When it comes to eating an animal based diet, there are a lot of different opinions out there. Some people think that it is the healthiest way to eat, while others believe that it is unhealthy and dangerous.
But what is an animal based diet, exactly?
And why might you want to consider following one?
In this article, we will explore the concept of an animal based diet in detail and discuss the benefits of following this type of diet. We will also provide some tips for how to get started on your own carnivorous journey!
What is an Animal Based Diet?
An animal based diet is first and foremost focused on nose-to-tail animal foods, with a heavy emphasis on the meat of ruminant animals and their organs. Other items included in this diet are raw dairy as well as some fruit and honey.
The term was first coined by Dr. Paul Saladino a couple of years ago after he encountered several health concerns while following a strict Carnivore Diet.
While the benefits of the Carnivore Diet are staggering;
Improved Sex Drive
A Reduction in Auto-Immune Symptoms
many people, over time, begin to experience issues from the effects of being in long-term ketosis, and the lack of carbohydrates. These symptoms are often the result of electrolyte imbalances and may include:
Hormonal Fluctuations, such as low testosterone.
Even many long-term Keto advocates such as Thomas Delauer and Mike Mutzel have started advocating carb-cycling to help mitigate some of these symptoms encountered from long durations without carbodydrates.
The Benefits of an Animal Based Diet?
There are several reasons why you might want to consider following an animal based diet. Here are some of the most important ones:
1. Weight Loss:
An animal based diet is a great way to lose weight because it is naturally low in carbohydrates. When you eat a lot of carbs, your body stores the excess as fat. But when you reduce the amount of carbs you eat and replace them with healthy animal foods, your body will start burning that stored fat for energy. This can lead to rapid weight loss without feeling hungry or deprived.
2. Improved Health & Well-being:
Following an animal based diet can also improve your health in many ways. Animal foods are high in nutrient density and provide the essential bio-available vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally.
In addition, many of the nutrients such as vitamin D and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been proven to be essential in the fight against disease, depression and mental decline, are abundant in well-sourced, quality animal foods.
3. Increased Energy:
One of the best things about following an animal based diet is that you will have plenty of energy!
Animal foods are a great source of protein and essential fatty acids, both of which are necessary for optimal athletic performance. Many professional athletes follow an animal based diet to perform at their best.
You too will have all the energy you need to power through your day with ease.
Who is Paul Saladino?
Dr. Paul Saladino is a double board-certified physician who specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. He first became interested in the carnivore diet after experiencing several health concerns.
He is the host of the “Fundamental Health” podcast and the author of the “Carnivore Code,” and “The Carnivore Code Cookbook.”
Saladino has since become a vocal advocate for the animal based diet, writing articles and giving lectures on the topic.
Animal Based Vs. Carnivore Diet
While the differences between these two ways of eating are significant, it’s important first to understand their similarities.
Both diets are centered around protein and fats sourced from animals. A large majority, if not all, as in the case with the Carnivore Diet, of the calories come from these two sources.
The difference comes in the way the Animal Based community views carbohydrates.
The Animal Based Community view carbohydrates, on the low side of the toxicity scale, as beneficial to the body’s ability to balance both hormones and electrolytes.
Ultimately allowing the body to find a more balanced and optimal state.
There are times and situations where the benefits of a Carnivore diet, may supersede the balance on the more macro-focused animal based approach. These may include individuals suffering from severe auto-immune disorders, or those dealing with metabolic syndrome disorders such as diabetes and pre-diabetes.
As an example, I choose to eat a strict carnivore diet a week before and a week after my quarterly fast, and then return to an animal based diet the rest of the time. This allows my body to adapt to zero carbs and transition to burning solely fat, before my week of not eating.
How to Eat an Animal Based Diet
The General Guidelines
Below is an infographic created by Paul Saladino and available on his website carnivoremd.com
It explains simply and clearly what to eat on an animal based diet as well as a carnivore diet, including the macros.
Look this over and then we’ll dive a bit deeper in the sections below.
Animal Based Foods
Animal foods, including animal fat, muscle meat, connective tissue and organs make up the large majority of this diet. The sourcing and distribution of all of these parts is where many beginners stumble. Any sustainable diet has an inherent sense of balance, even one centered around meat.
So eating only filets and bacon, while delicious, will ultimately backfire.
It’s important to include ample fat, the chewy bits (the connective tissue – high in glycine) and the vitamin-dense organ meats to give your body the building blocks it needs to maintain optimal health.
Organs are where many people stumble, trip, and fall flat on their face. It’s one thing to include a little beef liver every once in a while, but to venture into the wild west of the pancreas, spleen, heart, and testicles is a whole different story.
In addition sourcing, these items isn’t always simple.
But with a little diligence and armed with the knowledge of just how nutritious these sacred parts of the animal are, we can not only find them, but ultimately find them delicious.
Farms, such as White Oak Pastures have many of these organs available online which can be ordered and delivered to your door.
For those less adventurous, or just wanting to take baby steps, Paul Saladino founded a company called Heart and Soil which sells desiccated organ meats sourced from grass-fed and finished animals from New Zealand. A great first step, or to supplement those organs you may not be able to find fresh.
All dairy is not considered equal!
If you happen to live in one of the states, such as Texas, as I do, which allows raw cow and goat’s milk you’re one of the fortunate ones.
