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So, you’ve decided to make the change to the meat and fruit animal-based diet. Thousands of people have made the change and reported excellent benefits and changes in their overall health. While some mainstream media sources may openly criticize the diet, it’s clear that it works for many people.
Today I’ll help you understand some basics about the animal-based meat and fruit diet and what exactly you should eat on a day-to-day basis. “Animal-based diet” is a term coined by Paul Saladino, a board-certified physician, and nutrition specialist who completed a residency program at the University of Washington. He also attended medical school at the University of Arizona to spend more time with integrative medicine and nutritional biochemistry.
Paul is also part owner and founder of Heart and Soil Supplements, a company that promotes the animal-based lifestyle and the importance of consuming organ meats for optimal health. Heart and Soil Supplements are composed of desiccated, freeze-dried, beef organs packaged into easy-to-consume capsules to help people get easier access to these animal-based superfoods.
I’ll be using information and advice gathered from Paul’s guidelines to give you the most comprehensive and accurate list possible. My goal is to make this the only guide you’ll ever need for living ancestrally consistent on the animal-based diet. So bookmark this page and share it.
What is an animal-based meat and fruit diet?
According to Paul Saladino’s definition of an animal-based diet, an animal-based diet comprises roughly 50% of its calories from animal fats, 30% of calories from animal proteins, and the remaining 20% of calories from carbs on the approved-carbs list.
Additionally, the animal-based diet takes a strong stand against the consumption of vegetables to help the body avoid plant defense chemicals. Plant defense chemicals are real compounds, and may be contributing to negative autoimmune responses, bloating, gut microbiome disruption, skin conditions, inflammation, and nutrient malabsorption.
What are plant defense chemicals?
These defense chemicals have evolved over millions of years to help the plant prevent predators from eating them. Without some level of defense against attack, plants won’t be able to pass their DNA to the next generation. Because of their inability to run, fight, or hide, plants have had to evolve chemical defenses, some of which can be strong deterrents to their predators consuming them.
A few examples of plant defense chemicals are:
- Oxalates: found in leafy greens, and spinach, can lead to kidney stones.
- Phytates: found in grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. They can bind to vitamins and minerals preventing proper absorption.
- Lectins: sometimes called an “anti-nutrient”, lectins are known to cause various digestive issues as well as nausea, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and inflammation.
- Isothiocyanates: found in kale, can harm your thyroid gland
- Sclereids: found in nuts and beans which can abrasively wear down the teeth of feeding animals.
- Idioblasts: found in onion, garlic, leeks, chives, and scallions. They can tear apart the mouths of insects and mammals as they feed.
There are far less plant defense chemicals in fruit
Plants have also evolved to have “fruits” which are the edible parts of the plant. Biologically incentivizing consumption, the fruits have evolved to taste sweet and cause a positive response when tasting them. Naturally, the fruits usually contain seeds, which when consumed can be more easily passed on to the next generation and reach far distances in the stool.
Moreover, the animal-based diet is broken down into two additional subcategories. These are simply foods to eat and foods to avoid. The foods in the “foods to eat” category are labeled as “low toxicity” and “medium toxicity” because of the lower levels of defense chemicals found in them. The foods in the “foods to avoid” category are labeled as “high toxicity” because of the higher levels of defense chemicals found in non-fruit plants.
Animal-based meat and fruit grocery shopping list
The animal-based meat and fruit diet is supported by the superior nutrient profile animal-based foods have that are found in much lower levels in plant foods. Plant foods lack sufficient levels of amino acids, high-quality and bioavailable proteins, iron, zinc, and B vitamins.
Without these, building and maintaining muscle, bones, overall health, and well-being becomes much more difficult for the body. Additionally, animal-based foods are often higher in certain vitamins and minerals than plant-based foods, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Do eat (low toxicity): Animal foods, meat, organs, and eggs
- Grass-fed beef
- Pasture-raised pork
- Pasture-raised chicken
- Organ meats
- Bone broth
- Wild-caught fish
- Pasture-raised eggs
Meat and eggs are among some of the best foods for humans to eat. They are nutrient-dense, providing high-quality bioavailable proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and peptides. Meat and eggs are also great sources of healthy saturated fats and fatty acids, which help fat-soluble vitamins absorb effectively.
Meat and eggs also have bioavailable heme iron, zinc, and B vitamins such as B12, vitamins A, D, E, and selenium.
They also contain a number of minerals that are not found in plant foods, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals are essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.
