What is the Carnivore Diet?

While I prefer the word “lifestyle” rather than “diet,” the Carnivore Diet is the latest nutritional lifestyle in the mainstream. People like Dr. Paul Saladino (carnivoremd.com), Shawn Baker (shawn-baker.com), and others are doing incredible things by following this way of eating. They have seen results such as losing excess body fat, improved blood test markers, and improved physical performance. They also claim they have clearer thinking, better sleep, and they are trying to get the word out so more people can experience these results too.

What is the Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet is not a new way of eating at all. In fact, it is the way our ancient ancestors ate in a hunter/gatherer society. They would hunt animals like bison, elk, and deer. They took a “nose to tail” approach where they would utilize every ounce of meat, fat, and even the organs of the animal for food. They would boil the bones to make bone broth and used the fur to make clothing and shelter. There were no grains, no fruits or vegetables, and definitely no processed foods.

They didn’t eat carbohydrates, sugar, or artificial chemicals. Diseases like obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and Cancer didn’t exist in their society. They didn’t require preservatives for their food, and they didn’t need multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies. They didn’t need artificial medication, because their food was their medicine. Their food was meat, and on the Carnivore Diet, meat is all you need.

How do you eat carnivore?

The simplicity of the carnivore diet is also the beauty of it. All you eat are animals, nose to tail including the fat and organs. Just like the indigenous populations of the ancient hunter gatherer societies, the entire animal gets utilized. Pure carnivores will eat only animal products. No grains, fruits, vegetables, starches, or dairy products.

Some carnivores will include eggs and dairy products like cheese (in limited quantities). But they avoid sugar, grains, starches, and even vegetables. Sugar, grains, and starchy foods make up processed foods, and it’s obvious why these are avoided. But carnivores don’t eat vegetables, because it is believed that vegetables contain a chemical defense mechanism that is harmful to humans and other carnivorous animals.

Why eat carnivore?

The benefits of the carnivore diet appear to be promising. People are experiencing better mental clarity, improved physical performance, and body fat loss. It seems like a no-brainer as to why these benefits are happening.

First of all, eating only meat eliminates all processed foods. Nearly all processed foods contain sugar, and even worse, high fructose corn syrup. More and more information is coming out about how poisonous and bad sugar is for the human body. Consuming sugar can cause type 2 diabetes, and consuming fructose can be even worse, causing obesity and high blood pressure. Experts are even discussing the fact that cancer cells use sugar and fructose for energy. Regardless of the diet we choose, we all need to eliminate sugar from the foods we eat.

Next, eating carnivore eliminates grains and starches. Eliminating these foods removes gluten from the diet. The majority of human beings have at least a mild allergy to gluten. This mild allergy produces adverse effects that most people are used to and don’t even realize exist. Then there are those who have severe reactions to gluten and can’t eat it without getting sick.

Finally, going carnivore eliminates artificial ingredients such as sweeteners and colors. These ingredients are believed to cause behavioral problems in children, joint pain, weight gain, and even cancer. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, has been studied immensely but still no one knows what the long term effects of this chemical are. And there are no guarantees whether it is even safe for consumption.

Carnivores in the wild

If we look into nature, at the wild carnivorous animals, we can witness the benefits of this diet. Think about a lion, a wolf, or a shark. These carnivorous animals are never obese or overweight. Is that because there is a shortage of food for them? Absolutely not. A lion picks and chooses from entire herds of prey. And a shark has its choice of an abundance of fish, seals, and other prey. These animals never overeat, because they are satiated from eating the natural food they were designed to eat. This keeps their bodies in optimal condition so they can function and survive in their harsh environment.

It’s also worth noting that these animals don’t get diseases like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Their diet doesn’t promote hormonal fluctuations which cause the immune system to react to inflammation leading to damage of the body’s own healthy cells. There are no hormonal or eicosanoid imbalances which can cause tumor growth, allergies, vasoconstriction and other reactions. They don’t need doctors or medications to treat diseases caused by diet. The meat that they eat provides protein, fat, calories, and even vitamins and minerals without the need for sugar, grains, or even vegetables to sustain their health and vitality.

