Tag: carnivore diet

Guide to Organ Meats

Organ meats are an untapped resource in most healthy eaters’ diets. Although your grandparents and every antecedent generation likely grew up eating liver and onions, kidney pie, and organ meats stuffed into sausages, the people reading this blog largely did not. Now it is your job to rediscover what they were blessed to grow up eating. It may not be easy, it may take some effort, but it is worthwhile. Luckily, the beauty of organ meats lies in their nutrient-density—you don’t need to eat it every day to get the benefits. In fact, you shouldn’t eat most of them everyday.

In general, the same organ from different animals will confer similar health benefits. A liver will be rich in vitamin A and iron whether it comes from cow, pig, lamb, or chicken. But there are some differences between species, and when those differences are significant I will make a note of it in the article.

Without further ado, let’s learn about all the various organ meats.

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Carnivore Diet: What the Research Says

Following up on last week’s big carnivore post, today I want to look at some of the main reasons people choose a carnivore diet in the first place. There are those who just like meat a whole heckuva lot and don’t want to be bothered with vegetables, but I don’t think they represent the majority of the carnivore crowd. From what I can tell, most people come to the carnivore diet because they’re dealing with persistent health issues that aren’t being adequately resolved through conventional means. Maybe they’ve been trying something like Primal, paleo, or keto for a while, but there’s still room for improvement. Others are doing well but wish to see if they could achieve another level of awesomeness by doing something different or, dare I say, more extreme. In these cases, carnivore is a sensible experiment for a number of reasons: Carnivore diets combine the advantages of ketogenic and elimination diets, both of which are already popular for dealing with intractable health problems. A nose-to-tail carnivorous diet is highly nutritious, providing bioavailable vitamins and minerals, plus plenty of protein, that the body needs. If carnivore puts you in ketosis—and it almost certainly will—you get the anti-inflammatory benefits of ketones, plus mitochondrial biogenesis, increased fat-burning, appetite suppression, and more. By removing potentially problematic plant foods, carnivore diets contain little or no: FODMAPs Oxalates Lectins Phytates Glycoalkaloids Salicylates Carnivore lends itself to intermittent fasting and caloric restriction, both of which have noted health benefits. You know I’m a fan of self-experimentation. Like any good scientist, you should start by educating yourself. In that spirit, today’s post is a roundup of available research. Use it as a jumping-off point for your own investigations if you are considering going carnivore. As always, I am not providing medical advice here. Please consult your doctors before using carnivore, or any diet, therapeutically. What Does the Research Say? Unfortunately, I can’t find any randomized controlled trials looking at carnivore for any health issue. There are a small number of published case studies, and Shawn Baker is currently trying to crowdfund some research. Otherwise, we have to rely on anecdotes and inferences from studies on other related diets (low-carb, high-protein, keto, low-FODMAP, and so on). Anecdotes are important, but they’ll never replace well-designed empirical studies. You can find confirmatory anecdotes supporting any of your beliefs if you find the right subreddit. I pulled together the best of what I could find for today, but as you’ll see, we still have a lot to learn. The medical conditions included here are ones I’ve been asked about personally or that seem to be popular in carnivore forums. If you’d like me to address another in the future, drop me a comment below. Carnivore Diets and Autoimmune Conditions The carnivore diet has been launched into the public consciousness in large part thanks to people like Mikhaila Peterson, who credit carnivore with saving them from debilitating autoimmune illnesses. Using dietary interventions in this context is nothing new. There are … Continue reading “Carnivore Diet: What the Research Says”

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The Definitive Guide to the Carnivore Diet

By far the most exciting health trend to hit the scene in the last few years is the Carnivore Diet. Tens of thousands of people are adopting it. Passionate online communities devoted to discussing and extolling the virtues of exclusive meat-eating have sprung up. And while in raw numbers it isn’t as big as keto, “carnivore diet” is running neck and neck with “vegan diet” on Google Trends for the past year. It’s one I’ve been watching for a long time.

Over ten years ago, I addressed the idea of a zero-carb carnivorous diet right here on this blog.

A few years ago, I went over the advantages and shortcomings of the carnivore diet and even gave my suggestions for making it work better.

Earlier this year, I explored the notion of a seafood-based carnivorous diet.

Today, I’m going to pull it all together and give an overview—a definitive guide, if you will.

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Why We Should All Be Eating Organ Meats

