1. Home
  2. The Carnivore Diet
  3. Tinkering with The Carnivore Diet

Tinkering with The Carnivore Diet

Tinkering with The Carnivore Diet

Before going carnivore, most people have experimented with various diets. Going from Keto to Carnivore is one of the most common paths. You probably wouldn’t be considering a carnivore diet if you didn’t have that curious experimenter mentality. The one that searches for answers, bucks the status quo, and calls their own shots.

Good for you.

You may have experimented with adding fats to foods if you’ve done keto, things like adding butter and MCT in coffee, or tried intermittent fasting protocols (IF), and take numerous supplements.

I’ve done them all.

If you are like me, you probably have an idea about how many calories you should eat, what macro ratios to follow, how often and how much to eat.

Our natural tendency is to instantly want to modify, measure, and manipulate a new diet to what we have learned and tested to be best.

We want to experiment with The Carnivore Diet but we want to add in our own flare like:

  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Bulletproof Coffee
  • MCT Oil
  • Cheat meals
  • Supplements (vitamins, ect…)

With the Carnivore Diet, you absolutely don’t want to do this.

Believe me, no one was more analytical than me.

No one was more worried about getting fat than me.

It’s the skeleton that’s always hanging in my closet.

That said, these diet methods that I and many others have used should not be used with the carnivore diet initially. They interrupt the body’s ability to interpret hunger and natural satiety signals, which often results in not eating as much as the body needs to properly deal with adaptation and healing.

There are many metabolic processes that need to be adequately supported in regaining proper homeostasis and surviving the adaptation period.

Many people feel very hungry when starting, yet are afraid to eat. Afraid of getting fat. Believe me, I understand.

It is common for people to need to eat twice as much when starting as they eventually do once their systems have healed. This could take 30 days or 3 years.

The adaption period is different for everyone. Adaption is not like a light switch.

It’s not like you will either be fully adapted or not. Different systems take different amounts of time.

For example, it may take your gallbladder 2 weeks to onramp to a high fat diet where you finally can get off the toilet (unless you take the necessary precautions..) but your testosterone may be in the toilet for 6 months until it is roaring again like a 17 year old male. Females – this is equally relevant for hormonal rebalancing.

Once hormonal systems have re-balanced in proper homeostasis for thriving, you’ll be glad you hit the “reset” button.

If you are worried about fat gain, tell yourself you are doing an experiment (I think you should give yourself 90 days).

  • The First 30 days = Adapt (Level 1)
  • The Next 30 days = Heal (Level 2)
  • The Final 30 days = Thrive (Level 3)

If you want to go back to diet restrictions after the experiment, do so.

I even have a “tinkering” method for carnivores who are thriving, yet want to get “carnivore cut” – you can – I’ll help you, but lets get healthy first.

Hunger talks in many languages like feeling weak and tired, or irritable and depressed, or via poor concentration and brain fog.

Listen to the body.

Take the hint – Eat.

It’s the solution. It’s the cure.

The thriving carnivores I know threw out all worry and preconceived notions about diets, supplementing, caloric needs, macros, and dogma…and ate meat until satisfied.

They errored on the side of eating too much rather than not enough.

It is common to have some cravings early on, but these go away.

However, if you try and tinker – they likely won’t.

If you’ve done keto or LCHF or you name it, you are probably aware of the amount of mad cravings, hunger, and intervention tricks that go on.

I would know – I was a master at them.

Almost everyone I know that uses forced protocols to reduce food intake, to try and curb cravings, rides an unsustainable rollercoaster that never ends.

They never come to realize what it actually feels like to overcome metabolic dysfunction.

It feels amazing.

Flood Gates

For my first physique competition, I got very lean. Competition prep is the definition of food and calorie restriction. It’s “controlled starvation.”

After the competition, I was going to let my self have a treat.

I didn’t know about the psychological impact from extreme food restriction.

It is nearly impossible to stop at a treat.

