Hi, I’m Joané Hart and I’m Jonathan Hart. This is The Hart of Health, a show where we focus mainly on health and self-optimisation. Here, we like to talk about our experiences and knowledge when it comes to health and biohacking. Hope you enjoy the show.
Hey, everyone. On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about carnivore diet mistakes.
Yeah, I think we’ve made our fair share of mistakes along our carnivore journeys, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. I remember when we first did the carnivore diet that first month. There are so many things that I wish we did differently there. At least we know now, and we’ve made the changes to our diets accordingly. But back then, it would have been very helpful to know about the different mistakes that you can make when doing a carnivore diet because we thought: “Oh, it’s just a simple meat, salt, and water diet.” So we just bought whatever meat we could find and only seasoned it with salt, and yeah, only had water, but we still made a few mistakes.
I feel like if you’re starting the carnivore diet now, hopefully, you can gain a bit of insight into what we’ve learned over the years. And yeah, it’s not like you’re going to go terribly wrong just doing meat, salt, and water, but it’s not optimal. Not the best you can do.
It’s still way better than the standard American diet or vegan diet. In my opinion, a muscle meat, salt, and water only diet is 100 times better than a plant-based diet.
It depends on what you mean by plant-based.
Anything that’s high in legumes and nuts and seeds and all sorts of toxic plant foods that can cause quite a bit of damage when consumed. Especially if you consider how much of that you have to eat if you are vegan.
Yeah, because I’m a little bit confused about the whole plant-based label. Like a lot of people are saying that that’s vegan. But I think some paleo diets might even fall under the plant-based paradigm, just because I think plant-based means that the majority of your calories are coming from plants. Yeah, not that you’re eating no meat. Not that you don’t have dairy. Not that you don’t have eggs, or honey, whatever, you know, all the vegan things that we normally associate. Plant-based is just the same as animal-based. As long as the majority of your calories come from animals, it’s animal-based. As long as the majority of your calories come from plants, it is plant-based. So yeah, I’d say you should keep vegan and plant-based separate.
Yeah, although I think many people use them as synonyms. I use them as synonyms. We would describe our current diets as animal-based, not strict carnivore. Yeah, you recently introduced bananas. Yeah, that’s the only plant food you’ve added. I will have fruits like olives, avocados, and sweet fruits, but I do stay away from toxic plant foods as much as possible.
Yeah, I was strict carnivore for quite a while, so I’ve definitely learned quite a lot about carnivore now in these last six months.
Yeah. And it’s been two and a half years since we did our first carnivore diet experiment.
But yeah, I think we should see what’s first.
Getting to the carnivore diet mistakes. Okay, well, number one (I wrote down 11) is not consuming enough salt and electrolytes when you go carnivore.
Yeah, I don’t think this just applies to carnivore. With any low carb diet, you should increase your salt intake.
Yes. Up the salt or up the carbs, but I’d rather say up the salt. I get really annoyed when people say: “oh, you have to be careful that you don’t consume too much sodium.” And when the doctor says: “Oh, your blood pressure is a little high, don’t add any salt and stay away from any salty foods”. Yeah, no… you need salt.
I think people try and like, use the logic of: “Oh yeah, if you have salt, then it’s going to increase your water retention and then your increased water retention is going to increase your blood volume. And then that results in hypertension.” It’s not that simple. It’s a little more complicated than that. And, yeah, especially when you are going low carb, you tend to lose a lot of water. So you have to actually try and help your water retention. And that’s why the lower the carbs, the more the salt intake should be.
And a carnivore diet or an animal-based diet is usually lower in carbs than a standard diet. So, if you are going to do a carnivore diet or an animal-based diet, then you need to be cautious and make sure you get enough salt.
I’d say, in the beginning, see if you can get in at least around seven grams to ten grams of salt. Yeah, especially in that first phase. If you haven’t been low-carb before, you’re going to lose a lot of liquid. And you want to try and prevent that from happening too quickly, so that you can hold on to your magnesium and your potassium in all the vital electrolytes, and minerals.
Especially if you’re going to do a lower-carb diet, which according to what it usually is, then, you know, you’d want the insulin-lowering benefits of a low-carb diet. But if you’re not consuming enough potassium, that can mess with your insulin levels. So you need to make sure that you’re getting enough potassium, just to, you know, regulate your insulin levels.
