What is an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet?

Awesome! You want to learn more about an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet.

Maybe you know you don’t feel your best and there’s a voice inside telling you to make some changes.

Or maybe you feel like absolute garbage (like I did) and have no choice but to sink and drown, or swim and change your ways.

Back in early 2015, my life took a turn into the dark.

I endured three major traumas back-to-back, quit the birth control pills I had been on for 8 years cold turkey (hello, hormonal roller coaster), rarely drank water, and was 25 years deep into living on bean and cheese burritos, handfuls of shredded cheese straight from the fridge, half a dozen doughnuts in one sitting, a full box of Frosted Flakes in under 48 hours, Limeade as nearly my only source of liquid, and pints on pints on pints of chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. After the traumas and quitting birth control, my body freaked out. I suppose it was the perfect storm.

If you care to read about my health issues in detail, I wrote about them here.

For years, I bounced around between carnivore, keto, and paleo, and merging the three is where I hit a sweet spot.

I followed and Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet for awhile, then over time switched to an Animal-Based diet with Raw Dairy.

Most of my major health issues are gone, and the others continue to lessen. Every day, I continue to feel better and better. Ask anyone that knows me, and they would tell you that I’m convinced that it’s because of my diet.

 

So, What is the Diet?

As you learned in the last blog, an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet is carnivore, paleo, and keto combined.

With high amounts of fat, an emphasis on animal foods, and a low to moderate amount of low toxicity paleo carbohydrates, you:

  • keep yourself in a fat-burning state (ketosis) in the beginning to improve intestinal permeability, insulin resistance, and metabolic health,
  • eliminate all processed and modern foods, chemicals, and additives,
  • get tons of nutrients from animal products,
  • minimize consumption of inflammatory foods, anti-nutrients, and plant toxins, and
  • enjoy a small or moderate amount of plant foods/carbohydrates (if you can tolerate them) so you don’t feel restricted or ravenous.

 

The Guidelines

I will go over these in more detail in the next blog and how to calculate/create meals that meet the criteria. These guidelines may feel overwhelming at first, but once you understand what foods to eat and how to calculate macronutrients, it becomes easy peasy.

Here are the rules to follow for an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet:

  1. The bulk of your diet should be from meat, organs, and fat from 4-legged animals (beef, lamb, pork, wild game). This means most of your meal should consist of animal foods. Shoot for 70%+.
  2. Fat: protein ratio should be 2:1 weight by grams. For example, if eating a meal with 50 grams of protein, the meal would also need to contain 100 grams of fat. 100g fat: 50g protein = 2:1. More on this in the next blog. And as you get metabolically healthy, this can change over time.
  3. Maintain a ketogenic state, at least in the beginning. Do not eat carbohydrates in excess because that will kick you out of ketosis. For most people, this is no more than 20-30g net carbs per day. Some people can eat a little more than that. You will have to experiment with your own carb intake. More on this in the next blog.
  4. Eat organ meats regularly. Start with beef organs. A good place to start is 3 oz of beef liver 2-3x per week. You can add brain, heart, tongue, and other organs later. I have killer Beef Liver Waffles and Beef Liver Pancakes recipes. You won’t even know you’re eating liver. You can also buy desiccated organ supplements, although I recommend eating food over taking supplements.
  5. Use only animal fats (ghee, lard, tallow, suet, etc.) and no vegetable oils (no olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, etc.).
  6. Cured meats (bacon, sausage, etc.) are fine as long as they are nitrate- and additive-free.
  7. Eat generous amounts of salt (Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan). 5-7+g per day and supplement with electrolytes (potassium and magnesium).
  8. Do not eat dairy* (milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc.), grains (cereal, bread, pasta, rice, corn, etc.), nightshades (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, paprika, etc.), legumes (lentils, peas, beans), nuts, nut butters, or nut milks (almond, walnut, macadamia, etc.), industrial seed oils (canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.), plant oils (olive oil, coconut oil), artificial sweeteners or chemical additives (stevia, coconut palm sugar, agave, erythritol, etc.), or any processed, packaged, or pre-made foods (cake, chips, cookies, pizza, etc., even if they are keto- or paleo- friendly). *Grass-fed butter and ghee are okay, if tolerated.
  9. Raw honey can be used as a sweetener. I use Manuka Honey from New Zealand (ASHLEYR for 10% off) or local honey. Don’t forget to count honey toward your carb intake. Don’t use any other sweeteners.
  10. Eat local, organic vegetables from the low- and medium- toxicity list from the graphic below. If a fruit or vegetable is not listed on the graphic, use your own discretion. Try it out, and if you don’t react to it, it’s probably safe to assume you can keep eating it. Count all fruits and vegetables toward your carb intake.

