I Ate an Animal-Based Diet for 30 Days – Here’s What Happened

Liz Smith

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I just completed 30 days on the Animal-Based Diet challenge hosted by Heart & Soil Supplements. In this article I break down what the Animal-Based Diet is, why I did it, what my meals consisted of and what happened. If you’re looking for a male’s experience, husband wrote about his experience back in 2020 here. If you have any additional questions, please leave them in the comments! 

What is the Animal-Based Diet?

Coined by Dr Paul Saladino, the Animal-Based Diet is a way of eating that focuses on high-quality animal meats, organs, fats and animal byproducts. In addition to animal proteins and fats, other low-toxin plant foods are allowed on the diet, including fruits, squash, and sweet potatoes. If you’re looking for the full food list, check out this article for all the specifics. 

This diet is designed to eliminate any type of inflammatory foods and fats. I cut out vegetables, seed oils, processed foods, added sugars and sugar alternatives, alcohol, grains and anything that was listed under “high toxicity” on this food guide

You’re probably wondering, “why is she eliminating vegetables?” In short, vegetables have forms of “plant toxins” that have the ability to cause systemic inflammation. To give an example: some plants, such as nightshades, are well-known for their toxic effects, while others, such as potatoes and cassava, contain toxic compounds that must be removed or neutralized before they can be safely consumed. These are all foods that are touted as “healthy,” but the reality is that they have the potential harm the gut lining, accumulate within the body and contribute to systemic inflammation. 

The hard truth the media doesn’t tell you is this: you can get all of your necessary nutrients, in more bioavailable forms, by eating animal foods. Sure, vegetables have plenty of nutrients – but the chemical compounds they naturally contain also inhibit nutrient absorption (especially if the plant foods are raw.) By sticking to a high-quality animal-based diet, you’re getting all of the bioavailable nutrients you need without any side effects or unnecessary inflammation. 

My Personal Reasons for doing the Animal-Based Diet 

So why did I do the Animal-Based Diet for 30 days? Well, in short, I wanted to feel my best. Ever since January 2022, we’ve been traveling 2-3 times a month for our friends weddings, for our own wedding, vacations, work trips, you name it. There was always an excuse to eat out of our normal diet, to have more than a few cocktails and it took a serious toll on our health. Additionally, our sleep hygiene was nothing short of horrendous which didn’t make anything better.

At first, I wanted to just do a sober month after our final trip of the year in England (you can only guess what our diet looked like there.) But after seeing Heart & Soil announce that they were going to sponsor an Animal-Based 30 challenge, my husband and I decided to hop on board and take our month-long challenge to the next level. 

While I actually eat close to “animal-based” on a day-to-day basis, I’ve never done this diet strictly for 30 days straight (or even cut alcohol for a month, ever.) I’m all for experimenting and seeing what works for me so this was a challenge I was actually looking forward to. I’ve done every juice cleanse, the ProLon 5 Day Fasting Mimicking Diet, Sakara 2-week vegan meal prep – you name it, I’ve tried it. But after seeing my husband’s positive experience after he tried it for the first time, I have always been tempted to try it – and I knew this was something that could potentially be sustainable long-term.

We’re also planning on having kids within the coming years, and a big focus of ours is to get our bodies as healthy as possible prior to “trying.” I wanted to see if this way of eating could help balance out my hormones and ideally make my periods more manageable. I don’t think people talk about “baby preparation” or fertility enough, and It’s no secret that diet has a huge role in it.  

My main goals:

  • Lose bloat
  • Gain energy
  • Balance my hormones
  • Lower systemic inflammation

SO… to cut to the chase, I did the damn thing. 30 days, no alcohol, no vegetables, no processed foods, no grains, no seed oils and zero added/processed sugar. Lots of meat, lots of organ supplements, lots of fresh fruit and delicious raw dairy. 

Here’s the dirty details on what happened, physically and mentally, and what I’m planning to do going forward. 

