Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


The Nutritionist’s Guide to the Carnivore Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

The Nutritionist’s Guide to the Carnivore Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

I have been on the carnivore diet for over a year now and while the diet (or what we call the carnivorous way of eating) has become increasingly popular, thanks to the likes of Dr. Shawn BakerMikhaila Peterson and longtime carnivores such as Amber O’Hearn there isn’t much succinct information out there to help curious folks easily get started (at the time of article print, September 2018).


Before we get started, let me throw in some the legal disclaimers: While I am a nutritional therapy practitioner and provide nutritional support, I am not providing medical advice. Any information provided in regards to nutritional therapy should not be considered medical advice or treatment. While I do partner with physicians to provide holistic nutrition and lifestyle support, whenever you start a new diet, always consult your primary care physician and/or holistic team.


So here’s to paying it forward.


Part 1:  What Exactly Is the Zero Carb Carnivore Way of Eating?

When I first started carnivore, I wasn’t sure how to begin. I knew that a low carb high fat, ketogenic (keto) diet had helped me tremendously with many physical and mental ailments but I was still struggling with cravings (diet soda!) and inflammation, to name a few. I heard a little about the meat only diet but what exactly is it?


How much do you eat?


What do you eat and when?


Do you follow the diet only while you heal and/or optimize health?


Does the diet only work as a lifestyle?



The zero carb carnivore or carnivore diet is often times thought of as the perfect elimination diet since most of us do not suffer any ailments from eating meat, especially beef. Some of us start carnivore because of weight stalls or other ailments that Keto or some other diet was not able to completely heal.


We start the diet by eating only what is part of the animal kingdom. Some carnivores simplify down to eating beef and water only.


As an elimination protocol, you can slowly reintroduce foods, one at a time. (How to reintroduce foods is discussed later.)


But over time, most people love the way they feel (including myself) and make it a lifestyle change. If you think about it, carnivores are willing to “give up” everything but meat.


It seems a little extreme but maybe it’s because we really do feel THAT much better.


Better enough to eat meat, every meal, all meals, all the time.


Carnivore may not be the best diet for everyone but anecdotally, I have felt my best on carnivore than a year on Keto and for 12 years as a vegetarian with fish (Pescatarian diet).


It really is a simple diet: eat meat and drink water.


Animal kingdom only. Eat to satiety.


Part 2: Let’s Be Clear on the Different Zero Carb Diets — Not All Are Carnivore


carnivore diet variety


Strict zero carb carnivores do not believe the right two columns are considered carnivore. But for the sake of distinguishing zero carb carnivore for what it is, they are depicted as zero carb diet-alternative comparisons.


This topic was confusing when first starting carnivore. What can and can’t I eat? This topic screamed for a visual.




So simple, right?


In this discussion, we are focusing on Zero Carb Carnivore (left column).


Zero Carb Carnivore 

The Zero Carb Carnivore way of eating has mostly zero carbohydrates. I say mostly, because eggs, dairy and some fish have trace carbs. Organ meats and shellfish contain carbs.


Carnivore Keto or Keto Carnivore

“Carnivore Keto” is almost zero carbs, because of counting carbs as net carbs and then the sum, equaling out to zero. Carbs — Fiber = Net Carbs.


Carnivore Keto or Keto Carnivore is a middle-ground hybrid diet of the Zero Carb Carnivore diet and the Keto diet. It allows for healthy non-animal oils and fats, like olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil and avocado oil (as all are zero carbs). The diet also allows for fibrous veggies like spinach, kale and the highly-coveted, avocado (all have low to no net carbs). Unsweetened almond milk is sometimes used in baking and drinks.


There are other keto foods that some consume as this is really a hybrid diet. It really is a, to each their own version of a zero carb diet. Touché.


Zero Carb Keto

Zero Carb Keto is the Carnivore Keto Diet, with the addition of alternative sweeteners, such as stevia and erythritol. These sugar-free options show as zero carbohydrates on nutritional labels.


While they may not always affect glucose in the body, they do have an impact on insulin. Sweeteners are known to affect the flora in the gut biome. But that’s a discussion for another day.


To see how these sugar-free options affect you, I recommend checking glucose and ketone levels, as well as getting blood work done for fasting insulin.


We are not worried about glucose, in isolation, but how glucose can cause insulin resistance and the slew of metabolic and autoimmune issues that arise from insulin resistance. Some do fine with sugar-free alternatives but on my Keto stint, I replaced sweets with liters of diet sodas and fat bombs laced with erythritol. My cravings never went away. If you still have cravings, weeks into carnivore, I’d suspect sugar-free foods.



As soon as I cut diet soda and all sugar-free foods, my cravings were gone and my moods became very even.


