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28 Days on the Carnivore Diet

What happens when you spend 28 days eating nothing but meat? Well for one thing people look at you sideways when they find out! Honestly I probably would too. What makes someone want to do such a silly thing? Doesn't eating meat give you cancer/heart disease/a one way ticket to hell etc? And above all, how will you poop without fibre?!? Well lets find out...

Let's get the obvious out of the way first, If you are a vegan, it is certainly possible that this is not the article for you. I have nothing against veganism (a lot of vegan cuisine is delicious), but I have no intention of covering here the ethical side of whether it is moral to eat meat, (or only meat) for your diet. This is simply an account of my experiences following a particular diet plan, if you are interested in finding out more, read on; if the eating of meat offends you, then go read an article about artichokes... or gherkins.

So what exactly has my diet consisted of for the last 28 days? Simple really

1. Red meat (steak, mince, lamb etc)

2. Fish

3. Chicken

4. Liver

5. Bacon and pork crackling (who can resist?)

6.Butter/Olive oil/Coconut oil for cooking

7. Salt and Pepper

8. Bone broth

9. Water and Black Coffee (yeah I know coffee is cheating, sue me).

I didn't take a whole bunch of measurements or anything (as this wasn't the primary goal of doing it) but I did weigh myself and take a waist measurement. Here is a before and after shot

BEFORE (fat) AFTER (slightly less fat)

My weight before I started was 82.8kg and after 77.6kg (-5.2kg) and my waist measurement before was 93cm and after 88cm (-5cm). Not bad considering I ate as much as I wanted and never went hungry...

Reasons for Going on a Carnivore Diet- or Where the $%@! Did You Get This Crazy Idea?

I actually heard of the carnivore diet years ago when I first tried the ketogenic diet. I read a study where two researchers who had been living with Inuit populations in Greenland decided to go on an all meat diet for one year. They both tolerated the diet well and experienced no ill effects or changes in any of the body's systems (1). I chalked this up as interesting but weird and promptly forgot about it.

I next came across the idea when Dr. Shawn Baker appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast. Dr Baker who is an orthopedic surgeon (and played professional rugby in New Zealand funnily enough), has been eating an all meat diet for the last 15 months. To say the least the dude is an athletic beast. He is over 50 and around 110kg yet can still dunk a basketball and holds world records in weightlifting and indoor rowing. I was definitely impressed and interested in what he had to say, but I still thought it was a little weird at best.

What made me finally decide to give the carnivore diet a go was certainly not what I would have thought. This is not something I would normally discuss; but my wife Sariah came across the carnivore diet while researching dietary interventions for anxiety. My amazing wife has struggled with anxiety all her adult wife and has also been battling depression for around the last 18 months. She came across the site Meat Heals and started reading about all the problems that people had treated with eating an all meat diet. She also came across an interview with Mikhaila Peterson, who had successfully treated her own anxiety and depression with a carnivore diet. Mikhaila is the daughter of Dr Jordan Petereson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto who we both admire. Anyhow, in desperation my wife decided to give it a shot and I thought I would support her by going on the diet with her. I'll post an interview with her soon on her experience with it, as I don't want to speak for her on such an important topic, suffice to say it has been a very interesting few weeks...

What About the Results?

I have to say the results have been surprising. Of the two of us, my wife definitely had the most profound changes, which I'll cover in detail next time. For myself however I'll cover the main things below

Fat Loss- or Who's That Handsome Bastard in the Mirror?

This was for sure the easiest 'diet' I've ever been on. Over the years I've become used to the fact that when you want to shed some kilos, hunger is inevitably going to be part of the equation. To this I must now say 'Au contraire!' in fact I only remember being even mildly hungry once or twice the entire 28 days despite often going for long periods (up to 16 hours) without eating. I have practiced intermittent fasting over the years and am used to going longish periods without food, but this was a walk in the park! I always ate as much as I wanted and when I felt like it. To lose 5 kilos in such a short time without even trying was certainly a surprise. I know some of you will be crying about it being water weight, but I tend to eat pretty low carb most of the time (excluding the occasional cheat day chocolate extravaganza), so a good amount of it will be actual fat lost.

