The true purpose of this 28-day challenge is not to turn you into a carnivorous only meat-eating zealot (it may), but instead to fight back against the vilification of meat and show you how your health and fitness can be drastically improved by eating more meat.
If you have never heard of The Carnivore Diet then this challenge might sound mad. You wouldn’t be the first to think: what good will come of just eating meat?
Surprisingly, quite a lot of benefit can come from just eating meat. Here are two reasons why I think you should try The Carnivore Diet Challenge:
As counterfactual as it may sound, there are many health benefits to consuming a meat only diet - to name a few:
Reduction in inflammation
Improve auto-immune conditions
Better mental clarity
Stable energy throughout the day
This challenge will help to disprove the myth that MEAT IS BAD FOR YOU.
Challenges are good for your character. They build discipline; they build self-esteem; they improve motivation; they lower depression and anxiety; a challenge gives you a purpose - in short - pressure creates a diamond.
So maybe you are an easy sell and I have convinced you to try this challenge - good - scroll down to get more details.
But if you are still not convinced, and still think meat is rightly vilified, and that 28 days of eating meat will lead to the sound of a flat line beep… then here are five more reasons why meat is not the enemy and you will be fine - CLICK HERE!
Also, Carnivore Diet FAQs can be found HERE.
The challenge in short: consume nothing but meat, water, and salt for 28 days.
The challenge in detail:
Consume just meat, water, and salt.
This phase acts as a strict elimination diet. This is important because many foods you may be consuming could in fact be causing you harm and the elimination phase will allow your body to heal.
Continue to consume just meat, water, and salt.
This week try adding in some liver, kidney, and or heart.
These meats are packed with micronutrients and this is to placate fears that you will be consuming deficient micronutrients.
Continue to consume just meat, water, and salt.
This week you can add eggs to your diet.
As an experiment you can try to add egg yolks by themselves first and see how you feel, then the next day try eating whole eggs and see how you feel.
It is more common to have a negative health reaction to egg whites than the yolks.
Continue to consume just meat, a few eggs, water, and salt.
What meat can you eat on The Carnivore Challenge?
To answer this, let's start with what can’t you eat on the Carnivore Challenge.
The reason the following foods are not allowed is that the benefits you are seeking from this challenge can be hindered by the consumption of the foods below. After the Carnivore Challenge and if you want to transition to a more long-term ‘sustainable’ version, then the inclusion of some forbidden foods can be done.
- Lean cuts of meat
This one might seem a bit out of place, but it’s because lean meat is well… lean. Lean cuts of meat lack the calories you need.
- Processed meats
This includes sausages, cured meats, ready-cooked meats, jerky, pork rinds etc. There are a lot of added ingredients to processed meats, and it is those ingredients that are forbidden on the Carnivore challenge.
However, there are some processed meats with minimal additional ingredients, which can be added, but for the sake of accidentally shooting yourself in the foot, stay away from them during the challenge. If you must eat, send a photo of the ingredients to me, so I can have a look and check.
- Sauces and condiments
Most sauces and condiments have a plethora of additional ingredients and high levels of added sugar. All of which are best avoided during the challenge.
That means no beer, wine, or spirits for 28 days.
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes
Though these are allowed on Keto and Paleo diets, they are not allowed on a Carnivore Diet because, 1) carbohydrate content, 2) the types of fats and 3) the phytates and anti-nutrients present in them.
A big benefit to the Carnivore challenge is the elimination diet phase. Your benefits could be hindered by keeping in nuts.
- Carbohydrates and gluten
This covers Bread, Pasta, Rice and Potatoes, etc. No carbohydrates are not to be consumed during the Carnivore Challenge. Plus, Carnivore is a Ketone and gluconeogenesis based energy diet, and consuming carbohydrates defeats the purpose of moving away from predominantly glycogen based energy sources.
- Cooking oils
Avoid using vegetable-based cooking oils, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil, avocado oil, etc. Substitute with animal-based fats instead, such as tallow, lard, chicken, or duck fat.
How much should you eat?
There is counting calories on this challenge. There are no fixed meal timings. Just eat meat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. That is it.
What about snacking?
If you need to snack, then you likely are not eating enough or not eating enough fatty meat (Ribeye, Sirloin, 10% + fatty mince).
I would recommend sticking to structured meal timing. This will aid in diet adherence, meal planning, and structuring diet around your daily life.
Dealing with other people’s judgment
This is where mindset comes into it. The easiest thing is to simply not care. But this can be difficult. So instead, I would let people know that you are curious about this diet and that you have set yourself a goal for 28 days and you will be accomplishing that goal for the health and mindset benefits as mentioned earlier.
If they keep giving you a hard time, or asking annoying questions, or tempting you to drink or eat junk food, then ask them to please stop - set and state your boundaries.
