The carnivore diet is incredibly simple, and also terrifying. Here is the diet: You eat meat, and nothing else.
A sort of extreme take on the keto diet, the carnivore diet has supposedly helped people lose weight and rid themselves of various health problems. I agreed to try it for the sake of journalism, and because the possibility of losing some weight sounded pretty good. Still, I was worried. I’m a firm believer in taking regular fiber supplements; what if I end up like the guy who had to have 28 pounds of feces surgically removed?
Carnivores trace the roots of their diet to indigenous peoples like the Inuit, who survived primarily by killing animals and eating them (studies show their genes may be particularly adapted for this). But the diet got some mainstream attention early this summer, when big-name pseudo-intellectual Jordan Peterson endorsed it on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Peterson and his daughter, Mikhaila—a lifestyle blogger—swear by the all-meat diet, which they’ve followed since late 2017. Dr. Drew Pinsky jumped on the carnivore bandwagon, too: “I’ll be goddamned if within three days I didn’t feel unbelievable,” he told the New York Post.
I knew the basics of the carnivore diet before I went it. The is to get your body into ketosis, so your body starts burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. It’s like the keto diet, except way more limiting in terms of what you can eat.
“Out of the diets I’ve been asked [about], I think this is one of the most extreme, in terms of the restrictions, that I’ve ever looked into,” Scott Hemingway, a clinical dietician at the University of North Carolina’s Health Care system, would later tell me after I tried the diet.
I probably should have called him before jumping headfirst into meat land.
“Out of the diets I’ve been asked [about], I think this is one of the most extreme.”
I’m 28, 6 feet tall, and about 200-205 pounds. I work out three or four times a week and eat reasonably healthy. I drink on the weekends, but rarely during the work week.
As far as rules for the diet go, I opted to follow a more lenient version of the diet that I found on this blog: any meat, butter, hard cheeses, and eggs are okay. For drinks, I’d stick to water and iced green tea. (I don’t drink coffee, but that’s allowed, too). The diet usually only allows Himalayan pink salt, which seems like a scam carried out by the Himalayan pink salt lobby. vowed to break that and use whatever dry seasonings I wanted to get me through the meat consumption, as long as they don’t have any actual caloric or nutritional value.
I start the carnivore diet with scrambled eggs, because I haven’t gone to the store to buy groceries and meat. I soft-scramble five eggs with a generous pat of butter and Himalayan pink salt and pepper. Five eggs is more eggs than I would usually eat, but usually I would also eat something other than eggs, like bread or vegetables. The half jar of salsa I bought and didn’t finish before agreeing to begin this diet taunts me from the refrigerator shelf. I eat the eggs out of a bowl with a spoon, and they’re pretty good.
Twenty minutes later, I’m kinda hungry again. I drink another glass of water. I do some work and head to the store to buy steak.
At the store, I feel like an insane person. I apologize to the cashier and make a half-assed attempt to explain why I’m buying two pounds of ground beef, five steaks, two gigantic packages of chicken legs, blocks of cheddar cheese and 18 eggs. She smiles and says “Good luck!” I thank her, but now I am worried.
I get home and deal with these worries by making a steak. I don’t make steak very often, and it’s great! My roommate’s dog, who is also not exposed to the smell of steak very often, is freaking out. Maybe this won’t be so bad!
This is bad. I would kill for carbs. Before I started the diet I bought a box of Pop Tarts at 7/11 because I was hung over and Pop Tarts sounded good, but I didn’t finish them before I started the diet, so there is just one Pop Tart left in my pantry and I keep opening the door and looking at it and then closing the door.
I made steak and eggs for breakfast, which was pretty delicious. Last night I made a pile of hamburger patties with sharp cheddar cheese for dinner and ended up eating three of them, which immediately gave me a headache and a stomachache. Now I have nothing to snack on, so I’m eating another hamburger patty, which is gross because I didn’t reheat it. I end up finishing the other three patties for dinner with copious amounts of cheese and some hot sauce, which I figure is fine because it has zero calories and zero sugar or carbs, and because I am still protesting the Himalayan pink salt lobby. Later, I get hungry again, and fry two eggs as a light snack.