We’ve been told that eating healthy means eating a lot of vegetables, but what if plants and vegetables have a “dark side”? What might an animal-based diet do for our health and well-being? There’s a lot of buzz about the carnivore diet right now. What does an animal-based diet look like and how can it benefit us? Dr. Paul Saladino, a leading expert on the science and application of the carnivore diet, sheds light on what this kind of diet can do for those on a healing journey.
As a conventionally-trained doctor, he was taught very little about nutrition, but he took it upon himself to do a deep dive. What he found changed the course of his practice. Now, he uses the carnivore diet to help patients reverse autoimmune conditions, chronic inflammation, and mental health issues.
Today, Paul compares the long-term effects of eating a vegan diet with meat-eaters. (Hint: the latter fare better.) He reviews why animal products are very good for us and why plant foods are less so. He explains why he considers the carnivore diet good for both men and women. And why his own animal-based diet today includes some fruits and even raw milk.
Please keep in mind as you listen that we recommend an omnivore diet rich in traditional fat, with moderate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Rather than eliminating plant foods, we offer methods to make it easier for our bodies to absorb and assimilate them. Nonetheless, we wanted to explore the topic of a carnivore diet.
Visit Paul’s website: carnivoremd.com
Check out Janine Farzin’s Liver Lover Course: offallygoodcooking.com
Listen to the podcast here
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda.
Curious About The Carnivore Diet?
There’s a lot of buzz about the carnivore diet. What does an animal-based diet look like, and how can it benefit us? This is episode 388 and our guest is Dr. Paul Saladino. Paul is the leading authority on the science and application of the carnivore diet. As a conventionally-trained doctor, he decided to study the root cause of disease as opposed to the symptom-based model. Using the carnivore diet, he has helped patients reverse autoimmune conditions, chronic inflammation, and mental health issues.
In this episode, Paul explains the carnivore diet. He breaks it down for us. He goes over why he finds it to be an excellent tool for many on the healing journey. He goes over the benefits of nutrient-dense animal products and the drawbacks of anti-nutrients found in many plant foods. He discusses if it’s equally good for men and for women and explains why he considers the diet a great elimination style diet for anyone seeking to heal.
As you read this episode, please keep in mind that the Wise Traditions diet, per se, is a diet that is rich in fat and contains moderate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. As always, remember that the guest viewpoint does not necessarily reflect that of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Before we dive into the conversation, here’s an invitation from chapter leader, Janine Farzin.
Go to OffallyGoodCooking.com.
Go to DefenderShield.com and use the code WISE10 for 10% off on anything you like on their site.
Welcome to the show, Paul.
Thanks for having me on. It’s good to be here.
You probably should have been on this show a long time ago because we have so much in common when it comes to diet. The Wise Traditions dietary lifestyle has to do with no refined or denatured foods. The importance of eating nose detail. We have so much in common, but you’re a conventionally-trained doctor. How did you come to these conclusions?
I came to these conclusions through my own experience, my own reading and research, seeing what worked in people that I worked with, seeing what didn’t work, and patients that I treated and worked with in PA school. I worked as a PA in cardiology for four years before medical school. I saw it in medical school, residency, and then after residency in my clinical practice with patients throughout all of that. It’s been quite an interesting journey. It is always deepening every day. It combines medical literature with anthropology and ethnography. It’s quite fascinating.
Let’s take you back to that residency that you were doing. You’re working in the area of heart conditions and so forth. You were seeing there may not be the correlation that you’ve been told that, for example, red meat causes cancer or heart disease.
Before I went to medical school at the University of Arizona, I did PA school at George Washington University in Washington, DC. I worked as a physician assistant in cardiology for four years. During that time, I wasn’t thinking much about nutrition. It was so early on in the medical career that I was treating patients and thinking a little bit about my own nutrition. I had a vegan phase during that time, which didn’t result in good body composition for me. I was about 25 pounds of lean muscle mass and had bad GI bloating and gas during the time. That was maybe the beginning of my nutritional curiosity. The first step was a misstep, unfortunately, but that’s how we all learn.
I then went back to medical school at the University of Arizona, then to a residency at the University of Washington. As I got further in my training, I began to have more curiosity about patients’ diets. In Western medicine, there’s not much focus or much actual, real precise questioning or history-taking of patients with regard to food and how it might be related to illness or not. We are a pharmaceutical-centric model for better or for worse, mostly for the worse.
