The Carnivore Diet: Our Carnivore Experiments, Results, Benefits, Foods, etc. | The Hart of Health Podcast
Jonathan & Joané: (00:02)
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.
So, on today’s episode of the Hart of Health, we are going to be talking about the carnivore diet.
Yay! I love the carnivore diet. I don’t follow it. I just think it’s a good idea.
Yeah, we’ve both, well I’ve done it for two months in total so far.
I’ve done the carnivore diet one month, once.
And, yeah, I think it gets a bad rep very easily and people are almost like: “no, that’s impossible”. And I think it’s a lot easier than a lot of people think.
Yeah. So, let’s start with our carnivore diet experience. We decided to do the carnivore diet for a month in 2018. The day after we got married, we started. So that was quite fun. It was actually perfect timing because it was around the time that Mikhaila Peterson was on the Joe Rogan podcast, and she spoke about her carnivore diet experience. Please check that out if you have not. So, on the way, while we were driving to our mini honeymoon, (Yeah. Kind of like a mini honeymoon destination) we were listening to that podcast and it was the day before we started the carnivore diet for a month.
Yeah. And I mean we didn’t really do the pure beef carnivore diet, but we did not do any dairy or eggs and we didn’t do even pepper, yeah, it was a meat, salt, and water kind of diet.
I gained weight. I went crazy on the carnivore diet, but I loved it. I ate so much steak and I don’t know if I kind of felt like my body needed it. So I was just like eating and listening to my body. I ate very intuitively on the carnivore diet and I don’t know, I feel like if I did it again…And I’m worried, I don’t know. I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to risk gaining fat. But you know that all-in diet principle with the YouTuber Stephanie Buttermore, she ate as much as she wanted to for months. And the idea is that you eat as much you want to, and so, your body adjusts and reaches a new set point and realises that you’re not starving, especially if you’ve been dieting for years. Then you might gain weight but then eventually, the fat will start coming off again. And the idea is just if your body has some nutrient deficiencies and things, then maybe just eating as much as you want for a while but sticking to healthy foods is a good idea. And I feel like if I did carnivore again, I would probably also just eat as much as I feel like my body needed. But I think that’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it?
No not necessarily. A lot of carnivore proponents say that you should eat a lot of steak. You know… Ruminant meat. And that’s the thing… Like on our carnivore diet, we varied it up. So we had lamb, we had pork, we had chicken, we had steak. So you know, we, we didn’t really get that much red meat in because it is quite expensive. But, you could have also because of the fat content of like when we had pork and the chicken and stuff, it might’ve been easier to sort of get, you know, get a little bit calorie excess going. But I think if you were just eating red meat or like even if it’s the fatty cuts of red meat, it’s so much leaner that it would be much harder.
And my body… I have this gene that makes it harder for my body to break down saturated fat, so I can still have some but just not too much because it can cause inflammation and when you’re inflamed, then you can gain fat as well. So I think I was eating way too much saturated fat and we were eating quite a bit of pork, so that was a lot of Omega 6 as well, which can cause inflammation. If I did it again, I would have a lot more bone broth and a lot more fish. Yeah. If you could also add fish to it. That’s one thing we didn’t have a lot of and eggs. We didn’t have a lot of eggs. I would add eggs. My only problem with a carnivore diet is the lack of dessert, so I was thinking if I were to do it again, but I could add like some sort of sweetener like Erythritol, like a sugar alcohol, then I could make meringues because you can make meringue with egg yolks and erythritol. So then if it was like carnivore plus meringue, I might consider doing it for a month, but it’d be like 99% carnivore.
Yeah, I’d definitely say you can cut out eggs and dairy and those things for a carnivore test. Especially… It also depends on what’s your goals? If you want the carnivore diet to sort of be your new diet, then I think it’s quite important to try and incorporate the things that don’t react badly with you that fall under the carnivore diet umbrella. Whereas when we were doing it for that month in 2018 we were doing it as an elimination diet. So we wanted to cut out eggs because some people are allergic to eggs and you want to sort of do that month to get your tolerance down, so that you can notice if there’s any sort of effect from having those things. And yeah, so what we did is we did it for a month and then every two days, we’d introduce a new ingredient, a new food item, and sort of gauge our response. So, it was a very big learning opportunity. Um, so even if you don’t think that you can do carnivore forever, it’s still a very easy elimination diet where you can sort of cut out anything that will really give you a massively bad reaction and then see what is worth eating and what’s not worth eating for you specifically.
