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The Carnivore Diet – What to Eat

What Can I Eat on The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet

Carnivore Diet – What to eat? The Carnivore Diet Equation is deceptively simple:

The Carnivore Equation

Meat + Water = Carnivore Diet

Who would have thought so many questions could arise from such a simple equation.

It’s best to start with a simple framework, and expand from there.

Let’s dive into what to eat on the carnivore diet.

What to Eat on the Carnivore Diet

Your primary focus should be on fatty meat, especially BEEF (ruminant meats).

Next on the list is other meats like pork and chicken as well as some seafood.

And…if you’d like…eggs, and low carb dairy.

Your Go-To Beef Cuts:

  • Steaks (ribeye, sirloin, strip, chuck eye)
  • Roasts (Prime rib, chick, brisket)
  • Ground beef (aka “mince”)
  • Organs as you desire

More Meats

  • Lamb
    • Chops
    • Ribs
    • Shank
  • Pork
    • Shoulder
    • Pork Belly
    • Butt Roasts
    • Ribs
  • Poultry
    • Wings
    • Thighs
    • Drumsticks
    • Chicken breasts (can be quite lean so eat sparingly or with other fatty meats)
  • Fish
    • Salmon
    • Trout
    • Mackerel
    • Sardines
    • Crab
    • Lobster
    • Shrimp
    • Scallops
    • Oysters
    • Tuna

Beverages

  • Water (with or without carbonation or minerals)
  • Bone Broth

OK, but test without for at least some time:

  • Coffee
  • Tea

Sides and Exceptions

Coffee

Coffee is a plant extract and caffeine is a natural insecticide.

But, if everyone tried to get through the carnivore adaptation plus caffeine withdrawal, carnivores would likely become endangered or extinct.

If you are a coffee drinker, I recommend you keep drinking it for the first 30 days.

Coffee is an “OK’d” exception for most carnivores, though I do recommend starting to wean off towards the end of the month after adaptation symptoms resolve a bit.

Though most people do fine with coffee, for some people cutting it makes all the difference. It’s worth it to find out if that’s you.

Technically most carnivores “OK” eggs and some dairy like butter, hard cheeses and heavy whipping cream. It’s best to think of these as “sides” and not main dishes.

Since intolerances to these are actually quite common, I personally recommend going without for at least some time.

After removing them for a time, if you desire, you can reintroduce them later and evaluate how you feel.

What Foods to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet?

Everything that is not meat.

  • Seasoning and Sauces (except salt)
  • Alcohol
    • Sorry it’s just not a health food as bad as we may wish it were.
    • If you can’t give it up that’s an important thing to know.
    • I’ve seen a carnivore diet not only curb carb cravings but also things like nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. Might be the perfect way to start cutting back.

Minimize processed meats.

  • It frequently contains additives you don’t want added.

NOTE: Aged meats can be high in histamines, which increase sensitivities, intolerances, and inflammation – histamine intolerance tend to go away as one’s gut heals, but something to keep in mind early on.

How Much to Eat on the Carnivore Diet

Eat when hungry.

Eat until full.

  • Listen to your body.
  • The majority of people average 2 meals per day.
    • Some people do best on 3 meals a day, while others do best on 1 meal per day. Neither 1, 2, 3, or 4 is better than the other.
  • Let your appetite guide you.

While your body is adapting and healing from years of malnutrition, it is common that you will eat twice as much as you will once healed.

Eat. Your body has been dying for it.

2-4lbs of fatty meat per day can be a guide for shopping purposes.

It is important that you do not intentionally restrict calories or food intake or force fasting as you adapt.

Most people eat somewhere between 2-4 lbs/day on average. The amounts depends on so many variables (kind/cut of meat, fat content, your activity, height, weight, genetics, metabolism), so eat until satisfied.

How Often to Eat on the Carnivore Diet

You should drop your preconceived notions of how many meals to eat per day.

You should eat when you are hungry. You should eat until you are full.

That said, I did a bit of research and investigating and found that on average:

  • 70% 2 meals/day
  • 20% 1 meal/day
  • 10% 3 meal/day

1 meal per day is not better than 2, nor 3 better than 4.

