February 28, 2020 10 min read

A lot of time meat may look like the single best food on Earth but will you feel the same after a month or more on a strict carnivore diet? Although such habits are possible for a die-hard meat lover, many will experience a dangerous drop of energy from the extreme low-carb intake. 

How to overcome or prevent it? The key is to trick the brain into the idea of diversity, even when your supplies are limited. The way to achieve it is to have a diversity in the execution of your all-meat diet, with a significant supply of various carnivore diet recipes. Luckily, thanks to the popularity of low carb and keto diets, it is easy to keep things fresh for quite a while. If you look for some carnivore diet recipes on Reddit, you may find enough resources that you won’t even have to cook the same meal twice throughout the whole month.

Is the Carnivore Diet the Same as the Keto and Zero Carb Diets?

Yes and no.

The carnivore diet is a zero carb diet, but not every zero carb diet is strictly carnivore. The difference is, mostly, in side dishes and condiments. The Carnivore Diet is a product of a controversial belief that human ancestors ate mostly meat and fish. It supersedes the famous Atkins low carb diet program, following the claim that high-carb diets are the main cause of disease in modern, hedonistic times. 

Other popular low-carb diets, like the keto and paleo diets, although strongly limiting carb intake, do not cut it out completely. The strict version of the Carnivore Diet aims for zero carbs. Even though testimonials from those who follow this meal plan claim that it can help treat several health issues, there are not enough research results to support these claims. The Carnivore Diet undoubtedly helps with weight loss, through the ketosis condition.

Low Carb VS. Zero Carb Facts:

  • Zero Carb Carnivore in its purest form means animal kingdom only. In short, you eat meat, chicken, fish, seafood, strictly animal fats, and dairy, with some unsweetened tea.
  • In Carnivore Keto, you can include non-animal fats and oils, a selection of veggies and fruits for fibers, and almond milk.
  • In Zero Carb Keto, you can include some sugar alternatives, like Stevia.

The strict zero carb carnivores will disagree that the bottom two versions of the keto diet can be considered the carnivore diet. Still, those are acceptable alternatives.

Even in the purest form of the carnivore diet, a zero is never the real zero. Eggs, dairy, and some sorts of fish have trace carbs. Organ meats and shellfish also contain some carbs. All of those foods should be seen as a top of your low carb diet food pyramid. What counts is the huge ratio of protein and carb intake.

Carnivore Keto is a hybrid diet of the Carnivore diet and the Keto diet. It is a good option for a newbie since it permits some fibrous veggies. Eating spinach, kale, and avocado will help with digestion and ease the transition period. Healthy oils and fats like olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil are permitted as zero carb fats and can add some diversity to your keto meals. Unsweetened almond milk can be used in baking and drinks as another source of variation in the meal plan.

Zero Carb Keto just one step further, with permission of zero carb sweeteners like Stevia and erythritol, for those who can not imagine life without their sweet tooth. There are two major cons to this ketogenic diet choice. First, the craving for a sweet taste lowers in time if you don’t take any, so the usefulness of this decoy is rather questionable. Second, the sweeteners do not affect glucose in the body but have an impact on insulin. It is advisable to do regular blood tests, if you follow this version of the keto diet, to keep all your levels under control.

Saturated fat is not the enemy of weight loss. Feel free to use butter, ghee, whole fat milk, and cheese in the carnivore diet. Just keep the amounts reasonable. Bacon is ok in keto, but don’t overprocess it. In fact, try to eat processed food in your meal plan as little as you can. Most importantly, put effort to find the best meat from grass-fed animals.

It is essential to drink a lot of water. Carnivore diet recipes often involve a solid portion of salt, fat, and spices, and the last thing you want is to risk dehydration.

Bacon and eggs in a skillet.