My training during this period has been mediocre at best. Dealing with concurrent back and knee injuries has meant I've been pretty much limited to Turkish get ups, suitcase carries, and basic bodyweight exercises like push ups and pull ups (vaguely explaining my portly 'before' physique). So its not like the weight loss is attributable to any amazing fat burning HIIT exercise program or some such chicanery. I will also say I have noticed a significant reduction in pain in both areas since adopting the diet.

Skin Condition- or Where the Zits at?

One thing I noticed was that the acne on my back was pretty much entirely gone within two weeks. I am a sweaty bastard (usually dripping before the warm up is finished, so my skin tends to be oily. I have always had some acne on my back, but it seems to have disappeared completely. Also I have noticed that my body odour has almost totally gone, as a closet hippy I am stoked that I don't have to wear deodorant anymore! Too much information for some, but it happened, so deal.

Improved Digestion- or Place Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

Here's a fun topic- flatulence. Like most men, I have an innate understanding that farts are at all times hilarious and should rightly be considered the pinnacle of high-brow humour.

My wife sadly has yet to come to the same conclusion. Suffice it to say that she may be more happy with this change than any other. I have far less gas and bloating, and generally feel like I have much improved digestion.

Food Cravings- or Taming My Inner Piggy

Ok time for a little honesty. How the hell I've made it to 40 without becoming type II diabetic is anyone's guess. I have what could only be called a ferocious sweet tooth. I have been known for example to eat two litres of chocolate cookie fudge ice cream all to myself. I mean in less than 30 minutes (cue obligatory 80's Stand By Me reference).

I have learned to curb this as I have become more educated around exercise and nutrition obviously, but I still have to use quite a bit of discipline to 'resist the urge to splurge'. Interestingly, after only two days I noticed my cravings for sweet food starting to go away. From about day three or four my cravings disappeared entirely. I haven't wanted so much as a delightful peanut M&M or crispy little Bluebird chippy the entire time. I can honestly say, that has never happened in living memory. The only thing I really craved (and the first thing I added back in at the end of the 28 days) was apples. I've never even been a huge fruit lover, but after about a week I really started to crave apples pretty badly. Even smelling one made my mouth water like a mofo. And yes, the first apple I had was the sweetest tasting most delicious apple I think I've ever eaten. It has certainly reset my taste buds to be more sensitive to normal foods.

On the other side of the equation, I had thought that I would be absolutely sick of eating meat after a week, but I have found myself looking forward to every meal and enjoying food immensely...

Any Downsides?

There have been a few negatives, it can't be all 4-packs and bacon (let's face it, it's still not a 6-pack...). First off, Its damn expensive! I would definitely recommend making friends with a butcher, or beef farmer! Also, like with any elimination diet, you have to be careful what you wish for. Often when you follow a strict elimination protocol, the body gets a real break from foods you may not digest very well. Problem being, it may have taken a long time to build up a tolerance to those foods in the first place. Then when you re-introduce them, it can cause a much nastier reaction than if you had just continued eating them all along. Case in point, potatoes. I happen to LOVE potatoes. Mashed, or particularly, crispy roasted potatoes are one of my ultimate comfort foods. Much to my dismay, it turns out they seem to be pretty problematic for me. I had two small (read: teaspoon sized) bites of potato from my son's plate and within five minutes I found my breathing to be laboured. Within half an hour I felt so unwell I had to go to bed. Now it turns out other nightshades are giving me problems too. Capsicum and also tomato have both given me a funny tummy since trial reintroducing a number of foods. Not what I was expecting...


In spite of the fact that this is obviously a pretty restrictive way of eating (and the fact I am probably about to lose the few remaining vegan friends I have), I definitely noticed some serious improvements in digestion, body composition and food cravings. I don't intend to necessarily eat this way for ever and have started to reintroduce other foods in small amounts, which is nice. I'm definitely not going to go out and start recommending it to all and sundry, as honestly I feel like so many people have disordered eating to begin with. With that being the case, going straight for the most restrictive way of eating possible may not be the best idea! That being said, for me, I found it remarkably easy to stick to. Plus now my long suffering wife no longer has to bother with the oxygen mask...


1. McClellan, W. S., & Du Bois, E. F. (1930). Clinical calorimetry XLV. Prolonged meat diets with a study of kidney function and ketosis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 87(3), 651-668.

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