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If you are reading this blog, I’m sure that one of your main questions is how to start the carnivore diet in a healthy and efficient way. This popular diet can help you lose weight and improve your health. For example, if you are suffering from anemia (iron deficiency) you must eat a lot of meat.
Still starting a new diet is a serious process that can backfire if you are not doing it correctly. That is why is best to follow the advice of specialists, nutritionists, and dieticians that have experienced the carnivore diet first hand and are confident to recommend it to others.
We reached out to 20 carnivore aficionados, doctors, health coaches and asked them the following question:
What are your top three tips on how to start the carnivore diet?
We received excellent answers that you can read below. Enjoy!
1. When transitioning to diet, eat a carnivorous diet that you enjoy and eat to satiety even if that means lots of variety, red meat, fish, dairy, pork, chicken and spices. Undereating often leads to uncontrolled cravings and ultimately failure.
2. Realize that you are eating for your health and for no one else. You do not need to apologize for what you are eating. People that are critical about what you are eating are not going to be there to support you in 5 to 10 years when your health is not doing well.
3. At the end of the day realize that we have no credible evidence from nutrition science that can predict how long we will live or what we will die from. The best we can do it to go from the diseased state to the non-diseased state. In other words focus on healthspan, because lifespan is unknowable.
Scott Myslinski – Carnivore Cast
Here would be my top three tips for starting a carnivore diet:
1. Commit to trying the carnivore diet for at least 30 days, ideally 60-90, to see meaningful changes in the way you feel, look and perform.
2. Eat as much and as often as you want. Don’t go into the diet expecting to lose weight right away. If you do that and deprive yourself, you won’t adapt to eating only meat and you’re much more likely to give in to cravings and fail.
3. Focus on fatty meat, but eat what you enjoy. Don’t start the diet by being 100% dogmatic about things like spices or bacon.
While many experienced carnivores will recommend you stick to only beef and salt or mandate that you include organ meats, it’s more important that you make the diet sustainable for you as you get started.
Feel free to use some things like garlic powder, pepper, and even some dairy in moderation as you begin the diet.
Focus on the cuts of meat you find the most delicious and don’t worry about organs at the start (you won’t develop any nutrient deficiencies in 90 days and many 10 years + carnivores don’t eat organs at all). You can always adjust the diet later as you get traction, but if you’re still concerned you can check out some carnivore friendly supplements.
Craig Emmerich – Keto Adapted
1. The most important thing to know when going carnivore is what is your “Why”? The reason for doing carnivore can change the approach.
The two main reasons to do carnivore are for general health and weight loss or for healing from autoimmune, Lyme, Chronic pain and inflammation, bipolar and other chronic diseases.
If you are doing carnivore for weight loss and healing, then you can eat pretty much anything from the animal kingdom. If you are doing it for chronic disease then you want to use it as an elimination diet. You should start with just beef and salt then slowly add other proteins to find what works with your body and your symptoms.
2. The second tip would be for digestion. It can take time for the body to adjust to eating more animal proteins. You may get constipation or diarrhea. If you get constipation, add salt and magnesium. If you get diarrhea, add HCL and digestive enzymes until the body has adjusted.
3. The last tip is to be confident in the fact that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. This chart is from our Carnivore Cookbook:
As you can see you get more nutrients (and more bioavailable nutrients) from beef than from any “superfood” like kale or blueberries. And if you want to know what is the real superfood, that is beef liver. It is more nutrient-dense than any food out there.
Melody and Steve Barrons – The Tactical Kitchen
Starting the Carnivore Diet isn’t a complicated process. We coach our clients to begin by simply consuming any form of animal protein for each meal.
Our biggest tips are concerning electrolyte balance, digestive enzymes, and stress removal.
We highly recommend the addition of a real unprocessed natural salt used daily to manage hydration. When our clients remove all carbohydrates they find they begin to lose a lot of stored water.
This can leave them feeling sluggish which is often due to an electrolyte imbalance. By adding a natural unprocessed salt to their diet, they can regain their mineral balance and feel more energetic as they detox from carbohydrates.
We also recommend digestive enzymes for some individuals who have compromised digestion. This can be due to inadequate stomach acid secretion which directly affects the digestion of proteins.
Our biggest tip is simply don’t stress! If you eat something other than animal protein you can easily get back on track at your next meal.
We remind our clients this is not a religion and there’s no carnivore diet police. When you change your dietary strategy you’re going to have some adjustment period.
We know that stress interferes with good digestion and good digestion is key for any style of eating. So just move on. There’s another meal right around the corner and you can get right back on plan.
