Keto? That’s so 2018! People are now starting to turn up the heat and switch to meat and meat only. Vegans? Ve-gone with you! But for all its meaty bluster, the carnivore diet is incredibly divisive, putting many dieticians at loggerheads with the diet’s users and promoters. So, can a carnivore diet shopping list be healthy for you? Or, will it do you more harm than good?
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- I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Meat!
- Carnivore Diet FAQs
- All Meat, No Sweat
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Meat!
The carnivore diet is exactly what you think it sounds like: nothing but meat and animal products and absolutely no plant-based food. It is literally the opposite of a vegan diet.
When you describe the diet, some people recoil at the thought of eradicating fruit and vegetables from their plate. But, others are intrigued.
Because there’s a lot of buzz around the diet. It has several high-profile proselytizers, such as Shawn Baker, who preach about its purported effects and health benefits.
Yet, as soon as you start to delve into researching the diet, you see that the “C” in carnivore could easily stand for “controversial”. Dieticians dismiss the diet as an unhealthy fad, whilst others vehemently publicize it’s seemingly miraculous results.
Therefore, how do you know whether you should make a carnivore shopping list or not?
Well, let us take you through some FAQs surrounding the diet, and also provide you with a grocery list to get you started. However, you’re more than welcome to skip straight ahead to this free printable shopping list template.
Carnivore Diet FAQs
So, the diet is just eating meat and animal products?
But there are some variations and different approaches.
The idea of the diet is to essentially eliminate all carbs and all plant-based food. This is because meat and dairy are the ultimate low carb foods, as they essentially contain no carbs at all. Not only does plant-based food contain loads of carbs, they also contain “antinutrients” which prevent us from absorbing vitamins and minerals. These have also been claimed to cause a range of health issues.
However, some carnivore dieters forgo even dairy products. This is because even the low level of lactose in them is too many carbs for their liking. Therefore, including some dairy products on your grocery list might make it more of a low carb shopping list rather than a carb-free one.
What should be on my carnivore diet shopping list?
Meat, cheese, eggs, and full-fat milk/heavy cream.
However, there are some items which you might not initially consider putting onto your grocery list that are actually pretty good to have. Whilst these might sound a little unappealing, the health benefits are unrivaled.
- Organ meats – this includes things such as liver, heart, and kidneys. They are full of great nutrients, such as folate, iron, zinc, and selenium.
- Bone marrow – the inside of bones, responsible for producing blood, is full of omega-3 fatty acid, gelatin, and collagen which are great for you. Whilst you can roast and split open a bone to get at the spongy goodness within, you can also get benefits of eating bone marrow by drinking bone broth.
Many also forget that oily fish are also great carnivore diet food. It’s not all steak and ribs, you know. Again, these are a great source of omega-3 fatty acid, minerals, and vitamins that will keep you healthy whilst on the diet. So, don’t forget to add those to your list, too.
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What should I drink on the diet?
Ideally: just water.
However, whilst coffee is a no-no to more strict adopters of the diet (it comes from a plant, after all), many still drink it as an “acceptable” exception.
But, pretty much everything else is off the drinks menu, especially alcohol.
What should I avoid on the diet?
Everything that isn’t meat!
However, some carnivore advocates also advise avoiding processed meat, such as sausages, as these can also have unexpected carbs from the ingredients used to make them.
But it’s not as easy as you might think. You’ll also need to avoid things like sauces and seasoning as they contain carbs. So, don’t think those ribs you’re hankering after will be smothered in your favorite sauce or flavored with your favorite seasoning on the diet.
The only seasoning you’re allowed is salt.
Will I lose weight on the diet?
Even though this is a high-protein, low-carb diet, you’re not necessarily going to shift into ketosis. This state is what burns through fat like a hot knife through butter. This is because shifting into ketosis is actually done by limiting your protein intake as your body will burn protein before it starts to burn fat. Because there isn’t any protein restriction on the carnivore diet, your body won’t burn through fat reserves as quickly as it will be burning through your protein intake for energy.
