The Diet


My name is Mikhaila Peterson. I’m a 26 year old mother (and loving it!). I live in Toronto.

Short background on me:

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 7 years old. My parents think it started when I was around 2 noticing the way I walked. I was the first child in Canada to be put on injections of Enbrel, an immune suppressant. I was also put on injections of Methotrexate. In grade 5, when I was 12, I was diagnosed with severe depression/anxiety. I started taking Cipralex (Celexa), an SSRI. I was on a very high dose for a child, but if I tried to lower it, I couldn’t. That dose increased into my teenage years and early 20’s when my depression worsened. When I was 17 I had a hip and an ankle replacement from the arthritis (that diagnosis was changed from rheumatoid arthritis to idiopathic arthritis). I was prescribed Adderall to keep myself awake because I couldn’t stay awake. Diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia. My skin was itchy, I had mouth ulcers, floaters, and terrible skin problems starting in my early 20’s.

At the peak of my medicated times I was taking:
For Arthritis: Enbrel and Methotrexate, (immune suppressants). Folic acid because of the Methotrexate. Tylenol 3 so I could sleep at night without as much pain.
For depression: Cipralex and Wellbutrin
For fatigue: Adderall to keep me awake, Gravol and Lorazepam to put me to sleep from the Adderall.
For my skin: Minocycline (antibiotic), and later dapsone (antibiotic)
Other: Birth control (seasonique)

I’ve probably taken antibiotics 2-3 times a year since I was 2. That’s almost 40 rounds of antibiotics.

I’ve been on way more than that too. That was just at one point in time.
Anyways, all in all, I was very sick.

May 2015, I stopped eating gluten. I thought that my skin problems that had slowly been growing worse were probably Celiac related (dermatitis herpetiformis). I never had stomach pain so I had never looked at food before. Cutting out gluten maybe helped a bit… But not nearly enough.

September 2015, I went on an elimination diet. I went on it to see if I could control my arthritic symptoms. I could. 3 weeks into the diet my arthritis and skin issues went away. This was unheard of. I don’t have the type of arthritis that goes away.

3 months later my depression disappeared. My arthritis ate my hip and my ankle but I haven’t experienced anything more debilitating than depression.

A month after that my fatigue lifted.

Everything wrong with me was diet related. Arthritis, depression, anxiety, lower back pain, chronic fatigue, brain fog, itchy skin, acne, tiny blisters on my knuckles, floaters, mouth ulcers, twitching at night, night sweats, tooth sensitivity, and the list goes on, but everything was diet related. Every single thing wrong with me was fixable.

Then I got pregnant.

Things shifted in my body and the original diet I followed didn’t get rid of my symptoms anymore. My arthritis came back (albeit much less awful than before) and my depression came back (again, much less awful). I lost the ability to tolerate any carbs.

The following is a list of foods that I could originally eat without reacting. This is a good list of foods to start with for the elimination diet. In order to do this, you have to be very strict. If you have questions, please comment!  If the following list doesn’t work for you after a month, you can try even more strict, or you can go zero-carb. If you’re suffering from an autoimmune disorder or you need to get better ASAP (as in you’re dying from what ails you), I’d recommend zero-carb. You can reintroduce vegetables after a month (if you want to).

If you can’t manage to do zero-carb, or the following list of foods, (it makes eating out almost impossible), at least cut-out gluten and dairy and sugar. If you’re a “healthy” person, cut out gluten and dairy. All of it. Gluten is hidden in soya sauce, twizzlers, malt vinegar. Cut it all out for 4 weeks and see how you feel. If you’re suffering from an autoimmune disorder or depression or another mental disorder than I would suggest doing the following diet or doing zero-carb. Cutting out gluten and dairy will help but it might not be enough. You may find that you’re able to reintroduce most foods after the elimination diet.


  • turkey
  • beef
  • chicken
  • lamb
  • duck
  • wild game is fine too, elk, moose, etc.
  • wild salmon
  • tunacheck the ingredients! Get stuff that’s just tuna and water and perhaps salt.
  • organ meat – chicken liver tastes the best I find
  • wild herring – check the ingredients!
  • wild sardinescheck the ingredients!


  • lettuce
  • arugula
  • arugula microgreens (arugula sprouts)
  • cucumber
  • swiss chard
  • seaweed –check the ingredients! this is hard to find without soy and other things. The brand I’ve linked to is safe and really tasty
  • cilantro
  • collard greens
  • broccoli
  • turnips
  • cauliflower
  • parsnips
  • sweet potatoes
  • spinach


  • olives – check the ingredients! see my olive post. be super careful about which brands you buy here too, many have preservatives and flavours and dyes.


  • apple cider vinegar – try to get the organic stuff so there aren’t dyes and flavours added


  • coconut oil – get unrefined. And try to avoid the Nutiva brand. It’s everywhere but it doesn’t taste as good, and I’ve had ones that have gone bad before.
  • olive oil – make sure your olive oil is pure olive oil. Sometimes it’s also soybean oil!


  • salt
  • pepper
  • marjoram
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • peppermint
  • turmeric
  • basil
  • bay leaf
  • coriander


  • baking soda (probably won’t eat this but it’s good for toothpaste 🙂 )
  • peppermint tea – check the ingredients. buy loose leaf (David’s sells an organic peppermint which is lovely) or organic. We want to make sure there aren’t preservatives or flavours added. White tea bags or coffee filters are often bleached with sulfites. If you’re super sensitive (dad and I), you’ll react to these. So make sure you get organic tea bags as well!
  • black tea- check the ingredients. buy loose leaf if possible
  • green tea- check the ingredients. buy loose leaf if possible

Alcohol – not for the first month. I can kinda handle it, but lots of people can’t.

  • vodka
  • bourbon and American Whiskey labeled “straight” whiskey

Good luck! If you try this for 4 weeks you should be able to see a huge difference. Then reintroduce foods by having a bite of it. I do not recommend reintroducing dairy and gluten ever but do so if need be. It took me 8 months to realize how sensitive I was, it doesn’t seem possible, but I react strongly to half bite of food. Have a bite or two of the new food and then wait 4 days before reintroducing something else. Most of my reactions (but definitely not all) take about 4 days to hit peak terrible – particularly arthritis and definitely the depression. Skin issues take about 7 days to come up after eating an offending food.

