Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


The Carnivore Diet

A Powerful Elimination Diet Intervention

With significant chronic disease and autoimmune illnesses continually on the rise, many are exploring alternative, holistic approaches to taking back their health.

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Nutrition and diet are often overlooked in the Western health and medicine space. With significantly different schools of thought propagating various nutritional ideologies, it’s become increasingly more difficult for individuals to find truly nourishing foods for achieving optimal wellness. Finding the proper diet can have a vast host of essential benefits and can even employ root-cause healing for many. Luckily, with the advent of the internet and shared community spaces, more and more people are taking the time to really research the power of diet. With tens of thousands of anecdotal accounts, extensive clinical experience, and recent scientific reports, the carnivore diet is being illuminated for its promising therapeutic value. 


From true root-cause healing to anti-inflammatory support alongside other medical conventions, the carnivore diet offers an incredible tool. Since we are all so bio-individual and there’s absolutely no one-size-fits-all diet, it’s important to really understand the nuances of this approach and the different ways one can implement this diet based on personal goals. Here is our comprehensive guide on the carnivore diet, its various applications, and how to get started.

What Is the Carnivore Diet?


The carnivore diet, also referred to as carnivore or the carnivorous way of eating, consists of eating only animals and avoiding all plants and grains. Unlike ketogenic and other low-carb diets, the carnivore diet is a true zero-carb or nearly zero-carb way of eating that focuses primarily on animal proteins and fats. There are different variations of the carnivore diet that are defined by differing restrictions and inclusions of certain foods. Understanding these various options can help individuals make a better-informed decision on what’s sustainable long-term and what approach is ideal for personal goals. 

The Benefits of the Carnivore Diet

A carnivorous diet can sound extreme, especially with everything we’re taught about nutrition and what we should be eating. Poorly executed epidemiology studies have falsely correlated meat consumption with chronic conditions – in these epidemiology studies, the individuals were never only eating meat. They were always eating highly processed foods alongside meat. A recent study has illuminated these flaws. There currently are ongoing studies on the carnivore diet but these results are yet to be reported. One survey study shows incredible data regarding the benefits experienced by individuals on a carnivore diet. A 2022 study shows a significant correlation between extended lifespan with increased meat intake. 


Based on our clinical practice, existing scientific data, and tens of thousands of anecdotal accounts, here are the benefits of the carnivore diet:

  • Minimize plant anti-nutrients: Plant anti-nutrients such as lectins, oxalates, and phytic acid can pose a host of issues when consumed regularly. Some individuals don’t tolerate these compounds and require removing them completely from their diet. Lectins are believed to play a role in autoimmunity and can contribute to digestive issues and leaky gut. Oxalate accumulation can lead to oxalate poisoning in addition to impairing biotin-dependent enzymes which can lead to candida overgrowth. Phytic acid is an antinutrient that binds to minerals so that the body is unable to absorb them- this plays a factor in why so many people are magnesium and zinc deficient. All of these anti-nutrients can be found on various levels across plant foods, grains, beans, nuts, and legumes.  
  • Avoid mycotoxins and aflatoxins: Mycotoxins refer to toxic mold particles. Certain foods including nuts, grains, coffee beans, spices, dried fruit, and more often contain mycotoxins since these crops are raised in warm, humid conditions and due to how they’re stored. Aflatoxins, a type of mycotoxin, are a poisonous carcinogen and are produced by certain molds. These are commonly found in nuts, grains, and similar foods as well as processed pet foods, seeds, and legumes.
  • Reduce glyphosate exposure: Glyphosate is a dangerous herbicide that’s found in 56% of genetically modified crops, non-organic conventionally raised plants and grains, as well as many breakfast cereals. There have been recent studies and lawsuits that have established glyphosate as a large contributor to cancer. More than 80% of urine samples taken for a US health study contained detectable glyphosate levels. While Monsanto and the EPA continue to state that the herbicide is unlikely to be harmful, many other organizations and scientists are proving otherwise.  
  • Reverse disease caused by excess sugar: The human craving for sugar is believed to be one of survival. Including sugar is fine when food is scarce and carbohydrates are only available locally and seasonally. However, in modern-day society, sugar craving is a critical player in all metabolic and modern-day diseases. We consume more sugar than our bodies are equipped to process. That’s why conditions such as diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. High consumption of fructose or glucose can also increase the body’s need for certain vitamins and minerals.   

carnivore diet for diabetes

  • Minimize carb intake: Did you know that both complex and simple carbohydrates get broken down into glucose (sugar) in the body? There are no essential carbohydrates needed in the body. Any glucose required can be created by the body innately without eating sugar or carbs. Carbs raise blood sugar and are also high in anti-nutrients. One study found that consuming refined carbohydrates led to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
  • Prevent fiber intake: Not all fiber is created equal and too much fiber can cause downstream effects. The Fiber Menace explains how the high fiber content of raw fruits and vegetables can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and flatulence. Fiber can also trigger symptoms in individuals with various IBDs and worsen conditions such as SIBO. It is also a form of carbohydrate and the body is incapable of breaking it down. Instead, gut bacteria are required for extracting nutrients and converting fiber into short-chain fatty acids. Conventional practitioners argue that fiber intake is required for nutrients including butyrate. However, butter has butyrate and your body is capable of producing a type of ketone called beta-hydroxy-butyrate.   
  • Avoid processed foods including harmful vegetable oils: Vegetable oils and seed oils, including canola (rapeseed), soybean, corn, sunflower, and more, are highly processed and cause inflammation. The toxic chemicals they release have been linked to cancer and disease. These can be found in most processed food products and are commonly used in restaurants around the world. Many processed foods containing these harmful vegetable and seed oils are usually high in carbohydrates as well, creating a deadly combination. Most oils, even olive oil and avocado oil, can oxidize in bottles as well. 
  • The most bioavailable nutrients: Meat offers the most bioavailable nutrients. If only eating plant-based, individuals will experience nutritional deficiencies without supplementation. Vitamins B12, D3, EPA, DHA, taurine, and creatine are not found in plant foods. Vitamins A, E, iron, and zinc are very low in plant foods. All of these nutrients are essential for optimal health and physiological function. In terms of protein, animal protein will always be superior when compared to plant protein. Plant protein and amino acids are less digestible and far less bioavailable than animal protein.            

