When browsing around online within the health and fitness space, one of the most popular topics that keeps popping up in forums, blogs, pages, private and/or public groups is the idea of “the best diet”. Which diet is the best for fat loss? Which one is the most sustainable? Which one gives you the most muscle growth? Which diet helps to recover the fastest? What diet makes you strongest? And so on… 

Today I’ll be exploring one tried and tested diet approach. Unusual to some in it’s own ways. The pre-dominant bread and butter of discussions of the online fitness community for the health conscious masses (or at least it used to be). I’ll include some reflection points from personal experiences as well to give you an insight overview as to what to expect so you can make your own conclusions based on your current individual circumstances, research and preferred lifestyle choices. See if you think this might suit you better. Everyone’s different, keep that in mind. However, I do believe there are some universal truths out there that may or will work for the majority. That’s how I learned it. I kept experimenting until I found what really worked. The diet summary will have commentary on satiety (a.k.a. fullness) levels, flavour palettes, personal satisfaction, energy and performance, ease of lifestyle use and sustainability as well as an overall score for the combined factors. Let’s jump into it!

Amongst many things that I have tried over the years, I could honourably give this diet type the number 1 spot as being my top preferred choice for athletic performance, recovery and general well being. I introduce to you, the carnivore diet (all meat or meat dominant diet). I can only speak from personal experiences and the notes that I have been taking along the way as I’ve tried different diet protocols to the best of my ability with the given circumstances at the time. The aim of the game for me was always to become stronger, faster and more powerful by retaining as much athleticism as possible. Remember, each diet will vary slightly in it’s own ways as you always have smaller sub-categories as well. Whilst there is a sea of information available online with sports science and nutrition books, studies, journals and etc. being released and published every single month, globally, by the top research institutions in their own fields, Dr Paul Saladino, the author of “The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet” shares a lot of good knowledge, research and observations on this diet approach. I’ve actually only discovered his book not too long a go, maybe somewhere around in 2020 and it made me realize that I’ve been doing the same thing back in 2014/2015 without giving it any proper names. It just worked! When we take into account as to how our ancestors used to eat pre-agricultural era days, have a think, we’ve been consuming pre-dominantly heavier meat based diets for tens of thousands of years of which we thrived on. The agricultural boom is still a relatively new era in comparison to the thousands and millions of years before that. The only way that we’d be able to get fruits and vegetables was if they were available on a seasonal basis which isn’t that often during the whole year anyways. There were lots of periods of feasting and famine. I’d highly recommend to keep an open mind and listen or read Dr Paul Saladino’s book to understand some of the valid research points that he’s made. The man is living proof of “practice what you preach“. If you want to check out the book, click any of the provided links to have a quick glimpse.

Dr. Paul Saladino 

The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet

Audible: 
Amazon (Paperback): https://amzn.to/3fX9xGx
Amazon (Kindle): https://amzn.to/3vUSSJ9

Amongst many things that I have tried over the years, I could honourably give this diet type the number 1 spot as being my top preferred choice for athletic performance, recovery and general well being. I introduce to you, the carnivore diet (all meat or meat dominant diet). I can only speak from personal experiences and the notes that I have been taking along the way as I’ve tried different diet protocols to the best of my ability with the given circumstances at the time. The aim of the game for me was always to become stronger, faster and more powerful by retaining as much athleticism as possible. Remember, each diet will vary slightly in it’s own ways as you always have smaller sub-categories as well. Whilst there is a sea of information available online with sports science and nutrition books, studies, journals and etc. being released and published every single month, globally, by the top research institutions in their own fields, Dr Paul Saladino, the author of “The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet” shares a lot of good knowledge, research and observations on this diet approach. I’ve actually only discovered his book not too long a go, maybe somewhere around in 2020 and it made me realize that I’ve been doing the same thing back in 2014/2015 without giving it any proper names. It just worked! When we take into account as to how our ancestors used to eat pre-agricultural era days, have a think, we’ve been consuming pre-dominantly heavier meat based diets for tens of thousands of years of which we thrived on. The agricultural boom is still a relatively new era in comparison to the thousands and millions of years before that. The only way that we’d be able to get fruits and vegetables was if they were available on a seasonal basis which isn’t that often during the whole year anyways. There were lots of periods of feasting and famine. I’d highly recommend to keep an open mind and listen or read Dr Paul Saladino’s book to understand some of the valid research points that he’s made. The man is living proof of “practice what you preach“. If you want to check out the book, click any of the provided links to have a quick glimpse.

