The way I see it is that most places lean towards the dogmatic / puritanical.
Even though most people on the internet will tell you they’re perfect at sticking to the rules, most people only stick to something 90%. If the rules are very strict, then 90% adherence still yields great results. If all the caveats and loopholes are added into the rules, and you only stick 90% to those more relaxed rules, then you might not see the benefits.
Personally, I take carnivore as being a base with some options - so the basic food is animal; the basic drink is water.
Then you’ve got things like: eggs, cheese, cream, coffee, salt, fungi, pepper, spices, butter, ghee, alcohol etc.
For me, I figure that if you want, you can have some of the things on that list but each one might take you further away from full adherence. In theory, some are widely accepted as carnivore (eggs, dairy) whilst others are not.
Personally, I sacrificed dairy/spices/pepper/fungi etc for alcohol. I never ever ever have anything with my meat other than salt - no condiments, no mustard, no ketchup, no sauces, no spices - and I never eat anything that isn’t meat/fish for my meal. So I have 100% adherence for my meals (which I think is somewhat rare), and because I’m so dogmatic over the meals, I break the rules and drink a little alcohol each weekend, probably bringing me down to 90% adherence.
But the reason I say this is that if you’re on carnivore or thinking of going carnivore, don’t think that because you’re not doing beef + water it doesn’t mean you won’t see benefits, and I would say that 90% adherence is better than none at all.
The important thing is knowing the rules and understanding which ones you’re breaking. For instance, knowing that coffee is an appetite suppressant might lead you to eating breakfast before drinking a coffee, so you’ve fed your body instead of artificially quietening down the hunger signals.
As always, everyone’s mileage varies. I’d do as best you can with the dogmatic rules because the stricter you can be, the easier it is. But then I’d be selective over the ones you want to break to see how you can mitigate the effects - like the coffee example above, or even choosing to drink a spirit rather than lager if you like alcohol etc.