One of the most anticipated books in the carnivore diet space has finally arrived, and in just a couple of months, it has become a huge success.
I’ve been following Dr Shawn Baker online through his blog and the podcast episodes he’s been featured in over the years. So, when I heard he would be one of the first people to write the definitive guide with The Carnivore Diet book, I was pretty excited to give it a review.
The big question, though, is whether it’s a book just for people who want to know more about this diet, or if converts will also gain some new information.
Let’s see what the hype is about.
What Is The Carnivore Diet Book By Shawn Baker?
Shawn Baker’s Carnivore Diet book is a revolutionary, paradigm-breaking nutritional strategy that teaches people about the carnivore diet and the potential health benefits of eating nothing but meat. It takes contemporary dietary theory and goes entirely against the grain.
Despite being the number 1 ranked publication in Amazon’s “Barbecuing & Grilling” category, it’s not a recipe book.
The first time I read it (yes, I’ve read it twice), I was pleasantly surprised about how much information on scientific and nutritional research can be found on the pages.
Shawn goes far beyond just providing some ideas on how you may change your thinking about meat and other animal products.
What Shawn does well is starting the book with a background to the current Western diet and all its problems. He then compares it to how humans have actually evolved, highlighting how much of our history has been dominated by meat. More on the layout of the book shortly.
Who Is Dr Baker?
Shawn Baker is an orthopedic surgeon. He also served as a doctor in the US Airforce. Throughout his high school, college, and professional career, he has always been a high-performance athlete.
But despite being in great physical shape and health, he started noticing health symptoms of metabolic disease, including weight gain, hypertension, and joint pains.
At that stage, he stopped eating carbs by switching to the ketogenic diet. He found that this solved many of his problems, and it ultimately sparked an interest in finding out the health benefits of eating meat.
In several interviews, he has stated that he initially tried just eating different meats and other animal products for short periods. However, once he saw some further improvements in his well being, he decided to switch to a carnivorous life altogether.
How Is The Book Laid Out?
I first heard Shawn talk about the content in a podcast interview on the Nutrition Heretic show. See, my initial thoughts were: I already go through cycles of the all-meat diet, so I’m pretty certain I won’t have much to learn here. As it turns out, that was a bit small-minded of me.
Essentially, this is not just a list of different cuts of meat that you would want to look into, along with some different preparation techniques. It’s much more than that.
He starts by showing you what the modern diet industry recommends, and then he starts to poke holes into all the problems that it causes. Then he jumps back thousands of years to give an overview of human dietary evolution to highlight how our ancestors were very different when it came to the food they ate.
You’ll also learn about some myths you commonly hear about the vegan diet, and there is plenty of science research listed out to show the benefits of eating animal protein and fat. Of course, there’s also a section that will show how people could get started with a carnivorous life.
The Main Concepts
Now, I’m not going to give you a boring list of each chapter and what it’s about. You can do that by scanning through the table of content. A better way to show you why so many reviews are positive is to give you an idea of the main concepts you’ll learn about.
Problems With The Western Diet
Pretty much any health, diet, and fitness website these days will tell you about all the evils of red meat.
The problem, however, is not that we eat too much meat.
The Western diet that most of society is eating is hugely reliant on foods that are high in processed carbs .
Shawn then raises the question about whether our overall macros would be a better explanation of why weight, diabetes, and heart disease are so rampant.
The Human Diet Evolution
This is a section that I like a lot. You’ll learn what evolutionary scientists believe happened to our diets over thousands of years. Of course, it’s a bit of a guessing game, but humans did leave evidence of how diets changed worldwide.
What some people think is that our diet used to be very high in animal fat and protein, especially in the winter months when food was scarce. During the summer, some fruits and vegetables were consumed, which helped to fatten us up for the year's leaner and colder parts.
The big question is whether humans have adapted enough to have a predominantly carb diet continuously.
Meat As A Nutrient-Dense Food
There also seem to have been evolutionary benefits from eating meat. Because meat is so nutrient-rich, you don’t need to eat as much. It’s kind of like lions who don’t need to eat every day.
As a result, this may have allowed us to spend more time learning to create tools that could be used to improve our chances of survival.
Armed with some human background, you’re then prepared for taking the first steps.
How To Start A Meat Only Diet
The ultimate goal of the diet is to get to only eating red meat. This generally means high-quality beef in the form of steak, brisket, ground beef, and many of the other varieties.
However, that’s a huge leap to take when you’re just starting.
That’s where Shawn shows some gradual approaches where dairy and eggs are still an option for a few weeks to a month.
This gives your body a slightly more familiar combination of fat and protein. You will also be able to reduce your reliance on carbs gradually.
Studies And Experiences
Extreme food diets, especially elimination diets, also attract a fair bit of criticism. In most cases, these critics may just be making unfounded statements, and Dr Baker spent a lot of time looking into scientific research on the health benefits.
What he found is that there was plenty of information that a carnivorous approach to foods would possibly have positive health and athletic performance impacts.
These studies are a part that I really enjoyed, as there were a few I wasn’t aware of.
“Many people have reduced or even reversed symptoms of diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, mental disorders, skin issues, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and blood pressure.”
