The carnivore diet is a meal plan that focuses entirely on animal products. This means: meat from any animal (land and sea), bone broth, full-fat dairy products that are low in lactose, eggs, organ meat and animal fats like lard, shmaltz and grass-fed ghee, butter and tallow.
While your initial reaction might be to balk at a diet that doesn't include fruits and vegetables, this way of eating has been gaining steam among various health-conscious communities, especially among paleo and keto diet devotees. It's showing some promising anecdotal results in the way of weight loss, autoimmune health, allergy reduction and general wellness, when done correctly.
We'll do a quick dive into what doing an all-meat diet entails, then we'll talk about a few different versions of the plan and finally we'll get cracking on some of our favourite carnivore diet recipes.
The Healthy Carnivore Diet
Eating all meat, all the time might sound a little out there, but when done correctly, you'll get everything your body needs to thrive. Here at Hunter & Gather, we encourage the practice of nose-to-tail eating, meaning we find nutritional value in every part of the animal. This includes bones, organ meat, healthy fats and offal in addition to the standard muscle meat you're used to.
By eating nose-to-tail, you'll elevate your zero carb diet to a superfood diet in no time. That's because many parts of the animal that usually go wasted — especially bones and organ meat — are the most nutrient-dense parts. Liver is chock-full of vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, copper and selenium, for example. By adding things like grass-fed beef heart and lamb liver, along with bone broth, bone marrow and black pudding to your diet, you'll be well on your way to gaining all the health benefits of the carnivore diet.
Types of Carnivore Diet
In all versions of the carnivore diet, you're shooting for a high-fat, high-protein, very low-carb plan — even zero carb. That's why ensuring that your dairy has low or even zero lactose is so important.
The carnivore diet is different from the ketogenic diet in that it emphasises both fat and protein (rather than just fat). The goal isn't necessarily to reach ketosis, although you will likely cycle in and out of it. While the keto diet allows low-carb fruits, vegetables, zero-carb sweeteners and nuts, the carnivore diet doesn't.
Despite these differences, keto dieters and carnivores both tend to experiment with intermittent fasting and find creative ways to make these diets sustainable.
The purest form of the carnivore diet is a virtually plant-free approach. This means that, in addition to only eating animal proteins, your only fat sources are strictly animal-based as well — things like avocado oil or olive oil aren't allowed. On this super-strict version, experts even recommend cutting out coffee. We say ‘virtually plant-free’ because every version of this diet leaves room for herbs and spices in cooking. This strict form is called Zero-Carb Carnivore (even though some animal products contain trace carbohydrates).
There are also slightly more flexible versions of this diet, which include coffee, healthy plant-based fats and very tiny portions of specific lower toxicity vegetables like summer squash and crucifers. While those in the strictest camp may not recognise this slightly more flexible version of the diet as true carnivore, many of these dieters consider themselves Carnivore Keto eaters.
Carnivore Diet Recipes
Below you'll find some of our favourite carnivore-friendly recipes, both from our catalogue of recipes and from across the web. If there are ingredients that don’t toe the line in these recipes, we'll point them out so you can make the call for yourself on whether to include them.
Carnivore Breakfast Ideas
The Ultimate Keto and Paleo Frittata: This frittata includes onions, so take those out to remain compliant on this plan. Frittatas are a great jumping off point for any breakfast because you can include anything you want before popping it in the oven. To make this dish even more interesting, cut up some pre-cooked bacon or ground beef and toss it in before the bake.
Carnivore Pancake Patties: A delicious take on the breakfast sausage, these thin patties include loose sausage, eggs and even pork rinds!
Carnivore Waffles: Featuring only carnivore-friendly ingredients, these crispy waffles will relieve a craving you didn't know you had. Top with a thin drizzle of Hunter & Gather Garlic Avocado Mayonnaise for a savoury treat.
Green Eggs and Steak for Two: Chimichurri (the green ingredient) is a combination of fresh herbs, olive oil and a tiny splash of lime juice. If you don't think that will work for your version of carnivore, leave it out.
Carnivore Recipes for Lunch
Smoked Salmon Tartare Burgers: Fit for breakfast or lunch, this recipe has a few ingredients that you can choose to leave out to stay truly carnivore. This includes capers and the juice and zest of half a lemon.
Cheesy Air Fryer Meatballs: Featuring pork rinds instead of traditional breadcrumbs to hold these meatballs together, this recipe is the perfect combination of ingredients for your mid-day meal.
Keto Carnivore Scotch Eggs: This recipe makes 12 eggs, so you can eat some now and save some for later. Finding ways to save time on meal prep by batch cooking is a great way to help you stay on track. Eat these at breakfast or lunch.
Crustless Mini Meat Pies With Hidden Liver: Perfect for a power-packed hand-held lunch, these little meat pies feature beef liver, one of the most potent superfoods on the planet.
Carnivore Starters and Snacks
Keto Dill Stuffed Eggs: A fresh take on devilled eggs, this one contains mustard, which most carnivores agree is fine to eat in small quantities.
Seared Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi With Wasabi Mayo: To make this flavourful recipe from our vault truly carnivore, leave out the handful of pomegranate seeds. This impressive appetiser will still taste amazing!
Egg Mayo: This incredibly simple blend of hard-boiled egg, avocado mayo and fresh parsley is another great snack you can prepare in bulk. Fill five or six small jars and stick them in the fridge so they'll be ready when hunger strikes.
Keto Chicken Liver Pate: This recipe features a carnivore option in which you remove the shallots to keep it compliant. It also works with duck liver.
Carnivore Dinner Recipes
Spicy Keto & Paleo Chicken Liver Meatballs: For this recipe to work on the carnivore diet, you'll need to substitute out the almond flour in favour of crushed pork rinds and skip the sauce entirely. It's a great way to add more organ meat into your diet!
Keto Beef Brisket in the Instant Pot: Instant Pots make everything easy, and this simple recipe is no exception. It includes onion for flavouring during cooking, but you can skip the last step and serve your brisket without the onions or BBQ sauce.
Keto & Paleo Roasted Turkey Recipe With Avocado Oil: This recipe can be purely carnivore, just swap the avocado oil for tallow & simply discard the onion after your bird is cooked. Cooking a whole bird (like the following recipe as well) is another great way to have food for your whole week.
Whole Grilled Chicken: This super simple recipe brings you outside to your BBQ pit. Enjoy the smoky flavour of chicken cooked over an open flame.
The Carnivore Diet Made Easy
Eating a special diet can be a challenge if you're not prepared. The best way to prepare is to have your favourite recipes on hand when you're making your shopping list and cooking enough to have leftovers. This way, there's a much lower barrier between you and your next meal. We chose to share recipes with that in mind in order to help you make the most of your carnivore diet.
Remember, to make the carnivore diet work best for you, be sure to include ingredients from the whole animal rather than just focusing on the prime cuts. This will help ensure that you’re getting all the nutrition you need from this type of diet.
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.