carnivore diet meat vs plant bioavailability


Whether you’re interested in utilizing the carnivore diet for losing/gaining weight or looking for natural conventions for reversing certain chronic conditions, there are so many benefits that this way of eating can offer. Here’s how these factors offer health benefits:


carnivore diet benefits


When describing all the downstream benefits of a carnivore diet, it’s best to think of all the keto diet benefits to an exponential extreme. Then add some additional benefits such as little to no bloating and little to no sweet cravings. Some of the additional benefits reported are stable moods and zero cravings, which can help heal the toxic relationship that so many of us have with food. More restorative sleep is another benefit. Carnivores often have deeper sleep and require less sleep overall. Higher levels of testosterone boost libido, mood, and more. Another wonderful benefit is not needing to count calories or macros. It can be unbelievably freeing to be able to listen to your body and simply nourish it intuitively. It may take time for all these benefits to fall into place but trust the process. You may gain weight initially, especially if you’ve under-eaten or deprived your body of nutrients for a long time. But as you stick with the carnivore diet, your body will find homeostasis, your weight will stabilize and the benefits will follow. 


Learn more about some of the benefits of the carnivore diet here.  

Different Types of Carnivore Diets


carnivore diet variations


Not all zero-carb diets are considered carnivore. The carnivore space can be confusing for newcomers with different options to explore. Here’s the breakdown from the most restrictive option to some of the least:

beef only carnivore diet

The Beef-Only Carnivore Diet

The beef-only carnivore diet consists only of unprocessed beef, salt, and water. As the most restrictive form of the carnivore diet, many eat this way because of physical symptoms from eating other foods. This way of eating is perfect for starting an elimination protocol and slowly introducing foods one at a time.


  • Benefits: The beef-only carnivore diet is the perfect option for an elimination diet. Most people don’t have food sensitivities to meat, especially beef. The beef-only approach is also ideal for individuals with autoimmune conditions, chronic health conditions, and significant food sensitivities. Other ruminant animals such as lamb can contain higher collagen content, which can trigger histamine issues, making beef only a great approach.


  • Considerations: This variation is highly restrictive and is often only recommended for short-term or, in certain cases, long-term while healing. There are many carnivores that eat beef only for years and do well. However, we believe in including a variety of meat for optimal nutrient intake.  
lion diet

The Lion Diet

Coined by Mikhaila Peterson, the lion diet is the next most restrictive form of carnivore. It consists of eating only ruminant animals, salt, and water. Ruminants refer to a group of herbivore animals that have a four-chambered stomach. These animals break down plant nutrients through a specialized microbial process via their multiple stomachs, in turn, producing fewer plant anti-nutrients in the meat. Ruminants include cows, bison, elk, deer, lamb, goats, moose, sheep, camel, and giraffes. Non-ruminant animals including chicken and pork have a single-chambered stomach and aren’t able to break down plant anti-nutrients as well, and may cause sensitivities in those with autoimmunity and other conditions. 


  • Benefits: The lion diet is another great elimination diet that can be utilized by really sick individuals looking for symptom remission, individuals interested in gut and nervous system healing, as well as individuals investigating food sensitivities. The diet minimizes variabilities, helping individuals discover if diet intervention is enough for root-cause healing or if they need to continue looking for deeper causes such as CIRS.   


  • Considerations: It is restrictive and is often recommended as a starting point with plans for reintroducing other foods or as a temporary support for individuals on their path to root-cause healing. Highly-sensitive individuals may need to stick to grass-finished ruminant animals in the beginning until they’re able to tolerate grain-finished ruminants. Aged meat can also pose an issue for those with histamine intolerance, requiring unaged meat as they heal. More on grass vs. grain-finished meats and aged vs. unaged meats in a moment.  
nose to tail carnivore diet

The Nose-to-Tail Carnivore Diet

The nose-to-tail carnivore diet, also referred to as the ancestral diet or ancestral carnivore diet, mimics the way our ancestors’ way of eating. It includes muscle meat, organs, bones, and bone broth. In regards to fish, heads and roe (eggs) are included. This version of carnivore often does not include dairy, but raw milk and kefir can be common. Some will include honey and maple syrup.


  • Benefits: Some believe that the nose-to-tail carnivore diet is more nutrient-dense than other variations due to the inclusion of nose-to-tail eating. For those eating this way, it’s best to limit the number of organs eaten. Think of how our ancestors would eat after a successful hunt. The organs would be consumed first in one sitting but the muscle meat, fat, and bones account for most other meals until another successful hunt is completed.


