Cats are carnivore. I believe dogs are more carnivore than the pet food industry tells us. Are we more carnivore than the human food industry tells us?
In my experience as a pet nutritionist I very much expect this is the case, even if health stars on sugary cereals tell us otherwise.
Ironically most pet owners worldwide feed their carnivorous pets high-carbohydrate processed foods, and veterinarians recommend them, even for sick pets.
I’m sure these diets are the real cause of the many diet-related illnesses our pets die from, and it’s logical to believe the same is the case for us.
I hope by undertaking the carnivore diet experiment on myself it can raise awareness that most of us live off processed food, and most of us feed our pets convenience junk foods.Myself
If you’re middle-aged and overweight the thought of a tasty diet of steak and salt may sound really appealing. It did to me.
When you’re my age the thought of 3 hours a day in the gym doesn’t sound appealing at all. Even the thought of walking to the gym to pick up a membership form feels like a chore (assuming they still have paper-based membership forms, which I’m sure they don’t).
Trouble is, as a nutritionist of pet carnivores I know what’s really involved in a carnivore diet, and it definitely isn’t steak and salt.
In fact, if you’re reading this thinking steak and salt is a good idea for a diet, then I strongly urge you to think long and hard, even if you find yourself convinced by memes such as this:
I remember when raw feeding pets became a very popular thing, and off the back of that many well-meaning pet owners ended up with very sick pets. Why? From believing muscle meats like chicken and beef mince were the best diet for their pet carnivores.
Any raw feeders will know the importance of organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, even brains and tripe) and (raw) bones. Without these nutrient-rich foodstuffs your pet carnivore will very likely suffer in the long run. It won’t be this week or next, but likely in a few years from now when they start showing symptoms.
I strongly suspect the same is very much the case for us.
In my experience numerous issues can arise from a restricted diet, or a diet which doesn’t offer all required nutrients. This could be anything from a build-up of intolerances or dietary sensitivities, to a failing heart or other deteriorating organ disease.
If you want some insight, you could investigate one of the following:
- The nutrient requirements of dog or cat food set out by AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Because most people feed their pets the same commercial junk food for the entire life of their pets, a standard such as AAFCO is to ensure every meal contains all required nutrients we currently know are required by that animal. There isn’t the same emphasis in the human space as we’re not gullible enough to believe we should eat processed nuggets from Mars or Nestle for the sake of our health.
- Visit the local vet and pick up a bag of one of their endorsed kibbles. The first ingredients will likely be grains, which may strike you as odd ingredients in a food for carnivorous animals, but it’s the ingredients further down the list which are relevant here. If vitamins and macrominerals are listed, start researching where those nutrients are sourced naturally. You’ll find for almost all of them the richest source is animal meats, organs, and bone.
I bet a diet of steak and salt, liver, kidney, heart, and sheep brains doesn’t sound as appealing to you as steak and salt. It definitely doesn’t to me, yet these are foods I see essential for the health of real carnivorous animals.
Even this isn’t a real carnivore diet.
Nevertheless, while stuffing my face with pain aux chocolat on my recent holiday to France, I decided to embark on a carnivore diet on my return.
This is my carnivore diet diary.
- Medical Disclaimer
- Why I decided to go full carnivore
- Considerations, Planning & Preparation
- My Carnivore Diet Diary Week #1
- Weigh In: 93kg
- Carnivore Diet Day #1
- Carnivore Diet Day #2
- Carnivore Diet Day #3
- Offal Dinner #1: Kidney fried in butter
- Weigh In: 88.45kg
- Carnivore Diet Day #4
- Poo Observation
- Carnivore Diet Day #5
- Offal Dinner #2: Beef & Bone Marrow
- Carnivore Diet Day #6
- Carnivore Diet Day #7
- End of Week Weigh In: 90.5kg
- Carnivore Diet Week 1 Total Cost: $140
- My Carnivore Diet Diary Week #2
Please note I am not trained in human nutrition in any way, so must add the following disclaimer.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice.
I must request you use common sense and seek the guidance of your doctor or a qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or medical conditions before starting any diet change.
Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. If you choose to rely on any information you do so solely at your own risk.
Why I decided to go full carnivore
I’d love to say “for research purposes” but that wouldn’t be true.
I’m 3 years into Dad Bod territory. 45 years old. And my diet has always been far from great.
I have a sweet tooth, and I confess to drinking too much alcohol. The last time I had a gym membership was 10 years ago, and even then I probably averaged 1hr per month.
