1. Home
  2. The Carnivore Diet
  3. The Carnivore Diet – What to Eat

The Carnivore Diet – What to Eat

What Can I Eat on The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet

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.

In my experience it’s best to start with a 3 Level process for the smoothest transition and best results.

The 3 Levels are described briefly below and also in the “30 Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore” – which I recommend reading before starting. You can grab it here:

What to Eat on the Carnivore Diet

Your primary focus should be on fatty meat, especially BEEF.

Lamb, pork, chicken, and fish are next on your list.

And…if you’d like…eggs, and low carb dairy products like butter, heavy whipping cream and hard cheeses.

Your Go-To Beef Cuts:

  • Steaks (ribeye, sirloin, strip, chuck eye)
  • Roasts (Prime rib, chick, brisket)
  • Ground beef
  • Organs if you want (though not necessary)

Note on Organ meats:

There are carnivores who believe organ meats are necessary for complete nutrition. I don’t believe this is true. But I’ve done some interesting experiments with liver, that may be worth trying out. Having studied human evolution there is evidence that organ meats may have played a role in human brain development.  Add a brain, liver, or cold water fish to your plan if you’re concerned. They are high in DHA which plays a vital role in brain function.

More Meats

Lamb
Chops Ribs Shank
Pork
Shoulder Pork Belly Butt Roasts Ribs
Poultry
Wings Thighs and Drumsticks Chicken breasts are too lean so eat sparingly or with other fatty meats.
Fish
Salmon Trout Mackerel Sardines Crab Lobster Shrimp Scallops

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 ween 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 (see Level 2).

Especially dairy.

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

What to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet?

Everything that is not meat.

  • Seasoning and Sauces
  • 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 wanted added.

Aged meats are high in histamines, which increase sensitivities, intolerances, and inflammation – the things we are wanting to remove.

How Much to Eat on the Carnivore Diet

Eat when hungry.

Eat until full.

  • Listen to your body.
  • I found the majority of people average 2 meals per day.
  • But 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. I’ll explain why in the WARNING at the end. 

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) 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.

Getting Started: LEVELS 1, 2, and 3

carnivore dietI recommend viewing the Carnivore Diet in 3 Levels when starting. The point is not to make it more complex, rather provide a framework to make this diet work for as many people as possible. Here’s a brief overview, but for a more thorough look at the 3 Levels grab the “30 Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore.”

Level 1 Protocol

  • Meat
    • If it’s meat or fish – it’s on the menu
  • “Sides” and “Exceptions”
    • Coffee and Tea
    • Butter, Cheese, and Heavy Whipping Cream
    • Eggs
  • Supplements (during adaptation)

Level 2 Protocol 

  • Meat + Water
    • No processed meats
    • No “sides” or “exceptions”
      • Including coffee, tea, eggs, butter, cheese, whipping cream
    • No supplements
      • Exception: Pink Himalayan Salt
      • Exception: If you are skipping Level 1 and going straight to Level 2

Level 3 Protocol

  • BEEF Only (ideally Grass-Fed and Finished) + Water

Level 3 is the ultimate “elimination diet.”

Cut Everything but (Grass Fed, Grass Finished) Beef and Water

  • I know this isn’t convenient
  • I know this isn’t cheap
  • I also know that if you go this pure for 30 more days, it will be worth it

If you can’t afford the Grass-fed, grass-finished beef, then doing just beef and water is the way to go (eliminating other meats like pork and seafood).

Beyond Level 3

After completing 30 days at Level 3 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 BEEF that is not grass fed/finished (if you were able to do just grass-fed, -finished)
  2. Then test other meats
  3. Then test eggs
  4. Then test “ok’d” dairy
  5. Then test coffee/tea

Example:

After completing Level 3 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 Level 3, and then only add back in 1 “test item” at a time using grass fed and finished BEEF as your baseline to test everything against.

Choosing Levels

I recommend most people start at Level 1 for 30 days.

If you are not a coffee drinker than starting off at Level 2 (+supplements from Level 1) is a often a great place to start.

I do not recommend jumping to Level 3 until having completed at least 30 days at either Level 1 or 2.