Libby Jenkinson – Ditch The Carbs
My top three tips for starting a carnivore diet.
1. Understand WHY you want to live carnivore.
Carnivore is the ultimate elimination diet and is the next step for many people living keto but they possibly didn’t see the final few health benefits they were hoping for.
Maybe you want to settle any lingering gastrointestinal issue, maybe you want to lose those final last few kg/lb, and maybe, you want to experience the amazing benefits you keep hearing about in carnivore circles. Whatever your reason is, understanding your “why” will help keep you on track.
2. Decide how hardcore carnivore you want to be.
Are you able to be strictly 100% carnivore with just meat, salt, and water? Will you want to keep some high-fat dairy in your day so you can still enjoy creamy coffees and cheese?
Or will you allow a sprinkling of vegetables in your day for example when frying up your liver and onions? Make this sustainable for you.
3. Don’t underestimate the slight awkwardness of social situations.
Be prepared to answer and enlighten those around you that still think a bowl of kale is healthier than a juice fat steak. By encouraging and answering questions might just encourage friends and family to try your carnivore lifestyle too.
Mike Senina – Meat RX
My top three tips on how to start the carnivore diet:
1. Eating to satiety
It’s critical to eat enough animal products for energy to keep cravings at bay, and “refill” your nutrient/mineral tank.
2. Changing your relationship with food
As your physiology changes, it is important to view food as fuel rather than for pleasure or “comfort.” The goal is to liberate the control food has on you both physically and psychologically.
3. Be your own N=1
Biofeedback is key, make note of it, depending on what protocol you’re coming from the adaptations could vary and will take time as the body is healing. Be patient and consistent!
Starting the carnivore diet sounds really hard, but it’s actually super easy and fun.
Here are my three tips to start the carnivore diet:
1. Slowly transition from your current diet to the carnivore diet.
Don’t make the mistake of saying, “I will wake up tomorrow and only eat meat”, that won’t help you. Start by eating more meat with every meal and reducing things like pasta and bread from your meals.
Over time this will let you get used to the diet and make an easier transition. However, you’ll notice how you feel less hungry and you’ll have a better mood within a few hours of switching to the diet.
2. Spice up your food, literally.
Many people make the mistake of buying a whole bunch of grilled chicken and steak and cannot stand some of the bland taste.
On your way to the store, buy some cheap meat seasonings on the way. Personally, I just use whatever salt they have for grilled chicken or steak and apply it. It will make it taste so much better without any harm to your health.
3. It’s okay to have a cheat meal here and there
Sometimes the carnivore diet can limit a lot of your food. It’s okay to have a cheat meal here and there. Don’t do it every day, but maybe set a day once a week where you can have your favorite candy or bowl of ice cream. It’s important to keep you on track!
Clint and Aimee – Primal Influence
Our tips for how to start on carnivore:
1. Do your research to fully understand what carnivore is, how it can be beneficial and how to do it right. A good place to start is the Dr Paul Saladino podcast and his social media platforms. Brilliant info and he promotes nose-to-tail eating which we’re big fans of.
Related Article: The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino (Book Review)
2. Don’t worry initially about the quality of the eggs, meat and fat so much, just transition to whatever the cleanest products are you can afford. It’s ideal to eat locally sourced biodynamic pasture-raised products but that can be difficult and expensive, potentially causing stress and overwhelm which can lead to people giving up on it all.
Start with whatever quality meat, seafood, eggs and fat are affordable and as you get used to this way of eating and maybe won’t need to eat as much (the first month can be the ‘hungry month’ when you feel hungrier than usual – totally ok!) you can start swapping for better quality products.
3. Keep a diary. Include what you’re eating every day, how you’re feeling, what stress you’ve felt, changes in symptoms, activity levels.. everything. It helps you take control of what you’re doing and to better understand how the food and other lifestyle elements are impacting your health and well-being so you can make appropriate changes when needed.
Gary Kirwan – BioHackers Lab
1. Try to eat meat that has a good amount of fat as it can be cheaper to buy from your butcher, will make the meat more tasty to eat and help make sure you are getting healthy fats along with the protein.
2. Eat until feeling full each day
3. Let meat like steak rest for a short period after cooking to get the best taste
Nick Eggleton – Gene Life
My top 3 tips on how to start a carnivore diet are
1. Find a local farm that raises it’s animal well and feeds them properly (naturally) so you can buy in bulk. Preferably pasture-fed, organic. We buy half an animal at a time.
2. Use the whole animal, nose-tail.
Make bone broth from bones, pate from liver, and slow-cooked joints (short ribs, cheeks, shanks, neck), not just the steak cuts. Not only is it more nutritious, but it’s also more affordable and gives more variety.
