Are Plants Trying to Kill You Interview with Dr Anthony Chaffee

Are Plants Trying to Kill You? Interview with Dr Anthony Chaffee

Are plants trying to kill you? Should you ditch all plant foods entirely and stick to only animal foods? This idea might seem strange to you since we’ve all been told over and over again that we need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to be healthy. But what if the key to optimal health and preventing health problems in the future is cutting out plant foods and going carnivore?

I recently interviewed Dr Anthony Chaffee (@anthonychaffeemdand he shared some mind-blowing information about diet and the truth about plant foods. This interview just might change your life. 

1. What First Convinced You to Go Carnivore?

I first went carnivore 22 years ago when taking cancer biology at the University of Washington in Seattle. We went over the toxic nature of plants, and how they used defence chemicals to stop animals and insects from eating them. We were looking at this from a cancer perspective, however, so we reviewed this in terms of carcinogens.

Even back then, we had already identified 136 known human carcinogens just in Brussels sprouts. Over 100 white mushrooms, and over 60 or 80 known carcinogens in every other vegetable that you could buy at the store. We also learned that they were quite abundant, and we’re 10,000 times as plentiful by weight as pesticides that are sprayed on them industrially, and orders of magnitude times more likely to cause cancer than the industrial pesticides. We were quite taken aback by that and thought he must be joking, but he wasn’t. 

I remember thinking inside of my head, “but vegetables are still good for you though right?” He must have read our minds, or at least the looks on our faces, because he said to the class, “I don’t eat salad. I don’t eat vegetables. I don’t let my kids eat vegetables. Plants are trying to kill you.” So I said “right, screw plants”. And I just stopped eating them for years after that and defaulted to a carnivore diet and lifestyle. The changes were absolutely miraculous, my athletic and academic performance took off to new levels. 

I slipped off of it after about 5 years or so because I didn’t really realize how significant what I was doing was, but then 5 or 6 years ago I came across information showing that, biologically, humans actually are carnivores as a species, and everything made sense. I realized that this was why I felt so amazing and unstoppable athletically, and, now a doctor, I looked at medicine through the lens of our biology and species-specific diet and realized that most of the chronic diseases that we are treating are actually due to eating outside of our biologically appropriate diet.

2. What Does Your Typical Diet Look Like on Carnivores?

99% of what I eat is beef, generally, fatty beef like ribeye or New York with butter melted on it. I’ll also eat eggs, lamb, pork, and sometimes chicken as well, but I definitely feel the best on beef. 

3. How Has a Carnivore Diet Personally Changed Your Health and Life?

When I was playing high-level rugby in my early 20s in America and England, my athletic performance was at levels that I had never been to before or since, and far past any of my peers. I was hands down the fittest person on any team I played for, by a country mile, and the harder I pushed myself, the more my body gave me. I couldn’t get tired, I couldn’t run out of energy, and I couldn’t get sore. That is just as true today in my early 40s as it was in my early 20s. 

I also don’t have the allergies or asthma issues that I have had to contend with my whole life, and I don’t have any brain fog whatsoever. I have very good mental clarity and can perform to a high level physically and mentally with very little sleep, which is extremely important as a doctor who is on call multiple times a week. It has also changed my health in many other ways as well, probably too many to list.

4. What are Your Hard Rules When it Comes to Diet?

To me, it’s just as important, if not more so, what not to eat as much as what to eat. So my hard rule is no plants, no sugar, and nothing artificial; that goes for sauces, seasonings, and drinks as well.

5. Can You Explain Your “Poison Theory of Chronic Disease”?

This is the idea that the so-called chronic diseases that we face nowadays are not diseases per se, but toxicities: Toxic buildup of species and appropriate diet, and a lack of species-specific nutrition. So namely, we are eating too many plants and not enough fatty meat. You can look at this in a number of ways, such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, autoimmune issues, and even neurocognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. All of these have strong links to what we eat or don’t eat, and many of them can be entirely reversed or at least halted in their tracks by going on a carnivore diet. Especially autoimmune diseases, they just melt away on a carnivore diet.

This is especially important because it goes into how we treat these problems. If we think that something is a disease like tuberculosis, then you may need medicine to help fight that disease. So right now we are coming up with very expensive medications to treat the symptoms of what we are calling a disease, when in actual fact, this is a toxin-toxicity relationship, and the most effective way of treating a toxin-toxicity scenario is removing the toxin. 

This is like when ancient Rome had lead pipes, and everyone was getting low-grade lead poisoning. They may have thought that this was just normal ageing or that a disease was ravaging the population, but eventually, they figured out that they were actually being poisoned by the water they were drinking from leaded pipes. And once they removed the lead pipes, the lead poisoning went away. This can happen with the so-called chronic diseases we treat nowadays as well.

6. Do You Think Humans are Meant to be Carnivores?

Yes absolutely. I think if you look at the available data and evidence, ranging from the fossil record, our anatomy and biology, our ability to break down and absorb meat freely while we cannot break down fibre at all and other plant nutrients are very difficult to access and absorb without extensive treatment processes, not to mention the toxic nature of plants and how they cause direct harm to us, the best evidence shows that humans are carnivores as a species. 

