Sources of saturated fats

What is the Dirty Carnivore Diet?

With the rising popularity of the carnivore diet, there are bound to be people who create variations that include plant-based, high-carb, and even processed foods. Regularly allowing non zero-carb carnivore foods on a diet that is mostly animal-based is the definition of “Dirty Carnivore.” 

There is a wide spectrum of Dirty Carnivore dieting. They can be differentiated by more or less harmless/harmful and pragmatic/addiction-driven food choices. 

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the Dirty Carnivore diet, discussing the pros and cons of carnivore augmentation based on different diet and lifestyle goals. 


What is the Dirty Carnivore Diet?

The easiest way to think about Dirty Carnivore is that when you regularly consume anything that is plant-based, processed, of very low quality, or adulterated with additives on an otherwise standard all-meat carnivore diet, it becomes a Dirty Carnivore diet. 

Examples of Dirty Carnivore Diets

Here are some popular examples of Dirty Carnivore diets. 

Meat and Fruit (and Honey)

Carnivore MD Paul Saladino’s regular addition of fruit or the carnivore diet with fruit and honey. Dr. Saladino is an extremely lean person who surfs 2-3 hours a day and live in Costa Rica.  

Meat and Greens Diet

For podcast host Joe Rogan’s Dirty Carnivore means a meat and greens diet

Steak and Eggs Cyclical Carnivore Diet

The late great bodybuilding guru Vince Gironda’s steak and eggs diet from the 1950s is an example of Dirty Carnivore because it mandates weekly refeeding periods of carbs in order to achieve the most shredded physique. 

“To begin with, all carbohydrates must be removed from a maximum definition diet. This means – all fruit, all vegetables, all salad greens, and all milk products. The only milk products that can be used are butter and cream. Any kind of meat, fish, or fowl and eggs are the only foods permissible. You must, however, eat some carbohydrates every four or five days because you will find that you will smooth out and veins and cuts will disappear. You will find also that you are not getting the pump you should and your strength will decrease. This is because a zero-carbohydrate diet drains all the stored glycogen from the liver, and only carbohydrates will replenish it. But don’t try to eat a small amount of carbohydrates each day. You will only find that you are smoothing out.”

Fast Food and Processed Meat

fast food burger patties with melted cheese

It’s also possible to eat only animal products and still be doing a Dirty Carnivore diet if you’re regularly eating fast food

Sure, burger meat from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and In-N-Out are only made with beef and salt, but it’s still extremely low-quality meat loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones. Fast food beef also comes from cows raised in concentrated feed operations where thousands of animals are cramped into small pens where they’re fed GMO soy and forced to stand in their own excrement. That’s a major “dirty” factor. 

Processed meat is another gray area on the carnivore diet. Most processed meats are low quality and contain non-carnivore preservatives and binding agents. However, it is possible to get very high-quality prosciutto and handy wholesome liver chips. This is an area where quality and purity make the difference between dirty and clean carnivore eating.

Carnivore Diet with Fermented Foods

Then there are the probiotic fanatics who go carnivore except for fermented foods like sauerkraut and Ketoade (kombucha made with green tea, lemon juice, monk fruit, and added electrolytes). It’s worth noting that studies have been unable to find evidence to support any of the advertised benefits of probiotics. In fact, research links probiotics with various health risks.

As you can see from the examples above, Dirty Carnivore can mean many things and be practiced for different reasons.

Structure vs. Stressors

This is a good time to reiterate that the point of going carnivore is to eliminate all the foods that cause people to feel unwell. While simultaneously providing your body with the nourishing animal foods that human physiology has evolved to thrive on

A good shorthand for understanding how the carnivore delivers its benefits is that animal products provide structure, while plant foods create stressors. 

The fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals you get from animal products are the building blocks of healthy cell structures and hormone formation. 

Conversely, plant products expose the body to abrasive fiber, inflammatory sugars, antinutrients, and plant toxins.

Let’s look more closely at some of the possible drawbacks to doing carnivore dirty.  

Emotional Eating and Carb Addiction

arm handcuffed to a doughnut

The Standard American Diet is comprised of high-carb, ultra-seasoned, and highly processed foods that hyper-stimulate brain reward circuits and cause hormone imbalances that correspond to insatiable food cravings.6 

In modern Western society, food is often used as a drug to soothe, numb, and suppress unwanted or uncomfortable feelings.

For many people with an addictive relationship to food, following Dirty Carnivore is simply the addictive part of the brain rationalizing the continued use of food as a drug. 

diagram of carb addiction cycle

High-carb foods activate opiate and dopamine receptors in the brain. Repeatedly stimulating these reward centers can reset your body fat levels, resulting in intense carb cravings whenever you begin to loose weight.

For most people doing the carnivore diet successfully requires cutting all carbs for at least 30-90 days. It takes this long for the brain to rewire its habitual reward circuitry and rebalance the hormones that drive food cravings. 

Antinutrients and Plant Toxins

One of the key reasons that people go carnivore is to eliminate thousands of plant toxins and antinutrients from their diets. 

For example, even if you only consumed leafy green vegetables on a Dirty Carnivore diet you are exposing your body to oxalates. 

Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds in plants that have been linked to various autoimmune disorders, including intestinal permeability, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Studies link oxalates with lupus, leaky gut, and rheumatoid arthritis.

In fact, many people on a standard carnivore diet experience a phenomenon called “oxalate dumping” once their bodies begin to expel the oxalates accumulated in their body tissues. 

Here’s a rundown of other plant toxins an antinutrients commonly found in various plant foods. 


What About Fruit? 

The carnivore diet is an ancestral way of eating and our ancestors did eat some seasonal fruit from time-to-time. There’s a good reason you don’t see pictures of fruit on cave walls. But we do see countless scenes of humans hunting large prey. 

Prehistoric fruits looked nothing like the large and ultra-sweet GMO franken fruits that we’re familiar with today. 

prehistoric vs modern peach

Though most fruits contain some nutrients, studies show that our bodies experience most phytonutrients as xenobiotics. Xenobiotics are foreign substances that the body works rapidly to eliminate.

Not surprisingly, a 2009 study found that “phytochemicals as dietary components are not essential for short-term well-being.”

On the other hand, the human body evolved on a diet of mostly meat for nearly two million years, making it extremely efficient at obtaining and integrating nutrients from fatty animal products.

Though fruits contain antioxidants, which are generally beneficial, when you eat only whole animal foods and get metabolically healthy, the anti and pro-oxidants in your body balance out. High-carb foods made with grain flour and added sugars are pro-oxidants. 

What about Vitamin C?

When your pro and anti-oxidant levels are in balance, you don’t need much vitamin C. 

Most people are surprised to learn that fresh meat has more than enough vitamin C to prevent deficiencies. 

For example, fresh grain-fed meat contains around 1.6 mcg/g of vitamin C. While fresh grass-fed beef provides 2.56 mcg/g.

On a carnivore diet, it’s common to consume around 1000 grams of fresh beef ( 2.2 lbs) per day. This provides between 16 mcg and  25.6 mcg of vitamin C, far more than you need to prevent vitamin C deficiency. 

Dirty Carnivore: The Bottom Line

A Dirty Carnivore diet is a loose term applied to any variation on the carnivore diet that allows for regular consumption of non-animal products. 

Leafy greens, fruit, fermented probiotic foods, and store-bought “keto-friendly” snacks are common additions to carnivore eating that render it “Dirty.” 

“Dirty” can also apply to low-quality meats like fast food burgers and processed meats that contain preservatives and binding agents. ‘Dirty’ here is a contrast to the ‘clean’ carnivore diet of exclusively whole, minimally processed animal foods.  

For most people, achieving their health goals on the carnivore diet requires eliminating all “dirty” foods and sticking to the standard carnivore protocol for at least 30-90 days.

A piece of meat with red skin and a white background

Does Red Meat Cause Inflammation? What the Science Says

Despite the anti-meat scare tactics and misinformation that have clogged nutritional media channels since at least the 1960s, high-quality modern research tells a different story.7 Red meat is, in fact, among the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. It provides our bodies with nearly every essential nutrient and in near-perfect proportions for our body’s needs. Fresh red meat is also no longer believed to cause cancer, stroke, or heart disease.6 8  Yet one question still comes up amongst both the meat-skeptical, and meat-lovers alike: Does red meat cause inflammation? 

The question is understandable when considering a few compounds in meat, that, in isolation, may be associated with inflammation. But is there actually a link between red meat and inflammation, or is this another attention-grabbing anti-meat talking point? Let’s follow the latest science to find out.  


What is Inflammation? 

Inflammation is a natural process that your immune system activates to fight infections and heal wounds.

When it’s working correctly inflammation turns on when you need it and off when you don’t. 

But our modern diets and lifestyles, characterized by inflammatory grains, sugars, and seed “vegetable” oils, keep our inflammation simmering at a chronic level. Our bodies experience these substances as harmful “antigens.” And it responds by constantly producing antibodies that damage healthy tissues and organs. 

The importance of reducing inflammation cannot be overstated. The World Health Organization (WHO) determined that diseases related to chronic inflammation kill more people globally than any other factor.

And at least 60% of the American population have at least one chronic inflammatory condition. 

Control Studies on Red Meat and Inflammation 

As with most nutritional data, there just aren’t many randomized control trials looking at the link between red meat and inflammation. Only RCTs can show a causal link.

The other kind of nutritional study is called an epidemiological or “population” study. These can only identify an association between factors. They are of notoriously poor quality, relying on surveys and confounded by various lifestyle factors. Did the guy eat his red meat with a processed whitebread bun? Or was it a grass-fed ribeye steak drizzled with butter and nothing else? Unless it’s an RCT there’s no way to know. 

On the other hand, the gold standard of RCTs is known as a ‘meta-analysis.’ This kind of study collects and analyzes data from all relevant RCTs on record. 

A 2021 gold-standard meta-analysis of 24 studies found that total red meat consumption “does not affect changes in biomarkers of glycemic control or inflammation for adults free of, but at risk for, cardiometabolic disease.”

title from study on red meat and inflammation

This is significant because the previously held dogma was that red meat correlated with (but not casually linked to) cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.  

Another study from 2022 found that red meat consumption affected serum lipid levels of triglycerides but had essentially no effect on total cholesterol,  LDL, HDL-C, and the markers of inflammation known as CRP or hs-CRP.7

A study from 2007 where participants replaced carbohydrates with red meat found that doing so reduced markers of inflammation.

Another 2009 study on anemic women found that markers of inflammation for a diet high in red meat were not significantly different from those of participants on a diet high in oil fish. Oily fish are thought to be anti-inflammatory due to their high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. 

There is one other survey study that may provide a more reliable insight into the effects of meat on inflammation. It was conducted by Harvard researchers in 2021 and collected responses from 2029 people on the carnivore diet

This more restrictive version of the ketogenic diet calls for consuming only animal products, is centered around fatty red meat, and eliminates all plant foods. The researchers found that 89% improved or resolved autoimmune conditions.

Taken together, the preponderance of evidence tells us that red meat is not more inflammatory than non red meat and oily fish. And that it is likely less inflammatory than carbohydrates

A Case Study 

Dentist and carnivore diet enthusiast Kevin Stock shared his bloodwork after years of eating only meat, and mostly red meat. 

