I’ve been eating a carnivore diet on and off, though mostly on, since January of 2018. That means I’ve been enjoying this way of eating for about 9 months as of this writing. So far, I like the diet and the only times I go off it are an occasional flex-day, rarely by desire and usually by necessity.
Travel days are a good example for that.
I’ve explored eating this carnivore diet in different places around the world because we’re a digital nomad family. Sometimes it’s easy, like in the UK where meat is really cheap – well at least ground beef is. Other times it’s hard and I don’t get to eat red meat for a couple of weeks at a time.
I simply don’t worry about it though, and I aim for mostly carnivore when possible.
A Woman’s Perspective
I wrote my book The Carnivore Diet Handbook to share with both men and women what I learned and experienced eating this way. However, as a woman, I noticed benefits that I wanted to address in more detail, and that’s the point of this blog post.
I’ve since learned over the months that there are quite a few women enjoying similar experiences – it’s not just me.
The happy and energetic Kelly Hogan is one name that comes to mind who has lost tons of weight eating low carb and then carnivore. She also has had a few pregnancies eating the same way. And, of course, there is the beautiful and talented Charlene Andersen who continues to inspire women every day.
Via social media and word of mouth, I continue to hear of other women finally experiencing the health they always thought was possible when they eat a carnivore diet.
Sure, you’re mileage may vary, but odds are you’ll experience some amazing benefits when you reduce (or eliminate) processed crap carbs and you increase nourishing animal foods. But, you’ll never know until you try.
What is the carnivore diet? A Basic Primer…
Before we get started about some of these great female benefits from eating a carnivore diet, let’s briefly examine exactly what the carnivore diet is:
- You eat animal products (and by-products).
- You do not eat plants (vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, fruits).
The carnivore diet is also known as a “zero-carb” diet, or “all-meat” diet, although zero carb is a bit misleading as olive oil is a zero-carb plant, and therefore, not on a carnivore diet. Also, eggs have a trace amount of carbohydrate. Full-fat dairy, such as cheese and whipping cream, also have trace amounts of carbohydrate.
Therefore, when you eat a so-called “zero-carb” diet, it could have a trace amount of carbohydrate, depending on the animal foods you eat. Still, some people on a carnivore diet consider these technicalities to be splitting hairs and they call it a zero-carb diet because it has, essentially, no carbs.
What Can I Eat on a Carnivore Diet?
There are few ways to approach the carnivore diet.
You might think, “How is that? Seems pretty simple… eat animals and don’t eat plants. Got it.”
True, that is the diet in its most basic form. But from there, you have options.
A carnivore diet can include any of the following foods:
- Oyster, Crab, Lobster, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus
- Offal (liver, kidney, tongue, heart, etc)
- Snake, alligator, frog legs
- Dairy (whole-fat choices are best: cheese, yogurt, milk, heavy cream, butter, and ghee)
That’s a lot of choices.
Furthermore, there are different ways to prepare these foods for a plethora of meat-heaven diversity. Roasted, stewed, grilled, steamed, seared, etc.
Canaries in my coal mine
I have a few points of measure for how my health is going… the canaries in my coal mine, if you will:
- Do I have pimples?
- Do I have migraines?
- How are my hormones and monthly cycle?
I’d add to that list of how my energy levels are, but when you’re a stay at home-world traveling mom, indie-author, homeschooling mom… I think all bets are off. There are going to be days that I feel dragged through the mud. That said, my personal experience is that I have more energy in general when I’m eating low-carb.
Is a fit and flat tummy too much to ask?
I like having a flat tummy. Always have. Always will.
However, my passion for a flat tummy is dashed when I eat plants. Back when I was 20 and a competitive bodybuilder I used to complain to my coach about my stomach sticking out after eating. He used to say, “Girl, it’s just food.” I had another friend tell me that, because of my narrow waist, my stomach had to stick out after eating food because the food didn’t have anywhere to go.
This pacified me briefly but I still wasn’t very comfortable and I never liked it.
15 years later, I was still complaining about it to my husband. He repeated the same thing my former coach and friend did, “Honey, you just ate. It’s food.”
Then, in my early 40s, I came upon the carnivore diet. Out of my usual curiosity for trying new diets I was intrigued by it’s radical-ness. It seemed so weird that I had to try it.
And, something interesting resulted.
I thought my health was just fine before the carnivore diet.
I didn’t know what to expect with the carnivore diet because my health was in pretty good shape – or so I thought. I figured there was a little room for improvement. Knowing the carnivore diet was pretty much a zero-carb diet held even more mystique and excitement because I’d wanted to experience a ketogenic diet and see what improvements I could get with brain focus.