This is important because when animals eat outside of their biologically appropriate, species-specific way of eating, they can become very sick or even die. This is why there are signs at the zoo cautioning people not to feed the animals, because it can make them very sick. The same thing goes for us.

7. Why is a Vegan Diet so Bad for People to Follow, in Your Opinion?

Well, there is no such thing as one vegan diet, because that just means an absence of meat and animal products. Rocks are vegan. And oreo cookies, hemlock, and heroin are vegan and vegetarian. But so are lettuce and avocado. So it really does depend on what you eat. You can have highly processed, sugar-filled garbage on a vegan diet and hurt yourself far more than if you were to have low sugar, low carbohydrate, and less toxic whole food plant-based intake. 

However, all of these will still have some toxicities and low bioavailability, it’s just that some are going to be less toxic than others. And you can actually have a benefit by going on that type of vegan diet when compared to a standard western diet, but that is because they are eliminating the more toxic plants and sugar-containing foods than the ones they are eating. No matter how you do it though, you cannot even get basic nutrition from a purely vegetarian or vegan diet without serious supplementation, the bioavailability will be very poor, and you will be taking in these defence chemicals as well, which will absolutely cause harm to varying degrees.

8. Why Do We Need Fat from Animals for Optimal Health?

The animal kingdom runs on fat. Most animals, even herbivores, get the majority of their calories from saturated fat. Carnivores eat animals with fat, and they go for the fat first. But herbivores who eat fibrous plants are able to break down the fibre in their guts through the use of special bacteria, as no vertebrate animal can break down cellulose. So the bacteria eat the fibre, and as a waste product, they produce short-chain fatty acids, which are 100% saturated. 

This is what the animal then absorbs, as well as the protein and nutrients from the bacteria that have died off. So even gorillas that just eat green leaves get about 70% of their calories from saturated fat. Cows get closer to 80% because they and other ruminants are much more efficient at breaking down plant matter.

Specifically on fat and cholesterol though, every single cell in your body is made out of cholesterol. The cell membrane is majority cholesterol, your bile is made out of cholesterol, and most of your hormones are made out of cholesterol. As is your brain, along with very long chain fatty acids, which are 20 to 22 chain fatty acids that do not exist in the plant or fungus kingdoms, and we do not make them very well ourselves and have to take them in through our diet. Just look at DHA, for instance. About 70% of the solid mass of our brain is fat, and 20% of that fat is DHA. That does not exist in plants or fungus, and we must get this in our diet.

That is also the main nutrient and energy source of our bodies and brains, don’t believe anyone who tells you differently. Our brains always run on ketones, whether we are in or out of ketosis, and once your ketone levels reach a certain threshold, regardless of the amount of glucose in your system, your brain will entirely switch over to ketones and run exclusively on them. This also bypasses the insulin resistance that our brains will develop over time, along with our other tissues, and once you switch over to a ketone energy source, people’s brains will now get the energy they need and even Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will significantly improve in a matter of days just from that switch in energy sources. In fact, there were studies showing that a high-fat ketogenic diet was more efficacious in treating Alzheimer’s than any other drug ever trialled. That is significant.

9. How Can a Carnivore Diet Help People Build Muscle and Lose Fat?

A carnivore diet, simply put, is our most optimal diet, and therefore our body and biochemistry will work optimally. When you eat carbohydrates, this changes your metabolism into a fat-storage metabolism as opposed to a fat-burning metabolism. There are interesting and complex reasons for this, but for the sake of brevity, we will leave it at that. However, when you are on a carnivore diet, your biochemistry and metabolism are doing what they are supposed to do, and you are in a fat-burning metabolism where you can always access your fat stores and replenish your blood sugar, glycogen, and ketones. 

As to muscle building, you will obviously get quite a lot more bioavailable and complete proteins by eating meat, but you also get cholesterol which has recently been shown to be an independent factor in muscle growth and development. This can be for a number of reasons, but an important one is again that our hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and all of our glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids are all derived from cholesterol. So if you’re not having enough fat and cholesterol in your system, then you will not be making these hormones to the proper degree.

10. How Can a Carnivore Diet Help People with Fertility Issues?

A carnivore diet is fantastic for fertility issues. Someone’s fertility is a baseline marker of their health. If you get to a certain point of ill health or malnutrition, your body will not allow you to bear children because it won’t be safe or healthy to do so, or that child may not have the necessary nutrients and environment to grow and develop successfully. Going on even just a ketogenic diet has been shown to bring women out of menopause and actually conceive in their mid-50s, years after stopping their menstrual cycle. 

It’s also extremely important for hormonal regulation as mentioned, and specifically in women, it’s very important because of testosterone and estrogen. Women make testosterone first, and then this is converted into estrogen in the ovaries. However, when you eat carbohydrates and your insulin goes up, this disrupts that mechanism because insulin blocks the conversion of testosterone into estrogen at the level of the ovaries in women. So they will develop a situation where they have too much testosterone and not enough estrogen, and this will affect fertility. 

