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.

Things to try and reintroduce first after the first month:

  • avocados
  • other leafy greens
  • macademia nuts
  • foods that are listed as okay by the AIP or SCD diets

Foods to always be wary of:

  • grains
  • dairy
  • sugar
  • soy

Foods that I had major issues with when I tried to reintrodue

  • almonds
  • rice
  • sulphites
  • dairy – ouchhhh that was not fun to experience
  • gluten
  • kelp noodles
  • 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).

UPDATE: Zero-carb – for when going down to meat and greens isn’t good enough. Or if you’ve already been on a keto diet or paleo diet and you’re still not better

264 thoughts on “The Diet

  1. Jesse says:

    I’m curious if dairy means eggs too. Any experience with quality eggs? Also I’m curious what your experiences might have been with beets.

    • Andrea says:

      I think it depends. I just looked into it because I had a similar question about pork. I found that both pork and eggs have naturally occurring sulphites which she mentions having an issue with. Eggs may be fine for you, though, if you’ve not had a bad experience in the past.

      • Caroline says:

        From what I saw through my research, eggs are not allowed during most elimination diets. It is a bummer for me because I would have them every single morning for breakfast. I can’t wait to re-introduce them!

      • Jesse says:

        im not sensitive at all ( it seems) however i was thinking of attempting to make some changes in my diet just to see if it works out for me i.e( improve rosacea, lose weight, maybe feel better). basically i want to see what happens but i dont want to unintentionally cheat because it wouldn’t really have much of an effect on me ( at least that’s what i suspect). thanks for the info

  2. Anne says:

    Would it be okay to add brussel sprouts since it belongs to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens?

  3. Andrea says:

    I am wondering why pork wasn’t included. I’ve actually noticed that eating it messes up my digestion makes my joints ache. Has anyone else noticed a bad reaction ot eating pork?

  4. BSSH says:

    You need to look at your birth chart….sorry, heard you were born on jan 4th…from your video online, if that’s 1990, my guess is correct…you have a terrible stellium w sun, saturn and neptune….if that’s in the 6th house which most likely is, it couldn’t be worse.Saturn & neptune conjunctions cause serious skin & autoimmune issues…also, all capricorns have been under severe health issues since 2008, we have been hammered by pluto but overall, looking at your chart, you have a stellium… pls contact astrolada or others you may know….any money you spend on remedies here is worth it. ANY. This is not a a joke. I used to mock such stuff, but pls look at your birth chart. it’s all in there….ask your dad, he would know since this is Carl Jung territory…..You are born w this stellium issue and you need to be aware of this and DEAL w it as best as you can. You are headed for your saturn return, it’ll ONLY get worse if you sit on this.

    • Mike says:

      Oh right, all of these chronic crippling issues she has been having are due to planet alignments. I guess that explains why she created this blog showing that her diet improved these issues drastically… but you’re right, it’s probably because Pluto was too far from Saturn when she was born, makes perfect sense.

      • BSSH says:

        I am a PhD level scientist /bioengineer with expertise in quantum physics and simulation and I know exactly what I am talking about. This meesage was for those who actually know a thing or two about how things work.

        This message is ONLY for Makaila knowing how open-minded and educated his father is….what I have stated above is what Carl Jung also has written much about though he wasn’t aware of the mechanism by which masses in the cosmos effects on through gene expression, DNA methylation and electromagnetism . Ancient people knew the connection is absolutely there and after reviewing 1000s of birth char, there is ZERO question for me that the connection is REAL and is SERIOUS. Makaila, please, along with your father, read on astronomer Dr.Percy Seymour’s findings and look at his many references…..and also I have a huge list of scientists who have looked into this and the findings are fascinating. My biochemist husband and I are doing some studies on these and we will publish our findings ( there is a huge group of us actually). Also, we have many peer-reviewed publication on DIRECT relationship between month and time of birth and brain wiring, as well as GENE expression for disease and personality. Due to rude attacks by people, please ask me for the references and I will send you the links. I have been using astrology for years and the benefits are so much that to me, it is the BEST thing I ever took on researching and discovering. I cannot exaggerate this ever. It has changed my life for the better by a billion fold.

        • Emily says:

          How can i find out whats on my chart please, i have never met anyone whom knows this info and i find it very valuable!!