One of the markers he had tested was for high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test. The liver produces this protein when there’s inflammation in the body. Since inflammation is closely associated with heart disease this marker is also considered a heart disease risk factor. 

Ideally, people want this number to be lower than 1.0 and can be measured up to .02 mg/L. 

Kevin Stock’s CRP was so low as to be undetectable.

Stock’s conclusion was that it was good to see that he didn’t have any chronic inflammatory conditions. And also that if meat was inflammatory it would have been detected in this test. 

Does Red Meat Cause Inflammation: The Bottom Line

When evaluating the science there is no evidence that red meat causes inflammation when compared to other meats. Yet there is evidence that red meat is less inflammatory than dietary carbohydrates. 

Unprocessed red meat is a nutrient-dense whole food that should not be restricted by people concerned with reducing inflammation.If you are particularly concerned about inflammation it is likely a good idea to choose grass-fed red meat. Meat from grass-fed animals will have the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acids, both of which are anti-inflammatory.

Selection food for CARNIVORE DIET. Seafood, Meat, megs and fat. Zero carbs diet concept.

The Carnivore Diet and Cancer: A Promising Approach

The Carnivore Diet is an all-meat ancestral way of eating aimed at helping people reclaim their health and wellness. As the Carnivore Diet has grown in popularity, so too has an interest in the use of the carnivore diet to treat and prevent cancer.

While there are no peer-reviewed published trials on the use of the carnivore diet against cancer, there is a growing body of impressive anecdotal reports and case studies. 

Additionally, there are a number of metabolic factors associated with cancer that the carnivore diet addresses, including reducing inflammation, healing intestinal permeability, reducing blood sugar, and increasing ketones in the blood. 

In this article, we’ll explore the role of the carnivore diet in preventing and treating cancer based on current scientific evidence and case studies. 


What is the Carnivore Diet and How Can it Defend Against Cancer? 

The carnivore diet is akin to the ketogenic diet, but it removes all plant foods, including vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts. 

The rationale behind the carnivore diet is based on mounting evidence that our ancient ancestors evolved as hypercarnivorous apex predators thriving on large, fatty animals (megafauna) for nearly 2 million years before the dawn of agriculture only 10,000 years ago.

Accordingly, our modern food system based on industrial grains, seed “vegetable” oils, added sugars along with cultivated vegetables and fruits presents a mismatch between the sources and types of calories we consume and those that our bodies are designed for. 

The metabolic catastrophe of this mismatch between our ancestral physiology and modern diet and lifestyle is reflected in numerous studies, including a 2019 study that found that 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy.

It’s also present in the worldwide spike in inflammatory diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that 3 out of 5 people die from inflammatory diseases. At the same time, 60% of Americans have at least 1 chronic inflammatory disease.

Studies show that metabolic dysfunction is common among cancer patients and is associated with higher rates of recurrence rates and lower rates of survival.

Inflammation and Cancer

Research links the rapid increase in chronic inflammatory diseases to low-grade chronic inflammation driven in large part by our modern diets and eating habits.

Numerous studies tell us that chronic inflammation is a hallmark of cancer. With many cancers arising from sites of infection, chronic irritation, and inflammation.

The carnivore diet eliminates numerous foods that are directly associated with cancer, chronic inflammation, and other metabolic conditions associated with cancer. 

Let’s look at some of these factors in more detail. 

Eliminates Inflammatory Carbs and Reverses Insulin Resistance

The carnivore diet is a high-fat low-carb way of eating.  High-carb diets are associated with increased inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which are directly linked to cancer.

A study looking at the effects of sugar in soda found that consuming only one 375 ML soda (40 grams of sugar) per day significantly increased inflammatory markers along with insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol and led to weight gain.

Numerous other studies have found that consuming added sugar and refined carbohydrates increases inflammation.

A 2013 study in the journal Metabolism compared a high-fat, low-carb diet to low-fat, high-carb diet. The study revealed that after 12 weeks, high-fat dieters had lower markers of systemic inflammation.

Numerous studies have found that very low-carb diets, like the carnivore diet, significantly improve insulin sensitivity and can reverse insulin resistance. . Vopr Pitan. 2007;76(3):29-34. Russian. PMID: 17674517.”/]

Many other studies have found that low-carb diets have the ability to decrease inflammation.

Eliminates Plant Toxins that Cause Intestinal Permeability

By eliminating all plant foods, the carnivore diet removes numerous plant antigens from your diet. These toxic foreign substances irritate the gut lining, eliciting a chronic inflammatory immune response  

Left unchecked, the gut lining becomes weakened, resulting in a syndrome called intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.” 

Plant antigens include

When the junctions between the intestinal walls are breached, harmful pathogens cross into the bloodstream, where they’re transported to throughout the body, sowing the antigenic seeds of systemic inflammation.

Studies show that intestinal permeability is implicated in colorectal cancer.

In addition to protecting the gut lining, removing plant foods also gets rid of a common and specifically carcinogenic plant toxin called oxalate. 

Research has found that oxalates can corrupt breast cells into malignant tumors.

They’ve also been shown to damage mitochondria–the energy factories of cells.   Mitochondrial dysfunction is primary to the development of most cancers.

diagram of intestinal permeability

flow chart of intestinal permeability and inflammation

Increases Intake of Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-cancer Nutrients

Consuming only animal products supplies your body with an abundance of anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic micronutrients. Many of which you can only get in sufficient amounts and bioavailable forms from animal products

Some of these key, meat-based anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic nutrients include

Eliminates FODMAPS

FODMAPS is the acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. 

These are all types of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that are poorly absorbed by the small intestine, leading to various digestive problems. 

Most grains and grain-based products, beans and lentils, and many vegetables fall into this category.

FODMAPS are associated with intestinal overgrowth that contributes to chronic inflammation of the gut mucosal lining and leaky gut.

A large population-based study on French adults found a significant association between consuming FODMAPs risk of cancer.

Cutting Carbs, Increasing Ketones

In the 1920s, Otto Warburg discovered that certain cancers feed off of glucose via a specialized metabolic pathway.

Specifically, cancer cells often exhibit increased consumption of glucose (blood sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid).

This has led Thomas Seyfried and others to advance the theory that cancer is indeed a metabolic disease. As such, it can be managed by consuming far less sugar and glutamine and replacing them with fats that the body turns into powerful energy molecules called ketones.

A carnivore diet is essentially a ketogenic diet and, therefore, may be a viable approach to starving certain cancer cells. 

Harvard Carnivore Diet Study

In 2020 a team of Harvard researchers surveyed over 2000 carnivore dieters. The findings published in Current Developments in Nutrition reveal the carnivore diet as a potentially powerful ally in the fight against cancer.

Relevant highlights include 

  • 98% improved or resolved diabetes and insulin resistance
  • 97% improved or resolved gastrointestinal conditions
  • 93% improved or resolved overweight/obesity (mean BMI decreased from 27.2 to 24.3)

Each of these conditions is a major factor in cancer risk, and the carnivore diet proved remarkably effective in combating and reversing them. 

Perhaps most importantly, 98% of participants reported being very satisfied or satisfied with the diet. As far as dietary/lifestyle cancer interventions go, few seem to challenge the carnivore diet in terms of satisfaction and, therefore the likelihood that people will stick with it.

Case Studies 

Though there are no published clinical trials on the use of the carnivore diet to treat cancer, there are a few promising case studies. 

The following cases were collected by Dr. Al Danenberg, who himself was diagnosed with incurable bone marrow cancer in 2018 and given 3-6 months to live. 

Dr. Danenberg experimented with keto-paleo and carnivore diets, surviving until his death Aug 2, 2023. 

Case Study 1

A case study published in 2016 detailed the experience of a 60-year-old woman diagnosed with a malignant myoepithelial tumor of the soft palate. After refusing conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the patient went on a strict carnivore elimination diet (only animal fat and meat) in December 2014.

From July 2015 onwards, she ate small amounts of vegetables less than twice a week. Imaging follow-ups showed that the cancer progression was halted. 

20 months after the conclusion of the case report,  the patient had no remaining symptoms or side effects from the originally diagnosed cancer.

Case Study 2

At age 27, Andrew Scarborough was diagnosed with an aggressive and incurable brain tumor (Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma). 

He decided to follow a strict paleo/keto diet, which he graduated into a strict carnivore diet. 

Two years after his diagnosis, his cancer was in remission. His dietary protocol and its powerful results are being studied by Hammersford Hospital in Australia. 

Red Meat Consumption Not Linked to Cancer

Despite what you may have heard in utterly dogmatic and unscientific media like Forks over Knives, Red meat does not cause cancer.

There have been exactly ZERO randomized control trials causally linking red meat to cancer. The most recent review studies (gold standard) of epidemiological studies have found no significant association between red meat and cancer.

Other Resources

Since 2011, the International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention in Budapest, Hungary, has been treating serious chronic diseases, including cancer.

They have treated over 6,000 patients using a strict animal-based diet. The results of their treatments have been published widely, and you can view them on their website by clicking on “Scientific Work and Articles”

Carnivore Diet and Cancer: The Takeaway

It is likely that cancer is a metabolic disease associated with the modern Western diet and lifestyle. 

Though there are no studies looking directly at the use of the carnivore diet for the prevention or treatment of cancer, there is abundant evidence to suggest that it may be a promising approach. 

The carnivore diet eliminates plant toxins, seed oils, and high-carb foods that cause intestinal permeability and chronic inflammation– both of which are major factors in various cancers. 

Additionally, the carnivore diet nourishes cells with healthy fats, bioavailable micronutrients, and ketones–all of which have been found to reduce the risk and help to halt the progression of various cancers.

Libido conceptual meter indicate maximum, 3d rendering

Top 6 Foods That Increase Sex Drive Based on Science

Foods that increase sex drive and performance are a universal fascination. From ancient myths to modern nutrition, the quest for aphrodisiacs—foods that light the loins–has been fraught with a confusing combination of observational wisdom, fantasy, and dogma.

In this article, we’ll explore the foods that truly increase sex drive based on a scientific understanding of specific nutrients that promote sexual desire and function, rebalance hormones that drive sexual desire, and relieve underlying conditions that can inhibit libido. 


What Kinds of Foods are True Aphrodisiacs?

Getting naughty requires eating the foods that have been deemed naughty. Naughty, libido-boosting foods are high in fat and cholesterol, dense with vital nutrients, and they come from animal sources. 

Red meat, organ meat, shellfish, fish, eggs, butter, and cheese fuel the reproductive fires on a cellular level. It’s no surprise that these foods have been valued by traditional cultures across the world as a key to the creation of life from desire to conception to birth. 

Fat Fuels Sex Drive

Numerous studies show that consuming healthy animal fats is key to producing the sex hormones responsible for sex drive in both men and women.

A 2021 systematic review (the gold standard of research) looking at all the studies examining the relationship between low-fat diets and testosterone found that going low-fat decreases testosterone.

Likewise, studies on women have found that low-fat diets dramatically reduced estrogen levels. And though this may be desirable when combatting breast cancer, it will torpedo sex drive and cause vaginal dryness, poor sleep, and mood swings.