This is also a leading cause of PCOS, which is the leading cause of infertility in women. In most cases of PCOS, if someone simply stops eating carbohydrates and sugar, they will reverse this problem. Going carnivore will do it even better, because it will also eliminate the hormone disruptors that exist in plants that will further derange their hormones.

11. How Can a Carnivore Diet Help Men with Low Testosterone Levels?

Having an abundance of protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol does a significant amount of good for testosterone levels. More carnitine will increase the number of testosterone receptors that you have in your body, so the testosterone that you do have will be more efficacious. 

You will also have more cholesterol to make more testosterone, and you will increase your growth hormone levels on top of that. More than that, you will be eliminating the different hormone disruptors that plants contain, like phytoestrogens that appear in so many plants, such as soy. 3 oz of soy can have as much as 10 times the amount of estrogen that a fertile woman makes in a day. 

To put that in perspective, drinking eight glasses of soy milk a day is enough estrogen to grow breasts in a man. In clinical practice, I regularly put people on a carnivore diet and regularly see men even in their middle to late age increase their testosterone levels by 30% or 40% within 3 months. This varies of course, but I have yet to see someone go on a carnivore diet and not improve their testosterone to some degree at least

12. What are Some Mistakes You See People Make on a Carnivore Diet?

The main issue is by making it overly complex. This should be the easiest way of eating in the world. You know exactly what you can eat, and exactly what you can’t eat. Eat meat, drink water, that’s it. You can eat at any time of the day or night, it doesn’t matter. And you eat as much as you care to, as much as taste good. Once it stops tasting good, you just stop. 

But it can be complicated by putting in different rules about how to eat, when to eat, which different foods or artificial sweeteners are okay because they’re not technically carbs or not technically plants. You should be eating whole foods, without any additives, and just eating until you’re full. Another one is that when people slip up, they feel that they are a failure at it and they are banned from the club. 

But of course, that’s not the case, and they can just hop right back on the carnivore train as soon as they can and use it as a learning experience. Generally, people will feel much worse for having eaten outside of the animal kingdom, and so, they should use that and contrast that in their mind to reinforce why they are doing this in the first place. 

Finally, a common problem that people run into is not eating enough fat, or not eating enough at all. Everyone thinks that because they’re eating so much more fat than they’ve ever eaten before on a low-fat diet that surely they’re eating enough. But they still get constipated. If you are getting constipated and having dry, hard stools then, by definition, you are not eating enough fat. Because your body can only absorb a certain amount of fat due to the bile that it makes from the liver, after that, most of it will be expelled in waste. 

It’s this overflow and excess fat that keeps your stools soft. So if you have dry, hard stools, you are definitely not eating enough fat. And it’s also easy to not eat enough. Your hunger signals changed dramatically on a carnivore diet versus a carbohydrate-ridden diet, so you have to relearn your hunger signals. This is why I go by taste. If a steak doesn’t taste good, you’re not hungry. But if it does taste good, you are. So listen to that. 

If you’re ever feeling tired or not your best, or having cravings for carbs, etc. ask yourself if you might be hungry and if this is what hunger feels like. To test that, you just try eating some meat or eggs and see if it tastes good. If it does, you were hungry and you should keep eating until it stops tasting good.

13. What Advice Would You Give Someone Who Wants to try the Carnivore Diet for the First Time?

I would say just keep it as simple as possible, cut out all plants and sugar and artificial ingredients entirely from day one, and even throw out all of the remaining non-carnivore foods from their house. If you’re trying to quit smoking, you shouldn’t keep five packets of cigarettes in your closet. You just need to get rid of them. 

After that, I would commit to a certain period of time, be it 30 days or 100 days as we do in the clinic to really give yourself a chance to see how amazing this makes you feel so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s worth it to you to eat and live this way for the health benefits it lends you. And then just arm yourself with the facts and learning as much as you can about why this is important to do, so that you have a very strong foundation and knowledge base as to why this is important, and why we’ve gotten it wrong about nutrition previously.

14. What are Your Goals for the Future with Your Podcast and YouTube Channel?

My goal with my podcast and YouTube channel has always been to try and get this information out to as many people as possible so that they can take back control of their lives and regain their health, and the health of their loved ones. 

I think that humanity in general has been sold a bad bill of goods, and it has literally hurt and shortened the lives of billions of people worldwide. That is an absolute catastrophe and one that must be rectified as soon as possible. I don’t have much free time away from my work as a doctor in the hospital, but I do as much as I can when I have the ability to in order to freely disseminate this information and allow people to use it at their discretion. 

If I can continue to build my platform and my reach to help more and more people, that would be a win for me. It would also be fantastic to start getting on more mainstream channels like the various news and doctor talk shows, and the more popular alternate information outlets such as Joe Rogan, Lex Fridman, and Dr Andrew Huberman. I remember seeing Dr Saladino go on The Doctors talk show and get ambushed by them and their staff quite unfairly, but I would even relish that, because it would give me a chance to show them exactly why they were wrong in the public forum, without the ability for them to run away as they were the ones who ambushed me. 

But in the end, it all comes back to disseminating this information to the world at large so that they don’t have to suffer these unnecessary conditions, and aren’t at the whim of the medical and pharmaceutical industries.


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