At the start of my carnivore diet I weigh 95kg with a height of 178cm. According to an ideal weight calculator from the NHS this is where I’m at:
Those results shocked me as I don’t consider myself that overweight. In my early 20s I went through an intense gym phase, mostly cardio, and hit 70kg at one stage. I know anything less than that wouldn’t have been “ideal”, and realistically I should be 80kg.
That means I’m 15kg overweight. That’s the weight of a medium-sized dog.
The reason I’m overweight is very clear. It’s not a lack of exercise – I have a Border Collie which means I walk a fair bit each day, with a long walk at 7am, another at 5pm, and despite working at a desk do move around a lot each day.
My weight is a direct result of diet choices. My main meals are mostly healthy, but I doubt many days pass when I don’t eat biscuits, cake, or drink alcohol (wine or beer). I have very little willpower.
Even before my amazing daughter came into the world I was failing, and since then my weight has gone to pot. If you’ve had a kid you’ll know how time consuming they are, and how restrictive they can be. Once upon a time I would go for a walk or jog in my free time. Since having a child I often have to dedicate my free time to having a nap for the sake of my sanity.
So that’s my real reason – I want to get back in shape.
I also want to know for myself what a carnivore diet can do.
Will a carnivore diet make me feel great, or make me feel rubbish. Will it help me sleep better? Will it help with my lower back pain and other inflammatory aches and pains we all tend to suffer at middle age?
Will I get acne like I did trying the Atkins diet in my younger years, or get dizzy spells?
Will I lose my gut and feel great about myself again? Find a better version of myself, and be less depressed about my weight?
Will I manage to stomach liver, kidney, heart, and maybe brains?
Will it be a complete failure – I’ve already said I lack willpower.
Hopefully, at the very least, I’ll understand the carnivore diet a little more.
Considerations, Planning & Preparation
Any diet should be well considered and properly prepared for. The problem is I’m terrible at planning, and my intentions of getting everything ready went out of the window on my return from holiday. You’ll see this as you start reading my carnivore diet diary below, but nevertheless the below is some of my “considerations, planning, and preparation”.
Carnivore Diet Meal Plan Week #1
You’ll laugh, but while in France eating pain aux chocolat, I asked Chat GTP to devise a Week #1 Carnivore Diet Meal Plan.
First draft Carnivore Diet Meal Plan Week #1
This is the first draft meal plan Chat GPT came back with:
As a meal plan for a diet I was surprised how good that sounded. Very varied with lots of tasty meals, but it didn’t strike me as a real carnivore diet.
The meal plan was also absent of organ meats.
Thankfully Chat GPT added a disclaimer to consult with a healthcare professional, which I should probably add too.
Disclaimer: Remember to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new diet, especially one that eliminates entire food groups. Also, make sure to listen to your body’s signals and adjust portion sizes as needed. Stay hydrated and consider incorporating nutrient-rich organ mats if you’re following a strict carnivore diet.
I’ll add to that by saying I’m well aware I could be risking my health undertaking a carnivore diet, but if you decide to follow my diary, or follow my Chat GPT generated carnivore diet meal plans, then the risks (or benefits) are on you.
Revised Carnivore Diet Meal Plan Week #1
I wasn’t happy with the vegetables Chat GPT suggested in the first draft meal plan, and wasn’t happy with the lack of organ meats either.
I asked Chat GPT to revise the meal plan with “No sausage, processed foods, or vegetables”, and as an afterthought added “Please include bone broth. Dairy is acceptable.”
The reason for my last request was I believe bone broth is an excellent addition to any diet, and something I would encourage anyone on a carnivore diet to consider.
At this stage my goal isn’t to become a die hard carnivore, but to reset my diet and break my addiction to sugars and processed foods. I have no real issue with dairy or vegetables, even starchy vegetables, and plan to add them back into my diet in moderation after an initial 2 weeks carnivore.
Below is the revised meal plan. What do you think?
It may not be die hard carnivore, and I’ll likely adapt as I go along, but as a meal plan at least it offers variety and I can use it as a base to work off.
But knowing me, I’ll probably make it up as I go along.
A Great Tip for Sourcing Ingredients
A few weeks ago I listened to a podcast with James Delingpole and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (The Delingpod), and I highly recommend you listen to it. It’s a great insight into the human body, the influences of the food industry, and nutrition in general. It may have real benefits with your diet, carnivore or not, or make you think about your pet’s diet in a much better way.
I picked up a great tip from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride on how to source really good real foods, and it’s how I sourced the meat for my first week on a carnivore diet.
