Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


Should Seafood Be a Part of My Carnivore Diet?

Should Seafood Be a Part of My Carnivore Diet?

In our holistic wellness practice, we often address the concerns and misconceptions surrounding the inclusion of seafood in a carnivore diet. Many individuals are hesitant to incorporate seafood, fearing potential risks from farming practices and the sourcing of wild-caught options. However, it’s essential to highlight the importance and benefits of seafood within a carnivore diet framework and any diet for the matter, particularly for those who tolerate it well.


Seafood, including both fish and shellfish, is rich in essential nutrients that play critical roles in maintaining and enhancing our health. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and a variety of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for heart health, cognitive function, and overall well-being. These components are not only vital for physical health but also contribute significantly to mental health.


Understanding the source of your seafood can mitigate potential risks, making the benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh the concerns. Incorporating seafood into a carnivore diet can lead to significant health benefits, offering a rich array of nutrients that support a path to optimal health.


We advocate for an informed approach to diet, encouraging the inclusion of seafood for its nutritional value and health benefits. We believe that seafood is a valuable addition to a carnivore diet for those who can include it, enhancing the diversity of nutrients available to support their health journey.


What Is the Carnivore Diet?


Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid


The carnivore diet, centered around animal-derived foods, presents various adaptations to cater to individual health objectives and dietary requirements. Each variant brings its own set of characteristics:


  • The Beef-Only Carnivore Diet: Focused exclusively on beef consumption, this model is favored for its simplicity and effectiveness, particularly in elimination protocols aimed at addressing autoimmune or chronic conditions. To achieve nutritional completeness, a broader range of meats should be introduced over time.


  • The Lion Diet: Representing a more stringent carnivore diet, the lion diet restricts intake to ruminant meats, salt, and water. It serves as an introductory phase in elimination diets, with the possibility of gradually reincorporating other meats. Ideal for individuals targeting autoimmune and gut health recovery.


  • The Nose-to-Tail Carnivore Diet: Advocating for the consumption of the entire animal, including organ meats, this approach ensures a holistic nutrient profile. Caution is necessary with liver and kidney intake to avoid potential vitamin A toxicity and other nutrient imbalances, especially in those with specific liver issues.


  • The Meat-Only Carnivore Diet: This version includes all types of animal muscle meats while excluding organ meats, dairy, and eggs, suiting those seeking a comprehensive elimination diet who are certain of their muscle meat tolerance.


  • The Zero-Carb Carnivore Diet: Targeting foods with minimal to no carbohydrate content, this diet incorporates dairy, eggs, and all types of meat, focusing primarily on meat and animal fats. It may include seasonings and is suited for individuals without autoimmune or significant chronic health concerns who can digest dairy and/or eggs well.


  • The Carnivore Keto Diet: Merging ketogenic diet principles with the carnivore approach, this low-carb, high-fat diet simulates fasting benefits while allowing for a wider variety of low-toxicity keto-friendly foods, such as avocados and coconut oil. Recommended for those who are metabolically sound and have addressed their chronic health issues.


  • The Carnivore-Ish Keto Diet: Offering more dietary leniency, this variation integrates additional ketogenic elements while still emphasizing animal-based foods. It allows for the inclusion of keto sweeteners, some nuts, and other keto-friendly options, making it ideal for metabolically healthy individuals without food addiction concerns.


  • Animal-Based Diet: Broadening the scope beyond strict carnivore guidelines, this diet focuses on animal products while permitting fruits, honey, and raw dairy. From our clinical observations, only metabolically flexible individuals and elite athletes thrive on this diet. We don’t recommend this variation generally because of the risks of mixing fruit with high fat.


By tailoring the carnivore diet to individual needs, our practice supports a range of health goals, from managing chronic conditions to optimizing metabolic health, ensuring a personalized approach to wellness.


What Are the Benefits of the Carnivore Diet?


benefits of carnivore diet


The carnivore diet has risen in popularity due to its straightforward approach and potential health benefits. By eliminating plant-based foods, this diet strategy offers a multitude of health improvements that are drawing attention.


