How to transition from Keto to Carnivore
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Do you feel great on keto, but have heard of people healing even more issues on Carnivore?
Well it is worth a try, isn’t it?
What is Keto?
Technically any way of eating that keeps you in ketosis, is classed as a Ketogenic Diet. You could do it Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, etc.
However, there is a common version of Keto, which most people would recognize as a Keto Diet.
It would typically be around 5% carbs, 15% protein and 80% fat by macros.
- Carbs – low carb vegetables and fruits, like leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, berries. No grains or high carb veg, like potatoes.
- Protein – most types of protein can be used, but mainly fatty cuts of meat and fish like ribeye steak and salmon.
- Fat – usually fruit oils and animal fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, lard, and even MCT oil.
What is Carnivore?
The Carnivore diet is like the brother or sister of Keto, they are part of the same Low Carb High Fat family but they can be very similar and also very different. Sometimes both, at the same time!
Like Keto, there are different versions of Carnivore, such as Nose to Tail, Beef and Water which was made popular by Mikhaila Peterson, and PKD (Paleolithic).
However, for the purposes of the article, we will go with a standard simple version.
Basically the rule of thumb is if it is from an animal you can eat it. So no fruit, vegetables, grains, or seed/fruit oils. With the majority of the diet being red meat, from ruminants ideally.
With Carnivore, the goal isn’t to be in ketosis all the time, although you generally will be. The goal is to mainly eat meat and fish, and let your body do what it wants to do.
Which one is best for you?
The Ketogenic Diet is an excellent diet and in my opinion far superior to the Standard American diet. Here is some pros and cons for you to consider:
- Excellent for weight loss
- Brilliant for weight management
- Insulin control
- Inflammation control
- Promotes a real/whole food diet
- Transition issues like Keto Flu
- Macro tracking required
- Ketone level tracking promoted
- Still include plant foods high in fiber and antinutrients
- A lot of keto junk food now available
What researchers say
Medical studies of a ketogenic diet are enticing. You could spend days reading the studies but these are packed with info:
- Clinical Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet (1)
- Changes in Body Composition During Weight Reduction in Obesity (2)
So, you are on Keto, and you are likely doing very well. Why would you try carnivore?
- Break weight loss stalls you may experience on Keto
- All your food has the highest levels of bioavailability
- Zero fiber so less chance of digestive inflammation and distress (people always are concerned about fiber so check out this article if you are too: Does The Carnivore Diet Cause Constipation?)
- Zero antinutrients
- No tracking, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full
- Possible palate fatigue…pick up this carnivore recipe book so you don’t get palate fatigue. “The Carnivore Cookbook” by Jessica Haggard (for a limited time use ANDY5 at checkout for $5.00 off)
- Could be hard to eat enough meat at the beginning
- Harder to judge how much fat you need for energy
- Even harder than keto in social situations, and more likely to be unfairly judged
- No plant foods to produce hormesis, although this could quite easily be a pro depending on your point of view. Carnivore Diet advocate Dr. Paul Saladino explains his theory of hormesis in his book, “The Carnivore Code”
You have now decided to go from Keto to Carnivore, what are the ways you can do it?
All in, Cold Turkey Style
On Sunday you have your last keto meal, and you clear out the fridge and cupboards. On Monday you start only eating animal products, no messing about.
This will mean you will get all the benefits of carnivore quicker, but you have a higher chance of suffering more transition issues and with higher severity.
For example Carnivore Flu, yep a lot of people can suffer another version of the Keto Flu. However, again this can be mitigated with proper hydration and electrolyte consumption.
I highly suggest you check out this article to help with this issue.
Also, the effects of some things like Oxalate Dumping may be more severe with this method.
This method is the most extreme, and its success is more dependent on your personality and will power than the other methods.
This is where you slowly reduce the amount of keto-friendly foods and increase the number of carnivore foods.
When you eliminate a food group, it is usually suggested to balance this macro and micronutrient loss by eating a greater quantity of animal products to be healthy.
- Week 1 – cut out all keto treats, like fat bombs and keto bars
- Week 2 – cut out all keto snacks, like nuts and seeds
- Week 3 – cut out all fruit
- Week 4 – cut out all veg
- Week 5 – cut out all fruit oils, like coconut oil
Day by day
With this method, you slowly reduce the number of days you are keto and increase the number of days you are on carnivore.
- Week 1 – 4 days keto, 3 days carnivore
- Week 2 – 3 days keto, 4 days carnivore
- Week 3 – 2 days keto, 5 days carnivore
- Week 4 – 1 day keto, 6 days carnivore
- Week 5 – 7 days carnivore
Meal by meal
Rather than days, you work on individual meals. So each week you decrease the number of meals that are keto and increase the number of meals that are carnivore.
A lot of people on keto and carnivore probably only eat twice a day, but for argument sake lets presume people want 3 meals a day, so that is 21 meals a week.
- Week 1 – 16 meals keto, 5 meals carnivore
- Week 2 – 12 meals keto, 9 meals carnivore
- Week 3 – 8 meals keto, 13 meals carnivore
- Week 4 – 4 meals keto, 17 meals carnivore
- Week 5 – 21 meals carnivore
Possible transition problems
Going from a standard western diet to a keto diet is a huge leap, you are going from a sugar burning energy system to a fat-burning system.
This requires a lot of adaption from the body and can cause a lot of transition issues which can last a number of weeks.
