Dr. Salisbury Carnivore Meat Diet for Autoimmune Disease & Chronic Illness

December 9, 2023 5 mins to read

I did a TikTok Video (saved on my Autoimmune Playlist) on the Dr. Salisbury Carnivore meat based diet developed in the 1800s, which he claimed could help reverse autoimmune conditions. As a integrative nutrition in college, I have a particular interest in autoimmune and chronic health conditions as well as gut health. I’ve also studied the carnivore diet, having seen hundreds of people reverse their autoimmune conditions, lose weight and transform their health on the diet…I even tried the carnivore diet for 1 month. In this article I take a look at Dr Salisbury’s Carnivore meat based diet, and explore the potential implications of this diet for autoimmune conditions.

The Historical Context

First, a bit of history. Dr. James Salisbury, a prominent figure in the 1800s, promoted a meat-based diet, focusing particularly on lean beef, and broth. His theory? These foods could address various health issues, including digestive problems and autoimmune diseases. While it might sound unconventional today, understanding the context and science behind it is key.

Autoimmune Conditions and Dr Salisbury Carnivore Diet

Autoimmune diseases, where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, can be debilitating. Often a big part of that is gut health. Nutrition plays a critical role in managing these conditions and as part of that repairing the gut. The question is, could a meat and broth diet like Salisbury’s really help and potentially reverse autoimmune disease?

A Closer Look at the Dr Salisbury Carnivore Diet

The Salisbury diet is straightforward: restrict the diet to large amounts of meat and broth. The idea is that this simplifies digestion and reduces exposure to potential dietary irritants, which can drive inflammation and a cascade of health issues. As an integrative nutrition student and recovering vegan who has tried a meat-based carnivore diet for a full month…I see the value in the diet to heal the gut, reduce inflammation and potentially symptoms. I have seen first hand many people improve all manner of illness on a carnivore diet.

Potential Benefits and Concerns:

The meat and broth diet’s high-protein content could help reduce inflammation, a key factor in autoimmune conditions. However, it’s important to note the lack of variety and potential nutrient deficiencies. This is why I suggest adding organ meets like grass-fed beef liver to the diet as they are extremely nutrient dense and that you work with a nutrition professional to ensure they diet is done safely and effectively. Book an online appointment with a nutrition professional.

Modern Perspectives on Carnivore, Keto and Paleo

In today’s health and wellness space, opinions are divided on a carnivore diet. Some practitioners also advocate for the potential of tailored keto and paleo diets due to their high-protein, and low-carb composition. But the mainstream medical community is still largely critical of diets like Dr. Salisbury’s meat-based and other such restrictive diets, despite thousands of people testifying to recovering their autoimmune conditions on the diet.

My Final Thoughts | Conclusion

I think that the Salisbury diet, or a meat based/carnivore diet could be a great option to explore if nothing else has worked. But due to how restrictive it is, you should work with a nutrition professional like me, to ensure the diet is done safely and effectively for you. If you do try the diet I encourage you to do daily detailed food journaling (including how you feel throughout the day) and book regular blood work to check if there are any improvements on your autoimmune blood markers. However it’s important to remember that autoimmune conditions are complex, and while such a diet may work for many, it may not be the right diet for you.


  1. The Harvard Carnivore Diet Study: Findings and Takeaway – Dr. Robert Kiltz. A comprehensive review of the Harvard Carnivore Diet Study, highlighting the experiences and health changes reported by participants. Read more.
  2. Carnivore Diet for Autoimmune Issues? How it Works – Dr. Robert Kiltz. This article discusses the potential impact of the Carnivore Diet on autoimmune disorders, focusing on the role of diet in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Read more.
  3. Carnivore Diet: What the Research Says | Mark’s Daily Apple. An overview of the available research and anecdotal evidence on the Carnivore Diet, particularly in relation to autoimmune conditions, gut health, and overall well-being. Read more.

Additionally, if you are interested in further reading on this topic, here are some books that take a deep dive into the carnivore and paleo diet, and their impact on health, including autoimmune conditions:

  1. “The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet” by Paul Saladino MD. This book explores the science and philosophy behind a meat-centric diet.
  2. “The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body” by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. This book provides an in-depth look at the Paleo diet and its potential benefits for autoimmune conditions.
  3. “The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles” by Terry Wahls MD. Dr. Wahls shares her personal journey and scientific approach to treating autoimmune conditions with diet.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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