What was the turning point for you? When did you start thinking, “The diet of these patients and my own diet matters.”
It was when I saw the effect that it had on me. It starts with me. It starts with our own personal experience. This is the way it starts for most people. They have something in their own life that causes them to question their dietary choices. It could also be something in their family or their children’s life that causes them to question their dietary choices, and then the light bulb goes off.
Our dietary choices start with our own personal experience.
For me, the first experience was probably the negative one with a vegan diet, seeing that I had bad gas. I was very skinny without a lot of protein and with a lot of plant foods in my diet that were not fermented or detoxified in any way. I added some meat back on what was a paleolithic diet for 10 to 12 years and was able to regain a lot of the muscle mass but still had autoimmune symptoms, including eczema.
I had struggled with atopic symptoms and asthma as well for the majority of my life. I came to a point of frustration during my residency at the University of Washington after medical school, where I thought, “I am eating 100% organic food.” I was in Seattle. There’s a great grocery store there. I was eating grass-fed meat, 100% organic food, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and I still had eczema, which was sometimes severe.
I thought, “This is not working for me, and I bet this is not working for other people. There’s got to be another layer here.” That was where I went a little deeper and fell down the rabbit hole of thinking about vegetables, and plants, how good or bad they are, or what relative position they might occupy on a totem pole of desirability for humans.
My friend, Dr. Bill Schindler, says that plants try to kill you after you harvest them, whereas animals try to kill you before you kill them. It’s true. Talk to us about some of the anti-nutrients that plants have as a defense mechanism.
We’re never taught about this. In medical school, there was no nutritional training. In residency, there was zero nutritional training. In pre-med or undergrad at William Mary, there was no nutritional training. At George Washington University, there was no nutritional training. I had to do my nutritional training on my own.
After residency, I got a board certification as a physician nutrition specialist, which is a title and not much more. In my own research, after I became very curious about potential problems with vegetables, something that canonically is thought of as perhaps the top of the food chain for humans, the most desirable foods for humans, or the best foods that you could eat to be healthy, what I found was fascinating. I hated Botany when I was in college. Maybe this was a harboring of what was to come. I got a B in Botany in college. I was apoplectic. I was angry at the fact that I didn’t get an A in Biology.
I never liked Botany, but when I looked at botanical science and how plants defend themselves, it was fascinating. It was something I’d never heard about. I’d only heard this mainstream functional medicine “narrative” that you should eat the rainbow, all polyphenols are good, all plant compounds are good for you, or all plant fiber is good for you. The more, the better. End of story. There was a much more nuanced set of literature that I discovered when I was thinking along the lines of carnivore and then an animal-based diet later.
Your audience will be aware of this, but plants are rooted in the ground. Co-evolution between plants and animals has been happening for 500 million-plus years. Plants have had to defend themselves. Neither plants nor animals want to be eaten. As Bill says, animals have defense mechanisms of motility, mobility, tusks, teeth, antlers, or hooves. They can defend themselves before you kill them, but plants can’t do that.
They do have these GI and hormonal disrupting chemicals in them. There’s a variety. There are so many, whether it is saponins, oxalates, or lectins, which are carbohydrate-binding proteins. It could also be strictly things that are phytoalexins, which are plant defense chemicals that are meant to inhibit digestive enzymes or inhibit enzymatic machinery in the human body.
We’re aware of some of the most toxic examples of plants and fungi. Many mushrooms will kill you dead if you eat them. Some plants will kill you dead immediately if you eat them. They’re quite toxic. Only 20% of plants are even edible. If you talk to anyone who is a survivalist or spends time in the wilderness, you’ll understand that edible doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that it’s a good thing to sustain your vitality long-term. It just means it won’t kill you. It might get you to the next day with enough calories to not die or starve one day, but it certainly doesn’t make for vital, fertile, and thriving humans.
There are so many different types of plant chemicals. We could fill three hours of discussion of different types of plant chemicals. The question is not whether plants contain different types of chemicals. The question in my mind and the focus of my work has been, “How well does any human detoxify these plant chemicals? Could these plant chemicals be one of the hitting causes of continued suffering for a lot of people who don’t get better when they try and improve their diet?” They might cut out processed foods, but they leave in things like salads, and their autoimmune condition doesn’t get better. Is there more that could be done for that person?