What about you?

What about you? Do you think a carnivore diet is something you could sustain? Personally, I like fruits and green vegetables and think they are an important component in any diet. Do you think you could eat nothing but meat? Be honest with this question. If your answer is no, is it because you’re addicted to sugar?

What is Normal Human Fitness?

With the rise of electronics and social media, the picture or definition of fitness has seemed to shift toward professional and elite athletes. One can’t help but notice their posts and their picture of professional fitness. And it seems that most of them have some sort of fitness plan for sale. That’s great for all the professionals out there, but what about the rest of us? What about the normal humans out there? Should we try to obtain professional fitness only to fail before we even begin? Instead of trying to obtain the impossible, we can work hard and obtain normal human fitness.

What is a Normal Human?

First of all, most normal humans have a full-time job. This job is forty hours plus, with a commute lasting anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes or even more. And that’s just one-way. Many of us work odd or unpredictable hours meaning we don’t even know what time we will be home. This job requires us to deal with stress, and uses a lot of our physical and mental energy.

Next, the normal human usually has a family, with a spouse and kids relying on them for their time, attention, and other limited resources. Getting the kids to and from school and to and from extra curricular activities is a major responsibility. The normal human must also help the kids with homework, projects, and remind them to complete chores and take care of themselves in general.

Having a family, or even living alone, the normal human has a commitment to care for their home, their vehicles, and other domestic responsibilities. Food needs to be prepared, laundry and dishes washed and put away. The carpet needs vacuumed and groceries bought, brought home, and put away. The vehicle needs gas, oil changes, air in the tires, and cracked windshields replaced.

The Normal Human Lifestyle

It is obvious that the normal human has a huge time commitment in just being normal. But everyone is afforded the same twenty four hours in the day. Whether we are normal humans, the Queen of England, or the President of the United States, we all get the same amount of time to work with. We have to be smart in how we manage our time and really concentrate on our priorities so we can schedule the things we need to get done.

Feeding ourselves, taking care of the kids, and going to work are high priority items. Meal prepping, working out, and sleeping eight hours should also be high on the priorities list. Helping the kids with homework, personal development, and building a side business are also things that we need to set aside time for. Watching television and browsing social media should be saved for when all the higher priority items have been taken care of.

The normal human lifestyle is not easy and requires discipline. It requires living with purpose and intent. Planning the day and executing the plan. It requires knowing what you want, what you want to accomplish that day, and sticking with the plan no matter how tired, worn out, or discouraged we may be. If you’re tired, you know you are doing something right. Life wants us to be comfortable, addicted to pleasure and instant gratification. But the normal human can choose tokeep the end in mind; to take the path less traveled or even create our own.

Normal Human Fitness

The importance of normal human fitness puts it in a category by itself. Fitness gives us strength, energy, confidence, ability, and most importantly, health and longevity. The key to achieving and improving fitness is consistency. In order for something to be consistent, it must be a part of our lifestyle; part of our daily routine. The normal human can join a traditional gym, or workout at home. We should have a diversified fitness plan. This plan should include cardiovascular training which includes walking, running, biking, swimming, rowing, or jumping rope. It should also include resistance training with multi-joint exercises such as squatting, bench pressing, dead lifting, and shoulder pressing. This should be done with a mix of barbell and dumbbell exercises. And a mix of low and high repetitions. One or two rest days, or low intensity days, should be programmed into the plan. But a walking and stretching plan should be maintained on a daily basis.

The normal human also sets fitness related goals. Goals such as signing up and training for a 5K run/walk or mud run. Other goals can be losing inches off your waist, or increasing your bench press weight. Regardless of what it is, a fitness goal will give you something positive to strive for. Something you can measure, track, and experience results from. This will help you to find a deeper appreciation for your fitness journey and healthy lifestyle.