The superiority of pasture-raised eggs
Pasture-raised eggs are far superior because the hens that produce them are free to roam and forage on pasture and in wooded areas, eating a high-quality, natural diet of grasses, insects, and other natural forages. As a result, pasture-raised eggs contain more nutrients than regular eggs, including more omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, E, and B12. Plus, the hens are not exposed to the same levels of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals that are used in factory farming.
Grass-fed beef is safer
Grass-fed beef is considered to be healthier than grain-fed cattle because of the variety of nutrient-rich grasses and lower levels of accumulating linoleic acid that comes from the corn and grain feed. Additionally, it’s speculated that grass-fed cattle contain fewer toxins that leech into the food supply such as antibiotics, pesticides, and microplastics.
The nutritional content of beef liver
Beef liver is easily one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It is commonly referred to as “Nature’s Multivitamin”. The nutrients in 81g of beef liver consist of:
- Protein: 21.5g
- Vitamin A: 21134 IU | 423%
- Vitamin C: 0.6mg | 1%
- Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol): 0.4mg | 2%
- Vitamin K: 3.2mcg | 4%
- Thiamin: 0.1mg | 10%
- Riboflavin: 2.8mg | 163%
- Niacin: 14.2mg | 71%
- Vitamin B6: 0.8mg | 42%
- Folate: 211mcg | 56%
- Vitamin B12: 67.3mcg | 1122%
- Pantothenic Acid: 5.6mg | 56%
- Choline: 339mg
- Betaine: 5.1mg
- Calcium: 4.9mg | 0%
- Iron: 5.0mg | 28%
- Magnesium: 17.8mg | 4%
- Phosphorus: 393mg | 39%
- Potassium: 284mg | 8%
- Sodium: 62.4mg | 3%
- Zinc: 4.2mg | 28%
- Copper: 11.8mg | 591%
- Manganese: 0.3mg | 14%
- Selenium: 26.6mcg | 38%
The best part about beef liver, is all of these vitamins are in their most bioavailable forms. Compared to a traditional multivitamin which is usually lab-derived synthetic vitamins and minerals, the nutrients in beef liver will absorb much more efficiently into the body. It is recommended to get in at least 1oz of grass-fed beef liver per day.
Don’t like the taste of beef liver? Not a problem. Check out my list of the 7 Best Beef Liver Supplements. These are capsules filled with freeze-dried grass-fed beef liver providing the same nutritional value as eating 1oz of raw beef liver.
Do eat (low toxicity): Dairy products
- A2, pasture-raised, organic milk (preferably raw and grass-fed)
- Cow kefir
- Goat’s milk
- Goat kefir
- Cheese (preferably raw cheeses)
Dairy can provide important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, bioavailable proteins, B vitamins, Vitamin A, zinc, and magnesium.
Raw dairy can provide even more health benefits solely because of the lack of processing it goes through. When raw dairy is pasteurized, homogenized, and exposed to high temperatures, it can destroy the beneficial enzymes, bacteria, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. This is all done to make dairy safer for us but is generally unnecessary if the cows are raised ethically in healthy environments. Which is usually not the case in large-scale factory farming.
A2 dairy is believed to be better than A1 dairy because it contains a different form of beta-casein protein. A2 milk is thought to be easier to digest and less likely to cause gastrointestinal issues than A1 milk. Additionally, some studies suggest that A2 milk may have a more positive effect on cholesterol levels than A1 milk.
Do eat (low toxicity): Animal fats
- Beef tallow
- Beef suet
- Grass-fed butter
Mainstream media has demonized animal fats, labeling them as the cause of heart disease and increased levels of heart attacks. This is simply false, and the animal-based diet suggests that highly-processed seed oils, processed sugar, low protein intake, low-healthy fat consumption, and highly-processed carbohydrates are likely to blame.
Without animal fats, we’re missing out on essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both of these can have anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate healthy cholesterol levels. Animal fats are also rich in vitamins such as A, D, and K2.
Do eat (low toxicity): Fruits
The main purpose of fruits is to attract animals and other organisms to eat them to help aid in mobilizing their seeds to grow the next generation. Sugars and fructose have coevolved with us for millions of years and do not have inherent dangers similar to defense chemicals.
Do eat (low toxicity): Raw organic honey
Honey has been used as a natural healing tool for thousands of years. Not only does it contain beneficial antioxidants, but it often contains vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium.
Organic raw honey has not been processed or exposed to dangerous pesticides such as glyphosate and atrazine. Because it hasn’t been heated or processed it still contains the natural enzymes and nutrients that nature intended for consumption.
