This is my personal experience with in following a Carnivore Diet for 21 days in order to heal my body postpartum and beyond.
Before and After Pictures
In a nutshell, the Carnivore diet is a way of eating in which you only consume foods from the animal kingdom including meat, dairy and eggs. This is the ultimate elimination diet that has been shown to heal others with autoimmune disease and serious health conditions with the healing power of meat.
Meat is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and one of the most easiest things for the human body to digest.
As of a couple weeks ago, I have officially finished my 21 day Carnivore Diet Experiment. If you’re wondering why I did this, check out this post on my why’s that have not a whole lot to do with weight loss!
PLEASE NOTE: I am in no way, shape or form a medical doctor or health professional. Please do your research and talk with your personal healthcare provider about starting a Carnivore diet or any other diet.
Carnivore Diet Food Exceptions:
There are many levels of the carnivore diet. Some people choose just to eat beef, water and salt (The Lion Diet) and some choose to add in a few exceptions to make this transition a bit easier. I am one of those people. The following is a list of foods I have decided to add into this experiment. Not everyone could or should do this, but I am choosing to.
- Coffee – I blend mine up with butter, heavy whipping cream and a scoop of collagen
- Lemons & Limes – I use them to flavor my water in order to encourage me to drink more
- Spices and Seasonings – There’s NO way I was going to do this without some flavor
- Sparkling Water – I drink flavored sparkling water which I know can spike insulin, but this is a choice I made
- Some Sauces – Buffalo sauce, steak sauce and mayo among other low carb sauces are used in moderation
Carnivore Diet Meal Ideas:
Early on, I came up with a list of foods and meals that I would enjoy eating. I made and ate most of these meals.
- Breakfast Frittata
- Goat Cheese Omelet
- Carnivore Fried Chicken – “breaded” in pork panko and Parmesan cheese
- Parmesan Wings
- Shredded Chicken or Shredded Beef Soup
- Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Wraps
- Bacon Deviled Eggs
- Chaffle Burger
- Scotch Eggs
- Hot Dogs Wrapped in Baked Cheese Shell
- Taco Bowls – ground beef, topped with Mexican cheese and sour cream
- Burgers Topped with Pimento Cheese
- Fatty Coffee – coffee blended with butter, heavy whipping cream and collagen powder
Carnivore Diet Supplements:
While there are some that say you don’t need to take anything while following this way of eating, I chose to budget in some supplements that I found extremely helpful in the process.
- Ancestral Health Grass Fed Desiccated Organ Pills
- Redmond’s Real Salt
- No Salt
- Electrolyte Pills With Trace Minerals
- Digestive Enzymes
- HCL and Pepsin
Products That Make A Carnivore Diet Easier:
These things made my life easier when following this way of eating.
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Fry Wall
- Anova Culinary Sous Vide
- Vacuum Sealer
What Were Your Macros?
Since the point of a carnivore diet is to trust your body and eat until you are satiated, it is recommended that you don’t count calories. I chose to count calories and macros just to gather data on this experiment. On average I was eating anywhere from 1800-2500 calories per day with 75% coming from fat, 20% from protein and 5% from carbohydrates. This wasn’t a perfect ratio every single day, but it averaged out that way in the end.
Can You Eat Vegetables On A Carnivore Diet?
Nope! Plant matter is not something that is allowed on a true carnivore diet. There is extensive research out there about how plants contain anti-nutrients (as they are trying to survive too) and oxalates which can be harmful to the bodies of SOME people. It’s not my job to convince you of this. In fact, I’m not sure if I believe this either! The only way I can have thoughts or opinions about this is if I come from a place of experience so here I am!
I honestly did miss the TASTE of vegetables which is why I don’t think that a 100% carnivore diet can be sustained by me but that’s ok!
How Long Does It Take To Adapt?
After doing this for 21 days, I can honestly say that a full transition would probably need at least 4-6 weeks. In the beginning, your body is working on getting fat adapted and the brain is being rewired to not crave carbs, and that could take quite a bit of time for some. I chose to do 21 days because we had upcoming travel plans, but anyone starting should do at least 30 days to get fat adapted and to make sure sugar/carb cravings are a bit more at bay.
How Much Meat Should You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?
This depends highly on the person. I’ve seen most women average about 1-2 pounds per day. I can’t say that I came close to that all the time as I chose to eat dairy and eggs along with everything.
Is Bacon, Sausage or processed meat OK on the Carnivore Diet?
Most will tell you no because it will stall ketosis, healing and possibly weight loss due to the fact that most processed meats have chemicals and or preservatives in them. I definitely took part in eating processed meats and sausages and the days I didn’t I noticed that I felt a lot less bloated.
Is The Carnivore Diet Keto?
By default, yes. When you’re only eating meat it is likely that you will be in ketosis because of the extremely low carbohydrate count in meats if any.
How Was Your Digestion and Bowel Movements?
Contrary to popular belief, my actual digestion was amazing! The entire time I had zero bloat or digestive issues after eating. I will say that in the beginning, I did have some loose stools (from adaptation – this happens to 50% of people that follow this diet) and did not have a bowel movement every day but that is completely normal! Meat is HIGHLY digestible and the nutrients in it are more bio available than most vitamins or supplements you could take which means most of it is used by the body with little waste. Vegetable fiber is technically waste that our body doesn’t use. Our stomachs evolved to digest meat and not digest plants which I find fascinating!
