Carnivore Diet For Beginners

Carnivore Diet For Beginners

The Ultimate Guide to the Carnivore Diet for Beginners


  • The carnivore diet is a highly restrictive eating plan that involves consuming only animal foods and eliminating all plant foods.
  • While the carnivore diet may offer some potential benefits, such as improved gut health, weight loss, and reduced inflammation, it also comes with risks and challenges.
  • To succeed on the carnivore diet, it’s essential to prioritize nutrient-dense animal foods, listen to your body’s needs, and work with a qualified healthcare professional.

If you’re considering trying the carnivore diet, you’re probably curious about what it entails, how it works, and what benefits it may offer. As a carnivore diet advocate and coach, I’ve helped countless individuals navigate this unique way of eating animal foods and optimize their health and well-being.

In this ultimate guide to the carnivore diet for beginners, I’ll share everything you need to know to get started on this controversial yet potentially transformative eating plan. From the basics of the carnivore diet to practical tips for creating a balanced carnivore diet meal plan, I’ll provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to make an informed decision about whether this approach is right for you.

What is the Carnivore Diet?

At its core, the carnivore diet is a highly restrictive eating plan that involves consuming only animal foods and eliminating all plant foods. This means that on the carnivore diet, you’ll be eating primarily meat, fish, eggs, and certain dairy products, while avoiding fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

The main premise behind the carnivore diet is that humans are designed to thrive on animal foods and that many of the health issues we face today can be attributed to the consumption of processed foods and plant toxins. By eliminating these foods and focusing solely on nutrient-dense animal products, proponents of the carnivore diet believe that we can optimize our health, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation in the body.

History and Origins of the Carnivore Diet

The idea of eating a diet based solely on animal foods is not new. In fact, many indigenous cultures around the world have traditionally relied on animal products as their primary source of nutrition, with little to no consumption of plant foods.

In recent years, the carnivore diet has gained popularity in the Western world, largely due to the influence of proponents like Shawn Baker, a former orthopedic surgeon and elite athlete who has been a vocal advocate for the carnivore diet.

Baker, who is known for his impressive physique and athletic performance, claims that switching to a strict carnivore diet helped him overcome chronic health issues and improve his overall well-being. He has since become a prominent figure in the carnivore diet community, authoring books like “The Carnivore Diet” and “The Carnivore Cookbook” and inspiring countless others to try this way of eating.

Other influential figures in the carnivore diet movement include Jordan Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist who has spoken publicly about his experience with the diet, and his daughter Mikhaila Peterson, who credits the carnivore diet with helping her overcome severe autoimmune issues.

While the carnivore diet has gained a devoted following in recent years, it remains a controversial and polarizing topic in the nutrition world, with many experts expressing concerns about the long-term safety and sustainability of this approach.

Carnivore Diet Benefits

While the idea of eating only animal foods may seem extreme, there are several potential health benefits associated with the carnivore diet, including:

  1. Improved Gut Health: Many people who switch to the carnivore diet report improvements in digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This may be due to the elimination of plant foods that contain compounds that can irritate the gut lining and contribute to gut inflammation.
  2. Enhanced Weight Loss: Because the carnivore diet is naturally low in carbohydrates and high in protein and healthy fats, it can be an effective tool for losing weight and reducing body fat. The high protein content of the diet may also help preserve muscle mass during weight loss.
  3. Reduced Inflammation: Some proponents of the carnivore diet believe that eliminating plant foods and focusing on nutrient-dense animal products can help reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which is linked to various health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
  4. Increased Mental Clarity: Many people report experiencing improved mental clarity, focus, and energy levels when following the carnivore diet. This may be due to the stable blood sugar levels and consistent fuel source provided by the high-fat, low-carb nature of the diet.
  5. Simplified Meal Planning: One of the benefits of the carnivore diet is its simplicity. By focusing solely on animal foods, you can streamline your meal prep and planning, saving time and reducing decision fatigue.

