Welcome to the Meat Medic Podcast. I'm your host Dr Suresh Khirwadkar.
I'm a GP a lifestyle physician and I'm a practicing carnivore. I've had great success myself personally and with patients by following a carnivore diet and I want to spread the word about the many benefits of eating meat.
I've spoken previous a little bit about my personal health journey and how I came to this point and in today's episode I want to be discussing more about the carnivore diet and the benefits it's given me.
So I've been kind on it now for around three months, but what does carnivore actually mean? Well it seems carnivore can mean almost anything and well the interpretations of the diet can get a little bit loose.
The origins of the carnivore diet?
I'm pretty sure it's Dr Sean Baker who originally named the carnivore diet and if you haven't checked out his podcast Revero - please do.
I'm a big fan of his and I think he's doing amazing things with Revero.
I listened to a number of his episodes today in the car and I just I find the success stories just so incredibly powerful and inspiring and I actually tell all my patients to go and listen to them.
The carnivore diet is trending right now. A lot of people are talking about it, especially as it's World carnivore month. I actually get a lot of patients coming in to talk to me about it now even though they don't know that I'm doing it. In fact I had maybe six new patients the other day just in one day and wanting to do the carnivore diet.
I do get a few patients referred to me from the Aussie carnivores group so shout out to them they're a great bunch of supportive carnivores for the Australia crowd, but these people that came to see me they'd never even heard of me they were just random people in the public, wanting to do carnivore, which I think is amazing.
The history of this kind of way of eating as we call it goes back hundreds or maybe thousands of years. Now many of course will say that we've been eating a carnivore diet for millions of years and I agree with that.
Medically though I think it came to prominence with Dr James H Salisbury - I think around 1850-1865. The inventor of the Salisbury steak - he was helping to cure people of diseases primarily through a red red meat and water diet.
Like other people who advocate for this carnivore diet Salisbury believed that plants could be harmful. So the Salisbury steak was ground beef but really it was actually more than that: it was a particular way of grinding the beef so that it had next to no gristle (the so-called meat fiber). This was very important to the healing and he thought it would completely allow the gut to rest and heal, and by all reports I think he got pretty good success with patients.
So we've been doing it for hundreds of years in medicine - in literature and probably thousands outside of that but now we're talking about it on social media.
Influencers are suggesting it so a lot of people are talking about it, yet there's a lot of argument and disagreement about what the diet actually should be.
Some refer to the carnivore diet as only meat, and others say it must include organ meats. Others say no you have to eat only ruminant animals, and others say you can eat non-ruminants. Some say white meat is fine, others say no it has to be red meat. Some say you can drink milk or have yogurt and cheese others say no you can't. There's even some people out there who say you need to eat fruit like Dr Paul saladino the carnivore MD. Now he's saying at the moment that you should eat fruit and honey and that actually you must eat fruit and honey - that it's essential for life.
Now I'm going to do another episode on that, but if you want to please go ahead and listen to his carnivore MD podcast. I think he puts out some good stuff, I just disagree with him on this point
What do I eat?
In my case I've actually slightly evolved over the last three months in what I've been eating, but I've really mainly been eating beef eggs butter and seasoning only with salt and drinking water. A bit of bacon as well. I've been doing what they call BBBE - beef butter bacon eggs.
At the start I was eating quite a bit of bacon but I've actually reduced that down and I still have the occasional bit though and I throw in some pork belly which is bacon basically. Fish, seafood and some lean meats as well like chicken but they're pretty few and far between.
I just don't feel that good on them. I don't know why. I guess I'll explore that in time.
I eat cheese but I find it quite moorish and it's very easy for me to over indulge, so I'm very very careful with it. I think a lot of people who struggle with beig on the carnivore diet especially with weight may just be over indulging on meat on cheese and dairy so just keep a little eye on that one.
I really focus on red meat - as I said, I just don't feel that great on others but even lamb though for some reason it just doesn't taste that good to me anymore. I'm not sure why because I used to love it, I just really prefer the taste of beef now.
I used to eat a lot of kangaroo, especially as it's quite cheap here in Australia but again I've just gone off the taste of it and I just I just think I'm really sensitive to the fat content of food now, which is really interesting and even if I have lesser kind of fatty meat but then add lots of butter I still don't feel as good as just eating the fat from beef which is which I think I just find really fascinating.