With “one treat” the flood gates burst opened. My body fat was higher 3 days after that competition then when I started the prep 16 week earlier.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this is extremely common among bodybuilding/fitness community.

Interestingly, I see this exact same thing with keto/LCHF/ZC/Carnivores that use methods of forced restriction. Eventually they give into “one treat” which is never “one treat.”

Supplements

Besides what is mentioned in this report, don’t interfere with your body’s natural rebalancing until you’re healed. Once healed, I tell people they can loosen up with “tinkering tests” because they KNOW what it feels like to be healed. So they KNOW if their tinkering has positive or negative impacts.

Supplements are not only NOT needed, but they will interfere with restoring your proper homeostasis including vitamin and mineral levels.

You are going to need to ignore common held beliefs around daily requirements of x,y, and z.

Here’s the thing: daily requirements for a SAD diet can’t be strapped onto a carnivore diet. When you add sugar and plants to a diet the body has to compensate and external supplementation might make sense to balance and help the assault from these foods. This does not translate to someone on a carnivore diet. Proper nutrient blood levels in a carnivore necessarily must be different than non-carnivores.

I already know – you’re going to be tempted to continue taking your MCT, BPC, whey protein, collagen, creatine, BCAAs, beta alanine, caffeine, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, fish oils, D3, C, and probiotic – but do an experiment – set them aside.

Don’t Start If…

If you aren’t willing to eat enough meat to stay satisfied without manipulation, you should not start a carnivore diet.

You will suffer and you won’t get results.

Do Start If…

If you are willing to set aside conventional wisdom to Hunt for your Superhuman

Let’s do it.

 

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Comments

    1. Yes you can. It may take a bit longer to transition to a higher fat content (if on a low fat diet), and ox bile can help ease this transition.

  1. I’m 2 weeks into carnivore, I eat over 2lbs of 20% fat beef mince, small amount of cheese and cook the meat in butter with salt to taste.

    My energy is starting to increase daily and brain fog is beginning to subside.

    When would be a good time for me to start adding some nuts for selenium and choline?

    Thanks

  2. If one has compromised kidnies, how would all the protein intake affact them?

    Would eating hard cheeses, chicken and fish help and are they accepted in this diet?

    You are young and very fit but how would the adaptation be for a person with compromised health?

    1. Research evidence is showing that even with compromised kidneys, high protein generally isn’t an issue – that said – I would work with your nephrologist.

      In the 30 day guide to going full carnivore (you can download it on the left) – I recommend doing “Level 2” at some point (this answers that question about cheeses, other meats)

      Adaptation is different for everyone. Some people have no issues (and have poor health) while others have significant symptoms (and are otherwise healthy). Difficult/impossible to predict.