How to Put Together a Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan

The Carnivore Diet is quite basic in its core, but that is where your creativity and kitchen skills come to play. Experiment with how you cook, bake or grill, explore the world of spices. Here is a sample guide, just for inspiration:

  • Breakfast: eggs and bacon
  • Lunch: ground beef burger, salmon jerky, chicken bites
  • Dinner: filet mignon, crab, turkey 
  • Snacks: a cube of Parmesan cheese and fatty cuts

      Or:

  • Breakfast: shrimp, eggs, pure meat sausage
  • Lunch: ribeye steak, tuna fish, pork chops
  • Dinner: lamb chops, shrimps, beef liver
  • Snacks: boiled egg, bone broth

We think you’ve got the idea already. Think about including some intermittent fasting in your meal plan. Not only will it help your health improvement and weight loss, but it will also cut down the list of meals you need to invent and prepare.

What Not to Put in Your Meal Plan

This kind of low carb meal plan excludes vegetables, fruits, high-lactose dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, sugars and any beverages other than water. Yes, that means alcohol and coffee too.

Set Your Goals Reasonably

Keep them visible and stick to them. Even with all the yummy carnivore diet recipes in the world, you will get challenged sooner or later. Like every restrictive type of diet, this one requires a serious commitment. Plan ahead, pick the recipes in advance for the whole week, and make a shopping list and stick to it to avoid temptations as much as possible.

Don’t start with very large portions. Even though the carnivore diet is of the “eat until satisfied” kind, that doesn’t mean you should aim to burst, especially if your goal is weight loss. Go slowly and raise the amounts if needed. Use your meal plan as a chance to listen to your body’s demands more carefully, eliminating what it doesn’t like.

Surviving the Low Carb Transition Phase

During the first week or few weeks of your ketogenic diet, pick the recipes from the not-so-strict category. This will ensure a smoother transition and help you keep the focus while your body adapts gradually. Feel free to include some dairy, perhaps even a veggie or two, if necessary.

Your shopping list should contain organic meats, bacon, good quality 100% pork sausages, pork chops and belly, lamb chops, chicken breasts and legs, ground beef, steaks, tenderloins, salmon, trout, tuna, ghee or tallow, and finally, some whole milk, butter, and cheese. Don't forget to get the best quality of meat you can put your hands on. Once you understand how many carnivore diet ground beef recipes you’re going to make, you will want to get the top-notch organic meats.

Learning new skills and finding new ways to cook the meat will bring some fun to your low carb diet. Still, keep the steaks on the raw side as this will preserve a lot of the nutritional values. The more/longer you cook, the more of the valuable protein, minerals, and vitamins break down. 

French Burgers

Ingredients:

For the burgers: 

  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

Instructions:

Place the 2 tablespoons of ghee into a frying pan and warm slightly. When softened, add ⅔ of it to a mixing bowl, together with the ground beef, egg, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Mix and form 6-8 burgers. Cook the burgers until both sides are well browned. If you prefer them well-done, make them flatter at the beginning.

For the sauce, add in the 2 tablespoons of additional ghee and saute the remaining meat juice with the beef stock for a few minutes, until reduced. Add in the parsley, move from the heat and serve with the burgers.

Low Carb Chicken Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast, cut horizontally into long thin slices
  • Slices of bacon, the amount depends on your baking tray size
  • Unsweetened mustard or mustard powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Shredded cheese
  • Egg 
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the deeper baking pan lightly with butter. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and lie in the pan to cover the bottom completely. Spread a very thin layer of mustard over it, and top with some shredded cheese. Put a layer of bacon slices next, and cover again with a thin layer of mustard and some shredded cheese. Mix the egg and cream and pour it as a top layer, to cover. Bake 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown-ish.

Dry aged ribs on a plate.

Dry Rub Ribs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb pork spare ribs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper 

Instructions:

Cut the ribs, submerge them in a pot of water and boil for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325F. Mix all the spices together, to form the rub. Place the ribs in a baking pan and dip each set of ribs into the rub, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes to crisp. This recipe is a good example of using the spices to give more edge to an otherwise very simple low carb meal.

