January 2018 is my Month of Meat. Also referred to as “zero-carb” or “carnivore”, going with an all-animal diet has a lot to offer.
If you’re like most Americans, you have been brainwashed by “My Plate” — the political endeavors of the USDA and corporate lobbyists who have made you believe animal products are unhealthy. Why would they do that? Because the profit margins on grains and sugar are enormous compared to meat. I’m no conspiracy theorist; I like facts. Facts are that the sugar lobby paid off Harvard researchers to implicate fat not sugar in the 50s and 60s despite the findings. Ancel Keys and Congress cherry-picked research and simply didn’t report contradictory findings from major studies. A 2017 systematic review of the dietary guidelines (DGA) published by the USDA (whose primary mission, by the way, is rural development not health) came away with this:
The adoption and widespread translation of the DGA require that they be universally viewed as valid, evidence-based, and free of bias and conflicts of interest to the extent possible. This has not routinely been the case. The DGA have been challenged, with critics questioning the validity of the evidence assessments. This has raised concerns in Congress about the trustworthiness of the DGA. This report recommends changes to the DGA process to reduce and manage sources of bias and conflicts of interest, improve timely opportunities for engagement by all interested parties, enhance transparency, and strengthen the science base of the process. Read More at National Academies Press
You may also have heard vegetarians and vegans say that animal-based agriculture is destroying the world in a way plant-based farming is not. This also has more cherry-picking behind it than fact.
I’m not going to argue the merits of a locally sourced meat diet (my preference) over any other kind of diet for health and sustainability, because I’ve done that elsewhere. Besides, one thing I have learned is most people don’t eat what they eat because they have analyzed the arguments and changed their food. They pick the food they like, what makes them feel good either physically or emotionally, and then regurgitate the soundbites that justify their choice. The need to justify our consumption is fundamental; it’s why our ancestors made totems to animals and offerings to the gods. Today we claim a political party or a nonprofit stance that replaces those processes. We offer gratitude, seek forgiveness, yet ask for more because our lives are built on many deaths and there is no way around that no matter what you eat.
So take your pick of diets. If that pick is to try more meat, read on.
I’ve been paleo/primal for nearly a decade. My story of how leaving grains and sugar behind while increasing fats changed me dramatically is on this blog. In the last few years, I have reduced carbs even more. I went ketogenic and then carnivore. I currently eat mostly meat, some days only meat, and for one month each year only meat.
What’s the difference among all these diets? There are philosophies that abide with different ways of eating (woes), but here are the food differences:
- Paleo and primal are about cutting out all grain products and eating whole foods; paleo cuts out dairy but primal allows dairy. Both encourage lots of greens and often seek higher protein than fats as a percentage of the diet. Focus is whole foods.
- Ketogenic is the same but with an eye on the macronutrient profile even more than whole foods, so you work to eat more fat than protein, even supplementing with processed fats (like adding coconut oil, butter, cheeses in recipes), if necessary to get the percentages or the blood ketone reading you want. Focus is fats.
- Carnivore or “zero-carb” is eating only animal products (not truly “zero-carb” as there are carbs in meat), although for most that doesn’t include dairy. So muscles meats and offal, like liver, heart, tongue, tail, etc. Carnivores don’t usually eat lean or remove fat. Focus is whole meats.
Those who spend enough time as a carnivore will often find they cook their foods less and start eating more rare and raw meats. As the lifestyle has started going mainstream, the newbies I’ve seen are tepid about that. They want well-done steaks and that’s it. And that might be fine. We just don’t know enough through research, but we have many anecdotes of long-term carnivores doing very well.
Carnivores don’t lack for nutrients like other diets. None. The objections that come into your head come right from “My Plate” nonsense: what about fiber, vitamins, “good” fats, carbs for “energy,” antioxidants? LOL. Carnivores don’t need these things. Meat is the most nutritionally dense food on earth. That’s right. More nutrients and more energy in meat than any plant. Additionally, meat is the one thing our bodies can digest completely on their own without the help of bacteria. In fact, meat is digested before it can reach your colon where most of your bacteria live — one reason meat eaters report less gas, less constipation, and less poop.
So much information is now available! I know it’s overwhelming…and it’s confusing and conflicting. Keep rational thoughts and follow the science, not the slogans.
If you’re interested in quick-starting the carnivore diet, start here at Empiri.ca L. Amber O’Hearn has a terrific website and a clarity of thought that can answer all your questions.
If you want lots of background and stories, start here at Zero Carb Zen. Esmée La Fleur and friends have been doing this a long time.