In my view, “The Carnivore Diet” is a great introduction to the carnivore diet for people who are new to this diet.
The book covers the evolutionary roots of this diet and its ability to heal many chronic diseases. It also addresses many concerns people may have about this radical diet and provides a brief guide on how to start this diet for beginners.
What I enjoy most about the book is reading those powerful stories of people healing from debilitating health problems and completely transforming their lives.
While these are anecdotal and don’t count as scientific evidence, they are powerful and motivating stories of real people who have struggled with all kinds of health problems that modern medicine has failed and given up on them and how they have turned it around with this simple all-meat diet.
Dr. Shawn Baker really needs no introduction but if you would like to find out a bit more about him, please check out this short profile that I have previously written.
Below is a brief summary of “The Carnivore Diet” followed by my evaluation and recommendation on the book.
Table of Contents
- A summary of “The Carnivore Diet”
- My evaluation of “The Carnivore Diet”
- My recommendation about “The Carnivore Diet”
A summary of “The Carnivore Diet”
This section addresses Dr. Baker’s goal in writing “The Carnivore Diet“.
Chapter 1: My Story
In this chapter, Dr. Baker tells his personal story of how he grew up, went to medical school, played rugby, served in the army, and became an orthopedic surgeon.
He also talks about his personal health issues, problems he faced at work when he tried to help his patients with diet and lifestyle changes instead of surgeries, and how he discovered the carnivore diet.
Chapter 2: Where Did We Go Wrong?
In this chapter, Dr. Baker talks about the flaws of human nutritional research and how decades of time and a lot of money have been spent on clinical research that produces results of little or no value to us at all.
Chapter 3: Evolutionary Guessing Game
This chapter presents evidence from archeology, human physiology, biology, archeology, paleontology, and history which supports the argument that a meat-based diet is what humans have evolved to eat.
Chapter 4: Addressing the Questions
In this chapter, Dr. Baker addresses some common misconceptions and fallacies about the carnivore diet such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies, high cholesterol levels, bowel movements in the absence of fiber, kidney health, gout, and cancer risk.
Chapter 5: Meat, the Superfood
This chapter talks about why meat has everything we need to build healthy bodies and that meat has some unique and beneficial compounds that can’t be found in plant-based food. These include carnitine, carnosine, creatine, taurine, retinol, and vitamins B12, D3 and K2.
Chapter 6: The Myth of Planty Goodness
In this chapter, Dr. Baker debunks the myth that plant foods are good for us and briefly discusses some common plant compounds and their adverse impacts on human health including oxalates, lectins, glycoalkaloids, goitrogens, cyanogenic glycosides, phytic acid, protease inhibitors, flavonoids, saponins, and salicylates.
Chapter 7: Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Other Heresy
In this chapter, Dr. Baker talks about the carnivore diet’s potential to resolve many chronic health problems (e.g. leaky gut, joint health, mental health, autoimmune, and obesity-related diseases) based on stories of thousands of people who have shared their carnivore experience with him.
Chapter 8: Let’s Do This: Getting Started
This chapter is a brief guide to starting the carnivore diet and it covers the following questions:
- How should I approach the carnivore diet?
- What should I eat?
- What should I drink?
- How much should I eat?
- How often should I eat?
- What does a meal plan look like?
- How do we define health?
- What kind of changes can I expect?
- How do I transition to the diet?
- Can I modify the diet?
- Should I monitor health markers?
- Who is the diet safe for?
- What about the controversy of an all-meat diet?
Chapter 9: Character Studies and Anecdata
In this chapter, Dr. Baker describes four sample typical personas of those who have gravitated toward the carnivore diet and includes inspirational and powerful stories of nine people who have agreed to share their carnivore experience with him in this book.
Chapter 10: Veganism: The False Hope
In this chapter, Dr. Baker talks about the powerful vegan movement and discusses why a vegan diet is not the healthy diet that many people believe it to be. He also dispels some common vegan myths that veganism can help resolve environmental issues and improve animal welfare and false claims that humans are herbivores.
Chapter 11: Loose Ends and Odd Bits
This chapter covers some practical aspects of the carnivore diet including the affordability of the carnivore diet, cooking methods, traveling on the carnivore diet, and further readings on the carnivore diet and related topics.
In the epilogue, Dr. Baker talks about the immense challenges ahead that the carnivore diet movement will face from forces with a vested interest. He encourages us to get involved and act.
“Use social media, contact your local politicians, let the processed food companies know that you don’t want their crappy offerings anymore, teach your children about nutrition, and challenge what you are being told.
The carnivore diet is ultimately about much more than just eating meat. It’s about regaining one’s life and one’s freedom!”
Appendix: Carnivore Cheat Sheet
The appendix provides some healthful resources including:
- A few carnivore-friendly websites
- Nutritional information on some common carnivore foods
- Butcher charts (guides to different cuts of meat for chicken, pork, lamb, and beef)
- Meat temperature guide
- USDA grades of beef
This section lists references cited in the book by individual chapters.
My evaluation of “The Carnivore Diet”
As mentioned above, in my view, the book is a great all-rounded introduction to the carnivore diet.
The book covers the science of this diet, how the diet can help treat many chronic health problems, and common concerns people may have about this all-meat diet.
It also includes a brief guide on how to start this diet and has many compelling success stories that help motivate people to give this diet a try.
The book is a very easy and enjoyable read. It is not too long (224 pages), doesn’t go into minuscule detail about scientific studies, and is printed on white glossy paper with a bright and expansive layout.
Some people criticize the book saying that it doesn’t provide anything new and everything in the book can be readily available for free on the internet.
I disagree with this view.
While it’s true that Dr. Baker doesn’t present any ground-breaking discovery or new information that has not previously been presented elsewhere, it doesn’t mean that the book does not provide value.
The fact that all information is collected and presented in a logical, compelling and helpful way provides value to the book’s readers.
Instead of spending hours and hours researching and putting together the information, you can read it all in a book written by a medical doctor who is also a pioneer in this field.
The only small criticism I have is that the chapter on “Getting Started” could have been more extensive.
People who are new to the carnivore diet have so many questions perhaps because it is nothing like any diet that they have tried before. So, this chapter could have been more in-depth to address their question and concerns.
For example, more in-depth discussions on topics like salt usage, the benefits of consuming organ meat and odd bits, the dairy controversy, fat-to-protein ratios, and the pitfalls of consuming factory-farmed pork, chicken, and fish would be beneficial to many readers.
My recommendation about “The Carnivore Diet”
My recommendation about “The Carnivore Diet” is if you want an introductory easy read about the carnivore diet and would like to read other people’s success stories to motivate you, “The Carnivore Diet” is definitely for you.
If you would like to dwell deep into the background research and literature, “The Carnivore Code” by Dr. Paul Saladino may be a more suitable book.
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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for reference purposes only and is not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Please check out our disclaimer for more detail.