We also don’t eat a lot of organ meats.
Yeah. That was also another thing that I did better in the second time. My second month, I had eggs and I had organ meats. Yes, liver is amazing.
Yes. If we had that, I also don’t think I would have eaten as much because…It’s like this liver sausage that you had made. It’s so rich and satiating that if we had that on the carnivore diet, I would not have eaten as much.
Well, I went to the butcher and asked them specifically to put like no preservatives, no binding agents… Just literally salt, fat, liver, and game meat. So it was venison. So super clean meat, and yeah, they tasted really nice. Because I think some people struggle with just liver. I suppose you could get a taste for it if you persisted, but in a sausage form or even if you just got a mince made.
A lot of people don’t know that skilpaadjies translates to tortoise.
Yeah, skilpaadjies is something we have here in South Africa. It’s like lamb liver that’s like wrapped in fat. So it’s like this fat net. There’s like this ball of liver. Sometimes, they lace it with normal like beef meat or like lamb. So then it’s like half liver, half meat. So it’s kind of your sausage, the sausage that you had made but wrapped in fat.
But, what I noticed, because they are skilpaadjies so because they almost like these little fat nets that kind of look like little tortoises, that’s why they are called skilpaadjies. But anyway, a lot of the skilpaadjies that you buy from the butcher are already mixed in with a whole bunch of other things. So you could maybe get the butcher to make you specific skilpaadjies or whatever. If you can try and figure out a way to get in some organ meats into a form that you’re able to enjoy, it will definitely help make your carnivore diet more effective
Because yeah, organ meat is quite nutrient-dense. I think liver is the most nutrient-dense food. And egg yolks are second. So have both. I mean like how nice is steak and eggs. I think I want something like that tomorrow. Yeah… Some liver, I think my body needs some of that. Oh, and nose to tail… like have bone broth. Bone marrow…and bone marrow. Bone marrow is quite nutrient-dense. I think it has STEM cells in it and I just find that way too exciting. Like if you had bone marrow every day and bone broths or all of their collagen, it just seems like the anti aging… the fountain of youth here. I don’t know.
Well that’s the thing is like, especially with bone marrow, it’s literally what your brain is made out of. Like it’s you know, all the right fats. You’re giving your body the ability to build neurons and brain cells and like, so I think bone marrow is also a really good one and it can be very tasty and you don’t have to eat it like on its own. You can try and maybe mix it into mince or blend it or put it into your eggs, scramble them, make like an omelette, whatever. You know, like there are so many ways but experiment, be open, try and figure out ways in which you can get those into your diet.
No, I grew up eating liver and kidneys and stuff. My grandparents introduced us to that at a very young age. We didn’t have time to go, ugh.
Yeah. You were lucky. I didn’t get that much of it when I was younger.
Skilpaadjies, for me, it’s always like a family thing, like my grandparents introduced me to that I think. And my grandfather makes this epic lamb and kidney dish.
Yeah. I, unfortunately, didn’t get much of it growing up, so it’s taken me a while to sort of get a taste for liver again. But now, especially the game and liver sausage, that stuff is really nice. Especially since it took a while to get the butcher to understand that I don’t want any binding agents or preservatives or anything in it. And he was just like, “no, but it’s gonna fall apart” and like, yeah, it doesn’t hold together like most sausages, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s actually the only reason I want it in sausage is just so that it can hold some of the fat in. Because that’s the problem with mince often. Like if you put too much fat in, it like kind of rises to the surface and you’ve got this fat layer on top that is a little bit harder to palate for a lot of people.
You know, it’s been fun for me. Like if I make bone broth and if you leave it to cool down, then all the fat rises to the top and then you can like just take it off and use that fat to cook with. Nose to tail, nose to tail.