Potential Risks and Drawbacks of the Carnivore Diet

While the carnivore diet may offer some impressive health benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and drawbacks associated with this approach, including:

  1. Nutrient Deficiencies: By eliminating entire food groups like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the carnivore diet may increase the risk of certain nutrient deficiencies, particularly in vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are primarily found in plant foods. While it’s possible to obtain some of these nutrients from animal products like organ meats and bone broth, it may be challenging to meet all of your nutritional needs on a strict carnivore diet.
  2. Digestive Issues: While some people report improvements in digestive health on the carnivore diet, others may experience issues like constipation or diarrhea, particularly in the beginning stages of the diet. This may be due to the lack of fiber in the diet, which is important for regular bowel movements and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
  3. Sustainability and Social Challenges: The carnivore diet can be difficult to sustain long-term, both from a practical and social perspective. Eating out, traveling, and attending social events can be challenging on such a restrictive diet, and the cost of high-quality animal products can add up over time.
  4. Psychological Impact: For some people, following such a restrictive diet can take a toll on their mental health and relationship with food. The carnivore diet may be particularly challenging for those with a history of disordered eating or obsessive tendencies around food.
  5. Limited Research: While there are many anecdotal reports of the benefits of the carnivore diet, there is currently limited scientific research on the long-term safety and effectiveness of this approach. More studies are needed to fully understand the potential risks and benefits of the carnivore diet, particularly over an extended period.

Creating a Carnivore Diet Meal Plan

If you’re ready to give the carnivore diet a try, the first step is to create a balanced and nutritious meal plan. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Focus on Nutrient-Dense Animal Foods: The key to success on the carnivore diet is to prioritize high-quality, nutrient-dense animal foods. This includes fatty cuts of meat like ribeye steak, ground beef, and pork chops, as well as organ meats like liver and heart, which are packed with essential nutrients.
  2. Incorporate Bone Broth: Bone broth is a nutritious and versatile addition to any carnivore diet meal plan. It’s rich in amino acids, minerals, and other beneficial compounds that can support gut health and overall well-being.
  3. Experiment with Different Cooking Methods: To keep your meals interesting and enjoyable, try experimenting with different cooking techniques, such as grilling, roasting, slow-cooking, and pan-searing. You can also use simple spices like salt, pepper, and garlic powder to add flavor without relying on processed foods or additives.
  4. Listen to Your Hunger and Satiety Cues: One of the benefits of the carnivore diet is that it can help regulate appetite and promote feelings of fullness. Instead of focusing on meal timing or calorie counting, try listening to your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues and eating until you feel satisfied.
  5. Consider Adding Low-Lactose Dairy Products: If you tolerate dairy products well, you may want to incorporate some low-lactose options into your carnivore diet meal plan, such as butter, hard cheese, and heavy cream. These foods can add variety and flavor to your meals while providing additional nutrients.

Sample Carnivore Diet Meal Plan

To give you an idea of what a typical day on the carnivore diet might look like, here’s a sample meal plan:


  • 3-4 scrambled eggs cooked in butter
  • 2-3 strips of bacon


  • 8 oz ground beef patty seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese


  • 10-12 oz ribeye steak cooked to desired doneness
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee

Snacks (if needed):

  • 1-2 oz beef jerky or pork rinds
  • 1-2 hard-boiled eggs

Remember, this is just a sample meal plan, and you can customize it based on your individual preferences and needs. The key is to focus on consuming a variety of high-quality animal foods and listening to your body’s hunger and satiety signals.

Tips for Success on the Carnivore Diet

While the carnivore diet can offer some impressive health benefits, it’s not always easy to stick with, especially if you’re used to eating a more varied diet. Here are some tips to help you succeed on your carnivore journey:

  1. Start Slowly: If you’re new to the carnivore diet, it’s essential to start slowly and give your body time to adapt. Consider starting with a less strict carnivore approach that includes some low-carb plant foods, and gradually eliminate them over time as your body adjusts.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is crucial on the carnivore diet, as it can help prevent constipation and support healthy bowel movements. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and consider adding electrolytes if needed.
  3. Prioritize Sleep and Stress Management: Getting enough quality sleep and managing stress are essential for overall health and well-being on any diet, but especially on the carnivore diet. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and incorporate stress-reducing practices like meditation, deep breathing, or gentle exercise.
  4. Be Patient: Adapting to the carnivore diet can take time, and some people may experience temporary side effects like fatigue, headaches, or digestive issues during the transition period. Be patient with yourself and your body, and remember that everyone’s experience is different.
  5. Work with a Qualified Healthcare Professional: If you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns, it’s essential to work with a qualified healthcare professional who can monitor your health and provide personalized guidance and support.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I eat dairy on the carnivore diet?