I actually had some rump steak the other night and it just, I don't know, it just didn't really taste that good.
I didn't cook it badly. I cooked it well (rare, not well-done), just how I like it. The meat wasn't off or anything like that I think I just needed more fat even though I ate it with with butter.
Now compare this to the T-bone I had the night before oh man that was Juicy and Delicious but full of fat and it just filled me up completely.
So I still eat white meat it just doesn't fill me up that much. I just don't find myself as energetic as I do when I eat fatty meats particularly beef.
I've also got off the taste of a lot of the less fatty meats as I said and I know some people are going to watch this, listen to this and read this and say "oh yeah but that's because he's not using any herbs or spices and yeah the food's going to be boring"
Maybe that's true, but that's kind of the point of what I'm doing in this pure carnivore - is to not consume plants to not add herbs and seasonings.
So you know I figure there's no point forcing myself to eat food that I don't like that's kind of really the opposite of what we're trying to achieve with the carnivore diet. We want to make it sustainable in the long term and eating food that you don't want to, that you don't like is just not sustainable.
How much am I eating?
Well it varies a lot on a day-to-day basis. I eat intuitively - so what that means is I eat what I want when I want.
That sounds amazing but I'm not just eating crap all the time now - I'm eating very clean, very pure carnivore. Some days I can eat maybe, I don't know up to two kilograms of beef plus maybe four to six eggs other days a single steak with a little bit of butter maybe.
I listen to my body.
I don't count calories so I've not really got any idea what my caloric intake actually is but if I had to guess I'd probably say maybe on average 2500-3000 calories a day.
Sometimes I can eat 4000. and that's more than I've ever eaten before even when I was 20 I'd been going to the gym every single day for an hour or two yet I'm losing fat and gaining muscle.
Even in my 20s even go to the gym daily I couldn't build much muscle, but now I am without even really trying I've still got a way to go don't get me wrong but I'm seeing great success with the carnivore diet.
Anyway I was eating three to four times a day near the start of my carnivore journey I just I just couldn't seem to get enough food.
Some people do find this near the start - they just seem to just need to eat a lot - they're just hungry all the time. Other people just don't feel hungry at all which is I find really interesting.
I've since reduced it down and I just felt I didn't really need as much and I'm listening a lot more to my body now. I think at the start maybe I was being a bit greedy as well, I don't know.
I've also doing started doing a little bit more fasting but I think probably more just intuitive eating. I'm not forcing myself to fast like you would on a true intermittent fasting regimen.
I do feel a bit better doing a bit more fasting but it's not a huge difference.
We know the benefits that intermittent fasting can have but it's not really been studied on a carnivore diet. Some people like Dr Anthony Chaffee the plant free MD say that you don't need to fast, but often they are fasting anyway - just not forced fasting. That is they're not withholding food from themselves they're just not eating if they're not hungry, and that's what I'm doing and that's intuitive eating.
So for the last week I've actually been treating myself as a three-month treat on carnivore eating high quality steaks for dinner - rib eyes, scotch fillets Porterhouses and T-Bones these are all nice juicy fatty cuts.
I've been feeling good on one meal a day on these interestingly though when I said I had the rump I actually needed to eat a lot more I needed to eat three meals after that just to get feel full, to feel kind of happy that I've ate enough food.
I just think that's really interesting I ended up eating far more calories when I didn't eat the fat.
So my eating day is something like:
- breakfast I'll probably skip
- lunch I'll usually skip but if I'm hungry I'll eat maybe 500 grams of beef probably a roast, either from the deli counter - sliced roast - or something I've cooked on the weekend and sliced up and taken into work
- dinners usually maybe like 6 p.m usually, like a steak or maybe a chuck roast, usually around half to maybe one kilogram of beef
I was eating quite a lot of chuck in my early days, still do but I've kind of since gone off it a little bit actually I had some tonight and it was actually really nice.
I don't know why I went off the taste. I kind of feel like maybe the rib eyes had actually ruined my taste for Chuck but maybe it was something else because I did have it tonight and I actually found it quite tasty, which is good because it's cheap here - it's about a third of the price of rib eyes.
So I vary between probably half a kilogram and two kilograms of meat a day. It really is quite variable.
So when people like my patients ask me, "how much should they eat?" or "how much do I eat?"