If you’re doing carnivore, I think you get into trouble very fast if you did very lean protein only. I think the fat is crucial. More important than the protein. Like getting it in. I remember, I think it’s Glenn Villeneuve. He’s on that show where he’s like up there in Alaska in a hut all on his own. And he literally only could eat the moose that he shot. And he said that in the times where he was sort of just eating muscle meats, he felt terrible. But as soon as he started eating the fat, he felt a whole lot better. And he said, he felt his best when he was eating this sort of like, you know, combination of fats and organ meats. And yeah, I think a lot of people are scared of fat for some reason…We know the reason. Yeah. For some unknown Ancel Keys.
Yeah. Yeah. Like you know, back in the day when everybody switched to margarine and stuff and fat was made this enemy, and it really is not. Sugar sucks. Fat is good. But that’s a story/topic for another day.
Yeah. I suppose you can go into the in-depth detail of how Ancel Keys basically swayed the whole world’s opinion of this back in the day when there was like only three news channels and there was no social media or internet. And so, these ideas spread and become ingrained a lot easier.
We’ve seen the light. We use real butter now.
Yeah, well that’s a no-brainer. Like yeah, maybe some people might take a little bit more convincing, but when it comes to vegetable fats and like vegetable oils versus like butter or any kind of animal fats. It’s just ridiculous how bad the vegetable oils and fats are for you. Oh yeah, my dad always says when he first saw margarine, it was white and it came with yellow food dye. So you could make your margarine yellow to look like butter.
Now it comes pre-dyed.
Yeah. Now it comes pre-dyed to look like butter. Because yeah, I don’t think white margarine sells that well, because it just looks off, which it is.
I think it will look more like lard then, wouldn’t it? And that maybe puts people off. I don’t know. But I really like the carnivore. I think I like the idea of doing mostly animal-based, you know, how the flexitarian diet is where people eat mostly plant-based, but they’ll have some meat now and then, kind of like mostly animal-based, but we’ll have some plants in.
Yeah. I think it’s also going to be obviously a very individual thing. So, I obviously advocate for eating animal products, but yeah, find your own sort of balance. I feel like going zero animal products is out of balance and I think you’re less likely to be out of balance if you do all animal products. But yeah, I think either diet can maybe have long-term deficits if you do them wrong.
Yeah, I definitely plan on being an omnivore for the rest of my life. But, you could do carnivore now and then like maybe if you’re sick or something and you want to reset your body or I don’t know, just for fun. Well January was world carnivore diet month and we missed it because we realised too late.
Yeah. And Joe Rogan did it finally after how many people have come on and recommended it. He was so close to eating carnivore for the majority of the time, like you see all those photos of the elk steak and the jalapenos and I’m just like, that’s so close to carnivore. But yeah, he was eating a little bit of junk food towards the end of last year and he said that he’d gained a lot of weight. And now he’s, he’s looking very lean after this month. He did say that he had like a week or so of digestive distress. But I think with any diet, you’re going to get digestive distress while your gut sort of adapts to what you’re now eating; if it’s radically different from what you were doing before. Yes. So yeah, he wasn’t having constipation problems like everyone thinks you’ll have. I mean carnivore was the only thing that really fixed mine. So I would be very surprised if you get insufficient amounts of water and you go on a carnivore diet, if you got constipated, I would be surprised.
Yeah. My digestive discomfort increases with the amount of plants that I eat, but that’s just because I usually eat high-fibre plant foods. So if I have way too much fibre, then it really messes with my digestive system. But if I stick to a low-fibre diet almost like close to as close to zero-carb as possible, then it’s fine.
Yeah, exactly. I mean I just, I noticed a direct correlation between my fibre intake and my digestive problems. So yeah, going zero fibre helped a lot. And it was like the first time in years where I would go once a day; no other issues. And it was almost like being normal for the first time in a long time, which was really nice.
So I think it’s for people who have irritable bowel syndrome, like IBS or something like that. I think doing something like carnivore or even maybe Chrohns, but I don’t really want to say that because I’m not a doctor, but a low-fibre diet might help.