Beyond the Carnivore Diet “Experiment”

Most carnivores settle somewhere between Level 1 and Level 2.

By completing Level 3 you will know where the best place is for you.

If you want to experiment adding back in plants or fruits or sugars (I don’t recommend it), but go for it. Just remember testing off a baseline of grass fed and finished beef is the best way to get accurate feedback.

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!

I have a strange feeling you won’t want to stop “experimenting.”

If you complete 30 days at Level 3, congrats – I know that’s not easy. You’ve probably never been in a better position in your life to determine what works for and with you, and what doesn’t.

Dial in on your Superhuman foods, and just as importantly, your Kryptonite.

The 3 Carnivore Guides

There are 3 guides that I highly recommend downloading when starting this way of eating.

1 – How to Lose Fat on the Carnivore Diet (The 3 Steps)

Many people come to this diet for fat loss. This guide is a MUST READ.

2 – Health Dangers of a Plant-Based Diet

Many people want to know WHY do this and WHY have people had such great success – here’s your answers.

3 – The Ultimate 30-Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore

The transition and implementation of the Carnivore Diet can be really hard. This guide is your go-to reference for all your questions and issues during those first 30-60-90 days.

Grab these 3 Guides and you are all set.

P.S.

I want to celebrate your journey, resolve, and new life with you! Please tag me on instagram with updates 🙂

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

START HERE
The Ultimate 30-Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore
30-Day Carnivore Guide

Comments

  1. As a Sleep Doctor – I assume an MD with sleep-disorder experience – what is your take on treating narcolepsy? We are currently (for the past 11 weeks) using a carniverous diet that includes limited heavy cream and cheeses. Thanks for your consideration. We have consulted with a sleep clinic and we will be scheduling a sleep study soon as we do not yet have an official diagnosis.

    1. Hi Sandra, I am a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) but practiced in a niche area known as Dental Sleep Medicine. Treating narcolepsy is outside my expertise, but as I understand it, it is not easily treated and most medications used are to treat the symptoms. Doing a sleep study, is what I would recommend. If you decide to experiment with the Carnivore Diet I’d love to hear about your journey.

      1. My own experience with narcolepsy is that it is caused by consuming carbs/sugar. As soon as I stop eating (and drinking) carbs, my narcolepsy disappears. And as soon as I consume them, it comes roaring back. It is a very simple equation, at least in my case.

        1. I’ve also got narcolepsy and have had for over 22 year and never thought ov trying anything like this how long did it take you to make it disappear as we have no cure can just manage it
          I do this via modafinol
          I hope this diet works for me

      2. I started the carnivor diet about a week ago. 3 eggs 5 to 6 slices of bacon. I fry eggs in bacon fat. Runny yolks help. Cambells bone broth in a cup and a scoup of butter. I prefer newyorks think cuts from costco. Picked up pork rines as a side substitute. I eat 3 or more yogurts. I use chicken thighs as a filler with steaks.

  2. What do you say about honey as candy every couple of days/weeks or in general? I mean it is a pure animal product, but not an animal itself. My fear is that it will kill all the benefits I experience!

    1. It depends on what/why you want it – if just for enjoyment – then go for it. However, for most people they’d do better without. Killing sugar/carbohydrate cravings can take a bit, and re-stimulating cravings can make it harder long term, so I’d generally recommend just avoiding it.

  3. I am considering Level 1. Is corned beef considered processed meat? I am afraid I wrecked my 1st day on the program 🙁

    1. Yes corned beef would be considered processed, but it’s ok (I just would try and make it more of an “occasional” item rather than an everyday “staple”).

      1. Really interesting stuff– this post caught my attention because I’m a big meat eater… and a pit smoker, and I sometimes like to create my own stuff. I’m wondering if the posters are familiar with New England gray corned beef, which is served in… New England, (Go Pats!) It’s made with a salt brine and contains NO nitrates. (The red color is where the fake stuff lies… and I blame NewYork!)

        All joking aside, I’ve served red and gray side by side during St.Patrick’s Day celebrations and you can really taste the chemicals in the red stuff. America’s Test Kitchen also did an interesting write up on gray corned beef, and I think that one could probably corn his/her own beef with the Himalayan Salt with little change.