The sodium is kind of like the keystone electrolyte. Because if you keep your sodium levels topped up, then sort of all the other potassium and magnesium and zinc seem to stay in balance a lot better. And that’s why we say to increase your salt intake. And it’s like, let’s say you’ve already started the carnivore diet, you haven’t increased your salt intake, you started to get things like cramps and issues like that, then yeah, maybe try and supplement with magnesium or potassium now to try and boost your levels back up. But the main one to actually focus on is salt. So once you’ve got your salt in order, then you’re not going to need a lot of magnesium or potassium.
And it can help with your exercise performance. Because when you do make a diet switch from say, a higher-carb standard diet, or just like a higher-carb paleo diet to a low carb diet, like keto or carnivore, then that can negatively affect your performance when working out, and it can take weeks for your body to adapt, and for you to be able to lift heavier weights again, or randomly used to. So many people start a low-carb diet or carnivore diet, and then they get the keto flu or something, or they just don’t have as much energy as they did. Or they just can’t lift as heavy as they could before. And then they think: “Oh, this diet is not for me. My performance was way better on my old diet.” But you need to give your body time to adapt. And it’s not that keto or carnivore aren’t good for performance, it’s just that you have to go through the adaptation phase. And if you eat enough salt, if you consume enough electrolytes, then that can really help your performance. And it might still go down a little but it won’t go down nearly as much.
Well obviously, if you’ve never been keto in your life, the first two, three months of keto, your body is sort of reestablishing its metabolic pathways. And you know, if you’ve never been keto, it’s almost like a really unused path in your body. And so, it takes time for your body to make that path more efficient and make it so that your body can actually keep up with your demands, especially in workouts and things like that. So yeah, the salt will definitely help you through that sort of adaptation period. Because I think a lot of the times people struggle on the low-carb diet because they don’t get enough salt in and that obviously will then affect your performance negatively.
Yeah, and I mean, you can even get an electrolyte supplement. LMNT is very popular in the States right now. And it seems to be a really good one. Okay, the next mistake that people tend to make is not eating enough fat and sticking to lean meats.
Yeah, that’s almost like they are applying the paradigm of the food pyramid on the carnivore diet. You know, you’re thinking like: “oh, but fat is bad, so I just need to have a lot of lean muscle meat.” It’s like no, you actually want to try to get the majority of your calories from the fat if you can.
Yeah, you can’t go carnivore or animal-based and still believe that fat is bad for you and you need to be on a low-fat diet because that’s just asking for trouble.
Yeah, you get a thing called rabbit starvation. It’s where these trappers experienced starvation, even though they were trapping 1000s of rabbits, and they had all the rabbits they could eat. But a rabbit doesn’t have a lot of fat on it. It’s got a lot of protein and very minimal fat. And so, they were still experiencing the symptoms of starvation. They were very skinny, very, you know, emaciated. And even though they were eating as many rabbits as they wanted, they weren’t getting in that fat. So you know, you don’t want to be in a situation like that. You’ve got to keep your fat levels up. And that’s not to say you have to eat more fat than you eat muscle meat. Remember, fat is very calorie-dense. So just don’t cut it off your steak.
At least eat the fat on your steak and buy the fattier cuts of meat. If you are tracking your macros, one recommendation that I’ve heard in the carnivore community is a one-to-one ratio. So for every one gram of protein, you have a gram of fat, which I thought was quite nice. So if you weigh, say 140 pounds, and you then eat 140 grams of protein, then 140 grams of fat is a good number to aim for.
Yeah, and if you can’t, if you’re not really that keen on the animal fat on its own, if you can handle dairy, well, then butter is an option.
Butter and cheese are good sources of fat if you can tolerate the dairy.
Yeah, so if you know that you’ve got a good tolerance to dairy, then you’ve got a few options when it comes to fat. But if you’re not really tolerant of dairy, then I would look into suet. And I like to cook my fat with a steak. And so, then I can balance it that way. So then I have the lean muscle meat, and then the fat that I can eat together.
Yeah, we buy fat separately from the butcher. We ask them for pure, pure fat. Yeah, just pure fat and then we can cook that up. And then you still have some fat on your steak. Usually, it just helps you get a lot more of it in. Yeah, then eggs also have fat in them. Yeah, not a ton. One egg yolk should give you I guess, six grams of fat, but still very important. And that brings me to my next point because in the egg yolk, you’ll also get cholesterol and you need cholesterol, you need fat for optimal hormone production. So you know, if you’re not consuming enough fat, are wondering why your libido is so low or why your hormones aren’t, you know, the way they should be, could it be that you’re not eating enough fat? If you’re getting mood swings, maybe if you’re just feeling grumpy all the time, it could be that you’re not consuming enough fat.
