Carnivore FAQ: Foods to Eat and to Avoid

You already know what the carnivore diet is, what are its main rules and how to start it right. During the carnivore diet, you can only eat animal foods, avoiding any vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, and any other processed foods of plant origin. However, the carnivore diet has several options. One of them is pure carnivore nutrition, which works great as an anti-inflammatory diet to help you lose weight and improve your health. The second option is a dirty high-protein diet, which people often practice in order to get the benefits of a zero-carb diet but diversify their weight loss with some additional food – spices, herbs, teas, etc.

We’ve compiled all of the most popular, frequently asked questions about the foods, drinks, and spices you can eat or need to avoid. You will find here all the answers to the most important questions regarding the carnivore diet. Let’s figure it out together!

Carnivore FAQ: Foods to Eat and to Avoid

Are Eggs Carnivore Diet?

You can eat eggs in the first phase of the carnivore diet because they belong to animal-based food groups. After one month of the first carnivore phase, you can either leave eggs on your menu or move towards a pure zero carb consisting of only grass-fed beef and water.

Are Pork Rinds Allowed on Carnivore Diet?

Pork rinds are an excellent snack for the carnivore diet because they contain two permitted ingredients – pork and salt. Choose pork rinds without additional flavorings and spices. This way, you can be sure that they contain only food of animal origin. A perfect option would be to cook pork rinds at home.

Can You Drink Coffee on Carnivore Diet?

In theory, coffee is a plant-based food that is banned from the carnivore diet. However, the first carnivore cycle allows coffee to be consumed without any additives or with the addition of butter. The third cycle of the strict carnivore only allows water, eliminating coffee.

Are Mushrooms Carnivore Diet?

No, mushrooms are not carnivore-friendly as they are plant foods. However, some people practice dirty carnivore by including small amounts of vegetables with minimal carbohydrates in their diet. Mushrooms fall into this category since they contain 1-2 grams of net carbohydrates per 100 grams.

Can You Drink Alcohol on Carnivore Diet?

The true carnivore diet forbids the consumption of any liquids other than pure water and bone broth in order to exclude any plant foods. Some people who stick to dirty carnivore occasionally indulge in a small amount of strong alcohol with zero carbs. However, you should be aware that it will likely knock you out of ketosis, so you shouldn’t do this if your goal is medical ketosis.

Can You Have Berries on Carnivore Diet?

No, you cannot eat berries while on a carnivore diet. It is a food of plant origin, which, moreover, contains carbohydrates. Some meat eaters may occasionally eat berries during a dirty carnivore diet. However, this is contrary to the main principles of the pure animal diet.

Can You Drink Diet Soda on Carnivore Diet?

Diet soda generally has no sugar and calories, but it remains an artificial product consisting of chemical compounds. The carnivore diet aims to eliminate all processed foods and base the menu on clean eating. Therefore, nutritionists recommend eliminating diet soda from any diet to avoid potential health hazards [1].

Can You Drink Sparkling Water on Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can drink pure sparkling water without restriction while on the carnivore diet. However, you should choose those options that do not contain any additives, artificial sweeteners, flavors, and flavor enhancers. Pure sparkling water can be a good alternative for those who don’t like to drink plain water.

Can You Eat Corned Beef on the Carnivore Diet?

Yes, corned beef is a great option for the carnivore diet as long as you eat it without any plant-based supplements or carbohydrate snacks. However, if you choose canned corned beef, you need to ensure that it does not contain any additional ingredients – only beef, spices, and water.

Can You Drink Kombucha on Carnivore Diet?

Kombucha is not the best option for a carnivore diet. The fact is that the bacteria and yeast in its composition process sugar, and as a result, this drink contains carbs that are not suitable for a zero-carb diet. In addition, kombucha is the result of tea fermentation, which is why it is plant-based food. However, if you stick to dirty carnivore, you can occasionally afford a glass of sugar-free kombucha to reap the benefits of a fermented drink.

Can You Eat Deli Meat on Carnivore Diet?