What are Anti-Sex Drive Foods?

On the other hand, the foods that make up the bulk of the standard American diet are anti-libidinal. 

Processed foods, grainsvegetable oils, and added sugars have all been shown to reduce sex drive and function, cause sperm counts to plummet, and reduce fertility in both men and women. 

In Kate Devlin’s book Turned On, she describes how John Harvey Kellogg invented cornflakes to help people reduce sexual urges. He was so anti-sex and anti-pleasure that he recommended that women burn off their clitoris with carbolic acid. He himself slept in a different room from his wife, didn’t have sex, and adopted their children. 

Modern studies support his approach. High-carb/sugar diets increase the hormone insulin and reduce sensitivity to the hormone leptin. Both of these sugar/carb-induced hormone imbalances dramatically reduce testosterone–the sex hormone most responsible for sex drive and performance.

Top 6 Foods that Boost Sex Drive

Now, let’s take a closer look at the nutrient-dense ancestral foods that increase sex drive. 

1. Ribeye steak

Japanese wagyu rib eye beef meat steak. Gray background. Top view.

Ribeye steak is one of the most nutritionally complete foods on earth. In fact, it’s entirely possible to thrive on a carnivore elimination diet of ribeye, salt, and water. 

And contrary to popular dogma, there is exactly ZERO evidence that fresh red meat is associated or casually linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Ribeye is a robust source of numerous sex-drive-boosting nutrients, including healthy fats, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. 

Ribeye provides 173% of your RDV of zinc per 8 oz serving. In men, low levels of zinc are associated with erectile dysfunction and lower sperm count.

In addition to these listed nutrients, ribeye steak is also a rare source of meat-specific micronutrients that play a macro role in sexual desire and function, including carnitine, creatine, taurine, and carnosine. 

Found almost exclusively in red meat, carnitine has been found to increase sperm motility and morphology.

ribeye steak with nutritional facts


2. Oysters

Young couple feeding each other with fresh oyster.

Oysters have been revered as a food that increases sex drive since at least the 1700s when the romancing Italian Cassanova proclaimed that oysters fueled his sexual adventures.

The legend of Cassanova’s oyster has been increasingly validated by the scientific community ever since. 

In 2005, chemistry professor George Fisher found that oysters (and mussels) provide amino acids that specifically increase sex drive.

As with many of the other foods on this list, oysters are also extremely high in zinc, providing over 600% your RDV in a 3.5 oz serving. This is about 6 medium size oysters.

Eating oysters with ribeye steak will help balance out all that zinc with the copper in ribeye–an important measure to avoid overdosing on zinc.

Oysters are also a fantastic source of libido-boosting nutrients

  • B12 (324%)
  • vitamin D (80% RDV)
  • selenium (91% RDV).

These nutrients work together to provide powerful antioxidant properties that protect against inflammation.

Inflammation has been shown to predict sexual dysfunction in both men and women–so a key to boosting sex drive is getting it under control.  Oysters to the rescue! 

The vitamin D in oysters deserves special attention. For one, it’s very difficult to get from food sources. And it’s been shown to a vital role in men’s and women’s sexual function and drive.

Studies on men have found vitamin D deficiency linked with erectile function, lower orgasmic function, and lower sexual desire.

For women, vitamin D levels are associated with sexual dysfunction that increases in severity with a decrease in D.

3. Clams and Mussels

Clams and mussels with garlic served in a casserole

Clams provide more vitamin B12 than any other food, with 4120% per 100 grams (3.5 oz serving). At the same time, mussels are up there with 1000%. 

Both clams and mussels provide over 100% RDV of selenium.7 

Studies on men have found that low levels of B12 are associated with sexual dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

For both men and women, low B12 is associated with fatigue and low mood–not very sexy states to be in.

The selenium in clams and mussels boosts the production of testosterone, proper testicle development, sperm count, and semen quality. All of which are directly linked to a healthy sex drive.

4. Beef Liver

Grilled beef liver on skewers, with teriyaki or soy sauce, yakitori, dark rusty table copy space top view

Beef liver is incredibly high in numerous nutrients that increase sex drive and support overall sexual function, including 

  • Vitamin B12: 2471%
  • Vitamin B6: 84%
  • Selenium 57% 
  • Choline 61%

In addition to the vitamins and minerals discussed above, vitamin B6 increases sex drive by regulating estrogen and testosterone production and supporting red blood cells, serotonin, and dopamine production. In animal studies, B6 has been found to increase ejaculate and reduce the time between ejaculation intervals.

But perhaps the most sex-drive supportive feature of beef liver is it’s mysterious anti-fatigue factor. 

Since the 1950’s beef liver has been known to support incredible stamina. It was first discovered in an experiment involving rats swimming in a barrel. Where the liver-fed rats literally outlasted the patience of the experimenters, swimming for 2 hours without drowning. Unfortunately, their compatriots who were either fasted or fed only b12 supplements all drowned around 13 minutes in.

5. Eggs

sexy bare-chested man in apron pointing with finger at egg carton

Eggs are another remarkably nutritionally complete food. People hip to the superfood benefits of eggs have even begun practicing egg-fasts

Eggs are high in cholesterol, and all key sex hormones, including progesterone, pregnenolone, estrogen, and testosterone, are synthesized by cholesterol.

Not surprisingly, several studies have associated statins that reduce cholesterol with lower testosterone, erectile dysfunction, and decreased libido.

Eggs are also a great source of choline, with 2 eggs providing 50% of your RDV. 

Choline has been found to play a key role in erections, and supplementation with choline has been shown to be effective in reducing erectile and ejaculation problems induced by antidepressant use.

In one interesting case, a 79-year-old man on regular choline supplementation for 6 weeks experienced such an extreme sex drive that he became the subject of a major paper on the subject.

6. Aged Cheese

Different kinds of delicious cheese on table

Aged dairy is rich in bioactive compounds called polyamines.

Aged cheeses are usually the stinky, flavorful kinds like 

  • Roquefort
  • Danablu
  • Carbrales
  • Gorgonzola
  • Blue Stilton
  • Parmesan 

The bioactive compounds in these blue and aged cheeses have been found to improve sperm quality in men and egg quality in women.

One of these compounds is even called spermidine because it was first discovered in semen. 

Indeed, spermadine is associated with sperm production and vitality. At the same time, infertile men have been found to have low levels of spermadine.

Research has found that spermadine supplementation increased testosterone and reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and oestradiol (a type of estrogen in men). Both cortisol and oestradiol have been found to impede sexual desire and performance.

Spermidine has even been found to delay aging in humans by providing powerful anti-inflammatory effects in nearly every major organ–including the sex organs.7

outline of two bodies showing effects of spermidine

Foods that Increase Sex Drive: The Bottom Line

The foods that increase sex drive are rich in the macro and micronutrients our bodies need to synthesize and regulate sex hormones, support emotional mood and physical stamina, and reduce inflammation. 

Foods including fresh red meat, shellfish, eggs, organ meats, and full-fat dairy fit this bill like no others. 

These nutrient-dense whole foods are loaded with B vitamins, healthy fats, zinc, selenium, choline, cholesterol, and bioactive compounds that fuel psycho-physical sexual desire and performance.

Steps for goal achievement and business success. Project tracking and task completion. Managing project timeline.

Examples of 12 Powerful Intentions to Transform Your Life

Intentions are the threads that weave our aspirations into our reality. And they’re much more than just thoughts and desires. Intentions are commitments that align deep values with effective processes. The most potent intentions have an almost magical power to promote personal growth, career goals, and overall well-being. 

In this article, we’ll explore 12 examples of intentions with step-by-step directions to help you become a more active and empowered participant in the unfolding of your life. 


What are Intentions?

Intentions are a combination of values and practices that you undertake in order to achieve certain goals. In other words, intentions are processes.

Goals on their own are pretty easy to measure from the outside. But intentions are mostly measured by the person practicing them, even if the results of the intentions are experienced by others. 

Intentions bring balance and keep you grounded as you pursue your goals–while at the same time, making it more likely that you’ll achieve them. 

For many people, these examples of intentions bring a deeper and more durable sense of wholeness and well-being than outward achievements. 

The Science of Intentions

The science behind setting intentions is based on a concept called neuroplasticity, the ability of our thoughts, actions, and experiences to reshape our brain structure. 

It works like this: The brain is composed of complex circuits called ‘neural pathways.’

These circuits are like freeways of nerve cells that transmit messages. The more often you use a pathway the more likely you are to use it again–it’s a self-reinforcing process. [2

By naming and living new positive intentions, you are rerouting and building new pathways corresponding to healthier and more beneficial thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

1. I will be open-minded 

Beautiful woman with opened window with garden in her head.

Being open-minded means questioning your knee-jerk beliefs, judgments, and criticisms.

Most of our rigid, reactive ways of thinking about things are simply self-protective mechanisms. You can feel it in your body–that constriction when you hear or see something that seems threatening, and the automatic thought/story that pops up to soothe you into safety.

Of course, we all want to feel safe and secure, but closing down to others has a major cost in terms of connection, growth, and vitality.

Next time you feel that automatic shut-down, judgment, or criticism response, ask yourself:

  • What am I afraid of?
  • How much do I really know about the person, topic, event, etc.?

Staying open doesn’t mean just accepting everything that comes at you. But it does give you the opportunity to connect, learn, and grow in new ways.

Here are a few of the benefits of being open-minded:

  • Gain insight. Challenging your existing beliefs and considering new ideas can give you fresh insights into the world and also teach you new things about yourself.
  • Have new experiences. Being open to other ideas can also open you up to trying new things.
  • Achieve personal growth. Keeping an open mind can help you grow as a person. You learn new things about the world and the people around you.
  • Become mentally strong. Staying open to new ideas and experiences can help you become a stronger, more vibrant person. Your experiences and knowledge continue to build on one another.
  • Feel more optimistic. One of the problems with staying closed-minded is that it often leads to a greater sense of negativity. Being open can help inspire a more optimistic attitude toward life and the future.
  • Learn new things. It’s hard to keep learning when you surround yourself with the same old ideas. Pushing your boundaries and reaching out to people with different perspectives and experiences can help keep your mind fresh.

2. I will visualize it

Brain waves thinking, concentration and awareness. Trans cognitive consciousness spiritual background concept. Generative ai.

You may have heard of the practice of “Visualizing” or “Manifesting.” And maybe you’ve written it off as a bit too wuwu for you–ome approaches certainly are.

However, there are countless examples of elite athletes like Lebron James and Michael Phelps, and successful actors like Will Smith and Jim Carrey who attribute a great deal of their success to visualization practices.

Visualization is a practice where you imagine what you want to achieve in the future, as if it were true today.

To do this, you use all five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.

This process plants the end goal in your subconscious. It’s a way to seed your awareness. Once you’ve planted the seed, your conscious awareness will be drawn to parts of reality that correspond, or “resonate” with your end goal.

This approach is based on the psychological principle that we see what we’re looking for. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below: 

There are two parts to a successful visualization practice. Using them together will yield the best result.