Yes, you’ll see it a lot, especially with bodybuilders. You know, they’ll look so lean and ripped right before they go into a show. But that is when they are at their worst. Especially if you were to test their hormone levels and stuff like that, because they’ve tried to work themselves down to such a skinny point that they’ve got so little fat left, that it really doesn’t help their hormones because basically, all your hormones are based on fat and cholesterol. Yes. And so, if you don’t have fat or cholesterol in your diet, like if you were able to cut all the fat and cholesterol out of your diet, you will die. So it is essential for you to get them in. And don’t listen to the people who tell you that “No, you can’t have too much. Otherwise, you’re going to get a heart attack” because I think it’s completely wrong.
I think especially if you’re a guy, a cool experiment, if you’re worried about low testosterone levels, is to go on a high-fat diet, like an animal-based to high meat, high-fat diet and see what that does to your testosterone levels over time. Didn’t Joe Rogan say he was feeling a little more aggressive?
Yeah, I remember that. That was funny. I was like: “Oh, you went carnivore? And then you felt like you were too aggressive.” I was like: “Oh, yeah, but you were also taking TRT.” Yeah, but maybe you only had to take the TRT because you weren’t eating that well. And then when you started eating really well, you didn’t need the TRT, and your actual testosterone levels boosted up and so, then you experienced a little more aggression. I’m like: “I think you wouldn’t have experienced that aggression if you just went carnivore and then tapered down on your TRT testosterone replacement therapy.”
And even if not carnivore, I’ve heard of people’s testosterone going up a lot just by going keto, just because you’re consuming that much more fat.
You’re giving your body all the building blocks it needs to make more hormones.
And one thing that I always think about is that your brain’s cell membranes are made from fat lipids, and you need to eat enough fat to support your brain. And yeah, like I said, it’s essential. Yeah, need to keep that brain sharp. The next mistake is doing a dirty carnivore diet. So let me explain what a dirty carnivore diet is. Many people say” Oh, I’m gonna go carnivore. Only animal foods”. But then they will go to fast food places, order burgers and cheeseburgers, and just remove the buns. So now all you see in front of you is meat and cheese. But what was that meat cooked in? You know? I feel like a lot of people who are focused on a zero-carb carnivore diet are more likely to do that, because they focus on “I’m trying to get zero carbs”. So if I just eat the patty with a little cheese, that’s pretty much zero carbs. And yes, you’ve achieved that goal, but if the meat you’re eating has been fried in some sort of sunflower oil or canola oil, and the cheese they put on top of there is processed cheese, it is a dirty carnivore diet.
Like I would say dirty carnivore over the standard American diet.
Definitely. Oh, and meat that’s been marinated. And you know it has all sorts of spices on it. We’ve seen spices that on the label, it says it contains soy and contains gluten,
While some minces get mixed, and sausages (those things get mixed with soy in it). Yeah, not even just a little spice with soy. It’s like no, it’s actually been bulked up with soy.
Yes, and I mean, you could be dirty carnivore and eat all these processed meats that are probably laced with soy.
Yeah, because the thing is, they’re cheaper meats. And the thing is people you know, they know they can get away with fillers in there. And in some of the fillers they use are soy. And so soy is definitely not carnivores. That is probably one of the foods that is the worst in the carnivore’s eye is soy. So if you’re getting soy with your meat, you’re kind of defeating the purpose.
Yeah, then it’s a dirty carnivore diet, which is probably a lot lower in carbs. It’s a lot better than the standard diet.
No, don’t eat tofu. I’d rather go for the dirty like sausage that is at least 50% beef and not 100% soy.
Yes, definitely. You know, maybe you can’t afford the really high-quality meat, but it’s always about getting the highest quality that you can afford.
Yes, definitely. You don’t want to just do it, where you’re saying: “I’m just going to eat meat.” You want to also try and eliminate plant foods. And like you said, get the best quality you can afford?
Yes, definitely. So, if you’re following a dirty carnivore diet, and maybe you’ve seen a lot of benefits, but now you’re plateauing, maybe try to clean up your carnivore diet a little and see what happens.
Yeah, quality is very important.
Yes. So let me mention the next mistake because I think that kind of also explains a bit more about why the dirty carnivore diet is not that great in terms of the oils: It is consuming too much linoleic acid, which you know, you get in pork. Most pork.
Yeah, you get it in chicken. It depends on what the pigs and chickens eat. But most pigs and chickens have a lot of linoleic acid.