They think, “I’m eating so healthy. Why do I feel so bad?” You and I know, and many of our audience as well, that we’re very conscious of the fact that these vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and legumes have anti-nutrients like oxalates, phytates, and the things you’ve mentioned. Where we differ is that here at the Weston A. Price Foundation, we think if these foods are soaked, fermented, or sprouted, the anti-nutrients can be neutralized. This is indeed what people have done for millennia, probably. Why do you suggest removing these foods altogether from the diet?
Why would a human eat survival food when they could eat the food that is most optimal for them and their ancestors and anthropologically been the most celebrated? When I spent time with the Hadza in 2021 in Tanzania, they ate zero vegetables. They didn’t go about detoxifying anything because they had successful hunts. They were excited about honey, and they were excited about meat and organs.
They might eat a tuber here and there. They dug some tubers because we asked them to go dig ekwa, but they don’t get excited about plant roots. They didn’t eat a single plant leaf when I was there. They didn’t touch a single plant seed. It has to do with which are the most sought-after foods for humans. One of the interesting things about humans, Homo sapiens, and our precursors, which are Homo habilis or even Homo erectus, many years ago, is that we are Omnivorous. We did descend, evolutionarily, from primates who were primarily plant eaters. One of the things that allowed us to thrive as humans is that we are adaptable.
Certainly, throughout our evolution with millions of years of human history and hominid history, there have been times of scarcity of hunting, whether it was ice ages, hunting, or warring tribes. In those situations, it’s nice to have a few backup methods, in my opinion. This is my belief. It’s nice to be able to gather some seeds or some grains and ferment and detoxify them, so you don’t die. You can get by until tomorrow. There’s a clear history and a clear precedent that these are still survival foods. They’re not optimal foods for humans. They don’t represent the most optimal sources of any nutrients that I’m aware of.
Plants are not optimal foods for humans. They don’t represent the most optimal sources of nutrients.
Often, the detoxification process isn’t complete. You can detoxify them enough to break them down, but still, lectins persist. Unless you pressure cook the heck out of beans, you’re not going to get the lectins out of there. With phytic acid, you have to ferment that soybean so much to get rid of the phytic acid. It’s hard to get rid of these. What you end up with then is still subpar food for humans that’s survival food rather than the optimal food for humans. I would define those as the most nutrient-rich, most bioavailable, and least toxic foods.
What do we celebrate? What do we intuitively seek as humans? We seek sweet, seasonal, and colorful fruit and honey. More than that, we seek a fresh kill, which we’re going to eat nose to tail. We’re going to eat every single piece of that animal. The organs have been forgotten about. It is a fact that more historical accounts, like Weston A Price’s account of nutrition and physical degeneration, show people doing this method. We see that cultures do this. I would suggest or hypothesize that that’s a reflection of scarcity in a lot of those populations and in unsuccessful hunting.
Perhaps you’re aware of historical accounts of this, but I’ve never read or observed when I’ve traveled to these tribes’ successful hunting that allowed for adequate food and simultaneously them eating fermented survival plant foods. There are accounts of the Kung, Botswana, and Namibia saying that they’ll eat up to two-plus kilograms of meat per day when they have a successful kill. They will shun plant foods when they do that. There’s a real hierarchy of foods for humans.
Though detoxifying does reinforce or corroborate what we were saying earlier that many of these plant foods do contain plant toxins, it’s also a clear indication that these are second-class citizens in the world of food for humans. If we want to thrive, my perspective is, why not focus on being the best hunter and gatherer that you can be? We live in a very strange, unique time for a lot of reasons. You can be a good hunter by driving your potentially electric vehicle to a grocery store where you can hunt and gather probably sweet fruits, good honey, meat, and maybe some organs. If you can’t get the organs there, there are other ways to get organs for humans.
Most humans have the ability to be the most celebrated hunters throughout human history. They can eat the most sought-after foods. We can eat honey every single day. The Hadza went crazy for honey. They can eat fruit every day. The Hadza love fruit. We can eat meat and organs every day. These are the foods that make the Hadza sing, dance and play their musical instruments. They don’t get excited about baobab seeds. That’s survival food for Hadza. They don’t want that.