        I know it’s not ideal for the diet’s end game, but it’s 1000% better than the nitrates.

        I made my own gray pastrami last year by smoking a gray corned beef, too.

        Hope someone benefits.
        Slainte!

        1. Steve,

          This is my corned beef method and the meat is amazing! The color is a little weird at first, but after a plate of it, o.m.g.
          Lisa

  4. I’m considering this carnivore diet to see if it would improve my MS symptoms.
    What is the best why to start? I’m a coffee and tea drinker. Thanks for your support.

    1. Best / easiest way to start is with the 30-day guide to going full carnivore (you can download it for free on this website). It will answer questions about coffee and tea too 🙂

      Of course, let me know if you have any further questions after reading it and if I can help in any way!

  5. Thanks for this great information. You recommend the beef is the best meat to shift into in level 3. Do you have a second best option for those of us with a red meat (cow, bison, deer etc.) allergy? I can do all poultry, pork, fish and seafood with no reaction.
    Many thanks

    1. AH red meat allergy!

      If you know you do fine with poultry, pork and fish, then I would just stick to those.

      Ruminants are preferred for various reasons (like the way they digest food via ruminal fermentation) but you can get just as great results with other meats.

    2. Hi Andrea,
      do you know your blood type?
      I am very interested in the blood-type diet and the effects of different nutritional molecules on the body/organism.
      What are the signs and symptoms of a red-meat allergy?

      Thank you very much!

      1. Cora,
        I too have this allergy and cannot have any mammal but am lucky enough to be able to have dairy. The hallmark symptoms are delayed anaphylaxis, vomiting, diarrhea, angioedema, hives and a feeling of dread.
        I can handle eating duck.

  6. I have a medium level home based workout schedule every othet day. Will this diet accommodate this without problems?

    1. I’m not sure what you mean “accommodate” but the diet is used by athletes (world record holders) as well as physique/bodybuilders. Many people do the diet and don’t exercise at all and see great results (though I don’t recommend not exercising 🙂

      1. You’ve mentioned athletes so I thought I’d dive in:

        On level 1- day 4 ( come from LCHF) – also training hard 13 to 15 hours a week on the bike. Longest session is 4 hours. Calorie burn per hour 950 Kcal using a power meter. All other sessions 1 to 2 hours I notice my heart rate is about 10 beats higher that normal at the same intensity ( that’s a lot )as it bumps me up a training zone and makes the workout much harder. Note I know I am not adapted yet. resting HR also higher.

        I do get very restless in the evening and sleep is an issue, first plan is to lower training intensity by 10 bpm ( note resting HR is slightly elevated though ), can you recommend further reading. Apart from the training performance I am amazed at how I feel it’s great, uncomplicated eating. Bacon and egg breakfast 4 to 5 large, lamb 1Lb chops lunch and chicken/liver/ground beef evening not always hungry. (Pretty simple, note all grass fed very easy to get in NZ)

  7. Hi there, I’m wondering whether to try the carnivore diet as I have had myocarditis(inflammation of the heart) for the past year and wanted to know if you’ve heard of any success stories? keen to get some kind of diet plan in place that’s not potentially risky for me. 🙂

    1. Personally, I don’t recommend it. But if you need it, you need it 🙂 I’d go with coffee if you need a pick-me-up (which you shouldn’t need once being on the diet for awhile).

    2. I take some Ketamine for preworkout. Just starting this diet so don’t have any feedback atm. I do wonder how I’m going to react to no gatorade and no post workout (carb loaded) shake.

      1. It does take some time to adapt training-wise to a zero carbohydrate diet.

        I’d recommend checking out the 30 day guide (you can download it on the left) which goes over this (as well as some other critical considerations).

  8. Hi, so what’s the deal with chicken and poultry in general? I see some people don’t recommend white meat others do, any particular reason for this?

    1. Poultry tends to be quite lean, and many people prefer fattier cuts, and staying closer to ketogenic ratios (~70% fat, 30% protein). Micronutrient density also tends to be superior in red meat. But eating some poultry is just fine if you like it.

      1. Do you personally get into ketosis on this diet?