I’ve tried to reintroduce the following and I’ve reacted to them terribly (the bolded ones were the worst but they were all bad):

  • almonds
  • rice
  • sulphites
  • dairy – ouchhhh that was not fun to experience
  • gluten
  • kelp noodles… random I know
  • white cabbage
  • bananas – terrible for the arthritis
  • cane sugar
  • food dyes
  • citrus
  • melons
  • grapes
  • onions
  • zucchini
  • soy
  • probiotics – I can’t handle them, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. Hopefully, after some healing, I’ll be able to handle them too.

My father and my husband have the same sensitivities, and I’ve been contacted by people who also have extremely similar reactions to the same foods. This is widespread. These are terrible reactions that most people don’t realize until they’re gone. What’s the point of realistically thinking about everything bodily that’s bugging you? Muscle pain, fatigue, digestive issues, minor skin problems, the occasional mouth ulcer – all things people ignore. Don’t. These are signs. Good luck!!

To find out exactly how to go about doing an elimination diet please read this (especially if you suffer from depression/anxiety, there are some things you should know before going on an elimination diet).

99 thoughts on “The Diet

  1. Nick says:

    Hi Mikhaila,
    I follow your father on his channel for quite a while (he’s beyond great, BTW) and stumbled upon the two interview whit you on Steve Paikin. I myself struggle with depression and IBS for some time. Your insights and info are very helpful and enlightening. I have some questions: what I replace rice with? and how about corn meal (like gritty flour)? – in my contry it’s the most accessible bread replacement. I don’t eat bread for quite some time. Also how can I eat without onions? I mean, cooked ones not raw ones, I know that ones are quite hard on digestion.
    And how about seeds and nuts? In my very restrictive and scanty diet they were important. Thank you in advance for your reply!

    • Hey Nick, so unfortunately I’ve found the easiest way to do this diet isn’t to replace foods, it’s to stop eating them. I tried finding replacements for the first half a year (especially trying to replace bread, pizza, etc.) It turns out it’s just easier eating meat and veggies without the carb side dish. You don’t need it. Start making yourself bigger portions of meat and more vegetables, and cut out the rice and corn. And remember, try it for a month and see how you feel. If it get’s frustrating, just remember you can go back to what you were eating before. You just need to give your body a chance to see what foods are bugging it. I don’t use onions (and I love onions), but it’s not worth it. I’ll post more recipes over the next couple of days so you can get some ideas. But think BBQ food. Steaks, hamburgers, with roasted vegetables.

    • Jane says:

      Hello Nick and Mikhaila,
      Regarding onions I use leeks or shallot (they must be true shallot – not the ones with a round bulb at the base). They lack the unnamable irritant that offends, sorry I am not highly educated but most of my knowledge comes from experience.
      I recently had a second hip joint replacement and the hospital provided fresh foods (nobody in Australia EVER enjoys hospital food but times are a changing) and after eating the winter vegetable soup I had a major skin reaction, I could taste the onion.
      I try to grow my food and the shallot often grows fat enough to pass for the more expensive leek.

      • I’m going to add in shallots eventually… I definitely miss onions for taste but I can’t tolerate them either. That’s great about the improvement in hospital food. It’s worse than airplane food here.

  2. Hey, Mikhaila, I (like a lot of people who’ve found your blog, I’m sure) found you through following your dad. I love your blog and it’s funny because I also have a degree in life sci from Queen’s. I went on to be a naturopathic doctor where I actually get to address gut health and inflammation in patients and went on to focus in mental health. Have you thought about being an ND after Queen’s? Haha, food for thought, we could definitely use an avid researcher like you in the profession.

    • I have considered this! I was always VERY anti-naturopath. I think it was because I was told by doctors that they were quacks and I didn’t want to be taken advantage of by fake health professionals. But now my opinion has completely changed and I go to naturopaths instead of doctors! Weird how life works out.

      • Yeah! I think that we’re grouped into “alternative medicine” with reiki, homeopathy, etc. but since research takes about 17 years to become incorporated into medical guidelines, and nutritional research is soooo expensive to do (and very unprofitable, as nothing really gets patented), and MDs are given maybe a few hours of nutrition lecture (I know, because at Queen’s the med school and life scis are grouped into the same nutrition course and it’s horrible, just focuses on deficiencies like scurvy, dismal, and the Food Guide, hopefully it’s better now). But, as you know there’s TONS of evidence for safe interventions on diet and lifestyle and nutritional supplementation that can really help people. I’ve been called a quack for talking about gluten and mental health and sure, it’s not going to be the solution for everyone, but I feel like I have a responsibility to at least present the possibility to my patients, as this could be a key factor in bringing down the neuro-inflammation that is contributing to (or causing) their depression. Anyway, feel free to message me if you have questions about the program, etc. I can provide info in the context of someone who went through life sci at Queen’s as well! Cheers, Mikhaila!

  3. Nick says:

    Thank you so much for your reply! It’s very helpful.
    I wish you easygoing pregnancy, smooth labor and fulfilling motherhood!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Austin says:

    Very interesting. I’ve had an unhealthy diet my whole life, I’ve considered getting rid of sugar from my diet to see if it alleviates my anxiety and sleep troubles. Thank you for making this list.

  5. Cat says:

    This is a great food blog. I also follow Chris Kesser, who no doubt you know.

    Thanks for this – soon it will be known how much diet is responsible for depression as it is becoming obvious its cause for other ills. It is very difficult to follow with the distribution structure of food items, though. I really takes a commitment and a belief.

    I work with the poor on mental health issues, and this is the most difficult population to reach. Many are weaned on soda. Literally. It’s heartbreaking.

  6. Hello!

    A friend of mine (Serene Desiree) just shared this page with me and I am so glad she did. My husband has a very similar story to yours – diagnosed with JRA (later JIA) when he was 12, all the drugs, pain, treatment for ADD, etc. When I met him at age 24 he was really sick but had just kind of given in to what he thought the realities of his life where. When he was 27 we lost access to his medications due to health insurance issues so I took it upon myself to heal him. The biggest things I have done include changing his diet. We eat a few more things than you do, but less meat. He is all better, no more evidence of his JRA at all, no more meds. I have continued researching beyond the good into gene mutation and why young people are developing “JIA”. I have also found help for him (Thomas) from the right supplements. For example, giving you folic acid wasn’t good enough – you need 5-mthf folate specifically. Anyway, maybe you already know about that stuff too and just didn’t write it here, but I would love to talk with you if you ever have the time. I am glad you are feeling better.