Her advice was to visit a local farmers market and speak with the people running a stall. Do they have a local farm, with a local farm shop? Is there a possibility of visiting the farm, which allows you to see it for yourself to see how ethical they are. She offers more tips in the podcast, but I’ll leave you to find those out.
I used this exact method to find two local farms, both with a shop, and that’s how I stocked up on meat.
Is a carnivore diet expensive?
One last point I want to cover is how expensive a carnivore diet may be.
I’ll skip back to my experience with pet diets for a minute, because this is really important. Some of the pet foods I recommend are considered expensive (and I admit they are), and I often have emails from disgruntled readers complaining they cost so much more than their current dog food.
What those people don’t consider, is why their current pet food is cheap. The answer is by-products of wheat baked into hard nuggets of indigestible kibble allows the product to be cheap, and sets the benchmark for the price of pet food. It’s a fallacy, and it’s far from healthy.
Expect to pay more for healthy food, because healthy food costs more than the rubbish used in processed foods.
In our current decade most of the supermarket shelves are filled with convenience food, processed food, or junk food. Keep in mind most of those foods are made from cheap ingredients – grains, sugar, or whatever can be used to increase profit margin.
However, I was really surprised how little I spent for my first week on a carnivore diet.
When you go to the supermarket you buy a whole range of products – for one meal you might buy meat, potatoes, vegetables, or even stuff like chips, condiments, drinks.
If you’re like me you’ll also stumble on other things which weren’t on your shopping list, which might be olives, biscuits, or some fancy looking packet food.
Then you check out the reduced section and buy stuff you probably wouldn’t have bought anyway. My good friend Architect Russell would say “It’s not a bargain if you weren’t going to buy it anyway”.
When you buy meat that’s all you buy. You don’t waste money on anything unnecessary.
I walked away from the farm shop with two bags of meat, and I found myself thinking how much weight I had bought for such a reasonable amount of money.
Less than what I would spend on a usual weekly shop.
My Carnivore Diet Diary Week #1
Weigh In: 93kg
I mentioned earlier my weight of 95kg, which I’m sure has been the case earlier this year. At the time of starting my carnivore diet I weighed in at 93kg. Perhaps I’ve lost some weight in the past few months from trying to be healthier, or perhaps the last 3 weeks in France have been beneficial.
Carnivore Diet Day #1
I started my carnivore diet a couple of days earlier than planned, on the same day I went back to work after a 3 week holiday. It just happened. I thought starting a diet would really make my first day back at the desk suck – who likes diets, and who likes going back to work?
For breakfast I had 3 eggs, scrambled, and 2 slices of really tasty bacon (farm shop bacon). I decided to skip my usual toast.
I got stuck into work, and come lunchtime I realised I hadn’t been hungry all morning. No mid-morning munchies.
I’ve noticed this before when only eating protein for breakfast. You feel satiated.
A friend of mine has scrambled eggs every morning, and doesn’t crave food all morning. His office colleagues on the other hand, after their breakfast of carbohydrates, can’t help gorging on mid-morning biscuits.
I’m usually one of those people.
The same friend used to live off bread and peanut butter, and couldn’t stop. Bread is carbohydrates, and carbohydrates are sugars. Combined with the peanut butter become super addictive, and you’re probably aware of this already?
How often do you have a snack when you’re not really hungry, and all of a sudden you’re ravenous? You can’t stop.
For lunch I had grilled chicken breast with a sprinkling of salt and seaweed I bought at a farmer’s market in France, and that was it. I didn’t have the cheese as stated on my Chat GPT meal plan, for no real reason.
At dinner I had my first surprise. I cooked my ribeye steak in the Air Fryer (they’re great, aren’t they), and stuck it on my plate.
It looked like a sorry state of affairs, a lonely steak. I felt I hadn’t eaten much over the day, and thought I was going to be starving that evening.
But that didn’t happen.
Surprisingly I couldn’t finish the steak. I ate about 80% and realised I was done.
I can’t remember the last time I felt so satiated by a meal.
My dog and cat had the remaining piece.
Carnivore Diet Day #2
I expected to feel hungry when I woke up on Day 2, but I didn’t. I looked forward to, then enjoyed another breakfast of 3 scrambled eggs and 2 slices of bacon.
Mid-morning I found myself thinking of chocolate cake, or a nice biscuit. I think my mind was telling me I was hungry when I really wasn’t. I felt my cravings were more withdrawal symptoms – from an addiction to sugar, and most of us are addicted to sugar.
Did you know sugar is one of the most addictive substances, but we rarely consider it as almost everyone eats sugar?