And you also get linoleic acid in nuts and seeds and a lot of plant seed oils. You get a lot more in those. You get a lot more in those, but I didn’t realise or even think about it, that you get meat that is high in linoleic acid too. That’s probably one of the mistakes that people don’t realise the most. Yeah, because when we did our first carnivore month experiment, we tried to go for the cheapest meats and we had a lot of pork and a lot of chicken. I felt so inflamed that month. I gained weight. And then it was only last year when, you know, we did more research that I learned that linoleic acid can cause inflammation.
Well, you know, if you’re consuming too much polyunsaturated fat, that will cause inflammation. If you’re not consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids, it can make you gain fat. So I went carnivore and I gained weight. And then, eight and a half months ago, I cut out pork, I cut out chicken. And I’m very strict on not having any seed oils, or nuts or seeds, or, you know, obvious sources of linoleic acid. And my skin has improved a lot. I’ve actually managed to lose some weight.
Some fat, yes. I did lose weight, but fat was the important part.
Yeah. So the thing is, pigs and chickens are monogastric. So monogastric animals basically absorb all the linoleic acid in their diet into their fat and their flesh. So it’s not that pigs and chickens are bad, it’s just that because most pigs and chickens are fed a very high grain diet, they build up a lot of linoleic acid in their bodies. It’s still high, but it’s not as high as if you look at it relative to seed oils and nuts and those things. Because nuts and seeds are probably sitting around 60% to 80%. And then your sunflower oil is sitting at like 90% linoleic acid. So you know, it’s in a range. And then, your pork and chicken are in the 20%. So it’s not that they’re the worst when it comes to linoleic acid, but they do have 20% to 30%. It depends from animal to animal, but that is too much. I’d say that the right amount because remember, linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, you can’t have none of it. But I think if it’s more than 3% or 4% of your fat intake, then you might experience problems, especially if you have any kind of metabolic dysfunction or tendency towards that.
If you’re not getting enough omega-3 in your diet, then you can’t get away with as much omega-6, which is, you know, polyunsaturated fat. It’s all about getting the ratio right. So, if you’re getting a lot of omega-3s from things like fatty fish, egg yolks, butter, and the fat from grass-fed beef, then you’d probably be able to tolerate more linoleic acid in your diet. But if you’re not consuming enough of those foods, then you really need to be extra careful. I mean, you could be eating high linoleic acid foods like bacon and chicken. But you could be following a dirty carnivore diet and ordering it from places that fry your bacon in sunflower oil or something. And now you’re getting that linoleic acid on top of linoleic acid. And I was very strict because I was trying to clear up my skin. And I felt like I was very sensitive to it. Many people can tolerate pork and chicken, but they should stay away from the dirty carnivore diet and they should be fine. And if they make sure they get omega-3s in their diet, they should be fine. Yeah, if you get pasture-raised pork and chicken, that’s also a different story that has way less in it than the conventionally raised. Well, you can check it.
Yeah, so if your pigs and chickens are eating a more species-appropriate diet, so if they’re eating more bugs and roots and tubers, and you know, like whatever they will eat naturally, they’re going to have a much lower percentage of linoleic acid in the meat and the fat. So, it’s my only issue with, like you said, the grain-fed pigs and chickens, because you just know that they’re going to have 20% to 30% linoleic acid in them. And like you said, seed oils. People call it vegetable oil but it’s made out of seeds. And so, seed oils have such a high concentration of it that if you’re frying your foods in that, then you’re just asking for some sort of metabolic dysfunction in the future.
Okay, the next mistake that people make is only eating meat, and not eating nose to tail.
This one is a debatable one because there are people out there who are seeming to do pretty well with just the muscle meat.
But is that optimal?
I don’t think it is. It doesn’t seem right to me that, as a human, if you go on a hunting trip, and you experience what it’s like to take down an animal, and then you approach the site, you know, there’s so much to an animal, not just the muscle meat. Muscle meat is like a portion of the things that you can have. There are so many different things that are edible on the animal that I think it’s ridiculous that we only eat the muscle meat.
Yeah, and I mean, you want to make sure you’re getting enough collagen, so that you will get from other parts of the animal. The liver is so nutrient-dense. Organs are so nutrient-dense, there’s a lot that you can get from them that you can’t get from muscle meat, or you can’t get in such high quantities. So the people who are doing the carnivore diet, and they’re only doing muscle meat, salt, and water, for me, I just worry about micronutrient deficiencies. And yeah, people get blood tests done. But are you testing for every micronutrient that your body needs? I don’t think so. Is everyone testing their vitamin A? Just everything?
