(Obligatory disclaimer that none of the following should be construed as professional medical advice. Don’t sue me, bro!)
Eat meat. In particular fatty cuts of beef. It’s how we were made to eat. Don’t eat carbs, and don’t eat processed foods (especially anything with vegetable oils). Add salt to taste. Intermittently fast. (More on fasting here.)
Here‘s a good introduction to the carnivore diet. (Here‘s a video introduction.) You can also check out MeatRx, this website, Shawn Baker’s podcast (and Instagram), Diagnosis Diet, and World Carnivore Tribe, among many other resources.
What are the possible benefits?
- Fat loss (and muscle gain)
- Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes
- Better mental health, including more energy
- Better oral health (look at this headline!)
- Proper skeletal, oral, brain, and general development for infants and children
- Slower aging
- Improvement with many other health issues, from acne to multiple sclerosis (check out the list at the end of this FAQ)
- Less time and money wasted on Big Medicine and Big Pharma
What’s the evidence? In short:
- We’ve been eating meat for two million years. “Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat”—not for large amounts of sugar.
- Thousands of people are losing fat and improving their health with carnivore.
- You can’t trust the medical establishment. It is groupthinkish and biased. (In some unexpectedly weird ways.) Despite what it’s told us for decades, we’ve known that carnivore can work for a long time.
- Is all meat the same? No. For a number of reasons, most carnivores tend to gravitate towards fatty red meat, especially beef, as their staple food. Fresh fish (preferably wild) is also good.
- What about saturated fat and cholesterol? “The cholesterol hypothesis has failed to stand up to the standard of falsifiability.” “[I]f you have ‘high cholesterol’ you do not have a cholesterol problem—you have a carbohydrate problem.”
- What about cancer? The evidence suggesting that red meat causes cancer is very low-quality.
- What about cheese and eggs? Most people do fine with them. (Here‘s more on eggs.) Just avoid milk.
- What about fruit? For the most part, modern fruit is Frankenfood. (Though low-sugar berries are fairly harmless.) What about vegetables? Many people do fine with them, but many don’t. (This list gives a good sense of some of the potentially harmful compounds found in many fruits and vegetables.)
- What about vitamins and minerals? “Fresh meat contains all vitamins required by the human metabolism.” Liver is the best multivitamin known to man. (Worried about calcium, especially for kids? Eat cheese or bony fish. Worried about fiber? You probably shouldn’t be. More on fiber here.)
- How strict do I have to be to see results? It depends. Most people see lots of benefits on just 80-90% carnivore.
More questions? Check out my longer FAQ.
Does carnivore work for literally everyone? No. Should everyone give carnivore a try? Yes. It’s made my life much better. Maybe it can help you, too.
Exercise: WEIGHTLIFTING AND HIIT
Muscle is good for you. Weightlifting is one of the best things you can do for your health. It helps you burn fat, and it helps your mental health almost as much as therapy and antidepressants. Here are the main things I’ve learned about weightlifting:
- If you’re just getting started, don’t worry too much about the details. Just find a program you can stick with consistently. (I started with 5×5.) As you progress, you can fine-tune things to your own preferences and goals.
- Progressive overload! And perfect form!
- Compound exercises > isolation exercises. Bench press, deadlift, squat, etc.
- Perform sets to (near) failure. (And not necessarily a huge number of sets, especially if you’re just getting started—thirty minutes three times a week may be more than enough.) But also: Be careful, use a spotter when you need, etc.
- Eat lots of protein (≈ 0.8-1 g/lb/day if possible—if you’re doing carnivore/keto, this shouldn’t be too hard). HMB may help, too.
- I prefer mixing up rep ranges, erring on the lower end (2-5 reps per set).
- I also prefer longer rest periods between hard sets (sometimes even 5+ minutes).
What about cardio?
- Find something you enjoy and can stick with.
- That said, high-intensity interval training > low-intensity cardio. Takes less time and less wear and tear on your joints.
Here are the main things I’ve found to be helpful for good sleep based on my own research and personal experience:
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep. (How much is enough? Listen to your body!) But also: The goal isn’t just a certain number of hours of sleep—it’s sufficient, consistent, and high-quality sleep. (I use Sleep Cycle to track my sleep quality.)
- Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day.
- Get sunlight in your eyes within a couple hours of sunrise around the same time every day—10-30 minutes’ worth, depending on how overcast it is. Also get some sunlight around sunset. And in general, the more sunlight you get between waking up and a few hours before going to bed, the better.
- Avoid screens and artificial light before bedtime. Wear blue light blockers in the evening.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool while you are sleeping. (If you’re too warm at night, try taking a hot shower or bath in the evening to lower your body temperature. Also consider taking your temperature around the same time each night to gauge its fluctuations.) I also find white noise helps me sleep by drowning out distracting nighttime noises.
- Develop a wind-down routine before bedtime that helps you relax and clears your mind.
- Finish eating, drinking, and exercising earlier in the day if possible. (This may be especially helpful if you’re waking up more than once or twice during the night to pee. If you are, consider keeping a “bladder diary” and doing Kegel exercises to reduce how often you pee.)
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine, as well as alcohol in the evenings.
- If you have trouble sleeping at night, avoid napping. (If you don’t have trouble sleeping at night, naps can be great.)
- If you’re still having trouble sleeping, check out Andrew Huberman’s and Matt Walker’s podcasts for more sleep tips.
Soak up the sun! (Not only to improve your sleep.) “[V]itamin D supplements are … no substitute for natural sunlight.”
Men, avoid ibuprofen.