Why Carnivore Didn’t Work for You, Part 3: You Ate Too Lean

Be Jack Spratt’s wife.

Remember this nursery rhyme?

Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean

So betwixt them both, they licked the platter clean.

Now, in spite of being a lovely pean to teamwork, not wasting food, and the eternal attraction that opposites hold for one another, there was very little nutritional advice in this poem. It never said whether Jack and his wife were thin or fat, healthy or sickly, plant-eaters or carnivores, so we’re left to interpret what this meant for their long-term health. Every illustration I ever saw to this poem, though, had Jack Sprat as thin as a rail, and his wife very fat.

For a long time I thought that made sense, since eating fat will make you fat. Everybody knows that! Then I found out that eating fat makes you skinny, unless you’re eating the fat with a bunch of sugar. So then I thought that Jack and his wife were being depicted backwards: Jack should be the fatso, while his wife should be just perfectly proportioned. But that was wrong, too. I finally figured it out.

Poor Jack is dying of rabbit starvation! And if you were trying to live on chicken breasts and pork chops while taking a carnivore approach to life, so, my lean-eating friend, were you! Also, clearly, Jack’s wife has an addiction to those little fat-free 100-calorie cookie packets.

Fat does not make you fat. Fat does not clog your arteries. Fat does not give you pimples. All of the things you’ve heard about fat your whole life are a lie, propaganda produced by those who desire you to be cheap to feed, docile, and easily fooled. The standard American diet is slave food. Lean meat is slave food.

You, a free person who needs enough vigor to remain smart, sassy, and free need fat. If you have few or no carbohydrates in your diet, you really need fat.

We have all been taught that the lean meat is the virtuous meat. I don’t blame you for falling for it. I did, too, for a long time. You take the skin off your chicken breast, eat turkey bacon instead of pork bacon or (oh, happy thought) beef bacon, and only have a ribeye once a year because it’s so bad for you.

Lean meat is slave food. Eat your beef bacon. 

We’ve been trained by what can only be intentional propaganda to reject the fuel on which our bodies run best: fat. In fact, we’ve learned to hate the very mouth-feel and taste of fat, and to seek out the dry cuts of meat. Truthfully, we don’t like those lean bits as much as we think we do. Just look at the way we have to cook them! Their lack of fat and flavor can only be remedied by the myriad addicting sugary and starchy sauces I used to take such pride in concocting.

If you’re choosing the lean cuts of meat, you will feel awful!

You will not lose weight. You will be very tired. You will think about food all the time. Unless you are a super-human in the willpower department, you will soon break down and eat the wrong food when you finally give in to the completely natural urge to eat some energy.

I know what you’re thinking: I thought I was supposed to be burning my own fat, not eating more of it. Well, yes, you will be burning some of your own stored fuel on a ketogenic/carnivore diet. But your body can only liberate so much fat per day, and it will never amount to enough to fuel even a sedentary life. Even very fat-adapted athletes are only able to liberate something like 900 calories of fat energy from their own cells per day. (I read a study. Pardon me if I don’t go find it for you.) You need a lot more than your own cells can provide if you’re going to make it, friend!

If you’re trying to survive on lean cuts of meat and low-carb vegetables, you are going to feel like you’re dying. You’re going to be tired, depressed, hungry, and moody. And then you are going to pig out on carbs. Failure is inevitable. So don’t do that!

But fat is gross! 

I hear you, friend! You’re in a psychological bind. Because you’ve spent your whole life virtuously draining off every bit of grease, using sauces to make bland, fatless meat more appealing, trimming every ribeye (quel horreur!) or ordering the filet mignon instead of the ribeye, you are simply unaccustomed to the experience of chewing and swallowing fat. What’s more, you’ve always felt good about it, because that was what you’re supposed to do to be healthy! You were being a good little citizen!

Well, you’re just going to have to practice, picky eaters. You don’t have to like it. You just have to eat it. Eating the fat is just a matter of manning up and doing the needful, if unpleasant, thing until you get used to it. Don’t be a child about it. I promise that you will get used to it, and in fact learn to crave the fat. As soon as your body starts getting the nutrients it needs, you will begin to associate that formerly unpleasant-tasting food with the very pleasant feeling of heath. You will soon find yourself wondering how you could have ever thought fat was unpleasant to eat. It’s actually delicious!

Pork tenderloin and chicken breasts are dog food. Your big, brilliant human brain requires fat. If you’re feeling brain-foggy, depressed, and without energy on your carnivore diet, chances and good that it’s because you’re not eating enough fat. Even if you think you’re already having plenty of fat, you may need to increase it somewhat, at least for a while.

What are you waiting for? Go pick out the fattiest ribeye in the freezer and practice on it right now!