  • Considerations: We do not advocate for including organs, especially liver and kidney, on the carnivore diet. If you’re craving these foods, try having them occasionally like our ancestors. We do not recommend the risk of eating liver and certain organs daily or even weekly as this can cause vitamin A toxicity for certain individuals. If you’re thriving from this type of diet, that’s great. If you aren’t, you may want to evaluate your organ meat intake.
zero carb carnivore diet

The Zero-Carb Carnivore Diet

The zero-carb carnivore diet consists of anything from the animal kingdom in addition to animal fats, eggs, and dairy. Tea and coffee may also be enjoyed as other beverage options depending on the individual’s preference or tolerance levels. While this diet is referred to as zero carb, it technically is nearly zero carbs as eggs, dairy, shellfish, organ meats, and some fish have trace levels of carbohydrates. Some individuals may include low-carb spices in this variation of the diet but this depends on preference, tolerance, and mold sensitivities. 


  • Benefits: Zero-carb carnivore can also work as an elimination diet but is less restrictive than beef-only carnivore and the Lion Diet. It’s an ideal option for both short-term elimination and reintroduction as well as a long-term way of eating. Being able to eat a variety of meats helps minimize nutrient deficiencies that individuals may experience when only eating ruminant animals long-term. There are also nutritional benefits from including eggs and dairy, if tolerated, in your diet.


  • Considerations: While there is more variety in this carnivore diet option, it’s important to make muscle meat and animal protein the main focus. Dairy should be considered as a side as including large amounts may trigger inflammation in some and can also lead to weight gain. This is very bio-individual and will require self-experimentation to discover the right amount of dairy to include for your lifestyle.
carnivore keto diet

The Carnivore Keto Diet

The carnivore keto diet, also known as keto carnivore or ketovore, is the middle-ground hybrid diet of the zero-carb carnivore diet and the keto diet. In addition to what’s already included in the zero-carb carnivore diet, this variation can also include healthy non-animal fats and oils and sugar-free alternatives. There is still no fiber included in this diet and some individuals may choose to include low to zero-carb seasonings. 


  • Benefits: The carnivore keto diet is primarily animal-based and may include non-animal oil options from avocado, olive, and coconut. Sugar-free alternatives such as stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol may also be included in recipes and beverages. This can provide more variety while helping individuals ensure no fiber is ingested and still offer all the nutrient density of a meat-based diet. 


  • Considerations: Sugar-free alternatives are often not tolerated by sensitive individuals or those with autoimmune issues. While sugar-free alternatives don’t usually affect glucose in the body, they can impact insulin levels and the gut microbiome. This carnivore diet variation is better suited for those tolerating these keto inclusions and are a bit more metabolically flexible. 
carnivoreish keto diet

The Carnivore-ish Keto Diet

The carnivore-ish keto diet primarily follows the carnivore keto diet but may also include some fibrous fruits, veggies, and nuts as well as unsweetened beverages. When choosing which plants to include, individuals often choose low to no-net-carb varieties including avocado and spinach. Unsweetened nut milk and flours such as almond may be used in baking recipes and drinks.


  • Benefits: The carnivore-ish keto diet has the most variety while focusing primarily on animal kingdom foods. This variation is ideal for those that are metabolically healthy and not sensitive to plant anti-nutrients. 


  • Considerations: We recommend checking glucose and ketone levels as well as getting bloodwork done for fasting insulin to see how these sugar-free options impact you. While we aren’t worried about glucose in isolation, glucose can cause insulin resistance which in turn can cause numerous metabolic and autoimmune issues. If you have struggled with sugar or carb addiction in the past, some find it best to avoid all sugar-free alternatives and sugar. This depends if you thrive as an abstainer or a moderator. We also don’t recommend the inclusion of nuts unless you tolerate them and understand the risks associated.  
the animal based diet

The Animal-Based Diet

The animal-based diet, propagated by Paul Saladino, is another carnivore diet variation. This variation includes meat, organs, raw dairy, honey, and fruit. Since fructose, a form of sugar, is included in this diet, it isn’t considered ketogenic. Instead, it avoids medium to high-toxicity plants and allows the inclusion of low-toxicity sweet and non-sweet fruits. 


  • Benefits: In our experience, this diet isn’t well-tolerated by individuals that have any metabolic dysfunction, have the goal of weight loss, sugar addiction issues, or have any existing health conditions. Elite athletes and healthy, athletic individuals tend to tolerate this diet best.


  • Considerations: Based on our clinical experience working with over 1000 carnivore diet-based clients, we don’t recommend this variation for a few reasons. While a nose-to-tail carnivore diet may offer some nutritional benefits, liver shouldn’t be included daily. Overconsuming liver has the capability of causing vitamin A toxicity. We’re also concerned with the downstream effects of including any type of sugar, especially when combining this with a meat-based diet. Both sugar and sugar-free alternatives can be quite triggering for individuals that experience mental and/or physical cravings.

How Do I Know Which Carnivore Diet Variation Is for Me?


carnivore diet variety


If you’re interested in trying the carnivore diet but aren’t sure which variation is right for you, here are a few factors to consider:


Personal Goals

If you’re coming from the Standard American Diet (SAD), it’s highly likely that you have leaky gut syndrome from ultra-processed foods, rancid seed oils, and even Western medications. The first three variations including beef-only carnivore, Lion Diet, and zero-carb carnivore are probably a better starting point to address this damage and help support gut healing. If you have autoimmune issues and/or chronic health conditions, it’s ideal to start with a more restrictive option such as the Lion Diet or beef only.  