In theory, cold cuts are animal foods that are suitable for a carnivore diet. However, most deli meat options contain too much sodium, added sugars, flavor enhancers, preservatives, and colorants that won’t benefit your body. And since carnivore is based on eating healthy whole foods, you can only eat deli meat if you cook it yourself.

Can You Have Vinegar on Carnivore Diet?

Any vinegar is a vegetable product, the use of which is contrary to the basic principles of an animal-based carnivore diet. However, you can occasionally use it as a cooking condiment if you follow a dirty carnivore.

Can You Use Hot Sauce on Carnivore Diet?

The dirty carnivore diet allows some condiments on the menu if they contain zero or minimal carbs. It means that you can choose hot sauce as long as it doesn’t have carbs. However, this is a plant-based processed food you should avoid if you want to get the full benefits of the pure carnivore diet.

Can You Use Coconut Oil on Carnivore Diet?

Coconut oil is the superfood of any low carbohydrate diet, but it is plant-based food. For this reason, you should avoid it during a strict carnivore diet at all stages. However, people who do a dirty carnivore diet sometimes use coconut oil as a source of beneficial fatty acids.

Can I Use Butter on Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can eat butter on the first monthly cycle of your carnivore diet. However, I recommend you choose grass-fed butter with a natural composition that does not contain additives. Moreover, you can buy or make Ghee butter [2], which contains 0 carbs from lactose and is healthier to eat than butter.

Can You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar on Carnivore Diet?

Apple cider vinegar is a superfood for a variety of low-carb diets and health-conscious people in general. However, it is a plant-based product and should be avoided if you aim for a pure carnivore. Yet, you can use a small amount of apple cider vinegar during the adaptation period or a dirty carnivore.

Can You Use Avocado Oil on Carnivore Diet?

No. You cannot use avocado oil during the carnivore diet because it is plant-based food. During the carnivore diet, you can only use animal fats if your goal is to stick to pure carnivore. Some people use avocado oil as a part of their dirty carnivore diet, but you need totally eliminate it if you aim for the pure carnivore.

How Many Pounds of Meat Carnivore Diet Allows a Day?

You should aim to get 1 gram of pure protein per 1 kg of your target body weight. One pound of meat contains approximately 60-100 grams of protein, depending on the animal and its part. Also, you should be getting 1.5-2 times more calories from fat while on a carnivore diet. It equals the same number of grams of fat as protein (1 gram of fat provides 9 calories, 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories). Based on this, you can calculate the optimal amount of meat for your body weight. However, remember that carnivore does not control your calorie intake as long as you feel well.

How Much Liver per Week Carnivore Diet Allows?

The liver of various animals contains a unique set of vitamins and minerals among all animal products. Eating 1 pound of beef liver per week will completely cover the deficiency of most of the vitamins your body needs, including vitamin C. With other meat-based foods (including bone broth), you get the full spectrum of nutrients in much more quantities than during any other diet.

How Much Water to Drink on Carnivore Diet?

While on the carnivore diet, you may experience frequent urination and reduced swelling as a result of eliminating carbs from your menu entirely. For this reason, you may experience increased thirst and dry mouth. It’s okay. You can drink as much water as you need every time you are thirsty. If pure water does not help you quench your thirst, you may be deficient in electrolytes [3].

Is Chicken Carnivore Diet?

Yes, any part of a chicken is suitable for a carnivore diet. What’s more, I recommend that you eat every part of the chicken, including chicken breast, liver, and heart, for a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Make sure you cook or buy chicken dishes that do not contain vegetable ingredients, including sweet marinade or crunchy breadcrumbs.

Can You Eat Pickles on Carnivore Diet?

No, you need to avoid pickles while on a clean carnivore diet. In addition to being vegetables that you need to eliminate, they also contain carbohydrates. However, pickles are an excellent source of electrolytes for low-carbohydrate diets. If you’re doing a dirty carnivore diet, you can occasionally indulge in some pickles, making sure they don’t have any added carbs.

Can You Eat Bread on Carnivore Diet?

Unfortunately, you can’t eat any kind of bread while on the carnivore diet. Even if it is a low-carb bread, it contains too many vegetable ingredients that are forbidden during the carnivore diet. So the only option available to you during the carnivore diet is chicken cheese keto loaf with no veggies added.

