Top positive review
A clear explanation of the carnivore approach accompanied by straightforward recipes.
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2020
After reading Dr. Shawn Baker’s book I got excited to preorder this book and test some of the recipes. Even though it’s the first book I read from Maria and Craig Emmerich, I’m impressed by their clear and honest outlook of the carnivore diet. In fact, I had a hard time putting it down before finishing the first 2 sections. These are the chapters where we learn the science behind the carnivore diet and how to implement it. Following that, the writers share 2 well-organized meal plans. Whereas the first meal plan addresses weight management, the second focuses on an autoimmune protocol. Each meal plan covers dishes for 4 weeks and contains a weekly grocery list. Finally, the last section brings around 100 recipes, including all of the recipes previously mentioned earlier in the meal plans.
Let me break the review down in 3 parts. First, I’ll share essential takeaways from the carnivore diet explained throughout the first sections. Next, some details from the recipes. Last, I’ll share my personal journey through the years.
Maria and Craig start by sharing the science behind the carnivore diet. For that, they don’t only explain the potential health benefits when adopting this elimination way of eating, but also include interesting evidences to support it. In addition to evolutionary data, which shows how our ancestors evolved over time, we also learn why consuming plant-based foods can be detrimental. Among the arguments, they explain in detail plant toxins, additives, hybridization, cross-breeding, and even seasonality. Last, there is an entire section covering the case in favor of a meat-based diet where it’s discussed bioavailability of nutrients, protein intake, as well as common myths about meat consumption.
Whereas earlier Maria and Craig focused on the fundamentals, now they explore feasible ways to implement the carnivore diet. For that, they divide into 4 levels to serve different needs. For example, the first level, which is about elimination and healing, includes only parts of the cow and salt. Then, the second level adds all parts of other animals such as fish, lamb, pork, and poultry. Next, the third level incorporates eggs and low-sugar dairy products. The last level, which isn’t technically a carnivore diet, the inclusion of some low-sugar plant-based spices and condiments for seasoning is added.
The writers then show how to choose the right level based on personal needs and preferences. Based on that, we delve into the implementation steps such as what to expect when transitioning to the carnivore diet.
Even though I have only cooked 3 recipes so far, I noticed that most of them are straightforward. Each recipe contains the number of servings, preparation time, cooking time, as well as macros and calories per serving. In terms of pictures, what I appreciate most is that they are appealing, and yet they don't look overly polished pictures that look unrealistic.
Salt-Baked Fish: It’s an easy and impressive method to cook whole fish covered by salt. I served with ghee and we all loved the genuine flavor of the fish.
Scotch Eggs: It was the first time I had wrapped ground pork around soft-boiled eggs. The combination of flavors is outstanding, and again, the preparation was quite effortless.
Meatballs: It’s basically a blend of ground beef and beef liver. I didn’t only enjoy the flavor, but was also happy to find a practical dish to include grass-fed liver more often.
Although I’ve been fortunate to be in good health, I became intrigued by the role of nutrition in physical performance and overall health when I was 17. Now, in my early 30s, it’s humbling to say I've navigated through different approaches during these years.
In the beginning, my focus was to prioritize natural ingredients low in sugar. In college I became vegetarian. During those 2 years into vegetarianism, I was vegan for 6 months. Based on self-reflection and personal education, I ended up acknowledging that vegetarianism wasn’t doing well for my overall health. So I reintroduced meat based foods slolwy, trying to become a conscious omnivorous.
In late 2013, I was hooked when I read The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf. From then on, I started following Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson’s suggestions, and have refined my approach from figures such as Dr. Hyman, Dr. Mercola, and Dr. Perlmutter. A considerable adjustment happened in early 2018, when I was introduced to Dr. Gundry’s program. He encourages us to avoid foods high in lectin. Upon adopting it, I felt even better—my skin looked brighter and my digestion worked smoother.
That all said, I became intrigued in mid 2019 upon hearing Dr. Paul Saladino’s arguments in favor of a whole food animal based diet—the carnivore diet. In addition to human health, he is also an advocate of regenerative farming, and concerned about the ethics of eating meat and the socio-economic impacts. As counterintuitive as it may seem, having an unbiased outlook is important to acknowledge different perspectives—and perhaps give it a try. If so, this book is a useful companion replete of easy-to-prepare meals.
As a final digression, independently of the eating habits we choose, creating a positive relationship with the food we eat is important. In addition to food, embracing positive habits that promote well-being deserve equal importance in our daily lives.