If weight loss is your main priority, all of these carnivore diet variations except for the animal-based diet would be a great consideration. For more stubborn weight loss scenarios, the beef-only carnivore, Lion Diet, or zero-carb carnivore may be a better fit. 


For those exploring food sensitivities, it’s best to start with the cleanest, most restrictive option possible to help limit variations. This is only temporary as new foods are introduced through a thoughtful process.


Making sure you understand your intentions can better help you achieve your personal goals and guide you to the right diet for your specific needs.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals

Many people start the carnivore diet with the intention to only try it short-term but end up staying long-term due to the various experienced benefits. It can also be easier to commit to such a drastic diet change for shorter amounts of time, for instance, 30 days. Do some self-reflection in order to determine how to structure your goals. For some, it might be committing to zero-carb carnivore for 30 days while others may commit to the Lion Diet until they’re able to tolerate more variety with no set time limit. 

Consistency Over Perfection: Sustainability

When asked what’s the best carnivore diet by our clients, our answer is usually the one that’s most sustainable for you. While certain cases warrant a really strict approach, we believe that generally, you should eat the meats you like and can afford. Including a variety of meats is ideal in order to avoid any nutrient deficiencies that may be experienced when eating a beef-only diet long-term. While grass-finished ruminants will always be the ideal choice, life is about balance and finding good choices for long-term sustainability. Many people heal and thrive eating a carnivore diet that consists of conventional, less-ideal meat options. Consistency matters.  

Abstainer vs. Moderator

There are two different categories of people: abstainers and moderators. Abstainers thrive when they avoid something, such as sugar, as trying to moderate these choices can be a slippery slope back to poor eating habits. Moderators thrive knowing that they’re not fully restricted and can moderate their food choices instead of stopping the diet altogether when feeling deprived. Knowing which category you fall in is critical for deciding which carnivore diet variation will work for you long-term. 


carnivore diet abstainer vs moderator

How to Get Started On the Carnivore Diet

For those interested in starting the carnivore diet, here’s our comprehensive beginner’s guide:

What Should I Eat: The Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid

As a reminder, the carnivore diet will require tinkering with in order to fit your specific needs, goals, and personality type. However, these are the foods that are ideal: 


  • Ruminant and Non-Ruminant Meat: Ruminant and non-ruminant meat should be the primary food source. Prioritizing ruminants can help minimize certain concerns while offering a more satiating option.      
  • Dairy, Eggs, and Fish Roe: Consume these as part of your diet if you tolerate them. Many with dairy sensitivities may find that raw dairy is better tolerated than conventional, pasteurized dairy as its more nutrient-dense, can support gut healing, and has less histamine content. If you suffer from histamine intolerance, egg whites, and fish roe should be avoided with healing. Egg yolks are low in histamine but may not be tolerated in those with sensitivities.
  • Quality Salt + Dairy and Animal Fats: At the top of the pyramid, you’ll find high-quality mineral salt such as Redmond’s (use promo code NWJ for 15% off) along with fats from dairy and animals. If you don’t tolerate dairy, tallow (rendered beef fat) and other ruminant fats are a great place to start. Lard and duck fat may also be included if tolerated.

Processed Meats

In an ideal world, unprocessed meats are a better option since any meat that’s been processed is typically cooked in highly-inflammatory vegetable oils and may have added sugars. Plus, processed and aged meats will have a higher histamine content. If you’re trying the carnivore diet in order to eliminate your allergy and/or autoimmune symptoms, it’s best to remove foods with higher histamines while you heal. Unfortunately, this includes most dairy products.  


Processed foods can also have hidden ingredients that you’re trying to avoid. Food companies are allowed to list products with sugar serving sizes of less than one gram as zero. However, if the container has 30 servings, you end up consuming several grams of sugar. Whenever purchasing processed items, make sure to check the ingredients list. Since sugar can be classified under many names, make sure to read through this list here.  

Watch for Natural Flavors

Be wary of natural flavors listed in foods as manufacturers can actually use this as a legal smokescreen for a variety of harmful ingredients. MSG, stabilizing chemical agents, and other toxic ingredients can be included in products under the misleading ingredient list. Even if the ingredients list states singularly “natural flavor”, it can actually have up to 100 ingredients.      


Additionally, processed foods require preservation methods in order to have a long shelf life. Natural and artificial flavors are used to enhance flavors after the food is processed. It’s similar to how milk and foods are fortified with vitamins after the vitamins have been stripped during processing.

Crafting the Right Carnivore Diet for You

Diets should be individualized based on your goals, what you tolerate, and what’s sustainable for your both short-term and long-term. While many carnivores gravitate more to beef due to its high nutrients and satiety, in our experience, some fare better on other meats including chicken or fish. There can be a lot of dogma in this space and opinions on the best way to do the carnivore diet, but ultimately you should take the time to experiment and do what’s best for you.

The Benefits of Ruminant Animals for the Carnivore Diet


benefits of red meat carnivore diet


As mentioned above, ruminants refer to animals that have a unique digestive system different than our own. Instead of one compartment to the stomach, they have four. Of the four compartments, the rumen is the largest section and the main digestive center. Ruminant meat includes beef, bison, lamb, sheep, goat, elk, deer, moose, and more. Those that have a lot of food sensitivities can generally tolerate beef and other ruminants. It’s very rare to have sensitivities to beef, but it is possible.


Another benefit is that ruminant meat is much more satiating than other meat varieties. You’ll find that most people on the carnivore diet make beef, lamb, elk, and other ruminants the center of their diet.