    – Rebecca

    • Thanks! I looked into genetics. I had my whole family do 23andme before I even started with diet.. I couldn’t find anything so if you have any interesting pointers, shoot me an email or comment, I’m definitely interested. I’d also be interested in the supplements you’re using. I’ve read a lot but it’s always good to talk to other people!

          • Nikola Michaud says:

            My pleasure.
            She’s interested in increasing healthspan (years of health) as opposed to the more traditional lifespan.
            You seem to have taken a good look at WHAT you put (or not) in your body, have you done any tests as to WHEN you do so (looking into circadian rhythms and clocks)?
            Rhonda Patrick has interviewed Satchin Panda (who seems to be the leading researcher on the subject) that I would strongly recommend watching/listening to.
            Further down that path, there’s the subject of fasting, outright, as a means to trigger autophagy in damaged cells which she goes into a little bit with Ray Cronise.
            I hope you find even one extra tidbit of knowledge that you can apply to yours (and possibly your father’s and husband’s) life to make it better.
            Be well.

  7. André B. says:

    Hi Mikhaila,

    I was wondering what your thoughts are with regards to tryptophan and serotonin, in treating depression. Since you have had a lot of food problems in general, I expect it’s hard to deduce the effectiveness of it in your own case, but perhaps you have stumbled upon its effects and how it has helped people during your research?

    Congratulations on your engagement and your pregnancy,

    Many thanks!

    • Oh, I’ll write a post on this. I’m not using 5HTP currently (mainly due to the pregnancy), but I find it helps immensely. Before the pregnancy and a number of rounds of antibiotics I was able to get my mood stable enough that I didn’t need anything, but if I ever triggered something by reintroducing a food I’d take 5HTP. A fairly high dose. It’s great, I didn’t get any side effects either. I’ll make this into a short post, thanks!

    • I honestly have no idea. My mom has brought it up, and that’s a really scary idea. I don’t know what to think about that. My symptoms did show up about the same time, but there were other factors (C-section birth, etc.) Who knows. It has crossed my mind though.

  8. Mr Guy says:

    Love this. I’ve done pretty strict diets but never probably strict enough, for long enough, to be sure whether they helped. I have a number of issues similar to the ones you had yourself.
    One question, did you also avoid diet sodas? In order to do this properly I’ll have to quit caffeine, but it would be nice to at least drink diet decaf sodas.
    Anyway, good stuff. Thanks!

    • Yeah, diet sodas are out unfortunately. I used to live off of diet coke in university too. I can drink organic black tea. I know that doesn’t have as much caffeine as something you’re used to but once you cut out the things making you sleepy, it should be enough. I don’t need any caffeine anymore. Hell, caffeine wasn’t even good enough, I used to be on adderall. For some people (like my dad and I), in order to see the difference, you need to stick with it strictly for a month. My fatigue didn’t subside for 3 months. But it’s been gone for a couple of years now. It doesn’t even come back when I react now. Same with dad.

      • Mr Guy says:

        Thanks. Yeah, I have a number of issues which relate to cognition and fatigue, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I know well that cutting out caffeine is overall good in my case.
        I also noticed that nuts aren’t mentioned in your post. They’re often used as a good source of fatty calories for the sort of diet you’re doing. Do you also eliminate them to identify sensitivities and have you added them back in at all?

        • I can’t do nuts. Those are one of the first things I tried to add back in just because they’re so easy (almonds). They flared my autoimmune problems and brought back the depression. I tried them 3 times to be sure too. I’m so sensitive to almonds that I reacted to gin that (turns out) had almonds added. Beefeaters and Bombay Sapphire. I’d remove nuts if you have issues, and test them out when you’re feeling better but almonds are a common IgG issue.

          • xyz says:

            I’m curious if you only tried almonds? Just wondering because walnuts and almonds seem like they are very different.

            I’m also curious if you’ve tried dates? I’ve been trying to eliminate refined sugar from my diet because it causes my joints to swell. I can barely move my fingers when I eat it. I’ve noticed that dates are good for sugar craving and don’t cause my joints to swell, at least not to the extent that white cane or beet sugar does.

            I’ll be looking forward to your report on tomatoes if you end up doing them. I didn’t eat them for quite a while then when I went back to them I noticed they seem to be a rather inflammatory food.

            Also wondering if you ever have problems with certain types of lettuce? Seems like only the dark green types and parts agree with my gut. Such as the tops and outer leaves of romaine. I give the hearts and bases to my chickens.

            Great blog I’m going to bookmark it.

          • I haven’t tried dates, it seems like anything with any amount of sugar gives me a flare. I haven’t had any problems with any types of lettuce (thank goodness), even the sweeter, lighter parts near the base.

  9. Filip Bengtegård Book says:

    Hi Mikhaila, this Wednesday I am going to do a 30 day elimination diet, I just have a few questions before I start.

    I am from and currently live in Sweden so I have a few specific questions regarding staple food in Sweden that might not be the same in Canada, specifically certain type of root vegetables and a few other things. Thank you in advance.

    On your vegetables list I only see a few and I was wondering if potatoes has had a negative effect on you, it is technically a vegetable anyways. I see that you have put sweet potatoes, that’s good to see there.

    What about carrots?

    What about rapeseed oil/canola oil? If it’s cold pressed and it’s local? 😀

    What about gluten free soy sauce? (brand: Kikkoman) Perhaps I should quit it anyways but I really enjoy the taste of soy sauce.

    I can imagine one of your tip is to start with your list of safe foods and then continue after 30 days to one at a time introduce food you’ve eaten before.

    I do know gluten and dairy affects me in ways I’ve looked the other way since the last couple of months when I discovered your blog and your father. This is the first time in my life I will be cutting it completely out of my diet.