I realize that we agree again, to my surprise. Principle number three of the Wise Traditions diet is nutrient density. What Dr. Price found was that the most nutrient-dense food, the foods that people prized and were happy to celebrate, were those that came from animal sources. Whether it was land or sea, it was the organ meats. They ate everything nose to tail. You’re right. I hadn’t thought before about how, in a way, some of these other foods are second-class citizens that we overly depend on in our modern world. We go for the hunt and go pick up a salad and some kale on the side.
That wouldn’t earn many hunters in Hadza a good wife. If you ask the women what makes a good husband, they say, “A good hunter.” A husband or a suitor bringing back a salad isn’t going to impress any ladies. If you ask a man what makes a good wife, they say, “The ability to make the milk of life,” which is potentially breast milk. We’d have to ask them more about the referencing there.
If you ask the Hadza men what the best day of their life is, they don’t say, “It’s the day I found this huge bushel of pumpkin leaves,” or, “The day I found this big bushel of plant seeds or nuts.” They say, “It’s the day I hunt and kill the biggest animal,” which for them is an eland. It’s a 1,000-kilogram impala. That’s what they always say. You’re right.
We’re getting mixed up because the nutritional information that we are being fed and consuming is contradictory, which is why it’s important that you do what you do and I do what I do. We have to give a different voice. This idea that meat and organs are the most prized foods is quickly being lost. There’s a resurgence of it, but most people would believe that kale is healthier than meat, and that is a big problem.
There’s propaganda against meat. There are all these things coming out all the time. There are few studies that show that red meat causes cancer or that meat-eating shortens lifespan. It is almost as if there were a deliberate effort to get us to stop eating meat. Have you noticed this?
Yeah. Many people hear that message. The message that is being communicated is that red meat is sometimes associated. They can’t say it causes because we don’t have any interventional data. We can’t mistake correlation for causation. The media is savvy enough that you’ll hear mainstream dieticians or the media say, “Egg yolks are associated with this decline in longevity. Red meat is associated with this increased incidence of cardiovascular disease.” People listening to that will insert the word causes incorrectly because they’re not scientists and physicians, and they shouldn’t have to be.
The media doesn’t do their due diligence or responsibly communicate that science and help people understand that that is observational evidence. It’s not actual interventional studies. You and I both know that when we do interventional studies, take diabetics, for instance, and replace a couple of hundred grams of carbohydrates in our diet that are most likely grain-based carbohydrates with eight ounces of red meat, they don’t get worse. They get lower inflammatory markers, increased insulin sensitivity, and better diabetic metrics. It’s less use of insulin and other diabetic medications. Why isn’t the media talking about that study or talking about the fact that there’s a real disconnect? How can both be true?
If we go to Asia and look at observational epidemiology there, all of these associations fall away because the meat is associated with affluence there. Who eats meat? It is the higher class people in Asia. There’s a huge study in Asia of over 220,000 people from Thailand, China, and Japan. The men who eat the most red meat have the lowest rates of heart disease. The women who eat the most red meat have the lowest rates of cancer. How can that be? Meat is good for Asians but bad for Westerners? No. It’s the fact that these observational studies tell us more about the narrative or storyline around these foods in that culture.
What the people who eat these foods are doing in their free time than they do about the foods can help us generate hypotheses. The hypothesis from Western epidemiology would be red meat causes cardiovascular disease. How can we test that? We’re like, “We could give people red meat and look at their CRP or do other things.” When we do that, the CRP goes down. We have clearly made an incorrect hypothesis based on those observational studies, but that is what the media is pushing.
We have made incorrect hypotheses based on observational studies, but that is what the media is pushing.
As you suggest, the media doesn’t want to show the other side. A lot of the media’s bought and captured. This may sound conspiratorial, but it’s true and it is supported by evidence, both empirical and other types of suspicions that we have. There is an agenda, and the media is not pro-meat for a variety of reasons. That’s very scary.
One of those reasons is that they make more money off of fake meat than they do from regular meat. In other words, with a cow on pasture, you can’t make as much per pound as you can selling an impossible burger concocted in a lab. They’re making a lot more using the pea protein than they are with the actual meat. There’s an agenda behind the push, in that respect, and that’s just one of the aspects of it.
I completely agree with that. That is exactly what is going on. Follow the money and you will understand what’s going on. I have never met a single rancher who drives a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. They usually drive 25-year-old pickup trucks that are full of holes and rust. They’re happy. Their boots are full of poop, bugs, and mud. They don’t wear diamonds. They certainly don’t fly on private jets.
