Carnivore Diet Food List
The Foods You Can & Can't Eat

Carnivore Diet Food List Featured Image

I've been following the Carnivore Diet for many years now. And with my experience, I'm going to share with you my Carnivore Diet food list.

Most folks will call you crazy for even thinking of eating nothing but meat. But I think they're crazy for not trying.

I'll answer some of the most common questions with regards to Carnivore Diet, like what is and is not allowed. Let's get started.

Foods You Can Eat On The Carnivore Diet

To make your Carnivore Diet plan a little easier, we have broken foods down into four categories.

What comprises a Carnivore Diet food list are all animal foods, keep in mind that during the different stages of your Carnivore diet, try to increase and decrease the variety.

So, let's get started with my favorite part of this Carnivore Diet food list.

1. Beef 

Beef
There are many beef cuts you can choose from when on a Carnivore Diet, which differs in taste, nutrient content, and price.

You can achieve your desired fitness results with these beef cuts and try to increase the consumption over time too.
  • Brisket
  • Chuck
  • Top rump
  • Flank
  • Round steak
  • Flat Iron
  • Beef ribs

All of these have more fat content than your regular steaks. These are excellent choices to provide you with extra calories to complete your Carnivore Diet food list.

These aren't the most tender cuts, so you'll have to adapt your cooking methods and maybe even invest in a slow cooker if you're thinking of staying on Carnivore Diet in the long run.

For the days when you want to treat yourself, try out some of my favorite cuts of steak:

  • Ribeye
  • Striploin
  • Porterhouse
  • T-bone
  • Sirloin
  • Fillet (best avoided due to price and very limited saturated fat)

As for cooking, if you don't already eat your beef medium-rare, then try to move towards it gradually. This is highly recommended when on Carnivore Diet.

This ensures more of the proteins remain intact, giving you the maximum dietary benefits.

2. Other Meats 

Other Meats

Now that you have your baseline of beef for the Carnivore Dieters food list, it's time to get you thinking about some other carnivorous delights. It's time to make friends with your local butcher.

Ideally, find one that is supplied for many different types of restaurants, as there will always be some more obscure orders coming in.

Ask your butcher to take your phone number, and if they ever receive an order for some kangaroo steaks, a shoulder of venison, or fresh Canadian moose, then they will be able to let you know.

While on Carnivore Diet, you don't have to be limited to just beef, pork, and poultry; there are so many more options out there. Another one of my favorites is bone marrow.

The good news is that on this meat-only diet, the main rule is that if it walked, flew or swam, then it belongs on your plate.

Here are some ideas for you to work with:

  • Chicken legs and thighs with skin
  • Lamb chops and cutlets
  • Pork chops and belly
  • Duck breast with skin
  • Turkey Legs
  • Kangaroo steaks (low in cholesterol)
  • Ostrich
  • Venison
  • Bison
  • Moose
  • Organ meats

Another great idea is to reach out to some local hunting clubs for more animal products. You will realize that you have to make friends with a lot of people when on Carnivore Diet (local hunters and butchers included).

Often enough, these guys will end up with more meat than they can possibly handle themselves, and they're often happy enough to give some of it away. Some of them are not even on Carnivore Diet, they just love hunting.

3. Seafood

Seafood

Seafood is an excellent way to add diversity to your Carnivore Diet food list. It is a particularly good idea before any exercise regimen, especially for weight loss.

Yes, you'll have all the macros to keep you fueled, but it could be sitting heavy in your gut.

Adding fish on your Carnivore Diet food list may be a good idea. Fish and fish oils are a lot easier on the stomach, and your digestive system will process them much faster.

Fish cooks fast so you can have your lunch ready in about 10 minutes.

Seafood is also great for providing micronutrients, especially vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with other health benefits. [1]

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Lobster
  • Oysters
  • Crabs
  • Scallops
  • Salmon
  • Tuna

If you really want to up the flavor, then try putting them on a charcoal BBQ.

4. Fatty Meats

Fatty Meats and animal products

It might seem counter-intuitive, but you will need quite a bit of saturated fat in your Carnivore Diet, even for weight loss.

Because you cut out all carbs, there is a pretty big fuel gap that you need to fill, and the only real way to do that is with fat.

One way to up your fat intake when on Carnivore Diet is to use lard or tallow in a frying pan or skillet. It works great to avoid meat sticking to the pan, and adds a great deal of flavor as well. Another way is to add fatty meats to your diet.

There are a few beef cuts that fit this category, but the absolute best is pork belly. Try slow cooking it in the oven, and then pop it under the grill.

You'll get that lovely crispy outer fat, along with juicy flavors on the inside. A gentle reminder when consuming high amounts of fatty acids during a Carnivore Diet is to consult with your physician especially if have history of heart disease.

The risk of heart disease increases especially when there's no baseline data to monitor cholesterol. Many people consume high amounts of fatty foods per day and this is not good.

Other Protein Foods You Are Allowed To Eat On The Carnivore Diet

Sticking with the rule that if it came from animals, then it’s allowed on your plate. However, there are some non-meat products allowed on the Carnivore Diet.

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Eggs

Eggs

Eggs are high in protein with some added fat, especially in the yolks. When on Carnivore Diet, you should experiment with different types of eggs.

Many whole food stores will stock more than just chicken eggs, so give other types like duck a try. If you're lucky you and see a eggs from turkey, give it a try.

One thing I would suggest, although not mandatory, is to stick with organic eggs. These organic eggs usually have more nutrients as compared to mass produced eggs filled with chemicals.

One of my favorite meals is a late breakfast with six eggs and some strip steak. Steak and eggs is a must on everyone's Carnivore Diet food list.

2. Dairy-Based Products

Dairy Products

Dairy is allowed on the Carnivore Diet, but most people should avoid it due to food intolerance. A primary benefit of the Carnivore Diet is that it's an elimination diet.

People should know that the reason dairy-based products are allowed is that they (a) are animal foods, and (b) provide a lot of beneficial nutritional content.

While it might not always make sense to put a slice of cheese on your meat, you can use dairy-based products as snacks in between meals.

Here are some foods I occasionally add to my shopping list:

  • Milk
  • Full fat cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Butter

For a Carnivore Diet friendly snack, you can bake some pork rinds with grated cheese and ground beef for a nacho style dish, also good for the Ketogenic Diet.

3. Condiments

Salt pepper and condiments

If you're one of those people who like using lots of herbs for sauces and garnishing your meals, then, unfortunately, you'll need to put those on hold when you plan on starting Carnivore Diet.

The reason I recommend people to avoid vegetables, herbs, or any other plant foods is to take full advantage of this type of elimination diet.

Remember that while on Carnivore Diet, you won't need anything more than salt, pepper and some fatty meat.

4. Sides and Beverages

Sides and Beverages

People should know that side of fries or some nice roast potatoes is just completely off-limits when on Carnivore Diet.

If you need a side dish to your porterhouse steak, then consider a few slices of bacon, bone marrow, or some beef liver.

It's not only the foods that has limits while on Carnivore Diet, but with drinks too. When it comes to what you drink, the choices are slim when on a Carnivore Diet.

Some milk is okay, but keep it to a minimum as it does contain sugar. Juices and sodas are a complete no-go, and we would also suggest people staying away from a lot of the diet sodas.

The chemicals used as sweeteners are questionable at best, so aim to stick with water.

6. Coffee and Tea

Coffee and Tea

When on Carnivore Diet, it is okay to drink some coffee and tea during the day, but keep in mind that caffeine will dehydrate you.

So for every cup you drink, you will want to add some extra water as well.

Personally, I found caffeine very helpful on exercise days to sharpen my mind and stay more focused on the task.

What I would also suggest is trying out a hot cup of bone broth instead to power you through your day.

Green tea contains many antioxidants that will help your digestion, metabolism and immune system as well.

6. Water

Water

When on Carnivore Diet, people should have five pints (2.4 liters) of water every day.

On a regular diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, those products contain a lot of water. That means while on Carnivore Diet, you will be reducing your water intake a lot.

Even when you're consuming your beef medium to rare, a lot of the water in it will evaporate during the cooking process.

What I usually do is have one full pint of water (480 mL) with every meal. And then, in between meals, I make sure I spread out another 900 mL.

It’s an easy guideline to follow when on Carnivore Diet, and of course, you’ll need to increase water intake if you exercise a lot.

7. Bone Broth

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a nice little secret that my dietician introduced for my Carnivore Diet food list. People are not aware of this, but it's tastes good, satisfy my hunger, easily prepared, and can be bought.

