The carnivore diet offers a transformative approach to eating, promising benefits like weight loss, enhanced energy, and improved digestion. But what are the rules of carnivore diet?
At its core, the carnivore diet rules are refreshingly simple yet profound: consume only animal sources and eliminate carbohydrates, steering your nutrition towards meats, fish, eggs, and select dairy.
While adapting to any new diet can seem daunting, we’re here to simplify things and leave you feeling clear on how to start carnivore diet. We'll cover the do’s and don’ts of this diet while providing you with carnivore diet tips to keep you on track.
Carnivore Diet Overview
First, what is the carnivore diet? This dietary approach is centered exclusively on animal-based foods. It’s grounded in the philosophy that human bodies are optimized for consuming and digesting animal products, and that many modern health issues are exacerbated, if not caused, by plant-based foods and high carbohydrate intake.
Fundamentally, this diet involves consuming meat, fish, eggs, and limited dairy products. It excludes all fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes, making it a zero-carb or near-zero-carb diet.
The emphasis is on high-quality animal proteins and fats, including organ meats, which are valued for their nutrient density. We’ll talk about what meat to eat on carnivore diet in just a moment.
This approach to eating is not just about eliminating carbohydrates but also about simplifying food choices. Its proponents argue that the diet can lead to improved health outcomes, including weight loss, enhanced energy levels, and better digestive and mental health. There are a multitude of carnivore diet benefits worth exploring.
The diet is often compared to other low-carb, high-fat diets like keto but differs in its complete elimination of plant matter. You can learn more about the differences in our comparisons of keto vs carnivore or even paleo vs carnivore.
While the carnivore diet represents a radical departure from conventional dietary guidelines, it has gained a following among those seeking to address specific health issues or to simplify their dietary patterns.
It's a diet that calls for a significant shift in eating habits and a reevaluation of conventional beliefs about nutrition and health. But, what are the rules of carnivore diet? Find out below!
What are the Rules of Carnivore Diet?
Part of what separates carnivore from other dietary regimens is its simplicity. You really only have to remember the one golden carnivore diet rule: eat only animal-based products and avoid plant-based sources altogether!
That being said, we’ll expand on these rules for carnivore diet below and leave you with complete clarity on your path forward. Let’s start with what is allowed on carnivore diet.
Primary Food Sources
The foundation of the carnivore diet is meat, which includes beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. These should ideally be consumed in their most natural form, favoring grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic options when possible for their higher nutrient content.
We often see questions regarding the consumption of processed meat like deli meat - but these contain additives that would not be found in the animal kingdom naturally.
So, unfortunately for those who rely on packaged turkey, ham, roast beef, and other processed meats as an easy means of protein, you’ll have to find an alternative.
Fish, particularly fatty varieties like salmon and mackerel, are also a staple, providing essential omega-3 fatty acids. Organ meats, such as liver, heart, and kidney, are highly encouraged due to their dense nutritional profile, offering vitamins and minerals not as prevalent in muscle meats.
We get a few common questions about this diet in regards to non-meat, animal-based products. For example, can you eat cheese on carnivore diet? Or, can you drink milk on carnivore diet? What about this one - can you eat eggs on carnivore diet? Being that these are all animal-based sources, yes - these are allowed.
Eggs, a versatile and nutritious option, are included, along with some dairy products, primarily those high in fat and low in lactose, like butter and certain cheeses. It’s important that you’re consuming the right types of cheese and milk though, keeping carbs to a minimum. More on that later.
The diet emphasizes the importance of consuming animal fats, including tallow, lard, and fatty cuts of meat, for energy and satiety. Our complete carnivore diet food list simplifies your grocery shopping trip, but let’s look at the carnivore diet rules from another perspective - foods to avoid.
Foods to Avoid
Adherence to the carnivore diet means eliminating all plant-based foods. This means no fruit on carnivore diet, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, or legumes. Any form of carbohydrate, even those from low-carb plant sources, is excluded.
This also encompasses foods that are typically considered healthy in other diets, such as avocados, olive oil, and all types of salads. Additionally, processed meats with added sugars, fillers, or extensive processing are discouraged.
We also see individuals questioning - can you have coffee on carnivore diet? If you’re going by the carnivore diet rules as they’re specifically laid out, no - you cannot have coffee. It’s plant-based, as it comes from coffee beans (which grow on a tree).
That being said, coffee has no carbohydrates - and some individuals choose to follow a modified carnivore diet just for the sake of keeping their morning java in rotation. This is something you can decide on for yourself.
Carnivore diet seasoning and condiments, unless they are purely animal-based, are also generally avoided, with a preference for simple seasonings like salt to enhance the natural flavors of the meats. While honey is technically an animal-based product, it’s high in carbs and sugar - and thus, is typically avoided on the diet.
Don’t worry - we have some great carnivore diet recipes to help you keep things fresh and fun as you set out on this dietary journey, including carnivore diet breakfast ideas and carnivore diet sides in particular.
