Carnivore Speaks Out: Part 2 of Dr. Shawn Baker's Interview

Written by Alex Reid
Posted October 4, 2018 at 3:55PM

Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Dr. Shawn Baker, the surgeon, veteran, and athlete who has become a prominent figure in the carnivore diet movement.

If you missed the Part 1, read that first here.

Today's segment starts with asking Dr. Baker how the average or out-of-shape person can potentially benefit from the carnivore diet.


Clear Health Now: You obviously have a lot of popularity, you know, with the athletic, high-performance crowd...

But it sounds like you really think this would help the average person, the non-athlete, or maybe someone who is less athletic than they'd like in their 50s?

Dr. Shawn Baker: Most athletes are pretty healthy to start with, and so they probably have less to gain than the average person.

In fact, you know, I was kind of unique when I started this diet, because the people who did this before me...

Most of those people came from a background of sickness and diseases, and this was a last resort for them.

I mean, think about it, who would try [only eating red meat] unless it was a last resort?

So all these people that had blood pressure issues, diabetes, or other disease, gastro-intestinal illnesses, were struggling and so they formed these Facebook groups and found that [the carnivore diet] will help their health issues.

And so that was the primary population that it served initially.

When I started doing it, it turned.

I reached a different audience, and now there are more athletes that are doing it and thinking, “Hey man, red meat is also very effective for performance.” 

But certainly, yes, if you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, and you’re struggling with arthritis or obesity or hypertension, or diabetes or prediabetes, or, you know, all the usual aging crap that’s out there...

This is probably something worth at least trying.

You can do it for 60 days or 90 days, seeing how you react to it, because there’s no harm in at least trying it, and what I tell people is trying it either will or it won’t.

It seems to be working for a very large percentage of the people who do it for that period of time.

I think the oldest person I know doing [the carnivore diet] right now is 87, and he is thriving.

He started it when he was 83 and has been doing it for four years, and he is the best he's felt in decades.

steak with salt compressed

There are many people I hear about in their mid-70s, one guy who started doing it a year ago and he got off all his blood pressure medications and now he's wearing shorts on the beach, and all his chronic neck pain went away.

It's possible that it's appropriate for most all human beings.

There will be exceptions, like someone with a rare genetic disorder that causes meat allergies, but beyond that I think as genealogy goes, pretty much any human can do it.

Obviously, if you’re a baby that’s breastfeeding you need to breastfeed first, but beyond that I don’t see a problem with most anybody doing it. 

CHN: There's the famous account of Mikhaila Peterson, who searched desperately to find a solution to being "allergic to everything" and came across the carnivore diet.

Dr. SB: Yes, I’ve had Mikhaila on my podcast, she’s got a condition called juvenile arthritis, really destructive in her case, and she seems basically in complete remission.

I literally get a dozen more [success stories] like that daily.

I just interviewed a military veteran, who suffered and had symptoms for over 20 years, and with the carnivore diet, he said within four days it was gone completely.

Something that he has been dealing with for 20 years.

It's interesting, we have all these weird diseases which we don’t really have a mediology for, we kind of chalk it up to genetics, maybe it’s bad luck, maybe some weird autoimmune disease, we don’t know.

The funny thing is maybe it’s just we’re eating the wrong damn food, and you’re poisoning yourself every day with something in your diet, and then your body is not reacting to it well.

When you get into a patch of poison ivy, your skin breaks out, right, so who’s to say that's not what's happening when we eat this stuff?

So, it’s interesting to see how particular autoimmunities clear up [from eating the carnivore diet].

CHN: I understand conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome may be helped... 

Dr. SB: I’ve seen things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, polymyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, eczema all improve on the carnivore diet.

You can see more on the website meatheals.com, that’s one of the places that we are collecting [carnivore success stories], and we encourage people to send in their information, and we publish it for others to read.       

CHN: There are probably a lot of people who are excited to try the carnivore diet but are worried about social pushback, because it’s so outside the norm.

People who worry their family is going to hate this, their friends, their co-workers, what do you say to them?

Dr. SB: Sure, food is a very social thing...

But ask yourself, if I continue eating like I’m eating, I’m not healthy, are those people going to care one way or the other?

You know, casual acquaintances really don’t care what you eat.

Beyond that, I think you have to look after yourself. I think if your family truly cares about you and this diet is helping your health, that should be enough.

I'm a lean, muscular guy so no one really gives me a hard time. At least I have that sort of an advantage. I do think that the average person should stick up for themselves and say, “I’m eating this way because it’s what I want to do,” and that should be all that you should discuss with your friends.

As long as it’s effective — if it doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it.

You know, no one is going to bat an eye if you sit down and eat a cheeseburger, right? But if you take the bun off the cheeseburger then all of a sudden, you’re a crazy person. No one will bat an eye if you eat a cookie, but if I don’t eat the cookie, all of a sudden: crazy person.

CHN: So if people receive pushback on trying this, they could show your work, the Meat Heals website, or the book with its references coming up.

Dr. SB: Yes, that’s fine, I mean there’s more and more information out there for people who are skeptical, but again, ultimately the person needs to stand on their own.

