You’re ready to start the carnivore diet and want to know what you can eat on it.
Shocker: lots of animal products.
However, like with Noah’s ark, there are a lot of questions about which animals are included.
Instead of just giving you a food list (you can skip there if you’d like), I’m going to explain why the carnivore diet is centered around certain foods and then guide you towards the right foods to eat.
This is the ultimate carnivore diet food list.
What Can You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is a radical elimination diet.
It may seem severe, but almost everything in western diets can trigger disease.
You’ve been assaulted with an endless barrage of foods that trigger your immune system. And yes, that even includes vegetables.
Why? Because everything in your diet is brand new in the evolutionary scale of things.
If evolution were a 365 day calendar we’ve only been eating mass produced grains for 2 days and common vegetables for 1 hour.
Whereas we’ve been eating animal foods for the entire year (talk about a great year).
The carnivore diet is centered around these animal foods. Specifically, the food you will consume the most of is ruminant animal meat and fat.
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Ruminants are the Holy Grail of the Carnivore Diet
Briefly, what are ruminants and why are they important on the carnivore diet? Ruminants are my favorite machine in the world.
They can turn grass into ribeyes. No superpower can compare.
How do they conduct this sorcery? Ruminants have four stomachs. Their rumen (hence the name ruminant) is able to ferment grass into fat and breakdown human inedible cellulose.
Look outside, the world is covered with grass (cellulose), just waiting to be turned into ribeyes by these creatures.
This digestive process results in the best combination of nutrients and energy for humans to eat.
Unlike pigs, fish and fowl which do not have a rumen (they’re “simple stomached”), ruminants are better suited to handling the plant waste.
Ruminants are able to eliminate plant based chemicals and toxins from their digestive systems so that the food we eat is free of them. This includes glyphosate, a ubiquitous and extremely harmful pesticide .
Lastly, through the fermentation process, Ruminants create Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).
Studies show CLA has benefits including :
- Reduced atherosclerosis
- Enhanced immune system
- Prevention and treatment of diabetes
- Weight reduction; reduced body fat and increase body protein
- Enhanced bone formation
CLA cannot be manufactured in the body. So if you want the benefits, you need to eat beef.
What is the Carnivore Diet Food List Optimized Around?
Diets should be optimized around three things:
- Energy: Fat / Carbs
- Nutrient density: Micronutrients
- Lean Mass Gain: Protein Targets
Carnivore Diet Food List
Finally, it’s time to eat like a human was meant to and not starve yourself like a rabbit on the diet. Behold, the carnivore diet food list and food pyramid.
The food pyramid below contains what I would eat on a strict carnivore diet. Let me explain:
Fat is the foundation of the carnivore diet. In fact, it is the foundation of all of humanity. It is one of the most important parts of feeling your best on the carnivore diet (at least for me).
A common issue on this diet is not getting sufficient fat and feeling lethargic as a result. When you transition to the carnivore diet, your body will enter ketosis and use body fat as fuel instead of glucose.
To power the ultimate ketogenic state, you need to eat fat. If you’re eating too little fat, you may suffer from what Viljammur Stefannson called rabbit starvation, which can result in headaches, lethargy and diarrhea.
I’ve explored this diet with over 10,000 people and found that if you eat too much protein it will spike your blood glucose and insulin levels (especially if you are already insulin resistant).
I didn’t feel my best on this diet until I started eating 75% – 80% fat.
Yes, it makes the diet a bit more challenging to do. You cannot just scarf down ribeyes all day. But it’s well worth the effort.
To meet these targets, I usually eat suet or egg yolks before I eat lean meat. Another way to up your fat intake is to load your foods with tallow or ghee. These animal fats are also great sources of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin E.
No surprise here.
Beef is one of the best and most bioavailable sources of every single nutrient.
Fatty cuts of steak can help get you more fat and highly bioavalable, anabolic protein.
I look for cuts of beef that are close to equal grams of fat and protein — in fact, I ask many of my butchers to leave my steak untrimmed (yes, as you can imagine I have a full team of butchers to handle me).