Dr. Paul Saladino 

The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet

Audible: 
Amazon (Paperback): https://amzn.to/3fX9xGx
Amazon (Kindle): https://amzn.to/3vUSSJ9

The reason why I liked this diet the is because I felt the strongest on, the easiest to stay full on with lesser food quantity needed (even though I used to eat 2kg to 4kg of chicken thighs just before going to bed after my late night sprint trainings), way less to virtually nearly no bloating what so ever and the most effortless approach when it comes down to dropping fat levels faster and retaining as much muscle mass as possible as well as having higher and stable energy levels throughout the day (once adapted), plus in addition to higher libido levels, a.k.a an increased sex drive. Men, do take this word of advice seriously of what I’m about to say to you. If you’ve noticed a drop in your own personal libido and you’re a young male (this applies to older gents as well), your sex drive is a good indicator of your current hormonal state. If you’re not waking up in the mornings with morning glory / morning wood, start taking notes for the lifestyle choices that you’ve been making and diet consumption notes of what you’ve been eating and drinking for the past weeks and months. The devil is in the detail and I’d highly recommend making some changes to boost your testosterone levels if you are having possible issues with low energy, fatigue and weakness. It’s best if you consult your personal doctors first as they might run through some things together with you and help you uncover even more reasons as to why that’s happening. Remember, let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. You’ll be able to tap into more of your inner masculinity when you optimise your testosterone levels. This is something that I’ve noticed myself along the way. Whenever I felt stronger, more energised, sharper in terms of focus, the increased want to do things, more confidence, willing to take more calculated risks, it nearly always related to how much more testosterone I had in my body. Let’s not forget that good high quality deep sleep plays a huge role here as well. If you’re not sleeping well, the diet will help you only by so much, but you’ll have to work on bettering your sleeping habits as well. The higher your testosterone levels are naturally, the better you’ll feel and perform. You definitely feel a difference in performance based movements if you do any kind of vigorous exercises such as sprints or lifting very heavy weights in the gym. A very good book that explains a lot of the current testosterone issues that lots of men are facing globally is by Anthony G. Jay Ph.D. “Estrogeneration – How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick, and Infertile“. Add it to your reading list, it has some good sound practical advice there.

Amazon (Paperback): https://amzn.to/3ch08qI

Amazon (Kindle): https://amzn.to/3uUbaZs

The other noticeable thing that I’ve observed is that even though your taste palette is limited, as long as you’re rotating the meat types in some shape or form from chicken, to pork, beef, lamb, fish and etc, depending what your favourites are or what you’re more naturally or culturally leaning towards to for that specific time or season, you should be ok. Eventually, even your sweetness cravings will reduce drastically. If you do feel hungrier, eat more meat until you’re satisfied again. Your hunger levels will adjust in time and you’ll notice at some point that you will start eating naturally less and may even feel less and less hungry. That’s something that I’ve observed about myself in the process. Personally, I’m more of a fan of chicken and pork as that’s something that I’ve been grown up with since birth back in Lithuania where our cuisine has lots of heavy emphasis on pork and chicken based dishes.

Cooking meats is also another thing that I found very easy to do, it’s very time efficient if you have a busy packed schedule because of work and/or other commitments, you can always make things such as: homemade chicken soup, oven baked salmon with lemon slices and fresh herbs on top, cooking marinated pork with oregano in the oven. That’s only a few to name from the top of my head, and the beauty of it all is, we men like efficiency. When you’re tired, angry (or hangry) and have just come back from work, the last thing you want to do is to spend hours next to the pots prepping and making food. Am I not right? If you’re one of the very few that do enjoy that, I salute you and your efforts. Nonetheless, most of the earlier named foods require you to put a few ingredients together and pop the rest into the oven or into a stew, soup or hot pot, setting up a timer and you’re done. The rest of the process is more or less hands off. You can go and be productive with something else in the meanwhile. One less headache for you.
I used to put marinated chicken thighs into the oven and cook it late at night as I was still experimenting with intermittent fasting with longer windows of not eating and whenever I finished training outside as I’m more of a fan of the night time cold exposure, I’d come back and have the food either already prepped and done from earlier or it takes up to an hour or so for everything to cook in the oven whilst I start relaxing and prepping for the following day in the meanwhile.