These executives that are behind these environmental summits and this push against red meat do all of those things. They’re flying on jets. They’re wearing $1,000 suits. Their shoes do not have mud on them. They’ve probably never set foot on a farm in their life. They’re certainly driving very expensive automobiles. There has got to be more profits in 1 of those 2 realms, and that raises some suspicions.
We know that if you look at the nutritional quality of a processed plant burger versus the nutritional quality of a piece of meat, liver, heart, spleen, pancreas, brain, or testicle, there is no comparison. It goes way beyond the nutrition label and the macros. They try so hard to make the nutrition label look equivalent to beef by giving some protein from pea protein or giving a little bit of this fat or that fat.
What they’re not showing you is the fact that plant-based burger is devoid of creatine, carnitine, choline, taurine, K2, biotin, and B12. The list is so long. There is also heme iron and peptides, but nobody’s aware of that stuff. What we do is red pilling people and helping them wake up to the fact that they’re being misled and it’s hurting them and their families.
Interestingly, you were mentioning studies earlier. I was thinking the best study is your own self and your own experience. Tommy John always says, “N equals one. See what works for you.” You are a wonderful example of how a person can thrive going carnivore. When did you do it exactly? What were the results in your own body?
I originally went fully carnivorous with my diet a few years ago. That wasn’t the end of the story. I’ll tell you the beginning part. I cut out all plant foods, which are fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and ate meat, organs, fat, and salt for about a year and a half. There were a lot of positive effects and a couple of negative effects that caused me to change course a little bit a couple of years ago.
The positive effects were an improvement in mood and resolution of eczema, which I had suffered from for many years. That was quite striking. I could feel a difference within the first week or two of eating meat. I felt good. Gradually, maybe a year into it, I began to have some electrolyte issues, probably from long-term ketosis. We can talk about why this is. I was having hypnagogic jerks, which are jerks that happen in your body when you’re going to sleep. You feel like you’re falling and get this jerking motion that wakes you from sleeping.
I was also having muscle cramps when I was in the gym and I would try and do a route. I was in a rock gym and I was climbing. I was either pointing or tensing my calf muscle to put my foot on a hold and I would get a calf cramp. I was having palpitations. I was having skipped beats from my heart in the middle of the night, which would wake me up sometimes. Eventually, when I started watching my testosterone, I could see that my hormones were going down. My T3 went down. My TSH did the same.
I moved at the end of my residency to San Diego. I always felt subjectively a little bit cold. Anyone who spent time in San Diego knows it’s on the edge of being pleasant but a little cold all the time. Costa Rica is, thankfully, quite warm all the time. I had this subjective sense that my thyroid was not where it needed to be and my body temperature was lower when I would check it. There were some benefits, but long-term ketosis was not viable for me. I don’t believe it’s good for most humans for a lot of reasons. I added back honey, originally thinking, “This is plant food. It is made by bees, but it’s animal food.” Ideologically, I could still get my head around it. I felt a lot better with the honey.
Eventually, I added back fruit. I began to reconsider this spectrum of plant toxicity. I knew that animal foods, meat, and organs didn’t have defense chemicals because those animals can do all of those defensive actions against us, like kick, bite, run away, etc. The leaves, stems, roots, and seeds of plants are all part of that plant’s reproductive effort. It’s all part of gathering that sunlight, making glucose and photosynthesis. It is putting energy into the seed to package the DNA for the next generation.
You and I both know that seeds, which are seeds, nuts, grains, and beans, are some of the most defended parts of plants because of that phytic acid, oxidates, digestive enzyme inhibitors, high concentration of lectins, and carbohydrate-binding proteins. What the seeds are packaged in is often much less toxic. Even looking at the botany, I could find evidence that as fruit matures, less of the defense chemicals are present in it.
There is intelligence in plants. As much as plants and animals have this animosity, plants are beautiful. They have intelligence. Plants are trying to kill us, but we’re trying to kill plants, too, so it’s fair. We’re all coexisting for millions of years. Plants are saying, “You can eat my fruit, but don’t eat it too early because that seed inside isn’t ready to germinate. You’re going to waste all of my reproductive efforts. All of my energy’s going to go to waste if you try and eat my fruit.”
