World Carnivore Month: My day to day Experience eating only meat for a month

Its January, a.k.a. World Carnivore Month!

This is the month when most lazy slobs set health and fitness goals they never intend to keep.

Lets be clear, that is NOT what this article is about.

I am a healthy active man who has followed a “paleo-ish” diet for close to 10 years and have gone full blown Keto twice a year as a reset and to get lean for summer for the past 3 or 4 years.

My Goal in trying carnivore is to try something that just may help me take it to the next level.

The next level of energy and cognition.

The next level of effortless leanness and strength.

Understand that I am writing this from the perspective of a performance minded healthy man, not a couch potato.

Like many of you, I first learned about the carnivore diet from Dr. Shawn Baker after he appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast.

Since then I obsessively explored Dr. Bakers facebook group, World Carnivore Tribe and his website, Meatheals.com

After reading posts and comments from so many people seeing improvements in energy, cognition, reduced inflammation, fat loss and muscle gain I just couldn’t resist giving it a go.

I do have my concerns however…

I’ve been familiar with the ketogenic diet for many years and have experienced the usual side effects of a high fat low carb diet.

Those are typically a few days of low energy when transitioning into ketosis often refered to as the “keto flu”.

I’ve also felt the deminished perfromance during high volume training weight training sessions.

Last but certainly not least, I would often experience difficulty sleeping while on a ketogenic diet.

While I did my obsessive research and asked around in Dr. Bakers facebook group many experienced carnivore dieters shared their insights and have somewhat elevated me of some of those concerns.

Why?

Well, I can see the carnivore diet having an advantage over the keto diet for two reasons, simplicity and macro-nutrient ratios.

First, just eating meat and water is so simple, the dumbest mother fucker alive could’nt screw it up…although now that I think about it, I’m sure someone will.

Just not this one.

The second advantage is the simplicity of the carnivore diet and that has to do with macro-nutrient ratio’s.

With a ketogenic diet you need to eat most of your calories from fat and less than 50 grams of net carbs and only moderate protein, other wise you get kicked out of ketosis.

With carnivore, ketosis is not the goal. The goal is to simply eat only meat and feel and look your best…in theory, we shall see.

Many ex-ketogenic dieters report feeling many of the same undesirable side effects as I did but do not experience them while on a carnivore diet.

I can only speculate but I think because macro break down of meat tends to be almost 50/50 fat to protein grams, the very high protein intake allows the body to convert a small amount of the protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.

In keto this is a no-no but on carnivore its no problem.

So my speculation is that the high protein intake of the carnivore diet allows for only the optimal amount of glucose to be produced and used immediately enhancing energy, cognition and sleep without creating the undesirable effects of excessively elevated glucose levels caused by consuming carbs and sugar.

Anyway, without further adieu, lets jump into the day to day…

Days 1-3 of My Carnivore Diet

Its day 3-January 3rd as I write this, its 8pm, I’ve been working steadily since 8:30 this morning.

Despite that its been a longish day, I’m energized and focused, even though I am now starting to feel hungry for dinner.

That about sums up my past three days: Very even energy and mental focus throughout my day which is what attracted me to low carb approaches in the first place.

You see when you eat carbs at breakfast lunch and dinner your raising and lowering blood sugar and insulin three times a day which is why your energy is uneven, you get frustrated if its been too long since you’ve eaten and feel like taking a nap in the afternoon instead of being focused and working hard.

No surprised with energetic and cognitive benefits so far.

However, last night I slept like a baby! In fact, I slept better than I have in a long time as I am usually a restless sleeper.

This could be a total fluke, time will tell, the next couple days will be interesting because the 3-7th day of ketosis are the hardest energetically and sleep wise.

Will carnivore be better than keto in the critical transition days 4-9?

Keep reading to find out…

Carnivore Diet Days 4-9

Its official, I resisted the temptation of my first weekend on carnivore.

Yup, no booze, beer or carbs, yeh me!

Plus, my fears of sleep problems I’ve had on the keto diet have not materialized.

In fact it has been just the opposite! I’ve been sleeping soundly through the night like I never have before.

The only struggle around sleep is getting to sleep, once I’m out, I’m out!

The reason why its harder to fall asleep initially is when your in a fat burning state you have no blood sugar crashes and your mind has an almost endless steady supply of ketones from both dietary and stored body fats.

This is freaking awesome if your a hard-charging entrepreneur or high-level executive or salesperson.

I have zero problems finding the energy and mental focus to work from 8am to 8pm with ease. In fact I could go longer if I had to.

