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The Carnivore Diet is all about embracing your inner beast and a carnivore diet meal plan is the easiest meal plan of them all! The meals simply include meat, such as juicy steaks, tender poultry, and tasty seafood. And depending on the type of carnivorous diet you choose, it may also include animal products, such as eggs and dairy.
Many Carnivorans swear that this diet will help you lose weight, plus look AND feel your best. What’s not to like?
Did You Know January is World Carnivore Month?
As I write this post, it’s January, and Carnivore Month has arrived – a time to let your inner carnivore run wild!
It’s a great time to break out of the same ‘ol routine! This month has something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned carnivore or you’re just starting out trying carnivore for the first time – there’s no better time than now to embrace this diet, even if it’s just for one month.
Join people from all around the world who come together in celebration of eating meat, learning more about its potential health benefits, and enjoying tasty animal-based dishes.
*Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any diet.
What Can You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?
If you’re asking yourself “What can I eat on the Carnivore Diet?,” then the answer is simple: MEAT!
While it really can be just that simple, there are 4 Levels of the carnivore diet:
LEVEL 1: Only beef and salt
This is the purest way to follow the carnivore diet. This plan is simple and straightforward: eat only beef and salt, and use only beef fat to make sauces.
For those that enjoy organ meat, eating organs can be an incredible way to really beef up (pun intended) your nutrient profile.
Believe it or not, beef liver is the real super-food of the world!
Many people look to the plant kingdom for super-foods, but beef liver far surpasses them all in terms of nutrient profile.
A 3.5 ounce serving of liver provides well over 100% of the RDI for many essential nutrients.
- Vitamin B12: 3,460% of the RDI.
- Vitamin A: 860–1,100% of the RDI. Vitamin
- Riboflavin (B2): 210–260% of the RDI.
- Folate (B9): 65% of the RDI.
- Iron: 80% of the RDI
- Copper: 1,620% of the RDI
This phase is all about eliminating and healing and can be life-changing for people with an autoimmune disorder. Some people start with Level 1, while others end up here after trying a different level first.
LEVEL 2: All animal proteins and salt
This phase expands the diet to all animal proteins, salt, and sauces made from animal fats.
This includes all ruminants (cow, deer, bison, etc…) and non-ruminants (pig, poultry, seafood, etc…).
Level 2 allows for more diversity than level 1 carnivore, but it’s still very strict.
Some people follow what’s called the Lion’s Diet, which only includes meat from ruminant animals. You can read about Mikhaila Peterson’s experience with her health and the Lion Diet here.
LEVEL 3: All animal proteins with eggs and dairy
Level 3 carnivore really opens the door to some fun recipes, because you’re bringing in eggs and dairy.
The downside is, many people experience significant plateaus in weight loss when adding in dairy, so I recommend adding dairy very sparingly.
LEVEL 4: All animal proteins, eggs, dairy, spices, and some low-carb plant-based sauces and sweeteners
Ok, this level isn’t actually carnivore, but it’s a great place to start for many people. Closer to Zero Carb Keto than Carnivore, Level 4 can be great for people WITHOUT an autoimmune disorder that want the weight loss benefits of the carnivore diet.
However, just like Level 3, the added dairy can cause weight loss plateaus and even weight gain in some people.
Also, adding sweets, even zero-carb sweeteners, can lead to increased cravings, which can lead to increased calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain.
If you haven’t done a month-long detox from sweets, I highly recommend it! Anytime I feel like my cravings are getting out of control, I detox from sweet treats…and yes, that includes zero-carb sweet treats.
Which Carnivore Level is Right for You?
The right level to start on is really dependent on your health goals.
If you have an autoimmune disorder, I recommend Level 1 or 2. If you are looking to reign in your diet and maybe lose a few pounds, I recommend Level 3. If you are happy with your weight and simply want to maintain it, AND you don’t have an autoimmune disorder, then Level 4 is perfect for you.
Carnivore Diet Meal Plan Ideas
For the purpose of this article, I’ll share meal plan ideas for Carnivore Level 3.
Level 1 and 2 are so basic, they don’t even need an official meal plan.
- Choose a cut of meat
- Season it with salt
- Bake it, skillet fry it, smoke it, or air fry it
If you need oil to skillet-fry the meat, simply choose beef tallow, rendered bacon fat (which is super tasty on ANY meat), lard, or duck fat.
Moving on to Level 3!
For meal planning, I’m a big fan of batch cooking only 1-2 times per week and eating leftovers the rest of the week.
Here are a few meal plan ideas for eating Level 3 Carnivore!
- Egg muffins – whisk 12 large eggs together and pour evenly into a 12-count muffin pan. Then you can choose your additional flavors. Feel free to mix and match at will: bacon, ham, shredded chicken, ground beef, ground pork, and/or cheese….just to name a few things.
