What should women know when starting the carnivore diet? Are there any specific nutrients that we need that men don’t? Can women thrive on a meat-only diet, or a diet that contains only (or mostly) animal products? Today we talk about women on the carnivore diet.
More and more women are supercharging the keto diet by focusing all on animal foods, and are loving what the carnivore diet is doing for them!
The Carnivore Diet and Women’s Hormones
The carnivore diet provides intense easy-to-absorb nutrition and is an antiinflammatory diet. Both of these combined, along with the help of shedding excess body fat, help the hormones balance back out. For more of how and why the carnivore diet works to heal chronic conditions, including women’s hormones, see: Why does the Carnivore Diet Work?
Your Cycle on Carnivore
When our hormones fluctuate through the month, our hunger naturally goes up right before our cycle starts.
Progesterone rises before your period starts, and it increases both your appetite. Serotonin dips, making you feel more irritable and tired.
Cravings, PMS and the Carnivore Diet
When you’re hungry, especially when it’s linked to where you’re at in your cycle, go ahead and eat! You may be intermittent fasting, or eating a certain number of calories a day for the rest of the month just fine.
If you feel unable to keep up with your appetite and cravings, my recommendation is to brown up a pound of ground beef, salt it to taste and enjoy! If you still have cravings, and I know many of you aren’t going to want to hear it, liver is a super food that squashes cravings! Saute some chicken liver in butter, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy!
Some women, especially with heavy flow, find that they need to supplement vitamin C on the carnivore diet to prevent easy bruising. You can read more about this here.
Recommended reading & craving-busting carnivore diet recipes:
- What Can You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?
- How to Avoid Spending More Than You Need on to Your ButcherBox Subscription
- Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
- Easy Homemade Jerky From Ground Beef
- Chaffles: Low Carb Waffles Made with just Eggs and Cheese
- Keto Lasagna (cheese noodles, relaxed carnivore)
How does the carnivore diet impact your cycle, sex drive, and fertility?
If you’re not using birth control any more due to menopause or infertility, watch out! The carnivore diet is incredibly healing, anti-inflammatory, and can regulate hormones. Fertility returning on the carnivore diet even after years of going away is not unheard of.
If you chart your cycle and fertility signs, whether it’s using the fertility awareness method as a form of birth control or just for your own personal knowledge, you will probably notice that your fertility signs are very strong while you’re on carnivore! Around ovulation an increased sex drive, increased cervical mucus, and noticeable boost in mood and energy all point to increased fertility.
Yes, it’s likely that your sex drive overall will increase. Healthy humans have healthy sex drives – it’s just part of biology and the survival of the species.
No wonder there are so many adorable carnivore babies being born as the carnivore movement takes off!
As your hormones adjust, it is also common to have cycles become irregular before they become regular. If you are losing fat, especially if it’s rapid, this can further mess with your cycle as we discuss next.
Candida (yeast) is brought back into balance on the carnivore diet. Candida overgrowth is common among those who have been on multiple or strong courses of antibiotics, the birth control pill, or have been exposed to environmental toxins. As candida is brought into balance, it sends out a flood of chemicals as the excess dies – these chemicals can interfere with fertility and cycle hormones.
Recommended: Is Mercury affecting your thyroid and hormones?
How does society react to women eating only meat?
Nobody is judging you for eating meat that wasn’t already looking to judge you for something. You eating meat affects those around you not.at.all.
The bias that women only eat light meals like salad or a piece of toast is fading. So many men and women are feeling amazing on keto that they can’t blame women for shunning carbs in favor of meat.
Eyes on your own plate
That said, we want to be careful to not over evangelize the carnivore diet and look for trouble where there is none.
Because you’re so easily satiated on the carnivore diet, and probably only eating 2-3 times a day, it’s rare that people will even notice what you’re eating.
The smile-nod-and change the subject approach works best for deflecting food-based conversations. If someone comments that you’re not eating any veggies, a quick ‘nope’ and ‘so, how is your new puppy doing?’ subject change is the easiest way to do this. Remember, we’re doing this for us, and we don’t need to convert others in order to see results ourselves.
Fat Loss & Whooshing on the Carnivore Diet
You may be doing the carnivore diet with your significant other, and notice that he is losing WAY faster than you are! Unfortunately this is common with women. We lose fat every day, but it tends to show up on the scale in starts and stops.
This rapid weight loss, and then nothing, and then a big drop again is called (totally scientific) Whooshing!