I never physically crave sweets or carbs but when I am very stressed and sleep deprived, my mental cravings (food habits) come back. Food has always been my “drug” of choice. I have always used food as my way of coping and I am very mindful of this.


This is where integrating self-introspection and even therapy can be critical for true freedom. Self-awareness and knowing yourself is invaluable. No one will understand your triggers and what may set you off emotionally, then you.


I, personally, am continuously working to create non-food neural pathways to deal with stress and sleep deprivation.


Spending some quality time and figuring out your triggers and emotional hot spots can really support any dietary and lifestyle changes for the long run. Get to you know your self. You may come to really like what you find.


‍Be your best by prioritizing nutrient-dense foods first but stress and sleep management should come as a close second (among the many other lifestyle factors).


Part 3: The Carnivore Food Pyramid

If Carnivores are not following the USDA’s food pyramid for the Standard American Diet (SAD) food recommendations, then we need our own carnivore food pyramid.



Let’s get into some of the foods that are ideal on the carnivore diet.


Enjoying this guide? Get the full 10 part, 101-page guide today!


If you are enjoying this, make sure to get the newly updated 10  part, 101-page Nutritionist’s Guide to Carnivore.


You will get access to 101-pages of Nutrition with Judy new and newly updated infographics and easy-to-digest meat-based content.


This guide will help you successfully start a meat-based diet with lifestyle tips, such as fasting and stress management.


Make sure to get your copy today!


You can learn more here.

Nutrition with Judy


  • Manny
    January 3, 2020 at 8:01 am

    Great Info! Very well executed!

  • bionaze
    May 21, 2020 at 5:03 am

    This guide will be very helpful. We really need to know if which food is healthy for us now.

    • Nutrition with Judy
      September 4, 2020 at 1:30 am

      Thank you! ♥️

  • Jana Irgang
    August 27, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    I find it difficult that no one, in recommending the Carnivore diet ever touches on the fact that we need to add sufficient FAT to each meal. It shows all the basic things to eat and mentions fat but doesn’t give specific knowledge or instruction on how important the addition of fat is. I’ve basically been carnivore for over a year and still struggle with this problem.

    • Nutrition with Judy
      September 4, 2020 at 1:16 am

      I talk about fat and fat macros in detail in my upcoming carnivore cure book and in many, many youtube videos (and instagram/facebook posts). I agree, for women, we need to ensure we are eating sufficient amounts of fat.

  • Judy Howson
    November 4, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Hi Judy,

    A few minutes ago I filled out my email address & name to receive the 8 part booklet on The Nutritionist’s Guide to the Carnivore Diet. I have at this time only received an email asking me to confirm my email which I did. I checked my Spam folder not in there. Does it usually take this long to come into my inbox?
    Thank you,
    Judy Howson

    • Judy Cho
      November 5, 2020 at 1:04 am

      We sent the guides! Hope you enjoy them. Apologies for the technical issue.

  • xsimplex
    August 12, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Keeping up with the lifestyle habits above is the best solution, rather than relying on claims on a label.

  • Mariam A
    April 2, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    Why is it so difficult to find a paper copy of the Carnivore Cure (new, used or library copy)? Very frustrating, especially since not even this website offers a .PDF version to download. I would pay for it, even though I’ve already paid for a Kindle copy and a Google copy (thinking I would be able to print it–not).

  • Rubita
    July 29, 2023 at 8:30 pm

    I’m a supporter of carnivore in theory, but in practice, it’s very difficult for me to tolerate. I can’t stand fat in or on meat, and I also don’t like ruminant animal flesh. I don’t like organ meats either. The only way I can tolerate beef is in ground beef. Same with lamb, though I’m not a big fan. I grew up eating all this, but as I got older, my tastes drastically changed. I can no longer stand most red meat. I only like fish and poultry. I’ve tried forcing myself to eat ruminant carnivore anyway, for the past month and just can’t stand it any more. I want to throw up when I see steak. And my sweet cravings never did go away. So I’ve eaten raspberries to keep myself from eating chocolate. I’m thinking a “ketovore” diet with fish and poultry is the only way I will be able to keep eating animal based. Any advice for people like me? Thank you!

    • Debra Bradley
      September 22, 2023 at 1:41 pm

      I am the same way, in a way, because I know that I need to eat the organ meats & fat, but I’ve dealt with body dysmorphia and obesity all my life, so naturally, my brain always says, “NO FAT!” to the fatty stuff, and absolutely NO, NADA, NIEN to organ meats!!!!! So I’m just gonna try my best to do the Carnivore diet without eating organ meats. I did Keto while also being a Vegetarian, & I only lasted with the Keto for about 2 months or so, because I literally felt like I was starving to death. I’m gonna give the Carnivore a go, and see how I do. I’ve gotta get this extra 50lbs. off, so this is the only diet I haven’t tried yet. Hope you have success with theKetovore!!

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