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Can I Eat That? (Should I Eat That?)

Changing Our Internal Narrative To Make Better Choices (Without Feeling Deprived)

I was recently listening to Dr. Paul Saladino, aka “The Carnivore MD” discuss the “carnivore diet” on the Joe Rogan podcast and it got me thinking.

If you’re not familiar with the term “carnivore diet”, it’s exactly what it sounds like: eating nothing but animal products.

Dr. Saladino makes a compelling case summarized by the following two points:

  • only a small percentage of plants are actually edible by humans; conversely, nearly all animals are edible by humans
  • every essential nutrient required by humans is available in animal products, but the same is not true in reverse

While both of these statements are true, I’m not 100% sold on the argument that a carnivore approach is for everyone.

The more compromised your gut health is, the more likely it is you should probably adopt a more carnivore approach at least in the short term, as meat tends to be very easy to digest and is completely absorbed very high in the small intestine, which can allow the lower gut to rest and heal.

I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments to the contrary, that “meat rots in your colon”, etc. but that’s simply not true.

If you want proof, simply ask anyone who’s ever had a complete colectomy and needed to use a colostomy bag what ends up coming out the other end; it ain’t animal products.

Or simply ask yourself this: when’s the last time I saw steak floating in the toilet? The answer is likely “never”, but the same cannot be said for corn…

funny corn in the toilet meme

As I said, before I sound too much like an advocate for a carnivore approach, much like veganism, I’m not sold it’s for eveyone.

Although animal products became an increasingly important part of the human diet sometime around 2.5 million years ago, it’s also very clear that human beings are omnivorous, able to eat both plants and animals, which brings me full circle, back to the real point of this article.

When it comes to our nutrition, it’s probably wise to let the question “should I” rather than “can I” guide our thinking.

It’s much like the ol’ “don’t think about pink elephants”. As soon as I tell you not to, the only thing you can think about is pink elephants. Likewise, when we start restricting our diets to foods we “can” and “can’t” have tends to pave the way towards a pattern of “restrict and binge”.

Can I live on a diet of just meat? Sure, but should I?

Can I eat that box of donuts? Should I eat that box of donuts?

When we make decisions based on “should I”, rather than “can I”, we’re much more likely to own our choices and to be at peace with them, which makes them much more sustainable over the long haul.

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