However, protein does keep you full, meaning that, as you’re eating a lot of protein, you won’t feel the need to eat much more. You may find yourself eating less than usual, and may lose weight because of this. Furthermore, some studies have found that higher protein intake does lead to quicker weight loss compared to lower protein intakes. So, it’s definitely possible to lose weight, although it’s not guaranteed.
But what about losing weight via calorie restriction whilst on the diet?
Some practitioners warn against restricting calories on the diet, and you should eat as much meat until you’re full. This is because it’s claimed that this will interfere with your body’s ability to interpret hunger and therefore you might not end up getting the nutrients and sustenance you need.
Is the diet cheap?
Meat is a lot more expensive than produce: even more so if you are going to plump for leaner grass-fed varieties. Plus, when you’re on the carnivore diet, you’re going to be eating a lot more meat than you normally would. As this is all you have to eat, the cost is going to rack up pretty significantly.
There are some ways to save money. Organ meat is generally cheaper than your usual cuts. But eating them can take both a taste and a mental adjustment if you’re not used to the flavor and idea of it.
Is the diet environmentally friendly?
The meat and animal products industry are huge contributors to the current climate crisis. Animal farming contributes 18% of global CO2 emissions, and farming practices, especially for beef, cause mass deforestation.
If you’re concerned about the current climate crisis, the diet should be avoided.
Are there any health benefits?
Everything is completely anecdotal, especially around claims such as the diet “curing” depression and other ailments. These claims, along with claims of better concentration, more energy, and faster weight loss, are all from personal testimonies. None of these claims have any scientific backing as no study has yet to be done on the diet yet.
As easy as it is to find positive accounts, it’s also not difficult to find plenty of accounts where people have gained weight, experienced extreme fatigue, unpleasant gastric issues, and other maladies as a result of undertaking the diet. However, these may well be down to unknown pre-existing conditions.
The fact that many dieters have experienced similar positive results certainly seems to suggest that all the purported benefits aren’t simply coincidence, exaggeration, or fabrications. However, you should certainly be aware that some claims may well be just that.
Is the carnivore diet healthy and safe?
The answer is, no-one knows.
Because there’s been no long-term scientific study of the diet.
Short-term experiences of the diet have seen users experience few, if any, health issues. Therefore, in the short-term, it appears to pose few risks. But the long-term impact is completely unknown.
The main concern is that, whilst you can meet some recommended dietary allowances (RDA) by just eating meat, you won’t meet them all. This means your body will be missing some essential vitamins. The complete lack of fiber in the diet also puts you at a higher risk of bowel cancer.
Furthermore, even though saturated fat’s role in health is becoming more complex than previously thought, such large intakes of it is still heavily linked to heart disease, especially in those who eat a lot of red meat.
Therefore, this diet’s risks are possibly as extreme as it’s eating habits, on the grounds that many certified dieticians are vehemently against it.
However, if you fancy yourself as a trailblazer and want to try this diet, despite its risks and scientific safety check, the best advice is to listen closely to your body and monitor your own health. If you personally do not feel well when undertaking this diet, it might be that the diet really isn’t for you. Instead, try something else that’s a better fit for your body’s disposition, such as opting for a low-carb grocery list instead of a no-carb one. You may also want to try the certified healthy Mediterranean or flexitarian diets.
All Meat, No Sweat
If your tastebuds are salivating, and you’re ready to reap the claimed benefits of this diet, then use our free printable carnivore diet shopping list below.
Carnivore Diet Shopping ListCopy to clipboard
- Bone Marrow
- Organ meat
Fish & Shellfish
Dairy & Eggs
- Heavy cream/full-fat milk
- Bone broth
Have you been on the diet? What benefits of side-effects did you experience? Is there anything else you think should be on the grocery list? What’s your experience of eating organ meat? Let us know in the comments.