How often have you been told to eat your vegetables? If you are like most of us, your mom or dad repeated this phrase to you throughout childhood. As it turns out, not everyone benefits from eating a ton of veggies. That may seem shocking to many people, but you need to understand why some don’t see positive results from a diet that includes a wide array of vegetables.
The evidence has mounted regarding a carnivore diet and how it can improve and sometimes may reverse autoimmune issues. Many people see diminished symptoms as they eat this way over time. Patients may get told by their doctors that once they get diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, they will not recover. While that may be true for the diagnosis, it does not mean they will always suffer from the illness. Let’s look at how these conditions can be helped by implementing a carnivore diet approach.
In the simplest terms, a carnivore diet is a meat-based diet. You can eat animal products and exclude all other foods. That means you leave off veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains. Some people add nuts and seeds back to their diet, but they mostly stick to animal products.
The carnivore diet is like a ketogenic or low-carb diet because you cut out sugar and other processed foods. It differs by bringing the number of carbs down to zero. Many people who follow this approach believe that a diet high in carbohydrates increases the possibility of disease. (1)
When some people hear about friends trying the carnivore diet, they get alarmed. Many of them start pointing to the health benefits of eating vegetables. While it is true that many vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that benefit health, that is not always the case.
Plants also contain toxins. When you research the biology of plants, you find that they evolve into something dangerous so that animals won’t eat them. Some plants also have carcinogens in them, which can cause cancer. We also must consider the number of pesticides that get sprayed on vegetables. Even without any pesticides, vegetables have natural toxins that we consume when we eat them. (2) While many of us go through life not noticing a difference, some will see a significant change. That does not mean that we should consider plants bad for everyone. They are trying to survive like any other living being. Part of that survival includes the creation of toxins.
Some people love vegetables, and they feel their best when they eat a few servings a day. That is why it is so critical to listen to your body. When you pay attention, your body will let you know what makes it feel the best. Everyone is unique, and some people feel their absolute best when they remove plants from their diets.
Around 50 million Americans suffer from at least one autoimmune disease. Some have more. So, what makes people think that switching to a carnivore diet will help their autoimmune problems?
For us to fully understand why someone who change their approach to eating, let’s look at what an autoimmune disease is and how it affects the body.
An autoimmune disease begins when your body’s natural defense system cannot tell the difference between your cells and foreign cells that may invade. That causes your body to attack the healthy cells by mistake.
There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases that can affect your body. Some are more common in women than men, and the opposite is also true. Many of the common symptoms that come with having an autoimmune disease are fatigue, joint pain, skin issues, and digestive problems. Some people even get fevers and swollen glands.
One of the hardest parts about having an autoimmune disease is that it can be hard to get diagnosed. Some diseases don’t have regular lab tests that can prove what a patient has, and that means you may go years without knowing what is wrong with your body.
Many people have gotten misdiagnosed. They have been told they have depression or anxiety. Some doctors have told their patient to get more sleep or exercise and that will fix the problem. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as it may seem. It leaves a feeling of frustration and hopelessness.
Some of the most common autoimmune diseases are Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritism, Graves’ disease, and Psoriasis. Fibromyalgia has been labeled a diagnosis of exclusion because sometimes doctors cannot pinpoint a specific disease or health problem.
When some people mention they want to try the carnivore diet, their friends see it as a radical approach. They may not realize that when you eat an animal-based diet, you eliminate the anti-nutrients that come with eating edible plants. By removing many of the foods they ate previously, they discard the nonprotein amino acids that can initiate the beginning of autoimmune issues.
These nonprotein amino acids (NPAAs) have low toxicity, but when someone consumes them for a long time, it increases the toxins. Eventually, the body recognizes these as abnormal proteins and attacks them. The battle that takes place inside the body leads to autoimmune diseases.
We initially thought that people with autoimmune issues had overactive immune systems. That may not be the case. It could be that the immune system is working as designed and trying to get rid of substances that do not belong there. (3)
In a Study, chimpanzees got fed a steady diet of alfalfa. That contains an NPPA substance synthesized by a mixture of over 350 plants. The chimpanzees all developed an autoimmune disease. The volunteer who ingested alfalfa seeds also developed autoimmune issues that resolved after discontinuing the seeds.
Once someone decides to try the carnivore diet, the next thing they want to know is what they can eat. If eating an entire diet based on meat seems too restrictive, you may be able to eat more than you think.
The other positive note regarding this way of eating is that you do not need to count calories. You eat until you are comfortably full. There is no measuring or weighing the food.
Also, you can have different items to switch things up a bit. You can eat beef like burgers and steaks. You can eat fish and dairy products as well. If you like cheese and yogurt, you can eat them on a carnivore diet. Eggs are nutrient-dense and encouraged when eating this diet.
Organ meat has tons of vitamins and minerals. Many people don’t want to eat organ meat for different reasons. It is always an option. Feel free to add some spices and herbs to give your food more flavor. You can also take supplements to get more collagen and vitamins you may need. You may want to get some lab work to check your levels are after eating this way for a few weeks.
You want to make sure you choose quality foods. It is best to get pasture-raised when possible. It is crucial to get the best foods you can afford. You also may find that your body does not react well to some of the foods on the list. Many people cannot consume dairy. If you don’t tolerate dairy products well, you may want to eliminate them. If you can eat dairy without issues, you want to eat it in small amounts. The focus should be on eating meats and fish.
One of the concerns about the carnivore diet is not getting enough vitamins. One of the incredible things about this lifestyle is that you eliminate many of the foods that deplete vitamins and minerals from your body. When doing so, you may find that you don’t need as many vitamins as you once thought.
As mentioned, getting labs drawn is a way to know where you stand. If you discover you need more vitamins, you can always take a daily multi-vitamin to help. Make sure you take a quality supplement, and not one from the local grocery store that may have tons of fillers in it.
If you find the carnivore diet intriguing, you may want to try it out. If you don’t see results, you can certainly include more vegetables in your diet. When we look at autoimmune diseases, people have had great success following this eating lifestyle. After some time, they don’t mind giving up the other foods because of how good they feel. Some have reported being able to lead an active lifestyle after being forced to remain sedentary for so long.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is possible, even if you’ve gotten told you must learn to live with your autoimmune issues. If this has given you some food for thought, try it for a month and see how your body reacts! You may find that eliminating those other foods changes everything.
We have many natural resources that help us live our healthiest lives. The carnivore diet is one of those options that may be your tool for success. It is not for everyone, but it does give many people their lives back through natural methods. We always want to treat our bodies well, and diet is one of the ways to do that. If you have been trying to improve your health and have any autoimmune issues, the carnivore diet may be for you.