Sugar is in almost everything, and when it comes to products given to us by the food industry it’s very likely for that reason. If you know how to read ingredients labels like I do, you’ll see most products have far more sugar than most people would think.
On the subject of refined sugar, the white stuff we know and love, some argue it comes from a natural source – sugar cane or sugar beet. We also know fruit is good for us, and fruit is high in sugar. But there’s a big difference – fruit sugar comes with everything you need to digest it, but refined sugar doesn’t. That stuff’s been removed in the process, and that’s the reason we get energy spikes, ups and downs, and dietary illnesses like diabetes.
If you want to understand that from a more scientific perspective, listen to the James Delingpole podcast I mentioned in the Considerations, Planning & Preparation section.
Day 2 I found myself craving starchy, sugary foods, without a doubt. My daily bad habits.
But I had a big win. Day 2 coincided with a visit to my parents, and my parents love to have a cupboard full of biscuits, chocolate, and cake. I’m happy to say I stood my guns, and made it through the day full carnivore.
Surprisingly, having eaten a load of beef for lunch, it wasn’t too hard to avoid snacks. Even sitting and watching my wife and daughter have a big slice of cherry pie.
Carnivore Diet Day #3
I woke up on Day 3 with my first noticeable change.
From Googling I found out ketosis can kick in after 1 or 2 days, although sometimes longer. Dry mouth is one of the signs of ketosis, as is lethargy, change of sleeping patterns, and the effect most people aim for – fat burning.
I believe ketosis can occur if you consume less than 20g or 30g of carbohydrates a day, and until this point I haven’t consumed any.
Dry mouth often coincides with bad breath, but as yet nobody has complained, and through the course of Day 3 it hasn’t been too bad, and I’ve stayed as hydrated as possible.
I confess I’ve had another side effect of being on a carnivore diet, and that’s really bad sleep.
For the last two nights I’ve found myself waking up a lot at night, and also found myself getting up to go to the loo a few times. I’ve also had some weird dreams.
For now it’s merely an observation, and it’s possible my sleeping patterns are disrupted from returning to work after a holiday, and I’ve probably drank more water than usual which has affected my bladder. The weird dreams might be a result of watching WW2 In Colour on Netflix before going to bed (a fascinating documentary, especially having visited northern France recently). I woke up at 3am having dreamt I was an American general and my battle plans were starting to fail…
My second noticeable change on Day 3 really came out of the blue.
I felt like going for a jog!
I used to jog in my mid-thirties, but haven’t been recently. I’m not the type of person who feels like going jogging, but I really did today. Maybe it’s excitement from actually doing something about my gut, or maybe I had a little more energy than I normally would early afternoon (normally the time I can’t be bothered to do anything).
I created a playlist called “Run!” on Apple Music years ago. Every now and then I listen to a song which I feel might motivate me on a jog. Today was the first time I stuck on my headphones and kicked off that playlist.
So there I was, a slightly overweight 45 year old, jogging away from my house listening to Eye of the Tiger, the most inspirational workout song there is (assuming you’ve seen Rocky).
It wasn’t a bad jog either. I admit it was just shy of 20 minutes, probably 7 min kms, but to think I actually enjoyed a jog. I was on my way home listening to Rogue Traders, and when I heard the words “Here Come the Drums, Here Come the Drums” I found myself veering off the long way home.
I haven’t weighed myself yet, but at least I feel I’ve been productive with exercise as well as the carnivore diet, so that’s a positive way to reflect on Day 3.
Offal Dinner #1: Kidney fried in butter
According to my Chat GPT meal plan I should’ve had a lunch of liver cooked in butter. Liver is one of the most nutritious organs we can eat, and it’s a shame most people rarely eat offal these days.
I grew up in the UK, and historically liver and onions or steak and kidney pie were popular meals. These dishes aren’t as popular these days, and it’s become harder to buy these ingredients in the supermarket.
I confess I really struggle eating offal. My parents never fed any offal to me as a kid, and I’ve grown up being wary of it. It’s ironic considering my role advising pet nutrition, of which I consider offal hugely beneficial.
I deviated from my meal plan slightly by having a meal of kidney fried in butter with salt:
It was tasty.
My brain kicked in trying to tell me it was disgusting, but if it wasn’t for my brain it was definitely tasty.
Vital point: One of the main reasons I’ve undertaken the carnivore diet is to stress how important organs are as part of a carnivore diet, both for us and our pets.
If you think a diet of beef and salt is sufficient, think again.
Weigh In: 88.45kg
Weighing myself during the evening of Day 3 I found my weight has dropped. It’s a positive start, but I won’t look much more into it than that.