Are Hot Dogs Good for Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can treat yourself to a hot dog on occasion. However, remember the basic rules of a carnivore diet – no fillers, added carbohydrates, or plant-based foods. Choose proven options, but remember that this is still a processed meal, while you should strive to eat clean. Make your own hot dogs and enjoy clean food without compromising your carnivore diet.

Can You Drink Kefir on Carnivore Diet?

Dairy foods cause a lot of controversy in the carnivore community. Many simply cut out dairy, while others opt for low-lactose options like kefir and some kinds of cheese during their first carnivore cycle. Kefir has a beneficial composition, and it is able to restore your electrolyte balance on a carnivore diet. However, keep an eye on your carbs and try to opt for low-carb options.

Can You Drink Milk on Carnivore Diet?

You cannot drink milk while on a carnivore diet. It applies primarily to plant-based milk (almond, soy, coconut, etc.). But it also applies to animal milk. The fact is that it contains too much lactose, which our bodies easily convert into glucose, disrupting ketosis and the main principle of the zero-carb diet.

Can You Eat Avocado on Carnivore Diet?

While avocados are a source of essential healthy fats on any low-carb diet, you’ll have to cut them out during carnivore. Avocados are the fruit of a plant, so they are not suitable for a zero-carb diet, even though they are low in carbs. Dirty carnivore allows for the occasional small amount of avocado, but this type of eating is no longer a true carnivore.

Can You Cook With Olive Oil on Carnivore Diet?

You need to avoid olive oil and olives while on a carnivore diet as it is plant-based food. The zero-carb diet has great animal options for cooking – for example, any animal fat (lard, tallow, chicken fat) or Ghee butter.

Can I Eat Pork Belly on Carnivore Diet?

Yes, pork belly is great carnivore food. It is on the list of animal fats that should fill your menu during the zero-carb diet. You need to watch your fat content levels to prevent excess protein on the menu and excessive stress on the kidneys.

Can You Eat Breakfast Sausage on Carnivore Diet?

You can eat breakfast sausage while on a carnivore diet, and it makes a great snack full of protein and fat with a little bit of spice. You can cook it yourself using a minimum of seasonings or buy breakfast sausage in any store. However, you need to carefully read the labels and make sure that it does not contain added carbohydrates.

Can You Drink Tea on Carnivore Diet?

The first monthly cycle of the carnivore diet allows for the consumption of tea and coffee in small quantities and without any additives. However, pure carnivore denies all plant foods, and if you are going to move on to the third cycle, consisting of beef and water, you will have to give up tea.

Can You Eat Yogurt on Carnivore Diet?

Yogurt belongs to the controversial group of dairy foods during the carnivore diet. Zero-carb sometimes allows low-lactose dairy foods such as hard cheeses, butter, and small amounts of kefir. However, yogurt (we’re talking about sugar-free Greek yogurt) is more of a high-lactose food, so you should avoid it while on a carnivore diet.

Can You Have Mustard on Carnivore Diet?

No, mustard is not suitable for the carnivore diet because it is plant-based food. However, the first stage of carnivore allows the use of low-carb spices and condiments in small quantities. But if you’re aiming for a pure carnivore, you must avoid mustard.

Can You Have Stevia on Carnivore Diet?

Stevia is a plant-based product that many people consume during low-carb diets. And while it has no calories, no carbs, and does not interfere with blood sugar regulation, carnivore aims to eliminate all plant foods, including stevia. However, you can occasionally use stevia during the adaptation period.

Can You Use Seasoning on Carnivore Diet?

In general, seasonings are plant foods that the carnivore diet tends to limit. However, the first carnivore cycle may allow some options that do not contain carbohydrates and do not affect your blood insulin levels. If you want to follow a strict carnivore, you must eliminate all seasonings except salt.

What Spices Can I Use on the Carnivore Diet?

During the mild carnivore diet, you can consume some spices that do not contain carbohydrates. It can be salt, various types of pepper, ground garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice, etc. However, remember that a strict carnivore diet only allows you to use salt.