You can eat fruit, but don’t eat it too early because that seed inside isn’t ready to germinate.
A lot of fruit is green, which is the color of leaves, incidentally. This isn’t always true, but there is a pattern here. A lot of fruit ripens, going from green to another color. We know that whether it’s green bell pepper, it’s going from green to red. I’m not a fan of bell peppers in general because of the way that the nightshade family, or even the fruits in the nightshade family, seem to trigger immune reactions in people.
I see it in papayas in my front yard. There’s a tree of papayas. There are eight papayas out there and only one of them is orange. I know which one I’m going for as a human because the rest of them are green. They don’t taste good. The seeds inside are not ready to germinate in the plant. It hasn’t done the good work of putting the nutrients and giving those seeds time to mature.
Plants are telling us, “Green is not food, but orange, red, or yellow, like a banana, which also goes from green to yellow, might be food for you. Don’t chew too many of the seeds or you’ll get a stomach ache. Preferably, swallow them, spit them out, or poop them out somewhere where they’re in fertilizer. We’ll all be happy.” I thought, “This makes sense to me. I can find literature to support the fact there’s not as many or sometimes very low levels of plant defense chemicals in fruit.”
I added fruit back to my diet. Lo and behold, it took a few months to probably recover from that electrolyte deficit and those imbalances. I don’t have heart palpitations. I don’t have muscle cramps. My testosterone is much higher. It was close to 500 at the time. It’s high to mid-700s most of the time when I check it. The sex hormone binding globulin went down from 125 to 50-something. There was a massive difference in the free androgen index with the hormones getting out of ketosis. I don’t get those hypnagogic jerks anymore at all.
I’ll say this. This is something I didn’t discover until after going through this whole process. It was not something I was taught in medical school. Unfortunately, insulin is vilified in some nutritional communities. The people doing this are well-intentioned and can see the effects of chronic basal insulin, like supplemental insulin for someone with diabetes. That doesn’t seem to work that well for humans.
Phasic rather than tonic insulin is very important for us. Postprandial insulin levels are important for us to signal glutathione production, turn on glutathione peroxidase, transcribe a whole bunch of genes involved in glutathione, and also signal to the kidneys that they should retain electrolytes properly. Without insulin signaling, if you are low carb or zero carbs and you are never getting a postprandial insulin spike, your kidneys aren’t getting the proper signal to retain the sodium and then connect it with the sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Those affect the performance of our muscles and all of our electrolyte balance in the human body. That’s how we are this body electric. That’s how the electrical signals of our body move.
We can exist in ketosis as humans in a survival state. It also parallels a lot of these plant foods. It’s a survival state. It’s not meant to be the optimal state for humans. Clearly, what is fertility is meat and organs, but also carbohydrates. That’s how people become vital, fertile, and romantically receptive would be the most politically correct way to say that.
Let me ask you. I have followed you on social media platforms. I follow some of my other carnivore friends. I feel like more men are carnivores or going carnivore-ish than women. Is this diet or a carnivore, more meat-based diet recommended for women?
Absolutely. I transitioned from a carnivore to what I have termed animal-based a couple of years ago. I detail on my Instagram, @CarnivoreMD2.0, all the time what I’m eating. Every single day, I’ll do a story about what I’m eating. If people follow that and they follow my content or listen to my podcast, which is called Fundamental Health, they’ll know that I’m eating upwards of 200 grams of carbohydrates a day. It’s probably 250 on a lot of days between raw, glyphosate-free honey and fruit. In Costa Rica, I get papaya, mango, and pineapple. Whatever I can get my hands on, I will eat the fruit. It is an intuitive thing for me. I’m quite active. For women, a lot of these same macros will work quite well if you’re incorporating carbohydrates.
What I did experience when I was talking about exclusively carnivorous diets was some women had improvements in autoimmune stuff. There are examples of this in the community. There were women that were having fertility improvements and improvements in autoimmune disease. Some women would say their psycho length would lengthen, which is not always a good indicator. Some would say things would become strange with their fertility. There are negatives to a ketogenic diet for women in a lot of these same ways.
Carbohydrates are a signal of abundance in your environment and a signal that it is okay to have children or become pregnant and that you can carry a child. That’s corroborated by a lot of the intersection of these medical studies that we’re talking about. For both men and women, carbohydrates are the signal of abundance along with the nutrients in meat and organs. I would think of it as a meat-centric diet but also a nutrient-centric diet.