While some people choose to include dairy products like butter, cheese, and heavy cream on the carnivore diet, others may find that they are sensitive to these foods. If you tolerate dairy well, you can incorporate it into your meal plan, but if you experience digestive issues or other symptoms, it may be best to eliminate it and focus solely on meat and other animal products.

2. How much meat should I eat on the carnivore diet?

The amount of meat you should eat on the carnivore diet will depend on your individual needs and goals. As a general guideline, aim for around 1-2 pounds (450-900 grams) of meat per day, depending on your body size, activity level, and appetite. Listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals, and adjust your intake as needed.

3. Is the carnivore diet safe for everyone?

No, the carnivore diet is not safe for everyone. People with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, gout, or a history of eating disorders, may need to avoid or modify the diet under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. Additionally, the carnivore diet may not be suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or older adults with specific nutritional needs.

4. Can I eat processed meats like bacon and sausage on the carnivore diet?

While processed meats like bacon, sausage, and jerky are technically allowed on the carnivore diet, it’s best to choose minimally processed options whenever possible. Look for products that are free from added sugars, preservatives, and fillers, and opt for higher-quality, pasture-raised options when available.

5. How long should I follow the carnivore diet?

The length of time you follow the carnivore diet will depend on your individual goals and preferences. Some people use the carnivore diet as a short-term elimination diet to identify food sensitivities or jumpstart weight loss, while others adopt it as a long-term lifestyle. It’s important to listen to your body and work with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the best approach for you.

6. Will I experience nutrient deficiencies on the carnivore diet?

While the carnivore diet can be very nutrient-dense, especially when it includes organ meats and other nutrient-rich animal foods, there is a risk of certain nutrient deficiencies if the diet is not well-planned. Some nutrients that may be of concern on the carnivore diet include vitamin C, fiber, and certain plant compounds. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to monitor your nutrient intake and address any potential deficiencies.

7. Can I combine the carnivore diet with other dietary approaches, such as intermittent fasting?

Yes, many people find that combining the carnivore diet with intermittent fasting can enhance the benefits of both approaches. Intermittent fasting involves restricting your eating window to a specific timeframe each day, such as 8 hours, and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. This can help promote fat loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and support overall health. When combined with the carnivore diet, intermittent fasting can help accelerate weight loss, reduce inflammation, and improve mental clarity and focus. However, it’s important to listen to your body and work with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if this approach is right for you.

The Bottom Line

The carnivore diet is a highly restrictive eating plan that involves consuming only animal foods and eliminating all plant foods. While this approach may offer some potential benefits, such as improved gut health, weight loss, and reduced inflammation, it also comes with risks and challenges, such as nutrient deficiencies and difficulty sustaining the diet long-term.

If you’re considering trying the carnivore diet, it’s essential to do your research, listen to your body’s needs and responses, and work with a qualified healthcare professional to ensure that you’re meeting your nutritional needs and supporting your overall health and well-being.

Ultimately, the best approach to nutrition is one that is personalized, sustainable, and enjoyable. Whether you choose to incorporate elements of the carnivore diet into your lifestyle or opt for a more balanced and varied eating plan, the key is to focus on nourishing your body with whole, minimally processed foods that make you feel your best.

With the right mindset, support, and planning, the carnivore diet can be a powerful tool for transforming your health and well-being. Just remember to approach it with caution, listen to your body’s needs, and prioritize your overall health and happiness on your carnivore journey.

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Molly Winter

About the author

Molly Winter, RDN & CPT, is passionate about helping you achieve optimal health through balanced nutrition and enjoyable exercise. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, she provides practical advice and delicious recipes to make healthy living sustainable. Join her on this journey to a healthier, happier you!

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