It is probably the easiest thing to try.
The easiest thing to try… And not necessarily go carnivore full out, but you can do it for a month and then try it. If you don’t know what foods are maybe causing you digestive discomfort or other health-related issues, like maybe your skin breaks out or I don’t know. Then you can do the carnivore diet for a month and then add foods one by one to see. Maybe there is something that you are eating regularly that was causing your problems?
It makes it a lot easier to detect because you kind of build up a tolerance to these things, and by taking a month break it sort of resets your system and then you will have something and your tolerance will be much lower. And then suddenly, it hits you much harder. You can actually not feel it for the first time where you go like, “wow, okay, so this is what I was actually doing to me this whole time.” And, yeah, it’s a very enlightening experience.
It was very enlightening. I learned a lot doing it.
I think it’s much more effective than trying to cut out certain things and reintroduce them and cut this out and cut that out because it’s almost like you’ve got so many factors going into the experiment that you’re almost constantly juggling between different things that you think might be causing the problem and you almost keep on going up and down. Then you try this one, then you cut it out again and you try it again. Then it’s up and down because you are struggling to find specifically what the problem is, where if you go carnivore you kind of just wipe the slate clean and then you have the opportunity to try it. Introducing variables one at a time.
Yeah, it’s definitely a much easier strategy. It can be harder in the beginning, but I definitely think it is worth it. What I liked about the carnivore diet was how easy shopping was; it was very minimalist. Yeah. You just go to the store and buy the meat. That was it. You didn’t have to spend hours browsing the aisles or whatever.
Meat is much easier to prepare than veg.
Well, depending on who you ask or how much you want to prepare or how much effort you put into your vegetables.
I guess if you just eat them raw, then that’s very easy. But that was quite easy and simple. You know what? I really want to make a meat cake. So like basically a meatloaf that you make look pretty, I guess. Well, you could do like a layered meat cake. I don’t know. I saw one where people like layered bacon for someone’s birthday cake and they made like bacon roses or something like that. If you’re a carnivore over your birthday, I’d do that. Or I think we should just do it anyways. Yes. When you go off of the vegan diet challenge for this month, I’ll have a slice of meat cake. We’ll make your meat cake to celebrate. So, Jonathan, I don’t know if you listened to the previous podcast, but Jonathan decided to try the vegan diet for a month as an experiment just so that he could have some experience with the vegan diet. And then if he talks to people about it, he can talk from a point of experience. Yes.
So it’s been two weeks and uh, yeah, it’s challenging,
Only two weeks to go, two weeks to go and you can do it and then we’ll make you the meat cake to celebrate.
Yeah. Figure out what it’s going to be. It’s going to be epic. We’ll share a picture, but yeah, I hope this inspired you to give carnivore a shot. I’d be very surprised if you were really disappointed. Like, yes, it can be boring. Like it doesn’t have a lot of variety, but I mean it’s only a month if you want to do the elimination method and it might teach you a lot about your body and like a lot about humans. And I think there were many humans in the past that literally survived only on meat. So, I think it’s very ancestrally appropriate and yeah.
You can take it as an opportunity to learn how to cook your meat properly; experiment with different ways of cooking meat.
There’s one thing I forgot to say and that is like just salt and meat was actually a really cool experience because I appreciated the flavour of the meat.
Yeah, definitely. Since doing carnivore, I have a deeper appreciation for the taste of meat on its own.
I don’t have to have a batter or a spice or a marinade or any of these things. Like if you’re getting the right cuts of meat and cooking them nicely, it’s really good just with salt. Yeah. So use it as an opportunity to become a better cook. Yeah, I mean I did a few things that were quite cool, like where you’d almost turn, you’d crisp up the fat extra and reduce the fat and use that as the sauce for your steak or whatever. You can actually get quite creative with it. And bone marrow is actually a good source if you blended that up with something.
Jonathan & Joané: (25:38)
You should definitely do that after your vegan thing. Those are our thoughts on the carnivore diet and we don’t know what our next episode will be about, but you’ll find out then, and I hope you enjoyed listening to this podcast. Okay. Bye. Bye.