Going from a low carb keto diet to basically a zero carb carnivore diet, does require further adaption but the leap is less. Even Atkins to carnivore is a somewhat small step. Even Atkins to carnivore is a somewhat small step. So the transition should be less severe and shouldn’t last as long.
But some people suffer more than others, so there are things to look out for:
- Carnivore Flu – your body dumps glycogen and makes you pee more and gives you a runny nose. Also, expect headaches. Some carnivore advocates say to mitigate or lessen the effects it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water, up electrolytes and increase salt intake. Redmond Real Salt and their Re-Lyte electrolytes are the highest quality and my favourite. Plus you can use “Wild” at checkout to get 15% off your order!
- Constipation – your digestive system needs to get used to having no fibre, well not strictly true. Your digestive system performs excellently without fibre, the issues you may be having are that your gut microbiome is shifting and you are struggling with getting the fibre out that was already in your body. It can also be caused by eating too much lean meat. So to combat this make sure you eat fattier cuts of meat until the problem resolves. I also found that by using Magnesium it helped push things along and soften up if you know what I mean. This is the brand I use now it’s called Natural Calm and the unflavoured version is carnivore as it doesn’t have sweetener. The removal of dairy seems to help as well. Also, check out this article it goes way into depth on constipation and the carnivore diet.
- The Runs – as soon as you eat, it flies straight through you and you can never trust a fart again! This also resolves over time, as your stomach acids up-regulate, your gall bladder produces more bile and your microbiome shifts. To help the process along, eat leaner cuts of meat until you find the right balance.
- Lacking energy – on keto you were probably covering everything in butter or olive oil, even adding MCT oil to coffees. So you were filled to the brim with energy. It can be a little harder to get enough energy to start with on Carnivore because you are not used to it. You have to make sure you eat enough, and you have to experiment with the leanness/fattiness of the cuts of meat you are eating. It seems more complicated, but once you have settled into the diet it is easy to manage and you start doing it naturally.
A lot of carnivore people and advocates say, “the sicker you are the stricter you should be.” So if you were suffering from say colitis and numerous autoimmune problems, then maybe you should go strict carnivore. (Obviously check with your doctor before you make any nutrition moves.) If you are generally pretty healthy, you may do great on Keto or could switch between the two.
I have friends that say they are generally healthy, but they aren’t really. They will say “I don’t have to do what you do; I can eat whatever I want”. Yet they are 14 pounds overweight and have psoriasis. They just don’t know what true health feels like, so they cannot comprehend how they may feel better on keto and carnivore.
With this in mind, I believe and it’s only my opinion that everyone should do strict beef and water carnivore for 90 days. To really get an understanding of how you feel on just ruminant meat. Then maybe you can start reintroducing other animal foods, then dairy, then other fruit and vegetables if you feel the need. This is also a good way to pinpoint what may be causing issues.
People usually reintroduce one type of food at a time though and give it a couple of weeks before introducing anything else. If you feel worse, then don’t eat that food again. If you still feel great then you can probably tolerate eating it regularly.
That friend of mine with psoriasis, they could simply have to cut out gluten for it to go away but it might be numerous foods all combining to cause the autoimmune response. So if he went strict carnivore and the psoriasis went away but returned when he ate peppers. Then it is a clear sign not to eat peppers. I’m pretty sure Captain Obvious would also agree.
If we look at human evolution, it is clear we ate mostly meat and it was the primary and most prized food source. However, it is also clear that we ate plants in times of hardship or to supplement the hunting. So for millions of years, we were generally HUNTER gatherers, where hunting was the goal but we also did a little gathering.
So with this in mind maybe a CarniKeto Diet is best. Where your main focus is on eating fatty meat and fish, but you occasionally supplement it with seasonal fruits and vegetables.
This would seem like the best way to honor your ancestor’s way of eating. However, even that isn’t as straight forward as it seems. Our ancient ancestors had a daily battle to consume enough calories, to survive and reproduce. Were they eating mushrooms, honey, and tubers for some ancient version of your 5 a day? Or were they just eating anything they could for a calorie load, as long as it didn’t kill them?
So it can be difficult to think about how a caveman would act nowadays because the Western world has supermarkets. It is difficult to say what a caveman or cavewoman would have eaten if they had unlimited sources of any food of their choice.
However, logically in my opinion a meat-based LCHF philosophy is the best nutrition to build your diet around, and evolutionary makes the most sense. Then it is all about N=1 experiments. Don’t just do Keto or Carnivore because someone at work does. Experiment with various versions and see what you feel best on, and compare body composition, energy, sleep, inflammation, and libido.
What works for me may not work for you.
A lot of people ask, “What’s the best supplement for the carnivore diet?” Well, in my humble opinion it’s “coaching.” That’s right, good old fashioned diet coaching. This way you are able to speak with someone and stay motivated long enough to potentially see some major changes!
That’s were the MeatRX coaching system comes into play. MeatRX which is headed up by Dr. Shawn Baker has an amazing roster of coaches. I suggest checking them out and picking one. It’s very affordable!
You can also pick me as your coach as well. Here is the link to schedule a one on one session.
Or check out the Wild Lumens YouTube channel. Here you will find carnivore content ranging from recipes to product reviews. It’s a great resource all we ask is that you hit that subscribe button! Here’s a little sample video.
Either way thanks for reading and we here at Wild Lumens wish you great success!
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.