What Seasonings Can You Use on Carnivore Diet?

Seasoning is a mixture of spices that gives different flavors to your dishes. We have already found out that you can eat some spices during the carnivore diet, which means that there are also seasoning options that you can use. Choose options that do not contain added carbohydrates.

Can You Use Condiments on the Carnivore Diet?

Most condiments are plant-based, so eating them breaks the principles of the carnivore diet. However, during the adaptation process, you can use some zero-carb condiments to diversify your diet. For example, you can make carnivore mayo without plant ingredients or use different sauces with minimal carbs.

Can You Use Pepper on Carnivore Diet?

As you already know, the carnivore diet restricts all plant foods without exception. Therefore, this category includes all types of pepper. However, the first adaptation cycle of the carnivore diet sometimes allows you to use spices, including pepper, to add some extra flavors and aromas to the meat.

Can You Use Garlic Powder on Carnivore Diet?

As you already know, carnivore restricts plant foods but occasionally allows zero carb spices during an adjustment period or a dirty carnivore diet. For example, you can use garlic powder in small amounts as it contains minimal carbohydrates.

Can You Use Sweetener on Carnivore Diet?

Carnivore aims to eliminate the use of processed foods and chemical ingredients, as well as all sweeteners. Besides, all safe sweeteners are made from plants. For these reasons, you should avoid sweeteners while on the carnivore diet. By the way, you have nothing to use it with.

Can You Use Soy Sauce on Carnivore Diet?

Soy sauce is included in the list of vegetable condiments that people sometimes indulge in during a dirty carnivore or adjustment period. You just have to choose the zero-carb option with no added sugars. However, you should remember that pure carnivore forbids eating any plant foods. Therefore, you should avoid soy sauce if you want to follow a pure carnivore diet.

Can You Eat Eggs on the Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can eat eggs during the first adaptation cycle of the carnivore diet. Eggs are an excellent source of animal protein and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. However, if you want to follow pure carnivore, you need to gradually eliminate eggs.

Can You Use Olive Oil on Carnivore Diet?

No, you cannot use olive oil during the carnivore diet because it is plant-based food. However, you can replace olive oil with any type of animal fat, from Ghee butter to animal fat (beef tallow, duck fat, etc.).

Do You Have to Eat Organ Meat on Carnivore Diet?

You can avoid organ meat if you don’t like it while on the carnivore diet. However, by doing so, you are missing out on some of the benefits of this type of diet. It is organ meats that contain essential nutrients and minerals that you lack on a zero-carb diet. If you don’t like the taste of organ meats, you can add a small amount to your ground beef or make a pâté with a small amount of beef liver, rich in vitamin C.

How Much Salt Do I Need on the Carnivore Diet?

If you lead an active lifestyle and do strength training, you will need about 2-3 teaspoons of salt to replenish electrolyte balance [4]. Of course, you will receive sodium from food. However, this amount may not be enough for good health. You can dissolve 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt in a bottle of water and drink it in small sips if you feel weak at the beginning of your carnivore journey.

 

Sources:

  1. Crichton, G., Alkerwi, A., & Elias, M. (2015). Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome: A Two Sample Comparison. Nutrients7(5), 3569–3586. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7053569
  2. Chinnadurai, K., Kanwal, H. K., Tyagi, A. K., Stanton, C., & Ross, P. (2013). High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats. Lipids in health and disease12, 121. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-12-121
  3. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. 11. Water and Electrolytes. National Research Council (U.S.) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989.
  4. Jung, A. P., Bishop, P. A., Al-Nawwas, A., & Dale, R. B. (2005). Influence of Hydration and Electrolyte Supplementation on Incidence and Time to Onset of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. Journal of athletic training40(2), 71–75.

 

 

About

Ana Rinkevich is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and weight loss. Over the past 10 years, she has used various methods to deal with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and eating disorders. Proud keto follower for 6 years - lost 100 pounds and fought insulin resistance. Ana shares her experience, tips, and motivation to help people use eating habits for better health and harmony with the body.