I’d tried low-carb diets in the past. However, in spite of my tremendous willpower, I didn’t usually last longer than a week or so.
From steak to swimsuit
When I started the carnivore diet, I dove in with gusto. It wasn’t long before I realized one of my favorite things about a carnivore diet. I can eat a pound of steak and I don’t get bloated after I’m done. WHAT???
I’ll never forget the day I realized that I wasn’t bloated after eating over a pound of ribeye steak. The weather was hot and my daughter wanted to go to the pool. Usually I’d want to wait a couple of hours after eating, but I realized I could happily don my bikini right then. I just ate a pound of steak. Nothing remained on my plate but the bone. And you’d never know that I’d just enjoyed all of those delicious calories by looking at my tummy.
I felt energized and ready to go do anything.
A big fatty steak seems like a lot of food, and I suppose it is. A pound of meat is not what you normally see on a woman’s plate, or even a hungry man’s. But here I was eating a huge slab of meat twice a day and I was amazed that I never got bloated.
Now, I can’t help but question all the times I tried telling myself that being bloated after eating was natural and OK. Well, it wasn’t OK for me.
The carnivore diet kept coming up roses for me.
I was really excited about my consistently flat tummy on a carnivore diet. However, turns out just eating meat was great for more reasons than just a flat tummy. I felt energized, focused, and I wanted to work out and move my body more. Then, I learned how easy the diet was to maintain, and how much more time I had as a result. That’s always good for us mamas.
Being a wrinkly vegan
When the light bulb went on for me in my mid-30s and I questioned the validity of my decade eating a vegan diet, I looked at my knees one day. I was dismayed to see the skin on them was sagging. I was like, “WTF?” There was no reason for my knee skin to be sagging. I was in my fucking 30s.
I exercised more often than not.
I was supposedly eating the healthiest diet there was.
I immediately went to the bathroom and inspected my face. And my butt. In that moment I realized that beyond a shadow of a doubt, my vegan diet had contributed to aging faster than I should have. I was a non-smoker, I came from strong genes, I didn’t eat crap processed foods. Yet here I was aging faster than I should have. Saggy knees, floppy hallow ass, and thinning skin on my face. Goddammit.
Animal foods for beauty
Thankfully, when I changed my diet to include meat, eggs, and fish, my rapid aging seemed to slow, but I had lost a lot of time. In my new (at the time) omnivore diet, I was automatically eating fewer carbs and including more nutritious skin-healthy foods. My natural olive-toned skin was revived from the ashen-gray tone it had taken while eating vegan. My face filled out, and my ass stopped sagging like a 70-year-olds. I’d say that my vegan-intensified face wrinkles improved (maybe from proper hydration and my face filling out), but they didn’t all go away, of course, because that damage was done.
The best I could hope was that I was now on the right track. I was hopeful that my new diet with better foods would slow future aging. At this point I wasn’t even eating carnivore. I can’t say for sure how eating carnivore will impact slowing aging even more, but when I read the following about carbs and their effects on skin, I’m expecting even better results.
One thing is for sure, my skin cleared up from pimples when I went carnivore. I had experienced something similar when I went omnivore, but carnivore took it to new, unprecedented levels.
Sugar Steals Beauty
Sugar and carbohydrates are not good for your skin. They trigger inflammation which can quickly result in acne, rashes, and other skin problems like accelerated aging. Those pesky sugar molecules attach themselves to protein fibers in our cells, and the damaging process (known as glycation) results. Glycation limits the power of collagen to rebuild the skin’s structure, increases the rate at which collagen breaks down, and robs your skin of its natural moisturizer, hyaluronic acid. I used to spend a lot a money on face products that had hyaluronic acid.
To think I could’ve saved that money by just eliminating sugar.
Many experts regard glycation as problematic for your skin as smoking and sun exposure. In fact, glycation makes the effects of smoking and sun damage even worse. Want accelerated wrinkly, saggy, dry skin? Eat carbs and sugars.
Carnivore diet for powerful, effortless anti-aging beauty
The carnivore diet is a way of eating that eliminates accelerated-aging foods and amps up anti-aging foods.
Zinc and carnosine
On a carnivore diet, we’re also eating nutrient-rich foods like beef, fish, and chicken which have zinc and carnosine. Zinc is excellent for healing wounds and carnosine is shown to protect against advanced aging.
Omega-3 fatty acids for fighting skin inflammation
If you eat fish (sardines are awesome!) then you’re also enjoying an anti-inflammatory health boost with omega-3 fatty acids. The carnivore diet also reduces a diet that is typically high in omega-6 fatty acids which can lessen inflammation.