Yeah, another thing I just thought of is: if you’re trying to introduce some carbohydrates, or if you’re like: “I’m playing around with honey on a carnivore diet, which is made by an animal”, you know, it counts. It’s funny, it’s not vegan. So there’s like a jab at them as well. But as soon as you increase your carb intake, then I think you do need to find better sources of vitamin C. I think if you’re having zero carbs, and you’re just eating steak, I think you can get enough vitamin C from just the steak. But if you’re trying to bring in a bit of carbohydrates, like and not fruit, because obviously, the fruit will have like vitamin C in them,
(but that’s more of a carnivore-ish animal-based diet)
That’d be more animal-based. But if you’re now just carnivore and you want to introduce carbs, your option is pretty much honey and dairy products like yoghurt or milk, but that’s still not very high in carbohydrates.
No, it can up your carbs a lot.
But as a percentage, how many carbs?
A significant amount? If you’re aiming for 75 grams of carbs, or 100 grams of carbs, a cup of yoghurt or cup of milk will have like 15 grams of carbs. So then, yeah, I see that’s quite a low percentage. Yeah, but if you’re also having honey and stuff, you can quickly add it up.
Yeah, so the honey is almost like gram for gram at the carb level.
And some people love dairy. I mean, if someone’s having milk in their coffee, like if they’re drinking milk, and they’re having yoghurt, and then it can quickly add up.
I think milk will add carbs to your thing quicker. But let’s say you’re on the carnivore diet, and you’re like: “No, I want to experiment with carbs again” or “I don’t want to go on a low carb, carnivore, zero carb diet”. You don’t want to be a zero-carb carnivore. And you’re now having honey, I’d say it’s more important for you to have things like liver because then you might not be getting enough vitamin C without liver.
Yeah, because vitamin C kind of competes and the more carbs you consume, the more vitamin C you need.
So that might be one thing to consider. If you’re wanting to bring in some honey or carbs on the carnivore diet, then you might also need to go nose to tail to make sure you’re not missing out on those things.
And if you don’t like organ meats, you can get desiccated organ supplements that could help but also make sure you get seafood now and then that could give you some variety of extra nutrients like zinc. Zinc is very important. Then you can eat eggs, you can eat butter, cheese if you can tolerate dairy. There are things that you can eat that aren’t organ meats and that aren’t just muscle meat that still count as carnivore. So yeah, that is a recommendation and try to eat nose to tail.
Try things and you don’t have to go straight to the liver on its own. Maybe ask a butcher or someone. “Hey, can you mince me some 50% or 30% liver and normal meat, and like, you know, try to dilute it like that first, you know. It’s really not that difficult. And the next thing you know, you’ll be able to eat liver on its own, because I didn’t like liver, but now I can eat liver on its own.
Yeah, the next mistake that people make is not learning how to cook meat, and especially organ meat well. You need to increase your enjoyment of your food on carnivore.
Yeah, if you can’t figure out how to cook things nicely, it makes it less enjoyable to be on a carnivore diet.
Yeah, and you’re going to be way more likely to quit. If you have ways of cooking that you absolutely love and where the food tastes delicious to you, you’re going to be way less likely to look at other people’s food and wonder what they have. If you know that I can cook this food perfectly, and it’s going to be an amazing experience and the these are dishes that I love, then you’re in a way better position than if you’re cooking the food in a way that’s bland that you don’t enjoy, and everyone else’s food is gonna seem way more appealing.
Yeah, I mean, I cook a steak now, and I really look forward to eating it because I know how to cook it exactly the way I like it. It might not be the same for you. But you’ve got to experiment. Try it a bit more rare, you know, because obviously, going more well done is probably not going to increase your enjoyment. But that’s part of what helped me with liver. If I overcooked liver, I almost don’t want to eat it, because I don’t like it. But if I just have it seared, still nice and pink in the middle, then suddenly, it’s amazing.
Well, with me, sometimes, if the meat is too under or too raw, then I really don’t like it. It is too rare. So my food usually has to be cooked for a little bit longer than yours.
Yes, in general. But you’ve got to find that point for yourself. And especially with things like liver, you’re scared of it, so you tend to overcook it too much. And it cooks really quickly. Like it cooks five times faster than steak. So you can cook a liver really quickly. And if you cook liver through for me, then I’ll almost be like “No thanks, I don’t want it anymore.” Like it still needs to be pink in the middle for me. Otherwise, I don’t enjoy it. So you’ve got to figure these things out. You got to experiment. Try, you know, timing, how long you cook it for, how hot, and that you can start getting idea. “Okay, I’m gonna now cook it four minutes a side” and “oh, that was too much.” Okay, three minutes a side, you know, whatever, just play around.
