Our Low-Carb Diet Is a Hypercarnivore Keto-diet With plants optional
Our Low-Carb Diet is very simple. It is based on our Trust Your True Nature (TYTN) Low-Carb Lifestyle/Diet Plan, however, it includes a more narrow range of options allowed in that plan. Why? Because we have found eating a very simple, low-carb diet that is high in protein, with moderate to high amounts of fat to be what works best for us.
It is similar to what our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors would have eaten, and it reflects the preferences that would have been particular to our individual, but similar more recent ancestry.
Your version of a low-carb diet will reflect your personal background, needs, ancestry, and personal preferences, as I discussed in the article about a Healthy Diet.
The TYTN Low-Carb Lifestyle/Diet Plan is a low-carbohydrate diet with plenty of wiggle room for individual needs.
So what is a hyper-carnivore? Is that different than a Zero-Carb or Carnivore Diet? Is it a ketogenic diet?
I explain what that means, and why I/we consider certain foods healthy despite mainstream beliefs ~ and despite our own previous beliefs that animal foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats were among the least healthy. My hope is that by understanding my choices, the mental resistance will be less of an obstacle to others who desire to lose weight and experience better health by eating their version of a healthy, low-carb diet.
What we consider part of a healthy, low-carb diet
Based on the above definitions, most people eat a carnivorous diet. Many people call a hypo- or mesocarnivore diet (see definitions below) an omnivore diet, however our physiology is designed to preferentially obtain energy and nutrients from animal protein and fats.
We all have affinities to certain foods, often based on the typical diet our ancestors would have eaten over the last several thousand years - or more!
Even if you grew up with no sense of a connection to your ancestry, you are part of a chain. Your ancestors' DNA is within you, and whether you are aware or not, it could be affecting many of your choices. Your preferences and your dislikes may hail from distant ancestors you never met.
Whether you like or dislike pork, beef, fish or dairy foods is often heavily influenced by your cultural heritage, and mainstream teachings about what is a healthy diet.
Shipping foods everywhere has altered the natural, native diets of many people. Is this really ideal?
Centralizing food production, and shipping foods around the world may expand personal choices at the store, but it comes at a great cost to our shared resources, and the health of our topsoils.
Local brats cooked w/ cabbage & whole grain mustard, served w/ radishes ~ an Eastern European style meal that you can enjoy on a low-carb diet!
Carnivore is a term that classifies animals who derives the bulk of their nutrients and energy from the consumption of other animals.
Carnivores may be classified by the types of prey they eat (such as insects versus animals), but also according to percentages of animal foods in the diet.
A hypocarnivore consumes 30% or less of their diet as meat and animal foods. A mesocarnivore consumes between 50-70% of their diet as animal foods, and a 70% or greater intake of animal foods is classified as a hypercarnivore. We are hypercarnivores! We eat mostly animal proteins and fats, and use vegetables and herbs like condiments, with small amounts of seasonal fruits, nuts, or other plant foods. Our diet is a higher protein ketogenic diet, with plants optional.
The Trust Your True Nature (TYTN) Low-Carb Diet with plant foods eaten according to one's tolerance and tastes. Eat according to your needs and instincts!
We eat a high protein, low-carb diet ~ or what I have come to label a hypercarnivore, ketogenic diet for many reasons, primarily because we feel much better eating this way!
Studies do indicate that we need a higher protein intake as we age, because we become less efficient at utilization of amino acids and maintenance of lean muscle mass.
While many people who eat a low-carb diet, or ketogenic-diet fear eating high protein because protein can still cause insulin spikes, research indicates that this only occurs in a moderate to high carbohydrate fed state. Dr. Georgia Eades discusses why eating a high protein, ketogenic diet, such as our hypercarnivore keto diet can be beneficial for long-term health, and disease avoidance.
You can find the presentation of Dr. Eades, Dr. Ted Naiman, and many other experts discussing various aspects of health and a low-carb, ketogenic diet on DietDoctor.com. I highly recommend signing up to be a member as the website is chockfull of recipes and information, excellent interviews, and several great presentations, and short documentaries. You can try it out for free for one month.