    I am extremely excited because since I was (at least what I can remember)16 years old I’ve had long periods of depression and fatigue and I recently quit smoking after 6 years and it feels as if a cloud has been cleared from my mind and now I’m looking at my diet.

    I know my issues are not as grave as yours in terms of skin problems and other physical issues, it has been very mental for me with the exception of an extremely bloated stomach since I can’t even remember, perhaps it has to do with the gluten/dairy/sugar diet I have partaken in for the majority of my life, because my body in general is very thin but my stomach is always bloated.

    Thank you for reading, you’re an inspiration and a really good source of information.

    ps: If I can live off of chicken with salt+pepper in the oven I think I’m super fine because I looove roasted chicken :D, I assume there’s no issue with eating chicken skin?

    Best wishes from Sweden.

    • Definitely no issues with chicken skin… that’s pretty much the best part of chicken anyways so that’s good. Any part of the chicken is fine. I haven’t tried feathers obviously (: You definitely need to get rid of the soya sauce. Gluten free is better, but soy was a HUGE problem for me. And I added soya sauce to everything. That was probably my favourite food. Get rid of the canola oil too, use coconut or olive oil… I do recommend starting with that list of foods if you’re able, no potatoes either (sorry), and if you get really bad cravings and you cant solve them with chicken wings, buy some honey and eat that. It’s better to mess up and eat honey than mess up and eat pizza. Good luck! Sorry for the late reply, keep me updated.

      • Filip Bengtegård Book says:

        Thank you, good to know that no soy sauce, I’ve been very good at not using it. Thought I would miss it more!

        Ok no canola oil and no potatoes, I will have to try to do mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes. Probably works just as fine! It is such a big staple in Sweden, regular potatoes that is.

        I bought honey and dark chocolate (70%) just to battle the sugar cravings at least for the first month.

        It’s been about 5 weeks since I wrote that post, my diet is definitely improved but not to the extent of a 30 day elimination diet. It is kind of weird at the moment, it’s been going from two extremes, from sweet potatoes and chicken to crisps and candy. I think I’ve started to realise I rely on candy and crisps as a comfort food (and not in a good way, the illusion of safety that any thing you might over consume makes you temporarily feel or the idea that you’re missing something, this void you’d like to fill, I can recall feeling this compulsive need to buy candy because I’ve felt the need to fill something that is missing). I think I’ve been trying to combat my low moments by making poor food choices.

        If I can face that issue I think this diet is highly motivating, but it comes down to that, whether the motivation is there, the cause or the reason has to exist, at least for me.

        Hope this is adequate of an update for you. Would love to hear your thoughts whenever possible.

        • Cutting out sugar is extremely difficult, and the cravings are intense. I’ve messed up before. When I first started cutting it out I would go through jars of honey. Kind of gross, but it was at least a step in the right direction.

          • Filip Bengtegård Book says:

            It’s nice to hear that when you started out it wasn’t just going from zero to hero but a challenging and arduous process, I think for me just going from candy to honey and dark chocolate is a hard process in itself so that’s my first big step.

            Thank you for replying so quickly and it’s wonderful to been able to have gotten help from across the globe!

  10. Luise Konradi says:

    Dear Mikhaila,
    Congratulations on your beautiful healthy baby.
    I’ve seen the videos of you and your father and have been wanting to do the elimination diet for a while. My diet is rather healthy most of the time, but every couple of days I lash out, eat the bad stuff and feel terrible until it subsides. I was recently diagnosed with IBS and am confident trying out this diet would be helpful. What did you do to get over the initial cravings? Did you ever have a setback? In those moments, I even eat the stuff with full awareness of what it will do to my body and how it will make me feel, which causes me to never actually detox. I know how addictive especially sugary things and grains are, and that they incapacitate my free will.
    How did you manage to stick with it, and deal with temptation, in certain situations and in the long run?
    Thanks for writing this blog!
    Best wishes from Germany

    • If you’re having a seriously hard time getting off sugar… switch to honey. Instead of going full out elimination, keep fruits and honey and literally eat honey when you feel a sugar craving. Eventually you won’t want to. This isn’t an ideal long term solution but it’s better than not cutting out processed foods. Once you’ve managed to get your cravings down to manageable with fruit and honey, you can cut down on the honey and fruit. I’ll write a blog this week on how to stick with the diet when you’re not feeling well, or in social situations, or when you get cravings. It takes an incredible amount of will power but even cutting down is good for you.

      • xyz says:

        Be very careful about honey. I discovered the hard way that honey made me very sick. Not sure why but I suspect it’s because I have pollen allergies. I tried a few different types of honey, all made me sick.

      • Luise Konradi says:

        Thanks for your response! I’ve managed to stay away from everything gluten in particular and processed in general for a couple of weeks now and I’m feeling WAY better – less pain and better skin (that is, until there were clementines and oranges – discovered the hard way that they are the absolute worst for acne-prone skin) Another satisfying discovery for me was that will power seems to increase the more you stick with staying away from the stuff that makes you sick. I’ve never been too fond of honey, so I just stayed with fruit and have been able to stay away for a couple of days now, so I’m hopeful that will have a positive effect on my overall health.
        What was interesting for me was that you also prefer naturopaths to conventional medicine practitioners.
        I’m glad I found your blog/story.

        • Good for you! That always makes me so happy to read! I can’t do fruit unfortunately, but the worst culprits (especially for my arthritis) were citrus (oranges and clementines), and bananas.

  11. Hi ! First i wanted to say thank you for your work and the one of your father =) You both helped me greatly lately. I tried multiple high fat diet low carb diet, supplements and all that stuff to fix my depression and fatigue with really low success. Im slowly cutting on some food to get close to your list. Coffee and Avocado are gonna be extremely hard since i ended up developping the MCT oil in coffee + and the whole Bulletproof frenzy that comes with it. I’d like to know whats your take on Eggs tough ? I know most elimintation diet adviced to not even reintroduce it but have you tried Pastured Eggs ?

