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Plate of toy steak for the article: Does The Carnivore Diet Work?

The Carnivore Diet As An Elimination Diet | The Hart of Health Podcast S1 E15

Joané & Jonathan: (00:03)
Hi, I’m Joané Hart, and I am Jonathan Hart. This is The Hart of Health. A show where we focus mainly on health and self-optimization. Here, we like to talk about our experiences and knowledge when it comes to health and biohacking. We hope you enjoy the show.

Jonathan: (00:34)
Hey everyone. So on today’s episode, we’re basically going to do a bit of an update and talk about carnivore as an elimination diet, and also let you know how the progress is going on my carnivore month. So, yeah.

Joané: (00:51)
Yeah. Fun topic as always. We love the carnivore diet, even though I’m not full carnivore. I still think it’s a cool idea.

Jonathan: (01:02)
Yeah, it did help you when you did it.

Joané: (01:06)
But I don’t want to do the full carnivore diet.

Jonathan: (01:11)
But you are kind of ish.

Joané: (01:14)
I’m happy being carnivore ish, as long as I can have things like dark chocolate some nuts every now and then; things like that. I’m happy. I do want dessert in my diet.

Jonathan: (01:28)
So yeah, I think a lot of people seem to be interested in carnivore as an elimination diet, and I thought we could sort of let people know why we think it’s good as an elimination diet.

Joané: (01:42)
Yes. So I love it as an elimination diet and we did do it as an elimination diet. So, an elimination diet is basically a diet where you cut out certain foods for a period of time. And then you, if you want to, you reintroduce them again to see what affects your body negatively. But ideally you introduce them one at a time.

Jonathan: (02:09)
Yeah, obviously that was just the way we did it; one at a time, but I feel like it’s just the ultimate elimination diet. I mean, they are plenty of elimination diets out there and whole 30 counts as an elimination diet, even just deciding to cut out gluten is technically a basic version of an elimination diet. The carnivores is just the ultimate because it’s like wiping the slate clean and you know, starting with so few variables that it makes it really easy to figure out where your problems lie. Because obviously here on The Hart of Health, we definitely promote figuring out your own path. We just help you find that part. And I think that’s the most tool to use, to figure out what works for you individually. I mean, some people are fine eating peanuts and some people die peanuts. So figure out what’s your sort of triggers and diet triggers. And then I think the carnivore sort of lowers your tolerance to everything because meat is very low in any kind of chemicals or molecules that your body could react to negatively. So it’s probably the most neutral thing you could eat when doing an elimination.

Joané: (03:39)
Yes. I totally agree with you. Yeah. The whole 30 diet is cool because; I think it’s not too intimidating for most people. For a lot of people, if you tell them; do the carnivore diet as an elimination diet, they’ll just say, oh hell no, I’m not. I need these fruits and vegetables. I need these plants in my diet. So then you think, okay, start off light. You don’t have to go full carnivore, but you know, someone could go Whole 30. You realize, oh, soy doesn’t agree with me. Gluten doesn’t agree with me. Dairy. Doesn’t agree with me, you know, because you, you cut out the basic things that can cause inflammation and other problems in people. So they might see a benefit, but they might not get rid of all of their health problems or whatever it is that they’re trying to change; because maybe there is something that is whole 30 friendly, but they still reacting negatively. So then someone could do a whole 30 diet learn a lot from it, but then a few months later, if you feel like, okay, I still feel like there is something that I’m eating that is causing me pain or making my skin breakout or making me feel more anxious or whatever it is that you’re trying to deal with. Then you can maybe try carnivore because if you don’t know what it is that is causing your problems, cut out everything except meat and organ meats and stuff. And then you’ll have a much better chance of finding out what it is that is causing your problem.