The last part to mention for all of this is the sustainability factor, if your finances allow it, you are spoilt for choice in terms of types of meats and organs to choose from when cooking. But, if that isn’t the case, what I’d recommend then is to stick to either higher calorie meats that contain more fat content like chicken thighs or fattier cuts of meats. This will make a worlds difference. The extra fat should help you stay satiated for longer. If you’re a quantity type of person like myself, chicken thigh soup will save you a lot of pounds in your bank account. Who doesn’t love chicken soup?

matas carnivore diet year 1

Now, let’s talk about visual results. I’m sure there will be some people out there that will appreciate it if I kept it 100 by providing actual proof as to how well the diet worked. Here is a progress photo back from about 2014/2015 when I started training more seriously and heavily for sprints, covering short distances of up to 100m with maximum effort runs from point A to B. Even got nicknamed as “The Sprint Guy” from Clifton campus at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham because that was the main form of exercise that I did with some additional bodyweight training on the side. Getting lean for me personally was never an easy task as I’m one of those people that tends to hold a little bit (or a lot) more fat naturally on my body. The best way that I’ve found to start reducing it was mostly always through HIIT (high intensity interval training), which in this case was sprints. I started getting leaner gradually and it wasn’t a big drop like how some might have it. And as I mentioned from earlier, I used to consume 2kg to 4kg of chicken thighs as my main food source for the whole day at night times which accumulated to a very large amount of calories per day! Nearly double, triple if not quadruple sometimes of what most men eat.

2kg of chicken thighs / 4 kg of chicken thighs works out as about 4k to 8k of calories, daily!

204 kcal** per 100g of chicken thigh meat, times 20 (2kg / 100g = 20) = 4,080 kcal

204 kcal** per 100g of chicken thigh meat, times 40 (4kg / 100g = 40) = 8,160 kcal

** – Nutritional information taken from a frozen pack of chicken thighs that you can purchase from most stores.

2kg of chicken thighs / 4 kg of chicken thighs works out as about 4k to 8k of calories, daily!

204 kcal** per 100g of chicken thigh meat, times 20 (2kg / 100g = 20) = 4,080 kcal

204 kcal** per 100g of chicken thigh meat, times 40 (4kg / 100g = 40) = 8,160 kcal

** – Nutritional information taken from a frozen pack of chicken thighs that you can purchase from most stores.

You could say this is where my first EUREKA moment was after lots of self analysis and reflections. I didn’t realize this at the time that I was consuming a daily average of anything between 4000+ to 8000+ calories a day, whilst maintaining a relatively lean bodyweight (with some fat on the lower abdomen area and the sides of the lower back). I used to roughly estimate that it took me about maybe 3000 to 4000 kcal’s of food a day, max, just to maintain, as I’ve never really counted calories that strictly. I wanted to learn how to eat more intuitively, until I’m fully satisfied and don’t have the need to obsess about numbers every single time. You won’t always have your phone, scales or calorie calculators by your side. Our ancestors used to be able to do it effortlessly, so can we. Just look at the old ancient Greek statues of men for that era. Strong, lean and athletic. 

I was performing like an absolute unit. I was pushing myself to higher and higher limits with every single week. I was extremely happy with the outcomes! An athletes physique was in the making. Despite the fact that I was holding onto a little bit more fat than what I aspired to have / to look like as a future fitness influencer, the results were phenomenal. Tell me you wouldn’t love to eat a tonne of food, have a tonne of energy and still slowly keep shedding off the pounds week after week. If only I was patient enough to stick to it all for a little bit longer, I might have actually achieved the ideal leanness in the end as I kept staying around the same bodyweight for the months and years ahead. Despite the other dietary changes that I’ve tried and tested after. I could have also just mega dosed on chicken soup more often. A flavoursome and whole hearty meal. A little science, a little magic and a little chicken soup.

Overall I would gives this diet approach a good solid 9 out of 10. I’ll be covering some other extra reasons for this in a different blog post or video in the near future. It wasn’t by any means perfect, but it was very, very enjoyable. Some of the main draw backs were that I was naturally craving certain fruits that I restricted myself from. If you’re going to be trying this diet out, I’d recommend to include berries and fruits, however limiting exposure to most nuts. Especially if you are allergic to them or lightly sensitive. 

Follow this rule of thumb, if you’re sticking to this diet and you experience a little bit or a lot of bloating. Take notes and pictures with your phone or camera to keep a food log folder. It may be the meat itself, how its prepped, the added sauces or extra ingredients. Maybe the combination of it all that’s triggering you. Aim to avoid that combination or single item/ingredient for next time. Constant bloating or even light, mild ones could be a sign of food intolerances as I’ve discovered this myself over the years. Personal triggers of mine ranged from peanuts, tomatoes, most peppers, dairy and grain based products (rice was fine). 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog segment so far! I’ve tried including as much relevant information as possible from personal experience, notes and results. This probably won’t be the last time when we meet. I’ll see you in the next blog post, my friend!

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