Myth I — Plant Foods Are Superfoods
animal foods are the true superfoods in every way. They contain many nutrients vital for human health that don’t occur in substantial amounts in plant foods, and they are much better sources of minerals, B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein—a clean sweep!
those that rely on plant foods to obtain the majority of their nutrition often develop multiple nutritional deficiencies, unless they are supplementing heavily with synthetic vitamins and processed proteins.
plant foods are survival foods at best. The more high-quality animal foods we eat, the more bioavailable nutrients we will receive, the fewer plant toxins we ingest, and the more we will thrive. In other words, animal foods win by knockout!
Myth II — Fiber Is Necessary for a Healthy Gut
Despite mountains of evidence that fiber is just not good for us, our teenage crush on it remains strong.
the notion that a lack of plant fiber is behind the ills of Western society, has become a part of our collective consciousness—much to the detriment of our guts and the unnecessary production of copious flatulence.
Study after study has clearly demonstrated that plant fiber is not beneficial for constipation, diverticulosis, diabetes, weight loss, appetite, or colon cancer. Nor is it necessary for a healthy gastrointestinal tract or a diverse microbiome.
Implementing a carnivore diet while eliminating plant fiber has demonstrated unprecedented efficacy in reversing autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
None of this should come as a surprise. Eating animals made us human and has been a central part of our story as humans for millions of years. A carnivore diet is written into our book of life as the most fundamental diet that humans can thrive on. Plants have always been “fallback” foods and can be quite triggering to some people, leading to activation of the immune system, inflammation, leaky gut, and autoimmune disease.
Myth III — Red Meat Will Shorten Your Life
We have decades of bad observational epidemiology studies to thank for the incorrect notions that red meat will cause cancer or shorten our lives. Thankfully, there’s plenty of evidence
that exposes these assertions as blatantly false and not based on sound science. It is also immediately apparent from an ancestral perspective that red meat or animal foods causing cancer or shortening our lives is evolutionarily inconsistent. These are the foods that made us human, and the foundational foods that our diets have been based on for the last 2 million years. Eating these foods has allowed us to grow much larger brains and to become a smarter, stronger, and more resourceful species.
In the next
we will directly attack the misconception that red meat and animal foods will lead to cardiovascular disease. This is yet another evolutionarily absurd idea based almost entirely on misleading epidemiology. Onward, courageous warriors, there’s still more ground to cover and untruths to slay.
Myth IV — Red Meat Causes the Heart to Explode
Few things conjure more fear in the hearts and minds of the general population than the big, bad cholesterol monster and the associated trepidation that red meat will cause our arteries to become filled with plaque. After all, we’ve been told by cardiac surgeons that when they scoop plaque out of the arteries in our heart or neck, it looks just like animal fat, eggs, or butter. Surely, the only way to avoid atherosclerosis is to eat benign plants. By doing that, we’ll live long prosperous lives that are free from vascular disease, right? No way. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Though many in the mainstream equate LDL with “bad cholesterol” and shudder at the thought of elevated levels of this lipoprotein, the opposite is true. Not only does LDL serve indispensable roles in the body, but in the absence of insulin resistance, elevated levels of this cholesterol-carrying particle are probably protective against infectious disease and are associated with robust longevity in the elderly. This is far from the scary bedtime story we’ve been told, and for so long, we’ve been led astray by observational epidemiology. We must not continue to make this mistake if we truly hope to find the optimal health we all deserve.
What to Eat on a Nose-to-Tail Carnivore Diet
Tier 1: The Carnivore- ish Diet
A Tier 1 carnivore diet emphasizes animal food consumption as the majority of the diet, but it also allows some room for the least toxic plant foods. Because animal foods represent the most nutrient-rich sources of bio-available vitamins and minerals, they form the majority of the diet. Approximately 80–90 percent of the diet will be animal foods and might include beef, bison, lamb, poultry, and fish. It could also include eggs and certain dairy items. In addition to these foods, “low toxicity” plant foods may be included for flavor, preference, texture, or color.