Jonathan: (05:32)
Yeah. Because I mean, me specifically, there are foods that are part of the whole 30 approved list that don’t agree with me that I know because I’ve done the experiment where you reintroduce it and you’re just like, okay, well, I don’t know this was having that effect on my digestion or you know, skin. It’s a whole bunch of things that if you actually pay attention to your body, you will pick up on and carnivore makes those things more exaggerated. So if you’re doing like a whole, whole 30, you can actually pick up improvements, beccause obviously you’re cutting out all the obvious suspects, but then you still left with a lot of variables. And so even though you noticed an improvement, you might still be stuck with a few things that might be nagging you. And that’s when it gets more tricky to try and weed out what is causing that because you still have a whole bunch of foods that could be the culprit and trying to figure out which one it is could take a while. And that’s what you said. Like you said, some people think of carnivore and go like no way that’s too much. But, if you want results the fastest, you want to figure out what’s bothering your body. The fastest carnivore is the quickest way because it’s just so easy to figure out what’s bothering you; where if you have a whole bunch of variables in the experiment you can take months to try and figure out which one of those variables that you’re having is causing the issue. Where with carnivore, you can sort of cut out everything for a month and then you can figure out within a month, probably like up to15 different foods, more, you can even do it on a daily basis, try something new a day even, and you still get a much quicker idea; a much quicker response from your body as to this was good. This was bad.

Joané: (07:39)
Definitely. Yeah. I mean, I think people should be open-minded. Luckily more and more people are starting to try the carnivore diet and experiment with it for themselves and talk about it. I think over the next few years, more and more people might try it. Especially people who feel like they’ve tried everything else, you know, Western medicine, isn’t helping them Eastern medicine isn’t helping them. Their doctors haven’t really helped them feel much better. Even though they’ve spent a lot of money going to doctors buying expensive medication, or if you are buying the expensive medication and it’s helping, but you don’t want to rely on pills in order to be able to go through life; and you want to see if there’s another alternative, give carnivore a try.

Jonathan: (08:36)
Yeah. So that’s more as an actual remedy, obviously, that’s not an elimination because if it’s replacing your chronic medication, that kind of means you need to stick with it though longer. So if you do have anything that is linked to autoimmune problems, I would definitely recommend giving a carnivore diet a try. There’s just so much anecdotal evidence. Yes. It’s an anecdote, but there are just too many people that have gotten much better with their autoimmunity by going carnivore. It looks like there’s a lot of plant compounds that could be triggering your immune system to cause problems in your body. And yeah, so a lot of people might not even know that their problems might be linked to autoimmune. So I mean, arthritis can be autoimmune, skin problems can be ordered immune; like ulcerative colitis and IBS can be autoimmune, you know, like there are so many things. So if you have a problem, do a little bit of research and see if they might be an autoimmune, problem at the root of it, you know.

Joané: (09:56)
Definitely. Well, what I’m thinking about now is somebody could be trying to treat their autoimmune conditions. And I think, oh, if I have a lot of organic vegetables and things like that, it’ll help. And they’re having these big green smoothies every morning and things like that to help with their autoimmune condition. But what if spinach and kale and all the oxalates in these vegetables are what is causing you to feel bad, or whatever it is. I mean, I just loved, I was watching this video of this fitness influencer the other day and she had to go on this five-day detox or something like that because she was so bloated and constipated and stuff. And she was having these green smoothies and she was having a lot of fibre and she said she struggles with blood and indigestion all the time and she’s not sure what is causing it. But then she has to go on these massive diets just to de-bloat and feel better in terms of her digestive system. And then I thought, don’t you think it’s all the fibre that you’re eating. Like fibre can be cool in a reasonable amount, but a lot of people, if you’re having a big green smoothie and a big salad and a lot of veggies with dinner and in between, you’re having these fruit and date and nut bars and things that are also high in fibre. And you’re wondering why you’re constipated. It could be the amount of fibre that you’re eating. So even if you’re not necessarily reacting to something and it’s just all the fibre is making constipated going on a carnivore diet and feeling a massive improvement in your digestive system can give you a lot of answers into how you eat and how it affects your digestive system.

Jonathan: (12:01)
Yes. And obviously just to warn people, if they’re now convinced they should try a carnivore diet; you’re not, not going to be able to poop, you are probably going to have the opposite effect initially, especially if you weren’t even keto or anything before that. Your body is used to having to sort of use a certain amount of water in your digestive system based on how much carbohydrates and plant matter you eat. So as soon as you take all the carbohydrates and plant matter out of your diet, your body is still putting too much water into your digestive system. So you actually get the opposite effect, you get quite a bit of diarrhoea for most people, especially if you drink the correct amount of fluids. So you might be going to the bathroom a little bit more often in the beginning, but once your body realizes, okay, wait, we’re not having as much fibre or carbohydrates. It finds its new balance. And carnivore diet is definitely the diet that I have the best diet digestion with compared to anything I’ve tried.