Play around, find what you like. The next one is not getting enough connective tissue and not consuming enough glycine. So muscle meat is high in lysine, which is good. But you also want to make sure that you get enough glycine because glycine and proline form collagen, and you need that if you’re going to maintain healthy connective tissue if you’re going to support healthy skin. For a healthy gut lining, glycine is incredibly important. So many people who are only eating muscle meat are not getting enough glycine. And that you know is not necessarily optimal for your gut or your joints or your skin. And you don’t need to drink bone broth to get collagen. I know many people will obviously recommend that on the carnivore diet, but a lot of people really don’t like bone broth. So you can maybe buy gelatin and make marshmallows out of honey and gelatin. That would be a way to get some glycine in. You could take some bone broth, but mix it in with the stew, so it’s not like you’re just drinking broth, but you’re adding broth to the meat that you’re cooking. And that’s gonna also add some variety and give you some new dishes but you’re getting more collagen. And eat the connective tissue.
Cut it up in little pieces and swallow it if you have to. It’s just like a good collagen supplement.
Very good collagen supplement. You know, you can buy collagen supplements, but my favourite is just gelatin and you can add that to anything.
Yeah, remember, a lot of people say like: “Oh, if you have a high meat diet, you’re going to live a short life” and that’s based on a rat study where they fed the rats a high amount of lysine to simulate eating muscle meat, large amounts, large quantities of muscle meat.
Lysine stimulates the mTOR pathway, and then that helps you build muscle. That’s why, you know, all the bodybuilders and people are drinking BCAAs because it’s high in lysine.
Yeah. And so, you know, then the rats live a bit shorter. And so everyone’s like: “Oh, look, you see if you eat meat…” and it’s like, no, when they redid that study, and then they added a balance of glycine and lysine, the rats had no change in their life expectancy. And so, I feel like you’ve got to try and look at it from a hunter-gatherer perspective. Like, you know, they didn’t just cut out the muscle meat and the fillets and the softest muscle meat parts and eat that. They ate everything. And so, there’s a lot of connective tissue in the fat surrounding the muscle and stuff like that. Everything got eaten. I think they even cracked open the bones for the marrow. (Yeah, marrow.) Marrow is really nice. But, you know, don’t just focus on like, nice, tender meat. That’s not what you should do on a carnivore diet.
And we like to have fun with it. I mean, we take gelatin and we try to make a carnivore cheesecake with yoghurt and cream cheese when we are having more dairy. So that is an option. I’ve made candies out of honey and gelatin and water. Pretty much those turned out well.
Yeah, there’s all sorts of things. You can experiment using very simple ingredients, like the chaffles. The cheese and egg waffles.
Yeah, we like making cheese and egg waffles. And then we also like making carnivore bread. We’ve literally blended connective tissue into the mixture.
Yeah, so as long as you start with simple ingredients, it’s pretty difficult to go wrong, I guess.
Yes. So the next one that I want to mention is not thinking about what your food ate. And we did kind of touch on it earlier when we spoke about what the pigs and the chickens eat, and how that affects the quality of their meat. And I think for most people, it wouldn’t really matter too much. But there are people who are very sensitive and they have severe autoimmune problems, maybe where they respond badly to grain-fed meat and beef. But when they eat grass-fed beef, they’re fine. And so, if you’ve tried everything, you’ve cut out all plants, you’re eating carnivore, and there’s still something wrong and you think your diet might still have an effect, try cutting out grain-fed beef and meat and try to go for grass-fed and see if that makes a difference.
Yeah, I think you’re right and that some people are very sensitive to it. Some people will be fine with the grain-fed beef and lamb and other ruminant animals because remember, we’ve covered the monogastric animals, but the ruminant animals, they can have a lot more grain in their diet, but it doesn’t end up by accumulating in them as much. Yes, like you might be talking about a difference of 1% in linoleic acid between a grain-fed cow and a grass-fed cow. So it’s not much of a difference. But some people are sensitive enough to notice that difference. And there might be other factors that might help you be less sensitive to the linoleic acid because there are other components that sort of work as an entourage effect to prevent you from reacting badly to the meat. Yes, so I think yeah, it is quite important for your food to have also had a good life. Not necessarily just eat right but also to like be a healthy animal. Yes. It almost goes without saying that you want healthy cows. You don’t want to be eating the sick and dying and old cows, you know.