Foods to moderate on an animal-based diet (medium toxicity)
- White rice
Roots and tubers
- Sweet potato
- Russet potato
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Red potatoes
- Artichoke hearts
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Wild caught salmon
Foods to avoid on an animal-based diet
Avoid (high toxicity): Leafy greens and green vegetables
- Collard greens
- Beet greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Turnip greens
- Green leaf
- Mixed greens
Avoid (high toxicity): Brassica
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
Avoid (high toxicity): Grains
Avoid (high toxicity): Seed oils
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Soybean oil
- Peanut oil
- Vegetable oil
Seed oils are perhaps the most taboo foods on the animal-based diet. The oils extracted from these foods and their seeds are highly processed, refined, bleached, oxidized, and rancid. Often, they go through rigorous processing to remove any taste or smell from them to make them palatable.
Since the introduction of seed oils in the 1900s, cardiovascular diseases and heart-related illnesses have skyrocketed. This problem was further exacerbated by the demonization of animal fats in the 1970s with the introduction of a new health ideology emerging stating that animal fats were contributing to bigger waistlines. But the problem has only seemed to get far worse since then.
Seed oils are predominantly made up of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) which are more easily oxidized than other fats. This process of oxidation can produce cytokines which can contribute to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of various metabolic illnesses. Additionally, seed oils can contribute to insulin resistance which is associated with obesity and diabetes.
Avoid (high toxicity): nuts and seeds
- Chia seed
- Flax seed
- Sunflower seed
- Pumpkin seed
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
You might be wondering why nuts and seeds are on the list of off-limits foods. Aren’t they good for you? Well, outside of being extremely calorie-dense, nuts and seeds contain something called phytic acid. Phytic acid can reduce the absorption of important minerals such as zinc, iron, and calcium.
Nuts and seeds may also contribute to inflammation due to their high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. While beneficial in moderation, an imbalance of too much omega-6 can actually be a cause for inflammation in the body.
Finally, many nuts and seeds are also high in mold toxins. Therefore, it’s important to consume nuts and seeds in moderation to ensure that you’re getting the most out of them without putting your health at risk.
Avoid (high toxicity): Coffee
Coffee is possibly one of the most controversial items on the prohibited foods list. You can find countless studies online touting coffee and caffeine as a “miracle drug” with seemingly endless health benefits. However, coffee is host to at least 1,000 chemical compounds, most of which are unexplored and understudied.
Some of the compounds in coffee pose potential health risks. Coffee’s diuretic effect reliably expels liquids and solids from the body in a speedy fashion. This increases the risk of dehydration, and nutrient malabsorption.
Not to mention caffeine’s effect on the central nervous system, triggering flight or fight response in the body, and bringing great stress to the adrenal glands. It doesn’t actually make you feel awake, it just tricks your brain into feeling “not tired” by blocking adenosine receptor sites in the brain.
Coffee and caffeine can indirectly cause damage to the skin from dehydration, stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Coffee also contains compounds like acrylamide and diterpene, which have been shown to have potential carcinogenic properties. Making coffee a potential risk for cancer.
To summarize, coffee could pose some potential health risks for those genetically predisposed to certain conditions and should be consumed in moderation. For some, the health risks may outweigh any benefit gained from drinking coffee.
Avoid (high toxicity): Chocolate
Avoid (high toxicity): Spices
- Cassia cinnamon
- Black and white pepper
Avoid (high toxicity): Legumes
- Green beans
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- Chickpeas also called garbanzo beans
- Lima beans
- Kidney beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Navy beans
- Great Northern beans
Avoid (high toxicity): Alliums
- White onion
- Red onion
Avoid (high toxicity): Other vegetables
Avoid (high toxicity): Nightshades
- White potatoes
- Chili peppers
- Goji berries
Avoid (high toxicity): High heavy metal fish
- King mackerel
- Sea bass
Animal-based diet-approved snack foods
Most beef jerkies are animal-based approved. However, be cautious of additives in jerkies such as hormones, MSG, vegetable oil, and liquid smoke. You can avoid these additives by buying exclusively grass-fed jerkies that label their ingredients clearly and respect human health. If the branding clearly states “Free of additives” then you know you’ve got a quality product.
Carnivore Crips is a unique snack that provides the crunch of a chip with the taste of amazing grass-fed meat. Made in the USA with Redmond’s Real Salt, Carnivore Crisps packs a unique flavor profile thanks to their special means of preparation. The meat is placed in a bed of rock salt and grilled to perfection bringing deep levels of new flavors to the surface.