- Steak and Eggs – skillet fry a ribeye steak, then scramble eggs in the same skillet in the leftover steak fat
- Poached eggs with bacon – to poach an egg, crack an egg into a small bowl and set it aside while you bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, stir the water (creating a water funnel), then add the egg. The motion of the water will wrap the egg white around itself so the egg stays together as it cooks. I do not recommend making a poached egg ahead of time though. Instead, I would make this to order.
- Carnivore Chaffle – preheat your waffle maker to medium-high heat. While that’s heating, whisk together 2 eggs and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour the chaffle batter into the heated waffle maker and cook for 4-5 minutes until done. You can scale this recipe as much as you like for batch cooking.
- Air Fried Chicken Wings – simply season them with salt and air fry at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes (depending on size)
- Turkey Burgers – patty up the ground turkey, season with salt, and skillet fry!
- Air Fried Chicken Nuggets – cut up chicken thighs into bite-size pieces, dip in whisked eggs, then coat in crushed pork rinds and airy fry at 400 degrees F for 18 minutes, shaking halfway through.
- Pan-seared Ahi Tuna – pat the ahi tuna steak dry with a paper towel, then melt butter in a skillet over high heat. Sear the ahi tuna on each side for 2 minutes
- Ribeye Steak – grilled or skillet fried with butter and seasoned with salt
- Pork Loin – season with salt, then bake at 500 degrees F, 5 minutes for every pound, then turn the oven off without opening it, and leave the pork loin in the oven for 1 hour – comes out perfect every time!
- Ground Beef Patties with bacon and cheese – skillet fry or grill the burger patties.
- Chicken and bone broth soup – bake the chicken seasoned only with salt, then shred it and add it to homemade bone broth
- Grilled Salmon – seasoned with salt and butter
How Much Should You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?
For the first 2-4 weeks, I do not recommend tracking macros. Your body will need time to adjust to an animal-only based diet, so simply eat until satisfied.
If you choose to continue with the carnivore diet after the first 2-4 weeks, then you only need to track your macros if you are trying to gain or lose weight.
The most important macro to hit is your protein goal. At a minimum, you need to consume .08 times your lean mass (body weight – body fat percentage). For example, a person who weighs 160 lbs with 30% body fat needs a minimum of 90 grams of protein
- 180 lbs – (180 x 0.3) = 112 lbs lean body
- 112 lbs x 0.8 = 89.6 grams of protein
This is the minimum amount of protein you need to consume each day. However, if you are actively lifting weights and building muscle, then I recommend increasing your protein intake.
The only other macro to consider is your fat intake. To lose weight, lower your fat intake. To gain weight, increase your fat intake.
It’s really that simple!
Benefits of a Carnivore Diet
The carnivore diet has many health benefits!
- Lower blood sugar – it goes without saying, that if your diet is solely animal based, you are not consuming glucose, therefore you are not raising blood sugar levels.
- Improved digestion (less gas and bloating!) – I can speak from personal experience! This is absolutely true!
- Reduced inflammation – minimizing blood sugar and insulin spikes has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Improved Mental Clarity – after the initial brain fog from detoxing.
- Weight loss – but like any healthy diet, you can eat too much and still gain weight on a carnivore diet. You will need to adjust your fat intake to either lose, maintain, or gain weight.
- Decreased chronic disease symptoms -especially autoimmune diseases. Craig Emmerich manages his Lyme Disease symptoms with a carnivore diet.
Detox Symptoms on a Carnivore Diet
If you’ve been in the keto community for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the Keto Flu.
I had been following a keto diet for over 3 years the first time I tried the carnivore diet. I was not expecting to experience anything like the keto flu again, but I was Oh So Wrong!
The keto flu hit all over again! Low energy, brain fog, sore legs, etc…
One of the best ways to combat this is to make sure you keep your electrolytes up and the best way to do this on the carnivore diet is to add MORE salt to your food!
Another issue some face when beginning a carnivore diet has to do with digestion. I’ll spare you the details, but make sure you have a bathroom easily accessible for the first week or so.
I promise, your body will adjust!
A small percentage of people will have a skin rash or skin irritation while adapting to a carnivore diet. This is due to oxalate dumping.
Oxalates can build up in your system from eating plants. So when you remove all plant food from your diet, your body begins the process of getting rid of all the oxalates it has accumulated.
If you are someone who develops a skin rash, a great solution is to apply coconut oil to the rash. The oil helps your body expel the oxalates.
The severity and longevity of any detox symptoms experienced vary from person to person. I believe the worse the symptoms are, the more you NEEDED to detox your body.
The detox process is important and you will feel so much better once you get through it!
Do You Like to Geek Out on the Science Behind Things?
If you want to dive deep into the science behind the Carnivore diet, I can’t recommend this book enough! Craig lays out the science and Maria developed over 100 Carnivore recipes for you.
Have more questions? Please comment below!