Carnivore Diet Snacks

If you eat enough fatty meat at your meal, you should not feel like snacking.

If you feel continually hungry after eating you need to:

  1. Eat more during meals
  2. Eat more meals

Many people have a habit of snacking, and find they have an urge to snack even when not hungry. If it is something you can’t or don’t want to kick, pork rinds can be used to snack on. Be careful what they are cooked in. No vegetable oils.

I’ve found that this snacking habit fades for most carnivores over time.

Next Steps

carnivore dietAfter 30, 60, or 90 days of focusing on fresh meats, some people need to go a step further to try and identify any troublesome foods.

For example, some people have issues with pork or eggs or seafood. So doing a pure carnivore elimination diet can help identify any potential troublesome animal-based foods.

Beyond the Elimination Protocol

After completing the elimination protocol, by removing everything but ruminant meat, water, and salt, you are in a prime position to personalize and perfect your diet. From here you slowly and systematically add back in “test foods” and evaluate how you feel and react to them.

  1. Start by adding back in other meats
  2. Then test eggs
  3. Then test “ok’d” dairy
  4. Then test coffee/tea

Example:

If you try adding back in pork and notice ill symptoms, keep it out of your regular diet. If you test back in dairy, like cheese, and notice bloating – cut it. But you may try adding eggs back in, and you feel good with them and like having them as a side. Keep them. You may try having your morning coffee again, and enjoy it and feel great with it. Add it back in. Personalize your plan.

The best way to do this is complete the elimination protocol, and then only add back in 1 “test item” at a time using ruminant meats as your baseline to test everything against.

Beyond the Carnivore Diet “Experiment”

If you want to experiment adding back in plants or fruits or sugars, I’d recommend doing this with intent and care (see the Meat Health Masterclass at the end).

While most people get great feedback 30, 60, and 90 days into a carnivore diet, for some people reversing the years of damage takes months to years. The longer your “test experiment” the better gauge you’ll have knowing if this diet is for you.

If you survive the experiment CONGRATULATIONS!

The Meat Health Masterclass

If you want to learn exactly how to do a meat-based / carnivore diet, everything from what to eat, when, how much, how to avoid the transition symptoms, how to avoid deficiencies as well as if you should include any plants, and if so, how much, when, what, ect…I highly recommend you watch the Meat Health Masterclass as your next step:

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Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Stock,

    I just wanted to ask, how do I get the 30-day guide? I can’t seem to get the download page to load up. Do I have to sign up somewhere or anything before clicking on the link (I’m not in the US)?

    I’ve been doing a carnivore diet for close to two years now (I cheated a little in between with diary, but have stuck to meat/water/salt for 90% of the time – usually stick to meat/water/salt for 9 or so months at a time and end up cheating with Dairy because it doesn’t seem to be working well for me).

    I didn’t want to take any supplements, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately to figure out why I am not doing well on this way of eating, and I think it’s due to low stomach acid as I don’t feel I am digesting the meat/fat properly and also the vitamins/minerals in the food.

    I always feel bloated with a heavy feeling in my gut no matter how little I eat. If I eat too much I tend to get diarrhea, still have brain fog (not as bad as when I was on carbs), so yeah, I feel like it’s a digestion issue and was thinking of trying HCL with Pepsin (I read about this yesterday) and /or Ox Bile (I remember seeing you mention this somewhere on this site when I was reading here over a year ago). By the way, what is the difference between HCL and Ox Bile?

    I also don’t feel very energetic no matter how much fat I consume. I could eat 100-150 grams of fat in one meal, and I still don’t get much energy from it. I bought a ketone meter about a year ago, and although it says it’s over 2.0 most of the time I test in the morning when I wake up (usually once or twice a week), I still don’t feel energetic.

    I don’t know if I am right or wrong, but I am thinking I have an issue with low stomach acid not breaking the food down and allowing me to digest it.

    Any help/advise you could give me would be great, thanks.

    -John

      1. Hi Dr. Kevin Stock,

        Thanks for the reply. No, I haven’t seen the video. I will watch it now.