(1) Outcome visualization: where you experience the desired end-point

(2) Process visualization: using your five senses to experience every step along the way

5 step visualization technique

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for successful visualization that you can use right now!

  1. Describe what you want in detail by writing it down while engaging all 5 senses.
    Keep adding to the details until it feels as if you are living the experience.
  2. Imagine feeling the emotions associated with the outcome. Feeling the accomplishment as emotions and bodily sensations is the key to believing, on the level of your nervous system, that your goal can be reality. 
  3. Get practical. Imagine completing the small, tedious tasks that will help you reach your larger goals. 
  4. Make time to visualize consistently. Twice daily for a total of 10 minutes is all it takes for most people to tend to the seeds of visualization. The best times are when your mind is soft and open–right before sleep, and right when you wake up.

3. I Will Befriend my Pain: Pain + Reflection = Progress

One of the adages Dr. Kiltz lives by is that failure is fertile. Sometimes when we push ourselves, we fall, and sometimes we break through.

When we fall, for failure to be fertile, we need to do more than pick ourselves up. We need to reflect.

Failing is pretty much always painful. But that pain is of vital importance. When we confront pain, we have a choice: accept and explore, or avoid it and live in delusion. Many of us take the easy road by avoiding reflection and accountability. The easy road squanders important opportunities for growth.

The hard road is embracing the pain, examining your mistakes, and shining a light on your blind spots. 

People who succeed in life learn to take risks, accept that they’ll fall, and embrace pain. They know that failures are fertile, and make them better. The path of embracing pain isn’t easy, but it is a choice that you can make.

Don’t be afraid to confront your painful moments, be open about your weaknesses, and strive to improve yourself; it’s the only way to truly achieve greatness in life.

Gary Gensler, the guy who runs Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, and who coined the Pain + Reflection = Progress equation, recommends a two-step practice you can do with pain.

  1. The puzzle: Ask, What would I do in the future to not make that mistake?
  2. The gem: Write down the answer.

4. I will Practice Active Patience!

quote about patience on dark background

The good things in our lives seem to be a combination of action, time, and a bit of luck.

Taking action over time is in our control. When we sow and tend the seeds of change through our positive, beneficial actions, we increase the surface area for luck to alight in on lives.

But it’s still a matter of time. Results, change, and growth all take time to show up and take root.

Time, for most people, means waiting, boredom, discomfort, and frustration. But that’s only when we’re in a passive mode of patience.

Passive patience is a feeling that the world owes you something, and if it doesn’t give it to you, you get resentful and angry. No offense, but living in helpless resentment is being a baby. 

hand drawing stairs representing steps it takes to reach a goal

And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re an adult, with a lot of self-agency.

  • Passive patience says: “This is boring. Nothing good happens to me. This is too hard. The world owes this to me. There’s nothing to be excited about. I’m helpless.”
  • Active patience says: “It’s ok to slow down. What are my values and goals? What’s the next step right in front of me that I can take to get me closer to my values and goals? There is no reason to give up. Timing is out of my control, but when I let go of helplessness, the process itself is splendid.”

Here are a few actionable examples of active patience:

  • Cleaning all the processed junk food out of your cupboard so you’re not sucked into the cycle of carb/food addiction, leptin resistance, lethargy, self-hatred
  • Stocking up on whole, animal-based foods so when you’re hungry, you can easily reach for food that nourishes your mind, body, and soul
  • Schedule a brisk walk every day this week. Put it in your calendar and set an alert.
  • Practice gratitude–write down three things you’re thankful for, three days this week.
  • Practice positive self-talk
  • Try mindfulness meditation

5. I will embrace imperfection! Wabi Sabi, Baby!

Gray japanese gold Kintsugi

We are all imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

If we can’t embrace those facts, we can’t truly embrace ourselves or one another.

This example of an intention is all about honoring our imperfections!

This orientation towards life is captured by the Japanese term, Wabi Sabi, which is about finding beauty in imperfection. A beauty that’s often exemplified in the cracks and the imperfect shapes of handmade pottery.

It’s a beauty that begins with the acceptance that not everything is in our control, and releasing shame, judgment, and anger towards ourselves for not controlling everything.

But the acceptance at the heart of Wabi-Sabi isn’t about making excuses and perpetuating harmful lifestyle choices and habits. It’s about switching our focus from what’s wrong to what’s important.

Instead of stressing over every little detail and shaming ourselves towards some ideal of perfection, focus on your values and look for the beauty in simply living in alignment with yourself. Which is what all these examples are intentions are about anyway. 

When you know what you value, and you can aim for it, no matter what you do, you win.

Done will always be better than perfect. Because what you’re doing is learning and growing while deepening your alignment with yourself.

So go forth and take action. Learn as you go. As Dr. Kiltz often says, “Fertilize your life with a little ‘failure.’” While recognizing that the only true failure is not trying.

6. I will connect with the people I admire

The phrase Find a Good Role Model on a notice board

We’re never too old or too accomplished to have role models–which is just another term for people we admire.

Role models magnetize our values and exemplify the kinds of people we want to be, while revealing paths to get there.

Role models don’t have to be rich, famous, or powerful. They can be exemplars of patience, care, compassion, and creativity.

Connecting with the people you admire simply means making some intentional space and time to reflect on them, their qualities, and how you can live in alignment with the things about them that inspire you.

  • If they’re creative people, take some time to enjoy their work.
  • If they’re someone you know, let them know what you value about them and how much they mean to you.
  • If they’ve accomplished something in a realm that you would like to find success in, investigate how they got there.

There’s a magic to focusing our minds and imaginations on people we admire, and it has to do with how deeply people influence one another.

In an astonishing analysis of the Framingham Heart Study–one of the longest-running health studies–researchers discovered that seemingly individual experiences are remarkably contagious. In this case, they tracked obesity because it was easy to quantify.7

According to the researchers, if a friend of yours becomes obese, you are 45 percent more likely than chance to gain weight over the next two to four years.

More surprisingly, however, Christakis and Fowler found that if a friend of your friend becomes obese, your likelihood of gaining weight increases by about 20 percent — even if you don’t know that friend of a friend!

The effect continues one more person out. If a friend of the friend of your friend develops obesity, you are still 10 percent more likely than a random chance to gain weight as well.

Of course, it’s entirely possible to have lots of body fat and be healthy–this isn’t about fat shaming. On the other hand, obesity in America is often a symptom of poor diet and lifestyle.

So, choose your social interactions and influences wisely.

7. I Will Forgive Myself

Stick note on blue copy space background with handwritten text BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND, concept of be kind to yourself, the only friend to have for life, guide yourself to greatness with self-compassion

Making changes and building habits that help us heal, grow, and transform requires an abundance of vitality and energy.

Yet often, our access to our own wellspring of life force is blocked by harsh feelings that we hold towards ourselves, like shame and guilt.

It’s okay to feel bad when we’ve done things outside our standards of morality and values. But continuously beating ourselves up about them isn’t a path to true accountability and change.

Like any transformative action, forgiving yourself is a process with clear, repeatable steps. Think of it as a psychological workout that tones your emotional body, just as intentional movement tones your physical body.

This intention entails examples of at least 6 other intentions that all support the main goal of constructive self-forgiveness. 

Step 1: Affirm Your Ability to Forgive Yourself

Returning to memories of negative experiences can be super uncomfortable. Most often, we mentally run the other direction into soothing and distraction. To get to self-forgiveness, it’s important to tell yourself, “I believe in my ability to get better. To change and improve, while recognizing that I’m flawed just like everybody else.”

Step 2: Treat Yourself Like You Treat Your Best Friend

You’re human; you make mistakes, just like your best friend. But do you love them less for it? I bet you step up to support them when they’re going through it. Can you find that pleasure in supporting yourself in the same way? Making mistakes is what makes us human. Remember, there’s a big difference between saying, “Whoa, that sucked that I did that,” and “I suck.”

Step 3: Write or Talk it Out

Going over the incident in writing can help you stop ruminating on it. And you can see more angles to the situation other than the ones that guilt and shame fixate on. If you share your writing with a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist, you may benefit from their perspective, which usually begins with something like, “Don’t be so harsh on yourself.”

Step 4: Let Go of Perfectionism

Ask yourself, “Was my mistake grounded in reality or my perfectionism? Am I expecting to be a mind-reader, to be flawless, perfect, superhuman?”

Step 5: Try to Make Amends

Self-punishment digs the pit of guilt deeper. Remember that mistakes are opportunities to grow. Emotional maturity comes from getting super accountable, being honest to yourself or to another about your role in a negative situation, and committing to doing differently in the future.

Step 6: Speak Kindly to Yourself And Others

There’s a Hawaiian process of reconciliation called ho’oponopono that takes on the quality of a mantra–a phrase that you repeat over and over. In this case, towards yourself: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

Life is too short to hold grudges, especially towards ourselves. This and every day is a miracle, let’s honor this miracle by being more honest, understanding, and forgiving towards ourselves.

8. I will be courageous in everything I do

Comfort zone vs where the magic happens

Most people think courage means armoring up and doing battle.

But most of us aren’t fighting on a literal battlefield; we’re just living our lives with our families, friends, co-workers, and clients.

For most of us, the most courageous thing we can do is to take the armor off.

This means noticing and relaxing the parts of ourselves that always need to feel in control, that need to be right, impressive, better than, etc. All the parts that try to make us “invulnerable.”

For this example of an intention, see what happens if you get a bit more curious towards yourself and others, more compassionate, and flexed some empathy.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. 

-Maya Angelou

Here are three strategies for being a more courageous leader in every part of your life:

  1. Name the issue. It’s a tough conversation, but clear is kind: I’d like to work on my curiosity and openness. I’m often quick with answers, which can be helpful, but not as helpful as having the right questions, which is how I will grow as a leader, partner, parent, colleague, and friend.
  2. Use positive self-talk. When you’re kind to yourself, it’s easier to be more open and kind with others, and to value situations that will help you grow.

Here are examples of ways to flip your internal self-talk script:

Negative: If I change my mind, everyone will get mad at me.

Positive: I am allowed to change my mind. Others will understand, and if they don’t, I can explain what feelings led me to this change.

Negative: I failed, I’m embarrassed, and I suck.

Positive: I’m proud of myself for stepping up to the challenge. That was courageous, and though failure can hurt, let’s focus on what I learned, how I wouldn’t have learned this any other way, and what I can take with me when I try again.

  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

American writer and self-improvement pioneer Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it…that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.”

So if you’re afraid of being alone, for example, go see a movie by yourself. If you want to be even braver, take a solo trip.

The best way to become fearless is to put yourself in situations that intimidate you. Once you do them despite being afraid, fear will lose power over you.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to speak honestly and openly about who we are and our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

-Brene Brown

9. I will make and keep healthy boundaries

Young woman sitting inside transparent glass bubble and crowd of people. Concept of separation from society, social isolation or solitude, unsocial person. Flat cartoon colorful vector illustration

Many of us think we have to do it all and do it all perfectly. This makes us say “yes” when really we want to say “no.”

“Yes” is easier than dealing with our own complex feelings of guilt and shame if we were to say no.

