What Can You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is becoming increasingly popular with people who are looking for an alternative to the regular ketogenic diet in an effort to reduce inflammation caused by foods, eliminate food groups that cause digestion problems, or are looking for a more satisfying way to lose weight. While the name "Carnivore Diet" makes it clear that the diet relies primarily on meat, there are some complexities that you'll want to consider before beginning. We are going to get in-depth and explore the options you've got for making great-tasting meals on the carnivore diet.
Golden Rule of the Carnivore Diet
The golden rule of the carnivore diet is that you eat just meat. Sounds like the best diet ever, right? Choosing the right types of meat and how the meat is prepared is part of how you get the meat-only diet to work for you. Eating just bacon all day isn't going to get you the results you are looking for, but eating nothing but chicken breast is going to get boring fast. Choosing the best, healthiest meats and preparing a meal plan that provides you with the nutrition and flavor you are after.
Carnivore Diet Food List: What to Eat On the Carnivore Diet
Just eating meat sounds simple enough until you get a craving for pizza, waffles, or tacos. That's when you start to realize how limiting the carnivore diet can be. Even little things, like getting perfect flavors, can be a challenge. We are going to help by breaking down how you can make good choices to have satisfying meals even with limited ingredients.
Making Good Meat Choices
One key aspect of the carnivore diet is that you want to focus on meats that offer plenty of animal fat, protein, and other important nutrients. We know that certain types of meat have different nutrients, vitamins, and minerals along with different levels of fat. Since the carnivore diet is focused on encouraging your body to burn fat instead of carbs, you want to avoid carbs as much as possible.
One of the smartest meats you can eat on a carnivore diet plan includes a good mixture of seafood. It doesn't have to always be lake trout, either. You can add scallops, shrimp, clams, and other shellfish, along with interesting types of fish you'll see in the freezer section. Good choices include salmon, which has some of the highest Omega-3 fatty acids you'll find in fish, and choices like swai, a type of catfish from Southeast Asia that cooks up clean and slightly sweet.
Beef liver is one of those things that isn't on the top of everyone's favorite foods lists. Cooking beef liver just right is really the secret to getting good flavor, and it should be one of the animal products you include on your carnivore meal plan. Liver is a nutrient-dense animal protein that can be useful in lots of interesting ways and is one of the best ways to make sure you are getting enough vitamin c on the carnivore diet. We've even seen beef liver pancakes out there.
One of the most versatile animal products to add to a carnivore keto diet is pork skin. Fried up, it's often called pork rind or chicharrones. Either way, properly fried, the skin and fat become light and airy, while the healthy fats also add lots of flavor. A carnivore diet doesn't really have a food pyramid since it's only animal products, but if it did, pork rinds would be one of the larger parts of the pyramid.
Incorporating eggs into your meal plan is essential. In fact, when you are making your carnivore diet shopping list, pick up five dozen eggs at a time. You'll want hard-boiled eggs on hand for snacks, plus you'll often have hard-boiled eggs with lunch and hard-boiled eggs at dinner. Eggs are a protein and nutrient-dense food source that promotes gut health benefits.
Meats to Avoid
You'll want to avoid some types of meat on the carnivore diet food list. In particular, many processed meats are not healthy and may contain unacceptable amounts of products that are not part of the carnivore diet food pyramid. Some of the items that should not appear on your carnivore diet food list include pepperoni and other processed meat snacks. Many types of bacon use lots of preservatives and other ingredients, and dairy products can contain higher levels of carbohydrates. Identifying low lactose dairy products and adding them to your carnivore diet meal plan can help you lose body fat while maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Most Nutrient Dense Carnivore Foods
The carnivore diet involves eating nutrient-rich meats that are often high in saturated fat. You can modify low-fat meats like chicken by adding bone broth and bone marrow, two options that offer exceptional nutritional value. Bone broth is also ideal as a post-workout snack for individuals who are trying to gain muscle.
By far the best thing to add to your regular diet to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrition is beef liver. Beef liver has tons of benefits for carnivore dieters, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C and other essential nutrients. If eating beef liver just isn't your thing, try adding it to ground beef patties.
The Best Ways to Source Carnivore Foods
While the carnivore diet consists of eating lots of meat, sourcing the best quality meat is just as important on such a restrictive diet. By consuming the right kinds of meat and the best quality of meat, you'll limit the risk of colon cancer and kidney failure, while ensuring healthy bowel movements. When possible, the best way for you to source meat is to go big. Many people will find they can buy quarter or half-cuts of animals for several dollars per pound and then you'll have the freedom to make the cuts you want and have the best all-meat diet.
When sourcing meat, if you can't go directly to the source, you should try and find animal foods that have clear labeling that indicates whether the meat is grass-fed, antibiotic-free, and properly harvested. Grass-fed meat is considered to be more nutritious than grain-fed and arguably is more appropriate for an elimination diet.
You'll also find differences in the nutritious value of high lactose dairy products. Choosing goat milk over cow milk might be a better option for many carnivore diets. Keeping to a zero-carb diet is more challenging if you are going to add milk, butter, and other dairy products.
Plant-Based Foods that are Okay
While carnivore dieters avoid plant foods, there are some plant-based foods you can keep. Generally, this will be things like seasonings that you use to add flavor to the meat you are eating. The belief is that most of these herbs and spices are contributing such limited amounts of harmful plant foods that there is a negligible effect.
Time to Get Creative
Eating an all-meat diet doesn't have to be boring. What you'll need to do is find interesting ways to incorporate different types of fatty meat and other animal products in different ways to provide an interesting carnivore diet food pyramid. Though a bacon lunch sounds great, it can get boring when you are following the carnivore diet. Incorporating different types of red meat – like wild game, lamb, and even exotic meat like alligator – can help you have a diverse meal plan that meets the needs of your diet whether you are trying to build muscle, lose weight, or reduce inflammation.