        I’ll try the baking soda test and then go from there. I found a brand called Thorne that does HCL & Pepsin (is there any other brand you’d recommend?) and it seems that they ship to Australia, so if I need to go that route, I’ll try and order that after the baking soda test.

        Is it possible to increase stomach acid naturally? I’ll take a look at the solutions you’ve got listed later as I’m going to be late for work.

        Also, how do I go about downloading the 30 day guide? When I click on the link, I just get a circle in the middle of the web browser and nothing happens.

        Thanks.

        -John

          1. Hi Dr. Stock,

            It was the Adblocker. Thank you very much. I can download it now.

            I did the Baking Soda test this morning and I burped after about 2 minutes and then again twice more just before the 5 minute mark. Every time I eat or drink I usually burp, so I am not sure if that is any kind of indicator for either direction.

            Does this still sound like I would have low stomach acid? I’m still thinking I should try the Betaine HCL & Pepsin.

        1. Hi Dr. Stock,

          I redid the test again this morning and this time it was over 5 minutes before I burped, so I guess I am definitely low in stomach acid.

          How do you increase it naturally? I saw on your video’s description that you’ve listed to increase salt intake (any particular salt to use?), also Zinc and B vitamins, and vitamin C (should I just get any supplement that has those things in it, or a separate one for each one?).

          Speaking of vitamin C, that is a bit of a weird one, as I had a blood test almost two years ago (just after I started this diet and my readings were very low – not sure what they are now, though). Even though it was low, I read it’s not really necessary on this way of eating so I didn’t worry about trying to increase it (plus I haven’t been sick with colds or flus since eating this way – I used to get about 4 or 5 a year. Haven’t had one since switching to this meat based diet). Anyway, do you still think I should try and get my vitamin C levels up?

          I’m also going to try and get my vitamin D level up as that was something else that was low. I tried a supplement last year, but I read that it’s a fat soluble vitamin, and if I’m not digesting fats properly, that might be why it didn’t make any difference when I took it last year. I also took around 20, 000 IU a day as suggested by someone on another forum as the recommend amount of 1000 IU a day would take a long, long time to get your levels up. I’ve also seen that mentioned by other people lately too.

          Anyway, main point of this post, what vitamins should I take to try and naturally increase my stomach acid. I have no idea what brands or type I should take.

          You mentioned B vitamins in the video, which ones do I need? I already salt my food quite a bit, so that should be an issue, but I assume I’m lacking in the other vitamins (definitely vitamin C, most likely vitamin D) and the B vitamins you mentioned, oh, and maybe even Zinc too. The other question is, if I have digestion issues, would I even be able to absorb those properly?

          Sorry for the long post/reply. I really need some help as I have no idea what to do. I’m struggling to want to stay with this way of eating. I simply can’t do my job without sufficient energy (I’m on my feet all day moving around and lifting stuff), and the brain fog and lack of mental clarity isn’t helping either.

  2. Dr. Stock,

    I went 10 weeks meat based and have added carbs back (around 75g) the last few days due to the following reasons:
    – I was losing muscle mass as well as fat (6’2″. Started at 226 lbs and down to 197). Objectively I’m sure I’m looking better but the weight is melting off and I don’t love how small I’m getting.
    – I don’t feel particularly great physically or mentally.
    -having trouble eating enough. I added the carbs in and that’s the only ‘improvement’ I’ve noticed – I eat more

    I guess I’m asking if it can take longer to adapt than 2 1/2 months? Am I misguided thinking eating some carbs might put me in a more anabolic state part time? I am also eating 18-6 IF and I plan to stick to that with or without carbs.

    Thanks for your time

    1. Hey Ryan, long answer short: yes. It can.

      However, I do think you would benefits tremendously from the “long answer” that would help better make sense of:
      1. Why it appears you are losing muscle
      2. Why you may not be feeling good mentally/physically (and what to do about it)
      3. What to do about eating enough

      The “long answer” is why I created the Academy (and the Method taught – called the Meat Health Method), and if I could type it out here then I would have had no need to make it but alas, there’s a lot to it.