          • Bssh says:

            Thank you for not being rude or condescending. That almost made me cry. I got into astrology in order to disprove it. I’m now thankful I ever did this as it is beyond proven to me. The proof is in the pudding, even if we disregard worlfvpf astrophysicists such as Prof. Seymour and others who also have been unfairly attacked and mocked.
            Please go to Watch any video you find on YouTube guiding you on how to create a birth chart. I use astrofuture app and I love it. But it’s not for rookies. And it’s not free. Use for the start and after you create your chart, see if you have a stellium in the 6th house ( or 12th). These guarantee you suffering from chronic health issues. 12th house could be much worse, serious hospitalisation, addiction issues, prison time, mental health issues, etc. look up stellium in Capricorn generation. Lots of info on that. After generation of birth chart, go to astrologer’s community. Google it. Create an account. Post your chart and your questions. People there are all experts and extremely helpful. You have no idea how much people know there and help out. In every way. Re every question in life. And they are not in any way making things up, as in astrology, you follow an ancient science, meaning, planets mean certain things, house numbers mean certain things, and aspects all mean certain things that we all follow, word for word. No one can create stuff. Even different zodiac systems follow the very same guidelines ( where they put the zero in the zodiac differes not the science, and that’s why they can be complementary and some people find Indian version more accurate, some western or Greek version more accurate). One thing for sure, planetary movements absolutely changes the cosmic clock that you cells are synced to at birth. Percy Seymour and others who’ve researched this have explained the science behind it. It’s fascinating. And that’s why before a planet enters a house in your specific chart, you see it’s effect regarding the theme of that house immediately. I’ve tested this and seen it in over 100s of charts and it’s spooky accurate. Please test this for yourself. This is crucial to know as you can predict events before happening. For example, saturn return is a huge planetary influence that all humans face between ages of 27-30 and that’s attributed to highest incidence of suicide as well. It’s the most painful time of life of an adult astrologicaly speaking. It’s extremely important to plan for it, know which house is being affected in your chart and know what to expect because mother universe does its thing. It’s up to you to be on top of the program you were born into in this “ matrix” that we live in. After you know somethings about astrology, listen to Steve Judd and Jewel Mayberry on YouTube. My favourite astrologers. You learn a lot about life. There is so much to astrology that I am convinced there’s a mafia out there trying hard to dismiss it or damage it and I have some ideas why, but the damage is only done to all of us as this was thousands of years what kept connected to the universe and dismissing it without proper study as well as mocking of ANY study that explains the science behind it is truly the most unscientific behaviour I’ve ever observed.

            If you like to send me any birth details ( date, location, w time of birth, it’s crucial, and no other info) pls respond to me here and I’ll tell you some important information that can be crucial for the person. I wish someone did that to me when I were younger.

      • BSSH says:

        Distance of planets has NOTHING to do with how electromagnetic works as shown brilliantly by astronomer Percy Seymour…also, according to Schrodinger diffusion, the issue of distance is as outdated as when Sagan mentioned it….this is 1970s science….not 2018. As Hawking brilliantly said, we have NO MORE evidence for most astrophysics theories than we DO for astrological claims. Astrology is AN ANCIENT science and has observation data that goes back thousands of years. It is based LITERALLY geocentric astronomy, and the zodiac is based on geometry, astronomy, and fibonacci numbers. It is ALL MATH and SCIENCE plus psychology and historical observations of humans from birth to death matching a cosmic map. It is NOT talking to ‘ the dead’ stuff. It is frankly insulting that people in this day and age, after what we know about magnetism, pineal gland, migration of birds and insects, hormonal effects of animals , impacts of solar flares and of course, the good old effects of MOON on all physiochemical reactions on all LIFE on earth that we have people who MOCK astrology and equate it to the work of charlatans. NO ONE can make up what Mars or Venus or Sun mean in a birth chart. This is a science that is followed exactly by everyone who is educated in it and no one can change the meaning of what MARS means in the third house and in scorpio constellation or what SUN means in the 8th house and in Virgo constellation…..I challenge you. Give me A BIRTH DETAIL of ANY ONE you know very well and I’ll tell you FIVE VERY SPECIFIC UNIQUE things about them.

        This offer is out for anyone. With Astrology, proof is in the pudding. It works because it is scientific. Test it.

  5. James says:

    Good morning Mikhaila Peterson
    Congrats on your phenomenally creative parents
    As for diet, salt is the organic poison which perpetuates and strengthens disorders
    Please try a 60 days zero salt diet for an even healthier you

  6. Cameron says:

    Thanks for all your valuable insight, Mikhaila! Is black coffee still okay to drink when on a diet like this? I typically use a french press so no need for filters or anything like that since I saw you mentioned those might cause some issues.

  7. Charlie says:

    Hi Mikhaila,
    I was wondering if you could clarify the part about alcohol on your list. You have it listed in acceptable things to eat for the elimination diet but then said, not for the first month. Can you drink bourbon and vodka or is that something to be reintroduced?

    Also, I’ve been prescribed adderall since I was 12 (29 currently). It’s part of the reason for my anxiety. However, I’m quite dependent on it for my job. I don’t want to take it anymore but I honestly don’t think I can do it on my own. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to just stop taking it, cold turkey. Is that a problem for the elimination diet? Should I stop taking it and fight it for 2 weeks until I see results? Or can I take it during the diet and once I start to feel better, then start weening off?