You can buy bone broth supplement in powder or liquid form, and you could simply boil it up from bone marrow. It kind of tastes like beef and you can drink it like a bowl of soup.

It's full of collagen, which has excellent healing properties for your skin, hair, connective tissue, and is known to improve cartilage health.

8. Snacks

Snacks

This is another area where carnivores are somewhat limited and that's the in-between snacks. Carnivore-eating people can't just pick up a banana or a cookie along with your afternoon coffee.

Here are some tips you can use.

If you can find some 100% pork sausages, then you can cook them ahead of time and eat them cold as a snack between meals.

One cardinal rule to remember is to avoid processed meats when on Carnivore Diet also canned meats.

You can do the same with foods like smoked salmon, which is actually surprisingly fulfilling.

I used to recommend some beef jerky to add in a Carnivore Diet food list, but it's really difficult to get some with no additives, spices, and even sugar thrown in.

Foods You Can’t Eat On The Carnivore Diet

Foods You Can’t Eat On The Carnivore Diet

When you're sticking to a 100% Carnivore Diet, then the list of foods you cannot eat is a lot longer than what you can eat. But there are a few common mistakes people make when on Carnivore Diet that can be easily avoided.

So, the simple rule is that if the foods didn't come from an animal, then it's not allowed. But, be careful and pay close attention to the hidden ingredients.

Here are some foods to avoid:

1. Processed Meats

Salami, sausages, and beef jerky are off-limits on a Carnivore Diet. You may think they are counted as snacks on you Carnivore Diet food list, but it doesn't. Unless you can verify from your local butcher that it doesn't have additives, then it's okay. 

Most products you can buy in supermarkets have added grain, flour, and prohibited sauces. 

2. Sauces

The sauces are extremely laced with carbs and it is a big no, no in a Carnivore Diet.

The same is the case for many Italian dishes, including a pasta carbonara. Despite it being a mainly cream-based sauce, there will be plenty of thickeners added in.

3. Alcohol

Sorry to be ruining the party, but alcohol is off-limits when on Carnivore Diet. Beer, wine, and spirits are going to spike your carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels immediately.

There simply is no way around it; you'll have to stop drinking for a while.

Personally, I found that after about 3 or 4 weeks, I really didn't crave a beer anymore. You just get used to it, and you certainly won't be missing the hangovers.

4. Nuts and Seeds

They didn't grow on animals, but plenty of people make the mistake that the fats will be good and a great way to boost energy. This is applicable for Keto Diet, not Carnivore Diet.

While you do get a significant dose of calories, these are predominantly from carbs and not fats. Just stay away from them while on Carnivore Diet, as they will mess up your metabolism.

5. Rice and Pasta

As appealing as meatballs and spaghetti might sound, it's not advisable for people on Carnivore Diet. The entire dry weight of pasta is carbs, and it's not much different for rice either.

If you're still leading up to day one, then start cutting these foods out a few days earlier to help you get used to not having them anymore.

6. Lean Cuts of Meat

We're always told to stick with the lean meat cuts and cut away any excess fat.

However, that's the exact opposite of what people should do while on Carnivore Diet. While a nice fillet steak might be quite delicious, it simply won't give you all the calories you need.

Most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart-disease risk—either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.

Jeff Volek

Registered Dietician

Where Can You Buy Your Meat?

Where Can You Buy Your Meat for Carnivore Dieters?

There are 4 different options that I have tried when I started Carnivore Diet. But these days I generally stick with just the first two.

1. Local Butcher

Nobody will understand and support your Carnivore Diet more than your local butcher.

These people will have a huge amount of knowledge about different cuts. And when you're buying in bulk, they will be welcoming you with open arms.

2. Farmers’ Market

When on Carnivore Diet, find out when your local farmers' markets take place. It's one of the best ways to get your red meat exceptionally fresh.

In most cases, the suppliers at these markets will be providing only grass-fed and pasture-raised products, which is a big bonus.

3. Supermarkets

If you're stuck with a tight budget for your meal plan, then check out either the butcher area of your supermarket or the pre-packed meat section.

It's not ideal, and you might struggle to find some of the more obscure types, but it's always an option.

4. Buy Online

Yes, you can now buy meat online. There are several meat delivery services like ButcherBox offering safe methods and expect to receive fresh and frozen meat.