Dr. Ted Naiman discuss the influence of high insulin levels in most diseases, from skin disorders like psoriasis, to obesity, diabetes, cancer, and even conditions like tinnitus! There are many more great lectures that will help you feel much more comfortable eating a healthy, low-carb, or hypercarnivore diet.
We incorporate some raw meat, raw fish, and raw liver and other organs into our diet, just as native populations worldwide have traditionally done. Contrary to what many people believe, it is quite enjoyable, easy to chew, and easy to digest.
A healthy low-carb diet features whole foods, ideally with some raw.
Beef roasts are a big part of our hypercarnivore low-carb diet. Meats come out great when seared on a high heat in the oven. Not much cooking time is needed. You can also roast meats, including poultry at a high heat first, then doing a slow roast for several hours at a low heat, as explained here. Don also has a few 'Slow Roast Sunday' videos on his Full Range Strength YouTube channel.
It's a great compromise from eating raw, as you still retain many of the nutrients when cooking meat to rare, or medium-rare at the most.
We make big batches of naturally brined cabbage, and beets with red onions, and enjoy these with our meats, usually also with a bowl of bone broth.
The Trust Your True Nature (TYTN) Low-Carb Diet approach inspires making choices instinctually, using your body as your guide. If you begin by eating a very simple, low-carb diet, you will be able to become more and more clear about which foods digest well and help you feel good, and which foods do not.
We also encourage people to eat according to what their great great grandparents, or even more distant ancestors would have eaten, as these earlier generations experienced much better health.
Our local Sprouts Market often sells grass-fed ground beef on sale for a great price. We stock up, and enjoy burgers, or...
Cabbage Rolls, or our Low-Carb Stuffed Peppers.
Chicken and center cut pork chops can dry out if overcooked. They come out perfectly when marinated with some fresh citrus or vinegar, then grill or pan-fry to perfection.
Don and I currently primarily consume red meat, along with some wild salmon or cod, poultry, and smaller amounts of pork. We also have eggs almost daily, often in the form of our Raw Eggnog. We do enjoy sausages, just as our own Hungarian and Polish ancestors did. Even Okinawans, a population studied for being among the longest lived, had a saying about eating every part of the pork except the ears and the toes.
Blending whole eggs, or egg yolks with either heavy cream, coconut cream, half and half, and/or water or even a little leftover brewed coffee is a super quick way to replenish amino acids and fatty acids, post strength training. Eggs are nearly equal in protein and fat, which is ideal.
Many of European descent included pork ~ raised naturally, not in artificial industrial settings ~ as part of their traditional diet. The ancient Celts highly revered pork, or wild boar.
Pork is high in vitamins that beef is lower in, such as B1, thiamine. Thiamine is used to help metabolize protein and fats, convert glucose into energy, and for maintaining healthy functioning of the heart and nerves.
Pork can be very lean, or very fatty, depending on the cut ~ same as beef. The fat from pigs is at least one third monounsaturated which you may not be aware of. Animal fat is not entirely saturated, however coconut oil largely is.
Pigs are ideal animals to have on a small farm. They eat up scraps and forage, and turn it into useable, nutrient-dense protein, and delicious cuts that are higher in fat, such as pork belly which is cured to become bacon.
As all things, when consumed judiciously with mindfulness, it can absolutely be part of a healthy low-carb diet.
Although red meat has also been under fire in the last several years, it is among the most nutrient-dense sources of nutrients for a regular staple.
Not too long ago, beef was the affordable, primary staple. Why? As Joel Salatin points out in his book, Folks, this ain't normal, until recently, grain was too expensive to produce. Grains were consumed only during celebratory occasions, or among the wealthy.
It took the convergence of cheap oil, government subsidies, and technology to allow a once very time-consuming and expensive process of growing grain to be suddenly available ~ on the cheap.
Once it was cheaper to produce and ship grain, cows were taken off the pasture, and put on un-natural diets of now cheap grain. Mono-cropping, tillage, and the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides replaced the more normal systems of raising herbivores on pasture in a dynamic and diverse agricultural system that was once the norm across much of the country.
According to Joel Salatin, "Actually, I don't think we should eat so much chicken. If you really want to do something environmentally healing, eat forage-finished beef."
