Ready to start the carnivore diet and set yourself up for success? If you are reading this I imagine you are already aware of the numerous benefits the carnivore diet has and ready to begin.
This article is intended to introduce you to some essential items that will not only help get you started but also remedy some of the challenges people experience when they first get going.
I’m hoping this post will save you time, some money and propel you to stick with it. The carnivore diet is essentially the easiest diet protocol out there as your guidelines are to eat meat, (high-fat meat not just lean), water and salt but there are some tricks I learned along the way that may be beneficial.
An item of discussion is the suppression of keto flu or (adaptation period). What’s keto flu? It’s not a real flu but rather some symptoms you may experience while adapting to the carnivore diet. Usually within the first 2-3 weeks.
Some of these symptoms are irritability, mood swings, muscle cramps, nausea, headaches, and feeling a bit lethargic.
If you are new to carnivore diet I suggest this article to get you acclimated, “Carnivore Diet 101, A Meaty Resource”.
Salt, but not “table salt”
Salt got a bad wrap back in the day but currently a number of doctors, functional medicine practitioners and nutritionists recommend healthy salts like Himalayan and Sea Salt.
This salt rocks as it is sourced from Utah and less likely to have microplastics and toxins which can be found from salt sourced from the ocean. Redmond Real Salt. (Go to Redmond and use WILD at Checkout for 15% off)
The salt that was most likely responsible for the bad wrap is the chemically altered and mass produced salt known as “table salt”. This salt is no bueno as all the other beneficial nutrients and minerals have been removed.
This post goes into some crazy details on the political and faulty science which portrayed salt in a negative way.
In the book, “The Carnivore Code” written by Dr. Paul Saladino, he mentions that most people should try to consume 6-10 grams of salt per day. Other carnivore diet advocates say the same thing.
Why is table salt not good for us?
Our bodies are adapted to receive salt from mother nature which hasn’t been altered. Sea salt comes with trace elements and minerals which harmoniously keeps us in homeostasis.
The nasty table salt doesn’t and potentially causes water retention which in turn promotes high blood pressure, tissue edema, and crappy circulation. This in turn makes the body create acids and then kidney stones can form. (1)
Natural salt, (Himalayan/Sea Salt), is essential and fundamental to our bodies and well being as water is…as Dr. James DiNicolantonio says. He wrote the “The Salt Fix” explaining the benefits of salt.
But why does it help with the Carnivore Diet?
Going zero carb, (close to it), decreases insulin levels but increases your kidney function which in turn may expel more sodium and electrolytes.
This is one of the reasons people on low-carb and keto diets get muscle cramps, brain fog, and body aches.
It’s a good idea to add salt to meat when cooking it or even adding it to water in the morning when you wake up.
How much salt?
Everybody is different but what I’ve seen and heard is that anywhere from 5-10 grams of real salt per day may do the trick.
If you are coming from a high carbohydrate, low fat, Standard American Diet, vegetarian or even vegan diet chances are you may have some nutrient deficiencies and gut issues.
A lot of times this will cause magnesium deficiencies but now that you are going zero carb it may, from a hypothetical point of view, drop the magnesium even more.
During this adaptation period of going low-carb, your insulin levels drop which also tells your kidneys to throw out the sodium, and with the sodium goes the magnesium.
When this happens electrolytes are diminished and one of the symptoms can be lack of energy and nausea.
If you are on low to no carbs it’s also recommended to take magnesium before you workout or get all active as it will help decrease muscle cramps.
Dr. Shawn Baker goes into detail about magnesium and electrolytes in the highly recommended book, “The Carnivore Diet.”
Another reason magnesium is advised is because people that have low magnesium may also experience slow bowel movements and constipation, (or from having a poor diet throughout their life.)
Adding some magnesium to the diet can help things move more consistently and easily.
I recommend Natural Calm Magnesium. I take it every day as I know that I have deficiency and absorption problems, not to mention slower bowels due to poor eating habits growing up.
I do one teaspoon in the morning and one when I get home from work. Everybody is a little different so try the recommended amount on the packaging first until you figure out the amount that works for you.
Natural Vitality Calm is the best and has a few different flavors.
Here are the Supplement Facts for Natural Calm: 2 Teaspoons Equals 4 Grams (One Serving)
- 325 mg per serving and RDA=81%
The flavored version is sweetened with organic stevia but if you wanna go hardcore just get unflavored.
Bone broth is one the more crucial food items for good health so regardless if you are going carnivore or not it is highly recommended.
If you suffer from joint pain and inflammation bone broth may help as it is stuffed full of bio-available collagen which your ligaments, tendons, and bones depend on. (2)
If you are new to carnivore Bone Broth is also great with counteracting the side effects of keto flu and adaptation. As mentioned above when you go low carb for the first time your kidneys expel the sodium, minerals, and electrolytes. Bone broth may help.
If you begin to feel sluggish accompanied with nausea perhaps some bone broth will help. The bone broth is packed with electrolytes and minerals which can help lessen the keto flu symptoms.
