Chances are you’ve heard of a plant-based diet and you have a fairly good idea of what someone on this diet can eat. Well, an animal-based diet is exactly the opposite — you eat mostly animal foods.
Even though a plant-based diet has a better PR team and is being promoted around the world by many who claim that we should all switch to a plant-based diet for the sake of our health and the planet, we as humans have been eating animal foods for thousands of years. Our ancestors ate a lot of animal foods and were mostly animal-based when we were hunter-gatherers. Plant foods were basically only survival foods. What we really wanted to eat were animals.
An animal-based diet is actually far better than a plant-based diet. The foods you eat on this diet are definitely nutritionally superior. Why do I say this?
The nutrients in animal foods are more bioavailable than those in plant foods, meaning your body can absorb and utilise them far easier. (1)
Animal foods contain many nutrients that cannot be found in plant foods. These nutrients include vitamin B12, pure vitamin A (not beta carotene, which you have to convert to vitamin A), vitamin D3, creatine, carnitine, carnosine, taurine, DHA, and heme iron. (2, 3, 4, 5)
Animal foods contain complete proteins, whereas you usually cannot get complete proteins from plant foods (except for soy). Complete proteins are protein sources that contain all 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce naturally. (6, 7)
So, now you know that an animal-based diet is better, but what can you eat on this diet?
You’re not just limited to animal foods. Your diet is simply based on animal foods.
1. Muscle Meat
This one is quite obvious. On an animal-based diet, you can eat muscle meats like beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. This is usually what we think of when we use the word “meat”.
What’s important on an animal-based diet is to prioritise fatty cuts of muscle meat and to not mainly stick to lean meats.
Your body needs fat in order to be healthy. You need fat for healthy hormone production, to feel satiated, and to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. (8)
2. Organ Meats
Organs like the liver, heart, kidney, intestines, and even brains can be consumed on an animal-based diet. While they are optional, organ meats actually contain the highest concentrations of vital nutrients. Liver is arguably the most nutrient-dense food you can find and is basically a multivitamin.
Liver contains vitamin A, folate, choline, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and B2, selenium, and copper. (9)
3. Animal Fat
On an animal-based diet, you can eat the animal fat attached to your meat, and you can also get animal fat from suet, tallow, butter, ghee, cheese, cream, milk, and yoghurt.
You can use the fat to cook your food in and you can fry chunks of fat and have it as a side dish. If you’re making your own sausages or you’re having them made by your butcher, for example, you can request that they add quite a bit of animal fat like beef fat to your sausage.
You can definitely have eggs on an animal-based diet if you can tolerate it. Some people choose to skip eggs entirely because of an egg allergy or sensitivity. Some people are only sensitive to the egg whites and can tolerate the yolks without any problems. And some people are fine eating the whole egg.
If you can tolerate whole eggs or egg yolks, you can include eggs on your animal-based diet. They’re a great source of protein and fat, and the yolks provide micronutrients, such as choline, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, folate, and vitamin K2. (10)
5. Dairy Products
Dairy products can also be included on an animal-based diet. They come from animals, after all.
I do believe it’s better to opt for raw dairy products like raw butter and raw milk and to skip the pasteurised stuff. Many people struggle to digest pasteurised dairy and experience side effects like indigestion, rashes, and acne when consuming it, but don’t experience those symptoms when they have raw dairy.
Some people who struggle to digest cow’s dairy can tolerate goat’s milk dairy.
Some people struggle to digest A1 dairy but are fine with A2 dairy from A2 cows. This type of dairy lacks the A1 form of β-casein proteins and contains the A2 form.
Some people on an animal-based diet actually like drinking blood. While most animal-based eaters will probably skip this, drinking blood can actually provide your body with a lot of nutrients, including heme iron, protein, vitamin A, and calcium.
The Maasai tribe in northern, central and southern Kenya, as well as northern Tanzania frequently drink blood and some people on animal-based diets have started doing the same. (11)
Consuming blood might seem crazy to you, but blood is actually consumed in several countries around the world. For example:
Blood sausage is consumed in countries like Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and England (does black pudding ring a bell?).
In Vietnam, they consume Tiết Canh (blood pudding). It’s made with duck meat, duck blood, viscera, and other ingredients.
In Sweden and Finland, they consume blood pancakes, also known as Blodplättar. To make this, they use pig blood and combine it with onion, flour, and spices.
7. Sweet Fruits
On an animal-based diet, you can include some plant foods in your diet but many people prefer to stick to the plant foods that are low on the plant-toxicity scale and low in antinutrients, mainly fruit. (12)
Plants don’t want you to eat their roots, stems, leaves, and seeds, but fruit is different. If animals eat the fruits of plants, they end up helping the plants spread their seeds. Plants are okay with this and therefore don’t produce harmful chemicals to try and protect their fruits. Remember, they cannot run or fight to protect themselves, so they have to resort to chemical warfare. (13, 14)
This means that on an animal-based diet, if you’re worried about consuming plant toxins, you can still indulge in sweet fruits like apples, bananas, pears, mango, pineapple, berries… you get the idea.
The only thing you need to determine is how much sugar you can tolerate in your diet. If you have insulin resistance or diabetes or you’re a sugar addict who starts losing control the moment you taste something sweet, you might want to limit your consumption of fruit to one or two servings a day, a few servings per week, or special occasions only, or eliminate it entirely.
It’s up to you.
8. Other Fruits
Other fruits you can have on an animal-based diet include avocados, butternut, gem squash, olives, cucumber, and courgettes. Many people don’t realise that these count as fruits because they’re usually put in the vegetable category, but they definitely are fruits.
What About Other Plant Foods?
Now, of course, you can consume other plant foods and still be on an animal-based diet, such as spices, mushrooms, vegetables, coffee, and chocolate, and there are animal-based eaters that include these in their diets. This is entirely up to you.
It all depends on what your body can tolerate and whether you are okay with consuming some plant toxins and antinutrients in your diet or prefer to avoid them as much as possible. Some people are basically carnivores and only eat animal foods, but will still have coffee every day, and that’s perfectly fine.
The main thing you need to focus on is that the majority of what you consume comes from animal foods.
And that, my dear friends, is a quick summary of what you can eat on an animal-based diet.