"...One of the most poignant and active environmental decisions you can make is to patronize 100 percent grass-based herbivores: beef, dairy, lamb, chevon, yak, bison, deer, antelope, elk, moose...you get the picture."
Despite the popularity of low-carb diets, beef consumption has dropped dramatically over the last couple decades. We are doing our share to turn those trends around as hypercarnivores!
Cows out to pasture, a bucolic scene that was once the norm, here and throughout Europe, the West, and probably many other areas that were no longer hunter-gatherers.
A low-carb diet has been proven to be a healthy diet, which I covered in part in Healthy Eating. I highly recommend the following books (in addition to the wealth of information from a wide variety of experts available on DietDoctor.com).
In the videos to the right, Dr. Ted Naiman discusses what to eat and why a low-carb diet is better for weight loss and blood sugar balance. He explains the impact different foods have on insulin based on their glycemic index and glycemic load in the first video.
The amount of circulating insulin directly affects blood sugar balance. Insulin is a hormone that contributes to fat storage. Therefore, the more you consume foods which drive up the production of insulin ~ primarily carbohydrates ~ the more readily your body will store excess as fat, and make weight loss difficult while continuing to consume those foods.
The second video discusses which types of tests are the most important for determining your insulin levels, and overall health.
Details of our version of a healthy, low-carb diet, based on our ancestry
Chicken breasts are great stir-fried with just one or two main veggies, like celery and daikon radish or onions. Season w/ salt, white pepper, and a pinch of star anise.
Deviled eggs are another great healthy low-carb snack. Mix egg yolks with a little homemade mayo & horseradish or dijon mustard, & optional lemon fish oil to boost EPA & DHA, Omega 3 fatty acids.
Berries, nuts, and cottage cheese ~ a delicious blend, but each person will need to determine tolerance. Strawberries are especially low-carb diet friendly, however some people feel best avoiding all plant foods, at least for a few months, maybe more.
We consume a high-protein, 'hypercarnivore keto- diet.
We eat 2-3 meals per day. This is actually more like two main cooked meals, possibly with a snack.
My main formula for eating, (especially good for weight loss) is Pro + Fat x 3. Focus on protein first as it is the most nutrient-dense. It provides all the essential nutrients in a highly bioavailable form, including Vitamin C. Fill in as needed with healthy animal fats, and smaller amounts of healthy oils. Your 'third' item can be a vegetable if desired. Eat the three main foods, at 3 meals per day (+/- as needed). Adjust as needed, but this is the basic building block to success.
Our main staples include: beef, with some wild fish, eggs, and animal fats including butter (preferably Kerrygold, or other better quality butter), bacon and the bacon fat and fat naturally occurring in the meats.
We supplement with mackerel, sardines, chicken, turkey, sausages and ham or other cuts of pork, and some whole-fat dairy foods including heavy cream, half and half, and possibly cream cheese, sour cream, and / or a grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese we purchase from Trader Joe's. Dairy can be insulinogenic, so we keep it minimal, and stick to high or whole-fat sources with less carbohydrates and dairy proteins.
We occasionally enjoy fruits as craved, but stick to those fruits that are lower in fructose, such as strawberries and cantaloupe. We also like our local citrus fruits. If eating higher fructose fruits, such as an apple or pear, I only eat up to half at a time.
We regularly make and consume bone broth. We add kelp or kombu seaweed, and a big bunch of parsley to our broth most of the time.
My main 'treat' food is 5-15g of 100% bakers chocolate. I eat this after breakfast, as it helps me to finish my meal, and curb cravings for anything else afterwards.
Bone Broth Soup w/ added kale & tomato, served for breakfast w/ scrambled eggs ~ all low-carb diet approved!
My recommendations for making a low-carb diet work for you.
Keep meals simple, especially if you have digestive issues, allergies, skin disorders, etc., as the simpler the meal, the easier to sleuth out dietary culprits.
Trust your true nature! Lean more into what you feel drawn to, less what your mind has come to believe 'is healthy.' The mind gets attached to ideas, which may or may not be true for you.
Keep healthy, low-carb, high-protein snacks around such as an extra-lean ham loaf, and/or cans of sardines or mackerel, or even a good quality hard salami, or the Trader Joe's Turkey Summer Sausage which is lower in sodium. Here are some more low-carb healthy snacks or simple meal suggestions.