Portion Sizes and Meal Frequency
One of the key aspects of the carnivore diet is to eat according to hunger rather than predefined portion sizes or meal schedules. This approach emphasizes understanding and responding to your body's natural hunger signals.
Typically, the high satiety factor of meat and fat leads to fewer meals per day, often resulting in two substantial meals without the need for snacking. Still, you’ll need some specialized carnivore diet snacks on hand - more on that later on.
Portion sizes on the carnivore diet can vary greatly depending on individual energy requirements, which can be influenced by factors like activity level, metabolic rate, and personal health goals.
A general guideline is to start with a portion of meat that is roughly the size of your palm and adjust based on satiety and energy needs. If you’re looking for more guidance on how much to eat on carnivore diet, we have a detailed guide just for you.
Cooking Methods and Preparation
The carnivore diet encourages simplicity in cooking methods to preserve the natural flavors and nutrients of the meat. Preferred cooking methods include grilling, roasting, pan-frying, or slow cooking.
The use of minimal seasonings like salt and herbs is common, although some purists choose to forego seasonings altogether. This can get quite boring, though, and oftentimes leads to “cheating” on the diet.
Whatever approach you take, remember that proper handling and storage of meat are crucial to avoid foodborne illnesses. This includes storing meat at the correct temperature, ensuring thorough cooking, and using clean utensils and surfaces for preparation.
The macronutrient profile of the carnivore diet is high in protein and fats, with virtually no carbohydrates. This distribution aligns with the diet's principle of mimicking ancestral eating patterns.
While protein is a key component of the diet, it's also important to include a balance of animal fats for energy and to prevent protein overconsumption, which can lead to issues like rabbit starvation. Sources of fat can include fattier cuts of meat, butter, and high-fat dairy products.
Tips for Staying on Track
There you have it - all the rules of carnivore diet! As you can see, the carnivore diet rules are fairly simple and straightforward, and getting started on this regimen is easy. But before we wrap up this conversation we want to leave you with a few tips for staying on track and adhering to the rules for carnivore diet.
Dealing with Cravings and Temptations
Cravings, especially during the initial transition phase, are common. Ensure you’re eating enough at meals to combat this, as hunger can often trigger cravings. Also, identify non-food ways to deal with stress or emotions that may lead to cravings.
For moments when you need a quick, satisfying snack that aligns with your diet, Carnivore Snax meat chips offer a perfect solution. Our range of delicious, nutrient-rich meat snacks can satisfy your cravings without derailing your diet, helping you stay committed to your carnivore lifestyle.
They’re comprised of just two ingredients - meat and salt - so you don’t have to worry about whether you're staying within the lines of the carnivore diet rules. Better yet, they’re delicious, often referred to as “meat pastries”. Here are the different varieties we offer:
We encourage you to learn more about what makes these the best no carb snacks today by trying them out yourself.
Supplementation and Nutrient Considerations
While the carnivore diet is rich in many nutrients, it may lack certain vitamins and minerals typically found in plant foods.
In looking at both the carnivore diet pros and cons, this is one of the downsides individuals point to. However, it can be addressed through carnivore supplements. Consider supplements like vitamin C and magnesium, especially if you’re not consuming organ meats regularly.
Keeping Things Fresh and Fun
Prevent dietary boredom by experimenting with different cuts of meat and cooking methods. Explore recipes that focus on variety, such as trying different types of animal-based broths or experimenting with organ meats.
Creativity in the kitchen can keep the carnivore diet enjoyable and sustainable. It makes it easier to stay within the rules for carnivore diet if you aren’t torturing yourself with the same bland chicken night after night.
Monitoring Health and Making Adjustments
While there are a few carnivore diet side effects early on, they should subside as your body adjusts. Still, regularly monitor your health, including energy levels, digestion, and overall well-being. Blood tests can help ensure you’re not developing any nutritional deficiencies.
Be open to making adjustments to your diet - this might mean tweaking fat-to-protein ratios or introducing new animal products to suit your body’s needs.
Bringing Our Carnivore Diet Rules Conversation to a Close
As we wrap up our conversation on the rules of carnivore diet, remember that this regimen is centered on simplicity and a return to ancestral eating habits. It focuses on consuming animal-based foods, eliminating carbohydrates, and listening to your body's natural hunger cues.
Staying on track involves managing cravings, ensuring nutritional balance, and keeping meals interesting. We hope this conversation on the rules for carnivore diet leaves you feeling eager and excited to begin this journey.
You can learn more about the carnivore diet for weight loss, carnivore diet on a budget, is the carnivore diet healthy, carnivore diet for women, carnivore diet and diabetes, carnivore diet testosterone, and other related topics in our blog.
Otherwise, it’s time to get started on this dietary regimen now that you have a solid grasp of the carnivore diet rules. With the help of our carnivore chips to keep you satiated and on track, you’ll see profound carnivore diet results in no time! Explore our range today for delicious, carnivore-friendly treats.