Or ask if you can set them a challenge. Ask them if they can support you (i.e. stop bugging you) for 28 days and once that’s over say: ‘you are free to bug and tempt me with your dirty devil food’.
Social pressure is a big issue when it comes to diet adherence or any type of behaviour change. It is a whole topic in itself. But fundamentally, it comes down to YOU to take responsibility, maintain discipline, and own your goals.
(On a side note: if someone mentions you are a fussy eater… tell them: ‘Eating meat is the least fussy diet one could be on’. What is more simple and straightforward than Meat + Salt? A Carnivore dinner party is the least fussy dinner party you could have.)
Yes, you can eat out on the challenge. But you might have to stick to restaurants that can serve you a meat only meal. Thankfully, steak restaurants are perfect for this. So are burger restaurants - just ask for the patty, no bun, no lettuce, no sauce, etc. This even works in fast-food restaurants; for example, at McDonalds you can order just a plain patty.
Cravings and carbohydrate withdrawal
Here are my top three mental hacks to help you overcome cravings and stick to this challenge:
1. Changing your value system. Say to yourself: ‘YOUR NAME does not eat bread’.
2. Do 10 paused breaths every time you get a craving or negative thought. For example, breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4 - repeat 10 times.
3. Find a motivational quote, an image of some shredded person you wish you looked like, or a Jocko Willink video, etc. Get anything that motivates you and save it to your phone, or keep a photo to hand, or write the quote on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket. Make sure the motivation is readily accessible; that way every time you feel like quitting, go look at it and tell yourself not to quit - it is only 28 days.
What about coffee and tea?
There are two options when it comes to this challenge:
1) The Spartan option
2) The Athenian option
Both are pretty badass, but one is just a little more hardcore. If you pick the Spartan option, don’t consume coffee and tea - period. If you pick the Athenian option, then continue to consume coffee and tea. But it must be black, no sugar, milk, cream, etc - no ‘vanilla bullshit latte cappa thing’.
Caffeine is ‘helluva drug’ and the withdrawal symptoms can be a bit tough. There is no shame in leaving this challenge for later.
On a side note: if you are suffering from digestive issues, cutting out coffee can make a difference. Or, at least make sure you are drinking high-quality coffee, which is free of toxins, molds, and other contaminants.
When eating a zero carb diet, like on this challenge, your body will not hold onto water as much as it does when consuming a carbohydrate-based diet. This is because, for every one gram of glycogen your body stores it binds it to 3 – 4 grams of water.
Therefore, it is important to maintain a steady intake of water throughout the day to boost physical performance and to help stave off the negative effects of dehydration such as low energy, muscle cramps, irritableness, cravings, headaches, etc.
I would also recommend the addition of sea salts and other electrolytes to your water because the shift in water balance in the body also affects your electrolyte balance.
To work out the minimum amount of water to consume per day, calculate:
Bodyweight (in pounds) divided by 2 = minimum number of ounces of water to drink per day. E.g. 164lbs / 2 = 82oz.
There is no need to buy specific supplements for the 28-day challenge. That being said, here are my top 5 supplement recommendations that might help with the challenge:
1. Vitamin D3
2. Fish Oil
3. Electrolytes / Trace minerals
4. Digestive enzymes
5. Collagen peptides
Grass-fed beef only?
Ideally, you want to consume grass-fed and pasture-raised animals. If you have access and can afford this meat - do it - your taste buds and health will be very grateful. But don’t get hung up on grass-fed. If you can’t get access or can’t afford it then just buy the best quality meat you can.
Plus, if you are in the UK, like me, then the quality of basic meat is pretty high. Waitrose essential Beef, 500g, 10% fat is £3.50 and is fed a large part on pasture. It is the same with Irish and Scottish beef as well.
The 28-day carnivore challenge is simple but radical and that can be off-putting. It flies in the face of the diet and nutrition status quo. But if you have landed on this page and read this far then I would guess you are not too happy with the status quo and are daring enough to question it.
It does take a shift in mindset to go full carnivore, but 90% of those who make the shift flourish. You soon realise how much of one’s preconceived notions on diet and nutrition were wrong. It shows you how important it is to become proactive and responsible for your nutrition and health, because only you, through experimentation, will be able to figure out what works and what does not work for your own health goals.
Set yourself this challenge and start your journey to empowering your body and mind!
28 days later…
So you have completed the challenge… well, firstly CONGRATULATIONS! Setting a goal and sticking to it, even if it’s small, is an admirable quality.
So now that the challenge is over - what do you do? If the diet works, just continue. However, if you want to experiment a bit more for your total optimisation – now is a perfect time.
Maybe, you saw some weight loss and want to continue to shed the fat. Or maybe, you saw some improvements in your health, such as better skin, and want to continue the healing process.
All these goals can be optimised by making certain adjustments to the diet. Contact me with your optimisation goals and we can start to put a plan together that will get you where you want to go!