The best cuts of beef to eat are:
- Ground beef
If you’re doing the carnivore diet on a budget, go for the ground beef and roasts over steak. However, experiment with fat intake because with ground beef you may be getting substantially less fat.
Compared to other animals, ruminants and beef have a better omega 6 : omega 3 ratio which affects inflammation. Pork bacon has 8000mg of Linoleic acid whereas there is only 159mg for beef.
Beef is also much higher in almost every single nutrient than pork bacon.
#3 Lamb & Other Ruminants
You don’t need to limit ruminant consumption to beef. I like to also consume lamb and occasionally even bison or elk. This can help to add some variety, especially when just starting out on the carnivore diet.
Seafood is a great source of nutrients and protein. And actually before eating non ruminant land animals, I tend to opt for these ruminants of the sea.
The one concern is with heavy metal toxicity. Some fish contain very high levels of mercury, which can be toxic.
Overall, the larger and longer lived a fish, the higher mercury levels it tends to have (so fish like swordfish and shark have the highest levels).
For this reason, the fish I eat tend to be:
All are great sources of nutrients and bioavalable DHA.
I also eat oysters occasionally, which are like the beef liver of the sea.
#5 Organ Meats (like Beef Liver)
This is a controversial topic, but you may need to be eating organs on the carnivore diet (beef liver is my go to). Humans adapted to consuming an entire animal, and not just one. For this reason, the nutrients in one part of an animal are balanced out by those in another.
For example, the B vitamins in a ribeye are balanced out perfectly with the b vitamins in beef liver. Ribeyes are high in B1, B3, B6 and B12 and beef liver is very high in B2 (riboflavin), B5 and B9 (folate).
Beef liver also has copper which is necessary to balance all the zinc from your steak.
Optimal nutrition comes from eating an entire animal, nose to tail. One part of it does not contain sufficient nutrients.
This should make sense intuitively. A full animal contains all the nutrients it needs to function. Eating the full animal provides us with all of those nutrients.
Beef liver is nature’s multivitamin. It’s by far and away the most nutritious food you can eat. It stores and filters some of the most important nutrients. This is one of the 16 reasons why the carnivore diet works.
Your ancestors knew this and prized liver as sacred.
Beef liver is packed with Vitamin A, B, C, K and other essential nutrients for the brain.
At first I was terrified of eating beef liver. There were horror stories about the taste.
But adding it to my diet, supercharged my energy and made my skin look better than someone fresh out of botox treatment.
If you’re just eating steaks, some of the best science shows you may be deficient in Vitamin A, C, K2, Riboflavin, Folate and copper.
Additionally, if you have an MTHFR mutation, low folate and riboflavin are even more important.
(However, with that being said, our RDAs are completely wrong. There are many carnivores who have survived without beef liver. BUT, for optimal health I’d add it in)
If you’re interested in the best tasting liver product in the world, check out my brand new beef liver crisps.
#6 Non Ruminants (like Pork & Chicken)
A strict carnivore diet will not include non ruminants like pork. If beef was Batman, Pork would be robin.
They can spice up your diet, but are by no means necessary. And for some people, they can trigger autoimmune issues.
Mikhaila Peterson excludes all non ruminants on her lion diet, for instance.
A chicken and pig’s digestive system is monograstic. They only have one stomach like us mere mortal humans. Chicken and pigs can and do eat almost everything (like a modern human too).
Chicken and pork tends to be higher in omega 6 and lower in nutrients than beef, but still a tasty addition to your carnivore diet. Chicken can actually be a great source of vitamin k2, so I try to eat it occasionally .
Some examples of non ruminant cuts I eat are:
- Pork shoulder
- Pork belly
- Pork roast
- Chicken thigh
- Chicken leg
- Chicken wing
Overall Carnivore Diet Food List Graphic
Below is a graphic of different foods. Frame it. Put it in your wallet. Put it on your keychain. This is your new life!
Most people on the carnivore diet don’t snack. But as a bonus, here are my 6 favorite carnivore diet snacks.
And if you still want to add even more variety to your carnivore diet beyond what’s below, check out my 10 favorite carnivore diet recipes here.
Deep breath. You made it. You’re now equipped with the information you need to start the carnivore diet.
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Look forward to seeing your incredible results.