Important Tips for the Carnivore Diet

We recommend committing at least 100 days, but if this isn’t possible, try committing to at least 30 days. Here are some essential tips for starting the carnivore diet:

Prioritize Electrolytes

When transitioning to the carnivore diet, you may experience the “low carb flu” or “keto flu”. It’s important to watch your electrolytes through this transition especially but also throughout the diet itself. With less to no carbs, the body doesn’t hang onto electrolytes as well. This means you’ll need to supplement electrolytes and additional high-quality salt.  


Daily electrolytes:

  • 8 oz water + ¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or Redmond’s mineral salt
  • Magnesium spray
  • Most people need potassium – we recommend 300mg to 500mg to start


Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, that’s why we recommend a topical spray. When topical, there’s no maximum dose so you can use this throughout the day and/or right before bed. Magnesium can help regulate sleep quality so before bed is often an ideal time to apply it.


Sole water is another great alternative for saltwater and can be enjoyed once or multiple times throughout the day depending on how active you are. Make sure to prioritize salt when starting the diet until your body adapts and finds homeostasis. 

Counting Calories

Counting calories or macros long-term isn’t required for this diet. More on this in the carnivore diet macros section below. Eat when hungry. Most people eat one to two meals a day and naturally intermittent fast on the carnivore diet. However, three meals are also acceptable– this all depends on your preference and what your body intuitively needs. If you eat too much lean meat, you may feel hungry after meals. Up your fat intake. Rendered fat is the most difficult type of fat to digest so avoid this form of fat while healing. If higher fat leads to loose stools, consider supports while your gallbladder adjusts and you heal. 


During the transition period, make sure to drink plenty of water and watch your electrolytes. Drinking sole water or an unflavored electrolyte option from Redmond’s can help with hydration. Sole water is simply saltwater that’s generally left overnight in order to allow the saturation of natural salt within the water. Making sure you include enough salt is critical for proper hydration. The general rule of thumb for water intake is half the ounces of water for your body weight and one and a half to two ounces of water for every ounce of diuretics you drink (eg coffee or tea). Staying hydrated is important for proper digestion and avoiding constipation.


Try to avoid chugging water in one setting in order to minimize the stress placed on the kidneys. Slow and steady throughout the day is ideal. Also, limiting water consumption 30 minutes before and after meals can help with better digestion as you’re not diluting your stomach acids.

Vegetable Oils and Cooking

As mentioned before, vegetable oils are toxic and best avoided. They can be difficult to avoid when eating out but try to avoid them as they’re inflammatory and cell-damaging. Cook with animal fats and butter instead. 

While some say cooking beef on the rarer side helps preserve nutrients, the best way to cook your meat should be based on your preference and tolerance. Some individuals have significant histamine sensitivities that may require preparing meat medium-well or well-done. Play around with this to see what your body and taste buds enjoy most. 

Cell Regeneration

Be patient with healing. We didn’t get sick overnight. These cells show that everything takes time to heal. Stop focusing on the overnight wonders. There’s probably more to their healing journey. Stop comparing. Focus on your healing journey.


carnivore diet fasting cell regeneration

The Power of Bone Broth


carnivore diet bone broth


Bone broth can be a great staple in the carnivore diet. For those looking for an alternative to their morning coffee or tea, try starting the day with a cup of bone broth. You can add heavy cream or butter if tolerated. This can offer a bit of an energy boost. If you’re experiencing loose stools when starting the diet, you can also try including bone broth. Here’s a link to our Gut Healing Nutrient-Dense Bone Broth Guide. Bone broth is an incredible source of collagen and gelatin. Collagen is critical for skin rejuvenation, strong bones, digestive and gut health, and connective tissue health. High-quality bone broth should contain most of the essential and nonessential amino acids, essential vitamins, and essential minerals.


Be aware that not everyone can tolerate bone broth when starting the carnivore diet. If you have any gut dysbiosis, candida, or histamine intolerance, it’s best to stick to meat broth only as you heal.

The Benefits of Meat Variety On a Carnivore Diet

Ruminant animals, especially beef, are highly prized on a carnivore diet for many reasons. Those able to start with a beef-only or Lion Diet are able to sustain themselves long-term as they heal without the risk of nutrient or mineral deficiencies. We’ve discussed the many benefits of centering your diet around ruminants, but what about other meat and animal kingdom options? If and once tolerated, we always recommend eating a variety of meat and eggs due to their unique nutritional values.



carnivore diet eggs


Eggs are nature’s perfect food. Make sure to eat the yolk as it houses most of the nutrients. Some individuals may not be able to tolerate chicken eggs but may be able to eat other types of poultry eggs such as duck and quail. Many that have food sensitivities from the protein in chicken eggs generally have fewer sensitivities with other poultry eggs. For those with histamine intolerance, try eating the yolk only as the whites are higher in histamine content. Whole quail eggs are also considered a low-histamine option.


carnivore diet chicken


If starting from a ruminant or beef-only carnivore diet, we always recommend reintroducing the highest-quality poultry available. Look for pasture-raised and ideally soy and corn-free poultry to start. Those with autoimmune issues and other health conditions can react to conventional chicken and turkey that’s supplemented with soy and corn. If you’re able to tolerate this quality of chicken or turkey, you can then try conventional chicken next. We offer an in-depth approach for reintroducing foods for those utilizing the carnivore diet an elimination diet tool in Judy’s book The Carnivore Cure.