I kind of have to tell them that I genuinely don't know how much I eat and it's hard to advise how much they should eat. I tell them to eat when they're hungry. Some days they might have three to four meals like me other days they might just have one.
I just advise them to eat to satiety and stop when it stops tasting good.
I believe that's the signal that your body has had enough of whatever it is that you're eating.
Now I'm not a big guy I'm around 70 kgs, so you would think that maybe up to two kilograms of beef a day sounds just a ridiculous amount for me but as I said I'm losing fat and gaining muscle. I'm pretty active but not Super Active - I mean I'm really just working out like 15-20 minutes a day, it's not a great deal.
I think this just goes to show that the body doesn't really work on calories the and certainly the fat isn't about calories or eating fat, it's what your body does with those calories, and I'll be covering this in another episode in the future.
What herbs did to me
So we've spoke about what I am eating, but what about what I'm not eating?
My experience with herbs and steakettes - well basically I've completely stripped out plants - all plants.
I haven't consumed a single plant in three months.
Actually that's not entirely true I have had a couple of times where I've tested to see what the effect would be like - really tiny bits of plants, and it didn't actually really go very well at all.
The first time I had some steakettes from our usual butcher - steakheads are kind of like um like square flat burger patties - actually I should really ask the butcher to find out what was actually in them, but they had some sort of herbs in them, probably some breadcrumbs to bind them as well I'm not sure.
I opened the pack up, saw the green and I was like
green is not a carnivore color
Let's just try them and see what happens. Okay fair enough they weren't mouldy it was just it was just herbs.
So I kind of wish I hadn't. Really within about five minutes I just felt totally exhausted. I could barely stay awake. I started to just feel weird and wrong. Really hard to explain, but I went from feeling kind of just out of this world on Carnivore to just to just barely awake. Actually I did go to sleep on the sofa and I wasn't even tired five minutes before, I just couldn't not sleep.
I couldn't fight it.
I woke up I think three four hours later just achy and sore all over my body, not just because I fell asleep on the sofa in an awkward position - I mean I'd done that plenty of times before and felt okay, nothing really hurt, but this time everything just hurt. My hands, my feet, my fingers, my toes. Like every part of me just hurt.
I felt really sluggish and lethargic. No energy I couldn't even get myself up off the sofa but my mental health was also just just crushed.
I'd gone from feeling like I said out of this world mentally to just not even wanting to be alive. Not suicidal but just really not wanting to live.
I've gone from wanting to work out twice a day, to wanting to just open the garage and just throw my weights out and close it again.
Honestly if I'd had the energy I probably would have.
It was really scary. A few hours later though it started to pass and I could actually feel myself just kind of physically and mentally improving, like just going up those levels. A really bizarre feeling.
Fast forward a few hours and it was pretty much back to normal. I got up off the sofa started working out again.
So again I've gone from loving my weights, to hating my weights to loving my weights again.
Really odd. The workout pretty much sucked but I was able to do it and mentally I felt amazing again.
Really really bizarre experience. Maybe it was coincidence? Maybe, it's possible but I've had similar episodes since with things like burgers and sausages.
I had a really bad experience when I had some chicken with some sort of soy sauce on it.
So I actually stopped experimenting with food.
Some people can go back to these things maybe maybe one day I will but for now I'm gonna stay pure carnivore.
No plants no herbs no spices no preservatives no seed oils and no coffee.
Now that one was actually surprisingly easy.
I was quite scared about getting off coffee because I'd done it before and I got pretty bad withdrawal symptoms, but surprisingly it was actually really easy on carnivore. I don't know why, but I've seen a few people posting similar stories about going off coffee when they've been doing carnivore that they've really struggled before but now it's easier.
I've even had some patients tell me on Carnivore that they've actually found less addictive behaviors so things like smoking and drinking that they're just less inclined to do them, and it seems easier to cut down, which is absolutely fascinating.
Other benefits of the carnivore diet
So how has the carnivore diet really helped me?
Well I mean in just so many ways it's hard to really list them all.
I guess the most obvious is I've lost a lot of fat.
Now I started around 35% body fat, probably slightly more. I didn't actually measure myself beforehand which was a bit silly but then I wasn't really planning on actually doing carnivore I just kind of did it after I went to low carb down under and listened to Dr Chaffee speak.
