The Curious Case of the Carnivore Diet

by Dr. Brittney McGetrick

Op-Ed: Dr. McGetrick is the owner and operator at Evergreen Chiropractic in Nashville on Music Row. Along with being a Gonstead chiropractor, Dr. McGetrick is also a Registered Dietitian, certified kettlebell instructor and follows a strict carnivore diet. In this article, Dr. McGetrick discusses her opinions on the benefits of following a carnivore diet. Remember to always seek the advice of your health care provider with any questions you have regarding your health and diet.

The carnivore diet is one of the latest diets to gain popularity over the past few years, although there are indigenous populations that have been thriving on it for thousands! The concept behind it is fairly simple. Eat nothing but animal products ranging from steaks, fish, and eggs to organ meats, bone broth, and head cheese.

There is a lot of positive praise for the diet, but the question still remains. Is it completely crazy, or the missing piece you never knew you needed to heal your body?

Before I get into all the juicy details about carnivore, I want to give you a bit of my story and how I transitioned from being vegan to eating a fully carnivorous diet.

My name is Dr. Brittney McGetrick, I am a registered dietitian and a chiropractor here in Nashville! When I was 19 years old, I read a book about factory farming and how gross the meat packing industry was and I was convinced. I went vegan. I stayed vegan for 1 year and then spent another 5 as a vegetarian who would sometimes eat fish (I came back to dairy for 2 words: ice. cream.).

Despite all those years of eating tons of fruits and vegetables, I have never been healthier than when I incorporated red meat back into my diet. I did it for my joint health, because as a vegetarian, I had chronically inflamed wrists. They would get so bad that I could not do yoga, I would get them adjusted which would help a little, but they still were in a lot of pain. One of my mentors had mentioned that he found, clinically, chronic wrist inflammation was linked to zinc deficiency. What is the best source of zinc in the diet? Red meat. So after 6 years of being vegetarian, I decided to give it a try. I incorporated red meat back into my diet for 1 meal per day and my wrists got SO much better. Within 1-2 weeks I was able to do all the yoga I wanted, the adjustments I got from my chiropractor actually held, and my wrists felt fine! After that, I was sold. I transitioned to a more paleo way of eating and cut out gluten soon after, which also had positive health effects on my body. About a year after that I transitioned to a full carnivore diet.

Within one week eczema that I had had for months was completely gone! I had steady energy levels throughout the day, no more afternoon crash after lunch. I no longer had to be neurotic about having snacks with me at all times because I felt a steady level of satiation for hours, no more food baby level fullness to a hangry state roller coaster! I gained muscle mass easily with very little exercise, and now 2 years into eating carnivore, maintaining my weight has never been a problem! I achieved these results through a diet of steak, eggs, bacon, ground beef, and some cheese. No vegetables, grains, or fruits!

But I thought red meat was bad for me? If you have listened to the mainstream nutrition narrative for the past 50+ years, this is likely what you have heard: red meat causes cancer, red meat is bad for heart health, saturated fat is going to clog your arteries! Unfortunately for the health of Americans, those statements are simply not true. There is a lot to unpack when it comes to this, but it all boils down to low-fat/low red meat guidelines were based on faulty nutrition research. We have since debunked the red meat/cancer hypothesis, red meat/heart health hypothesis, and the saturated fat and clogged arteries hypothesis.

New findings take a long time to hit the mainstream narrative, so we might actually hear about that from our government or in hospital food policies in 30 years. If you want to take a deep dive into that rabbit hole, Paul Saladino does a great job breaking down the science in his book “The Carnivore Code” and I have a module on the topic in my online carnivore diet program “Heal Your Body”.

Who is this diet good for? Many people come to the carnivore diet after they have tried everything else to improve their health with little to no results. It is a great diet for people suffering from gut issues (IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, etc), autoimmune conditions (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, acne), and food sensitivities. The carnivore diet is essentially one of the purest forms of an elimination diet that a person can eat. Carnivore also has huge benefits for people looking to lose weight and reverse type 2 diabetes. People on the carnivore diet have had blood work done before carnivore and after going carnivore and have seen C-reactive protein levels drop to almost zero. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation. The carnivore diet helps the body to calm down, stop fighting fires caused by many food reactions (most of which we are not aware of), and heal many of the above named conditions.

Does everyone need to be 100% carnivore for the rest of their lives? No. I love using this diet as a re-set: we take the body back to a baseline of health, and from there we can experiment with adding foods back into the person’s diet to see how they react, building a 100% personalized diet for each individual. Many people do not realize how much their bodies react to different plant foods, and many times symptoms get overlooked because most doctors and health coaches are not looking for plants to be the problem. Plants have been assumed healthy and safe for so many years, it seems crazy to consider not eating them!

If you feel like you aren’t getting the answers you need and you want more from your health, I would be happy to work with you! I offer online nutrition coaching that is centered around a meat-based diet. You can find me on instagram @dr.mcgetrick or on my website www.carnivorecountry.com

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