There are some who argue that chicken and pork should be avoided due to their monogastric stomachs and conventional grain feed supplementation. However, all poultry offers important nutrients. For instance, chicken wings are a great source of protein, B vitamins, and also contain the same amount of monounsaturated fats as olive oil. Chicken wings have almost all the essential vitamins and minerals. Dark chicken meat is richer in nutrients than white meat, containing higher iron and zinc.


carnivore diet pork


The same argument goes for pork. When reintroducing, look for pastured, organic pork with an ideal diet that’s corn and soy free. Pork can be a bit higher in histamine than other meats even when fresh or flash-frozen immediately after slaughter. While generally pork with these considerations is well tolerated, be mindful of any histamine reactions for those with histamine intolerance.


We always enjoy recommending pork belly over bacon. Pork belly is uncured, unsmoked, and doesn’t have the additives that bacon has. It’s the perfect food for a moderate-protein, high-fat diet. Pork belly is an excellent source of vitamin B12, has measurable amounts of vitamin C, and also contains more thiamin than ribeyes or chicken wings. Thiamin is required for the breakdown of fats and proteins and also supports maintaining muscle tone in the digestive tract walls.


carnivore diet salmon


There can be some concerns with including fish due to potential mercury content, fish farming practices, and general toxins found from ocean pollution. In our clinical practice, we have patients that eat salmon every day and don’t have issues with heavy metals or mercury toxicity. Ideally, fatty fish should be consumed two to three times a week. Minimize smaller fish intake such as sardines and opt for wild-caught fish for higher nutrient density and reduced risk of poor farming practices.


Including fatty fish in your diet can offer essential omega-3s for those that eat mainly conventional grain-finished beef. Salmon is high in omega-3s and is also rich in B vitamins, selenium, and biotin, and also contains trace amounts of nearly every essential vitamin and mineral including vitamin C. Salmon features antioxidants such as astaxanthin which work with omega-3s to protect the brain and nervous system from oxidation.

Carnivore Diet Macros


carnivore diet macro


When first starting the diet, you may want to track your macros until you’re able to intuitively find the right fat-to-protein ratio for you.


  • Start with 0.8 gram – 1.0 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight with 75% total fat in calories.
    • If you can’t tolerate fat, start a gut healing protocol and liver/gallbladder support
      • If you’re unable to get fat adapted after a couple of months, there could be a deeper root cause issue such as CIRS
    • If you’re unable to eat this without blood sugar issues, there’s a root cause that requires healing (eg insulin resistance)
    • If you can’t eat this without gaining weight, consider reverse dieting, fasting, protein-sparing modified fast diet (PSMF), or exercise
      • Wait on these levers – make sure you’re allowing adequate time for your body to adjust to this new way of eating
  • Don’t shy away from moderate protein. You don’t want to lose muscle, longevity, and risk thyroid health 
  • If your hormones are imbalanced, consider more fat intake, reducing stress, and mineral balancing
  • Blood sugar is affected by stress, coffee, exercise, and other factors, not just protein – pay attention to other variables
  • Only track blood sugar in the beginning to help guide you but this isn’t required for long-term 


Variabilities With Fat and Protein Ratios

Some individuals don’t do as well with saturated fats. It’s rare but there are certain genes that might not have the capability to tolerate these fats as much. One of these genes is the APOE4 gene. While not all that have this gene will experience the same issue with saturated fats, for some, the fats may be stored in the blood longer. If you’re curious about the other genes that fall into this category, contact our team for more information. Getting bloodwork done when starting a new diet is always a good idea but not required. It’s ideal to have bloodwork done before starting the diet and three to six months after starting the carnivore diet. 


In rare cases, some individuals aren’t able to tolerate the one gram of protein per pound of desired body weight. In other cases, some individuals aren’t able to tolerate starting a diet with higher fat ratios. If you’re coming from a very lean diet, it can take time for the gallbladder to adapt. If your blood sugar spikes after a meat-based meal, split up your meals. Blood glucose and insulin balance will improve over time as you heal on this diet. 


We always recommend tracking your progress in the beginning temporarily to see what is and isn’t working for you. Track meals to ensure you’re eating enough. Track your mood, stools, sleep, bowel movements, and symptoms to get a better understanding of how you’re adapting. 


Sample Carnivore Diet Macros

Here are some sample carnivore diet macros to help get you started:

Sample Macros 1

This is an example of one day of eating for an individual with a desired weight of 130 pounds. The meal represented should be a minimum of what’s eaten daily.  



Sample Macros 2

This is another example of one day of eating for an individual with a desired weight of 130 pounds. Make sure to eat at least this much and listen to your body. You don’t want to undereat as undereating can cause hormone imbalance and impact health.


Frequently Asked Questions About the Carnivore Diet

Here are some common questions that come up from our clients and people in the community interested in trying the carnivore diet:


carnivore diet what to eat

Do You Need to Include Organs On a Carnivore Diet?

Organs undoubtedly have a lot of nutritional value. However, we no longer recommend liver or kidney on a carnivore diet due to the risks of vitamin A toxicity. Learn more about these risks here. Eating even one ounce of liver or cod liver oil daily can cause risks of vitamin A toxicity as well as excess copper, chromium, and iron. We recommend trying fish eggs, such as salmon roe, instead as these are also considered nutrient powerhouses but without the risk. Eat organs occasionally if you tolerate them and desire to, but not out of necessity. 

Is Grass-Finished Beef Better Than Grain-Finished Beef?