As social psychologist Brene Brown so aptly points out, “Saying no cues a chorus of inner shame gremlins: “Who do you think you are?” “You’re not a very caring [mother/father/husband/wife/friend/colleague].”

But, saying “no” to things you don’t actually want to do, is saying “yes” to yourself. Saying no is the first step towards making space for you to cultivate the creativity, goals, and relationships that are truly important to you.“Look, my life is centered on helping people grow their families and reclaim their health and wellness. For me, this is both a spiritual and professional calling. But I wouldn’t be able to do this work if I didn’t insist on time to create and recharge. I paint, make pottery, read, relax, move my body, and enjoy delicious home-cooked carnivore diet meals. These “me” moments are what give me the energy to stay on my feet with patients and connect with my carnivore community for more hours every week than I can even count.”

-Dr. Robert Kiltz

To make boundaries, it’s important to rehearse–give this a shot right now: Say, to no one in particular, “I can’t take that on” or “My plate is full.”

10. I will ask myself, What kind of person do I want to be today?

what kind o person quote on neutral background

Asking this simple question (over and over again) is the doorway to a life lived in alignment with your values. This brings the deepest kind of internal and external harmony and satisfaction.

When we have a mental model of how we want to be (brave, kind, patient, empathic, helpful, patient, loving), we can hold that against our reactive knee-jerk responses, which are often protective, competitive, anxious, selfish, aggressive, punishing.

Tending that sliver of space between how we want to be and how we’re acting in the moment is key to major personal transformation.

When you ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be? You’re actually asking a bunch of the deepest questions: 

  • “What kind of world do I want to live in?” 
  • “What kind of legacy do I want to leave?” 
  • “How do I want my kids to behave?” 
  • “What are my core values?” 
  • “Am I being honest with myself?” 
  • “Am I reliable?”

All of these questions stem from how our actions resonate with our values in each moment. Asking yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be?” helps us align with our values.

11. I will ask better questions

What makes a question better?

A good question will expose our bias.

A good question will surface our belief.

A good question will make space for someone to feel seen and heard by you, and to better see and hear themselves.

You can start asking better questions with words such as “what,” “how,” “why,” “tell me about “, “describe to me…”.

But even open-ended questions can use some tweaks to open them up even more.

Replace “do” with “can”:

Why do I procrastinate?

How can I get this done?

Replace should with “could”

How should we do this?

How could we do this?

Though the words of the question are important, so is the way you listen to the answer. Listen to hear and feel the other person. 

Make a little space. Listen to know and understand the other person, not just to parry and impose your ideas. Listen to connect.

The art of asking better questions is equally the art of better listening. Watch what happens when you put these two skills together, watch how people open up to you and trust you, and maybe even become more receptive to your views, when it comes time to share them.

12. I will make and keep SMALL promises to myself

Since all intentions are commitments or promises, this one is an example of a meta-intention. 

Making and keeping small promises is a way to overcome procrastination and “analysis paralysis” in any area of our lives.

Procrastination is a normal way for the brain to protect us from the unknown. The brain wants our lives to be predictable because predictable is safe–even when our “safe” patterns are making us miserable.

To overcome procrastination/analysis paralysis we need to work together with our brain and our nervous system so that we feel safe and open to change. This is where making and keeping small promises comes into play.

Here’s how to do it

  1. Choose promises that take only 10 minutes or less
  2. Choose something that you enjoy–even if just a little bit
  3. Choose something that fits easily into your schedule
  4. Do the same promise every day
  5. Keep the promise for at least 30 DAYS!

Here are some examples

  1. 10 minutes of breathwork
  2. 10 minutes of gratitude journalling
  3. 10 minutes of earthing/grounding
  4. 10 minutes of yoga
  5. Getting sun for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before sunset
  6. A vigorous walk around the block
  7. 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation

Examples of Intentions: The Bottom Line

These 12 examples of intentions are actionable blueprints that will help you take control of your destiny and live a life that aligns with your core values and makes use of your greatest talents.

Try practicing one of these intentions at a time for at least a week. Remember that learning = repetition over time. 

Intentions help you find satisfaction in the process while getting you closer to your goals.

Top vief of can full of Ghee butter on blue background.

Top 8 Benefits of Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ghee is a type of butter that has been “clarified” to remove dairy proteins. The result is a delicious, remarkably nutritious fat with numerous health benefits. 

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of ghee as they’re revealed and understood by modern nutritional science. 


What is Ghee? 

Ghee is clarified butter. This means it has been simmered to evaporate water content, skimmed of milk solids, and strained to remove any additional impurities. 

The glassy, nutty, golden substance that remains in ghee. It’s pure butterfat, with essentially no lactose (dairy sugar), casein (dairy protein) or water content.

Ghee has been the core fat of South Asian cultures for millennia. The traditional Hindu religious scriptures, called the Vedas, refer to ghee as the “first and the most essential of all foods.” 

The Mahabharata says, “From ghee flows the sustenance of all the worlds.” It’s believed to increase Dhi (intelligence) refine Buddhi (intellect) and strengthen Smrti (memory).

The literal deification of ghee speaks to the primal centrality of fat in the human diet. Our brains and bodies need healthy fats to thrive. 

More recently, ghee has made a deserving splash in the nutritional health and wellness communities worldwide.  

flow chart of ghee vs butter process

What Does Ghee Taste Like?

High-quality ghee smells and tastes nutty, with a hint of caramel. Imagine taking the root flavor of butter and turning it up a few notches.

Ghee Nutrition

Ghee (1 tbsp, 14.8 grams)
Calories123 calories
Total fat14 grams
Saturated fat8.7 grams
Monounsaturated fat4 grams
Cholesterol36 mg
Sodium0.3 mg
Carbohydrates0 grams
Protein0 grams
Vitamin A117 mcg
Vitamin E0.39 mg
Vitamin K1.2 mcg
Calcium0.56 mg
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)148 mg 

8 Powerful Benefits of Ghee

Ghee is essentially 97% fat, so the benefits of ghee will be based primarily on its fatty acid profile.

Studies show that ghee is high in medium and short-chain saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Now let’s explore the top 8 most potent benefits of ghee. 

1. Rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a highly beneficial fatty acid produced when cows ferment the grass they eat in their rumen stomach. 

Ghee from grass-fed cows has been found to provide 10 mg of CLA per gram of fat. This makes ghee one of the most potent sources of CLA out there.

Studies show that consuming CLA is associated with powerful health benefits, including

  • Reduction in body fat and increase in lean muscle mass
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Supports immune response and reduces inflammation
  • Combats diabetes
  • Improves bone density

A 2021 study on mice with pancreatitis found that ghee effectively reduced inflammation.5

Since we humans don’t have a rumen stomach that ferments grass, we can’t produce CLA on our own. So we rely on the products of grass fed cow, sheep, buffalo, and goats. 

It’s also worth noting that the CLA that you get in supplement form is made from toxic vegetable “seed” oils.   Not surprisingly, supplemental CLA is associated with numerous adverse health effects, including increased inflammation, Insulin resistance, spiked HDL (bad cholesterol), and diarrhea.

The moral of the story is to get your CLA from natural sources like ghee. 

2. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A tablespoon of ghee provides around 200 mg or 20% RDV of omega-3 fatty acids. 

This essential polyunsaturated fatty acid has been found to help prevent heart disease and stroke, protect against various cancers, and relieve numerous autoimmune disorders, including lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.

3. High in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Monounsaturated fatty acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acids found in ghee make up 20-30% of the fat content.

Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to

  • Reduce inflammation
  • reduce bad cholesterol
  • increase good cholesterol
  • Potentially reduce the risk of heart disease

4. Butyrate

Butyrate, one of the saturated fatty acids in ghee, has been shown to support insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and can reduce symptoms of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.  

5. Promotes Skin and Heart Health

In addition to healthy fats, ghee also provides antioxidants and vitamins that promote skin health when eaten and when applied topically. 

A 2023 study found that “ghee possesses antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, making it beneficial for treating skin-associated problems.”

In another study, patients consumed 60 ml of ghee daily for seven days. On average, the group experienced an 8.3% decrease in serum total cholesterol, a 26.6% reduction in serum triglycerides, a 17.8% decrease in serum phospholipids, and a 15.8% decrease in serum cholesterol esters. 

In addition to these positive effects on blood lipids, the patients also enjoyed a significant reduction in scaling, erythema, pruritis, and itching and striking improvements in overall skin appearance.

A 2018 study of 200 people in India found that participants who consumed more ghee and less vegetable oil had healthier serum lipid markers associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

6. High Smoke Point

At a smoke point of 450°F or 232°C, ghee is the best animal fat for high-heat cooking. 

This high smoke point means that it’s suitable for frying and sauteing without degrading into potentially harmful compounds. 

By comparison, the smoke point of butter is only 350°F. 

7. Lactose and Casein-Free

Most people with lactose intolerance and/or dairy allergies tolerate ghee. 

This is because the lactose (milk sugar), and casein (dairy protein) that account for most adverse reactions are removed during the process of clarification.

8. Increased Nutrient Absorption

Much has been made about the modest amounts of important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 in ghee. 

But ghee’s major nutritive effect is to aid in the absorption of these same fat-soluble vitamins from more vitamin-dense yet leaner foods like liver, steak, and lamb. 

Ghee aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients from other foods, making your meals more nutritionally beneficial.

Increased intake and absorption of vitamin A retinol (the kind of vitamin A that you can only get from animal products), is critical for maintaining eye health, immune function, and skin health.

The Benefits of Ghee: The Takeaway

Ghee is a type of clarified butter. This means that it’s been filtered by heat and strained to remove lactose and dairy proteins. The result is a wonderfully fatty, golden substance that’s suitable for most people who are allergic to lactose and dairy proteins. 

Since ghee is 97% pure fat, the benefits of ghee derive from its excellent fatty acid profile. These benefits include 

  • An abundance of beneficial conjugated linoleic acids, Omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids
  • Improved skin health
  • Supports heart health due to anti-inflammatory and serum lipid improvements
  • High smoke point for high-heat cooking
  • Lactose and casein free (less allergenic)
  • Increases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. 
Diet text on flat lay background aip diet

The AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet: How to, Benefits, and Tips

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet is aimed at identifying inflammatory foods that trigger autoimmune disorders. 

The growing popularity of AIP makes sense when considering that according to the World Health Organization, diseases associated with chronic inflammation kill 3 out of 5 people worldwide.

Though there are variations on the Autoimmune Protocol diet, they all resemble restrictive variations on the paleo diet.  In practice, the AIP looks like eliminating most agricultural and industrial foods and focusing on nutrient-dense whole foods

Once the inflammatory foods are identified, AIP allows for reintroducing other previously eliminated foods. 

In this article, we will provide an overview of the AIP, the science-backed rationale for eliminating certain foods, and tips for creating the most effective AIP diet. 


What is the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet

The AIP diet targets the link between diet and inflammation. 

Chronic inflammation and inflammatory diseases are alternative terms for autoimmune disorders.

Inflammation is a natural immune process that the body activates to fight infection and heal wounds.