As for my workouts, I’m using low volume full body workouts 3 days a week and hour long walks in between.

Workouts are feeling great but I am avoiding higher volume training or high intensity interval training as I don’t think that would be optimal while adapting to the diet and eating in a caloric deficit.

So all and all my workouts have been feeling great and I’m seeing flatter abs but much of that is likely from the loss of water weight through the burning of what was left of my muscle glycogen.

I’ve also noticed through tracking my meals in the “my fitness pal” app that I am spontaneously eating about 1500-1700 calories a day.

I sya spontaniously becouse I’m not trying to eat so few caloris, I’m just eating 3 meals until I’m satisfied.

I’ve also begun to “intermittent fast”. That is waiting to have my first meal at 11am instead of immediately upon waking.

I have also done this spontaneously as I am simply not hungry until 11.

My energy has been great, a little groggy for the first 20 minutes of my day-probably due to my mild coffee adiction and the fact that I’ve been sleeping like a log!

But after I force myself out of bed my energy and brain come onto line very quickly and I’m off and running and more productive quicker than I’d normally be.

So for the first week and a half of my carnivore experience I give it two thumbs up so far. I had actually anticipated it being harder to go all month eating only meat but I cant say I’m craving any other foods right now.

So far I have been very satisfied with meat, eggs and little bit of cheese.

Who knows if I will still be i love with the carnivore diet as I get deeper into the month, you’ll have to keep reading to find out…

Day 15-Half Way Through World Carnivore Month

It’s January 15th and I made it through another weekend without drinking or indulging in Friday night dinner and drinks or Sunday fun day pancakes and cocktails!

I gotta say, it hasn’t been hard or felt like a sacrifice.

I think sticking with the carnivore diet is easy because I have felt so damn good!

My energy and mental focus is steady and high all day. My sleep is deep and restful, and I’m down 3.8 pounds without really trying.

I did have an incling of carb cravings over the weekend. It is important to recognize that these were not physiological cravings but mental.

Here’s what I mean by that. It was rainy this past weekend adn I was stuck indoors with my girlfriend and in between watching old movies and “qaulity time” with my girlfriend I wanted to much on something sweet or crunchy out of bordom.

In other words, my carb cravings didn’t stem from physiological signals like feeling tired or unfocused.

So while at the half way point of world carnivore month I feel great, just like last week, the more time I eat this way the more I realize that even as a health concious person I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

Eating a carnivore diet has shown me how often I eat out of boardom and pleasure. Needless to say I have been more focused and productive becouase I’m no longer asting time to satisfy myself with sugar and carbs and instead redirecting that time and energy into things that bring real satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

So, aside from looking better, feeling better, and perfroming better, and sleepng better, the carnivore diet appears to be making me reevaluate my relationship with food in a very healthy way.

There is one thing I have noticed that could be considered a negative about the carnivore diet.

I have to say that I don’t have as much work capacity while strength training.

I’m still as strong for a single set but I definatley feel as though I need to pull back the total vlolume of work.

I knew this would be the case because my body is basically re configuring my metabolism and is very common among those who cut out carbs.

I’m not overly concerned however for two reasons:

1.) I expected this and recognsize that the adaptation to zero carbs fueling high perfomance physical activity takes longer than a couple of weeks.

2.) I was recently listed to Dom D’Agostino on the Primal blueprint podcast who is considered one of, if not THE authority on the ketogenic diet who said it took a good 2-3 months before his body was completely adapted nough to metabalising fat and seeing similar performance in the weight room as he had before going keto.

But again, I don’t really care, My goal is to get down to 10% body fat right now and I’m dropping weight like clockwork without really trying so yeh me.

Stay until next week when I give you 3 week update of my Carnivore diet journey.

Carnivore Diet, Day 16-22 I Cheated & I Hate Myself

ok, thats a bit dramatic but as I type this i feel like shit.

I have not slept well for 3 nights, i feel lethargic and foggy headed.

You may be thinking, ah-ha, the initial feel good effects of the diet have faded and now the “deficiencies” of diet are making you feel crappy!

No, I was feeling amazing before this past Saturday night when I went off the reservation and drank alcahol, and ate approxamatley 200+ grams of carbs.

I had some friends come into to town and nautrually we thought we’d go out for dinner and drinks.

We ended up at a Mexican place where I had a margarita, tons of chips and salsa and enchiladas and rice and beans.

At the time I felt fine but I had a restless nights sleep and woke up with dark bags under my eyes in spite of “sleeping” for 8 and a half hours.

My brain function has felt slow and my motivation is nonexistent.