Consider featuring the foods most likely consumed based on your ancestral diet. For example, many from Northern European descent consumed pork, beef, fish, and dairy, including butter and heavy cream. Those around the Mediterranean areas may do better focusing more on fish and seafood, and using more olive oil.
Ignore what mainstream media claims is or isn't healthy. Tune in, not out.
Eat enough to feel satisfied. Protein has a high level of satiety, and you won't over eat it. Have enough fat with it, and fill in with what you crave of vegetables, fruits, nuts, or other carbohydrate-rich foods that are included in the TYTN Low-Carb Diet Plan, such as winter squashes, sweet potatoes, or very small amounts of whole grains if tolerated. Avoid all those foods if your health is not improving, and keep your total carbohydrate consumption below 75grams, give or take.
Whole grains, products made from grains, and or beans are more modern foods. They contain many anti-nutrients that over time can be destroying our gut health, leading to a destruction of the tiny microvilli in our small intestine, more food sensitivities and allergies, skin disorders, and more. I recommend avoiding these foods for at least 1-2 months initially to determine how they may be impacting your health. If eating, do so judiciously and mindfully! The phytates in grains and beans inhibit absorption of zinc, and other minerals.
If constipation persists, consider trying to eat a meat only diet for a little while, or a diet consisting entirely, or mostly of raw flesh foods, with small amounts of raw dairy. Consume organ meats as well! This is the most natural diet for humans to consume. Many believe meat makes them constipated, but it is more likely the whole context of the diet that one has been consuming all along that is the problem. Proper gut flora will replenish when given the right raw materials. Have patience!
Remember, animal flesh foods and fats, including the internal organs, and raw fresh dairy (goat, sheep, cow, etc.) are the most nutrient-dense foods.
Plant foods can be enjoyable, and make a nice complement to animal foods, however many people only begin to heal from their life-long health issues when they avoid all plant foods!!! Consider plant foods optional, enjoying them like condiments as desired. Enjoy greens to your tolerance. Eating nutrient-dense animal proteins and fats is what is most important. The rest is as desired for satisfaction and enjoyment.
Be patient! Ride the waves of changes in the beginning, including any minor discomforts or changes to digestion or elimination. They will pass!
How do you know when you are eating the right foods on a low-carb diet?
When you feel good.
When your skin gets smoother and softer.
When your hair gets more shiny and less dull.
When you lose weight if needed, without feeling deprived.
When your mood improves.
When your blood sugar remains more balanced.
When you can reduce dependency on pharmaceutical drugs.
When you feel more energized and motivated.
When you love what you eat, and eat what you love while maintaining good health.
In summary, I once believed that eating a mostly plant-based diet was the healthiest diet. I have been a near life-long advocate of eating lots of dark leafy greens and vegetables ~ long before kale became a household name. While eating a so-called nutrient-dense, produce-rich whole foods vegan diet, we consumed dark greens and lots of other vegetables ~ DAILY!
Well, despite my good intentions, mineral deficiencies began to show up over time. Dry hair and skin, brittle nails, fatigue, and ongoing phlegm, congestion, allergies, bloating, constipation, and more.
Quite honestly, at this point, I could care less if I eat kale ever again. Considering it is actually more of a winter green, I may change my mind. My point being that I did a lot of research, and there are many who believe vegetables are not all that healthy. They all contain a certain amount of anti-nutrients, as these compounds help ward off pesky invaders.
Fruits are actually the part of a plant that a plant actually wants you to eat. I enjoy getting a little fruit in most days, especially during the summer. Once it is cold out, my tastes will change. This is natural. Our ancestors would have consumed what was available seasonally. Cranberries are available in the late fall as these provide the needed vitamin C that may be otherwise lacking.
If you crave broccoli or kale, have it. If you don't, don't force yourself. Enjoy your diet, and enjoy your life! And by all means, a Strong Spirit Woman (or Man) decides what is right for her, rather than letting others decide for her!
Do your research, pay attention to your body's cues, stay open, and question everything, including and especially your long held beliefs for which you are the most attached!
A low-carb diet can be modified in endless ways. Make it work for you!