But when inflammatory responses are chronically triggered by dietary and lifestyle stressors, our inflammation response isn’t able to turn off. The body is stuck in a state of perpetually overproducing antibodies that damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs. 

flow chart of inflammatory processes in modern life


The AIP diet acknowledges that our inflammatory response system evolved over eons during which humans lived as hunter-gatherers consuming only wild, nutrient-dense whole foods.

During this nearly two million-year-long period, our ancestors did not consume the agricultural and industrial products that account for the bulk of the standard Western diet. These include

In short, our bodies were not designed for our modern diets, and the AIP is an approach to reclaiming health by consuming more ancestrally aligned foods

pie graph of calories from various food groups

However, one’s propensity for acquiring autoimmune disorders also depends on genetics, stress, medication use, and other lifestyle factors like physical activities, sedentariness, drug and alcohol use, and smoking, among others. 

The AIP Diet Targets Gut Health

One of the key ways that these foods are believed to cause inflammation is by attacking the gut lining, resulting in intestinal permeability.  

Excess fiber, carbohydrates, and common plant toxins like lectins, gluten, and phytic acid degrade the delicate mucosal lining of the intestines and degrade the proteins that bind the intestinal cells together.

When this happens, toxic compounds can enter the bloodstream, where they get circulated around the body and deposited into various tissues and organs. The body rightly identifies these substances as threats and attacks them when inflammation.

Leaky gut Syndrome concept. Comparison of healthy organ and inflamed tissue cells. Diseases of gastrointestinal tract. Toxins and viruses. Cartoon flat vector illustration isolated on white background

The AIP diet eliminates foods associated with inflammation and intestinal permeability and replaces them with gut-healing nutrient-dense whole foods.

Common Autoimmune Disorders Targeted by the AIP Diet

Common autoimmune disorders addressed by the AIP diet include

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) 
  • Chron’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • PCOS
  • Type 1 and Diabetes
  • Various cancers
  • Psoriasis 
  • Eczema, acne, rosacea 

Common signs of inflammatory autoimmune disorders include

  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain
  • Rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Low mood/depression
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive problems–bloating, diarrhea, bloody stool, etc. 

How Do You Do the AIP Diet? 

The AIP is often viewed as an extension of the paleo diet. It calls for dramatically eliminating foods developed and produced by industrial agriculture. 

The majority of your calories will come from fresh meats supplemented with vegetables and fruits. 

Doing the AIP diet entails two phases: (1) elimination and (2) reintroduction. 

However, many people find that it is beneficial to maintain the elimination of unnecessary foods even if they are not identified as directly impacting symptoms. 

Phase 1: Elimination

During the elimination phase, you get rid of all potentially inflammatory foods, medications, and substances. 

These items are targeted for their various effects on the gut lining, intestinal bacteria, and known immune responses.

This phase generally lasts between 30-90 days, or as long as it takes to notice a significant reduction of symptoms.

Phase 2: Reintroduction

Reintroduction begins after a significant improvement is measured and stabilized. 

The previously eliminated foods are brought back one at a time, with special attention paid to the body’s response. Each reintroduction should last 5-7 days before moving on to the next food.

The idea is that after the reintroduction phase, a person can consume the widest variety of food without re-triggering their autoimmune condition.  

This sounds good in theory, but a major drawback to the reintroduction phase is that autoimmune triggering intolerances to food is generally a cumulative and collective process. 

High-carb foods, refined grains, insoluble fiber, plant toxins, and vegetable oils all work synergistically to promote systemic inflammation that shows up as specific autoimmune conditions. 

The focus on allowing the greatest variety of foods at the expense of the ongoing elimination of potentially triggering foods is misguided, and based on a false idea that the human diet must contain a wide variety of foods. 

If you are serious about reducing autoimmune disorders, it is likely important to eliminate inflammatory foods for the long haul. 

Some foods that you’re better off not reintroducing

  • Processed foods like chips, fast food, and most prepared foods that come pre-packaged
  • Anything containing seed “vegetable” oil–corn, soy, canola, rapeseed etc. 
  • Any food with added sugar
  • Baked goods made with wheat and other refined grains
  • Junk food, soda, candy

If you do choose to reintroduce some foods, make sure to do it under conditions that are not associated with inflammation. For example, don’t reintroduce after not sleeping well, when sick or healing from infections, following an intense workout, or when more emotionally stressed than usual. 

Order of reintroduction can also be a factor with dairy. Begin with the lowest lactose foods like ghee and fermented dairy like cheese and yogurt. 

Foods to Avoid on the AIP Diet

Though the AIP diet varies widely, the following foods are generally targeted and avoided.


All grains, whether whole or processed, are high-carb foods. When carbohydrates bind to proteins and cells in the body, they create AGEs–toxic compounds that have been shown to stoke inflammation and oxidative stress.

Other studies have found that most grains contain naturally occurring pesticides or plant toxins like oxalates, lectins, and amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) that cause inflammation, even in people without wheat sensitivities.

Grains eliminated by AIP include wheat, oats, barley, rice, rye, pseudo-grains like spelt and quinoa, and all grain-based foods like bread, pasta, and cereal. 


Legumes are high in naturally occurring plant toxins, including lectins, phytates, saponins, and other compounds that can damage the intestinal lining and inhibit nutrient absorption.

Common grains include (but are not limited to) peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts, along with legume-based foods like tofu, tempeh, peanut butter, and fake meats

Nightshade vegetables

Nightshades contain compounds called glycoalkaloids that can cause inflammation. 

Common nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos, among others. 


Eggs on their own do not cause inflammation. However, other inflammatory factors like excessive emotional stress, microbial imbalances and overgrowth in the intestines, inflammatory digestive issues, and certain medications can become sensitive to proteins in eggs and egg whites.

Because eggs are extremely nutritious and not the cause of allergies, they are usually reintroduced first. 


Dairy allergies, like egg allergies, are usually the result of damage to your small intestine due to plant toxins and processed foods, not from the milk itself. 

When your digestive system is damaged and already inflamed, your immune system is more likely to identify certain milk proteins as harmful. This triggers your body to produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to attack the dairy protein.

Dairy including but is not limited to, milk from cows, goats, sheep, and buffalo, and all foods derived from these milks like cheese, butter, ghee, cream, and protein powders. 

Since dairy, especially cultured as cheese and as high-fat substances like butter and ghee, are highly nutritious, these foods are among the first to be re-introduced. 

A2 dairy from A2 cows and naturally from goats is likely less inflammatory than regular A1 milk. 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts contain various plant toxins and antinutrients. They’re also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which have been associated with inflammation when not balanced by omega-3 fatty acids. 

The AIP eliminates all nuts, seeds, flours, butters, and oils made from nuts. These include cocoa and spices made from seeds like cumin, fennel, coriander, mustard, fenugreek, and nutmeg. 

Alcohol and Coffee

Alcohol in all forms, is an inflammatory toxin and has been directly linked to intestinal inflammation.

Coffee is often high in toxic molds called mycotoxins

If you simply can’t do without your cup of Joe, choose certified mycotoxin-free brands

Seed “Vegetable” Oils

Vegetable oils are highly processed industrial products linked to inflammation and numerous inflammatory diseases and disorders. 

Authors of a large 2018 study looking at the health effects of consuming vegetable “seed” oils concluded, “In summary, numerous lines of evidence show that the omega-6 polyunsaturated fat linoleic acid promotes oxidative stress, oxidized LDL, chronic low-grade inflammation and atherosclerosis, and is likely a major dietary culprit for causing CHD [congenital heart disease], especially when consumed in the form of industrial seed oils commonly referred to as ‘vegetable oils’ ”

Common vegetable oils to eliminate and NEVER reintroduce include

  • Canola
  • Rapeseed
  • Corn
  • Cottonseed
  • palm kernel
  • Safflower
  • Soybean
  • sunflower oils

Refined Sugars

Added sugars have been associated with inflammation and various inflammatory diseases. Sugar causes inflammation via various mechanisms, including 

  • Binding to cells, DNA, RNA, and proteins in the process called glycation
  • Damaging the glycocalyx–a delicate protective membrane coating every cell in the body and regulating important functions, including cardiovascular health and immune system response
  • Promoting harmful bacteria, and reducing protective bacteria in the gut leads to intestinal permeability
  • Increasing “bad” LDL cholesterol

Sugars to eliminate include

  • cane or beet sugar
  • corn syrup
  • brown rice syrup
  • barley malt syrup
  • All processed sweets, drinks, and foods with added sugars

Additives and Sweeteners

AIP eliminates all industrial food additives, including all artificial sweeteners like xylitol and stevia, along with all food colorings, thickeners, and emulsifiers. 

Fresh and Dried Fruit

Many AIP approaches, but not all, cut out dried fruit and/or fresh fruit.

Less restrictive protocols allow between 10–40 grams of fructose from fresh fruit per day.


Algae is another gray area–some AIP diets allow it, others cut it, citing studies linking it to possible immune responses.

Certain Medications

NSAIDs like ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, and high dose aspirin are all eliminated on the AIP diet. 

Foods to Enjoy on the AIP

Fresh Meat

Most AIP protocols center on fresh meat, especially from pastured and grass-fed sources. 

Meat is the most nutrient-dense food on earth, meaning it provides the most nutrients per weight. 

Studies show that humans evolved on a hypercarnivorous diet for nearly 2 million years before the dawn of agriculture, only 10,000 years ago. 

Meat provides nutrients that we cannot get from any other source in any significance, and when raised well, is free from all irritating and toxic compounds. 

Red ruminant meats like beef, lamb, bison, wild seafood, and organ meats like liver are the best options. 

Additional foods that you can eat on the AIP diet include 

  • Bone broth: Glycine and arginine, two of the amino acids found in abundance in beef bone broth, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties
  • Tubers like sweet potatoes, yams, taro
  • Non-dairy fermented foods like sauerkraut
  • Olive oil (some versions allow coconut oil)
  • Herbs and spices not derived from seeds or chilies
  • Moderate use of maple syrup and raw honey (some protocols eliminate these entirely)
  • Vinegars without added sugar
  • Green and black tea in moderation
  • Vegetables other than nightshades. Some protocols eliminate most vegetables, or allow for only low-toxin veggies like zucchini and asparagus ).

Research on the Effectiveness of the AIP Diet

Research on the AIP is in its infancy, but the studies so far are promising. 

In a small 2019 study, 16 women with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis followed the AIP diet for ten weeks. 

At the conclusion of the study, inflammation was decreased by an average of 29%, and symptoms of the disease were reduced by 68%. 

Participant quality of life also increased significantly even though their thyroid function showed no measurable differences.

A 2017 study of 15 people with IBD, found that participants concluded the 11-week study with far fewer IBD symptoms but no measurable reduction in inflammation.

A similar 2019 study found that people with IBD reported significant improvements in quality of life measures like playing sports and leisure activities.

The most dramatic results of what can be considered an extreme version of the AIP diet, known as the carnivore diet came out of Harvard University.

2029 people who had been practicing a strictly all-meat diet for at least six months found that 

  • 93% improved or resolved obesity and excess weight
  • 93% improved hypertension
  • 98% improved conditions related to diabetes
  • 97% improved gastrointestinal symptoms
  • 96% improved psychiatric symptoms

The AIP (Autoimmune Protocol Diet): The Takeaway

The AIP diet aims to reduce chronic inflammation–the root of numerous autoimmune disorders. 