- Dr Baker, Author
Related Article: The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino
My Critical Assessment
OK, so the thing I’ve been asked on Facebook groups and different website forums the most is what I think of Shawn Baker’s work. So, here is how I break down to the positive and negative.
What Does Shawn Get Right?
1. Background To Human Diet
I thought it was really good because you learn a lot about human dietary history with specific examples of what we used to eat. When you compare this to what we’re generally eating, you might notice the disconnect.
2. Actual Impacts On The Body
Shawn also shows all the different health benefits that may resolve issues that plague many people on a day to day basis. He also draws from personal experience to show how eating meat has cured several of his own health issues and helped with weight loss.
3. Science-Backed Facts
This is possibly one of the more important factors. The only way to convince people that there are real health impacts on the human body is to show this through the world of science. Shawn put a lot of effort into fact-checking and providing details about all the available research.
Where Is The Content Lacking?
1. More Information About Temporary Side Effects
While you learn how to best approach the switch to eating just meat, I felt there should have been more info about the downsides and side effects. Unless you’re already doing the ketogenic diet with high-fat and protein intake and low carb foods, you may encounter the keto flu for a few days .
There is also a chance of stomach upset and diarrhea, which could be the result of your body adapting to the higher volume of protein and fat.
2. A larger Section On Food Prep
One of the more significant challenges is finding new and exciting ways to plan and prepare your meat. This is especially the case with certain cuts that have a lot of fat. Now, there are plenty of online resources to help with this, but in a way, it would have been helpful to have it all in one place.
3. Info About Supplement Products
Starting a carnivorous diet is likely going to require some vitamin and mineral supplements. Performance athletes and people who want to build muscle, especially need more help to reach their goals. Of course, you could always just rely on the info I have on this website.
What Are Fellow Carnivores Saying?
Over the last month or so, I’ve engaged with folks on my blog, forums, and carnivore diet Facebook groups. My main goal was to find some carnivore dieters who may have started their meat journey using the book.
As it turns out, though, there were plenty of existing carnivores who credited Shawn’s work with helping their day to day efforts with sourcing and preparing foods.
What I didn’t find is people actually saying negative things about the work. In a way, this is surprising, considering that people who practice the carnivore diet experience a lot of constant criticism.
Just check out other reviews online if you find that hard to believe.
How Did Shawn Get Into The Carnivore Diet?
This is a question that he gets asked a lot during interviews. The way he approaches it is to explain how he started to experience some symptoms of metabolic disease.
This included sudden weight gain, joint pain, and hypertension. It seemed like the more he tried to battle it through exercise, the worse things were getting, especially the weight gain.
Things improved within a short space of time, but it wasn’t until he discovered the carnivore diet that he got to a balance of fat and protein that seemed to remove all remaining symptoms.
In 2016, Baker tried the carnivore diet for a week, then two weeks, then a month. Out of curiosity, he went back to his ketogenic diet, which included greens and dairy, but he didn’t feel as good.
- Andrew Zaleski, Health and Fitness Writer
What Kind Of Results Has Shawn Achieved?
There is a high degree of suspicion out there around what Shawn has actually achieved. But if you look at the man, you might notice that he obviously doesn’t struggle with weight issues.
But beyond the physical shape of his body, it’s his performance and recovery times that most of us find fascinating.
Usually, once you hit your 50s, you won’t be able to perform as well at the gym, and it might take several days to recover even with larger doses of protein supplements.
However, Shawn has regularly said that eating different meats has allowed him to maintain his endurance and strength with an exercise routine that would have younger people in agony.
Some Unique Tips
While he has been sticking to the carnivore diet continuously for over 18 months, he comes across as pretty certain that most people may benefit from a more cyclical approach switching between keto and carnivore.
He generally believes that just red meat is the ideal approach, but he understands that this can get boring. That’s why he regularly adds some other animal products, including fish, to give his taste buds a bit of a change.
Some of the best tips you’ll find in the Joe Rogan episode, where he gives some advice on how to start your journey in small steps to eating only beef .
What kind of doctor is Shawn Baker?
Shawn Baker is an orthopedic surgeon who has extensive experience leading orthopedic teams. He also served in the military as a doctor in the US Airforce. It’s this medical background that makes his input on the carnivore diet so interesting.
What does Shawn Baker eat?
Shawn Baker eats just about a 100% meat-only diet. This mainly consists of different cuts of beef, predominantly fatty ones like a ribeye steak. To provide some diversity, he will have some occasional bacon, eggs, chicken, and salmon. Basically, anything that came from an animal and doesn’t have carbs.
On occasion, he will include certain types of cheese, but it’s usually served with a significant serving of meat.
How old is Dr Baker?
Dr. Baker is 53 years old. And given his health, strength, fitness, and physical appearance, you wouldn’t expect him to be in his 50s.
So, Is The Carnivore Diet Book Worth The Read?
Yes, I think The Carnivore Diet Book is worth it. It’s a very well researched and written publication that most folks interested in being a carnivore will enjoy. It does a good job of providing scientific research so that you can address those pesky nay-sayers.
Go ahead and order a copy today and then join us on social media to discuss some of the topics and ask questions.