  3. My son has had poor physical and mental health since age 12 (now 26). Has been carnivore for many months. Although his skin has improved his gut is still very painful each time he eats. Now just eating beef but still having very bad gut issues. This is affecting sleep and mental health. Can’t cut anything else out and need advice – Where do we go next?

    1. Hi Karen, sorry to hear about your son’s struggles, but here are some ideas.
      Depending on how long he’s been mostly eating just beef, and assuming he is fat adapted (2 big assumptions), I would either give that a bit more time, consider trying other meats, or depending on the gut issues consider perhaps adding in a few plant-based foods that might help (I talk much more about this in Meat Health Academy if this is a route you want to pursue: https://academy.meat.health/pages/masterclass)

  4. Can Carnivore be healing for Histamine Intolerance? I’d so appreciate knowing as everything is causing break out in hives and welts right now and low histamine diet isn’t taking care of it. Thank you!

    1. Yes. Meat or/and raw grass-fed milk will resolve any gut problems. Herodotus wrote 2500 years ago in “histories” that Etiops only on meat and milk lived 120 years, often exceeding this age. You can’t live 120 years with diseases. There is no better food for humans.

  5. I guess I’m going to have to make my own bone broth. All the packaged bone broths I find in the store or on line have plant based additives like carrots, onions etc.

  6. Doctor I am working on a carnivore diet, including dairy, eggs and cheese. I have severe eczema and have read that alkalinization can help my eczema. Can that be achieved with a carnivore diet?

    1. Hi Myrl, yes many people have seen dramatic improvements with a meat-based diet and healing eczema. “Alkalinization” is kind of a catch-all word that I personally wouldn’t worry about.
      I would caution dairy as that can worsen some peoples eczema (see Level 2 of the 30 day guide for more info on this).

  7. Nutritional balance will correct the bad flora. You meant this ?

    I m glad You answered on my question. I appraciate it.

    Question to You please answer : What about fermented raw goat milk? There must be even more good bacteria than in fermented pickles?

    Question: People say that berries are healthy etc. I think that raspberries or even all the berries are bad due to the oxalate content. I feel bad after eating raspberries…. I feel my body wont accept this it causes some inflammation for me…

    Best Wishes
    Adam

      1. Hello sir

        Really wanting to do this but watching Joe Rogan he said he took multi Vietnam, Omega 3 and the other essential vitamins and nutrients as a supplement.

        What’s your thought on this?

        1. Hey Paul, good question, I think certain supplements can be helpful during the transition (see 30 day guide) but I don’t think supplements are necessary for most people (certain people with certain conditions, yes)

          1. Thank you very much for getting back to me! I will definitely be reviewing that guide

  8. Dear Kevin Stock

    I have made my own pickles from garden natural fermented with rock salt and radishes. What about prebiotic in those natural fermented pickles? I have red that fermented pickles like sauerkraft is good for flora etc. I think cabbage will be worse than pickles.. What is Your opinion?

    1. If you feel fine with them and you’re healthy, probably just fine. However, I do not think you need these for a “healthy flora” – microbiome topic is a big subject, but the short of it is – we really don’t know too much.

  9. Wow! Your commitment to helping others transition on this diet is awesome! Thanks for taking the time.

    My weird side affect of cutting out carbs and eating carnovire is inflamed & red gums. If it wasn’t so immediate you would swear it was scurvy. I did decide to then use Vitamin C supplementation – but it didn’t have an impact so I now just have the odd pill every other day (for “just in case” haha). The worst affected areas are the front of the mouth and around the only tooth that has had a root canal (top rear mollar).

    Is it possible to experience these symptoms due to the start of a healing process? I figure the root canal would be an exception to this as that tooth will always be dead – so maybe that reaction is the body not liking a dead tooth.

    Anyways…2 weeks in and the majority of the gums have started to settle down (especially around the front gums) and brushing is not the nightmare it was at the beginning. The tooth canal gum still gets sore when I eat and floss though.

    I did Google this issue and it appears some people get gum issues going Keto – but I have yet to discover anyone working out why.