Source: Paul Saladino, @carnivoremd

 

If your gut is healthy or if you know you tolerate a certain food on this list, the below should be fine for you as well.

  1. Eggs. Get organic and cage-free if you can.
  2. Fish and seafood, as long as your nutrient needs are being met. Get wild-caught if you can.
  3. Dairy. Seek out raw dairy vs. unpasteurized dairy if you tolerate it.
  4. Small amounts of poultry (chicken, turkey), as long as your nutrient needs are being met.
  5. Same with small amounts of cured meats like bacon and sausage, as long as they have no harmful additives.
  6. Spices and herbs in moderation (one or few at a time). See above graphic for low- and medium- toxicity spices and herbs. If an herb/spice is not listed on the graphic, use your own discretion. Try it out, and if you don’t react to it, it’s probably safe to assume you can keep eating it.

How can you tell if your gut is healthy or if you’re metabolically healthy?

If you have inconsistencies with your mood (anxiety, depression, panic attacks, fatigue, irritability, problems focusing, energy crashes, etc.), skin (sebbhoreic dermatitis, eczema, etc.), circulation (feeling cold all of the time, postural problems, bloating, edema, etc.), experience insomnia, chronic nausea, or if you simply feel that something is off and isn’t working as it should be, then you’re probably right. Something probably is off, which means your gut or metabolic health probably isn’t at its peak.

If that is the case, avoid the second set of guidelines for now.

Try the first set of guidelines for 30-90 days, see how you feel, then slowly incorporate the second set.

 

Success With an Animal-Based Ketogenic Diet

Paleomedicina is a medical clinic located in Hungary. They are spearheading the effort to cure complex diseases with an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet. And it’s working.

Below is a list of the diseases they have successfully treated. I pulled this list directly from their website.

Metabolic syndrome conditions

Type 2 diabetes
Obesity
Hypertension

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
Crohn’s disease
Ulcerative colitis
Eczema
Psoriasis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Immune hepatitis
Lupus
Sarcoidosis
Scleroderma
Multiple sclerosis
Wegener’s granulomatosis and other granulomatous
Myasthenia gravis
Pernicious anemia
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM)
LADA diabetes
Autoimmune encephalitis
Anemia pernicious
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
Aplastic anemia
Temporal arteritis
Celiac disease,
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Graves’ disease
Myasthenia gravis
Pemphigus vulgaris
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
Sjogren’s syndrome
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Ankylosing spondylitis (Bechterew’s disease)
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Wegener’s granulomatosis
Lichen plans
Alopecia universalis
Behcet’s disease
Neuromyotonia

Cancers

Rectal cancer
Colon cancer
Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Renal cancer
Liver cancer
Brain cancer
Melanoma
Breast cancer
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)
Thyroid cancer
Lung cancer
Bronchial cancer
Larynx cancer
Soft palate cancer
Pancreatic tumor
Biliary tumors
Esophagus cancer
Prostate cancer
Metastatic cancer

Other Conditions

Sleep apnea
Sleep disorders
Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
PCOS syndrome
Female infertility
Male infertility
Transient global amnesia
Pickwick syndrome
Toxicosis of pregnancy
Gestational diabetes
Coronary artery bypass surgery
Paranoid schizophrenia
Panic disorder
Gingivitis
Hyperactivity, ADHD
Autism
Gilbert’s syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Migraine
Allergy
Reflux
Breast and ovary cysts
Epilepsy (generalized epilepsy, localization-related epilepsy, other forms of epilepsy)
Depression
Anxiety
Learning difficulties
Dry eye syndrome
Myopathy
Prostate hypertrophy
Renal failure
All forms of anemia
Upper respiratory tract infections
Leg ulcers
Uncertain abdominal complaints
Cystic diseases
Overmedicated conditions

 

Case Studies

Here is a list of case studies completed by Paleomedicina. These are real, documented cases of an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet managing, halting the progression of, and even curing serious diseases such as epilepsy, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and a variety of cancers like soft palate, rectal, and even a Glioblastoma Mulitforme (one of the most deadly and aggressive cancers in the world).

Childhood Absence Epilepsy Successfully Treated with the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet (2013)

Type 1 diabetes mellitus successfully managed with the paleolithic ketogenic diet (2014)

Successful treatment of a patient with obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension with the paleolithic ketogenic diet (2015)

Gilbert’s syndrome successfully treated with the paleolithic ketogenic diet (2015)

A child with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) successfully treated with the Paleolithic ketogenic diet: A 19-month insulin freedom (2015)

Crohn’s disease successfully treated with the paleolithic ketogenic diet (2016)

Halted progression of soft palate cancer in a patient treated with the paleolithic ketogenic diet alone: A 20-months follow-up (2016)

Treatment of Rectal Cancer with the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet: A 24-months Follow-up (2017)

Complete Cessation of Recurrent Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) by the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet: A Case Report (2018)

Paleolithic ketogenic diet (PKD) as a stand-alone therapy in cancer: Case studies (2019)

4-Year Long Progression-Free and Symptom-Free Survival of a Patient with Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme: A Case Report of the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet (PKD) Used as a Stand-Alone Treatment After Failed Standard Oncotherapy (2020)

 

Animal-Based Paleolithic Diet (Without the Ketogenic Requirement)

In the last blog post, I mentioned that forcefully maintaining a ketogenic state by counting macronutrients at every meal may not be required or even encouraged long-term.

I spoke with Paul Saladino about this, and this is what he had to say about maintaining a ketogenic state with an animal-based diet:

“Being in ketosis has its benefits without a doubt, but staying in ketosis continuously has its drawbacks and is therefore not what we recommend. By engaging in time-restricted feeding you will enjoy a healthy level of ketosis even if you are incorporating carbs into your diet.”

Here’s how I see it: the ketogenic state is beneficial for the body if it needs to heal from disease or regain metabolic health. It does this by learning how to use ketones as fuel instead of glucose. If you eat frequently and overeat carbohydrates, your body will never be forced to learn how to use ketones. It will always use glucose, and you will never reach peak metabolic health.

This is where the ketogenic diet comes in. When you feed yourself very high fat and very low carb, your body learns how to use ketones for fuel instead of glucose, and your metabolic health improves.

But once you become metabolically healthy (or metabolically flexible, as some people call it), your body knows how to switch back and forth between using glucose and ketones. At this state, the ketogenic requirement of the diet doesn’t become as important to manually force on your body.

Because…

If you’re eating a fatty, animal-based diet in a time-restricted window (and you’re metabolically healthy), you will naturally fall into ketosis without having to go crazy over counting and maintaining macronutrients. It will just happen.

If this sounds up your alley or closer to where you’re at in your journey, ditch rules #2, #3, and depending on how many carbs you eat, rule #8 (the lower the carbs, the more salt your body will probably crave), and replace with the following macronutrient calculation Paul recommended to me:

“We find that most people do really well with a 1:1.5 protein to fat + carbs ratio. This means that per pound of desired bodyweight you should be eating the same in grams of protein (for ease, if your goal was 150 lbs you would eat 150 g of protein, or about 1.5 lbs of beef). You would then take 1.5 x that amount and set that as your goal for fat + carbohydrates (if 150 g of protein, then your goal would be 225 g of fat + carbs).”

 

Getting Started

The guidelines for the diet may seem rigid or excessive, but once you learn how to weigh food and calculate macronutrient ratios, it gets easier and easier and starts to become second nature. If you choose to follow it, you will learn to listen to your body. That happens inevitably when eating this way.

When you listen to your body (if you’re nice to yourself), you learn to give it what it wants.

And when you give the body what it wants, it quiets and steadies. It stops screaming and thrashing, or at the very least, starts to produce less chaos.

From someone who had a screaming and thrashing body for years, I know that place. And it’s not fun.

If you want to get started with an Animal-Based Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet, head on over to the next blog and I’ll show you how.

 

To continue, read this next:

How To Get Started (And Hopefully Feeling Your Best!)

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Ashley Rothstein
Ashley Rothstein

Ashley Rothstein develops tasty, whole food, animal-based, fat-filled recipes that include a moderate amount of minimally toxic plant foods. To fix her own health issues, she bounced around between the carnivore, keto, and paleo diets for a few years. After experiencing and studying each diet philosophy, she learned she feels her best by merging the three and following an animal-based diet with time-restricted feeding. As a glut at heart, she likes to channel her creativity and create meals that are healthy but also satisfy her inner gluttonous spirits.

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