On my website, CarnivoreMD.com, we’re going to have a calculator soon with macros for people with an animal-based diet. In general, I recommend about 1 gram of protein per pound of goal body weight. I’m about 170 pounds. I probably eat 200-plus grams of protein per day. Women can adjust that accordingly. Some women, if they’re 120 pounds, will do around 100 grams of protein per day and then make sure they’re getting enough carbohydrates with enough fat and nutrients from the organs. They’ll thrive on this diet. It works well for women.
In addition, it’s a matter of making sure the macros are adjusted based on the body weight and body size. A 120-pound woman doesn’t have to have two pounds of meat per day, nor are most of them going to do that. I do know 130-pound women who eat close to two pounds of meat per day at the Heart & Soil headquarters. We’ve got some pretty serious meat eaters over there.
Before we wrap up here, talk to us a little bit more about any drawbacks or setbacks that we may encounter. For a time, I went very low carb in an effort to go more animal-based. That’s when I started experiencing heart palpitations. I was like, “Something is weird.” I thought maybe I needed more carbs, but I didn’t have anything to guide me. I didn’t have a calculator. I was guessing at the time, and maybe I went too drastic. Are there things we need to be aware of if we decide we want to go more animal-based?
Yeah. Carbohydrates are the first piece. If people are not feeling good, they’re often not eating enough carbohydrates. They’ll say, “I had a handful of blueberries.” That was 20 grams of carbs. You’ve got 180 to go. Have about five tablespoons of honey and call me in the morning. That’s a joke, but not. Most of the time, people feel much better with that.
If people are not feeling good, they’re often not eating enough carbohydrates.
A lot of times, both men and women will look at this way of eating and think, “It’s meat. I can eat bacon. I can eat steaks.” You have to pay attention to the quality of the meat, too. I’m not a huge fan of pork because most pork is fed corn and soy. I talk about this problem a lot on my show. They don’t even focus on the organs. We’ve talked about eating nose to tail so much already, but it’s critical that people get organs, either fresh or desiccated.
If you can’t get fresh, check out Heart & Soil. It is a company that I built for my mom and my sister because I knew they would never eat fresh organs. We make desiccated organs. You could also get fresh organs, which are the best thing and the best way to do this. I do about half an ounce of liver per day and a few ounces a week, but I’m more liberal with the heart. I’ll eat three ounces of the heart per day. Plus, the heart is a great source of riboflavin.
I have trouble getting brains, so I appreciate the brain supplement from Heart & Soil, which is called Mood, Memory, and Brain because I can get a desiccated brain. The phosphatidylserine in there is helpful to people. Phosphatidylserine does help with cognition and retention of mental faculty. There are so many benefits to the different organs.
Who can get testicles? They’re hard to get. That’s probably because I talk about them. They’ve become pretty precious these days. There are desiccated testicles out there if you can’t get fresh. That helps men with stuff. There are all sorts of organs that can help both men and women. The key things are thinking about the macros and adjusting those based on your level of activity.
A lot of people don’t get enough carbs. That’s where the honey can be helpful. You don’t fear the honey, and I don’t think you should. I’ve done a lot of research or a lot of discussion on my show about why fructose in the food form performs differently than fructose in a processed sugar form. The information going to the body is different. That’s a big thing.
Getting organs, either fresh or desiccated, is the biggest stumbling block for people. The third one might be whether you are getting enough fat A lot of people will get lean meat and think, “This isn’t good.” Lean meat is gross. You got to put some butter on there, preferably some raw butter, or get some raw milk. Get a fatty steak, and then everything comes together.
Not to make this a little troubleshooting session for me, but I didn’t have enough fat, for sure. I also maybe did it too quickly. I needed more carbs in my diet. It made me happy when I’ve seen you on social media drinking raw milk. I’m like, “Yay.”
When I first was experimenting with my diet, I didn’t think milk was going to work for me. I would try raw cheese. I don’t know if it was something that had to change in my gut because the last time that I reintroduced it, I had no problems. It’s enjoyable. It’s something I look forward to. I make my own coffee out of raw goat’s milk here in Costa Rica. I can even find real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese here in Costa Rica, which is a very enjoyable thing as well.