  3. (Sorry this comment is a bit longer than most posts, but perhaps the information will be useful to you, as well as to some of your readers.) You say “Don’t start if you are unwilling to put aside conventional wisdom to hunt for your superhuman.” I get it. I’ve been hunting for my “superhuman” for decades. My questions relate to fear that sets in along the way. First, some context for the fear. I’m on Day 8, of, essentially, level 1. I feel great. I have experienced changes that include phenomenal satiety, high and steady energy, mood elevation, fat loss, and a small amount of muscle development (admittedly, I’m an athlete and have been my whole life and I turn 60 this month, so perhaps that has something to do with how my body is reacting?), These fascinating effects led me to “be lured into continuing”, for the effects were so awesome! And that is how I arrived at Day 8. But I’ve also begun to experience the same symptoms (to lesser degrees) that I did experience in 2011, when, at an extremely stressful time of my life in which I once went four straight days with only one hour of sleep, my eyebrows became red and inflamed and I starting experiencing tingling sensations on my face and head and also itchiness. The eyebrows got so bad that I eventually had a set of red eyebrows above my regular ones. The face swelled to the point that it would welt with any pressure, and one of the welts became permanent to this day. Eventually–months later–I figured out that it was an allergic to the salmon and sardines I had been eating for many years. When I stopped eating the fish things gradually went away and have stayed away. Now to the present. For the first 4 days I ate nothing but the grass fed ground beef I had access to and a couple of eggs a day, but on day 4, I started to feel tingling in left eyebrow and an amount of redness was back. It didn’t seem to happen later that day when I ate my first Ribeye steak (of my whole life), but it came after I ate the first lamb chops (of my whole life) last night, especially the tingling and some itchiness. So now I have fear. Fear that perhaps I should have very slowly added some fatty beef to my diet in a very gradual way, monitored my responses, and, if the responses seemed positive over a few weeks, continue gradually moving toward full carnivore. I was never convinced deeply to go full carnivore. I was just going to experiment for a day or two, but the super positive effects led me to keep experimenting. Now the questions are these: Should I go back to my old diet, then do the gradual process I described? If I should, can I just go back to my old diet tomorrow, or do I need to reverse things in a gradual way, slowly adding some fruit, and then veggies, while gradually decreasing the fat content of the meat until I’m back where I started? Do you have any suggestions for me? When I “started” I just wanted to see what it felt like to eat nothing but meat for a day and I thought, “It’s just an experiment, and I can quit tomorrow.” But the immediate positive effects were so powerful that I got “lured into” continuing the experiment to day 8, and yet I was never committed to this. If I push through the full 30 days, will that be too late to return to the old way-of-eating (high fiber, low fat [except eggs and flaxseed daily], lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains) without serious ramifications? My weakness-of-will “led” me to be where I am now: stuck in cognitive dissonance between the amazing effects I’ve already experienced, and what my mind tells me I should have done before I started. Thoughts?

    1. Well this is exactly what the “30 Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore” addresses. You can download it over on the left. The problem is you are just so so early that symptoms can be from a myriad of variables. I think you need to do at least 30 days at level 2 and 3 and go from there otherwise you will likely suffer from “false negatives.”

  4. Hi Dr. Stock, stumbled across this page when trying to find out if I should be taking supplements with the Carnivore diet.

    I am a 61 year old woman who loves Jordan Peterson. Saw him talking about this diet on Joe Rogan and decided to try it because I had actually noticed a difference in his looks/demeanor but didn’t really read up or anything, just listened to some youtubes.

    I have been on it just over 2 weeks and feel soooo good! Losing weight, looking good, and blood sugar coming down alot. And NO cravings!

    I was diagnosed as diabetic a number of years ago, but have not been on medication for several years. I have been trying to control it with diet and exercise (pretty unsuccessfully). I ate very healthy (protein and veggies) all day, but ate what I wanted, and too much of it, at night.

    Anyway, when I started I wasn’t very informed and have been eating lots of beef and eggs, some chicken, (I don’t eat pork), and moderate amounts of dairy products like half/half in my coffee, butter, cheese, and greek yogurt in my salsa on my avocado. I also have eaten a good amount of Romaine and celery, a bit of tomato, and cooked green beans. I realize this is not an actual Carnivore diet but it is working so wonderfully in all areas that I hate to mess with it.

    What d’ya think?

    1. I never like the idea of trying to fix something that’s not broken 🙂

      Although your current diet isn’t technically “carnivore” it’s pretty close.

      What I’d recommend is trying to do a month or two at “Level 2 or 3” in the 30 day guide – and then adding back in those other foods to see how you do.
      Sometimes the ill effects can be insidious. For example, many people think they do fine with dairy, but when they remove it for a time and then bring it back in, they see how much worse they actually feel with dairy included.

      Great to hear you are doing so well!

  5. Hi Kevin,

    I’m on day 9 of the carnivore diet, which I’m trying to improve my energy (fatigue has been a long-term problem for me, and no diagnosis yet) and lose some weight. And I’m at the point where I just don’t want to eat – eating actually feels like a chore now.