Joané: (13:14)
Oh yeah. Like for me, I bloat easily. And I did a carnivore week a while ago and I wasn’t bloated at all. My stomach was very flat, well, not very flat, but it was at its flattest point I guess. But, it was just so interesting in the moment I went carnivores-ish and started having, some more low carb keto foods. I started getting bloated again, more often.

Jonathan: (13:48)
Shows you. A lot of bloating is from fibre. Because then there’s a lot of those microbes that start producing a lot of gas from fermenting the fibre. But for me, when I went vegan, it felt like I had this constant feeling of being full of gas. Yeah. Like I had these cramps that I don’t know if they were from too much gas or whatever, but it was literally the whole month felt like my colon was constantly in pain from either being filled with gas or reacting to the plants I was eating or whatever it was. But then I started cutting down the next month. So February was the vegan challenge. Then March was sort of just a reset. We are eating mostly meat, but I didn’t cut completely cut out vegetables. And then now April’s been full carnivore, like super strict, just meat, salt, water, and a little bit of honey here and there. But I’m talking about like maybe half a teaspoon every three days.

Joané: (15:11)
Yes. Yeah. You haven’t had any in a while.

Jonathan: (15:14)
Yeah. Now that it’s May, I’m going to see how dairy goes. Because even though dairy is on the list for most carnivore diets, I thought, not everyone is okay with dairy. So I’m going to follow the carnivore diet that doesn’t react with anyone first. And then I’m going to try dairy for a month now and then I’ll see how it goes from here. And I’m not afraid to try berries or something that’s low on the plant toxicity scale again in the future. But I don’t know if I’ll ever eat spinach or kale or brussel sprouts or any of that kind of plant metric game. Because like you said, those green smoothies, they are so packed in oxalates and you’ve even told me stories, or even your parents have told me stories of where they knew someone who did this green smoothie thing. And now they can’t ever eat green smoothies again because they’ve got kidney damage.

Joané: (16:12)
No, they went on the green diet. It’s probably one of the worst diets in existence. You are only allowed to eat green things like green apples, broccoli, leafy green vegetables. So someone we know went on this diet and they got such bad complications that they have to really stay away from leafy green vegetables. Hey, we can turn this into a celebrity show; Liam Hemsworth had to get surgery to get a kidney stone removed from all the oxalates he was consuming on his vegan diet that happened recently and he went off the vegan.

Jonathan: (16:48)
Good example. Yeah, I’ve heard a few examples of people getting permanent kidney damage from high oxalate intake.

Joané: (16:59)
I’ve heard of someone where they had to get part of their stomach removed because they were having too many green veggies. And this is not like someone who knows someone who knows someone; no, my mom met this person.

Jonathan: (17:15)
Yes.

Joané: (17:17)
That’s rough. That’s rough. You think green veggies will kill you. Yeah. Leafy green toxicity. Did you know that if you are a green smoothie person, you need to cycle your greens; if you are going to have them? I know because if you choose to have spinach in your green smoothie and you have a lot of spinach in your green smoothie every day that’s really bad. So they recommend that you cycle. So one week you use spinach, one week you use kale, because otherwise, you can get leafy green toxicity. I’m like, so you’re just like slowly poisoning yourself.

Jonathan: (17:55)
Yeah. It’s like, okay; so you only have a little bit of arsenic. Then you have only a little bit of ricin and then you only have a little bit of cyanide. You just have to keep switching it so you don’t get too much of the one.

Joané: (18:06)
You’re microdosing poisons and toxins here. Things like that.

Jonathan: (18:11)
Yeah. Oxalates, on a microscopic level, look like a really nasty crystal; they’re like super spiky. They look like spiky glass, crystals when they start forming in your body. And so you can get gout from it as well. And then 75% of kidney stones are oxalate based stones. So if you’ve got a kidney stone in the past, you probably know who the culprit is. It’s a 75% chance that it’s an oxalate crystal.

