This week, my summer break is ending so it’s back to school for another year of teaching design to high-schoolers which means I have to be a little more prepared if I want to stay on course with animal-based nutrition, also known as the carnivore diet.
Normally, I prefer to simply buy various cuts of meat and make what I crave each day. Occasionally, I get asked what I eat so I thought I’d share a basic list, or template, so you can see how easy this is.
I have played with the idea of being a recipe blogger but have realized that I don’t like following recipes and attempting to create one is also not very appealing to me.
Unless I’m entertaining, I want to be in and out of the kitchen as soon as possible. My requirements for most meals is that it’s convenient, quick, tasty, and nutritious. Having to write out the details of the meal would mean more time in the kitchen and I’ve just decided it’s a no go for now. Maybe someday.
With that in mind, and if you are with me on the “lets get in and out of the kitchen with tasty and proper fuel” then, I’ve created a list or template of a typical week of meals. This template is for someone who is animal-based and carb-cycling.
The question you might have is, “How much should I eat? Or what proportion of fat, proteins, and carbohydrate should I target?” Here is where I check out. Just kidding.
Mostly, I try to eat intuitively. I’m not an expert on macro proportions but if you are getting most of your energy from fat, keep the carbs low and if you eat more carbs, dial back on the fat. If you would like to keep track of macros here is a great keto/carnivore calculator by Maria Emmerich.
A easy and helpful rule of thumb for protein as recommended by Dr. Paul Saladino in his book, Carnivore Code, is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (Use current weight for maintenance or goal weight for fat loss.) You can also get his book, which I highly recommend and follow one of his “tiers” of carnivore meal plans.
If your goal weight is 150 pounds, then consume 150 grams of protein.
1 pound of beef has about 100 grams of protein. The rest is water weight.
Daily consumption for example above = 1.5 pounds of beef.
If you can’t tell by now, I’m not a macro or calorie counter. I personally eat to satiety. When I first started eating a strict carnivore diet, I had an idea of how many pounds of fatty meat I was eating but I didn’t track it. I managed to lose some stored fat on my body this way and my body composition changed as well. I also experienced the “carnivore high” as it improves your mood too.
The Carnivore Diet Caveats
Some people, especially women, do better with an animal-based diet when they cycle in more carbs from time to time, or perhaps even having some daily. You can try a strict carnivore approach and if you feel like you need it, add back in the safer starchy plants, like sweet potato and rice.
Another thing about this template is that this is how I mostly ate when I started losing stored energy on my body. In the last year, I’ve fluctuated as I’ve strayed too far from this template but it gets “righted” when I go back to this model. This is how I’ve maintained a plateau and I will keep you posted on when I get the last few inches of stored energy off my mid-section.
If this is your first time trying a low to no carb, carnivore diet, make sure to be generous with salt. I recommend Redmond’s as it is from a clean source and has lots of minerals. It will potentially keep you from getting headaches, lack of energy, muscle cramps/spasms, to name a few symptoms of electrolyte imbalance. If you can’t manage to get that balanced, increase your carb intake.
Also, this template is heavy on dairy which does not bother me for the most part. Simply leave it out if your stomach is sensitive to it. I recently learned that dairy may cause a stall on the carnivore diet so I may try cutting it out soon.
Fine-tuning Carnivore Diet
For troubleshooting the carnivore diet, check out the work of Dr. Ken Berry.
While the goal is to eat at home as much as possible, I do leave room for eating out. This week we are celebrating birthdays and my two children getting their post-college graduation (May 2021 for both) job offers so we are planning to eat at Texas Roadhouse one night this week. I’ve added what I will order when dining out this week.
Without further adieux: the menu options for a typical week on the carnivore diet.
- Coffee with collagen, MCT oil (for the cognitive boost not for getting into ketosis), and dollop of creamer (yes, it has sugar), every day
- 1.5 cups (approximate) of cubed ham consumed in the car during hour commute. Or
- 3 pieces of bacon with cream cheese topping, sometimes without. Or
- 2-3 soft boiled eggs (I have the Krups (not available) version of this handy appliance.) Or
- Some days no solid food for breakfast.
- Meat cookies (seasoned hamburger patties made the night before) with cheese, side of Dijon mustard or guacamole for dipping. I can eat these cold but can be reheated in the microwave with a little butter to add back moisture loss from microwave. Or
- Leftover cold slices of steak. Or
- Leftover taco meat with cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Or
- Deli turkey (look for cleanest ingredients) and cheese rolls with side of pickles. Sometimes I make my own version of honey mustard to dip. Or
- Microwave scrambled eggs (5-6), with butter and cheese) This is one of my go-tos when I don’t have leftovers from the night before.
- Use your favorite recipe for taco meat. Top with pork rinds, cheese, guacamole, and/or sour cream.
- Steak – you can make a steak from any roast to save money. This is by far, the easiest. Just cook to preferred doneness and simply enjoy the steak.
- Carnivore brisket nachos – I’ll cook a brisket in the Instantpot, shred and layer with cheese, guacamole, and/or sour cream. Sometimes I’ll put pork rinds as the bottom layer.
- Meat cookies, also known as hamburger patties. Get the higher fat ratio or try Wagyu beef. Make homemade condiments but remember to NOT use canola or any other vegetable/seed oil. You can also top the patties with an egg, or hollandaise sauce instead of cheese.
- Nothing – keeping the eating window to first 8 hours of the day. (This is a form of intermittent fasting where you increase your lunch portion and “skip” dinner. If you are new to low-to-no-carb, then spread the lunch portion into the dinner portion until your body adjusts to burning fat instead of sugar, also known as being fat-adapted. Intermittent fasting is easier when fat-adapted.)
- Texas Roadhouse: 8 oz. filet
- Sweet potato (regular butter, might even sneak in some of my own butter and salt)
- House salad which I give to my husband even though I strongly encourage him to not consume PUFA salad dressing. I could eat the salad without the dressing, or the other veg choices but I don’t like the salad and do not trust that the veg has been cooked without PUFA (seed oils like canola) oils.
- No rolls for me. This gets easier with time. The last time I had one, I realized my taste for it changed and it was more like eating paper in a way. Not the super enjoyable experience I remembered.
- Bone Broth Gummies, savory or slightly sweetened as in recipe linked
- Cubed Ham
- Cubed Cheese
- Meat Stick (This is a good one.)
This is not a definitive list of what to eat on the carnivore diet. If you like fish, or chicken, add that to your meal plan. Beef is my favorite so it’s the majority of my diet. I will sometimes buy the small jars of salmon roe and eat a teaspoon or so to get more Omega 3. I also take Heart and Soil organ meat supplements, which are actually more of a food than a supplement.
I’m not sure how helpful this is but I have had several questions about what I eat and this is it for the most part. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you found this helpful or if you have questions.