3. Get a dehydrator.
You can make jerky quickly and easily for travel snacks.
Anju Mobin – Best of Nutrition
Are you planning to start the carnivore diet or also know as the all-meat diet? Here are the top three tips that you will need to get started.
1. Start with 30-day meat only challenge.
For those who are want to do the carnivore diet, a 1-month challenge is a great start. Within 30 days, you will follow the recommended rules and tips for a carnivore diet. And from them, you must observe changes in your body. Take pictures, create health diaries, and keep track of the different results so you will know if this is the right diet plan for you.
2. Eat only meat.
Since the carnivore diet is an all-meat diet, this means that you will only eat 100% meat at all times. You are not allowed to eat a little number of fruits or vegetables while you are on a carnivore diet.
3. Drink only water.
If you want to stick with a strict carnivore diet, it is recommended that you only drink water. For some people, drinking water alone is important for the first 30 days of their carnivore diet. The diet plan is more effective in this way. But if you want to add some coffee or tea to your carnivore diet, you may do so as long as you are not adding sugar or any sweeteners to your hot drinks.
These tips are very important if you want to know whether the carnivore diet plan is for you. Strictly follow every instruction and see the results after 30 days.
Christo Zeelie – Healthopolitan.com
1. Not Just Any Meat
The thing here is to choose the right kind of meat and that is the fatty parts when you are on the carnivore diet and it is your first time on these diets you body is going to go through a lot of changes the most profound ones will be how your body used meat for energy purposes remember meat is zero carbs so no energy from sugars
The best steaks for fatty parts are ribeye, T- bone, and new york strips.
A strict carnivore diet allows for spices but only spices none of the sauces or rubs you get these days and remember to always check the nutritional packaging information on the back. It must say 0 carbs manufacturers will try to sneak in something that’s going to ruin your whole diet.
2. It Does Not help to count calories
Thanks to Google everybody that has been on a diet in the last year considers the carnivore diet as an option and brings with them there apple cider vinegar and some smartphone with my fitness pal on.
The high content of fat in the meat will keep your stomach full for longer making you eat less during the day.
This is a great way to lose weight and its weight loss 101 (burn more calories than you are putting back in your body)
So when you are hungry eat as much as you like and stop worrying about calories. One of the building blocks of life is a protein it is used to make enzymes and hormones as well as repairing tissue and ligaments
Where do these proteins come from MEAT!
3. Meat is expensive (false)
When it comes to shopping or meat, believe me, it’s easier than other diets but you can find that going for the best meat will also be very pricey.
Doing a little research found that you do not have to buy the most expensive steaks for this diet, Find places that have meat, eggs, and cheese on specials and buy it there not only will you save some cash but the effects of the diet will still be the same.
Eat a lot of Meat snacks
Sometimes we do get tired of bacon for breakfast “I never thought those words would come over my lips”
The reality is there are not that many choices when it comes to a meat diet.
So try mixing it up and the best way to do that is snacks.
These days you can find a lot of healthy meat snacks out there like salami, beef or turkey jerky, Bacon rolls, crab.
Some of you would be quite excited to hear me say that sushi is also on the carnivore diet so when you are starting to wonder especially the first few days try mixing up your daily snacks.
Eat fatty meats that will give you all the necessary proteins you need.
Do not count calories there is no used for it here.
You can do the carnivore diet on a budget.
Try mixing it up with different snacks when you are struggling.
Jessica Haggard – Primal Edge Health
My three top tips for anyone interested in starting a carnivore diet are to first stock up on fatty cuts of meat, second, prioritize red meat over everything else, and third eat to satiety.
Fatty cuts like ribeye and T-bone are top-notch but also top dollar. Look for budget-friendly options like 75% lean ground beef, brisket with the fat cap, and short ribs that have a good amount of fat but don’t break the bank. Fatty cuts will satiate and provide reliable energy throughout the day better than leaner choices.
Whenever possible, choose red meat from ruminant animals like beef, bison, lamb, mutton, etc. over chicken, poultry, and pork. These animals have a superior nutritional profile with more quality fat, and, for most people, tend to be better digested.
Finally, don’t worry about quantity. Eat when you’re hungry, continue until you’re full. You may find you only want two meals a day, or even less if you have significant body fat to lose. That’s ok! Train your body on the fatty meats and learn how to follow your hunger cues.
Joel Flynn – Gentleman Guide
The Carnivore diet is the manhood dream! As gentlemen, we also need to stay fit and ss with many other diets, the start can be stressful but not impossible. The few personal tips I would share:
The diet calls for lots of water intake but if you want to alternate try coconut water, tea, and club soda.
Experiment with different seasoning when you cook meats yourself. Try spices such as cumin, curry powder, mustard powder, and Cayenne pepper, etc. to help you bring variety to your supper. Avoid using sauces as they are often high on added sugar and empty calories.
Personally, I don’t think sausages classify as part of the diet.
Emma Williams – Easy Recipe Depot
Starting the carnivore diet means changing the way you fuel your body. Going from eating carbohydrates every day to zero carbs is hard, but it will mean you become a fat-burning machine and gain strength too. Here are our top three tips on how to ensure you start the carnivore diet successfully:
1. Spice it up!
While the carnivore diet is limited to meat, eggs, butter, and cheese, you are allowed spices and seasonings. Experiment with different meats, spice,s and flavors to keep your diet exciting, but always check the packet first as many seasonings can be full of added sugar.
2. Magnesium will help
Making the change from a standard carb-heavy diet to the carnivore diet may leave you feeling lethargic for the first week or so. If you find this is true for you, take some natural electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium. The magnesium will also help with muscle aches if you feel a little sore.
3. Don’t cheat!
You may be used to having a little bit of sugar here and there, or a cheat day on the weekend, but with the carnivore diet this is off-limits. To ensure you don’t fail at the first hurdle, do a big supermarket shop and stock up on meat as well as meaty snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Beef jerky (with no added sugar and preservatives) is a great office snack and we also recommend snacking on boiled eggs or cold, pre-cooked 100% pork sausages.
Nicolle Harwood-Nash – The Workout Digest
The carnivore diet trend has increased because too many ketogenic dieters find consuming high fat not a viable practice in the long-term but still want to maintain a high-protein intake. We have to thank Shawn Baker who’s considered the father of the no-carb, all-meat diet. Like most diets, there’s no full guarantee of weight loss when you follow such practice though.
Here are my top three food choices:
1. Red Meat
Red meats have a bad reputation, but they’re totally healthy as part of a well-balanced diet.
Despite scaremongering, red meats provide some of the most important nutrients. This includes things like Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium. These are some of the most common deficiencies, so red meat is an easy and high-calorie solution.
They also happen to be zero-carb and, depending on the cut you choose, lots of calories!
One of the easiest ways to adapt to a low-carb diet and keep your calories high is to opt for fattier cuts of meat. If you’re looking to get those sweet calories in, ditch the sirloin and go straight for the tenderloin or T-bone!
Remember: beef isn’t the only red meat.
Venison and other red meats are a great choice that provides an amazing, versatile cooking experience and delicious results! They’re equally useful for the nutrients found in beef, and they have their own fatty cuts.
2. Salmon (and other Fatty Fish)
You know this was coming!
Salmon and other forms of fatty fish are totally carb-free and provides some of the best nutritional values of any animal food.
Fish products are rich in 3 key nutrients that we need to pay attention to:
Vitamin A is an antioxidant compound that combats aging and chronic disease risk. It protects cells from harmful “free radicals” that cause cell-death and cancer.
Vitamin D is the most important vitamin and you need more of it: this key vitamin protects the brain from degenerative brain disease, increases testosterone and combats inflammation.
Omega-3 fats are essential: your body can’t make them. You need to get them through diet and fatty fish is the best source. “n-3” fats combat inflammation, protect the brain, aid in the muscle-recovery process and improve your wellbeing in dozens of ways.
Salmon and other fatty fish are a great choice – especially because they combine well with other high-fat foods.
Eggs are some of the healthiest high-fat foods in existence. There’s a reason Rocky drank them!
These little chicken orbs are packed full of healthy fats and protein. The yolk is where all the fat lives, as well as the key nutrients – including Choline. The whites are low-fat, but they contain plenty of protein.
Choline is one of our favorite nutrients because it improves brain health and power output. This is because choline is a key part of the essential neurotransmitter Acetylcholine (AcH). Roughly speaking, more choline means optimal levels of AcH and healthier nerves.
These are key for everyone’s health and fitness goals – better mental performance and athletic performance are great reasons to eat your eggs.
Whole eggs are one of the best breakfast foods – especially since they go so well with other low-carb foods like avocado or steak. In fact, you can combine eggs with almost anything on this list.
Quick Tip: If you’re really struggling to get the calories in, you can even fry your eggs in oils from this list, such as olive oil or coconut oil. This will boost the absorption of the vitamins in the yolk!