Carnivore Snax: Carnivore Chips
The Carnivore Snax: Carnivore Chips are a competitor of the Carnivore Crisps. These chips are made without seasoning, marinades, and sugar but still pack a delicious punch. The meat for these chips comes exclusively from farms that practice regenerative farming in the USA.
Epic Beef Liver Bites
Want to get the benefits of liver without having to palate the awful texture? Epic Beef Liver Bites provide an easy way to get liver into your diet that actually tastes good. Seasoned with sea salt, cracked pepper, onion, celery, and garlic powder, these grass-fed bites are sure to satiate. They’re also Whole30-approved, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly.
While they may contain ingredients from the list of prohibited foods on the animal-based diet, we’re going to approve them for this list because they’re that good.
The Whole Feast Protein
The Whole Feast protein is a product developed by the Liver King himself Brian Johnson. Ignoring the fake-natty status, this is truly a quality product. This is an all-natural, Sweden-sourced, grass-fed beef protein isolate containing all 8 essential amino acids, 3 branch chain amino acids, collagen, glycine, and proline.
The craziest part is, this protein contains beef liver, heart, kidney, pancreas, bone, colostrum, spleen, and blood. Despite how questionable that might sound, the protein is delicious and high-quality.
Pork rinds are rich in healthy bioavailable proteins and fats. They are a low-carb healthy snack (not to mention delicious). Just make sure when buying pork rinds you get some from a brand that doesn’t fry theirs in seed oils. Look out for ingredients such as seed oils and vegetable oil.
Bone broth is easily one of my favorite animal-based snack foods. Not only is it extremely satiating with some salt and butter in it, but alone it’s rich in minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, and protein. Not to mention it’s extremely low-calorie. Heat up some organic bone broth with some salt and butter and you’ve got yourself a cup of comfort.
Animal-based diet frequently asked questions
What is the animal-based 30 challenge?
The animal-based 30 (AB30) challenge is a 30-day challenge hosted by Heart & Soil supplements that happens each year in the month of January. It is an opportunity to experience what ancestrally consistent dieting is like, and a chance for each of us to reclaim our birthright to radical health.
Is the animal-based diet safe?
The animal-based diet is designed to be one of the safest diets developed. Eating animal-based is ancestrally consistent and biologically the best diet for human health. It consists of foods that provide the most nutrition through bioavailable animal foods.
What are the benefits of the animal-based diet?
Eating an animal-based diet can help to drastically reduce chronic inflammation and disease due to its lack of excessive linoleic acid, excessive omega-6, and plant defense chemicals. For people who deal with autoimmune problems, chronic bloating, and skin problems such as eczema, the animal-based diet may offer long-term permanent relief.
Additionally, because it is so rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids, and amino acids, the animal-based diet can help to reduce the severity of stress, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, anemia, hormone imbalance, and depression.
How to avoid high cholesterol on Carnivore and animal-based Diet?
For most on the animal-based diet, high cholesterol is not a concern. This is a personal choice and flies in the face of mainstream health advice. Generally, cholesterol will go up on an animal-based diet. But the belief is that high cholesterol does not cause heart disease.
To learn more about this topic, check out the book “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease – and the Statin-Free Plan That Will” by Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, and James C Roberts, M.D.
The authors explain that cholesterol is an essential nutrient and that it is important for the body’s metabolism and for the production of hormones. They argue that cholesterol does not cause heart disease and that the so-called “cholesterol myth” has been perpetuated by pharmaceutical companies and doctors as a way to make money. The authors propose a “statin-free” plan to reduce the risk of heart disease and suggest changes in diet and lifestyle that can reduce the risk of heart disease. They also explain how to monitor cholesterol levels and the proper use of dietary supplements and herbs to help improve cholesterol levels.
Which is better, grass-fed or non-grass-fed animal foods?
One potential benefit of grass-fed foods is that they may be richer in certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and E. These nutrients are important for maintaining good health and can have a number of benefits, such as reducing inflammation and supporting heart health.
Additionally, grass-fed animals may have a healthier balance of fatty acids in their meat, which can be beneficial for people who are trying to maintain a healthy diet. Finally, it’s theorized that grass-fed animals likely have had less exposure to pesticides and microplastics.
Is a diet heavy in animal-based foods damaging to the environment?
Eating animal foods is not a risk to the environment when done responsibly. Responsible animal agriculture can be a sustainable and efficient way to produce food since animals are able to convert plant-based feed into nutritious food for humans to consume. Additionally, animal agriculture can help with land restoration, soil health, and biodiversity, as well as providing a habitat for other species.