Getting More Serious

As the weeks go by, you should slowly remove dairy products from your meal plan. The butter may remain for a while as a cooking fat, although the ghee does the same job.

Your shopping list should look something like this: 

  • organic meats
  • chicken breasts
  • lamb chops
  • salmon and other fatty fish
  • pure pork sausages
  • pork chops
  • ground beef
  • topside of beef
  • ribeye steak
  • porterhouse steak
  • beef liver

Wrapped Chicken Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast, cut to pieces
  • Slices of bacon
  • Garlic powder, salt, mixed pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Rub the salt and pepper into every chicken piece, and dip it lightly to garlic powder. Shake off the extras. Wrap each piece with a thin slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Bake about 30 minutes, or until crispy. This recipe makes an excellent low carb snack, appetizer, or dinner.

Bacon-Wrapped Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 2 filets of salmon, fresh or frozen
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee
  • 2 tablespoons of tarragon 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make sure that salmon filets are dry, use a kitchen paper to soak any excess moisture. Wrap the filets with bacon, tightly and place on a roasting tray, lightly greased with butter or ghee. Ready when crispy. Garnish with some chopped tarragon.

Peppersteak

Ingredients:

  • 1 veal filet or a steak
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ghee

Instructions:

Season the steak with salt and let it sit at room temperature for half an hour. Slightly crush the peppercorns, and press them into both sides of the steak. Preheat the pan, add the ghee and garlic. Run the garlic around the pan for several minutes to season the ghee, and take it out. Add the steak and cook not more than 3-4 minutes per side, to get it to medium-rare.

Carnivore Diet Expert

Eventually, you will start replacing dairy products with more beef. Those should also include beef-only days or even a week. Lower the amounts of poultry and fish in your shopping car. Favor more ground beef, ribeye steak, beef liver, and beef kidney. Try to buy the meat from grass-fed only cows, as this will add more healthy fat. From one serving of liver or kidney, you can get more Vitamin B, including B12, than most vegetables and it will give you more than even your daily needs. Also, the raw liver does contain some vitamin C. 

After a month of the carnivore diet program, you should be feeling a lot more physical and mental energy. Some weight loss should be obvious, too. Your metabolism is shifted to ketosis, and all the carb cravings should be gone.

Liver Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground liver 
  • 4 tablespoons of rosemary
  • Up to 1 tablespoon chili pepper flakes 
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon mixed pepper

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients together well and form meatballs. BBQ them, and try not to overcook.

Grilled Beef Heart

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef heart, about 2.2lb
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste, be generous!
  • A good amount of ghee, lard or tallow

Instructions:

Rinse the heart well under cold running water, pat it dry. Cut the heart open, or have your butcher do it before. Remove any visible string, blood vessels, and excess fat. Leave the heart to marinate overnight in balsamic vinegar. Pat it dry before grilling, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Melt the cooking fat in high heat. Put the beef in the preheated skillet and grill the beef heart without moving, 5-6 minutes for each side. Take the heart out of the skillet, wrap in aluminum foil and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Roasted Bone Marrow

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone marrow halves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the bones on a foil-lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. , until the marrow is brown and slightly bubbling.

Optionally, you can choose to make a bone broth.

So, Should I do It?

If you can afford the top quality meat, you should try and see if this meal program works for you. The Carnivore Diet should help health improvement and weight loss. That is hardly going to succeed through eating low quality and artificial animal products. Grass-fed animals and organic meats do have the nutrients which can benefit your body. Humans are incredibly flexible in their dieting and can adapt to both a vegan style or a mostly meat diet. But we still don’t have enough proof that restrictive programs can bring more benefit, in the long-term, than a balanced diet based full of variety.

The Carnivore Diet is extremely restrictive and definitely not for everyone. Short-term, it is unlikely that it would do any harm. If you try it, make sure to do regular blood tests and, ideally, have professional surveillance.

If there’s no improvement or your health worsens over weeks or a couple of months, give it up and try something else. There are plenty of meal plans around waiting to be tested.


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