In Texas, raw milk can be bought from many of the local farmer’s markets, or even directly from the farm.
Once purchased you can either drink it as is, or further it’s beneficial attributes by making kefir or yogurt.
I buy two gallons of milk every week from Richardson’s Farm here in Austin and make one gallon of kefir and one gallon of yogurt every week. Not only does this make for an amazing post-gym smoothie it also gives my belly the beneficial bacteria which aid in keeping my digestion top-notch.
Least Toxic Plant Foods
“Think about it from an evolutionary perspective. When faced with danger, animals can run or fight. Plants can’t do either. What defense do they have? Over time plants developed varying degrees of defense chemicals in their leaves, stems, roots and seeds to protect them from being eaten. “
– Dr. Paul Saladino
This, in a nutshell, is the argument against plants:
The fact that when we look at the nutrient factors in plants, we are often doing so in isolation, not taking into account their negative side effects.
This trend isn’t isolated to the plant world. It’s often the case in today’s age of “Youtube Science” that we gravitate toward the information we want to highlight and ignore the rest.
If plants want to protect themselves, they also want to propagate, and that’s where fruit comes in. The fruit of many plants is colorful and sweet, almost like the plant was trying to draw attention to it and have some passerby, human or otherwise, take the seeds within and spread them far and wide. That’s the reason many fruits have far less of the defense chemicals found in other parts of the plant.
All Sweet Fruit (avoid the seeds!)
- Oranges, etc…
Non-Sweet Fruit (seedless / skinless)
My Experience Eating an Animal Based Diet
I began eating an animal based diet early June of 2022, transitioning over from a ketogenic diet which I had been on for a few years prior. I had briefly tried eating carnivore during that time frame, and though I had some success, ultimately it was the blandness of the routine which had me resort back to my ketogenic baseline I’d developed over the past 2-3 years.
Since starting on The Animal Based regiment I’m currently on I’ve cut out virtually all supplements, except the Heart and Soil Whole Package, which is a pretty big deal if you ask my wife.
While I’ll occasionally still take an LMNT electrolyte packet, it’s because I had an unusually long sauna or just did an hour ruck, not because I just felt wonky.
My blood tests and dexa scan have both been top-notch.
And mostly it’s NOT boring, and it’s super delicious.
What should you consider when transitioning from other diets?
Any time you introduce change it’s a good idea to so in a manner that allows the body to integrate what’s happening.
The further you are from your goal, the slower that process is.
So if you’ve been eating a plant based diet and are transitioning to eating animal based it will be necessary to allow your body the necessary time to build up the necessary enzymes and processes to best utilize the animal foods which now make up the majority of your food intake.
My suggestion would be to start eliminating the highly toxic seed oils and replacing them with high-quality animal fats such as tallow and grass-fed butter.
As you cut back on toxic plant-based foods, start to incorporate easily integrated foods such as bone broth and wild-caught salmon.
Eventually, as you begin eating plants less often and integrating more animal food keep a journal so that you have a record of how each change affects your overall health.
Grass-fed beef vs. Conventional beef?
Grass-fed beef is typically lower in unhealthy fats and higher in healthy fats like Omega-3s and CLA than beef from cows that are fed grain. Grass-fed beef also tends to be higher in vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium.
But most important is what grass-fed beef doesn’t have, that much of the conventional beef does; which are the excess hormones, pesticides, plastics, and herbicides.
Shawn Baker, the God Father of the Carnivore Diet, recently tweeted,
“Grass-finished or grain finished? Supporting your local ranchers is the best choice when possible”
Basically, there’s a spectrum, and you choose what’s most important to you. Factoring in price, contamination from “-cides” and the community aspect – all important considerations.
What about Honey?
Honey is for sure my personal favorite when it comes to animal based foods, but also one of the easiest to overeat.
Many beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants are found in high-quality raw honey. These include flavonoids and phenolic acids. Many of the darker varieties of honey typically offer more antioxidants, so choose wisely.
Are there Cardiovascular risks?
This website is for informational purposes only. By providing information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen or diet, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
Maybe or maybe not.
Right now this is probably one of the most contested topics on the internet today; and one that is best discussed with your doctor.
But this is my take:
This is NOT the type of diet you should undertake half-assed. If you just eat more meat and fat and don’t cut out the seed oils, processed foods, and sugars you will ultimately be doing yourself a huge disservice; one that could have long-term effects on your overall health.
However, if in conjunction with your doctor, you monitor your blood pressure, discuss your cardiovascular risks and approach this with blood tests and even a CAC test upfront, you will be armed with the information necessary to make intelligent, informed decisions about your health and well-being.
Heart disease and insulin resistance are plagues in our current society and we all need to strive to be metabolically healthy and cardiovascularly strong as the oxen we eat.
In today’s world we’re living longer, but not healthier.
Where plant-based foods were once thought to be the answer to cardiovascular disease and red meat was demonized this new approach might sound crazy, but it is indeed rooted in amazing science and the health benefits are there for anyone who ventures along the path.
At the end of the day, the best way of eating is the one that resonates with you and that you can stick to, which does the least amount of harm … and the most amount of good. This is going to change from person to person, but for many, myself included, An Animal Based Diet seems to check these boxes.