I've had a dexa scan not that long ago before I started which showed around 35 body fat so I'm going to use that as a guide. I've dropped to around maybe I think probably 25%. My body calipers say between 20 and 25 I think it's probably 25.
I'll get a repeat dexa scan at some point but they're not always super super accurate and they can be fooled.
I've not just lost a lot of fat though, I've actually gained a lot of muscle.
Loads of people want to lose weight, but that's really just a number on the scale. What we really want to lose is fat.
Now in the carnivore groups you know you see people amazing success stories losing hundreds of pounds, maybe 200+ and I saw one that said they lost something like 150 kilos. It's hard to even comprehend that amount of weight loss.
Personally my weight's actually gone up but I'm totally cool with this because I know I've lost fat and gained muscle.
I'm pretty sure I've lost around seven kilograms of fat at least and gained maybe 10 kilograms of muscle. I might be slightly out but I think it's pretty accurate.
I may not look enormously muscly but I wasn't starting from a lot so the difference is actually pretty big.
At some point I'll post some pictures on my Instagram so people that follow me can see the changes but I'm not quite ready for that yet. Being a doctor here in Australia we have to be pretty careful about what we post on social media and posting kind of half nude photos of myself may attract some unwanted attention so I want to make sure that I'm actually posting something that's worthwhile that shows the changes.
So I've lost a lot of weight but I think really the best thing is actually the energy. There's just like insane energy levels and they're just through the roof.
I went from feeling flat tired and definitely old to feeling youthful and vibrant.
I really do feel like a teenager again.
My zest for life just amazing. I just kind of want to live now and experience life, nature, and just be part of the planet that we live on.
These are similar stories that a lot of other carnivores say and I was listening to the Revero podcast with Dr Baker earlier and he was interviewing someone and they said just exactly the same thing and they were saying they almost didn't want to say it out loud because it just sounded so ridiculous but that's how they felt, and I feel exactly the same.
I definitely never felt this good when I was doing keto or intermittent fasting.
I just want to research and read and learn- I've actually got some books to go through - they are on order Dr Ken Barry's book The Lies my doctor told me and Dr Sean Baker's book the carnivore diet. I can't wait for them to arrive and actually start to read them.
There's a couple others I want to read as well like The Carnivore Code by Dr Paul saladino and the Carnivore Cure by nutrition with Judy (Judy Cho).
It's great to think my energy isn't really coming from coffee anymore.
As I said I'm not drinking any caffeine at all, no pills, no tea, no coffee, no sodas.
It's kind of crazy and sad to think I actually needed coffee to survive before
My gut issues have completely resolved - amazing. I never had any diagnosed condition but I guarantee I had IBS. I used to go probably five times a day sometimes having to rush to the toilet, you know sometimes a bit explosive. Now I just go maybe once a day at most honestly takes about five seconds and I'm done and on with the day.
My mental health has improved dramatically. I spoke previously about how I maybe had some issues when I was at University but never anything actually diagnosed, but there's definitely been times in my life when I was very stressed, anxious or maybe a bit low, but now I kind of just feel amazing all the time.
People say this is abnormal and they call it euphoria, but I think it's just how we're meant to feel, it's just most of us don't feel this way - ever.
My sleep has definitely improved now I was lucky that I never really had any major sleep issues but there were definitely times where I found it hard to go to sleep or stay asleep, but now I just sleep like a baby.
Bizarrely I don't wake up with a dry mouth anymore.
I mouth breathe at night, I just can't stop myself. I don't know if that's reduced but I definitely don't really wake up with a dry mouth anymore.
Speaking of mouth my dentist was very happy when I went to see him about a month or so ago. I've been doing carnivore about maybe a month I think and I was quite nervous about going - the last time I went you know he was pretty unhappy with me - my teeth weren't that good, but this time he said my teeth were absolutely amazing with just no plaque. Better yet my impacted wisdom teeth on both sides they now have no observable inflammation. I'm pretty happy with that. I was pretty worried about my teeth especially when you know you see scary stories about scurvy on the carnivore diet.
Now I know um Joey Schwartz AKA carnivore camaraderie he did a video on this recently claiming he had scurvy from carnivore. Now I'm not going to comment that much on this I think it's been covered fairly extensively already, but I don't think it's very likely that he had scurvy.