    • I can’t handle eggs. Neither can other people I know doing this diet. Although I have an easier time with egg yolks. They showed up on my whole family’s IgG test. I’d definitely eliminate them at the beginning unfortunately. Coffee I haven’t tried yet but there doesn’t seem to be anything obviously wrong with it… if you can’t live without it, it might not be the end of the world if you don’t eliminate it. But if you can, I know that black tea is fine. If you haven’t had success but you’ve tried different high fat low carb diets, I would really recommend getting a food sensitivity test (IgG). You might just have kept in one food that’s still bothering you. Avocados would definitely be enough for me to trigger the depression. If you can’t fork out the dough though, definitely try what dad’s doing, that should eliminate the major allergens. But yeah, no eggs, sorry. Good luck!

  12. Florian says:

    Was watching a video with you and your father where you talked about the positive aspects of changing your diet. Today i found your blog via his twitter. Congrats for figuring all this out.

    So you’re mostly getting your energy from meat, right?
    What about things like lentils and beans?

    In the about me page you say: “Check out the list of foods we got better with for more info! Leave a comment, and give it a try if you feel lousy, or if you don’t.” You should put a link in there for convenience 😉

    • Done, thanks! Legumes are out for us. They induce the same depression and autoimmune symptoms as dairy, wheat, etc. We’re getting our protein from meat mainly. No nuts or other things.

  13. Jean Bessaudou says:

    Hi Mikhaila, glad I have found your blog.
    Like many here, I’ve heard about you by first following you father.
    Your article is of great interest to me, I have a close member of my family who has multiple sclerosis, which has been very quickly and very severely incapacitating.
    Do you have any info and/or tracks I could follow? Could be changing diet, could be other hypothesis appliable to autoimmune disorders and that he could work on… I’m open to anything that could relieve him a little.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Best regards, Jean.

    • If he’s open to an elimination diet, I would do that plus the IgG food sensitivity testing. The research is slowly being put together on that, and the medical community is extremely far behind. Dr. Terry Wahls wrote the book “The Wahls Protocol” and managed to reverse her secondary progressive MS. Her diet has far more variety than mine, but removes gluten and dairy completely. It wouldn’t have worked for me though. I’d recommend going down to my basic list of foods, and seeing what happens after a month. It’s really hard to do all the cooking though, so unless he has help, it’s going to be difficult. The cravings are hard, the cooking, the frustration.. But it only took a month for me to see a big change. That, or look at the Wahls Protocol. He could maybe try that for a month and if that doesn’t work, then try my diet.

      • Jean Bessaudou says:

        Thank you Mikhaila for your answer. I’m gonna check that with him, and will let you know if it has its effects.

  14. Robert says:

    Watch out for carrots and celery (parsley family). Those 2 foods caused me a great deal of grief. It took a knowledgeable allergist to suggest them. Approx 5 years of problems. Mostly prescribed betaderm for the skin issues – had to use prednosone once due to a full body breakout. Later also methotrexate. The allergist pointed out, based on my tree and grass allergies, what foods to look out for and specifically called out carrots and celery. This year recently cut out chips/snacks. First real sign of trouble was Iritis about 6 years ago. Tested HLA-B27 positive – a potential indicator for autoimmune problems. 2+ years no carrots or celery and the changes have been incredible. All sorts of problems have gone away. I still cannot believe it.

    • Celery causes and IgG response to everyone I’ve seen take the test. I can’t do very many carrots, but celery is definitely an issue. That’s great news though. Very strange.

  15. Evren says:

    Hello Mikhaila, I have found your blog through your dad. I have also been looking at and altering my diet the last few years as I suspect it has a role to play in my low moods that often seem to come out of no where (no life dramas but what seems like sudden spurs of deep low moods and a feeling of being stuck in a rut).
    It is really encouraging to read your story and outcome. As people in my immediate circle have no issues nor experience no physical nor mental instability nor discomfort as a direct result of what they eat, often I am seen as a hypochondriac or OCD with regards to weight and diet. Of course the social trickiness of eating this way, leaves those that do not appreciate the suffering caused by eating like everybody else thinking I am severely depriving myself and see my practices as a form of self harm.
    There have been many many times where I wonfered if this is the case, especially when cravings for the foods I used to love kick in. The I go and say ‘one bit is not going to hurt’ and that one bit which is meant to be a pleasure and a treat brings with it a flood of pain and suffering in so many ways…physical and mental.
    It is actually really supportive in a way that you share your experiences here. Myself and people in my circle are close followers of your dad and have great respect for him. The fact that they are seeing that JBP and his family are talking about and have experiences with similar dietary issues that I have been battling with is actually helping them realise that this is a thing and not a suffering of just my imagination. THANK YOU for sharing.

    One question for you so far, I have not seen any mention of eggs in your blog yet. Do you/can you eat eggs?

    • We can’t eat eggs. IgG response to eggs unfortunately. One of the hardest parts of being sick with something invisible (and most illnesses are invisible until you’re basically dead…) is the whole hypochondriac thing. Even though I was diagnosed with arthritis and had joint replacements, I got the hypochondriac response from tons of people. Especially with fatigue, and skin issues.. Even visible ones. Just keep at it. And don’t doubt your body. I had to learn that. If you think somethings wrong, it probably is, and pay attention to it. Try not to logic yourself out of it. The “only one bit isn’t going to hurt” is really hard to get over mentally haha, I feel you.

  16. Karen says:

    Thanks for this, Mikhaila!

    I was watching the videos of you and your Dad and I was floored by even the difference in both of your eyes after you went on the diet. I was genuinely happy for you two!

    I cut out gluten a long time ago – killed my stomach since I was a child but I only made the connection until ten years ago. Fussy eating was not tolerated in my family… even though my parents had to admit it was weird for a child to complain after donuts and pizza! I remember looking at that 241 pizza box and being both enticed and repelled.

    While gluten helped with my stomach issues, I still have skin problems and weird aches esp in hips (I couldnt imagine what you went thru bc mine are only sore and they drive me crazy) and legs – especially along the outside. Fatigue and low moods too.

    So I’m giving your diet a shot (although I HATE the idea of being even more precious about my diet – ugh). Had your chicken wings this morning. Love them! Ate waaaayyy too many!

    If you have any other go to meals it would be appreciated. I’m trying to figure out how to eat for the day.

    Either way, thanks for sharing you story!

