Fasting

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Starting The World’s Simplest Diet

One of the hardest concepts to understand about the carnivore diet is how simple it is. Do you need to track macros or calories? Do you need to weigh your food and calculate micronutrient amounts? Do you need to be hooked up to daily blood monitors and check your lab results every few months? I would argue that you don’t need to do any of that. If a diet requires constant monitoring and calculation, then it is arguably not a very good or sustainable diet. One big misconception about the carnivore diet is that it’s a way to lose weight. Certainly, weight loss can and often does occur, but it’s not guaranteed. Some folks even gain body fat. I have mentioned that malnutrition is a huge problem because people tend to eat energy-rich but nutrient-poor; this diet tends to fix that imbalance. If you approach this diet with the focus of weighing a certain amount or fitting into a certain size of jeans, then you will likely struggle. It’s not that those things won’t happen, but they’re secondary to improvements in nutrition. Nutrition precedes health; health precedes body re-composition. Here are some simple rules for getting started on a Carnivore Diet:
  1. Take one day at a time. You’re not committing to a life sentence when you start a carnivore diet, and you’re not joining a race. Enjoy life! Each day is a new chance to learn and experiment. This experience should be about you finding out what it takes for you to feel and function your best. There is no one way to follow the plan, but there are common paths. Remember that failure precedes success, so don’t beat yourself up about any miscues.
  2. Enjoy the process. I often tell people to count how many meals they enjoy after starting the carnivore diet. You should enjoy most of your meals. If you don’t enjoy what you eat, you’ll never stay with any diet long term. Learning how to cook and prepare meat can be a wonderfully enjoyable process. When you’re starting, variety can be your friend, so experiment with your choices. There are thousands of different cuts and types of animal products to enjoy.
  3. Eat enough. The vast majority of issues that occur with transitioning are a result of not eating enough. Many people come from a background of restricting calories or macronutrients, and that habit is often hard to break. That style of eating leads to a poorly regulated appetite and a ton of anxiety. (I’m going to keep repeating this idea: If you’re constantly managing your appetite, you will not be happy.) When you’re hungry, you should eat! (Shocking, I know.) However, think about it in the context of any other physiologic function. When you need air, you breathe. It’s as simple as that, and eating to satisfy hunger can be the same. While adapting to the diet, eat until you’re full, and repeat as often as needed to keep yourself out of the cupcakes. If you try to limit your intake, you’ll rapidly fall prey to old habits and cravings.
  4. Don’t make comparisons. Your results are your results, and they may be different than someone else’s. Constantly comparing yourself to others is a quick path to misery. Be objective about who you are, where you’re starting, and what’s important to you. You’re more than a number on a scale or a collection of lab values. Your physiology is dynamic and unique to your environment.
  5. Remember that you’re eating for you. The pressure to fit in socially can sometimes be enormous, and many people collapse on a diet so as not to disappoint a friend or loved one. People who truly care for you will understand that you’re embarking on a trial to improve some aspect of your being, and they’ll respect what you’re doing.
  6. Focus on feasting. As stated in rule 3, you need to eat enough, and I’m referring to both the frequency and the quantity. After some time on the carnivore diet, most people tend to fall into a pattern of eating meals less frequently. I typically eat once or twice per day, but that presumes I’ve eaten enough not to be hungry between feedings. If you focus on the delicious food and ensure you get plenty of it, you won’t need to set a stopwatch to tell you when to eat again.7. Not everything is diet related. As you become more attuned to how you respond to food, particularly as your diet begins to become narrower, it’s sometimes easy to fall into the trap of analyzing every single health-related issue and trying to attribute it to diet. Diet is hugely important, and I can’t overstate its effect on your health. However, constantly worrying about every blemish, belch, or sneeze is not productive and will turn you into a miserable hypochondriac. Things will happen—many good, some bad. Some will be diet-related; many will not. Take the big-picture view and learn to relax. Put your energy into thinking, “How does my health compare to three months ago?” rather than thinking, “How does my health compare to yesterday?”


Excerpted from The Carnivore Diet, By Dr. Shawn Baker. Learn more HERE

How Much Meat is too Much?

This question is perhaps more common than any other question I receive. My smart-aleck answer often is, “Enough.” Although that might sound flippant, it’s truly a very honest and simple answer. But how do you know what is enough?

I’m going to throw out some general numbers; don’t take these as gospel. I’m merely giving you some ballpark starting figures; they aren’t concrete:

  • Males: Around 2 pounds of meat per day
  • Females: Around 1.5 pounds of meat per day


When you first start, aim for the suggested amount and then adjust as needed. For instance, many small females can put away 4 to 5 pounds of meat in a day without a problem. I don’t think you should shy away from that quantity if your appetite directs you there for a while. More often than not, females have a long history with diet and caloric or nutrient restriction, and they have some catching up to do to replenish their bodies with nutrients.