In a perfect world, it is ideal to eat grass-finished beef over grain-finished beef. Grass-finished beef is higher in omega-3s and will have fewer anti-nutrients and potential pesticide exposure from grains that are fed to conventional beef. However, grass-finished meat isn’t accessible to everyone as the highest-quality option is reflected in this pricing. We always recommend eating the meat that makes you feel the best and the meat that you can afford. You can absolutely still heal and thrive eating conventional beef and meat. 


For those with autoimmune issues or histamine intolerance, grass-finished beef may be the only option you’re able to tolerate. Opt for this quality while you heal until you’re able to tolerate conventional grain-finished beef. 

Why Isn’t Fruit Recommended On a Carnivore Diet?

Fructose, the main carbohydrate found in fruit and honey, bypasses the body and penetrates the liver– the only organ that’s capable of absorbing it. High consumption of fructose can increase the body’s requirement for certain vitamins and minerals. Excess fructose can become fat in the liver, damaging it and leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fruit will also contain some glucose. Glucose can be easily measured by bloodwork but that’s not the case for fructose. Fructose won’t initially raise blood sugars so glucose blood monitors aren’t a reliable measure. Even if your blood glucose levels aren’t spiking, you might be getting too much fructose in your liver. Imagine what all that fructose does to your three-pound liver, which also has to store glucose, detox toxins, and perform a thousand other roles.  

Do You Need to Supplement or Take Vitamins On the Carnivore Diet?

In terms of vitamin supplementation, this is not required on the carnivore diet. Did you know that a ribeye steak has nearly all the essential minerals and vitamins the human body needs? It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in addition to choline. If you eat ribeyes with eggs and fish, this will cover your daily value of vitamins and minerals.  


carnivore diet ribeye macros


When starting the diet, some individuals may require taking hydrochloric acid (betaine HCI or stomach acid) supplements and/or fat support including ox bile or lipase. Low stomach acid is more common than you can imagine and is a side effect of age, stress, vitamin deficiency, medications, H. Pylori, and surgery. If you have symptoms of bloating, burping, gas, indigestion, and diarrhea when starting the carnivore diet, you may require temporary hydrochloric acid supplementation, such as Betaine Plus or Hydro-Zyme, as your body adjusts and heals. If you’re considering a hydrochloric acid supplement, make sure you’re not taking any NSAIDs as the combination can damage the gut lining. 

Isn’t Meat Bad for the Environment?

In terms of the environment, it’s true that the meat industry can have better practices in terms of factory feed-lot farms but grass-fed meat is different, especially in terms of methane emissions. We also need cows to generate our soil. Regenerative agriculture is key to having continuous soil to plant on. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years due to soil erosion.


That means that our foods are becoming less nutrient-dense because of farming practices and the degenerative effects on our soil. These farming practices are because of plant foods that require mono-crop agriculture, not animal foods. This is another driving factor for nutrient deficiencies experienced by those not on a carnivore diet.


If sustainability is a key concern for your diet choices, opt for supporting your local ranchers or purchasing from regenerative farms such as White Oak Pastures.

What About Vitamin C?

The USDA says that meat doesn’t contain vitamin C. However, it does. If you go back to the source, the USDA states that they don’t measure for vitamin C when assumed it has none. Also, when consuming a low-carb diet, your need for vitamin C is lessened. That’s because glucose and vitamin C use the same receptors and so without glucose in the body, the same receptors for vitamin C won’t have to fight off glucose from the bloodstream in order to nourish the rest of the body.


Additionally, pork belly, salmon, salmon roe, and other meats have vitamin C. In fact, six ounces of salmon will give you about seven percent of your daily value of vitamin C. Don’t worry, you won’t get scurvy. There are carnivores that have been eating this way for over 10-20 years and there haven’t been any reports of scurvy yet. Learn more about the nuances behind vitamin C and the carnivore diet here.

Can Individuals With Histamine Intolerance Eat a Carnivore Diet?

Individuals with histamine intolerance not only can eat a carnivore diet but also can benefit from the gut-healing benefits of this way of eating. One of the root causes of histamine intolerance is severely impacted gut function. If you’re still digging deeper for the root cause (eg mold illness), a carnivore diet can be a great anti-inflammatory approach for helping you on your healing journey. There are special considerations for those with histamine intolerance when eating carnivore– you’ll need to avoid processed meat including sausage and jerky. For those with more significant histamine issues, you may need to source unaged meat. Meat quickly develops more histamines the longer it’s refrigerated or at room temperature. It must be frozen in order to stop its histamine content from increasing. 


Other foods you may need to avoid include egg whites, organ meats, fish eggs, and bone broth. For those with severe histamine issues, you may need to also temporarily limit foods high in collagen, glutamine, and glycosaminoglycans. 

Isn’t Dairy Inflammatory?

Dairy can be inflammatory but this is very bio-individual. Many people feel better when they eliminate dairy. Generally, dairy can have a place in the carnivore diet but shouldn’t be the main course of any meal. Pasteurized and low-fat dairy are not ideal options. We always recommend full-fat and raw dairy if possible. Those with sensitivities may find that they tolerate raw dairy better than conventional pasteurized.

Isn’t a High Cholesterol Diet Bad for Your Health?

As of 2015, there is no longer an upper limit from the USDA for cholesterol and dietary fat. Heart disease was rare before the 20th century, yet today, an estimated 17 million people globally die from cardiovascular heart disease every year. The body requires cholesterol. 25% of all cholesterol is in the brain, making the brain 60% fat. If the body has too little cholesterol, it will die. More than 80% of the cholesterol in the body is made by the liver and not from food consumed.