Looking better though:
Carnivore Diet Day #4
I woke up early and took the dog for a long walk. I felt great!
Usually in the mornings I’m in a sleep haze for a couple of hours, but that was noticeably not the case today. Encountering other dog walkers at 7am pre-coffee is usually something I avoid, but this morning I had a great chat with the owner of a bouncy Golden Retriever.
An hour later I found myself with a plate of scrambled eggs and felt a weird sense of guilt.
Was I destroying my body with this diet?
I grew up in an era (80s/90s) when too many eggs would kill you, too much animal fat would kill you, and we were encouraged to eat breakfast cereals like Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain (The Iron Man Food) because those sugary cereals were the spattered with health star rating stars.
Despite spending so many years advising people to feed their pet carnivores carnivore foods instead of baked hard nuggets of grain, I still find it hard to shrug off the marketing influences of my youth.
I found myself thinking of our distant ancestors, who lived on a diet of the animals they hunted, fish they caught, wild berries and other fruits. They didn’t have a diet of sugary cereals, corn, wheat, rice, or “healthy” high-fibre brown bread.
And you know what?
Otherwise the human race wouldn’t exist.
I’ve seen how the [pet] food industry uses very cunning marketing to damage the reputation of diets which threaten their profits. It’s a technique which works very well. More so in these days of social media.
To offer an example, many pet owners are scared to feed pet foods from smaller manufacturers, now acronymised as BEG Diets (Boutique manufacturer, Exotic proteins, or Grain-free). The reason is a fear they may cause heart failure.
I speak at length about this in my article heart disease in dogs, but to quickly summarise a certain Dr. Lisa Freeman DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Nutrition), on the payroll of multiple corporate pet food manufacturers, hypothesised these foods may cause diet-associated canine cardiomyopathy. Without any real evidence, an investigation was kicked off by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration of America) which also found no evidence despite naming and shaming a range of BEG brands.
Ironically, one of the key pet food manufacturers, Champion Petfoods (makers of whole-prey dog food Orijen), have since been acquired by Mars, one of the companies Dr Lisa Freeman has been paid by.
According to PubMed, Dr. Lisa Freeman has produced scientific work funded by Hill’s (Colgate Palmolive) and Mars since 2002. Also Purina (Nestle) since 2004.
The belief that BEG foods cause heart-disease is now widely taken as fact worldwide, and many veterinarians warn their clients against these foods.
The real issue, as I see it, is neither grain or grain-based foods meet the real requirements of pet carnivores. Almost all pet foods keep animal products to a minimum, and fill the rest with whatever they can to maximise profit.
That’s the real problem with pet food products. Not enough whole prey ingredients, which means it’s no surprise diet-related health conditions are much more common in our pets today than they ever have been.
Pet foods are products, with the primary aim to make the business money. Always keep that in mind.
Nevertheless, I can’t shrug off what I’ve been told throughout my childhood about what’s healthy and what will kill me.
Yet I still feel great after 4 days of 0 carbohydrates, having eaten nothing but meat, meat fat, and offal.
As much as I don’t like talking about my stools, this is an important observation.
I have a condition called diverticulosis, a bowel condition linked to genetics and a low fibre diet. My grandfather died of diverticulosis, so it is something I should treat seriously.
Since having a colonoscopy at the age of 39 I have regularly taken psyllium husk + water before bed to ensure I can pass stools efficiently the next morning.
I haven’t taken psyllium husk since I started the carnivore diet 4 days ago, or any source of fibre, but it has to be said my poo for the last two days has been the best, most easy to pass poo in a very long time.
For your benefit, I’ve decided not to add a photo of my stools.
Carnivore Diet Day #5
I have to admit I woke up feeling really tired in the morning of Day 5. This isn’t a new thing, and I’m sure we all have days where we fail to start?
Perhaps it was a result of being Friday, and having been back at my day job for 5 days straight (yes I have a day job). Nevertheless it’s an observation worth mentioning.
I found myself craving butter.
About 5 years ago we were given health evaluations from a visiting doctor, and had to answer a number of questions.
The doc told me off on two counts. One count was too much alcohol, obviously, and the other was too much butter putting me at risk of high cholesterol and heart problems.
The multiple choice question I answered was “How thickly do you butter your toast?”, and I checked the box for “Thickly”.
Having been advised on heart health I told the doctor I usually had 1 or 2 slices of toast a week. I wasn’t a big toast or butter eater. Surely if I had two slices of toast per day thinly buttered I would consume far more butter over the week. How could the question be a valid gauge of my health.
