Composed: Jun 16, 2022
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Basically, you're not a carnivore? *insert eye roll here*
I am not sure where the definition within the carnivore community (yes, there's a community) that all carnivores must eat a 100% meat diet comes from but it's not accurate. It's not scientific. It's not how the term carnivore is defined.
Defining Carnivore -
- Obligate carnivores (aka hypercarnivores) are "animals that get 70 percent or more of their nutrition from meat".
- Mesocarnivores are "animals whose diet consists of about 50 percent meat".
- Hypocarnivores are "animals whose diet is only about 30 percent meat".
These definitions come from National Geographic. National Geographic isn't the ultimate authority on what defines a carnivore, but other definitions are similar. None say 100 percent meat.
What do Carnivores Eat?
What other animals are carnivores? Lions, tigers, and seals. Oh my!
Lions are often referred to as apex predators, which means they have no natural predators of their own. They are considered at the top of the food chain. They eat around 20 lbs (9 kg) of meat per day, on average. And it's pretty well known that lions eat grass when they need to expel something from their digestive system.
Lions instinctively use plants as medicine. It's not a regular part of their diet - far from it - and they don't get much nutrition out of grass. They eat it to induce vomiting.
Tigers are also considered to be apex predators, with no natural predators. They eat around 90 lbs (40kg) of meat at once.
And, you guessed it, they do eat small amounts of vegetation from time to time. Again, not a major source of nutrition for them and they do it to induce vomiting.
Tigers eat plants as medicine. You can find videos of them consuming grass on YouTube.
I couldn't find any evidence that seals eat plants. Maybe they're the real carnivores? I guess…
And of course, there are many other carnivorous animals. In the hypercarnivore category, you'll find crocodilians, owls, shrikes, eagles, vultures, felids, most wild canids, dolphins, and many others. In the mesocarnivore category are lynx, bobcat (which eat fruit or vegetation when food is scarce), American marten, fisher (which consume berries and fruit, depending on availability), river otter, American mink, coyote, red fox, gray fox, raccoon, striped skunk, and weasels.
Mesocarnivores could be considered omnivores, depending on whose definition you're using. But the point here is that carnivore =/= all meat, by definition. Not even hypercarnivores. Hypercarnivores are defined as consuming about 70 percent meat. There are very few that only ever eat meat, 100 percent of the time. It's great if that's all you eat but that's not the only way the term is defined.
It's Not a Competition -
My goal isn't and never has been, to be the most carnivore. I created this recipe website and blog because:
- I love to cook!
- I don't eat many plants and most recipes don't fit the way I eat.
- People often ask me for my recipes. Rather than type them up repeatedly, it's much more succinct to type them up once and share the link.
- I'm a web developer.
I saw Dr. Shawn Baker speak at a low carb convention several years ago. An audience member asked him how he felt about the use of herbs and spices in cooking and about his general definition of carnivore, in reference to a human diet. And his response was that if adding herbs and spices makes eating meat more enjoyable then that's what you should do. He defined a carnivore human diet as one that severely limits or excludes plants…severely LIMITS or EXCLUDES. And that's the definition I've found to be accurate, from a scientific perspective - severely limits OR excludes.
Shawn Baker is not the definitive authority on carnivore diets. But his ideas about not being a zealot resonate with me and I find his definition resonates with me as well.
Another carnivore diet for humans proponent, Dr. Ken Berry, also spoke at the same convention I attended. And I also find his non-dogmatic approach resonates with me.
If you only eat meat and that works well for you then that is what you should do! Everyone should do what works for them. You do you.
I'm in competition with no one. I hope we all win.
If you want to be the most carnivore, YOU WIN! I'm in competition with no one. I would never compromise something as important as my own health for the sake of winning a competition like being the most carnivore. If you would then go on with your bad self. You win.
I eat the things that promote my own health and I exclude things that degrade my health. That seems pretty simple to me. I'm not dogmatic in my approach. I think dogmatism has no place in nutrition and often leads to self-harm.