    • I’ve found you can’t eat too many of those chicken wings 🙂 Good luck. I’ll try to add some recipes tomorrow, let me know how everything goes. Good luck with the cravings :/

  17. AC says:

    I was completely inspired by you after seeing your interview. My husband loves your father and I was skeptical but I was in tears listening to you speak because it was so relatable!! The day I watched your video I began an elimination diet. I googled and found so many different ones and now I’m one week in and just thought to google your name. So happy you are sharing this info! Can you tell me why you include meat in the beginning ? Many say to eliminate meat for 28 days? Also wondering why no fruit? I need to restart if that’s the case because my diet said no meat but allowed fruit? Also why no grains- such as brown rice or oatmeal? Finally what kind of reactions are you looking for in 4 days? Is it possible they might be sooo small that you may miss them?

    Thanks in advance for taking your personal time to respond. I’m finally hopeful for a recovery 🙂

    • I can hardly tolerate any sugar – fruit (especially citrus and bananas) is super hard on my arthritis. Grains are hard for people to digest in general, brown rice is actually more difficult to digest than white rice. Oatmeal isn’t as hard on me as all the other grains, but it still makes me bloated and gives me other symptoms. I include meat because it’s one of the only things that hasn’t bothered me at all, and I have other people on this diet and it works for them too. Grains, fruit, and vegetables have been a lot trickier to figure out than meat. For the first couple of weeks of cutting these things out, you’re going to have some random symptoms, so I wouldn’t really start monitoring anything until it’s been about a month (or you’re feeling better). After that, when you try to reintroduce foods, that reaction can take up to 4 days to manifest. For me it’s arthritis and depression, skin itching, and sometimes kind of a puffy face. My skin (acne) doesn’t usually show up for about a week after I’ve eaten something wrong. If you look at other elimination diets (paleo, autoimmune protocol, GAPS), they also include meat. The first elimination diet I started didn’t work for me because there were random things that were still added in it. I didn’t have success until I figured it out myself, (and started from bare minimum – this diet)

  18. AC says:

    A few more questions.. Is this your current list of food you eat? How do you eat at a restaurant? Can you give us some tips on that? Also, no mushrooms? Wondering why even the vegetables are so limited?

      • I don’t eat out. I’m assuming most people who go on this diet will be able to reintroduce far more foods than I’ve been able to. So I’d recommend skipping the restaurant for the first month, and then figure out whats bothering you, then you can avoid it when you eat out. That being said, steakhouses are pretty good at making a steak with just salt and pepper. When I first started the diet though, I went out and got hit basically every time I went to a restaurant. Salad dressing with soybean oil was a big thing I didn’t know to avoid initially.

  19. Thomas says:

    Hi Mikhaila,

    I just recently came across your blog site and saw that you strongly emphasize the importance of diet when dealing with serious ailments like depression, high anxiety, high fatigue, etc. I’m having to deal with these things too and struggling to find decent relief. However, my question is how do you know when diet is affecting your well-being? I’ve never really been good at following a strict diet before, but I try to do my best with less red-meat consumption and more chicken and seafood. As for vegetables, I can be extremely picky with those because most of them taste terrible to me. But yeah back to my question, how do I know if something like my diet is linked to my depression and such?


    • The only way to know if to test it out. I vehemently disagreed with people when they suggest diet was the cause (but it was usually pretty condescending). Cut out some foods for a month and see how you feel! That’s the only way I know of. Red meat is definitely not the problem though! It’s actually one of the more safe foods. (I know there was talk of heart disease, etc., but most of those studies have been debunked). Try to get rid of grains, sugar, soy, and focus on meat and green vegetables and see if it makes a difference.

  20. g.sartor says:

    what if you have more than one type of arthritis? and what if gout is one of those forms of arthritis? Is meat okay in those circumstances?

  21. Etienne says:

    “Every single thing wrong with me was fixable [with diet]. The following is a list of foods that I can eat without reacting, and my dad and boyfriend is the same way. ”

    I’m really sorry to say this, Mikhaila, but you sound delusional. You’re on a 100% meat-based diet now because obviously your dietary tweaks have *not* solved everything. Why lie to yourself and us like this? It is also impossible that both your dad and boyfriend happen to have the *exact same food sensitivities as you*. This is just wishful thinking.

    • I totally agree that I sound delusional. I would’ve had the same reaction to a blog post like this myself, about 4 years ago. But now I’m asymptomatic and happy, and so is my family 🙂 You only have to try it out for a month to see whether or not I’m actually delusional

  22. Leah K says:

    Hi I noticed you didn’t list pork under the meats and Im doing the elimination diet as prescribed above. Have you had an issue with pork?

    • I haven’t, dad has, and some other people have too. I don’t eat it because it doesn’t make me feel as good (and I kind of feel bad for pigs… Coming from someone just eating meat, I know, don’t laugh). I think if you cut down enough you’d be able to find out if it bothers you or not.

  23. Peter Ford says:

    I suffer from a lot of the health problems you mention (digestive disorder, depression, anxiety, fatigue, joint/muscular pain to name a few) so I’m tempted to try this diet.

    Have you calculated your daily average fibre intake on this diet? I ask because I’ve tried restrictive diets in the past such as Low/No FODMAP and the Paleo diet, but my bowels always overload due to low motility (the opposite to my usual IBS-D symptoms). This is even whilst taking a good fibre supplement and flaxseeds.

    • I did calculations at the beginning, but then I just cut down as much as possible, and listened to my body. My digestive system goes crazy when I have a reaction. I used to be chronically constipated, but now when I have a reaction it’s diarrhea. Fibre hasn’t seem to made a difference at all. I’d start with the elimination diet and just see, it eliminates a lot of allergens, and the people I’ve been able to monitor closely haven’t had a problem with it. It does take about a month to get customized though, and if you’re super sensitive, if you mess up at all it will mess up your digestion.

    • Nope. But after the first month you can reintroduce them to see if they bother you. I’d just leave citrus and bananas until last. I had the least problems with apples and pears… No explanation for any of that, just my experience.

  24. Brandon says:

    Have you tried Wild Sardines? They are high fat, so if you’re aiming for Ketosis that is good, they are also low in mercury. If you have tried them what was your reaction to them?

