Benefits of the Animal Based Diet include weight loss, reduced inflammation and blood pressure, and improved insulin sensitivity. Those on the diet have overcome digestive issues and autoimmune conditions. They live with less brain fog and more sustained energy.
Unlike typical weight loss diets which restrict calories with little regard to the source of those calories, an animal-based diet helps you preserve lean muscle mass, even while losing weight and body fat.
If you’re unsure about committing to an animal-based diet long term, or even if you’ll benefit from it, a 30-day challenge can be a good way to start. Commit to the diet for just 30 days, and see how you feel.
A 30-day window is enough time for your body to reap the benefits. After 30 days some decide to keep going while others might choose to carefully reintroduce additional plant foods. Either way, you’ll be left with useful information on how different foods influence your health, for better or worse.
Keep reading and learn how to get started with an Animal Based 30 Day Challenge of your own.
What is an Animal Based Diet?
The Animal Based diet was made popular by Dr. Paul Saladino, better known as the Carnivore MD. The best-selling author of the Carnivore Code promotes a diet that consists mainly of animal-based foods.
Less restrictive than the Carnivore Diet, an animal-based deal plan includes all parts of the animal, from the nose to the tail, as well as fruit, honey, and raw dairy. For the most part, those who follow an animal-based diet get upwards of 90% of their calories from animal sources.
What’s Wrong With Vegetables?
Those on the animal diet view plant based foods as not only unnecessary for human vitality, but potentially toxic and inflammatory. Because plants are immobile, they’ve developed chemical defense systems to prevent their roots, stems and leaves from being consumed.
Fruit, on the other hand, is intended for consumption. By eating the fruit of a plant, we help plants reproduce. Fruit can provide us with quick energy, and can help make an animal-based diet more sustainable than eating meat alone.
A Quick Start Guide to the Animal-Based Diet
The Animal Based Diet is simple, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to follow. The most common mistake is perhaps not eating enough, something that’s likely to occur anytime we eliminate the macro humans typically rely on for the bulk of our calories; carbohydrates.
On an animal-based diet, the bulk of your calories will come from protein, followed by fat and carbohydrates. A typical breakdown is as follows:
- Protein: Dr. Saladino recommends approximately 1 pound of meat for every 100 pounds of goal body weight. For example, if your goal body weight is 180 pounds, you’d aim to consume 1.8 pounds of meat per day. This is in line with the amount of daily protein Dr. John Jaquish recommends.
- Fat: On an animal-based diet, fat is a source of energy and keeps you satiated. If you’re eating red meat, you’re likely getting enough fat. If you’re hungry or tired all the time, you may need more.
- Carbohydrates: This last macro is consumed minimally. Dr. Saladino recommends no more than 1g per pound of goal body weight. Consume less if your activity level averages less than an hour per day.
The simplest way to load your plate is for 80% of it to be meat, while organs, fruit, honey or raw dairy make up the rest.
What to Eat on the Animal Based 30
What to eat on the Animal Based 30 Day Challenge includes nothing more than meat, organs, fruit, honey and raw dairy. Plant foods are eliminated completely, other than fruit.
Meat: Most people on an animal based diet stick to meats sourced from ruminants. This includes cattle, sheep, goats, bison and elk. These meats contain an ideal percentage of fat and make calculating macros easy.
Organs: When people talk about “nose to tail” eating they mean they include all parts of the animal in their diet. Organ meats, such as liver, heart, tripe and kidney are rich in nutrients.
Fruit: At 200 pounds, Dr. Paul Saldino consumes approximately 8 pieces of fruit per day. According to studies, there’s no evidence that the fructose in fruit has no adverse effects, even when consumed in large amounts.1
Honey: Honey is not necessary, although 3-5 tablespoons per day may be used as a sweetener, or as a supplemental antioxidant boost that can help decrease inflammation.2
Raw Dairy: As an additional source of fat and as a digestive aid, fermented raw dairy is easier on the stomach for those who are lactose intolerant. Try raw kefir or goat’s milk cheeses.
A Sample Daily Menu
Many people combine the Animal Based 30 with intermittent fasting, but there’s no need to. For a beginner-friendly 16:8 fast, try 2 meals per day. The first after 11am, and the second in the early evening. Eat nothing from 7pm until 11am the next day.
11am: First meal of the day
- Grass-fed ribeye steak plus 2-4 eggs
- Small glass of raw milk kefir with honey
- A full plate of in-season fruit
- 2 bananas
- 2-3 slices of goat cheese
- 2-4 strips of bacon or beef jerky
6pm: Last meal of the day
- Ground lamb patties
- Organ meats such as liver, heart and testicles (3-5 ounces total)
- A full plate of in-season fruit
Accountability on the Animal Based 30
Part of the benefit of doing a 30-day challenge is that it’s easier to take one day at a time if you know your days are limited. You might be less likely to cheat if your new diet has a set end date.
What most people find, however, is that as you progress from week to week, the beneficial results you reap motivate you to stick with your new meal plan, even when the 30 days are over.
To keep yourself accountable during the Animal Based 30 Day Challenge, the following tips and tricks can also help.
Clean Your Kitchen: If possible, remove processed foods and plant based items that aren’t on the animal-based list from your kitchen. The less accessible these foods are, the less likely you are to eat them out of boredom or frustration in the early days of the challenge.
Plan Your Meals: It helps to use a calendar or journal as a meal planner. Map out your meals at the start of each week and make sure you have all the necessary groceries on hand. If you’re running short on creativity, plan just two weeks. Repeat week 1 in the 3rd week, and repeat week 2 in the fourth week.
Exercise: Keep yourself active during the Animal-Based Challenge. Remember, you’re doing this for your health, and daily movement is a big part of that equation. If, in the first 1-2 weeks, you find you’re more tired than usual, that’s completely normal as your body adjusts to a new source of energy.
Join a Community: Find an online community that can support you during the 30-day challenge. Some Animal Based 30 Day Challenge groups meet online, while others are more formal and will send you daily emails. Doing the challenge with just 1 other friend can also make you more likely to complete it.
What to Expect From the Animal-Based Challenge
Expect this type of challenge to be difficult at first. Most likely, you’re not only adjusting to a new way of eating but to a completely new daily routine. The body may react in uncomfortable ways, while your mind will try to tell you that meal planning is a huge waste of time.
Week 2: After the first week, both body and mind will settle into a more comfortable rhythm. As your body adjusts to a new source of energy, you’ll become more accustomed to meal planning, you’ll know what you need on your shopping list, and you’ll know which meals you’d most like to repeat.
Week 3: By the third week, you might start seeing some surprising results. Weight loss or a shift in energy, less brain fog or stronger workouts. If you’re using a journal, take notes on the benefits you’ve noticed, and let this motivate you to continue.
Week 4: By week 4, your 30 day challenge should feel less like a challenge and more like a new lifestyle. Now is the time to start thinking about what habits you’d like to keep, and which you’d like to let go of, as the challenge comes to a close.
If you’re feeling great, just keep going. You might commit to another 30 days, or commit to one more week, or one more day at a time. By now, you’ll have first-hand information to make a more informed decision about your health and what should be on your plate. As saying goes, trust your gut.
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