Definitely. The next mistake is not eating enough food at first. Don’t go carnivore and try to cut your calories at the same time. Do one thing at a time. Yeah, give your body time to adjust. If you’re used to a diet where you’re eating a lot of plant foods, maybe a lot of potentially inflammatory foods, and you go carnivore, that’s already a big adjustment for your body and it’s gonna already be a big adjustment for you. So I would personally say: don’t restrict at first. Eat as much as you want. Um, you know, obviously, if you’re hungry, eat until you’re not hungry anymore and make sure that you’re satisfied.
Especially if you keep your linoleic acid levels low.
Because that’s also going to help your body, you know, it’s going to give you more nutrients for the transition period. And for you to be as healthy as possible, you don’t want to put too much stress on your body at once.
You can do that. You can calorie restrict. You can go carnivore and lose a lot of weight, like that is possible. But is that healthy? Maybe not. Because maybe your body is really under a lot of stress. And you are just pushing it even further. And you could have been doing it a lot slower and more sustainably to have a more permanent impact on your body composition.
Yeah, and the more changes you make at once, the harder it is to see what actually gave you the most benefits. So if you cut your calories and go carnivore at the same time, and you lose weight, and your health is better, and then you’re talking to a friend and telling them: “Oh, I did carnivore and I cut calories.” They could say: “Oh, you got all the benefits from just cutting calories.” And they can just dismiss the carnivore diet and not even give it a thought. And you might not even know and be confused. Was it the calorie-cutting? Was it the carnivore diet? What helped?
Yeah, and for me, the carnivore diet is an elimination diet. Yeah, so well, it’s a very good elimination diet. Very good. And so, you know, a lot of the power and the healing properties come from cutting out things that aren’t really good for you. So if you’re still focusing on losing weight, and weight is not even… you know, it could be muscle, it could be water, it could be anything, weight is not really an important factor. Like you want to be losing fat, especially visceral fat (the fat around your organs). You want to rather have subcutaneous fat, which is the fat you can pinch. Yes. So you want to be losing visceral fat. And you want to be gaining muscle. Ideally, if you want to have long term results… looking good because people always say: “Oh, I want to lose weight to look good.” But losing weight, if you just shrunk, you don’t necessarily look good. You just look like a smaller version of what you were before. If you actually want to look good, you want to lose visceral fat, and you want to build some muscle. Because I don’t know, everyone knows those people where they’ve almost got a hard fat stomach.
Yes. A lot of diabetics who keep injecting insulin in their bellies get those round hard bellies.
Yes, that’s visceral fat. That doesn’t look good. And you can lose all your subcutaneous fat, so you can see your abs on top of a fat belly.
Yeah, because if you have so much fat that’s surrounding your organs, that pushes your stomach out. So you might not be able to pinch the fat on the stomach. But it’s right there.
Yeah. And I can tell you right now it’s not healthy and it doesn’t look good. So you want to lose this raw fat and you want to build muscle because if you can build muscle, you can increase your metabolic rate and also your metabolic demand on a day-to-day basis, so that it’s very easy for you to keep it off. You know, the fat. Yeah. So don’t try to lose weight. Try to lose fat and gain muscle. That would be the best way to explain it to someone if you want to look good. That’s what you should be aiming for, not just looking at the number on the scale.
Yes. Like the next one: going cold turkey and not transitioning.
Well, you can do it, nothing bad is gonna happen. Well, you might just have an accident in your pants. But if you don’t transition, you’re definitely asking for diarrhoea.
Well, I don’t know… not all people get diarrhoea when they first go on a carnivore diet, when they first cut out all plants, but there is a high chance that you could.
A very high chance.
Because your gut microbiome is used to an entirely different diet. And it’s gonna take time for your gut bacteria to adjust to the new diet. And that can cause some digestive problems.
Yeah, so you can experience a gut change, but a gut change will be a very short thing. So if it’s just the microbiome, you’ll have diarrhoea for maybe a few days. But if you listen to Joe Rogan’s sort of experience of the carnivore diet, it was a few weeks of diarrhoea, and a few weeks of diarrhoea is not a biome change anymore. It’s because he was getting bile salts in the large intestine. So if your body is used to bile salts being absorbed by fibre, then it’s used to producing a lot of bile salts, because it’s just expecting it to get soaked up into a sponge, and then move through into your large intestine. Where if you suddenly cut out the fibre, you don’t transition with things like avocado and fruits and stuff like that for a month, your body doesn’t have that time to readjust this bile salts output. And then as soon as the bile salts get into your large intestine, your large intestine is like: “okay, we’re, we’re flushing things out now.”
And hey, if you’re happy to flush things out, then you can go strict carnivore. If you would rather transition slowly without the digestive distress, then start, like Jonathan said, with having some fruits, having some avocado, just add a little bit of fibre, that will just help.