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day, we are normal humans with many responsibilities. The way we prioritize and plan for these responsibilities can set us up for success or failure. We must choose to either be uncomfortable, beginning with the end in mind, or comfortable pleasure seekers taking the easy road that always leads to defeat. It is a simple process of deciding what we want, placing that in our heart, and adopting the mindset of achieving it. Whatever it takes.

Five Reasons Why You Should Track Your Food Intake

MyFitnessPal App by Under Armour

Losing weight or adding lean mass is a difficult task. Eating can be as subconscious or autonomous as breathing. Most of us go throughout the day knowing we need at least three meals, maybe some snacks, and are usually looking forward to the next thing we are going to eat. When eating in this random manner, do you know if you are getting enough or too many calories? Do you know if you are eating adequate amounts of protein? If you don’t document what you are eating, and how much, it is very difficult to eat with a purpose to reach your nutrition goals.

In the electronic age we live in, there are a multitude of apps that can help us track the food we eat. These apps record the serving size, the calories contained, and the macronutrients contained. If you dislike apps, however, a spreadsheet or even a pen and notebook can be used to log nutrition intake. However you do it, this log is definitely an advantage that will set you closer to your goals in only a short time.


There are at least five reasons why you should track what you eat. These five reasons are:

1. To learn your caloric intake and eating habits

2. To learn your macronutrient intake and set macro goals

3. To use as a tool to plan meals

4. To use as a tool to combat overeating by being aware of what you eat

5. To be deliberate about your food intake


The first reason you should track your food intake, is to learn your caloric intake and eating habits. This first reason may seem pretty obvious, but do you really know how many calories you eat if you don’t track them? It may come as a surprise to learn the amount of calories you take in once you begin keeping track.

You will also learn some of your eating habits. You will see which meal, or which time of day you eat the most. And which meal, or which time of day you eat the least. Learning your habits is a good way to bring awareness to your diet and nutrition intake.


The second reason you should track your food intake, is to learn your macronutrient intake and set macronutrient goals. Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Your macros need to be set a certain way, depending on your goals. Whether for weight-loss, muscle gain, even certain diets, your macronutrients must be tracked. And if you are not tracking your nutrient intake, you will not reach your macronutrient goals.


The third reason you should track your food intake, is to use as a tool to plan meals. Looking over your food tracker will help you plan meals and make grocery lists. You will know exactly how much of a particular food to buy by plugging the macros into your food tracker. It can also tell you if you are deficient in fiber or any micronutrients, and you can adjust your meals accordingly.


The fourth reason you should track your food intake, is to use as a tool to combat overeating by being aware of exactly what you eat and how much. In this step, it is very important to be honest when entering your serving sizes. For example, the normal serving size for most peanut butter brands is two tablespoons. Most of us easily exceed this amount which can be catastrophic when logging high calorie-concentrated foods like peanut butter. It doesn’t take long to learn the proper serving sizes you need to reach your caloric goals. This also helps us become accurately aware of how many calories we are actually taking in. It may be surprising to learn how many calories are contained in our favorite foods. And it is very helpful to learn which foods we eat are high calorie-concentrated. This is just another step to help us to begin eating with a purpose, on purpose.


And finally, you should track what you eat to be deliberate about your food intake. Plan your daily meals one week in advance. Make sure your meals contain the calories and macronutrients you need for the goals you are trying to reach. Build the habit of planning your meals, and you will find that it becomes easier and easier to follow this plan as the habit is reinforced. But whether you stick to this plan or stray from it, make sure to honestly track what you are eating. This way, you will always have a record which can allow you to go back and analyze where you need to make adjustments if necessary.


Tracking your food intake is not difficult. It does take some work at first, but becomes easier the more you do it. It allows you to stop the mindless cycle of random eating, and puts you on the path of eating with a purpose, on purpose. Everything is more effective and efficient with a plan. Eating is no different. Tracking your food intake allows you to plan your meals to the very last calorie, even when eating in a restaurant. To make the most of your nutrition goals, be sure to start a food log immediately.

The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 2

Fitness is paramount to a healthy life. There are many, many benefits gained from it and the following is a continued list and discussion of how to begin, or how to make a better fitness plan. If you haven’t read The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 1, do so now.