  25. Lindsey says:

    Thank you so much for the blog. You’ve convinced me to try this diet (no small feat).
    I’m on a lot of medication for psoriatic arthritis and while I hope that I’ll be able to reduce or eliminate some meds eventually, I’m just trying to keep things stable right now. I have read on another AIP site that you shouldn’t take NSAID’s with this diet and I’m willing to try to give them up if doing so makes sense, but I’m reluctant to scale back on the other meds until/unless I don’t need them. But I’m curious to know what you did. Did you give up any medication before the diet, or once it started helping? I’d appreciate any insight you have to offer.
    Also, the seaweed link is dead, would you share the name of the product? I would really like to try it.
    Thank you!

    • I’ll update the link but its this stuff: (the smaller packs are tastier for some reason). I definitely did NOT stop my meds before I tried the diet. Well, actually that’s not true. I stopped Methotrexate because I didn’t think it was working… and then I stopped Enbrel when I cut out gluten. I didn’t stop Adderall or antidepressants until I could live without them. I wouldn’t recommend stopping any of the meds until your symptoms are actually gone though.

  26. Jeannie Shima says:

    Mikhaila – I found you through your father’s YT discussions and lectures and so glad I did! My twin has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years and has had 2 hip replaced, double knee, both feet completely straightened, etc. I shared your info with her today. So happy you’re feeling better and so thrilled that you can share your journey and what’s worked and thereby help so many people! Blessings to you!

  27. Sofia Renee says:

    I smiled so much when I saw your diet list because I have been on almost the identical diet for 3 yrs, including the abolishment of fruit. 🙂 I didn’t brilliantly come to these conclusions myself as you did. You might already know this, but there is a doctor who recommends your diet and has similar experiences with patients as you found for yourself (e.g. not everyone is better on probiotics), along with an incredibly fascinating healing program based on mineral tissue analysis. He combines your diet with detox procedures( e.g. infrared sauna) and supplements based on the patterns of your tissue test (others use tissue tests but look at absolute values). There are literally only 100 people trained in his program worldwide, so I was blown away that you’re on the same diet by chance, and I thought I’d share with you if you want to “take things to the next level” lol. The site is a bit weird and is called There is a Facebook group called “nutritional balancing friends” with about 900 people from around the world that you can connect with. Also, since we are eating so similarly here are some of my recipes Not sure what you’ll think of my comment lol, but I am just blown away that someone out there that’s my age eats like me ha ha (not that we want to).I never had some of the extreme issues you describe(but there’s a lot of overlap), but I feel like I’ve so been there in a way and wanted to reach out. Especially because your dad is so awesome lol. Best of luck and feel free to e mail me about the program, it’s been life changing so I’m more than happy to share..clearly lol.

    • Your recipes look delicious. I don’t usually recommend mustard (bad reaction to it from both my dad and I), but people from this blog could definitely go to yours for ideas. It is very similar, I’m not surprised though. These foods are anti inflammatory for most people 🙂

  28. Reed Nystrom says:

    Hi Mikhaila — do you know how much it matters whether you eat grass-fed and/or hormone-free beef, at least from your own experience? I’m starting this diet in a couple days and I want to make sure I do it right, given that high quality meat is obviously a lot more expensive and I’ll be eating a lot of it. Thanks.

  29. James Austin says:

    Hi Mikhaila

    (reporting this in case you didn’t get the notification for the last one. If you’re super busy I of course understand)

    Big fan of your dad’s and so good to read about this diet in detail after watching those TVO specials on depression.

    A lot (I would say most) of the items on the list seem to fit perfectly with a keto diet, as would the high fat consumption, but high protein intake and sweet potatoes don’t.

    I know that the aim of the diet is to identify food intolerances and reactions, but I’d be curious for your thoughts on diatry induced Ketosis and how it may or may not relate to the health benefits you’ve experienced on your diet. Also, are you yourself often in ketosis?

    Asking as one week into my Keto diet that looks very similar to yours (basically swap out the carbon rich vegetables like sweet potato for dairy and nuts), it’s doing nothing for me and I’m thinking why not just take the full Peterson plunge?


    • Do the full Peterson plunge! Dairy is evil. Almonds might be not great for you as well. I’m always in ketosis. I was in ketosis on the original diet (the one dad does), and I’m still in ketosis doing all meat. I don’t think the benefit is the fact you’re in ketosis, I think it’s the foods you cut out and ketosis is coincidental. It’s hard to say though. The amount of sweet potatoes/parsnips are so low in this diet that they won’t boot you out of ketosis unless that’s all you eat in a meal.

      • Donny says:

        One thing I’ve been trying to figure out with this diet is if it’s ketogenic or not. With all the meat you’re eating, aren’t you dropping out due to gluconeogenesis?

        So you’re saying (not to borrow a meme from your dad) that if I were to have like 1/2 a sweet potato on lifting days that it wouldn’t kick me out of ketosis?


        • haha. So it depends on the person, half a sweet potato wouldn’t have kicked me out of ketosis, but it would lessen it. On the original diet (with sweet potatoes and parsnips), Dad and I were both always in ketosis. The only time I stopped being in ketosis was when I made myself a pile of sweet potatoes deep fried in coconut oil. They were so good. I probably ate the equivalent of 3 sweet potatoes and the next day I wasn’t in ketosis.

          I’m still in ketosis on an all meat diet. Gluconeogenesis doesn’t seem to be occurring (at least not enough to kick me out of ketosis).

  30. Dario says:

    This is incredible, thanks for sharing. A friend’s aunt had a similar disease and she cured it with her diet as well! I have learned so much from this.
    A question, I currently eat quinoa, oats and beans, would you cut them too?
    Thank you

    • Unfortunately yes… Replace with meat and green veggies. If you need to keep one of those, I had the least problem with oats – but still a problem. You don’t need any of those, they’re just filler!

  31. Tom says:

    Hi Mikhaila. Thank you for your blog.

    I have had depression since I was a child with more or less the same symptoms as what you listed (incl. OCD). As your father puts it in the video, it is a part of death. I feel it as if death has latched on me from the back, putting its weight on and off, and I cannot but inhale its fume. Things are foggy – memory, perception, attention – and I get a sniff of sheer horror, which visits me frequent enough to keep life so stripped of meaning. I cry at night. This is much much worse than any physical pains I know.

    Honestly the diet is the last thing I would ever think of on my own as a solution to a condition like this. But I am willing to do anything at this point.