Yeah, obviously, it’s optional, but I think just doing a month, like animal-based where you’re getting ready to go carnivore, you just have a few fruits, non-sweet fruits. And that’ll probably help you from getting any kind of real major digestive distress.
Yeah, because if you have a really bad transition period, or you go carnivore, and now you’re experiencing the side effects like diarrhoea, then you’re gonna think: “Oh, this diet is just bad for me.” Whereas if you transitioned and you get through that adaptation phase, then you might actually see how good it can be for you.
Yeah, and other than that, I can’t really think of any other major mistakes that people make.
Stopping too early.
Stopping too early. Yeah, you can’t really gain any insight if you do the carnivore diet for only a week.
Yeah, like, you get those YouTube videos: :I tried the carnivore diet for a week, and this is what happened.” And then people say: “Oh, this is a terrible diet, I can’t do carnivore.” You only gave it a week. You won’t be able to see if it’s really good for you in that time or not.
It’s like saying: “Oh, you know, I’m going to try and see what it’s like to not be on a drug anymore.” And before the withdrawal period has even ended, you’re like: “Nope, I’m going back.”
Yeah, this life without drugs is not good for me.
Yeah. So, I mean, you have tolerances to a lot of plant foods. So if you’re currently eating bread, your body’s got a tolerance to all the things that are coming into your body from the wheat. So if you cut that out, you’re going to feel a kind of withdrawal, and your body’s going to start losing tolerance to those things. If you only give it seven days, you’re not going to really see much. You’re going to still be sort of in that, you know, losing tolerance phase. Yeah. And so, you’re not really going to see anything. If you did it for a month, then you’ll be able to see much quicker if you have bread again, what the real effect is on your body without a tolerance to it?
Definitely. And I like this concept. I’ve heard a few people mention that your body now is the result of your actions three months ago. So I love this idea. Like it takes three months to really see the results of your work or to start seeing. And if you didn’t see results in that first week, just think: “oh, but if I keep going, in three months, my life could be completely different.” And so, have kind of that three-month goal, at least a month. If you’re going to try a carnivore diet or an animal-based diet, at least a month, but hopefully you’ll give it a chance for three months, and then see what happens.
Yeah, I’d say 60 days, because then I’d say, yeah, at least a month of strict carnivore. But then do that one month of animal-based transition.
Yes, that’s a good idea. But don’t stop after a week or don’t give it a month and say: “Oh, now I know for the rest of my life, this diet is not for me.”
You can’t figure it out in a week.
And I mean, I really believe that an animal-based diet will be good for everyone. I don’t necessarily think everyone should go carnivore, strict carnivore, where they have no plants. But if you’re having animal-based foods, like eggs and meat and stuff, and then you’re having some fruit, plants that are low on the toxicity scale, that’s a pretty good diet for everyone to follow.
Yeah, a lot of people want to say: “Oh, you know, some people will be good on a vegan diet, and some people will not be good.” And it’s like, no, I don’t think there’s anyone who’s doing really good on a vegan diet.
You might think you’re doing well, but just wait, and years from now, you might start feeling bad or getting some health problems, but then you’re just gonna blame a lot of other stuff.
Yeah, I’m first gonna question: “If you’re saying you’re doing well, it’d be good. But how much do you have to supplement?” First, And then second, I’m going to say: “how long have you been doing it?”
Yes. And if it has been for more than three, four years, how’s your health doing? Have any new problems popped up?
Yeah. How’s your mental health doing? Yes. Because that’s one that’s hard to measure.
Yeah. And if you are vegan and your mental health is not doing that well, eat a steak. See if you feel better… an egg, just an egg.
That’s a good first baby step. Then go all the way to steak. If you’re a vegan listening to this right now, I’m sure there’s probably not anyone vegan listening to this at this point, but if you are, just take that first step and have an egg yolk.
But why I say steak is in some mental health hospitals, when people get admitted, the first thing they do is give the people a steak.”
Yeah. And Kelly Brogan, she only will treat people if they’re willing to eat red meat. Yes. And I definitely believe it’s so good for your mental health.
Well, that was our take on the carnivore diet mistakes that we’ve noticed and that we’ve made ourselves.
So hopefully, after listening to this, you’ll be able to make a lot more informed decisions on how to do a carnivore diet more optimally.
Yeah, make fewer mistakes. Learn from us.
So that you don’t have to learn yourself.
Yeah. There’ve been some tough lessons. Until next week. We hope you enjoyed the show. Bye for now.