Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when doing their own carnivore experiment. If you’re thinking of doing your own carnivore experiment, read these before you start so you don’t make the same mistakes!
Not Getting Enough Fat (Or Protein, or Salt)
Many people, especially woman, have a history of chronic undernourishment, either not eating enough, or by eating nutrient-poor foods. On carnivore, you need to eat like it’s your JOB! For women, a good starting point is 1.5 lb a day. If it’s been a while since you’ve eaten, or you didn’t eat enough at your last meal, it’s more likely you’ll give into a craving. If you’re still hungry 1-2 hours after a meal, it’s a sign you need to eat more fat.
You can add fat by adding melted tallow or lard on top of your meat, or butter or ghee if you are doing dairy. You can also eat bacon with leaner meats, like fish or chicken.
Eating Only Muscle Meat
Of course, you can survive just fine on muscle meat and feel great, but if you really want to feel what human rocket fuel feels like, incorporate some offal―that is, organ meats, like liver, heart, or kidneys.
Offal, pronounced like “awful”, is an unfortunate name for nature’s ultimate superfood. I like to say it’s offally good (heh heh.)
Ounce for ounce, organ meats like liver are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and provide essential, highly-bioavailable nutrients hard to find elsewhere.
Organ meats can help support good libido and energy levels and help restore nutrients that are depleted from stress.
You get different nutrients from different parts of the animal. Like supports like, so if you eat liver, it’s good for your liver. If you eat heart, it’s good for your heart.
The “odd bits” are incredibly healthy. Make bone broth from chicken bones and feet as a great source of minerals and gelatin. Stir collagen powder (another kind of tissue) into your coffee or water for healthy joints, gut health, and healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Most of us have grown up without these once popular foods in our generation, so the “odd bits” can seem foreign, strange, and even a little gross.
But these foods were prized by our ancestors and should be by modern societies, too.
Eating nose to tail is also more respectful to the animal, and doesn’t it just make sense that we don’t let any part of the animal go to waste?
There are some easy recipes to get you started eating organ meats, like chicken liver pâté.
If you aren’t into learning how to cook them yourself, or the idea seems yucky, you can get organs in your diet in capsule form. Ancestral Supplements has a range of high-quality 100% carnivore organs and glands in supplement form.
Very important: If you decide to incorporate organ meats, be sure to source from healthy animals allowed to eat their natural diet and live in their natural environment!
Not Replenishing Electrolytes
Electrolyte imbalance can happen really quickly in the first few days of carnivore, if you aren’t replenishing them. Electrolytes are essentially minerals, like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
If you’re not getting enough electrolytes, you might feel totally fatigued, dizzy, or have muscle cramping.
First, make sure you’re eating enough salt. Second, you can supplement with some electrolytes by either stirring a half teaspoon each of sea salt, potassium citrate powder, and magnesium powder into a big bottle of water, and sip on that throughout the day. Electrolyte packets with no sugar or flavoring also work great.
Not Designing Your Environment For Success
It’s easy to keep good habits when it’s an easy choice to do so. Removing foods in your kitchen and fridge that are off plan, or sequestering them to another area of the fridge, will help you to make the right food choices.
Staying away from tempting visual images will also help keep cravings (and temptation) at bay. It’s a good idea in the first week or two, when cravings are strongest, to avoid watching TV ads (which are often food ads, especially around mealtimes), scrolling through food accounts on social media, and the grocery store.
Social situations can be tricky if you don’t plan for them. Eat before you go, bring something you can share that you can have so you always know there will be at least one thing you can eat, and know how to talk to naysayers.
Quitting Too Early
I often see people saying, “I’m four days in, but I feel terrible!” or “I’ve been doing this for two weeks, but I haven’t gotten the amazing benefits everyone talks about! Should I quit?”
Nooooo. Don’t do it! Four days and two weeks are way too early. Even at three weeks, you’re just barely starting to turn a corner.
Carnivore is literally zero carb and takes longer for your body to adjust, even if you’ve already been on a low carb diet like keto and getting 20 or less grams of carbs a day. There’s an adjustment period. While most people feel like a totally different human after 30 days, for some people it can take 3, 6, or 12 months for their body to do the healing it needs.
Give yourself at LEAST 30 days before you decide whether it’s working.
A side note: if you’ve been feeling fantastic but then suddenly you’ve hit a patch where you’re feeling crummy, it could be oxalate dumping. Read Sally K. Norton’s article, Oxalate Answers, for everything you need to know about that!