The doctor’s response is that was how he’d been taught, and that was the advice which should be given to people like me who occasionally have thickly buttered toast.
Let’s consider this further.
A friend is a prominent professor in nutrition, predominantly a researcher in Vitamin D. She often speaks of an experiment where rats were fed sugar and fat.
It went like this:
3 groups of rats were fed a different combination of sugar and fat – (1) Only Sugar, (2) Only Fat, (3) Combined Sugar and Fat.
Can you guess what happened?
Groups 1 and 2 turned their noses up. There was no interest in sugar on it’s own or fat on it’s own.
Group 3, however, went crazy for the sugar and fat combo.
Butter is fat. Toast is carbohydrates, so sugar. It’s a great sugar and fat combo, and a reason why one slice of toast and butter is never enough. It’s moreish.
A friend of mine grew up on bread and peanut butter believing this wasn’t overly unhealthy. Bread is healthy, right? It can have those health rating stars? Peanut butter is healthy as well, assuming it really is peanuts and not a load of sugar like many brands these days.
He speaks in hindsight of how he couldn’t stop eating the stuff throughout the evening. He never felt full.
It was only when he twigged it was a sugar fat combo that he realised the reason why he couldn’t stop. It was addictive.
He switched to eating more meat, and more eggs, and surprised himself how satiated he felt. No more cravings.
Offal Dinner #2: Beef & Bone Marrow
Farm shops are amazing. They offer foods which you can’t buy in the supermarket. For Day 4 I stocked up from the other farm shop I found, which although a bit more expensive, had some great choices on offer.
I bought beef and bone marrow burgers:
Bone marrow, being offal, is very nutritious.
It’s packed with collagen which has numerous health benefits – bone formation, heart health, joint health, organ health, and commonly used in the hope it wards off signs of ageing.
For those who’s dogs have joint issues or arthritis, you’ll be well aware of the benefits of glucosamine to reduce inflammation in joints. Bone marrow is a really good source of glucosamine as well.
Having been brought up in a new world of convenience foods I admit to the thought of bone marrow as “yucky”, even though it really isn’t. For me it makes eating this type of food harder, but thankfully bone marrow as part of a burger made life much easier!
The farm shop also sold beef and bone marrow mince, so that’s what my dog and cat had for dinner – raw of course.
Carnivore Diet Day #6
My sleep has been really bad all week, for whatever reason, but on the flipside I haven’t felt as lethargic during the days. It’s marginal, but at times I’ve felt a little more energetic, and the thought of taking the dog for a longer walk than usual has come with less resistance from the lazy part of my brain.
I had a Day 6 weigh-in which wasn’t what I expected, and I’ll get to that shortly.
After my weigh-in I faced one of the toughest challenges of the week – my wife wanted us to try the new Tapas menu at a nice restaurant nearby. My first reaction was not a chance, but the restaurant has a great sun-terrace and the weather was perfect. I reluctantly agreed, not knowing how I’d cope.
We picked 6 plates, doing our best to avoid carbohydrates. 2 of the 6 were potato and paella, so they were out. The other four were good choices – anchovies, beef, gambas (prawns), and chorizo.
I had all the anchovies bar one, most of the beef, and half the gambas. The chorizo was in a glazed honey sauce, so I limited myself to two small pieces. That was it.
Surprisingly, even though I hadn’t eaten much (you know how tiny Tapas dishes are?) I felt really full. That’s what’s been most surprising this week – I’ve eaten less, had barely any cravings for raiding the snack cupboard. I’ve pretty much had three carnivore meals a day and no snacks. And I’ve felt far more satiated than I can remember.
Cats as obligate carnivores eat to satiate. The only reason they get fat is because we feed them foods packed with carbohydrates, which they’re forced to eat to satiate on the insignificant animal proteins and fats.
Dogs aren’t much different, which you’ll know if you’ve fed your dog a big tasty piece of meat. That’s when they chill out completely it utter happiness.
And it’s clearly the same for us.
Carnivore Diet Day #7
I was going to write about how hard it is to get real foods in the supermarket, but we probably already know that? When you’re on a carnivore diet you really notice it – almost everything is processed, and even most meats are marinated in sugar.
I wanted to buy some beef jerky, and found some advertised as using “100% premium cuts”. On closer inspection sugar as the second ingredient was also more significant than you would imagine with twice the amount of carbohydrates from sugar than beef fat.
I left the supermarket with cooked prawns instead.
Anyway, Day 7! A whole week with zero carbohydrates! And I’m still alive and feeling absolutely fine.
