Health Hack #48 - The Lost Art of Nose to Tail Eating
The Carnivore Diet
The Carnivore Diet. Some may have heard of this in passing, but there’s a decent chance that you’ve never heard of it before. The origins of the “movement” are a bit hazy, but it was largely brought into view during a Joe Rogan podcast a few years ago. Jordan Peterson, a prominent guest (who does not operate in the world of food; he’s a prominent author, speaker, clinical psychologist, and former university professor) discussed the ways in which a strict meat and salt diet had virtually cured his daughter of a litany of auto-immune related symptoms. Having needed a full ankle and hip replacement before the age of 21, she had battled debilitating arthritis her entire life, and attributed her diet to being a primary cause of many inflammatory reactions. After eliminating virtually everything except meat, she suddenly found that she could live much much better. She then compelled her father to try the same, and he too noticed a slew of physiological improvements in himself.
The science is far from settled here, and fortunately neither father nor daughter have used their platform in any dogmatic sort of way. Instead, they’ve suggested that this has worked for us. They’re not exactly sure why, but it’s seemingly been a good find. Others have hopped on board and found similar results. Others have given it a try and found the complete opposite, watching their health quickly deteriorate. So many questions linger. What about the importance of fiber (Soluble Fiber: A Vital Component of a Balanced Diet), which is devoid in an all-meat diet? What about the ramifications on our lipid panels? Well known adherents to the diet have seen a drastic rise in their LDL, which by all measures is reason for worry, and a known precursor for heart disease. The list of concerns goes on and on. The people converting to such a draconian diet are in many ways guinea pigs themselves. The jury is out, but hopefully in the years to come some scientific research can shed light onto its overall efficacy. Who knows. Maybe it’s curative for some in the sense that it marks the most austere elimination diet of all, and by way of eating only animals, they’re avoiding the plant-based foods that ail them. But maybe for most, those without autoimmune conditions or severe gastrointestinal-related issues and allergies, it’s not the way to go. We shall see.
Regardless of its true overall effectiveness, this new Carnivore Diet is likely to have its moment in the sun. Why? Because so many people will find it attractive. Ten years ago very few people had even heard of the ketogenic diet. Nowadays, it’s more likely than not that you know someone who’s on it. And if you shop at any grocery store, you’ve certainly encountered “keto-friendly” products. While providing a variety of nuanced benefits if adhered to correctly, ketogenic dieting (which generally consists of 80% or more of calories consisting of fats) has been infiltrated by a variety of slants that contort the premise into becoming a never-ending onslaught of bacon and cheesy eggs. Are bacon, cheese, and eggs “keto-compliant”? Yes, they are. Does a diet consisting primarily of these three foods embody a well-rounded ketogenic approach? No. But too many miss that latter point. There is more to sound nutrition than merely weight loss. Avocados, olives, and macadamia nuts all possess a bounty of monounsaturated fats, and it’s widely accepted that these fat constituents are your most beneficial sources of all (we delved very deeply into why here - The Power of Extra Virgin Olive Oil). One can also incorporate a variety of leafy greens into a ketogenic diet, since they’re super low-calorie, nutrient dense, and bode well when cooked and consumed with fatty oils. Diets tend often to be less prescriptive of the granular aspects found in micronutrients, and more focused in on the calories and the macronutrients (macronutrients meaning the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate in any given food).
Tying this in now to the Carnivore approach, there is bound to be attractiveness to the idea of eating red meat ad libitum. Wait? I can have a bun-less burger for lunch, and a ribeye steak for dinner? It may not sound appealing to the well versed omnivore, but for some, the idea is very enticing. Especially if it comes attached with the loose promise of improving aspects of their health. Unfortunately, many of the names and faces of this new movement champion the consumption of nothing but steaks. Ribeyes and New York strips all day long. There are, though, a select few advocates who think larger. And it's within their more nuanced viewpoints where it seems that a worthwhile, long forgotten food practice may soon return to prominence, thanks too, ironically, this whole Carnivore thing.
|Nature’s Long Forgotten Superfood|