    With regard to meat, there are different labels – organic, free range, etc. Do you or your family find that they matter?

    • I haven’t found that it’s mattered with meat. I avoid antibiotics in meat, but when I’ve eaten meat with antibiotics it hasn’t given me a reaction. Definitely try the diet, but be EXTREMELY careful. If you’re depression is as bad as you write, you’ll have to be very careful about making a mistake. If you need some support, shoot me an email.

  32. Do you worry about vitamins? When I was educated (mostly in the 1960s) I was taught that some vitamins are essential, or almost essential, and I’ve never questioned that. Like vitamin C helps with immunity to colds and other viruses.

    Do you believe that? Do you try to make sure you are getting vitamins and perhaps a few essential trace minerals, like iodine?

    • I’m not worried at all. I was initially on the diet, but I’m not anymore. I’ve had my vitamins tested multiple times throughout my life (one comprehensive test quite recently). My B vitamins are low (other than B12), but not because of lack of them in my diet. I’ve taken different vitamins at different times and I took a trace minerals pill for a while. Nothing seemed to make a difference (on tests and how I felt). I do currently take Vitamin C. I also take a high dose of Vitamin D3. Again, I haven’t felt any different but I’ve read a ton of articles on the benefits of both vitamins, and they don’t make me worse.

  33. gala says:

    Hello mikhaila! i am going to start your diet to try get rid of my joint and muscle inflammation, digestive issues, fatigue etc.
    i already cut out gluten for a month and it helped a lot

    i wanted to ask if honey is ok on the elimination diet
    and if it matters what honey i buy
    thank you!

    • I wouldn’t recommend honey, but to be completely honest, I was eating it when I first went on an elimination diet. The type of honey didn’t seem to matter, and it didn’t bother me like sugar or some fruits did. If you need something sweet, it seems to be pretty safe. (I lost my tolerance to honey later though).

  34. Rob says:

    I was inspired by the video of you and your dad on YouTube. I never went on any diet my entire life because I’ve never been overweight or felt the need to. Having said that I suffer from depression and the same problems with focus and short term memory that you had. Though Anti-depressants never gave me noticeable relief so I gave up on that avenue. Being in college, I basically eat what ever I want and what ever is convenient. I really see potential in your diet though. I started eating only chicken and broccoli for dinner with protein (eggs) for breakfast, cutting out as many carbs as possible so maybe I can reap similar benefits. Being on a diet like this will inadvertently create some order too! I think this diet would be fantastic with regular exercise. From what Ive been told, a high protein diet like this can help with muscle gains. I love cereal and dairy but I am willing to stay clean for months even.. If it means positive improvement in my alertness and mind. (Diet never occurred to me when it comes to mental health)

  35. Britz says:

    Sorry if posted already but have you ever wondered about the possibility of vaccine damage and food sensitivities?

    I’m currently trying to change diet to improve health, supposed fibro/CFS.

    You and your family are an absolute inspiration. 💖

  36. Sebastian says:

    Hey Mikhaila

    I’ve been having trouble with anxiety-induced insomnia for the first time since december and it’s been absolutely ridicolous. I have been an avid bodybuilder for two years, this disorder has taken everything from me, so as a last resort I have gone for an antidepressant treatment (lexapro) and light therapy since last week. There have been several episodes where the idea of suicide was a delicate one, so I had to get on the meds. I hate the fact that the medication numbs my emotions and I was thinking about starting this diet. The problem is my metabolism, i’m burning a lot of calories. With this diet I might lose the last of my muscle mass which would have been quite sad. I’m just wondering how can I incorporate all these dietary adjustments in an orderly fashion without leaving me in a state of atrophy.

    Big fan of your father, he’s been kind of a liberator in a time of true despair, and thank you for your story and the creation of this diet.


    • Eat meat. You won’t lose muscle. I had to convince my husband that he didn’t need carbs to work out too. Follow Shawn Baker (Instagram I find is the most useful). He posts pictures of people who have gone all meat. He eats that himself and he’s huge. The idea that you need protein supplements and carbs to get muscle is just wrong. You’ll hear people concerning themselves with glycogen, etc., but I’d recommend you try it for a month and see how you feel. If it doesn’t help the depression, try all meat. You may get leaner, but you won’t lose muscle.

  37. Freya says:

    Hi Mikhaila,
    Congratulations on finding a dietary solution! I can understand this journey. I also went through a search for answers through dietary restrictions and tried lots of things, some of which helped but didn’t address the whole picture. It took one doctor to look at my list of symptoms (they’re similar – digestive issues, muscle/joint pain, fatigue, depressive episodes and panic attacks, nausea, heart palpitations, …) and suggest I might have a histamine intolerance. It turns out I do, and since I’ve followed the low-histamine diet my symptoms have gone away. Have you heard of histamine intolerance before? I ask because your safe-food list looks a lot like mine. Over here in Germany histamine intolerance is a fairly well-known problem, but I’ve heard that’s not the case in other countries. The intolerance can be hereditary (like mast cell activation disorder) or it can develop spontaneously like mine. I’ve read it can also accompany Celiac’s. Thought I’d mention it because I’m amazed none of the other comments have! Wishing you the best,
    P.S. The worst “high histamine” offenders are red wine, preserved meats, hard cheeses, fermented foods, soy, shellfish, tomato sauces.

    • I tried that. I looked into histamine intolerance, and mast cell activation disorder, and a whole slew of other things. It’s not that unfortunately, thanks for the kind words!

  38. Zak Radtke says:

    Hi Mikhaila, I found your blog after finding your dad and watching his videos and reading his book the last few months. I have auto-immune symptoms but have never been diagnosed with anything. But I’m super excited to try your diet and am going to start it soon. I’m wondering if greens not on this list such as kale, celery, and asparagus are ok? Thank you for your blog and sharing this information with others and for figuring it all out for yourself to begin with.

    • Celery was a huge problem for me. Don’t ask why, I can’t explain it. Celery seems to bother my husband and dad too. Kale I have a hard time digesting (but hell I’m only eating meat now anyway.) I’d say that’s safe. Asparagus had too much sugar in it for me. It wasn’t as bad a reaction as celery though.

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