When we lose fat, our body takes the fat out of our fat cells and puts it into our blood, where it goes to our liver and is burned for energy. However, the body doesn’t just take the fat out of the cells so they are deflated – it replaces the fat in the cell with water to ‘hold’ the cell in case we need to put more fat back in soon. After a few days, or even a few weeks, the body decides that those fat cells are unneeded for good, and it releases the water and the cell deflates.
When the cell deflates, we usually have to make a few trips to the bathroom that night to pee, and we get up the next morning and show a significant drop on the scale (even 2 lbs is quite significant – that’s 8 sticks of butter!).
If you want to ‘encourage’ a whoosh, getting lots of rest and relaxation seems to help. I don’t have any evidence of this, but I suspect that if our body is in stress mode, we often ‘hold open’ those fat cells with water until we’re not stressed any more. The body is wired to survive, and making it easy to put fat back into a cell and save it for later is a survival technique. It’s also common to get ‘whooshes’ around
Weight Loss Stalls
Other than consuming too many calories (this will reveal itself when you calculate your calorie needs and weigh and measure all your food) there are other things that can cause weight loss stalling in women.
Our cycle encourages weight stalls, and even gains at certain times of the month. Embrace this, and know that you’re ‘banking’ weight loss for other times of the month. This will change from individual to individual, but for most people our month’s lowest weight will be the week before ovulation.
Too much salt triggers our body to dilute it with extra water. This, again causes bloating. Don’t worry, it’s just water weight. If you see the scale jump 2 lbs overnight this is most likely the cause. Remember, 2 lbs is ~ 7000 calories. It’s unlikely that you EVER consume an excess 7000 calories, even if you do go off keto or binge on pork rinds with spinach dip.
Starting a new exercise program tears our muscles microscopically, and then they come out stronger after repair. Again, our body makes more blood and will send it to these muscles in need or repair and rebuilding. This causes a temporary (10ish days) increase in water weight. This is a good thing! Once those muscles have repaired and increased in size, our metabolism will go up as muscle burns more, even at rest, than nothing or fat.
You ate something you’re allergic to.
When we eat something that we are sensitive to, or allergic to, inflammation happens as our body tries to move it on out. This can cause us to hold onto water or ‘bloat’ up. If you know you’e sensitive to certain foods, anticipate this reaction if you eat it!
You went over your carbs.
As we talked about, when you get into ketosis so your body takes the stored glycogen out of your muscles. With this glycogen comes the water that it is attached to – which provides a decent amount of bulk, and/or weight.
*note! Your body will still ‘spill ketones’ in your urine even if you eat a high-carb meal. The brain and muscles prefer to run on glucose, so if you put sugar/carbs into your system, it will start feeding your brain and muscles glucose. This will cause the ketones already in your system to dump out. This is why you can have a ‘cheat meal’ and still show ketones in your urine if you are using the urine strips.
Weight Loss and Period Problems
When we burn lots of fat at once (as carnivore and keto lets us do), what is stored IN those fat cells along with the fat also becomes released. Namely, estrogen and toxins. If you feel like you’re having a hormonal reaction (missed periods, heavy periods, acne) you can control this by slowing down your weight loss.
That’s right! All you need to do to slow down these symptoms is lose weight slower. This can be done by increasing your calories, but still keeping to carnivore foods.
Most women just deal with the hormone roller coaster and are happy to get rid of the excess weight. Your mileage may vary, but this is a common ‘carnivore symptom’ that actually isn’t attributed to carnivore at all – just that you lose weight efficiently on the carnivore diet.
If your period problems are irregularity or heavy flow and are not suddenly brought on by the carnivore diet or weight loss, it may be a heavy metal issue. For getting to the root of heavy metal problems, read this post: Heavy Metal Removal with Advanced TRS
The Carnivore Diet and Confidence in Women
You might not notice it at first, but as your body heals and becomes stronger, your sense of confidence will also bloom. This comes from thinking more clearly, more feel-good hormones being produced in a healthy gut, and even increased muscle mass. Yes, there is a correlation between increased core strength and self confidence!
Is meat giving you anger or passion?
Women on the carnivore diet become passionate and have their self confidence rise. If think that you’ve suddenly become outspoken or angry on the carnivore diet, check in with yourself and see if this is actually increased self confidence and passion!
Passion gives us meaning and direction and is not to be discouraged. You can tell the difference between anger and passion because anger usually comes with a desire to harm, where passion comes with a desire to change for the overall good.