Jonathan: (18:48)
I still think that, you know, kids, you have an aversion to some sort of vegetables are intuitive. Like there’s a reason why a lot of kids don’t want to eat the spinach. You know, your body just senses, no, we should not be eating this.

Joané: (19:03)
I mean, I was helping out at a cycling event here in South Africa and it was actually very far in one province, near an old mining town. Very pretty place with wild horses. But there was the one place they were doing a water point and there was sort of this little large like backpackers place, but it’s like off the grid, no electricity, nothing. And so they had their own little veggie patch and the baboons came in and stole all their veggies except for the spinach and the kale. So I’m like, if even the baboons don’t want to eat those things, it’s kind of a sign because they stole the carrots, the tomatoes, everything else. But they left the spinach and the kale.

Joané: (19:58)
That’s funny. Well, I ate spinach the other day. I’m not saying I never eat oxalates because I’m not full carnivore. Because I do like spinach if it’s cooked and I always really liked it so that my problem is I do like the vegetables, but not my problem, but I like it. So one or two days a week I will have vegetables and things like that.

Jonathan: (20:27)
You just don’t want it on a regular basis.

Joané: (20:29)
I don’t want it on a regular basis and I don’t want it in large amounts.

Jonathan: (20:33)
Yeah. Maybe in the future when they can populate people’s guts with that oxalone bacteria, a species of bacteria that actually ferments oxalates, then it is not as much of a problem. But I think for now, it can be quite a problem. Because if really starts building up in your system, it causes issues all over the place. I mean, if it gets into your breast tissue or into your, any of your fatty tissues; it can actually cause cancer, well, it’s been linked to showing cancer. So, the other thing I’d like to say about carnivore is that you might not realize that what you’re eating is affecting you in a way until you’ve tried cutting it out. So you might have your own version of reality; that’s sort of distorted by what you eat. Like for instance, before I quit sugar, I just thought it was a part of life to go through these peaks and troughs throughout the day where you have energy, then you’re tired, then you have energy, then you’re tired, then you have energy and that you’re tired; And if you didn’t eat something, you were screwed. You were completely useless and you just crashed and you couldn’t do anything. Now my reality is I have constant energy throughout the day and I never feel like I have a lack of energy. And so until I sort of made the change, I didn’t realize that I was stuck in a reality of these like rollercoaster sugar rides for my blood sugar. And, yeah, sometimes you sort of accept things as a part of life and until you make a change, you don’t realize that things could be different.

Joané: (22:29)
Oh yeah. Things could be different. It’s like, I always struggled with blood sugar problems, blood sugar imbalances, like my blood sugar would take a dip. I need to eat something. And then I went low carb, but I sometimes before I went low carb, it felt like I’m not a doctor or something. It felt like my body was going into shock because of low blood sugar. And I would break out in a sweat and be very shaky, which is a terrible feeling. And that would happen. And I didn’t understand why, and even if I ate, but I ate like carb-based meals and stuff like that. But then I went low carb and I never experienced blood sugar imbalances; after a while after a few weeks or so. But then as soon as I started having carbs again, I started feeling my blood sugar dip again. And for the first time in about a year, because I was looking hard for about a year before I started having carbs more often, that was the first time that I felt that blood sugar crash, the breaking out in a sweat, feeling like my body’s in shock or something. And if I don’t have a lot of carbs that never happens. But if I have carbs regularly and there is a period of time where I go for longer without eating, I just feel terrible; like my body can’t function properly.

Jonathan: (24:06)
Yeah. And I think for most people they believe that’s just, just the way it is and it doesn’t have to be at all. So yeah. Then another thing is, my parents are now trying the carnivore diet.

Joané: (24:20)
Yeah. Yeah. This is the first month. It’s only been a few days.