My sleep has been terrible over the week, but other than that I’ve felt great. Hardly any munchies, and I’ve found myself feeling like I’m onto something! Will this diet really work? Will the same diet our cats and dogs thrive off really work on my omnivore self?
Time for a weigh in….
End of Week Weigh In: 90.5kg
Was it the few glasses of wine I forgot to mention?
Was it the fact my only real exercise for the week was a 20 minute jog?
My ex-bandmate Fireman and body builder friend brought me up on “calories in, calories out”, saying no diet will work without physical effort. So there I was thinking the carnivore diet would be an easy ride to looking good and feeling great.
Nevertheless, it’s still clear progress – I lost 2.5kg in a week!
I didn’t get scurvy either.
Carnivore Diet Week 1 Total Cost: $140
It’s amazing how much money you save when you don’t fill your trolley with biscuits, snacks, ever-expensive fruit and vegetables, juice, nuts, or whatever else.
On a carnivore diet most of a supermarket is a no go zone, and it makes shopping for food really simple and seemingly cheaper. $140 for the week seems pretty good considering how many kilos of meat and eggs I bought.
I visited two farm shops. The first cost me $60, and I was very surprised the weight of the carrier bag as I walked back to my car. The second farm shop was a little more at $80, but I still have a rib eye steak, unopened pack of streaky bacon, and 20 eggs left over!
My Carnivore Diet Diary Week #2
Weigh In: 88.8kg
Good news to start Week 2!
It’s a reminder I must weigh myself consistently, at regular intervals and times of day.
When I weighed myself the night before at 90.5kg I confess my heart sank a little, and I thought “All this dieting and no chocolate, and still over 90kg :/”.
In reality I’d just eaten half a kilo of pork, and drank a few pints of water over the afternoon. My bladder also seems to stay locked up until after I fall asleep, then wakes me up on the hour for the next three hours.
This is something I should monitor, but the result of my first week on a carnivore diet was a loss of 4.2kg give or take, or about 4.5% of my weight.
Carnivore Diet Day #8
I woke up not feeling hungry. I had a coffee instead, with milk. I know coffee isn’t an animal product, but it’s not an addiction I care to tackle. Besides, coffee is good for you, isn’t it?
It’s also a Monday morning, a work day, and that makes coffee a necessity.
After 2 hours of conference calls I went for Jog #2. It didn’t take much effort either. I felt like it.
The first half of the jog was even enjoyable – something I rarely say about exercise. Helped along with some ambient drum and bass I felt “zen”.
The second half of the jog I had to spur myself on with the “gallop” style of bass playing by Steve Harris and his Iron Maiden pals. I’m sure that shows my age, but Iron Maiden always proves to be the perfect motivational soundtrack for exercise I wish I wasn’t doing. I found myself thinking “I’d rather be eating cake”, but I’m sure that will always be true.
Usually after a jog I don’t feel great, but today I did. It felt much easier, and felt like more of an achievement.
Rib eye steak for lunch, and I should probably get Chat GPT to crank out a Week 2 Meal Plan, not that I religiously followed the previous meal plan.
Carnivore Diet Day #9, 10, & 11
I’m bunching these days together because (1) I’m surprised you’re still reading, and (2) I spent 3 whole days in an office for our quarterly “planning”. My day job, not Pet Food Reviews.
I knew this would be the hardest challenge so far, and challenges on a diet are unavoidable.
My work colleagues see this quarterly get together to bring in homemade and home baked food. The trouble for me is two of my work colleagues are very good cooks. Much better than a fancy restaurant.
Not only that, but three days in a boardroom with all this food right in front of me.
Amazingly, I made it.
Without carbs that is. I confess I consumed some protein of the plant kind.
Even when sandwiches came around at lunchtime I picked out some prawns, and some tuna, and threw the bread in the bin. I don’t like to waste food, and I love bread, but surprisingly on this diet I have zero cravings for bread – for gluten – so it’s been easy to throw it away.
Carnivore Diet Day #12
Bone broth breakfast. Delicious.
Fried liver for lunch. Delicious.
(Well, not as bad as my mind was telling me).
I cheated slightly today, but it was pre-mediated. It was Friday, and my wife and I agreed we would get Korean fried chicken (homecooked by a friend who runs a home business). Some carbs were consumed, but only the thin coating, but we need to treat ourselves occasionally, don’t we?
For the sake of completeness, the morning after I had the biggest poos of the fortnight.