Jamie Hickey – Truism Fitness
1. Start with a 30-days meat only challenge
For most people who want to try and start eating a diet of only meat, starting with a 1-month challenge is a good way to start. For 30 days you will follow the recommended rules of the challenge, and that is all.
Use this time to see if you feel better(better energy, fewer aches, and pains, better sleep, less hunger). Use this time to take before and after pictures and track your results so that you know if this diet plan is for you or not.
2. Eat until full
You will want to eat until you feel satiated. Your appetite will change during the course of the first month. Do not go hungry, eat to your energy needs.
Most people will find themselves eating around 2 pounds of meat per day, while some people that workout at a high intensity or have physically demanding jobs will probably be closer to 3 or 4 pounds.
3. Only drink water
Choosing only to drink water will depend on how strict you want to abide to the diet. If you find yourself needing electrolytes add some redmund real salt to your water. If you absolutely need your morning coffee to be sure not to add any creams, milk, or sugars. Completely black coffee.
Linda Morgan – Motivation in Our Nook
Important things to consider when considering the carnivore diet is to make sure you get all the vitamins you will be missing due to your limited diet of only consuming meat. Simply taking a daily multivitamin should be sufficient in ensuring your body doesn’t have any vitamin deficiencies.
2. Fatty Meats
Your body will be in ketosis, it will be burning fat for fuel, so you’ll have to consume fatty meats in order to have energy to burn. If you only eat lean meats you won’t have any fat for your body to burn. Your diet won’t have any carbohydrates to burn from fruit, breads, or grains.
3. Cut Down
Ease your digestive tract into the carnivore diet. Going from having a diverse diet to only eating meat will shock your digestive system due to a lack of fiber.
Instead of diving headfirst into the carnivore diet, start by cutting down on carbs and veggies substituting it for more meat, and slowly working your diet to only include meat.
4. High Quality
Only eat high-quality meat, grass-fed and grass-finished, organic eggs, and quality meat products. Your body will only be running off of the meat you consume so eating meat that is filled with hormones and animals that were only fed corn is not ideal.
Your body will know the difference between high-quality meat and frozen processed junk.
Joané Hart – The Hart of Health
My top three tips on how to start the carnivore diet are:
1. Make sure that you eat enough fat on the carnivore diet, as it will help you feel satiated and also provide your body with the necessary fat for optimal brain health, healthy hormone production, better digestion, etc.
2. Eat nose-to-tail.
Aim to eat the entire animal. You can use it as an opportunity to be creative. Try roasting bone marrow, make bone broth, perfect your steak cooking skills, and finally learn how to poach an egg. And when it comes to organ meats, you could eat them raw if you want, but we had the butcher make us sausages made from liver, beef tallow, and venison. In South Africa, “skilpaadjies” is a signature dish.
A skilpaadjie is minced lamb liver wrapped in fat. You can find recipes for them online and just avoid the spices if you are full carnivore. It is probably one of the best things you will ever taste in your life.
3. Buy from the farmer directly if you can or go hunting.
It is often easier to find grass-fed beef if you go to a farmer’s market or contact the farmer directly. You can learn where your meat comes from, and make informed decisions when buying your meat. It is also easier to get organ meats that aren’t liver directly from the farmer’s, as well as bones.
If you can go hunting or get someone to do it for you, that is great. That way, you know you are getting an animal that lived a more natural life.
Lynell Ross – Ziva Dream
1. Ease In
Given the restrictiveness of the carnivore diet, jumping in headfirst and committing completely from Day One can be difficult. That is why I suggest easing in over the course of a week or two. Start to phase out the carb-rich and sugary foods slowly over the course of days so that your body is not put into shock.
Cutting out foods that aren’t allowed under the carnivore diet cold turkey can cause physical reactions, which may turn you off to the diet and force you to quit before even getting going, so don’t be afraid to ease into the carnivore diet.
2. Ditch Tempting Foods That Aren’t Allowed
Clean out your pantry of all foods not allowed under the carnivore diet. If carb-rich and sugary foods linger around your fridge and pantry, they will tempt you and make committing to the diet even harder than it already is. Do yourself a favor and donate these foods to a shelter, family member or friend.
3. Meal Plan
Staying within the strict parameters of the carnivore diet can be tough. It can be even harder when you don’t meal plan and try to stick to the diet on the fly. That is why I suggest you think ahead with respect to what you will eat at different times and places throughout the week.
Make a carnivore meal plan for the week, meal prep as best you can ahead of time, and stick to it. Writing down your meal plan and preparing snacks and meals ahead of time will greatly increase your odds of successfully sticking with the carnivore diet.
Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this expert roundup!
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