The global epidemic of autoimmune diseases is linked to modern diets and sedentary lifestyles. The AIP diet eliminates potentially inflammatory foods–all of which were introduced to the human diet after agriculture was invented only 10,000 years ago. 

Foods like added sugars, vegetable oils, grains, legumes, many vegetables, and fruits are believed to damage the intestines and spread inflammatory antigens throughout the body. 

The AIP centers around non-inflammatory whole foods, especially fresh meats that provide an abundance of nutrients without potentially harmful compounds.

Man holding a glass of water

The Water Fast: How to, Benefits, and Tips for Success

Fasting has been used as a practice to promote health and overall well-being by many cultures for thousands of years. 

A water fast is an ancient, but newly popularized approach to fasting that entails eliminating all caloric intake and consuming only water for a prescribed period of time. 

In the ancient world, prolonged water fasts were associated with religious rituals, providing both spiritual and physical benefits. Fasting was believed to cleanse the body, promote self-discipline, and open the mind to deep insights into the nature of existence. 

But even during that time when we were just awakening to physical science, fasting was seen as a way to promote digestion and combat disease. Now these observations are being confirmed and explained by modern science.

Contemporary research has highlighted many potential health-promoting properties of water fasting, including improved metabolic health, reduced inflammation, protection against various diseases, and cellular repair.5  

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what the water fast is, how to do it, what benefits are available, and risks to watch out for. 


What is a Water Fast?

A water fast simply means abstaining from any caloric intake for a specific period of time. During this fasting period, you only consume water. 

Most water fasts are considered prolonged fasts, lasting 24-72 hours. They are extensions of popular intermittent fasting approaches like 16/8 and OMAD

Prolonged water fasts have been popularized by nutrition researchers like Dominic d’Agostino, who suggests doing up to 5-day water fasts two to three times per year in order to improve immune function and activate a deep state of cellular repair and renewal. 

How to Do A Water Fast

On the surface, a water fast seems pretty simple: don’t eat, drink water. But to reduce the likelihood of uncomfortable side effects and to get the greatest benefits, here are a few helpful guidelines. 

Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods

For at least two to three days before your fast cut all processed (if you’re serious about your health and wellness, it’s imperative to cut processed foods altogether) foods. Get all of your calories from nutrient-dense whole food, including 

By consuming these foods, you’re supplying your body with the ideal nutrients to sustain its physiological functions and nourish fasting-induced stem cells. At the same time, eating fattyier foods and reducing carbs prepares your body for a fasted state, reducing side effects of the metabolic transition. 

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting intermittently before a prolonged water fast trains your body to seamlessly enter a deep, prolonged fasted state. 

This is especially helpful when preparing for a 48-72-hour fast. 

You can even ease into the intermittent fasting protocol and gradually increase the intensity before entering a full water fast. Here’s an example of a graduated approach

  • Time Restricted Eating: Eat only within an 8-hour window during daylight hours
  • 18/6: Eat only within a 6-hour window during daylight
  • OMAD: Eat only one large meal a day–usually within a 1-2 hour window. 

Post Water Fast Refeeding

Consume much smaller than normal meals and chew your food completely. 

Giving into your instinct to feast after a prolonged fast can trigger a dangerous condition called refeeding syndrome that can cause heart, blood, and brain issues do to acute metabolic and electrolyte changes.3

For a 24-hour water fast you only need to gradually re-introduce food for the following day. But after longer fasts gradual refeeding period can be good to maintain for up to three days. 

Potential water Fast Benefits

Studies show that water fasting activates various beneficial physiological processes that promote health benefits, including

  • Protection against neurodegenerative disease
  • Increased fat burning
  • Reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 
  • Cellular repair and renewal (autophagy)
  • Increases testosterone
  • Reduced blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels
  • Improves heart health
  • Reduces insulin resistance and improves blood sugar control
  • Increases beneficial hormones BDNF and HGH

diagram of water fast benefits

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these key benefits. 

Autophagy (Cellular Repair and Renewal)

Autophagy is a process of cellular recycling and repair. The word means “self-eating,” which is an appropriate way to describe a process where old and worn out intracellular parts are cleared out and refashioned into fresh and functional cell parts. 

Though a fairly recent discovery, autophagy is an incredibly important process that has been shown to offer protection from viruses, bacterial infection, and numerous diseases..

Though autophagy can be activated by shorter 16-18 hours fasts, prolonged water fasts can increase the autophagic action.

Researchers believe that autophagy is a central mechanism in many of the studied potential benefits of water fasting, including

  • Longevity
  • Reduced Inflammation
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Cardioprotection
  • Brain health

diagram of process of autophagy

Reduce Inflammation 

Chronic inflammation is a deadly epidemic responsible for heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, cancer, obesity, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes.

These diseases are account for 3 out of 5 deaths worldwide. And 60% of Americans have one or more inflammatory conditions.

A water fast can reduce inflammation in three key ways

  1. Stimulates intestinal stem cells that heal gut permeability– when the gut leaks, pathogens enter the blood and travel throughout the body, causing inflammation. 
  2. Activates the removal of inflammatory antigens, bacteria, and viruses via autophagy
  3. Reducing circulating monocytes–inflammatory white blood cells.

Studies have found that fasting reduces inflammation associated with

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • diabetes

Brain Health and Cognitive Function

Studies have found that fasting can protect the brain from age-related degradation and improve cognitive function. 

A study on men with mild cognitive impairment found that “Overall, the MCI-afflicted older adults who practiced IF regularly had better cognitive scores and reverted to better cognitive function at 36 months follow-up.”

A 2021 animal study found that fasting activated a gene linked to longevity and promoted brain growth and long-term memory consolidation.

Water fasts also support brain health by activating the production of powerful energy molecules made from fat called ketones, while simultaneously activating glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. Each of these metabolic processes protects against neurodegenerative disorders.

graph showing changing hormone balance during fasting

Source: Cover Three

Improved Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity

Insulin and leptin are important hormones associated with fat storage, hunger/satiety, and motivation (or lack thereof) for physical movement. 

The high-carb standard American diet leads to both insulin resistance and leptin resistance. In both cases, this means that your body’s ability to receive and/or respond to the presence of these hormones becomes impaired. 

In the case of insulin resistance, your body struggles to clear sugar from your blood leading to a host of downstream diseases and disorders like fatty liver disease, type-2 diabetes, PCOS, and various chronic inflammatory conditions

When you’re body is not responding properly to leptin, your brain thinks you’re starving even when you’ve had more than enough to eat. Instead of feeling full, you feel a need to keep eating, you have cravings for fattening, high-carb foods, and you body sends signals to conserve energy by making you less motivated to move.

The good news is that water fasting has been shown to increase leptin and insulin sensitivity.

The drop in leptin has the added benefit of increasing testosterone.

Increased BDNF and HGH

A water fasts stimulates the production of two beneficial hormones called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), and HGH (Human Growth Hormone). 

BDNF has been called “miracle grow for the brain,” due to its ability to generate brain cell growth.

In animal studies, increased BDNF is associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and neurodegenerative diseases.

While in humans, studies have found that low levels of BDNF are associated with various neurodegenerative disorders.

HGH (Human Growth Hormone)

Water fasting for at least 24 hours can induce the production of HGH. 

In one study with 200 participants, a 24-hour water fast increased HGH by a factor of 20 in men and 13 in women.

Higher circulating HGH (human growth hormone) is associated with better memory, more muscle mass, and reduced cortisol.

Weight Loss

During a water fast, insulin levels drop and norephedrine increases. This combination triggers your body to break down fatty acids into ketones.

Your body is essentially turning fat into fuel to maintain your muscle mass.

Water fasting for 24 hours has been shown to increase the rate at which your body converts nutrients and fat into energy by 14%.

Digestion Reset and Intestinal Healing

Our intestines are the first line of defense against food-borne pathogens and toxins. The standard American diet is loaded with substances that damage your intestines, including

Chronis consumption of these substances can lead to intestinal permeability, which is associated with various chronic inflammatory disorders.

leaky gut. cells on gut lining held tightly together. in intestine with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity these tight junctions come apart. autoimmune disorder. Vector diagram for educational, medical, biological and science use

Researchers at MIT found that a 24-hour water fast “provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat.” And that this switch “enhanced [cell] function significantly.”

Who Should Not do a Water Fast? 

Water fasting is safe and accessible for most people. However, there are a few groups that are better served by other dietary and lifestyle interventions. These include 7

  • people with gout
  • People with type 1 diabetes
  • Pregnant people
  • Children
  • People with eating disorders 

Water Fast: The Bottom Line

Water fasting entails consuming only water for an extended period of time–usually 24-72 hours. 

Both human and animal studies have linked water fasting to a variety of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, neuroprotection, insulin and leptin sensitivity, and weight loss. 

Though more challenging than intermittent fasting protocols, water fasting has the potential to increase many of the benefits associated with fasting. 

If you’re considering a water fast, it is important to prepare appropriately by consuming only nutrient-dense whole foods before and after your fast, easing into the fast by practicing intermittent fasting leading up to the water fast, and slowly re-introducing food afterward in order to avoid refeeding compilations.

Wooden man with back pain. Medical concept.

Carnivore Diet Nausea: Causes and Easy Solutions

Transitioning to any new dietary regimen can trigger bodily adjustments, and the carnivore diet is no exception. If you’re early in your carnivore journey, you may experience episodes of nausea. But fear not; carnivore diet nausea is temporary and easy to fix.

Rooted in our ancestral past, the carnivore diet centers exclusively on animal-based foods, including red meat, fish, eggs, and certain dairy products. 

By eliminating plant-based foods that expose our bodies to plant toxins, antinutrients, excess fiber, and allergens, the carnivore diet provides a direct and efficient source of the essential nutrients that our bodies are designed to thrive on. 

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons for carnivore diet nausea and offer effective strategies for overcoming it. 


Why Carnivore Diet Nausea Occurs

Nausea on a carnivore diet can most often be attributed to a few key factors. 

1. Eliminating Carbs and Fiber Causes Bacteria and Yeast Die-Off

On an all-meat diet, you’re cutting all fiber and essentially all carbs. Fiber plus carbs is a recipe for bacteria and yeast overgrowth in your intestines.

Eliminating these sources of fuel starves the microorganisms that depend on them. As these organisms die, they can produce toxic compounds and eventuate an overall microbiome transformation that can lead to nausea. 

Within 1-4 weeks, your digestive system will flush and repopulate with beneficial bacteria. 

2. Increased Fat Intake Requires Bile and Enzyme Upregulation

Cutting carbs makes the carnivore diet, by default, a ketogenic diet

This means that need to get 70-80% of calories from animal fat

To metabolize this dramatic increase in fat intake, your body needs to upregulate bile production and specific digestive enzymes. 

Bile Production 

Bile is critical to fat digestion because eating fat triggers your digestive system to secrete a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). CKK tells your gallbladder to release bile, which then emulsifies (mixes) fats into a substance that your intestines can absorb.3

image of bile metabolizing fat

However, bile is a fairly complex substance for your body to produce more of. 