Animal agriculture can also help to reduce food waste since byproducts from the production of animal foods can be used to create other products. For example, animal fats can be used to create soaps and other products, and animal proteins can be used to create pet foods. Finally, properly managed animal agriculture can help to reduce carbon emissions, since animals produce methane which can be captured and used as a source of renewable energy.
Can you cheat on an animal-based diet?
Sure, you can cheat. This is your life. Personally, my approach is doing the animal-based diet 100% of the time in my personal time. But, if a friend, coworker, or family member offers me food that doesn’t fit my diet, no problem. I’m not going to pass up a slice of cheesecake, or a good sandwich with a ton of bread, mayo, and processed meat. Nope. Not happening.
Eating off the diet 5-20% of the time isn’t going to kill you. And trying to be perfect all the time isn’t going to do great things for your mental health either. So relax a bit and enjoy life. But stick around for a while longer and eat animal-based when you can!
What should I eat when I’m eating out on an animal-based diet?
Try to go for high-protein meals low in carbs. The easiest thing to do is to order steak, chicken, and fish. Most restaurants have some version of a dish with those three meals. A lot of restaurant fries will be fried in seed oils, so that’s up to you whether or not you want to partake. Eating restaurant fries once in a while isn’t going to kill you. But it’s up to you to decide how strict you want to be.
The other alternative is to just let loose and order whatever you want. For someone like me who doesn’t eat out a lot anyway, I see eating out as a reward for being so dedicated in my personal time. I’ll usually order whatever I want and not worry about it. And I’ll return to my animal-based diet on my next meal.
Do government regulations promote an animal-based diet?
Government regulations do not promote an animal-based diet. This year (2022) the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health shared this ranking system for foods to be encouraged and foods to be minimized. No, this is not a joke and is 100% real.
Ranked in “foods to be encouraged” Frosted Mini Wheats at number 3. What in the hell… Following that, Unsweetened Almond Milk. Almond milk provides basically no nutrition whatsoever and is fortified with fake vitamins and minerals. Following that, Honey Nut Cheerios at number 8.
This chart makes absolutely no sense and whoever made it should be fired.
How to eat an animal-based diet on a budget?
If you have access to local farms or bulk beef, I strongly suggest you look into buying a ¼, ½ or full cow. Buying beef in bulk can come out to insanely cheap prices sometimes as low as $2/lb. Check Google for “bulk beef near me” in your area.
If buying beef in bulk is not an option for you, the majority of the foods on this list can be bought at food stores like Aldi and Walmart at discount prices. You might not always get to have organic and grass-fed, but you’ll be much healthier than the majority of people.
The importance of electrolytes on a low-carb and animal-based diet
When I started the animal-based diet, I started to get constant heart palpitations. Some are at risk for this more than others, and I was one of them. I thought I was doing everything right. I was following the diet to a “T”. Until I realized the electrolyte problem.
When you go on low-carb diets, the lack of carbohydrates can cause severe electrolyte imbalances. After insulin levels drop, the kidneys subsequently excrete more sodium. sodium is excreted, the other electrolytes follow and quickly drop alongside sodium.
Make sure to supplement with at least 400mg of some form of magnesium each day. Magnesium is the most prevalent nutrient deficiency on the planet. I personally recommend magnesium glycinate, as it has one of the highest rates of absorption in the body. Other forms of magnesium might not absorb as well. Or worse yet, they’ll make you poop.
Most people on non-low-carb diets need about 3-6 grams of sodium per day. Sodium in table salt is actually only 40% of the weight of the salt because it’s technically sodium chloride. So, when on a low-carb diet, it’s best to try and hit 5-7 grams of salt per day, especially if you’re active. You can get a .00 scale on Amazon to make this process much easier. I personally like to dissolve the salt in hot water after I weigh it and toss it back.
I also recommend Redmond’s Real Salt. It’s been shown to have the lowest levels of microplastics compared to regular table salt sold in stores. Just make sure you’re still getting iodine somewhere. As Real Salt is not a significant source of iodine.
You should aim to get 3-5g of potassium per day. Bone broth is rich in potassium packing a whopping average of 500mg per serving. However, potassium is generally easier to get from food than sodium is, so don’t overdo this one with supplements unless you’re meticulously calculating.
Now you know what an animal-based diet is, its benefits, the potential dangers of plant foods, what to eat, and what to avoid. You’re set! Bookmark this page and make your grocery list. Soon you’ll join the thousands of people who have made the switch and never looked back. Make sure to share your results online. Until next time.