That's the main reason I don't use them for all my needs, but having many frozen stuff as a backup is always a good idea.

Other meat delivery services available:

The Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid

Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid

The concept of the Food Pyramid is starting to become a bit outdated, and many people and researchers are questioning a lot of the fundamentals, especially if you want to lose weight.

It emphasizes carbohydrate intake, which is under considerable investigation with countless new diets, avoiding them (Ketogenic, Paleo, and Carnivore Diet).

The typical food pyramid has the base layer made up of vegetables, salads, and fruit, with the next one focusing on grains, cereals, and bread.

That's a ton of carbs locked up in the Food Pyramid, and probably 50% of your diet may compose of carbohydrates alone. [2]

Fats, meat, and all other animal products are pretty much near the top, and the only products higher up are sugar, salts, and saturated fats.

Now, I used to think that a Carnivore Diet just turns that whole concept upside down. But in many ways, you could actually say that a pyramid isn't as descriptive anymore.

You have two layers: one is meat, and the other is water. But, what you can do is break down the types of meat into segments. In that case, you would have a base layer of beef, and sitting on top of that would be pork, poultry, game, and organ meats.

Next would be water. Remember that you should be aiming for 5 pints of water per day?

Finally, on top of the water sits a small layer of a few dairy items that you can have every once in a while.

What's completely missing is any hint or sign of a carbohydrates. I've thought about having a t-shirt printed with this, just to annoy some vegans at dinner parties.

Ideally unprocessed meats are a better choice since any meat that is processed usually entails being cooked in highly inflammatory vegetable oils, and they usually have added sugars.

Judy Cho

Nutritional Therapist

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is eating only protein dangerous? 
No, eating only protein is not dangerous. You will also be taking in macros like fat and many minerals and vitamins.

A full Carnivore Diet, along with an active lifestyle, will bring many benefits that come from a ketogenic metabolism. To know more you can read the review of Dr. Shawn Baker on Carnivore Diet.

Dr. Shawn Baker even wrote the book called The Carnivore Diet. This will also give you an idea the difference between Keto Diet and Carnivore Diet.

Which meat is the healthiest? 
Organic and grass-fed meat is generally the healthiest. [3]

If you're planning a meat-based diet, then try to always go for certified organic. You're better off going for cheaper organic cuts, than more expensive mass-produced meat.

Is it healthy to just eat chicken? 
No, it isn't healthy to just eat chicken. The reason is that it doesn't contain enough of a micro-nutritional balance, and you'll be missing out on a lot of vitamins.

Can I just eat fish on this diet? 
No, you cannot just eat fish on this diet, as it won't provide enough balance between fat and protein.

Fish has many benefits to provide, including lots of omega fatty acids, and a broad selection of vitamins. Though there are many nutrients in some meats, you will need those that are not found in fish.

Are processed meats okay? 
No, it is not okay to eat processed meats, and people on Carnivore Diet are advised to best avoid them.

It might seem like a good idea for a full Carnivore Diet, but they often use cooking methods and additives that destroy many nutrients.

Can I add sauces and seasonings to my food? 

No, you cannot add sauces to your food, and most seasonings are off-limits.

In most cases, seasonings and sauces has many carbs, which will cause all sorts of problems for your metabolism, and you will struggle to achieve your fat loss goals.

What about Vitamin C? 
If you get the chance to the read the book of Dr. Shawn Baker, "The Carnivore Diet" it explains further issues on Vitamin C. His theory states the body's Vitamin C needs decreases when plant foods are eliminated in the diet.

He also recommended trying organ meats, fresh-beef and medium-rare to medium-well cooking to attain Vitamin C and other nutrients while on Carnivore Diet.

Conclusion

A man cutting up some meat. Diet the carnivore Diet the carnivore Diet the carnivore

Whether you're looking for new ideas, to lose weight, the above Carnivore Diet food list should help you with your goals.

You have to forget about everything you've been told about healthy eating, digestive and heart health, and fat loss.

This is especially clear when you look at our "revised" food pyramid above.

The final tip I would give you is to keep a detailed food journal to document your experience.

This will also help you identify any shortcomings in vitamins and minerals that you may need to source through supplements.

And if you're looking for extra convenience to get started on the all-meat diet, I recommend you check out Crowd Cow.  

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