Carnivore Diet Day #13
For a diet it’s been surprisingly easy having (almost) zero carbs. Not like other diets I’ve failed at in the past.
Let me explain why I think this is.
Firstly, diets usually suck. I enjoy food, so cutting out something I enjoy gets me all sad and depressed. What do you want to do when you’re sad and depressed? Yes, eat!
For a while I used a technique which worked. If I felt like a snack or cake, I wouldn’t deny myself. Instead I’d walk the 1km to the shop or bakery, have the treat, then walk back home. 2km walking somewhat balanced out the calories, and it was always an enjoyable walk.
Consider this – a regular diet may limit foods. Just say for lunch you have 2 crackers and a chunk of cheese. If you read about the rat experiment, you’ll note this is a combination of carbohydrates (sugar) and fat. The perfect combination to get you hankering for more, which is your worst nightmare on a diet.
Not with the carnivore diet though. You eat meat, you feel full. Simple.
Carnivore Diet Day #14
I made it two weeks!
I didn’t die, didn’t have ill effects, didn’t get scurvy, and didn’t have to poo through the head of a needle.
Apart from some disrupted sleep it went well. I lost weight, had more energy, better focus, less back pain, and generally felt far better than I have done for a long time.
Of course, having posted about my carnivore diet on social media I had a number of people tell me I’ll get scurvy or I’ll die if I don’t eat carbohydrates or plants.
It was these people who caused me to try the carnivore diet in the first place, and I’ll tell you why. On Quora I answered the question What would happen if you only ate meat?
I wrote about a friend who has been on a diet of mostly eggs and steak for a year. He has other foods too, including carbs, but his diet has become routine. His health and fitness, for a 45 year old office worker, has been astounding.
I didn’t expect the answer to go viral, but it did, with nearly 800 comments, over 6,000 upvotes, and 1.2 million viewers.
I read all the comments, and made a surprising observation:
A few people spoke of their turnaround in health on a carnivore diet, from illnesses such as diabetes to common aches and pains. Real stories, real positive feedback.
Lots of other people said he would die of scurvy.
I realised none of those people actually knew that. It’s merely what they had been told, and believed.
In a world where we feed our carnivorous pets grains baked into really hard nuggets which some veterinarians have found still whole when spewed up over 24 hours later, you have to wonder if the science is biased or funded by the food industry.
After all, many veterinarians – trusted professionals in the field – tell their clients they absolutely must feed those hard nuggets of grain to their pet carnivores, even when those animals have developed a diet-related health condition, very likely from the hard nuggets of grain they have been fed since puppyhood.
Two weeks on a carnivore diet – A summary
Thank you for reading my carnivore diet diary. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, have learned something, or it has inspired you in some form or other.
I want you to consider my key takeaway points:
- If I can feel so much better on a carnivore diet, as an omnivore, then imagine how your carnivorous pets really feel on the high-carbohydrate food you currently feed them, and how much better they would feel on a real species-appropriate diet? What would they say if they could speak?
- Processed food is everywhere, and it’s not good for us. Nevertheless, switching to real foods is still possible, and you can do it with only a little bit of effort.
- If you’re currently on a carnivore diet and believe beef and salt would do the trick. Think again. As a nutritionist of real carnivores, I strongly suggest you start adding organ meats, bone broth, cartilage, brains, and other real carnivore foods into your diet. If you can’t do that, you’ll likely risk your long term health.
Where to next? I want to flip the health food triangle, not restrict my diet to only animal
At the start of my carnivore diet I knew I wanted to reset my eating habits. Break free of any addictions to the processed junk which dominated 80%+ of the supermarkets.
In that respect, I’m succeeding.
But I never wanted to be full carnivore, and I expect it’s not the optimal diet for us as omnivores.
However, I expect food industry-led science and marketing has pulled so much wool over our eyes we completely overlook the importance of meat and natural foods. This is detrimental to our health, and we only need to look at the rapidly rising cases of diet-related disease to realise this.
For us individuals we can make a choice, and start bringing our diets back to more natural and healthy foods.
For me, 2 weeks on a carnivore diet proved cheaper because it was simpler. Simply cutting out all the unnecessary groceries and snacks saved $$$s.
Next week I will start reintroducing some vegetables, some fruit, and I see no issue with that. At this stage I have no issues with keeping carbs to an absolute minimum – and after these past two weeks I have no cravings for carbohydrates whatsoever.
I’m flipping the health food triangle on it’s head. That triangle we learned about as kids, with majority carbohydrates, moderate vegetables, and a tiny portion of meat.
Meat first, fruit and veg in moderation, carbs minimal.