Under normal habitual dietary circumstances, your body deals with this challenge by recycling existing bile rather than concocting it from scratch. Studies show that 95-97% of the bile in your body is reabsorbed and reused bile.

In the transitional period when your body is increasing bile production, the emulsifying process may be inefficient or incomplete, leading to digestive issues like nausea, constipation, and diarrhea

Just ask the popular podcast host Joe Rogan who experienced explosive diarrhea during the first couple of weeks on Carnivore before his system adjusted. 

For most people, it takes 1-4 weeks for the gallbladder to upregulate bile production. 

Ox bile supplements can expedite this process. 

Enzyme Upregulation

In addition to bile, your body relies on stomach enzymes–especially Lipase and Amylase– to digest dietary fats. [4]

It may take 1-4 weeks for your body to produce enzymes to efficiently assimilate your new and nourishing abundance of your carnivore diet food list

3. Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalances

When transitioning to a high-fat low-carb way of eating, your body decreases insulin production, which triggers your body to metabolize a type of carbohydrate stored in your muscles and liver called glycogen. 

Each glycogen molecule is connected to numerous water molecules that are expelled through urine when the glycogen is unlocked. This can lead to rapid weight loss, but with it comes the risk of dehydration. 

diagram of glycogen connected to water molecules

Dehydration slows down your digestive process, which can lead to nausea.

Switching to carnivore can also alter your internal electrolyte balance and external electrolyte intake, which can be associated with nausea on its own and related to dehydration/ 

How To Fix Carnivore Diet Nausea

Here are a few strategies for nipping your carnivore diet nausea in the bud, or avoiding it altogether. 

Eat More Fat, Less Protein

Most people on carnivore consume between 2-4 pounds of meat daily. In the modern Western world, we tend to think of meat as muscle. 

But for our ancestors, who evolved on a mostly carnivorous diet for nearly 2 million years, meat meant fat, with some muscle, along with organs. Take this as a rule of thumb. 

On any low-carb diet, including carnivore, if you don’t get at least 70% of your calories from fat, your body will continue to convert protein to carbs, inhibiting your full transition into ketosis. Eating too much protein also runs the risk of protein poisoning.

To assist your body in making the transition to a fat-based carnivore diet, choose the fattiest cuts of meat, like ribeye steak, and get used to adding tablespoons of butter or tallow

Consuming beef and chicken liver will boost your choline intake, which will help your body absorb the increased fat load.

If you’re not into fresh liver, desiccated liver supplements are a tasteless alternative. 

Stay Hydrated 

A key to avoiding nausea on carnivore is to stay hydrated

Make sure you’re consuming enough mineral water–which has naturally hydrating electrolytes, and liberally salting your meals.9

Healthcare providers who are familiar with low-carb diets recommend consuming 12 grams (2 teaspoons) of salt per day during your adaptation period. 

After you feel like your body has made the transition taper to 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of salt daily.

Electrolyte Supplements

Though it’s entirely possible to get sufficient electrolytes from whole animal products and added salt, for some people electrolyte supplements can be very supportive. 

Carnivore enthusiast Dr. Ken Berry created a popular supplement called Keto Chow. 

You just add a few drops to your water or even directly to your steak. 

You can also formulate your own electrolyte boost with the following guidelines: 

  • 400mg of magnesium citrate
  • 1-3 99mg potassium citrate supplements. Consuming more potassium than this runs the risk of heart failure. Be careful! 
  • Liberally salt food according to amounts listed above. 

Ox Bile Supplements 

Considering the importance of upregulating bile and the discomfort that can occur during the transition period, ox bile and Betaine HCL supplements can stand in until your body has time to catch up with your dietary changes. 

jar of ox bile supplementsimage of betaine hcl jar

An added benefit of increased bile is better absorption of meat’s vitalizing nutrients.

Carnivore Diet Nausea: The Bottom Line

Short-term nausea is a common side effect when making the transition to the carnivore diet. But it doesn’t have to be. 

By understanding the factors contributing to nausea and following these thoughtful strategies, you’ll soon be experiencing enhanced vitality, mental clarity, and optimal well-being. 

If you are experiencing nausea it’s important to remember that it’s only a temporary hurdle on the way to remarkable health benefits. The road to transformation is paved with persistence and fortified with knowledge. Onward to your carnivore-driven life of vigor and vitality!

The man is engaged in intermittent fasting for health.. Intermittent fasting concept, top view.

Top 7 Benefits of a 24 Hour Fast Once a Week

The 24-hour fast once a week can be a sweet spot between daily intermittent fasts and prolonged fasts. It doesn’t demand daily consistency, but nor does it require much preparation and conditioning for most people.

The greatest benefits of fasting are linked to physiological changes that occur when your body depletes the energy it receives from food as well as the energy stored in muscle and liver tissue as glycogen. 

Your body can store around 2000 calories as glycogen, and it takes an average of 24 hours to deplete this stored energy. During this period your body shifts from and ‘anabolic’ phase of converting nutrients from food into body tissue, into a ‘catabolic’ phase where your body breaks down glycogen along with body fat into energy molecules.

The catabolic phase is when your metabolism becomes ketogenic, and the process of cellular renewal called autophagy is engaged. Both of these physiological modes are linked to various health benefits which we’ll explore in this article. 


Summary of the Benefits of a 24 Hour Fast Once a Week 

The 24-hour fast is often called “Eat Stop Eat” approach and entails abstaining from eating for 24 hours once or twice a week. 

It was developed by nutritional researcher Brad Pilon based on data from his studies at the University of Guelph.  You can read about his specific findings in the book, “Eat Stop Eat.” 

Essentially, what Pilon and others have discovered is that the 24-hour fast may be an optimal approach to unlocking the benefits of intermittent fasting, even when only practiced once a week. 

diagram showing effects of 24 hour fast


During the 24-hour fast your body triggers deep, regenerative processes that have been shown to

  • Reduce heart disease risk factors
  • Reduce stored body fat
  • Support blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity
  • improve levels of triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Stimulates autophagy, which protects against various infections and diseases
  • stimulate the production of beneficial hormones HGH and BDNF
  • reduce cancer risk

Now let’s take a deeper look at how a 24-hour fast once a week can produce these benefits. 

diagram of intermittent fasting benefits

1. Reduced Body Fat

During a 24-hour fast, insulin drops and norephedrine increases, triggering your body to oxidize fatty acids into energy molecules called ketones.

This process retains lean muscle mass while reducing body fat.

During the 24-hour fast your metabolic rate may rise by 14%. At this rate, your body will be burning calories while resting, thereby increasing your fat-burning and potential weight loss.

Studies have found that intermittent fasting promotes up to a  9.9% loss of body weight.

2. Autophagy (Cellular Repair and Renewal)

The word autophagy means self-eating and refers to a process where intracellular debris and old cell parts called organelles are recycled into new cell parts. 

This process of cellular renewal has been shown to protect the body from various diseases, viruses, and infectious bacteria.

As you can imagine, not entering autophagy renders your body more susceptible to infection and diseases, including diabetes, neurological disorders, and even cancer. 

Studies show that autophagy occurs after fasting for at least 16-18 hours and increases beyond that, making the 24 hours an effective autophagy-inducing method.

By undertaking a 24-hour fast once a week, you are gifting your body with the numerous downstream benefits of autophagy, including

  • Promotion of longevity [18] [19]
  • Reduced Inflammation [20] [21]
  • Protection against various cancers[22] [23]
  • A healthier heart [24]
  • Protection against cognitive decline [25]

diagram of autophagy on 24 hour fast

3. Intestinal Stem Cell Production 

Our intestines are the first line of defense against food-borne pathogens and toxins. Especially those that most people unknowingly consume on a daily basis, like excess fiber, sugar, and naturally occurring plant toxins and antinutrients

All of these factors can cause gaps in your intestinal cells, allowing antigens to enter your bloodstream and get deposited throughout the body. This condition, known as intestinal permeability, can lead to chronic inflammatory disorders. [26]

MIT researcher Dr. David Sabatini found that the 24-hour fast “provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat.” And that this switch “enhanced [cell] function significantly.” 

In Sabatini’s study he found that a 24 hour fast stimulated stem cell production to the degree that it reversed age-related loss of stem cell function, increased energy, cellular protection, and various markers of youthfulness. [27]  

4. Improved Insulin Sensitivity

One of the key benefits of a 24-hour fast once a week is improving insulin sensitivity. 

Some of the common diseases associated with insulin resistance include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, PCOS, cognitive decline, and memory loss. [30]

A 2022 review of numerous studies found that fasting improves insulin resistance to such a significant degree that it may be a valuable treatment for many chronic diseases linked to insulin resistance. [28] [29]

Additionally, improving insulin sensitivity has been shown to promote

  • Clearer skin
  • less water retention
  • Reduced diabetic symptoms
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Cognitive and neurological protection
  • Resolution of PCOS

5. Increased HGH (Human Growth Hormone)

The 24 hour fast once a week can promote the production of HGH (human growth hormone) 

A classic study of 200 participants doing a 24-hour fast found that this period can increase HGH by a factor of 20 in men and 13 in women. [32]

Higher levels of HGH (human growth hormone) in your blood are associated with improved memory, increased muscle mass, less water retention, and a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. [31]

6. 24-Hour Fast for Increased BDNF

Leading neuropsychiatrist John J. Ratey popularized BDNF by deeming it “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

BDNF-1, is the acronym for brain-derived neurotrophic factor–a hormone that helps generate brain cells. 

It’s viewed as a benefit of fasting for 24 hours once a week because studies have found that Increased serum levels of BDNF are associated with better learning and the development of new neural pathways.

Low levels of BDNF are associated with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative disorders. [33]

Studies how found that IF can increase BDNF, which may account for reduced depression, anxiety, and neurodegenerative diseases in animal subjects. [34]

7. Reduce Inflammation by Fasting for 24 Hours Once a Week

Chronic inflammation is the root of the deadliest diseases on earth, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. [35] [36] [37] Together, these inflammatory diseases kill 3 out of 5 people worldwide. 

If you’re a U.S. citizen, there’s a 60% chance that you have at least one inflammatory condition. 2

Fasting for 24 hours once a week activates three anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

  1. Stem cell stimulation that regenerates your intestinal barrier, protecting against leaky gut
  2. Promoting the process of autophagy that removes inflammatory antigens, bacteria, and viruses. 
  3. Reducing inflammatory white blood cells called monocytes [38]

Not surprisingly studies have found that fasting is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s, MS, and other inflammatory conditions. [39]

diagram of the effects of fasting on inflammation

Benefits of a 24 Fast Once a Week: The Takeaway

There are numerous powerful benefits of a 24 hour fast once a week. This fasting duration activates deep autophagy and ketosis, improves insulin sensitivity, and promotes the production of beneficial hormones HGH and BDFN-1. 

Together these processes provide powerful benefits that protect the body from inflammatory diseases, viral and bacterial infection, and support cognitive health, longevity, heart health, and weight loss. 

Practicing a 24-hour fast once a week may be a convenient approach for people who struggle with daily intermittent fasts while making it easy to stay nutritionally replete.