Tier 2: The Meat and Water Carnivore Diet
This is the most basic and simplest version of a carnivore diet. It’s for people who want to experiment with a whole foods, animal-based diet for short amounts of time within the framework of an elimination diet. In my opinion, this type of carnivore eating is not ideal for the long term, but it can serve as a simple introduction.
On a Tier 2 carnivore diet, “eat meat, drink wate r” is the classic adage. It’s a pretty simple formula, and as an elimination diet, it can be a very powerful tool. Though there are a few examples of people doing well long term on a diet such as this, not everyone appears to thrive when eating this way. My main concern beyond short-term use is the possibility of nutrient deficiencies. Although our body’s requirements for some things change in the absence of carbohydrates, the RDA’s probably still serve as a reasonable guide for most nutrients. While muscle meat is rich in many vitamins and minerals like B 3 , B 6 , B 12 , potassium, zinc, iron, and selenium, it lacks in a number of things that humans need to function optimally.
Tier 3: The Freshman Carnivore Diet
Sometimes we join the freshman team before we make it to junior varsity, and that’s totally okay! The freshman carnivore diet adds a few things to the Tier 2 meat and water plan. This is where most folks start out, and then usually progress to Tiers 4 and Tier 5 as they get more interested in eating organ meats. A Tier 3 carnivore diet includes meat, eggs, seafood, and dairy if tolerated. Eggs alone enrich a carnivore diet by adding good amounts of vitamin A, choline, vitamin K2, DHA, and folate, but there still might be some nutritional holes on a Tier 3 carnivore diet.
Tier 4: The Junior Varsity Carnivore Diet
This tier is for those courageous souls interested in the carnivore diet who are organ-curious. If we truly hope to turn these corporeal vessels we inhabit into the most finely tuned machines possible, we need to provide them with all of the nutrients they need to get the biochemical engines humming along at the highest RPM possible. The ancestral precedent for eating animals nose-to-tail is backed by contemporary knowledge of the indispensable nutritional value of organ meats. At this level of a carnivore diet, it’s also time to think about incorporating tendons and connective tissue into our diet for a bit more glycine to complement methionine-rich muscle meats.
Tier 5: Carnivore Diet
This is it! You’ve made it to the top of the carnivore ladder.
A Tier 5 carnivore diet builds on the foundation we’ve already put in place with the previous tiers, including grass-fed muscle meat, connective tissue, liver, seafood, and eggs. It also adds in more organ meats and considers fat/protein ratios based on performance goals.
What a typical day of Tier 5 Carnivore looks like…
- 3 eggs cooked in tallow
- 2 oz beef liver
- 1 oz kidney
- 10 oz NY steak with salt
- 14 oz raw goat milk
- 60 g beef suet/trimmings
- 4 oz scallops cooked in tallow
- 2 oz bone marrow and 1/2 tsp bone meal
- 70 g beef suet/trimmings
- 10 oz ribeye steak
- 6 jumbo shrimp
- 8 oz bone broth
This type of a carnivore diet may not be for everyone at all times, and don’t think that everyone needs to eat just like.
Traveling makes eating high-quality animal meats, organs, and fat difficult from time to time. It’s totally okay to use Tier 1–4 diets in our life when they are the most appropriate for the current situation or if they work best for us.
The Carnivore Code is not to convince everyone in the world to never eat plants again. It’s to help us all understand that plants can be quite toxic, and that by eliminating all or most of them in favor of more nutrient-rich animal foods, we will upgrade ourselves in so many ways. But this will only happen if we are willing to commit ourselves to a certain amount of time following the diet as carefully as possible. If the idea of removing plants from your diet long term is overwhelming, just think about it as a forty-five- or ninety-day experiment and do the clean carnivore reset.
At the end of this time period, you will be amazed by the positive changes that have occurred.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is grass-fed meat better than grain-fed meat?
Grass-fed meat is better than grain-fed meat in so many ways. From the environmental perspective, the nutritional perspective, and the toxin perspective, cows raised and finished on grass are superior sources of food for humans.
What do I do when I fall off the wagon?
Don’t beat yourself up; just start eating as intentionally and cleanly as possible again.
How should I cook my meat?
Though meat cooked on a grill or at high temperatures tastes pretty good, there is some evidence that heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons do induce some degree of oxidative stress, activating the NRF2 pathway in the liver.