    I’m not hungry, but am constantly tired and unmotivated (pretty similar before the diet switch), and the thought of having to eat another steak (or any piece of meat) just makes me want to go to bed instead so I don’t need to worry about eating. I know this isn’t meant to be a low calorie diet, so am trying to force myself to eat anyway rather than just fast, but I’m not sure how long I can keep this up.

    Have you encountered anyone who has had a similar experience and, if so, how did they get through it?

    Note that I have been keto in the past, so this is not my first time on a low carb diet.

    1. Yes this is not uncommon.

      Personally, I started off ravenously hungry for a few weeks then lost my appetite for a few weeks before everything regulated.

      I’d recommend reading the 30-day guide (you can download it on the left) there are several things that can help (electrolytes for example).

  6. Can I do carnivore if I have leaky gut? Would it be ok to take supplements to heal the gut like colostrum, l glutamine?

    Is tea ok if fasting?

    Can I also consume fats like olive oil, coconut oil etc..?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jess, great questions. I’d recommend downloading the 30 day guide (over on the left) where all these questions are answered.

      But in short: this way of eating will likely help with gut permeability, no supplements are necessary, I recommend treating tea as a “Level 1” food, and I wouldn’t recommend vegetable oils like olive or coconut.

  7. I take Doc Parsley’s Sleep, Seriphos, magnesium, a few amino acids and bio progesterone for very bad insomnia/anxiety that came about from PCOS and post partum anxiety. My sleep has improved greatly, so I’m scared to stop. Should I even try a carnivore diet? I get crazy when I can’t sleep… literally.

      1. I read your book that gets sent when I signed up. I guess my question, more specifically is, can a person still benefit while supplementing? My goal is to taper off, but I don’t see that happening yet.

        Your book specifies electrolytes and digestive supplements, not hormonal/sleep:). Thanks

          1. Thank you. I guess I just needed a little reassurance, lol.

  8. Hi Dr. Kevin,

    I’ve gone from a madly carb loaded lifestyle, full of wheat, sugar and dairy into a “ketogenic”, mostly carnivore diet (discovered that I’m allergic to something in milk a few days ago because of this – I caved and had ice cream and had a reaction)
    Here’s the thing: I’m heavy into milk and sugar. Always have been.
    I’m going insane without the sweet tooth fix.
    What are your thoughts on transitioning into this diet with a little help?
    Would almond milk, almond flour and erythritol be a major issue for the first month? (still zero carbs).
    Sorry if this is a silly question, I know we’re supposed to go clean, but it’s not just the lack of sugar that’s getting to me, if you get me…

    1. Hey just answered this but one thing to add, if you must treat these as a “pre-Level 1” month, then transition to “Level 1” (in the 30 day guide if you haven’t read it). Think that’s a just fine way to go about it.

      Just FYI, keeping in some of these foods can keep the cravings along longer.

      1. Alright, that’s what I was thinking (yes, I have read the guide).

        I’m kinda stopping tobacco at the same time, so I think I’ll make my zero carb almond treats for the first month so that I don’t go completely insane.

        Then I’ll fight the sweet tooth after the nicotine cravings drop a bit.

        Thank you for the response.

  9. Almond milk, almond flour and erythritol.

    Coconut and olive oil.

    What are your thoughts on these for the transition period?

  10. I am on day 5 of carnivore diet, having been low carb paleo for 8 years for prediabetes. I feel brain fog, fatigue,and slight nausea . How long does this typically last?I am 63, have severe osteoporosis and am trying to heal hip joint pain ( cartilage is VERY thin) while waiting for orthopedic surgeon appt. I’m eating bone broth and liverwurst among other things like beef and seafood and cheese and heavy cream.. Is this diet a good idea for osteoporosis? Is there hope for healing the joint pain?

    1. Hi Teri that’s quite common early on – I’d recommend reading the 30-day guide (downloadable on the left) to help get you through the transition phase.

      Many people have experienced great joint health/healing eating this way.

Leave a Comment