Animal-Based Diet | The Hive
Dinner for 2 - Pasture-Raised Spatchcock Chicken, Bone Marrow & Roasted Squash

A typical day in meals

This would vary depending on the day, but my average day of eating looked something like this:

Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked in grass-fed butter, Kion mold-free coffee (scroll down to additional notes for details), organic berries, ½ cup ground beef cooked in butter or tallow, ½ cup grass-fed cottage cheese or whipped raw cream, drizzle of raw honey. 

Lunch: 1 cup ground chicken or beef, ½ avocado, handful of berries. 

Snack: either a piece of fruit with honey or an Epic bar

Dinner: 1 cup ground beef or a Ribeye steak cooked in grass-fed butter, ½ cup cooked squash or avocado. 

Dessert: (on occasion) Raw Ice cream or frozen fruit

Drinks: filtered water, sparkling water (made at home with our Aarke)


  • Heart and Soil: Beef Organs, Fire Starter, Her Package
  • Kion: Creatine (post-workout)
  • Cymbiotika: Liposomal Vitamin C
  • BiOptimizers: Magnesium Breakthrough (at night)
  • ION Gut Health

Animal-based diet before & after – 30 days

Animal-Based Diet Before After | The Hive
Animal-Based Diet Before After | The Hive

I lost bloat, toned up and I’m feeling the best I’ve EVER felt. 

Here’s What Happened after my Animal-Based 30 Challenge

I lost excess weight + bloating disappeared nearly immediately

Within the first day of eating on this diet, all of my holiday vacation bloat disappeared. Over the 30 days, I gained more muscle (lifting regularly also contributed to this), gained more curves and lost excess “fluff” as I like to call it. My physique looks strong, healthy and feminine – and I LOVE it. 

My energy increased astronomically

Prior to this diet, I couldn’t tell you the last time I woke up actually feeling “rested.” But now, I’m waking up at 5am each day and heading straight to the gym, with no urge for an afternoon “siesta.” Prior to this way of eating, my husband used to pry me out of the bed every morning – and now I’m back from the gym and making him coffee before he even wakes up.

Not only am I waking up early, I’m falling asleep early as well. I’ve noticed that my natural circadian rhythm is on point – meaning I’m getting tired as the sun sets and I’m in bed by 9pm with my book and PEMF machine. 

My Skin Is the Best It’s Ever Been

Within days of going on this diet, my skin cleared up and my skin quality improved drastically. It looks significantly more hydrated, smooth and moisturized than when I first started. 

My libido is PRIME

Yep – increased libido. Need I say more? 

My period pains disappeared

Feel free to skip ahead, guys – but this is important for all the menstruating females out there. Your period symptoms can tell you a lot about your hormone health, and my periods have been notoriously painful and sporadic. (If you’re wondering, I am not on birth control.)

My last period in England was one of the most painful experiences – to the point where I had to wear a portable tens unit so I could actually sight-see and function like a human.

Fast-forward 30 days to my next period, and it was the most tolerable one I’ve ever experienced IN MY LIFE. I had zero cramps, healthy blood, no crazy symptoms, and no period breakouts. I thought the diet could help my periods but I was NOT expecting it to be this easy. I’m still in shock TBH. 

My taste buds “reset”

This aspect is a bit hard to explain, so bear with me here. But as I mentioned above, the only seasoning I used this past month was salt. Which seems bland, when you think about how much seasoning is used in day-to-day cooking. But I got used to it surprisingly quickly and over time food just tasted… better. Fruit tastes sweeter, meat tastes more rich. I don’t have cravings for anything sweet or any particular spices – which is wild to me. I feel like my taste buds are back to their baseline – if that makes any sense. 

My Focus + Mood increased drastically

I’ve dealt with ADHD since a kid, although I choose not to be on any medication and I’ve learned to use it to my advantage. But I still struggle every now and then with brain fog and procrastination – something our society tends to normalize. Within days, my brain fog dissipated and I noticed that I was getting tasks done way more efficiently. 