I look forward to raw butter. We can get raw butter here quite easily. I eat enormous amounts of raw butter. If you watch my Instagram stories, you’ll see me slather on the butter. Dairy is valuable for humans. It’s almost like another organ meat. Calcium is valuable. A lot of people on carnivore diets don’t think humans need calcium in the diet. That’s not true. There are many benefits. We lose calcium every day in the urine and sweat. Getting some calcium, either from ground-up bones, sometimes bone marrow because it has a little flex of calcium in it from the bones, or a dairy source is the most enjoyable way to get a little calcium in your diet.
Some people say that the reason folks thrive on carnivores or an animal-based diet is that they’re simply eliminating all the processed foods, junk, preservatives, and things that would do them damage. In other words, if they even went vegan at first, they would feel good, too. They are skeptical about the diet being good in the long-term. What do you say to them?
That’s a very valid criticism. There is some truth in that because people do vegan diets and find improvement long-term. Talk to 3 or 4 vegans and you’ll find out what a long-term vegan diet does to humans. There are significantly more ex-vegans and ex-vegetarians than there are current vegans and vegetarians. There are a lot of people who always eat meat and always thrive on meat. If you talk to long-term animal-based eaters, you will see people that look completely different than long-term vegans. They are thriving in ways that are completely different from what a long-term vegan could achieve without massive amounts of synthetic vitamins, multi-mineral supplements, and all kinds of things like that.
It is a valid criticism. The removal of offending foods is a powerful intervention and something to be lauded, no matter what someone does. I’ve said on other podcasts and publicly that the first step is an intentional choice with regard to your diet, whatever it is. Most humans, if they’re honest with themselves, will end up eating meat and organs if they can be that brave for organs. They’ll end up in the right spot eventually.
Some people get stuck in the dogma, and that’s what I worry about in the vegan black hole. Most people, if they’re honest with themselves, will realize they still crave meat. They still feel better with meat. There are ways to eat meat ethically and responsibly as well. Intentional choices with regard to your diet are the first step, no matter where that leads you. Eventually, you end up in the right place.
I don’t want people to have to suffer needlessly. You should go to candy land, take the slide all the way to the candy cane forest, and don’t have to go through all the muck in the middle. That’s part of the reason I do the work I do. I want people to have agency and their own sovereignty to make their own decisions and explore.
I do think that removing processed food is quite helpful for a lot of people. That’s why vegan diets work short-term. Vegan diets inevitably fail so often because they’re nutrient-bereft. They’re nutrient deficient. This is incontrovertible. It’s comical what passes for health and vitality within vegan circles. That statement may sound mean or demeaning, but we have to be honest and call it spade to spade because it’s going to hurt people. It’s going to hurt families, children, and parents who are going to influence their kids, too. You look at animal-based eaters and vegan eaters long-term. The difference will be markedly apparent to anyone.
You may have already answered this question in that last response about being intentional about our food choices, but I want to ask you the question I like to pose at the end. If the readers could do only one thing to improve their health, what would you recommend that they do?
I do think being intentional with regard to your food choices is the first step. Getting organs in your diet is another big one for people. There are so many nutrients that get filled in properly when you add organs, whether it’s riboflavin, biotin, or K2. It helps so much. It’s intentionally eating but also getting some organs however you can.
Being intentional about your food choices is the first step. Getting organs in your diet is another big one.
That sounds great. Thank you so much for being on the show. It’s been a pleasure.
Thanks for having me.
Our guest was Paul Saladino. Check out his website, CarnivoreMD.com, for more information and resources. You can find me at HolisticHilda.com. For a review from Apple Podcasts, FreeTheFirst had this to say, “Spreading truth. Full of great truths you won’t find in the corporate media.” She or he gave us five stars. Thank you so much, FreeTheFirst. This means a lot. Every single review on Apple Podcasts lets people know that the show is worth tuning in to. Go there. Click on ratings and reviews and tell us what you think of the show. Leave us a bunch of stars and maybe I’ll read your review at the end of one of these shows. Thank you so much for tuning in. Stay well. Hasta pronto.
About Paul Saladino
Dr. Saladino is the leading authority on the science and application of the carnivore diet and animal-based diets. He has used these diets to reverse autoimmune issues, chronic inflammation and mental health issues in hundreds of patients, many of whom had been told their conditions were untreatable.
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