There's next to no case reports of scurvy on the carnivore diet. It'd be making pretty big news I think if there was.
Another small but I think really significant change is my dandruff has completely gone which is really really nice. Dandruff's one of those conditions that seems small but it really can affect people's confidence and just adverseley affect their mental health. I got to the point I was even getting eyebrow dandruff which is weird and unpleasant. That's completely gone now.
I'm pretty sure the hair on top of my head is regrowing slowly . I can't be sure but definitely under here oh sorry I'm pointing to underneath my chin uh it's filling in I had a little bald spot there which is now filling in now.
I like to think I don't really care about my pretty bald head but truth be told you know I'd love to have more hair. I'd never really get implants I don't think but yep if it naturally grew yeah of course I'd be very very happy.
My personal life has greatly improved especially at home. My wife is certainly very happy with the changes. No not what you're thinking get your mind out of the gutter 😁 well actually no that has improved a little bit, but what I mean is I'm organized and active. I want to clean. I want to tidy and organize the house, do laundry, ironing, cooking, just generally be productive.
I've also noticed amazing changes in my kids I'll be covering kids in another episode but our kids aren't really doing full carnivore but they are eating a lot more red meat and less sugar and a lot more fat and I've noticed their behavior is definitely better. They are more attentive, more keen to learn, do arts and crafts and just generally less TV time. They're growing like crazy as well and my little carnivore baby as we call her our two-year-old Freya, she wasn't a pure carnivore but she mostly just ate meat from very early on and she is huge for her age, incredibly strong, athletic and super intelligent. She's just turned two she's basically already toilet trained. All my kids are very intelligent of course and I love them all dearly and equally of course, but there's no denying that there is a difference between the two that weren't really that carnivore and the one that is.
So where am I going from here? I'm definitely going to continue carnivore for now. If I ever stop feeling good I'll reassess, but the way that I feel now I doubt I'll ever stop. It's only been two to three months so far but there's really nothing but positives no negatives at all.
My Bloods are amazing my LDL-C is up a little bit of course but I don't really care about that. In fact it's actually a good thing there's a lot of studies that show a high LDL-C it's protective for heart disease and all cause mortality.
My inflammation is way down.
My insulin resistance is way down.
My triglycerides are way down.
My HDL is way up
In fact all my biomarkers for heart disease and inflammation are just non-existent and my LP(a) is completely undetectable. This is a marker for damaged LDL cholesterol.
Best of all my free testosterone has gone up by well over 50% really about 70% in two months.
That's incredible and that's probably why I feel so good.
My kidney function is perfect and in fact many people find their kidney functions improve on Carnivore diet - we don't need to fear the protein in the kidneys it's extremely hard to damage your kidneys with protein and really what damages it more than anything else is sugar.
I'm not finding it in any way difficult. There's really no gray areas like there is on a low carb or Keto diet. I find it very easy for me. It's just it's pretty black and white.
So I'm starting to talk to my patients about it and I wanted to start this podcast to spread the word.
Some of my patients especially the vegans ask me how do I square this with my Medical Education and Training - after all we're told repeatedly that red meat is bad cholesterol is bad, carbs and plants are good.
Now truth be told I am still struggling a little bit with this one because it does contradict everything that I'm taught, but there's really no denying how I feel.
Early on in medical school I was actually taught that medicine is not static and we should always be learning, we should always be questioning and testing, sadly though this isn't really done anymore.
I believe that information moves on and we need to move with it. It's hard though when the whole medical establishment is telling you that you're wrong and so those of us that are doing this kind of work we actually have to be pretty careful. We have to know our stuff, be able to cite studies and supporting evidence and potentially defend ourselves publicly, so it's a bit scary to actually put yourself out there but I think it's worth it and I'm taking this risk.
I can't just sit by knowing that I could help countless people and I certainly can't just keep post pushing harmful drugs on people rather than trying to fix them with diet and nutrition.
I'm always Keen to learn and have conversations with people you know I want to learn and I'm happy to engage with anyone that wants to have a actual grown-up conversation about diet and nutrition.
In the meantime you know I continued to research and learn more and I want to share that knowledge that.
I've learned so that others can learn with me, and together we can improve our physical and mental health through a species appropriate diet the right nutrition but I believe that means eating more meat.
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