I’m honestly shocked at what this diet has provided my mental health this past month. I’ve gained a level of motivation that I haven’t had since I was an athlete. This has been a fantastic side effect. From my morning workouts to my day-to-day work, I’m getting tasks done efficiently and effectively and making the most out of every task I put my attention to. I’m feeling more accomplished, goal-driven and it’s leaking into every aspect of my life. This is a level of motivation that I’ll do whatever I can to maintain long-term. 

Additionally, my mood has become extremely stable, if not more on the happier-side. When you feel rested, clear-headed & energized, you’re able to get things done and feel accomplished. And in return, accomplishment and achieving goals bring happiness and joy. I’m feeling elated and, quite truthfully, the happiest I think I’ve ever been. 

Perennial Pastures Ranch | The Hive

Challenges of the Animal-Based Diet 

To be completely honest, this diet wasn’t as challenging as I thought. But I’m going to break down a few of the challenges I’ve come across this past month. 

The cost: I spent roughly $150 each week on my personal groceries. Quality meat and produce is far from cheap (especially the countless eggs I plowed through) although I always justified my grocery spending since I wasn’t going out to eat. I willingly spent more on higher-quality meat and produce – organic and regenerative when possible. 

Social Pressure: We ended up going out with our friends for some birthdays and celebrations and treated ourselves to some sparkling water and lime over our usual margarita. Being sober with our friends wasn’t too hard, although it was a different story when it came to ordering food. Finding oil-free, animal-based foods is extremely challenging at restaurants, and I found myself ordering just oysters while my friends didn’t think twice about the menu. 

Limited Variety: This would be tough for most people, but it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The reality is that there’s actually a ton of variety – you just need to be creative. And when the food you’re eating makes you feel good, you don’t really want to eat anything else. It was much easier for my husband and I because we didn’t need to travel during our 30 days – it would have been a much different experience if we had weddings, events and work trips.

My final thoughts on my Animal-Based 30 Challenge

My biggest takeaway from this challenge = I love the way I feel when I eat an Animal-Based diet. 

These past 30 days have changed my life. While I love the physical aspects of my physique and energy levels, the biggest improvements are in my mental health. I’ve always been a happy person, but the motivation and positive mental attitude I carry is cascading into all the corners of my life in the most beautiful way. 

There’s a good chance I’ll eat more plant foods and indulge in seed oils again in the future. But If i have the option to avoid it, I most likely would. I genuinely see myself doing this diet 90% of the time going forward and still choosing animal-based meals. I also plan on going animal-based when I get pregnant and genuinely look forward to that experience!

Additional Notes: 

I bought meat from local, regenerative farms as much as possible. I would frequent the local farmer’s markets for my meat, ancestral organ meat blend and raw dairy (I don’t take this luxury for granted!) I’m a big advocate for supporting regenerative farming and believe in the importance of maintaining good soil health. I’m a big fan of Perennial Pastures Ranch here in San Diego and love to stock up on their ancestral blends, ground beef and tallow whenever I can!

I drank coffee every day during the challenge. It’s technically not on the food list, but we couldn’t give up everything. We decided to stick with our favorite Kion coffee because it’s free from mold, mycotoxins, pesticides and heavy metals. They’re a clean brand that I’ve trusted for years. Click here and use code THEHIVE for 20% off your KION Purchase.

Read The Carnivore Code. No matter if you’re a vegan or strict carnivore, I highly encourage you to read Paul Saladino’s book The Carnivore Code. It’ll give you a deeper understanding of how plant “antioxidants” work in the body (hint -they don’t work the way you think), how certain plant foods can actually inhibit mineral absorption and much, much more. It completely blew my mind – and I humbly stopped making my spinach smoothies every morning from that moment onward.

I didn’t count calories or macros. I wanted to give myself some level of freedom within this diet and was amazed at how my body responded by doing so. I don’t have any details on calories consumed per day, but I did try to “ballpark” consume 130g of protein daily. 

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Editor’s Note: This article is not medical advice. We encourage you to consult with your trusted healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health & wellbeing. There are also some affiliate links throughout the article -The Hive uses commission from our affiliate advertisers (not from you) to fund operations of the business. 

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