) can’t process it because they lack the enzymes necessary to break it down. The rumen fluid, however, has the bacteria to break it down. In fact, a single drop of rumen fluid contains 10 times more microbes than all of the people on earth.
Even though cows eat very little fat, their energy actually comes from the fat that the rumen bacteria creates from breaking down cellulose into fatty acids. The good news for us is that the energy has excellent bio-availability making beef an extremely energy dense food source for us, too!
What’s more, ruminants can eliminate plant based chemicals and toxins from their digestive systems to ensure that their flesh (the meat we eat) is free of them.
The bacteria in their digestive system are also key to the formation of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). This compound is found almost exclusively found in ruminants and has a number of benefits for the humans that eat them, including;
Because we cannot manufacture our own CLA, the only way to reap the benefits is to eat beef.
THE BEST CARNIVORE FOODS
A fatty steak is, without a doubt, the best and most nutritionally complete food to eat on the Carnivore Diet Plan. They have the best protein : fat ratio and nutrient density. However, that doesn’t mean to say that your diet should consist entirely of steaks. For one thing, that wouldn’t be terribly cost efficient.
You can also eat ground beef if your budget doesn’t allow for daily steaks. What’s more (and not everyone will be thrilled about this) you need to eat organ meat such as kidneys and liver.
Cow’s liver is one of nature’s greatest multivitamins, as it stores and filters all the nutrients the cow needs.
WHAT ELSE CAN I EAT?
Although ruminants are, as you can see, an excellent energy source, they are by no means the only meats you can enjoy on a carnivore diet plan. You can also eat pork and fatty seafood which is rich in Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids. In your early weeks in the Carnivore Diet Plan you’ll be enjoying lots of fatty fish roasted with either tallow or butter.
Suitable fatty fish include:
You’re probably wondering about the chicken and other poultry. While these can be integrated into your diet at a later point you won’t be consuming them for the first few weeks. Why? Because they simply don’t have the robust nutrient profile compared to ruminant animals, pork or fatty fish.
The Carnivore Diet meal plan
Now that we’ve looked at the ethos and science behind the Carnivore Diet plan, let’s get into the fun stuff. That’s deciding what the diet will look like for you. While you’ll be able to freestyle in later weeks, we’ll guide you through the first two. This is known as...
THE ADAPTION PERIOD
Here you’ll be adapting to a carnivorous diet from your more traditional omnivorous diet. It’s likely that you’ll be eating a little less beef and a little more pork and seafood for variety and to keep you motivated.
Unless you’re feeling hardcore, you won’t need to start eating organ meats or bone marrow just yet. If you’re feeling like a challenge (or just really love beef), feel free to go with a 100% beef diet.
So, your first week’s meal plan might look like this;
This will form the foundation of your food for week 1 but feel free to add dairy and carnivore snacks. The goal of week 1 is to go completely meat-based, it's not to feel hungry.
A shopping list might consist of;
If you're trying to lose weight, you’ll want to cut out breakfast altogether to get to work using up all that stored fat in your body.
Throughout this week on your carnivore diet meal plan stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Remember to always salt the meat. Not only will it taste much nicer, it also prevents dehydration and helps you avoid “keto flu”.
Now things get a little more hardcore. Now that you’re used to eating like a caveman (and hopefully enjoying more energy and muscle mass) it’s time to start branching out into organ meats and bone marrow. These will help to round out your nutrient profile with more fats and vitamins to help you to be your best.
Your meal plan might look something like this;
Your shopping list will include;
After these two weeks you’ll likely notice an increase in lean muscle mass, a sharp drop in body fat, clearer healthier skin and your health problems starting to recede.
Using this as a baseline you’re now free to add other meats and animal products such as bacon or dairy to mix things up a bit.
The carnivore Diet Plan FAQ
You likely have a lot of questions which we’ll do our best to answer here;
CAN I EAT EGGS AND DAIRY?
If you're on the diet for weight loss purposes only, yes. If you're trying to fix an autoimmune disorder, not until after the first 15-30 days. This is because both are found to contain inflammatory properties and should be added in sparingly and tentatively as you see fit. Cut them out immediately if old health issues start to come back.
WHAT DO I DRINK?
Ideally just water. You may want to add in other drinks (including tea and coffee) if you're not concerned about potentially inflammatory properties.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?
The two week meal plans above are designed with 1lb of meat per meal in mind. When it comes to liver you should aim for maximum 0.4 lbs per meal and 0.5lbs for bone marrow.
GRASS FED OR GRAIN FED?
This is a thorny issue and there are strong arguments on both sides. Nutritionally speaking, there’s really not a lot in it. Grass fed beef is nutritionally superior yet lower in fat, while grain fed beef’s higher fat content offsets its nutritional deficiencies (since fats help us absorb nutrients). However, ethically and environmentally speaking, grass fed beef is the better option. Many believe that it tastes better too!