Could a meat-based diet be the answer?
Did you know that January is the month celebrated by both, the plant-based community and the meat-based community? You probably heard of Veganuary, but have you heard of World Carnivore Month?
World Carnivore Month was launched by American MD Shawn Baker a few years ago, when he realised that being born in January - the month of Veganuary – when only eating animal foods, didn’t make any sense, so he went ahead and started the World Carnivore Month.
What is a carnivore diet, also called a meat-based diet?
Someone on a meat-based diet eats predominantly animal foods. This would typically include:
- meat (beef, lamb, pork, game, etc.)
- offal (liver, heart, etc.)
- poultry (chicken, turkey)
- dairy (cheese, cream, milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese)
There are some variations then, from ketocarnivores, who would add nuts and fruits/vegetables, to those following the lion diet, who only have beef and water. They all drink water, and most of them have coffee even if technical it’s a grain. You probably heard of the bulletproof coffee, the drink where you add butter or heavy cream to your coffee, and have it for breakfast – they’d typically have it too.
Why a meat-based diet could be a good idea
A meat-based diet is the elimination diet by excellence. If food can be a medicine, it can also be a poison. We know the impact of foods on our health, and figuring out which one doesn’t suit us and triggers our symptoms can be a nightmare.
It is challenging to recognise a food intolerance as we eat so many foods (including all the unwanted ingredients such as preservatives and emulsifiers), coupled with the fact that the reaction can take up to 72 hours to appear. This is why implementing a strict elimination diet can help figure out the culprit. The question then is how much do you eliminate, and for how long? Because so many ‘healthy’ foods contain some molecules that are triggering a number of complaints. You probably heard of oxalates, lectins, salicylates – they can be very detrimental for some people.
Is a meat-based diet nutritious?
Absolutely. There are a number of nutrients that are only found in animal foods, or that are more bio-available in animal foods. Aside from the higher protein content, animal foods provide heme iron, vitamin B12, cholesterol, taurine, choline, creatine, carnitine, carnosine. Depending on the type of animal foods, you may get different ratio and/or other nutrients.
What about fibres?
Contrary to popular belief, fibres are not essential for a healthy gut. The latest research shows that people suffering from constipation do better with the removal of fibres, and those with imbalances of their microbiome tend to promote the wrong types of bacteria when having fibres.
Why do people stay on an animal diet if it’s so restrictive?
They all have their own reason, but here are a few that have been shared: healing of their physical chronic conditions, improved mental health, steady energy levels, no more sugar cravings, no more carb addiction, easiness of the diet … and weight management.
How can I try it?
Just like any new eating approach, make sure that you start introducing changes slowly. Our body doesn’t like radical changes. Also, make sure you drink a lot of water to prevent constipation. If unsure, please reach out to a health practitioner who has experience with this eating approach, they will be the best person to support you, given your personal circumstances.
Anything else I should know about this animal-based diet?
The meat-based community is not just a ‘food’ community, it’s a community that embraces the importance of lifestyle, from gratitude to spending time outside, functional movement and good restorative sleep. All of these changes are aimed to reach optimal health.
- The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino, MD
- The Carnivore Cure by Judy Cho, NTP