    • Bourbon and vodka are okay for the first month. Not whiskey, specifically bourbon, and vodka. Keep the meds until you feel better. No need for any extra suffering.

  8. Kate Thomas says:

    Good morning! I am 42, mother of 7. I’ve started this diet 2 weeks ago but haven’t been faithful. Still I’ve lost a few pounds and do feel clearer in my thinking. My mom has rheumatoid arthritis that started in her late 40’s, worried I might get it. I’ve got high blood pressure I think is due to stress and weight gain in the last 6 years. Since I’m already feeling better I decided my children that are at home should do this too. I have an 8 year son who has baggy eyes, always tired, some minor skin issues, and underweight like he isn’t thriving and growing. His sister that is almost 2 yrs younger is the same weight and height & healthier. I’ve had him seen for 4years now by a doctor and finally an allergist who says he very allergic to mites cats and dogs. After going on medication for this and changing sheets and getting a air filter he still is very tired all the time, his legs and joints hurt for days after hiking or just running around with other kids and there are still bags under his eyes. He has a high count of white blood cells nearly all the time but no sickness. I can’t tell you how I know but I just sense that something is wrong so I’ve taken him off sugar and breads. Which is what he like the best. He’s having a hard time with this. It’s only the second day and he’s, well sad. Breakfast was an egg and 2 cucumber chips this morning. I’ve not eliminated milk for now. He loves the jerky and lunch is no problem or dinners. My question is what would you suggest for breakfast for kids that might make this more bare-able?

    • steven v says:

      Just feed him what he likes for lunch and dinner at breakfast. I have had hamburger, chicken and pork for breakfast many times and feel a lot better.
      P.S Definitely cut out the milk too. You should know from this blog that dairy, sugar and grains are probably the three biggest culprits to poor digestion.

  9. Daniel Yarhi says:

    How about nuts? Dr. Peterson mentioned almonds were quite problematic for him. What’s your take on nuts? Did you find any you could handle? I love pecans…

  10. Caroline says:

    Hi! Quick question for anyone who has been on an elimination diet for a while… I’m on day 10 and I feel very tired despite a solid 8 hours of sleep every night (this diet does not allow any type of caffeine). Did anyone experience this?

    • Charlotte says:

      Black and green tea are both allowed, which have caffeine. I’m sure our bodies go through almost a kind of withdrawal period from excess carbs and sugar, so that could last a couple weeks and be the culprit.

      • Caroline says:

        Thank you for your reply! The thing is, I am not doing exactly the same Elimination Diet. I use the one from Precision Nutrition which is more strict on some foods (such as caffeine/theine) and less on others (they allow rice even though I decided to cut it anyways). Like you, I also think my body is slowly adapting to this new diet. I did feel withdrawal symptoms during the first week (sugar and coffee). I was VERY tired, I had headaches and I was very bitchy. loll I’m starting the 3rd week tomorrow and even though I still feel tired, I’m doing much better. Thank you again!

  11. Trinia says:

    This is similar to whole 30. I have sever RA, went on Leflunomide for 90 days, ending in May 2018. I posted in a holistic group on FB which led me here. I know Leflunomide takes a while to come out of your system, and since I began your program 4 days ago I am in the worst pain of my life. I’m not giving up. I am struggling a bit with feeling like I’m starving and my limited options, can I at least having fruit, and no refined sugars, or is everything sugar related off limits, and inflammation provoking? Help please

    • Keep at it. You’re experiencing the transition periods. Eat a lot of meat. Eat a lot of food. The starving feeling is probably your microbiome changing. Don’t feed it. Just make sure you feed yourself enough. It’s takes about 3 weeks but the cravings won’t last longer than that. They get worse up until day 8 and stay pretty bad until day 14 and then start getting better. Keep at it!!! Make sure you eat enough.

  12. Steven Bartoldus says:

    Im sorry maybe i didnt read the article/comments clear enough but why no pork ? Im excited to try this new diet super excited, but i have like a lb of bacon in the fridge 🙁

  13. Steven Bartoldus says:

    Also how do i know im buying the right kind of meats ? Like going to the deli and buying cold cuts is that okay ? Also im worried about preservatives or whatever there called, should i just get all my meats raw from the butcher, is frozen chicken like pre cooked from the supermarket okay ? Is there any ‘brands’ of meat to avoid ? Thanks a bunch and congrats on your turn around !!!!

  14. Jen C says:

    I saw that you are drinking tea along with your diet. I’ve found that steven smith tea is outstanding. they have corn based satchels and loose leaf tea. His peppermint tea is by far the best I’ve ever had.

  15. AL says:

    Most pple talk about what to eat. No 1 ever consideres that there is one 1 correct way to eat. The stomach is a tool. Misuse it and u will suffer in some way

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