Every animal on the planet drinks water; it works well for hydration. Seventy percent of your body is made of water. It’s all you need to drink, and as you get unhooked from sugar and artificial sweeteners, you’ll come to enjoy it. If you want to go crazy, get some sparkling water. Although you might feel like you might die at first, you really and truly won’t perish if you don’t have some kind of sweet beverage to drink. Water—it’s good. Drink it!
What about bone broth, alcohol, and coffee? Bone broth is fine. It contains some good stuff and can help to satisfy your urge to drink something hot or flavored. However, drinking bone broth isn’t crucial to the success of the carnivore diet. You don’t need to drink it unless you want to. You can get all the nutrients you need without it, but if you enjoy or benefit from it, feel free to indulge.
Alcohol is not a health food. It won’t make you live longer, and it won’t make you any hardier. When you’re deciding whether to indulge in alcohol or skip it, understand that ethanol is toxic. Once in a while, I have a glass of red wine or two. I generally can expect my sleep to be less restful, and my athletic performance often is a little impaired the next day. Neither issue is the end of the world; the important thing is that I understand what the negative consequences of having the wine are and account for them when I make my decision. Most people who do a carnivore diet for a long period report their desire to drink alcohol drastically diminishes. Beer and certainly sugary mixed drinks are a bigger negative than a dry wine or a distilled spirit. Some people even have problems with the grains that are distilled to make the liquor.
Coffee is something I have little experience with. I’ve tried a few cups here and there over the decades, but I’ve never enjoyed it. Perhaps, if you’re a coffee lover, my inexperience is reason enough for you to stop listening to me. Many people find coffee incredibly satisfying and often turn drinking it into a ritualistic experience.
The science on whether coffee is good or bad for us continually changes. Caffeine has some effects on our physiology and acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It also affects the sympathetic nervous system and has been shown to aid in sports performance. However, research has found that it leads to sleep disturbance and can negatively affect gastrointestinal motility and gastric acid secretion. Some people find that caffeine acts to dysregulate appetite, often suppressing it. It may interfere with nutrient and mineral absorption. In all likelihood, though, for most people caffeine probably has a minimal impact in the grand scheme of things.
My suggestion is that you not try to quit coffee or caffeine during the initial phases of the diet. Once you’ve adapted to your new eating habits, give it a go if it’s something you want to take on.
Excerpted from The Carnivore Diet, By Dr. Shawn Baker.
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