To review, the eleven steps are:

  1. Decide on your why
  2. Track your food intake
  3. Begin a stretching routine
  4. Block out a time and place for exercise
  5. Begin a walking routine
  6. Set a goal
  7. Start an exercise log
  8. Begin to change food habits
  9. Find a community
  10. Research exercises or types of exercise that interest you
  11. Gradually accumulate equipment

Steps 1-4 were basic steps that are of utmost importance when starting a fitness plan. Review them if necessary and see below to continue.


5. Begin a walking routine

Walking is an excellent low impact, aerobic exercise that most can do with little to no warm up or preparation. It requires no exertion or specialized equipment, and can be done anywhere. Plus, the benefits of walking are immense; too many to list here.

Your stretching and walking routine will help you develop a habit of physical activity. But you will need to further your time commitment that you set aside in Step number 3.

Begin with ten minutes per day, and build from there. Every two days, add two minutes until you are walking thirty minutes per day. After you finish your walking routine, go directly into your stretching routine. Set this walking and stretching time as a priority in your day. Guard this time carefully, and make sure you commit to this daily. This commitment is important to develop your healthy habit.


6. Set a goal

Humans progress when they have something to look forward to. It is true that exercise helps us feel good, and that is something to look forward to. But setting a long-term goal with smaller goals to reach along the way will also help you in your fitness journey. Make sure the goals are realistic, reachable, and have a time component contained in them.

An example of a goal would be to lose ten pounds in six weeks with a smaller goal of losing two pounds per week. These are realistic and reachable goals that may end up being reached sooner than the stated deadline.

Another example of a goal you can set would be to enter a 1 mile or 5K walk/run. The goal would be to comfortably increase your distance in the time period before the day of the event. This would give you extra incentive to train hard, and then set a personal record at the day of the event.

Brainstorm on this topic. Write down everything that comes to mind, because once you reach a goal, you should move onto the next one so that you continue to progress with your fitness. If this sounds like a confusing or daunting task, fear not. The thing to remember about all of this is that it is a slow and methodical process. Nothing is done out of haste or without proper planning.


7. Start an exercise log

Now that you are stretching, walking, and have set a goal, it is time to begin an exercise log. This can be done electronically, or the old fashioned way with pen and paper in a notebook. Simply record what day it is, and what you did for that day. For example:

  • Monday
  • Walk for 30 minutes, 1.2 miles
  • Full body stretch for 20 minutes, tried a new hamstring stretch

This is to be used as a tool to track your exercise and measure your progress. You can analyze your log and see if any changes or adjustments need to be made. Then you can track the effectiveness of the adjustments you made to see whether or not they are working. You can also keep a running tally of how much time, or how many miles you walked for the week or the month. It can be pretty inspirational to see that time or the miles add up.


8. Begin to change food habits

Back in step 2, you began tracking your food intake. Similar to your exercise log, you can analyze your food intake and decide if any changes need to be made. At this point, with your walking and exercise routine, your body is working at a level of performance and needs adequate nutrition to maintain and maximize this level of performance.

Begin to change food habits. Slowly cut down on processed food and sugar. As you do this, replace these foods with whole foods. Increase your protein and healthy fat intake, and you will notice a surprising difference. You will feel better. Your body will perform better. You will feel stronger and more energetic. You will even notice things like better looking skin, and possibly even a decrease in allergies!

The food we eat is absolutely vital to our health and performance. Think of food as you would medicine. We are very intentional with the medicines we take, and should be with the foods we eat as well.

Congratulations on implementing the first eight steps to better fitness. In part three of this series, the final three steps will be explained and will finalize this series.

The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 1

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

Unknown

Fitness is paramount to a healthy life. It effects our physical health, our mental health, our attitude, our opinion of ourselves, our confidence, the daily choices we make, our long-term choices, goals, abilities, and more. Fitness makes us better human beings, because it has so many positive results.