Were There Sugar Cravings?
YES! One of the reasons I realized that keto didn’t work for me a while back was because I was being an asshole. There is an influx of foods and products that make the keto diet incredibly easy to just replace the standard american diet with it’s keto-fied equivalent. So basically, I was just eating mostly keto sweets and wondering why I wasn’t getting any physical or mental benefits.
For this experiment, I chose not to eat ANYTHING sweet. Because of this, I was able to satisfy my hunger quite easily, but my brain was hungry. For a while it kept coming up with excuses to have some chocolate or bread or some sweetened electrolytes. It was clear to me that it was old habits and addiction because there were times I was stuffed but still had a little room for sweets.
Days 8-12 were really hard. I powered through and learned a lot more about carbs and sugar addiction especially in the Food Junkies book I’ve been reading. It was important for me to learn about this process because although I don’t plan to be a person that gives up sweets or keto treats entirely, I want to learn how to be in control.
After a while, the cravings for anything of that nature did subside, but once I had my first taste of something sweet, it came right back! It’s a work in progress to really lean in to find out if your body or brain really needs something.
Did Your Blood Pressure Change?
Nope! It stayed in a healthy range the entire time.
Benefits & Results:
This is the list of things I experienced on my 21 day Carnivore Diet Experiment. Each persons mileage varies!
- Boundless Energy and Increased Mood – I’ve heard of zero carb zen before, it’s the carnivore equivalent to Whole30’s tiger blood. I felt it IMMENSELY the first 5-6 days, then took a dip when my body finally switched over then it came back again. Its a feeling like no other. Your brain is just ON POINT and you are just at peace with your life and more. I credit this to giving my brain enough fat as well as blood sugar stability and eating enough minerals and nutrients.
- Lighter Period – I was expecting a monster of a menstrual cycle in a bad way since I’ve heard so much about excess estrogen releasing. Well, since I was pretty much low carb before the experiment I had a reduction in pain AND length of cycle. This is BIG for me. Please note that I have never ever in my life taken birth control, so I am very in tune with my cycle.
- Better Sleep – While there were a few nights I felt awake more than usual, I slept REALLY well. If you didn’t know, postpartum I was given drugs for insomnia and anxiety and none of them worked for me. Whenever my blood sugar is balanced and I have a steady source of magnesium, I sleep MUCH better which made for better days when I woke up.
- My Hair Is Growing Back – I did suffer a lot of postpartum hair loss, but it is growing back with a vengance along with my nails! Honestly, it feels like my roots are growing back thicker than they were previously which I saw is common on this way of eating.
- My Dental Health Improved – this was one I wasn’t expecting! My gums started to recede when I was pregnant which is common. After I had James my teeth just didn’t feel strong. I know that sounds weird but it’s true! After a few weeks of eating this way, my gums are beginning to regenerate and my teeth feel a lot stronger!
- I reduced Inflammation, Lost Weight and Inches – There was a lot of inflammation hanging around from the past 6 months and I can proudly say that this experiment brought all of that down pretty drastically. I cant say it’s all fat loss but I can say that 21 days is only a starting point for a journey like this. The actual numbers including weight and inches I will include in an email newsletter so as not to trigger others. Make sure you’re signed up!
How Are You Eating Now?
This diet is usually followed by those that have serious health conditions and healing to take place. I am VERY lucky to say that I am not one of those people. I did this experiment to heal my body postpartum and to clean the slate so to speak. I believe that I’ve done a lot to move forward on those goals but this is a JOURNEY. There are years of deficiency and fat that has accumulated (my legs don’t get the memo for a while) and it’s going to take more than 21 days to balance out and I must work on finding a way where it is sustainable for me.
With that said, I did see incredible benefits to adopting a meat based diet and that is what I will continue with. My happy medium currently is eating 70-80% animal based and 20-30% low carb with the occasional carbohydrate increase around my cycle or for a special occasion.
Also remember that diet was just PART of the equation. I also had a lot of other modalities I was doing to help balance my hormones that you can check out in my Hormone Balance Helpers post.
As of right now, I am continuing to lose weight, although a bit more slowly and also continuing to see increases in my hormone health, mood and general well being while I experiment with what foods work at what consistencies.
Should I Try This?
If you’re thinking of jumping in with something like this, I must remind you that this is a very extreme way of eating. This is NOT easy especially if you suffer with diet mentality and restriction issues. If you decide to start something like this, I highly recommend that you hire a coach.
Another great place to get started is to read The Carnivore Cookbook by Maria and Craig Emmerich. They break down the science of this way of eating in detail that is digestible along with levels of the carnivore diet and recipes.
ONE FINAL REMINDER: I am not here to dispute the cases against a Carnivore Diet. I am open to those who have questions that are curious and open minded, but not those who are shut in and can’t see out of their own line of thinking. If you would have told me 2 years ago when I heard about this that I would have done it, I would have thought you were talking about the wrong person.
Instead, I kept an open mind, did my research and decided to safely give it a go. I think that everyone has things that work best for them no matter how different they are.
With all that said, feel free to leave me a question in the comments or find me on Instagram and shoot me a DM if you’d like to chat about anything further!