I’ve also felt a mild depression, even though the weekend was very nice in every reguard.

I thought to myself, oh well, I’ll get back to carnivore sunday and by Monday I’ll be back to feeling great again!

But it would not be. Its Tuesday as I write this and I still feel tired and lethargic, unmotivated, slightly depressed and 3 cups of strong coffee have not helped.

Not only that but I’m cravinf sugar and carbs more so than when I first started carnivore!

This, unfortunately, coincides with what several people including Jordan and Mikhaila Peterson and nutrition and exercise physiology researcher, Bart Kay-who I heard on the “biohackers Lab” podcast say about the carnivore diet.

While the carnivore diet makes you feel amazing, when you go off the diet the negative effects are more pronounced!

I can tell you this is true in my experience as well. Alcohal will absolutely destroy your mental state for 2 days if you don’t normally drink.

Excess carbs will make you lethargic and crave more carbs and sugar afterward.

So, in the future, when I go out to eat and entertain I will make sure I go to a steak house! haha

The lesson learned from my 3rd week on Carnivore is to not cheat on the diet if you want to maximize your energy, mood and cognitive performance!

Carnivore Diet: Days 23-31

Its the end of the month my friends but not the end of the carnivore diet for me.

Beef is a super food that makes me feel amazing.

The only thing that would keep me from adopting the carnivore diet as a lifestyle is boredom and my love for weight training.

Over the last week and half of the carnivore diet I see that red meat will remain the foundation of my diet going forward.

With that being said, I will also incorporate regular carbohydrate re-feeds from clean whole food sources to make this diet more sustainable over the long run.

Why would I do that?

For 2 reasons:

1.) Fun and the enjoyment of food

2.) to restore muscle glycogen and recovery from my regular weight lifting.

The carnivore diet should be something everyone does as a metabolic and inflamitory reset or elimination diet for carnivore month every year! I know I will!

But then keep red meat as a staple of the diet and incorperate a wider variety of non inflamitory foods to make their diet more enjoyable and sustainable over the long run.

What foods are problematic for people vary widely from individual to individual.

I recommend a “paleo” eating template with the addition of white rice for those who engage in glycolytic exercise.

If you lift weights, play field sports, power sports, combat soprts and do regular high intesnity interval training than adding back in a small amount of carbs from clean sources will work very well for you.

As far as veggies go, it’s an entirely individual thing but for the most part, if you’re not dealing with any intestinal problems, greens should’nt be an issue.

How much carbs and how often is a pretty broad topic but I will say that most sedintary people only need 30-50 grams a day tops-or equivalent of a single yam, cup of rice or two whole peices of fruit.

If your more active, typically you can use 100-150 grams a day without it spilling over and causing fat gain or lethargy.

However, What I would suggest to those who love the way they feel on a carnivore diet but still want to enjoy “bad foods” in social situations or eat carbs to enhance performance in the gym I would suggest a strategic carbohydrate re-feed once per week.

What I will be doing After The Carnivore Diet

What I will be doing as a sustainable long-term lifestyle diet will be eating mostly carnivore 6 days a week and having a high carb day every Sunday.

I’ve used this template before with great effect! It has gotten me wash-board abs lean in the past while optimizing energy and congnition while still enjoying sushi and french toast!

If your an old school bodybuilding geek this template might remind you of the goddolsteak and eggs diet” from Vince Gironda!

And if your a biohacking longevity geek this might look a lot like the “bulletproof diet” by Dave Asprey.

And you’d be right in both cases!

I always take notice when I see very different people from different times, cultures and goals arive at the same conclusion.

I can tell you from experience this eating template might be the best long term lifestyle diet for the man who wants it all. Health, longevity, a ripped muscular body, all day energy and relentless mental focus,

Here’s what it looks like:

Monday-Saturday:

  • Skip breakfast, drink black coffee or tea with no cream or sugar.
  • have steak and eggs for lunch
  • have steak and eggs for dinner and an optional side salad

Sunday Funday:

  • drink black coffee in the morning adn take a leisurely stroll
  • eat french toast with syrup and eggs at brunch!
  • Eat a ton of sushi with white rice at dinner!

Rinse and repeat.

Conclusion

The carnivore diet has been the biggest surprise of my meat-head, biohacking, diet experimenting life.

It is so damn good for basically everything.

If your looking to go “monk mode” and eat a minimalsi diet that will make you feel amazing and maximize your productivity I highly recommend it!

And even if you still want to allow for the accasional dietary shenadigans like myself, the carnivore diet should still comprise the basis of your diet long term!

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