Nutritional Density

A key advantage of the carnivore diet is the high nutrient density of animal products. They provide high-quality protein, essential fats, and a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals in a form that is readily absorbed by the body. Meats are rich in B vitamins, zinc, iron, and selenium, while organ meats are packed with vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, and critical minerals such as copper and folate, often outperforming the nutritional content of many fruits and vegetables.


Simplified Eating

The diet simplifies meal planning and preparation by narrowing down the food choices to animal products. This simplicity can lead to better adherence to the diet and reduce the decision fatigue associated with more diverse dietary options.


carnivore diet elimination diet


Digestive Health

The carnivore diet can improve digestive issues while offering optimal gut healing benefits. Many people on the carnivore diet often experience relief from symptoms associated with IBS, bloating, and indigestion due to the emphasis on easily digestible foods, which support gut health and minimize gastrointestinal discomfort.


Weight Loss and Metabolic Health

High in protein, the carnivore diet enhances satiety and can lead to a natural reduction in calorie intake. Protein’s high thermic effect supports weight management, while eliminating carbohydrates helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance, leading to improved metabolic health.


carnivore diet for autoimmune conditions


Autoimmune and Inflammatory Conditions

The carnivore diet may help manage autoimmune and inflammatory conditions by eliminating potential dietary triggers found in plant foods, such as lectins and gluten. Removing these substances can lead to a decrease in inflammation and autoimmune responses.


Mental Health and Cognitive Function

Improvements in mental health and cognitive function have also been noted by those following the carnivore diet. The diet’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health, along with its potential positive effects on neurotransmitter function, may contribute to enhanced mood and cognitive clarity.


Hormonal Balance

The rich nutrient profile of the carnivore diet supports the production and regulation of hormones. Dietary fats are crucial for the synthesis of sex hormones, and the cholesterol found in animal foods serves as a foundational element for steroid hormones. This can lead to improved hormonal balance, impacting overall health and reproductive function.


Highlighting benefits from enhanced nutrient intake to improved digestive health, weight management, reduced inflammation, and better mental clarity, the carnivore diet illuminates the value of simplicity and nutrient density.


Why Should Seafood Be Included In My Carnivore Diet?


carnivore diet seafood


Incorporating seafood into a carnivore diet brings invaluable benefits, primarily due to its rich omega-3 fatty acid content, critical for numerous physiological functions including optimal brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), play pivotal roles in cellular function, inflammatory processes, and neurological health. These essential nutrients, found abundantly in seafood, cannot be synthesized by the human body in sufficient quantities and thus must be obtained through diet.


DHA and EPA are primarily sourced from marine life, including fish and shellfish, with no true plant sources available, apart from algae, which, though often categorized with plants, is a distinct type of organism. These marine-derived omega-3s are integral to maintaining the structural integrity of cell membranes, especially in the brain, which is rich in these fatty acids. They are essential for cognitive functions, including memory and mood regulation, and play a crucial role in prenatal and postnatal neurological development. Furthermore, DHA and EPA have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation, a root cause of numerous chronic diseases, and to lower the risk of heart disease through various mechanisms, including reducing triglyceride levels and blood pressure.


dha vs ala


In contrast, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the omega-3 fatty acid found in plant sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, does not provide the same direct benefits as DHA and EPA. While ALA is essential and must be obtained from the diet, the human body’s ability to convert ALA to DHA and EPA is inefficient, with conversion rates being remarkably low. Studies suggest that only a small fraction of ALA is converted into EPA and even less into DHA, making it a less effective source for meeting the body’s omega-3 needs.


This distinction shows why seafood’s omega-3s, DHA, and EPA, are superior for human health. The direct intake of these nutrients from seafood bypasses the inefficient conversion process required for plant-derived ALA, ensuring that the body receives these essential fats in forms that are immediately usable. This direct dietary source of DHA and EPA from seafood supports brain function, heart health, and inflammatory responses more effectively than ALA from plant sources.