Remember, protein is used to build our bones, internal organs, muscles, and skin. If those tissues are depleted, plenty of food is necessary to bring them back to normal function. Also, remember that weight loss is not the short-term goal of the carnivore diet; instead, get healthy and stop with the constant anxiety created by day-to-day fluctuations in weight. Just relax and enjoy the freedom of eating.


If you eat and find that you’re still hungry, eat more. If you find your energy or performance is lagging, then eat more. If you find your mood is low, then eat more. The typical gnawing in the stomach and the “I’ve gotta eat something in the next five seconds or someone is going to get hurt” sensation of hunger will go away. Hunger often becomes a subtle signal that maybe you should eat something soon rather than it being a sign of cellular crisis of impending glucose depletion.

How Often Should I Eat?

In the beginning, your meal frequency should be whatever it needs to be to keep you satisfied. Do you feel peckish an hour after throwing down a 24-ounce porterhouse steak? Fire up another steak or line up a pound of bacon. Do what it takes to quench your appetite. Beat back the craving demons and learn to fill up on nutrition, not entertainment. Over time, you’ll find that your cravings will diminish; eventually, they’ll likely disappear.

At that point, you’ll see the emergence of a regular, well-regulated appetite that meets your nutritional needs. I know I keep saying this over and over again, but the carnivore diet isn’t a quick-weight-loss scheme. Trying to fix a malnutrition problem by starving yourself is a recipe for disaster. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, and instead you gain 5, but you now enjoy life, don’t have back pain, and are no longer a slave to processed food, you’re far better off with the 5 extra pounds for now.


Excerpted from The Carnivore Diet, By Dr. Shawn Baker.

Learn more HERE

Fasting? Not So Fast…

Time-restricted feeding windows, intermittent fasting, and extended fasting are very much in vogue. The basis for this movement is recent literature that demonstrates that a prolonged period without food starts a process called autophagy in which cells recycle damaged or nonfunctioning cellular components in the absence of recent nutrition. After some time on the carnivore diet, most people tend to fall into a pattern of eating meals less frequently.

I typically eat once or twice per day, but that presumes I’ve eaten enough not to be hungry between feedings. If you focus on the delicious food and ensure you get plenty of it, you won’t need to set a stopwatch to tell you when to eat again. When you don’t eat enough, your body will let you know, and you should listen. A common theme with the carnivore diet, as you may have noticed, is to let things happen. Your body knows how to take care of itself. If you’re ravenous for three days in a row, don’t be afraid to feed that need. Things will level out eventually. With time, you learn to have power over food and understand what nutrition means rather than being a slave to convention or food addiction.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an attempt to hack your appetite, and it can have benefits with the carnivore diet, but it also can result in problems. Because many people come to the carnivore diet from a background of caloric restriction, intentionally denying the body food can lead some people back into unhealthy behaviors due to excessive hunger, and I think people do better when we’re not constantly snacking. Many people like eating one meal per day, which is something you can certainly do on a carnivore diet. In fact, a carnivore diet might be the diet that most lends itself to this strategy. My caveat is that you should be able to feast adequately to support your body as you go the next 24 hours without food. For some people, this may mean eating two, three, or more pounds of meat in one sitting when they have only one meal each day.

If weight loss is your goal, or you’re trying to get lean beyond a normal level of body fat (which is 10 to 15 percent for men and 18 to 24 percent for women), then intermittent fasting may be helpful. I find going much beyond 24 hours without eating to be counterproductive over the long term with this particular diet. When we’re eating suboptimal or potentially toxic foods, it’s often helpful to give our bodies a break. But the carnivore diet doesn’t include those types of food. So if you’re no longer consuming potentially harmful foods, then the benefits of extended fasting are likely diminished except in unusual cases.

I’ve not seen any data from studies of carnivorous animals that show benefit from fasting or caloric restriction. Specifically, athletes are unlikely to benefit from prolonged fasting, especially during competition periods. I suggest you be cautious about combining intermittent fasting with the carnivore diet.

I know I keep saying this over and over again, but the carnivore diet isn’t a quick-weight-loss scheme. Trying to fix a malnutrition problem by starving yourself is a recipe for disaster. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, and instead you gain 5, but you now enjoy life, don’t have back pain, and are no longer a slave to processed food, you’re far better off with the 5 extra pounds for now.

Excerpted from The Carnivore Diet, By Dr. Shawn Baker.
Learn more HERE

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