The body needs cholesterol to support muscle repair and other cell functions. That’s why increased cholesterol levels are present when there’s cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol isn’t there causing further damage but plays a vital role alongside other nutrients to combat these issues. Good dietary fats and cholesterol don’t cause atherosclerosis. It’s caused by chronic, out-of-control inflammation from metabolic syndrome due to poor food and lifestyle choices. High LDL markers don’t matter in isolation. If LDL is high but HDL is also high, the risk of cardiovascular events lessens.

Is There An Adaptation Period for the Carnivore Diet?


carnivore diet transition


You may have heard the terms “low carb flu” or “keto flu”. The symptoms experienced during this adaptation period are the body’s natural response to carbohydrate and fiber restriction as well as the elimination of addictive agents, chemicals, and plant anti-nutrients such as oxalates. These symptoms can include chills, headache, brain fog, GI issues, irritability, bad smell, bad breath, dry mouth, cravings, rapid heart rate, insomnia, night sweats, and nocturia, as well as decreased performance, energy, and drive. 


The main drivers for these temporary symptoms are: 


  • Fluid rebalancing: As insulin levels drop from eating fewer carbs, the kidneys naturally release sodium from the body. Weight loss from water loss can be common from this.
  • Sugar-to-fat transition: As your body adjusts to ketosis, it will begin burning fat for energy rather than sugar. The severity of your symptoms caused from this driver will be based on what diet you’re coming from and your metabolic health. Going from SAD to carnivore will result in more symptoms than transitioning from a keto or paleo diet. 
  • Hormone rebalancing: Cortisol levels can increase during the transition as the body looks for sugar. Other hormones can also react, causing withdrawal symptoms from certain foods and sugar. 


During this adaptation period, be mentally prepared for the potential symptoms you experience and know that it’s only temporary. For most people, these symptoms last between one to two weeks. For really sick individuals, it can last longer and require additional supports and guidance to help with the transition.


Make sure you’re eating enough meat– it’s better to overeat than undereat as your body is probably deprived of many nutrients, especially if you’re coming from a highly-processed diet.


There are also supplements you can take temporarily to help with your body’s transition to the carnivore diet. 


  • Hydrochloric Acid (HCl): Many Americans suffer from low stomach acids. This can be a result of various lifestyle factors, medications such as PPIs, chronic conditions, and more. HCl is a great supplement for ensuring proper digestion of the proteins and fats found in the carnivore diet.
  • Ox Bile: Temporary fat supports may also be needed, especially for those transitioning from a low-fat diet. Ox bile can help support fat digestion while your gallbladder adapts to a higher-fat diet.
  • Immunoglobulins and Probiotics: For individuals who need toxin removal and healthy gut barrier function support, immunoglobulins and spore-based probiotics can also be great options to explore for helping with the transition to the carnivore diet.

Lifestyle Considerations for the Carnivore Diet

There are some additional lifestyle considerations that may help support some of the healing benefits of the carnivore diet:


Intermittent Fasting



The carnivore diet tends to naturally bring individuals to one meal a day (OMAD) or two meals a day (TWOMAD). While unintentional, this often mirrors intermittent fasting. Implementing intentional intermittent fasting can help with possible binge tendencies at night while ensuring your body enjoys the consistent benefits of this practice. However, it’s important to know yourself and if you’re using fasting as a tool to compensate. This can be a dangerous cycle to be in. 

Extended Fasting


carnivore diet weight loss fasting


We believe that extended fasting can be ideal for most individuals, including those looking for weight loss. We aim to do an extended fast once a year for five to seven days to help with cell cleanup. While the carnivore diet can heal many things, simply allowing your digestive system to rest and repair can be beneficial for everyone. Extended fasts offer autophagy and other benefits. It may help with certain health conditions and insulin resistance. While the carnivore diet can lower insulin and glucose levels, fasting ultimately helps with insulin sensitivity

Stress Management


carnivore diet stress management


It’s critical to find effective stress management tools. If not, it can cause weight gain in addition to wreaking havoc on mental and physical health. Too much cortisol also leads to nutrient deficiencies and endocrine dysfunction. Learn more about the impact of stress on hormones here.


Social Preparation

There’s an incredible online community of carnivores– take advantage of this support, you are not alone in this. Be prepared for social situations and eating out. Remember why you’re pursuing this way of eating and mentally prepare for how your loved ones may react. Ultimately, you’re doing this for your health and your opinion is the only one that counts.  


For more leading tips on how to start the carnivore diet, you can learn more in our Beginner Carnivore articles here.

Work With Our Trusted Carnivore Diet Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners

The Nutrition with Judy practice is honored to be a trusted carnivore diet practitioner support serving clients from around the globe. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve root-cause healing in order to lead the best quality of life possible that’s nearly symptom-free. Our team is dedicated to educating our community about the incredible benefits of the carnivore diet. We welcome you to explore our free resources and are always available to support you through personalized protocols. Our Symptom Burden Assessment (SBA) is the perfect starting point for discovering your root cause and is required to work with our team— you can learn more in-depth about this powerful tool here.

Join the CarnivoreHard75 Challenge if you’re interested in community and more structured guidance. 

Start your root-cause healing journey today and contact us any time with any questions or concerns.


DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational purposes only. While we are board-certified in holistic nutrition and are nutritional therapy practitioners, we are not providing medical advice. Whenever you start a new diet or protocol, always consult with your trusted practitioner first.