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Carnivore Diet Cheat AKA “Treat” Day: 3 Carnivore Doctors Weigh In

By Liam McAuliffe Published on

A carnivore diet cheat day can mean different things to different people. In broad strokes, it refers to eating foods that are not animal products. 

How people interpret cheat days can range from enjoying healthy homemade keto ice cream to binging on Mcdonald’s washed down with a Big Gulp. 

Let’s explore the different ways of approaching carnivore diet cheat (treat) days from the perspectives of 3 influential carnivore diet doctors. 

Table of Contents

Dr. Kiltz’s Take On Carnivore Diet “Treat” Days

Photo of Dr. Kiltz over images of meat and healthy living techniques

I like to reframe carnivore diet cheat days into “treat” days. This maintains a positive attitude towards this major lifestyle change–which is a key to sticking with it. 

From my perspective it’s totally fine to occasionally indulge in wholesome, low-toxin foods like my  homemade keto ice cream that calls for small amounts of sugar, and tallow-fried french fries.

We’re not just playing mind games here–in moderation, and in the context of a mostly carnivore diet, these guilt-free foods won’t interfere with carnivore diet benefits

If you’re practicing a carnivore diet with integrity, you’ve already done a fantastic job eliminating processed foods, plant toxins, and sweets. 

So even occasional treats like a piece of cake at a wedding or birthday party are totally fine as long as you’re aware of how it does, or doesn’t effect your craving patterns. 

BEBBIIS Approach to Ancestral Eating with Treat Days

I bake my treat days into my overall approach to ancestral eating.

As a helpful acronym I call my approach BEBBIIS. This stands for Bacon, Eggs, Beef, Butter, Ice Cream, Intermittent Feasting (Fasting), and Salt

This doesn’t mean you can only eat these foods. BEBBIIS is a helpful shorthand for all nourishing animal foods you’ll find on a robust carnivore diet food list.  Then I added flexibility for occasional wholefood treats.

The intermittent “feasting” part is a key that I, and many carnivore dieters swear by. When you’re eating one or two BEBBIIS meals a day, you’re giving your body ample time to rest and digest while stimulating the benefits of intermittent feasting like cellular renewal. 

Get your free download of Dr. Kiltz’s guide to the BEBBIIS diet here.

And follow along with Dr. Kiltz as he makes his homemade ice cream below:

Dr. Kiltz's Take on Treat Days
Intermittent fasting and ancestral eating make processing occasional carbs from wholesome treats like keto ice cream and tallow-fried french fries no big deal. On carnivore, you’re already eliminating so much and giving your body time to heal–let’s keep it positive, if you need some french fries to keep going, well…go ahead
A treasure trove of tips for fertility and for a healthy body and mind

Dr. Sean Baker’s Perspective: Cheating on Carnivore

Like Dr. Kiltz, carnivore diet thought leader Dr. Sean Baker supports a non-dogmatic and flexible view of carnivore diet cheat/treat days. 

Baker sees very little difference in health outcomes between people who are 90-100% carnivore. 

His common sense approach holds that If you’re treating an aggressive inflammatory disease like Chrone’s or ulcerative colitis, cheating/treating would be highly counterproductive. 

But if you’re just trying to optimize your lifestyle, mental clarity, and body mass, and you don’t have serious underlying health conditions, occasionally eating non-carnivore foods is likely harmless. 

Of course, highly processed junk foods and fast food is never a good idea–and why would you want to eat that crap anyway? It’ll just make you feel horrible. 

That said, a piece of occasional birthday cake at a family celebration is no big deal. 

You can watch Dr. Baker’s views on carnivore diet cheat days here: 

 

Dr. Baker’s Take on Carnivore Diet Cheat Days
“I’m not dogmatic about this, at the end of the day, let’s see what works.” 

Dr. Paul Saladino’s Perspective on Carnivore Cheat Days

When asked, “what about cheat meals?” Dr. Saladino replied, “I’m not a fan.”

His reasoning is that cheat meals frame the healthiest foods on earth in terms of scarcity and deprivation. When in reality, carnivore diet foods are the most satiating, satisfying, and nutrient-dense foods on earth

If should be noted that Saladino practices a modified carnivore diet where 100% meat cleanses, sometimes with only raw meat and organ meats, are supplemented with low-toxin keto-friendly fruits, and honey

According to Saladino, eating these foods is a privilege, and there’s no reason to eat crap when these are available. 

Routine cheat days will only set you up for failure by making you resist cravings that you never completely overcome. Junk food should never be a reward for eating the best food on earth. 

Carnivore foods are the reward! 

You can listen to Dr. Saladino talk about his views on carnivore diet cheat days here: 

And here’s what Dr. Saladino eats in a day:

Dr. Saladino’s Take on Cheat Days
“In short, I believe that framing “cheat food,” (which is usually junk food, let’s be honest) as a reward sabotages long term benefits from a species-appropriate human diet = an #AnimalBased diet.”

Don’t Beat Yourself up When you Do Cheat

On the standard American diet it is accurate to treat our relationship to food as the addiction that it is. 

When confronting any addiction, falling off the wagon is par for the course and best treated with compassion, positivity, and understanding. 

If you do slip up, gently notice any negative self-talk that comes up–feelings of shame and self-contempt can amplify the desire to numb and soothe with addictive substances–high-carb foods included.

Practice positive thinking by viewing your next carnivore meal as a way to quickly gain back your metabolic health and mental clarity.  

Try gratitude journaling to point your thoughts and feelings in a constructive, supportive direction. 

Carnivore Diet “Treat” Days: Dr. Kiltz’s Bottom Line

The key to success on the carnivore lifestyle, with or without cheat i.e. “treat” days, is to pay attention to your body, be honest about the severity of the ailments you may be attempting to overcome, and eat accordingly. 

For someone who is metabolically healthy and disease-free, having a modified carnivore diet that includes high-quality yet non-carnivore foods here and there is harmless. 

For people suffering aggressive autoimmune disorders, GI issues, and diabetes, sticking with a more strict Lion elimination diet, is likely the best approach until the issues have resolved. 

If you’re just starting out on carnivore, it’s likely best to hold off on treat days until you’re fully adapted to a diet of fatty meat

Treating yourself with high-carb foods from the outset can make it difficult to overcome your carb addiction, sugar cravings, and adaptation side effects

If you veer off your all-meat and all-animal food diet by eating fast food and processed junk like frozen pizza and supermarket cookies, you’re making it much harder to stick with wholesome ancestral foods–you’re basically practicing self-sabotage. 

But if you’re truly adapted to carnivore, it’s likely that your mind and body won’t want anything to do with junk food, so junk cravings won’t be an issue. In this case, wholesome treats are metabolically fine, psychologically harmless, and likely supportive of your carnivore journey.