Many people embrace their fitness and work on it daily. Others want to be fit but don’t know where to start. Whether it is a fear of failure, intimidation, or belief that it is unobtainable, anyone can take the following steps to get on the path of gaining fitness:

  1. Decide on your why
  2. Track your food intake
  3. Begin a stretching routine
  4. Block out a time and place for exercise
  5. Begin a walking routine
  6. Set a goal
  7. Start an exercise log
  8. Begin to change food habits
  9. Find a community
  10. Research exercises or types of exercise that interest you
  11. Gradually accumulate equipment
Photo by Ryan Cheng on Unsplash

1. Decide on your why

With everything we do, there is a reason, or why, to motivate us to do things. Why do we wake up to the sound of an annoying alarm clock? To get to work on time. Why do we go to work? To earn money to make a living. Why do we eat a meal? To provide energy to sustain life.

Take a long hard look at the benefits of fitness that are listed above. Think about them. How would you benefit from an increase in your fitness? How would you benefit from better health? Increased confidence? Increased physical ability?

Decide on two or three of these benefits that are most important to you and write them down. Put them on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Tell people about them. Post them on your social media accounts. This may even help someone else by motivating them to think about their own health and fitness.

Congratulations! You’ve taken the most important initial step to improve your health! Whenever you’re feeling tired, discouraged, or apathetic (and you will), use your why to maintain your purpose and motivation.


2. Track your food intake

Fitness requires nutrition. The quality and quantity of the food we eat is the foundation of our physical being. Relate food to medicine. Different medicines have different effects on our cells, hormones, organs, and body overall. Food is no different. We take it in, and it affects our cells, hormones, organs, and body overall as well. Depending on our needs, medicine can help us, or harm us. Again, just like medicine, food falls into this as well.

Get into the habit of tracking your daily food intake. There are many apps that are easy to use to help with this task. You can also use software like a spreadsheet, or just use a pen and notebook. Any of these options are effective. The goal here is to be able to analyze what you eat, when, and how much. Track the calorie count and macronutrients (grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat) for everything. This information can easily be found on the internet. Be honest with serving sizes. This information will only benefit you in the long run.

Using a food log takes a lot of work. At first. The more you work on it, the easier it gets. This is because you will begin to notice patterns and will get faster at entering your food. You will also begin to have an awareness and visual record of what you are, and are not taking in. It will be easier to make necessary changes as you progress. And you will also be able to relate how you feel with what you eat.


3. Begin a stretching routine

Now that you have your why in mind, and you’re compiling food intake data, it is time to get physical. It is time to start a stretching routine. This is a simple step that should be incorporated daily. We want a full body stretch routine at the least. This should take about fifteen or twenty minutes and should be performed after exercising, or after the body is warm. Stretching is not recommended when the body is cold or has been inactive.

If you’re unsure how to stretch, or what stretches to do, YouTube is a great resource for this. Search for full body stretches, and additional stretches for any body part that gives you extra trouble. You can also choose to do a quick, full body yoga routine.

Stretching teaches us to maintain and take care of our body. It helps loosen tight muscles, scar tissue, and stiff tendons. It promotes circulation and helps mobilize waste products out of the tissues. It is also a healthy way to get into a habit of daily physical activity.


4. Block out a time and place for exercise

When I first began working out, I set up an 8′ x 12′ piece of carpet in my basement. I used this as my workout area for the body weight exercises that I was doing at the time. I had a television and VCR set up for workout videos. And it wasn’t long until I mounted a pull-up bar and a set of dip bars as well. I even ended up dragging a treadmill down the stairs and running in the basement!

It was great. I had my dedicated spot for working out and would work out when I got home from work. Without thinking, I had accomplished ‘blocking out a time and place for exercise.’

This is your next step. Be deliberate about this so you can commit to the time and place as you fit it into your schedule. If you’re the typical overly-busy person, you will need to make a decision to make this time a priority so you can accomplish your fitness.

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

This is part one of a three part series. In less than thirty minutes, you can start these four steps today. Put them on your to do list under priority one. Tackle them and check them off. Then, be ready for part two of this series.

Re-read the steps above. Which do you think will be the hardest to implement?