The Definitive Carnivore Diet Food List
Other Diets

The Definitive Carnivore Diet Food List

The Definitive Carnivore Diet Food List

Posted a month ago

SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

So you’ve decided it’s time to give the Carnivore diet a fair shot. You know the basics, have a rough idea of the kind of things you can eat, and you’re feeling motivated — and maybe a little nervous.

Carnivore consists entirely of animal-based foods, and it may offer a number of health benefits — but that doesn’t make starting the diet any less intimidating. It’s a significant change to remove plant foods from your diet altogether.

To stick with the Carnivore diet, you’ll need to plan ahead for most meals and ensure that you have a well-stocked pantry and freezer. We can help with that!

In this article, we’ll share a comprehensive Carnivore diet shopping list, as well as a shopping list for the Carnivore-adjacent Animal-Based Diet.

What Is the Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore diet consists entirely of meat and animal-derived foods. Although it sounds extreme, many people swear by the diet to help relieve symptoms of their autoimmune or digestive issues.

What To Eat

On Carnivore, everything you eat must be completely animal-based except for salt. You can eat any meat, but eating grass-fed and nose-to-tail is even better. Organ meats are an incredibly rich source of nutrients and should also ideally be included in your Carnivore diet.

Additionally, you can include low-lactose, full-fat dairy products — like hard cheeses and heavy cream. For the most part, people on Carnivore avoid high-carb dairy foods like milk and yogurt. They contain lactose, a milk sugar that many people are sensitive to.[*]

Fats must be sourced from animals, so you can use things like lard, tallow, bacon fat, ghee, and butter.

Potential Benefits

Although it hasn’t been extensively researched, the Carnivore diet has many potential benefits.

Some researchers hypothesize that we may be genetically predisposed to be healthier on a primarily meat-based diet. Modern food processing techniques have drastically increased our intake of carbs and plant-based foods, which may be why obesity and chronic disease have dramatically and exponentially increased over the past decade.[*]

Carnivore, like Keto, is considered a fasting-mimicking diet. It promotes ketosis, which offers a number of potential benefits related to weight loss, appetite regulation, and metabolism.[*]

Additionally, Carnivore may be beneficial for people with autoimmune or digestive issues. With the rare exception of conditions like alpha-gal syndrome, which causes meat allergies, most people can digest and absorb meat proteins well and without any issues.[*]

Additionally, a well-designed Carnivore diet consisting of high quality meats can be highly anti-inflammatory, which may help with the management of autoimmune conditions

Who It’s Good For

Carnivore may be an excellent choice for people who need to lose a significant amount of weight. Following an all-meat diet can make it much easier to get into and stay in ketosis, which may help regulate appetite, promote fat loss, and preserve lean body mass.[*]

Additionally, Carnivore may be a good fit for people with autoimmune or digestive problems who have tried other diets but  haven’t responded well to them. Carnivore can be considered a form of elimination diet, so it may be worth trying even if you plan to reintroduce certain plant foods at a later date.[*]

Who Should Avoid It

Carnivore is a very strict diet, so it’s not a good fit for everyone. In fact, if you can’t see yourself giving up all plant-based foods, you may want to consider something similar but less restrictive, like Keto or Paleo.

What Is the Animal-Based Diet?

The Animal-Based Diet follows many of the same principles as the Carnivore diet but allows for the inclusion of several plant-based foods that most people tolerate well. It was developed by Dr. Paul Saladino, the “Carnivore MD.”

You may choose the Animal-Based Diet if you like the idea of Carnivore but aren’t sure if you could stick to a diet of purely animal foods. In that regard, Animal-Based provides a bit more flexibility than Carnivore does. For more information on the Animal-Based Diet, be sure to check out our Animal-Based Diet Guide.

Comprehensive Carnivore Shopping List

Here’s a comprehensive shopping list for the Carnivore diet to help you stock your pantry. We recommend purchasing the highest quality ingredients you’re able to afford, and avoiding any heavily processed meats. And to make things even easier, print out your shopping list and keep it handy!

Meat

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Wild game: deer, elk, bison
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish (salmon, cod, tuna, etc)
  • Shellfish (crabs, lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, etc)
  • Eggs

A note about meat: You can get these meats in a variety of forms, like fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Beef jerky can make a great carnivore snack, and canned anchovies can add concentrated salty flavor to your dishes. 

Organ Meats

It’s highly recommended to include organ meats in your Carnivore diet as they are incredibly nutrient-dense.

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Heart
  • Tongue
  • Tripe
  • Sweetbread

Dairy

  • Heavy cream
  • Hard cheeses (Parmesan, cheddar, etc)

Fats

  • Lard
  • Tallow
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Bone marrow
  • Duck fat

Miscellaneous

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Bone broths

Comprehensive Animal-Based Shopping List

This grocery list is similar to the Carnivore shopping list, but also contains Dr. Saladino’s approved plant-based foods. Here's a handy PDF version to print and keep.

Meat

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Wild game: deer, elk, bison
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish (salmon, cod, tuna, etc)
  • Shellfish (crabs, lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, etc)
  • Eggs

Organ Meats

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Heart
  • Tongue
  • Tripe
  • Sweetbread

Dairy (in moderation)

  • Heavy cream
  • Hard cheeses (Parmesan, cheddar, etc)
  • A2 milk

Fats

  • Lard
  • Tallow
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Bone marrow
  • Bacon grease
  • Duck fat
  • Olive oil in moderation
  • Coconut oil in moderation
  • Avocado oil in moderation

“Low Toxic” Plant Foods

According to Dr. Saladino, these are the least harmful plant foods and should account for roughly 20% of your calories on the Animal-Based Diet.

  • Raw honey
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Melons
  • Mango
  • Berries
  • Banana
  • Olives
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin

“Medium Toxic” Plant Foods

These foods can be consumed occasionally on the Animal-Based Diet, but they shouldn’t form the basis of your diet.

  • White rice
  • Ceylon cinnamon
  • Sweet potatoes and yams
  • Carrots
  • Coconut
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fermented pickles
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Herbs (rosemary, dill, thyme, mint, basil, oregano, parsley)

Miscellaneous

  • Salt
  • Bone broths

Before you shop, make sure to search our collection of Premium Recipes for Carnivore and Animal-Based inspiration. You can also make a meal plan and then generate a custom shopping list specific to the recipes you chose. Happy meat-eating!