Dr. Shawn Baker and Mikhaila Peterson have popularized the carnivore diet lately. Mikhaila Peterson actually was able to find relief from her arthritis and depression by eating only meat and drinking water. This could be a wonderful solution for people who are faced with multiple autoimmune conditions, which is one reason I decided that I would take the zero carbohydrate challenge this month.
One of the biggest challenges with switching from an omnivore diet to a carnivore diet is creating a meal plan. While it is simple enough to eat only meat, planning out which meats that you’ll want to eat and which one’s fit into your budget can be quite the challenge.
A Carnivore Breakfast
Going into a carnivore diet, I was used to breakfast foods. Growing up, cereal was the breakfast that my mother encouraged her children to make for themselves. I would have two bowls of raisin bran. One didn’t seem to fill me up. Carbs tend to encourage you to eat more than one serving.
The carnivore breakfast was actually pretty easy to adjust to after a ketogenic diet. I simply had to drop the avocados and berries from my plate and increase the amount of eggs. I also ended up adding a hamburger patty to breakfast, which at first seemed odd, but it helped keep me full.
Other carnivore breakfast ideas:
- scrambled eggs
- deviled eggs
- hard-boiled eggs
- cheese omelet
- cheesy scrambled eggs
- fried eggs
- hamburger patties
On the carnivore diet, you are only supposed to eat from the animal family. You could include cheese to make a cheese omelet, but I’m challenging myself, as someone with an autoimmune condition to quit the dairy addiction. You also aren’t supposed to drink tea or coffee, but many carnivores keep them in their diet. As I adjust to life without cheese, I have added a mint tea with a scoop of gelatin for added protein and collagen.
Side note about bacon and sausage: These meats can contain some fillers or chemicals that may have wheat in them. Be careful to read the ingredients labels.
Lunch Zero Carb Ideas
Lunch can be challenging. Some people pack their lunches as they head off to work. Meat doesn’t always pack well. However, I’ve found some great meats that fit easily into a lunch pail. I’ve also started to eat a bigger breakfast, so I don’t really need a lunchtime meal to hold me over.
- Tuna Fish (I like to mix my tuna fish with mayonnaise for added fats.)
- Boiled Eggs
- Chicken soup (This is possible with a thermos or if you have access to a stove to heat it up. I drink the broth and the chicken. I may flavor it with onions, carrots and celery, but just toss the veggies instead of eating them. Keeping it carnivore.)
- Luncheon meats and cheese roll ups (again, this is if you are willing to consume dairy)
Dinner meats are a bit easier. I do like steak and sometimes it fits into my budget. However, here are some other ideas for meats that are cheaper that can fit into a carnivore lifestyle.
- Tilapia (Costco has inexpensive frozen tilapia that cooks up nicely)
- Hamburger patties
- Hot dogs
When purchasing hot dogs or hamburger patties, read the label to make sure that there aren’t harmful fillers.
Zero Carb Snack Ideas
The crazy thing about snacking on a carnivore diet is that it quickly becomes obsolete. You find that you are only eating when you are hungry, so while there aren’t many snacks that fit the carnivore diet plan, you don’t need that many! You will quickly discover that you are only eating when you are actually hungry and don’t need to snack every few hours like you were doing on a standard American diet.
- Beef jerky (make your own. There are loads of chemicals added to the store-bought one’s.)
- Beef sticks
- Cheese sticks
- Pork rinds
As with processed meats, check your labels for your snacks. Make sure that they haven’t added any allergens into your snacks.
Eating Out on the Carnivore Diet
Ok, so far, I’ve only eaten out twice while I’ve been following the carnivore diet. I had some chicken, which didn’t have allergens in it from Famous Dave’s and a steak at Luciano’s. These were both dates. I explained to the waiter that I didn’t want salad or side dishes and I asked if their meats contained any gluten. The waiters were accommodating and understanding. I felt like the eating part of the date went smoothly. Our personalities didn’t click, so maybe the dates were turned off by the gluten-free carnivore diet, but my meal was delicious.
Another great idea for eating out is an all-you-can eat buffet. This gives you the option of only selecting foods that are carnivore. I have a date scheduled for an all you can eat brunch on Saturday. My date laughed at the idea, so I’m looking forward to meeting this guy. I haven’t let him in on the fact that I’m doing the carnivore 30 day challenge, but I did say that I enjoy meat and planned on eating the bacon. LOL!
If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, The Liberty Tavern has a good brunch menu for carnivores! They include sirloin steak, bacon, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, and smoked sausage. That is a good variety for a carnivore.
List of Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Not eating enough food (this causes unwanted excessive weight loss or other symptoms)
- Not drinking enough water (make sure you satisfy your thirst.)
- Not adding salt to food (you can experience same keto flu symptoms on this diet too)
- Eating a moderate all meat diet with added fruits, vegetables & other types of carbs. Eliminating the vegetables and fruits initially for a month can help you to determine one’s that may be triggering a reaction for you.
- Avoiding fatty meats because of cholesterol. (The cholesterol is good for your cell membranes.)
Go Easy on Yourself
Some people are able to make the switch to all beef and water immediately. Other people are better able to stick with this diet if they replace their veggies with meats that they have always enjoyed. I found it easier to taper off the carbohydrates and not stress out about eliminating eggs and dairy initially. I’ve eliminated eggs, but next week, I’ll take a stab at eliminating butter and give it a go. It is highly likely that I’m reacting to casein as well as the gluten that I was consuming, but I know that I’ll have a better chance at sticking with the diet if I take it one step at a time and not shock my system.
Join a Support Group
If you have questions about sticking with the carnivore diet or want to hear from others who have had success with healing their health problems through carnivore eating, joining a support group should be right up your alley. Here are a few groups that you may want to consider checking out: