Posted by: duncanrobinson | February 25, 2009

The carnivore diet: Two weeks of meat

The happiest moment of my university career came in my first year. I awoke to find my kitchen devoid of any typical morning sustenance. There was no cereal, no bread, no fruit—nothing. The only thing that I could possibly eat was a 12 oz steak. Start the day with steak? Dare I live every man’s dream? It felt wrong, but it tasted delicious.

With this happy memory in mind, I leapt at the chance when the Gateway asked for a volunteer to go on a meat diet. Every day could be steak day!

The carnivore diet is a simple one: every meal—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—has to have meat as a significant component. I blindly accepted the challenge, thinking that it would be the merest of doddles.

I was wrong.

The first few days started well. I had spaghetti bolognese for breakfast one day and a bacon sandwich the next. Dinner the first night was a steak (of course) and pork chops were had on the day after. Lunches were provided by the meatier options of the Subway menu.

The carnivore is well catered to on campus. There’s always a meat-based option—from a meaty sandwich to a good-old healthy burger or burrito from one of the fast food joints in HUB and SUB.

But while availability wasn’t a problem, the price was. My food expenditures doubled. I winced as the cashier tolled up a bill of over three figures for my weekly shop. The mound of meat on the conveyor belt wasn’t just a nutritional hindrance—it was a financial one too. Meat isn’t cheap, and if you’re living off it for two weeks, your wallet takes a beating.

By the middle of the first week, the novelty began to wear off. At breakfast, my body was screaming for food that would get energy into it quickly. It wanted fruit or cereal; instead it got more chicken. I wanted to recreate the steak for breakfast experience, but my body wouldn’t let me. Reliving it would have just polluted my happy memories.

Seven days in, I compromised and switched to two meals a day: brunch and afternoon tea. I hoped that this way, my body wouldn’t be so overloaded with protein and thus I would be able to take a crap without 20 minutes of vein-bursting effort. It worked—almost. I didn’t feel so wretched and sluggish, but I still desperately wanted something light and energy filled in the morning.

Starting the day with meat (every single morning) is like trying to set off on a bike in its highest gear. By the afternoon, your body is flying along quite nicely, but it’s very hard to get going.

Since finishing the diet I have (unsurprisingly) started eating a lot less meat. I can barely look at a steak—once the bringer of so much joy in my life—without being reminded of the leaden feeling a meat diet constantly entails. My meat mojo is gone. It seems that you really can have too much of a good thing.

(This piece originally appeared in The Gateway and can also be viewed here)


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