Including seafood in a carnivore diet not only diversifies the nutrient profile with high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals but also provides a direct and efficient source of DHA and EPA, essential for brain health, cardiovascular wellness, and overall physiological functioning. For those on a carnivore diet, welcoming seafood offers a strategic approach to optimizing health outcomes and ensuring the intake of these critical nutrients.


The Benefits of Seafood On a Carnivore Diet


seafood benefits carnivore diet


Seafood is a nutritional powerhouse within the carnivore diet, offering a wide array of benefits beyond its omega-3 fatty acid content. From a nutritional standpoint, seafood provides high-quality protein essential for muscle repair, growth, and overall bodily functions. It’s also an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and iodine, supporting thyroid function, immune health, and antioxidant defense systems. These nutrients play critical roles in maintaining optimal bodily operations, from cellular health to metabolic processes.


Beyond physical health, seafood’s impact on mental health is profound. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, found abundantly in fish and shellfish, are crucial for brain function and mental well-being. They have been linked to reductions in depressive symptoms and improvements in mood regulation, cognitive performance, and neurological health. The direct consumption of these fats through seafood can enhance brain health, offering protective benefits against cognitive decline and supporting overall mental wellness.


Incorporating seafood into a carnivore diet enriches the diet’s variety, not only by diversifying the sources of essential nutrients but also by contributing to improved mental health outcomes, making it an invaluable component of a nutritionally complete and mentally supportive dietary approach.


What’s the Best Source for Seafood?


lowest mercury fish carnivore diet


Selecting wild-caught seafood is a thoughtful choice for those prioritizing nutrition, environmental care, and purity in their diet. Wild-caught varieties enjoy the vastness of their natural habitats, where they feed on a diet rich in diversity, closely mirroring the ecological balance of their surroundings. This diet leads to a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, celebrated for their heart-healthy, brain-boosting, and inflammation-reducing properties.


Seafood farming, while providing a steady supply of fish, often involves dense living conditions that can necessitate health management practices different from those in the wild. The diet of farm-raised fish, formulated for growth efficiency, may not always mirror the nutritional richness of a wild diet, possibly affecting the final omega-3 content and overall fat profile of the seafood. Some farm-raised fish are also fed corn, soy, and other unnatural dietary choices.


Moreover, wild-caught fish are generally considered to have a lower exposure to contaminants than those raised in controlled environments, thanks to the natural cleansing and vast expanse of the ocean. They typically exhibit a more balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, aligning with nutritional recommendations for reducing the risk of chronic conditions.


While microplastics and other ocean contamination are often raised as concerns with wild-caught fish, it’s important to consider the essential nature of omega-3s and all the other various benefits of eating seafood consistently. If you’re managing your toxin load through a carnivore diet and other lifestyle practices, we believe this is a worthy tradeoff to get the exclusive nutrients that seafood has to offer.


Who Shouldn’t Eat Seafood In Their Carnivore Diet?


oysters carnivore diet


While the carnivore diet enriched with seafood provides numerous nutritional benefits, it’s important to recognize that not everyone can comfortably incorporate seafood into their diet, particularly due to histamine and sulfur sensitivities.


Seafood, although packed with essential nutrients, is inherently high in histamines. This can pose a problem for individuals with histamine intolerance or sensitivity, where the body reacts negatively to higher histamine levels, leading to symptoms such as digestive discomfort, headaches, and skin issues.


For seafood to be suitable for those with histamine issues, it must be processed and frozen immediately after being line-caught to prevent histamine levels from rising. One notable solution for those navigating this challenge is Vital Choice, a provider known for its low-histamine seafood options. Not all of their seafood options are considered low histamine so it’s best to contact them first to ensure which varieties suit your needs.