You do it for a couple of months, and you say, “Hey I’m either better or I’m not.”

If you are better and you want to continue to do it, continue to do it.

I think that anyone who cares about you will see it.

I mean, what do they think is going to happen? More importantly, what’s going to happen if you continue to eat processed garbage?

More of the same, which is often misery, pain, disability, and illness. So, you know, at some point you got to try something different.

CHN: It sounds like you think there is some value in people meeting you halfway as well, they don’t have to go full two steaks a day and water, and they could do that part of the time or do that along with some vegetables.

Dr. SB: Yes, like I said, if I were to say what if I didn’t want to do it?

Could say cut out the sugar, cut out the processed carbohydrates and grain, and try and cut the vegetable oils — you do those things and you are probably going to fix 80% of your problems, and then what’s left?

There's quality meat, there’s seafood, there’s a little bit of dairy, there’s fruits and vegetables, and if you feel good at that point, do you need to go full carnivore?

The answer is no, stay over there [with what's working].

If your reaction is, “Hey, I still have that nagging knee pain. Although my weight got better, my digestion got better, it might be time to say we’re working on taking this a little more seriously, let me get more fruits, let me get rid of the dairy, let me get rid of the nightshade vegetables,” and you can keep going.

It's very individual.

But as long as you get the sugars and processed garbage out, you are ahead of the game for most people.             

CHN: Obviously it’s great to work with a doctor or nutritionist and we know you offer consultations, but this is something people can try themselves?

Dr. SB: Yes, if you are on medications a lot of times you'll see the need for those medications will go down. You might be in a position where you need a physician to help take you off medication.

But if you’re not taking much medication [and] you don’t have a major health issue, I don’t see a reason why you couldn’t.

It’s not hard: You eat as many steaks until you are full and stop eating when you aren't hungry.

It’s a pretty straightforward approach.

There are some minor things that have come up and some people do have questions. I do some consulting but generally most people want support more than anything else.

That's what people really want, so, maybe, yes, you can certainly do it without anyone else.

I mean you can go to the shop and buy your own food now, so there’s no one holding your hand.

It’s not like you have to have some sort of special license to learn how to eat. Your grandmother can give you help with food advice, there’s no special license required.

So again, it’s not hard to use but like I said the only thing I would say is if you are diabetic or hypertensive, you may not need as much medication, in which case you would need to work with a doctor.

CHN: We have seen reports of people reversing diabetes by doing things along these lines. 

Dr. SB: When you start leaving the carbohydrate out of the diet, the glucose numbers change and so does insulin sensitivity.

Lots of diabetics show improvement in their overall glucose [on this diet], their response becomes very level, and it doesn’t have any spikes or drops after a period of time.

As time goes by and a few more months pass, I've [seen people who follow the carnivore diet] end up with very steady blood sugar levels, and generally low, in the global ranges, so yes, it can work very well for diabetics.

CHN: That’s remarkable! This is a huge growing problem and yet it seems diabetes can be reversed solely through dietary and lifestyle changes and not medically or hospital visits.

Dr. SB: Yes, well. I mean, the reason for the disease is primarily diet and it stands to reason. It’s not a deficiency in some pharmaceuticals, right?

Most people aren’t suffering from pharmaceutical drug deficiency.

It is a lifestyle problem, so when you fix the lifestyle issue, generally the disease starts to go away. 

CHN: Let's make sure we get in all your blogs. So I know we can send our readers to www.shawn-baker.com.

And we know you have the Human Outliers podcast, anything else?

Dr. SB: My Instagram links to all the stuff that I’m involved with, podcasts, websites...

Check out meatheals.com, it’s a great site to go read. Read about people who have had success with my diet.

I’m pretty active on Twitter as well.

We’ve got the World Carnivore Tribe on Facebook, which I started and now has over 20,000 members. 100–150 people every day are joining up. So, we are growing pretty rapidly, so those are the major areas where I can be found currently.

For the book, you can find a link on Amazon or Barnes and Noble site, you can go on my Instagram and click on the links there, and it will pull up the links to pre-order the book.

Anyway, thank you very much.

CHN: Before you go, we just want to ask, the carnivore diet is obviously controversial and exciting and showing a lot of promise, are there any similar sort of ideas or concepts that you find interesting?

Dr. SB: Yes, I’m looking at a guy named Tom Seyfried, Dr. Seyfried of Boston University with regard to cancer.

He has a lot of good information to show how cancer may be a metabolic disease rather than a genomic mutation disease, which is what we are trying to understand now.

I would just listen to podcasts and lectures with Dr. Seyfried, I think it will really raise some questions for people that hear it.

You know, one out of two males and one out of three females are being affected by it. 1,600 people every single day die of cancer in the United States and we are not making any progress whatsoever on it with the current treatments so I think he would really be a good person to check out.

I think guys like Dave Feldman from http://cholesterolcode.com/ would also be interesting to check out as well. He's showing how cholesterol is so variable and how little we know now.

CHN: Thank you so much.

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