Today we welcome a post by guest author Ashleigh VanHouten, health and nutrition journalist, public speaker, certified health coach, and host of the Muscle Maven Radio podcast. Here, she explains why we’re missing out if we’re only eating boring boneless cuts of meat from the grocery store, and makes the case for eating nose-to-tail, for both our health and for our enjoyment. Her new cookbook, It Takes Guts, is available for preorder and hits the shelves in late October. “It’s good for you and for the planet – and it’s easier and tastier than you think!” – Ashleigh VanHouten Modified excerpt from It Takes Guts, shared with publisher permission. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “I just can’t get my head around eating [insert type of organ meat here] because I didn’t grow up eating it,” I could retire now and live out the rest of my days eating animal hearts on a beach somewhere — but I have a secret for you. I didn’t grow up eating organ meat, either; I grew up eating cereal and bread and chicken breast, and while I always gravitated toward animal products, I certainly wasn’t eating liver or sweetbreads. But as someone who has dedicated their career to researching, studying, and experimenting with nutrition, I believe strongly that one bite of something new won’t hurt you, and it just might open up a whole new world of pleasure and health. It’s a fact that organs are generally the most nutrient-dense parts of an animal, so if we can find fun and creative and even subtle ways to enjoy them, we’re winning. And by eating the whole animal, we’re also honoring and respecting the beings who sacrificed for our dinner plates by ensuring none of it is wasted. I wrote my nose-to-tail cookbook It Takes Guts because I am passionate about honoring the animals we’re eating, and enjoying the full bounty of delicious and healthy options available to us. As the saying goes, the way you do anything is the way you do everything, and I believe we should all be approaching our plates, and our lives, with a sense of adventure and enthusiasm. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the reasons why eating organ meats is a good idea: It’s Sustainable It would be wasteful to buy a huge house and use only one or two rooms, right? Adopting a whole-animal approach reduces waste, and buying from local farms and butchers helps decrease the carbon footprint created when meat is brought to you from far-flung places. In the process of breaking down an animal, less than half of it will usually end up as boneless cuts, or the type of meat you normally pick up at a grocery store. Much of the rest is bone, hide, blood, and organs – the latter being the most nutrient-dense part of the animal, which we are essentially giving away to then eat the less nutrient-dense muscle meat! If you’re reading … Continue reading “Why We Should All Be Eating Organ Meats”

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Dear Mark: Going Carnivore with Just Seafood, Protein Right after Fasted Workout?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair of questions from readers. The first one comes from the comment section of the excerpt from Paul Saladino’s new book: Can a seafood-only carnivore diet work? Will it miss anything? Is there anything to watch out for, add, or consider? The second one comes from the recent post about exercising during a fast. If someone’s trying to gain muscle, should they prioritize eating protein after a fast-breaking training session, or should they keep the fast going?

Let’s go:

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Will Red Meat Cause Your Heart to Explode?

Folks, I’m excited to bring you this book excerpt from The Carnivore Code. Author Dr. Paul Saladino is one of the best informed thought leaders and advocates of the carnivore diet. Paul uses his experience in functional and traditional medicine to devise a holistic picture of healing. I think you’ll appreciate his detailed, well-researched, and measured approach to presenting and analyzing evidence. We’ve reviewed study after study that’s correlated red meat consumption with mortality risk, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and more. Paul takes the topic to task in The Carnivore Code, hopefully proving once and for all the true physiological cause of these conditions. You can purchase a copy of The Carnivore Code here. Enjoy the excerpt. Few things conjure more fear in the hearts and minds of the general population than the big, bad cholesterol monster and the associated trepidation that red meat will cause our arteries to become filled with plaque. After all, we’ve been told by cardiac surgeons that when they scoop plaque out of the arteries in our heart or neck, it looks just like animal fat, eggs, or butter. In this excerpt, we’ll debunk the notion that eating animal meat, fat, or organs is bad for our heart and blood vessels and slay this final beast once and for all. We’ll see that these false notions have been based on more misleading epidemiological literature and how interventional and mechanistic studies tell a very different story. Come, brave adventurers, our destiny of discarding unfounded ideologies and reclaiming the vibrant health of our ancestors awaits! The Basics of Lipoproteins and Cholesterol The word “cholesterol” is often used colloquially to refer to all of the lipoproteins in our blood, but technically, cholesterol is a steroid backbone type of molecule that is used to make all sorts of vital compounds in human physiology. Our body makes around 1,200 milligrams of cholesterol every day for many important purposes, including the proper formation of all of our cell membranes. The fat we eat is absorbed from our intestines and packaged as triglycerides with dietary cholesterol into a type of lipoprotein known as chylomicrons, marked with apolipoprotein B48. These particles circulate in the blood stream, dropping off their contents to cells of the body before becoming chylomicron remnants and being taken up by the liver. In medicine, the term “total cholesterol” refers to the sum of all the cholesterol molecules in the blood and is usually measured directly in laboratory tests. In order to know how much of this cholesterol resides in the different lipoproteins, these must be measured individually. Most current lipid testing measures HDL, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides directly, but older assays measure only some of these and must calculate LDL, which you may see written as LDL-C. For this reason, many previous research studies have looked at total cholesterol levels rather than LDL. Historically, elevated levels of total cholesterol have been assumed to correlate with elevated levels of LDL, and unless triglycerides are extremely elevated, this is generally a reasonable … Continue reading “Will Red Meat Cause Your Heart to Explode?”

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The Carnivore Diet: Pros, Cons, and Suggestions

All-meat diets are growing in popularity. There are the cryptocurrency carnivores. There’s the daughter of the ascendant Jordan B. Peterson, Mikhaila Peterson, who’s using a carnivorous diet to stave off a severe autoimmune disease that almost killed her as a child. The most prominent carnivore these days, Dr. Shawn Baker (who appears to eat only grilled ribeyes (at home) and burger patties (on the go), recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and Robb Wolf’s podcast, and is always breaking world records on the rower. Tons of other folks are eating steak and little else—and loving it. There are Facebook groups and subreddits and Twitter subcultures devoted to carnivorous dieting.

What do I think?

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