Furthermore, individuals with sulfur sensitivities might also find themselves needing to steer clear of a wide array of seafood, including various types of fish and shellfish such as shrimp, scallops, mussels, and prawns, all of which are naturally high in sulfur. Sulfur, while essential for numerous biological processes, can trigger adverse reactions in sensitive individuals, manifesting as gastrointestinal discomfort and other related symptoms. This requires a careful approach to dietary choices for those affected by sulfur sensitivities, potentially limiting their seafood consumption to avoid discomfort and maintain overall well-being.


In light of these considerations, while seafood is a valuable component of a nutrient-dense carnivore diet, its suitability may vary based on individual sensitivities to histamines and sulfur. If you struggle with histamine or sulfur sensitivities, you may need to temporarily skip most seafood options while healing.


Easy Carnivore Diet Seafood Recipes to Try


carnivore diet seafood recipes


Simple Grilled Salmon

– 2 salmon filets (6 ounces each)
– Salt, to taste
– 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or tallow


1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
2. Season both sides of the salmon filets with salt and pepper.
3. Place the salmon on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 6-7 minutes until the skin is crisp.
4. Flip the salmon carefully and place a tablespoon of butter or tallow on top of each filet. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
5. Remove from the grill and serve immediately, with lemon wedges on the side for added flavor if desired.


Pan-Seared Scallops with Clarified Butter

– 12 large sea scallops
– Salt, to taste
– 2 tablespoons of clarified butter (ghee)


1. Begin by patting the scallops dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This step is crucial for achieving a nice sear. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper to your liking.
2. Heat a non-stick skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the clarified butter (ghee), allowing it to melt and coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
3. Carefully place the scallops in the pan, ensuring they are not touching each other to allow for even cooking. Sear the scallops for about 2-3 minutes on one side until they develop a golden-brown crust.
4. Gently flip the scallops to the other side, allowing them to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. The scallops should have a slightly translucent center when done, indicating they are perfectly cooked through.
5. Remove the scallops from the pan and transfer them to a serving dish. Let them rest for a minute to allow the flavors to meld.
6. Serve the scallops warm, optionally drizzling any remaining clarified butter from the pan over the top for an added richness.


Butter-Poached Lobster Tails

– 2 lobster tails (4 to 6 ounces each)
– 1 cup unsalted butter
– Salt, to taste


1. Using kitchen shears, cut down the center of the top shell of each lobster tail and carefully remove the meat, leaving the tail fan attached. Season with salt.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, increase the heat to medium-low and add the lobster tails.
3. Cook the lobster tails in the butter, spooning butter over them continually, for about 5-8 minutes, or until they are opaque and cooked through.
4. Carefully remove the lobster tails from the butter, letting any excess butter drip off.
5. Serve immediately, accompanied by extra melted butter for dipping if desired.


Closing Thoughts On Seafood and the Carnivore Diet

Incorporating seafood into a carnivore diet enriches it with vital nutrients and offers a diverse range of health benefits, suitable for various dietary needs and preferences. Seafood delivers high-quality protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), and a plethora of vitamins and minerals critical for overall health. These nutrients are especially beneficial for brain health, cognitive function, and cardiovascular wellness, making seafood an invaluable component of a nutrition-focused carnivore diet.


However, it’s important to recognize that while seafood brings substantial health advantages, certain individuals may need to approach it cautiously. Those with histamine intolerance or sulfur sensitivities may require careful selection of their seafood sources or might need to temporarily eliminate seafood from their diet to ensure well-being. Low-histamine options and mindful choices can help navigate these challenges, allowing individuals to enjoy the benefits of seafood without adverse effects.


From simple, nutrient-packed recipes such as grilled salmon, pan-seared scallops, and butter-poached lobster tails, to understanding the nuances of choosing wild-caught seafood for its superior nutritional profile, the incorporation of seafood into a carnivore diet represents a strategic approach to achieving a balanced, healthful, and environmentally considerate diet.


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 debunking mistruths and providing nutritional education. 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.

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.

Nutrition with Judy

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