    Strangely – before this diet – the only time the gum around the root canal tooth would act up would be when I added a nut / sesame seed butter to my diet. So perhaps PUFAs? But that doesn’t explain carnivore – unless sardines give me that reaction.

    The body is a weird and wonderful thing for sure.

    Cheers
    Peter

    1. It sounds more like a reaction to something like perhaps a change in toothpaste (people have similar things with flavored toothpastes like cinnamon).
      I would do a thorough audit of everything that you are eating / drinking / and otherwise putting in your mouth (things like gum and tooth pastes).
      It also could be from a change in the oral microbiome and a healing process (time is usually the answer 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply. I don’t actually use toothpaste – just wet brush and floss. Been doing that for years as I tend to get mouth ulcers with toothpaste. Oral hygeniene was always good until I did the high carb vegan thing – big mistake.

        I think you are correct in regards to change in oral microbiome – that makes the most sense.
        My diet change was simple – eggs, sardines, butter, salt and beef. It is now even simpler being just beef, lamb and salt. Thankfully my gums have improved and it’s now just a little tender around the root canal’d molar. Fingers crossed that completely heals quickly.

        Do you think teeth that have had root canals are safe? Or should they be pulled? Not sure whether the hype about them causing disease is real or not – and now that I am focused on this carnivore diet – I want to ensure nothing else in my body is causing negative effects!

        Appreciate your time : )

        1. Good to hear things are improving.

          The whole root canal debate is a tough one.
          Consider the alternatives – are you ok with a space? It can lead to some malocclusion / aesthetic issues – neither of which are deadly.
          Or would you want to get an implant – then you are putting titanium in your bone which can have other issues and complications.
          A bridge? I personally wouldn’t want a bridge as they can be an oral hygiene issue.

          If I had a root canal, and was feeling great and there was no issues with it, I would personally leave it more than likely.
          If it was on a 2nd molar, there’s probably a good chance I would have just had the tooth pulled in the 1st place.

          1. Thanks for the reply. Yeah.. it is the second molar – and in hindsight I should have just had it pulled. But I suppose there really is no point pulling it now unless it becomes an issue in the future. Appreciate your point of view – dental health is an interesting topic for sure.

  10. Hi Dr. Stock

    My boyfriend and I have started carnivore diet this week. My boyfriend has really bad painful Psoriasis all over his body as soon as he eats something his body doesn’t agree with his skin gets Inflamed and painful. He started only eating grass fed Ground beef, Grass fed liverwurst, grass fed streak and Conventional, organic free range chicken wings and I cook him grilled organic free range chicken breast for work (he works nights so it’s one of the things he can take to work and can eat cold). So he had a ribeye steak today that was Conventional from Trader Joes and his skin felt fine. Will eating Conventional steak affect his healing?

    Also I suffer from hormone imbalance, emf sensitivity and have daily pain in my head/migraines. I also have fibroid tumors which a lot of people claim meat can make worse. It’s what made me go Vegetarian then vegan which made me very sick. I found a holistic doctor three years ago that put me on the paleo diet. It helped but I still struggle to feel better I still have ibs, emf sensitivity, fatigue and painful migraines. I can’t sleep or lay down without pain in my head. I only eat grass fed beef/steak and Pasture raised pork with no sugar, salmon, Sardines and Pasture raised eggs. So I have some worries. I’ve read eating a lot of meat makes EMF sensitivity worse and fibroids worse. I’ve read animal meats has a lot of heavy meats stored and heavy metal in the body attract EMFs. So everything I read says to limit animal meat. I have already started the carnivore diet this week but I’m curious about your input on if meat will make my emf Symptoms and fibroids worse or end up possibility healing me? Would you have any info or advice? I also started taking magnesium for my migraines should I continue taking them? I started because I’ve read the soil has become depleted in magnesium and minerals which contribute to migraines.

    1. Most people do fine with grain finished beef (on rare occasions, some people don’t).

      Regarding your personal questions – what have your prior diets done for you? You can find basically any claim you want to claim, but I think if you’re here you probably know my thoughts on these.

      Regarding magnesium – I address supplements in the 30 day guide, if you haven’t downloaded it, I recommend starting there.

      Hope this helps some!

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