Retinol for acne and wrinkles
Last but not least, there’s retinol in egg yolks and liver. Now, I don’t eat nearly as much liver as I should, but I do eat eggs. Retinol can do wonders for your skin. Heck, people are buying retinol in beauty products. Watch what happens to your skin when you consume it directly in foods.
Bone broth is bonafide beauty food.
When you look at the nutrients that make up bone broth, you should expect delayed wrinkles, reduction in cellulite, stronger teeth, and glowing skin.
Dr. Kellyann Petrucci uses bone broth to help her dangerously obese patients take off hundreds of pounds and to help Hollywood celebrities smooth their wrinkles and sculpt perfect bodies.
And, according to Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology, bone broth can help decrease the appearance of cellulite and make your skin more supple and smooth looking. Bone broth contains a number of nutrients, including collagen, that help build strong and beautiful skin.
Carnivore Diet as Skin Food
By eating a carnivore diet you’re eliminating sugar and carbohydrates, which we’ve just seen are extremely damaging to the skin. You’re also not eating inflammatory foods on a carnivore diet, and so you’re skin will have less inflammation in the form of pimples, rashes, and other skin irritations.
With bone broth, beef, eggs, and fish – all common in a carnivore diet, plus the elimination of carbohydrates and sugars, you’re set to have the most amazing, glowing, clear and youthful skin of your life.
I don’t look like I’m 16 (yet), but I’m certain the longer I eat this way, the better my skin will be.
PMS and monthly cycle on a carnivore diet
My experience with PMS has been all over the place for the past 20 years. Some cycles are a breeze and others are shitty with migraines, hormonal acne, water retention, and cramps. What I’ve found, however, is that on a carnivore diet my cycle is the easiest. I’ve had months where I wasn’t even expecting it and it came on so gently it surprised me.
Where was the migraine? Where were the pimples? Where was the water retention?
It took a few cycles to get to this point as my hormones adjusted. I’m not claiming it’s all unicorns and glitter, but it’s way easier than it used to be. This can be life-changing for so many women.
In my experience, each subsequent cycle seemed to feel easier and easier. I remember last year, before I was on a carnivore diet, I started logging my headaches because I was getting PMS headaches too regularly. It was becoming a pain, literally and figuratively. The weird thing is that it’s not like my pre-carnivore diet was crap food. I was eating a healthy, whole-food diet with plenty of salads, Bulletproof Coffee, homemade organic sourdough bread, vegetables, meats, etc. I wasn’t shutting myself in a closet eating Twinkies and Kit-Kats.
Still, I had those routine migraines. But, I went carnivore and, low and behold, my migraines ceased in their regularity. They became infrequent to the point that now I rarely get one. Everything about PMS improved for me.
That’s where I am today.
For me, I find the rate of headaches and the health of my skin and PMS tell me a lot about where my health is. I am not going to say that eating a carnivore diet will cure everything for everyone. I’m not saying that I’ll never get a pimple or a headache. But, damn… it’s close. I’ve seen enough women eating a carnivore diet experiencing the same things that I know it’s not just me.
What about getting pregnant on a carnivore diet?
I’m not a doctor but I’ll share that I’ve read about women doing it. That’s something for you and your doctor to decide what’s best but I wouldn’t expect much support from your doctor if you tell him/her you’re on a carnivore diet while pregnant. Do your own research and listen to your own body. You can read about Kelly Hogan and how she has been on a carnivore diet for years, including pregnancy.
Does going zero-carb (or low-carb) negatively impact a woman’s hormones?
That’s not been my experience because I’ve only had great results eating a carnivore diet. It’s been less than a year for me but there are women out there doing it longer than me, and it’s been the only diet that worked for them.
Although I think we can all benefit from fewer carbs, I’m not arrogant enough to say that everyone should. You’ll have to experiment for yourself and see what works for you.
I found what works for me.
If you’d like to learn more about how to easily start a carnivore diet, get my book The Carnivore Diet Handbook today.
I also have a little book available detailing how to eat this diet frugally, The Frugal Carnivore Diet.
Last, but certainly not least, I have those two available at a discount (eBook Kindle version) in a box set.
I can’t help but share these beneficial experiences of eating a carnivore diet when I’ve done so well on it. Do I have any negative feedback about it? No, not yet. So long as you don’t stress about eating all carnivore in times it’s not practical, then I see nothing but greatness. It has nutrition, it’s easy, and it could help you feel your best ever.
Does just meat every day get boring? Surprisingly, it doesn’t for me. I like the benefits too much and I don’t crave sugar so it’s not hard to follow – I don’t feel deprived.
Try it for yourself, if you want, and see. Or don’t. We’re all on our own journey, right?
Update! Here’s what I’m up to in 2020 in addition to still eating tons of beef… I’ve decided to become a millionaire.