Not only will the bone broth help with the keto flu symptoms but it’s know to help with the repairing of the GI tract. There is probably a good chance that you have some internal GI inflammation associated with years of eating a lot of fiber which has been shown to be a major irritant. (3)
When I first started on the carnivore diet I was drinking on average 8 ounces a day. I would either make my own or buy from the grocery store or my local butcher, Belcampo. Try making it on your own as you will save money.
The caveat for buying from a store or online is that you don’t control the ingredients and water source.
Just order a few of these and see if you like them.
The reason I mention jerky is because when you are in the adaptation phase of the carnivore diet you will get a little irritated or “hangry”.
A lot of the time I noticed I would crave some carbs and my way to combat that would be to grab some jerky. Now the kicker is that it can’t be just any jerky, it has to have no sugar, no preservatives, and no extra crap.
While on this subject you may be asking, “are cheat days allowed on a carnivore diet?” Well, we drop some serious pros and cons in this article:
Almost all the jerky from a conventional supermarket has the “no-nos”. Even Epic brand meat snacks have sugar, and when I was paleo I would eat those nonstop.
But with a little digging, I was able to come across Kalahari Biltong Air Dried, Thinly Sliced Beef. This item is not considered jerky but it sure is similar and perfect for going carnivore as it does not have sugar. It’s basically three ingredients: Beef, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Coriander.
Now the Carnivore purists might object due to the spices but really I don’t think they are in large enough quantities to be of concern. Plus this brand doesn’t use any preservatives, not even celery powder.
Try out this Kalahari Biltong
Tallow and Lard
Holy crap, growing up all I heard was fat and lard and tallow was not good for you! However, now it’s highly encouraged to add it to your meats when cooking.
Times are changing for the better now that fat is once again making its proper comeback after a temporary setback from corrupted conglomerates.
The reason I mention tallow and lard for the starter kit is because when I first started out I wasn’t eating enough fat.
I had mainly cheap leaner cuts of beef with 90/10 ground beef from Trader Joes and Whole Foods. A week into my new way of eating I either read or heard that a lot of early mistakes include not adding enough fat your food hence the implementation of including tallow and lard.
Some of us might not know what tallow or lard is but in nutshell its rendered fat from the trimmings of beef and pork. Basically you take the trimmings and heat them in a pot and over time the fat seeps out in liquid form.
If you are eating leaner cuts of meat, be sure to add some tallow or lard to increase the fat levels. Even if you have 90/10 ground beef I would add tallow.
Try out the gras-fed Epic Beef Tallow, I dig it.
Or you can head over to US Wellness Meats and order larger amounts in bulk. Plus they offer an amazing assortment of grass-fed meats.
This one is a no-brainer but hear me out. When I first started this lifestyle I realized I ate out way too much and didn’t cook for myself enough. What this means is I had a minimal selection of food containers.
Now that I hardly ever eat out I’ve slowly but surely come across a great way of preparing my meals and storing my meals. As a man living on my own, I use 5 glass Pyrex containers and 1 Rubbermaid plastic container that I use for my lunches.
The reason I go glass is to safeguard from BPA plastics. The reason I use the plastic Rubbermaid for lunch is because I am prone to dropping and breaking things.
I wrote a great article, “How To Meal Prep For The Carnivore Diet”, which shows in detail my morning routine to prep my food for the day. It’s a must read if you are trying to save time in the morning.
If you want to get your Pyrex container collection going here is the easy buy link.
Here is the link to the Rubbermaid lunch container I use.
Bonus: Electrolyte Time Savers
I found out later on in my carnivore diet that there are pre-mixed electrolyte packets and powders you can get. These are serious time savers and perfect for when on the road. I also use them as pre or post workout drinks. I love both of these brands.
- REDMOND Re-Lyte Electrolyte Drink (Use WILD at Checkout for 15% off)
- Elemental Labs Electrolyte Packs
Cooking as a Carnivore
Cooking and keeping the carnivore new and exciting is a challenge. That is until I purchased an amazing carnivore cookbook. I highly recommend this cookbook as you will learn all about meat and how to make it more palatable.
- The Carnivore Cookbook by Jessica Haggard (For a limited time use ANDY5 at checkout for $5.00 off)
Off To The Races?
These items should get you all set and ready to go so that you have a better chance of success. Hopefully, this saves you time, money, and headaches (literally). Be easy on yourself as changing behavior is not a walk in the park.
If you are looking for some motivation and positivity you can book me as your Carnivore Diet Coach at MeatRX.
Also, be sure to subscribe to our Wild Lumens YouTube channel for fun and entertaining videos about the Carnivore Diet and all things living optimally.
Recommended Carnivore Diet Reading
- The Carnivore Diet by Dr. Shawn Baker (Bookshop.org link) or (Amazon Link)
- The Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saldino (Bookshop.org link) or (Amazon Link)
Looking for some help getting started? You can book me as your 1 on 1 personal carnivore diet coach at MeatRX. Book me here.
Also check out our Wild Lumens YouTube channel for exciting recipes, carnivore adventures and general good times.
- Wild Lumens YouTube Channel Be sure to subscribe!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.