Our ancestors probably would have eaten meat cooked over an open fire, and we do have biochemical pathways to deal with moderate amounts of these compounds, but if we really want to create the least amount of oxidative stress possible, cooking our meat more gently is probably a good idea most of the time.
Using lower temperature cooking methods, like a pressure cooker, crock pot, steam convection oven, or slow cooking in a pan will lower the formation of HCAs and PAH significantly.
How should I get my fat?
Make friends with a butcher who can source from grass-fed farms! Getting to know a butcher who can provide high-quality meat, organs, and fat will be hugely helpful in our quest to acquire the best foods on the planet. If our butcher can get us grass-fed trimmings (the fat trimmed off of steaks) or suet, then we should write them a thank you note, bring them flowers, or serenade them, because he or she will quickly become one of our favorite people.
Doesn’t protein putrefy in our gut? Isn’t it the hardest thing for our body to digest?
Contrary to popular belief, meat is much more easily digestible than plant matter. After learning in this book about the many ways plants conspire to prevent us from digesting them, this should come as no surprise. With our acidic stomachs and long small intestines, we are uniquely adapted to absorb the nutrients present in animal foods very efficiently, but the same cannot be said for plant foods. The simple proof of this can be found in our poop! Those eating a carnivore diet quickly notice that the volume of stool decreases significantly, and undigested food is never seen in the toilet after a bowel movement like it might be after eating salad or other plant foods.
Do I need supplements on a carnivore diet.
Everyone comes from a unique position of nutritional adequacy/inadequacy when they begin a new dietary change. If we include a variety of organ meats, we can meet all of our nutritional needs. This assumes adequate nutrient absorption and a reasonably healthy gut, however. There are conditions, such as celiac disease, small bowel overgrowth, and autoimmunity, that affect the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract and which can result in malabsorption and limit our body’s ability to assimilate the nutrients in food. If our bowel habits are normal, and we don’t have gastrointestinal symptoms, chances are we absorb the nutrients in our food just fine. If we’re not sure, a stool test that includes fecal fat and measures gastrointestinal inflammation can determine if malabsorption is a problem.
In cases of pre-existing nutritional deficiency, some supplementation may be useful, but this must be determined with our physician on a case-by-case basis depending on detailed lab testing.
How much should I be eating on a carnivore diet?
Let satiety be your guide.
If you are hungry, eat. If you’re not, don’t. One of the challenges for many individuals as they transition into a carnivore diet is breaking old habits of snacking or using food as entertainment between meals . When transitioning from eating this way, many find that their cravings are significantly decreased and are much less tempted to “cheat” on a carnivore diet.
What about fasting?
Fasting is great, but it’s not required.
If weight loss is your goal, incorporating fasting into your carnivore diet occasionally or on a regular basis will help you achieve your goals sooner. For those of us at a healthy body weight but with autoimmune or inflammatory issues, fasting might also be a useful intervention because it allows the gut to rest and provides an opportunity for the immune system to calm down . I would recommend against fasting for those who are trying to gain weight or who are coming from a place of nutritional inadequacy.
Do I need probiotics on a carnivore diet?
For most people, the collagenous connective tissues in animal foods will be just fine as “animal fiber” for the production of short-chain fatty acids. In certain cases of pre-existing gastrointestinal issues, like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, probiotics may be helpful, but they’re not needed for most people.
Kombucha and other fermented beverages are not great for our teeth, and promises of improved gut health from these are mostly empty. It’s really just expensive, fizzy, acidic sugar water. Spend your money on good mineral water instead.
Is a carnivore diet really expensive?
It definitely does not have to be!
One of the awesome things about a nose-to-tail carnivore diet is that muscle meat is only part of the equation. Many butchers will give you fat trimmings for free and sell you nutrient-rich organ meats for a fraction of the of the cost of a ribeye. When the majority of your diet comes from these foods, a carnivore diet gets much more affordable. Using ground beef or chuck roast as your source of muscle meat, you could eat a completely grass-fed, nose-to-tail carnivore diet for less than fifteen dollars per day. Still think this is an expensive diet?