Jonathan: (24:24)
And yeah. I’d say the biggest struggle at the moment is the withdrawal from coffee. Yes. Coffee is not a carnivore. It is plant-based, unfortunately, but I suppose as with everything, there is a spectrum. So if you want to go carnivore and the only thing you have is coffee; at least that’s only one variable. I mean, yeah. You can decide which variables you keep, I guess. And that’s also falls in with the whole carnivore-ish thing. So obviously if you’re whole 30, there’s a lot of foods you can eat. That’s a lot of variables, but it is an option. It is a way of finding out what’s good or bad for your body. And then very strict carnivore is sort of the quickest way. But I think it’s also very difficult for most people to get right. And so you can maybe find something in the middle that’s like carnivore-ish where you take a lot of cues from whole 30, but then reduce your options down to maybe like six foods or whatever.

Joané: (25:34)
Somewhere between carnivore and whole 30, you could find a sweet spot.

Jonathan: (25:38)
You could find a sweet spot there. And it’s actually, it’s not about following a specific diet. It’s actually, you’ve got to try and figure things out for yourself. So you’ve got to sort of say like, okay, I need these things to feel sane. Like I’m not going to go crazy. Because I won’t be able to eat just meat and salt and water for a whole month, but I could, if I had coffee and dark chocolate or chocolate or whatever other things that could make you sane, but then yes, you might be thinking, oh, I’m not doing a property. So why should I do it all? It’s like, no, you’re at least doing an experiment. You are at least doing something,

Joané: (26:21)
You’re still doing an elimination diet.

Jonathan: (26:24)
Exactly. And yes, you can have six variables. So you have your coffee, your chocolate, your blueberries, your Apple, your whatever. But at least you know now; so things got better, but they’re not a hundred percent better, but now I’ve got these six things that I had on that month. So those are still six things you can look at cutting out or reentry, you know? So that’s why carnivore is the quickest, because you’re eliminating all variables, but even just going carnivore-ish you will reduce your variables to a much more manageable number and even Whole 30 reduces your variables. So it’s basically, you can choose your own pace. Noone is actually forcing you to do it in a certain amount of time and you have the rest of your life to figure it out. So you don’t have to go out there and force yourself into a meat, salt, and water situation and hate life. And then by the end of the month, you just want to go back to eating normally, anything you don’t care about health anymore. It’s more important to try and keep yourself sane and feel like you can still operate and live.

Joané: (27:36)
Yeah. How do you want to eat? What is the healthy diet that you want to follow? You know, follow a fatty meat, heavy diet, you know, like the carnivore diet and eliminate processed foods and things like that. But if you really want to have dark chocolate, you can add some dark chocolate to your diet. You have to make it your own. And don’t just follow a diet because someone said you should, or you feel pressure from society to do it. If you want to do it, do it. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

Jonathan: (28:19)
Yeah. That’s probably my main issue with a lot of health advice that’s coming out today; everyone’s like, oh, this is the silver bullet. That’s also my issue with the vegan community is that their diets is going to fix the whole world and fix everyone and be the one thing that everyone needs to do and everything will be fine if everyone just went vegan. And the reality of the situation is it couldn’t be further from the truth. You have to figure out what works for you. And don’t listen to anyone who says they have all the answers because we don’t have all the answers. We’re actually just sharing with you what we’ve learned and experienced. And we’re hoping that it will help you figure out things for yourself. And we won’t say, oh, you know, you’re not part of the club, because you’re not full carnivore. You know, you can’t be in our community because you eat spinach, or whatever. We are quite open-minded and we say, whatever works for you. And so the question I’ll ask is, well, is it working for you? And you can say yes. And I’ll be like, oh, that’s awesome; glad to hear that. But if it’s not working for you, then I can suggest, well, have you tried this? Oh, no, you haven’t tried that. Okay. Well, that’s an option for an experiment you could do. And there’s a lot of options out there. I just suggest the one that I think would have the best effect, but it’s not like there’s any kind of ideology or dogma around sticking to this one thing.

Joané: (30:10)
Okay. That was our podcast on the carnivore elimination diet.

Jonathan: (30:17)
And yeah, I quite enjoy this topic.

Joané: (30:22)
Yes. We will probably do a lot more carnivore themed, podcasts in the future. I am not full carnivore remember, but I still think it’s a cool idea.

Jonathan: (30:35)
Yes. I think because there is so much information out there on all the other diets; that there’s a lot still to be said for carnivore. It’s a really cool topic. Enjoy the rest of your day and be safe out there.

Joané: (30:54)
Until next week. Bye. Bye.

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