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

445 thoughts on “The Diet

  1. 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 !!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Martha Forrest says:

    My husband and I are huge Jordan Peterson fans. We heard him speak about this diet on one of the talk shows he appeared in. We both looked at each other because for years I’ve been complaining that even though allergy testing for foods has come up with very little to go on, I’ve maintained that my arthritis, allergic reactions, skin hives and asthma are food related. Here’s what my husband has heard me say for 8 years: 1. Milk and milk products make me feel sick, and that’s since childhood. I either get bound up, or, I get Montezuma’s revenge. No happy medium. 2. Most bread, (I somewhat tolerate sour-dough) makes me itch and scratch myself raw. I also suspect it exacerbates the asthma. 3. Eating sugar makes me feel dizzy and confused, and sometimes nauseated. I also get bad headaches. Only a small amount is enough to cause me problems. (My bloodwork is normal. I am not diabetic)

    I’m trying your diet Mikhaila Peterson. What do I have to lose, except unwanted fat and the hives, and frankly, I’m totally ok with that!
    Martha Forrest
    Oshawa, ON

  5. Rebekah says:

    Is coconut milk ok to have during the elimination period? Just wondering since your list has coconut oil on it. Thank you!

  6. Sam Lee says:

    Hi Mikhaila and everyone else,

    A very quick question; on his most recent Joe Rogan podcast, Jordan Peterson mentioned that you posted an article about a doctor who treated type 1 diabetes using the carnivore diet. Could you or anyone with the link please share it with me? I am a type 1 diabetic and am looking for any route to get rid of it.

    Any help from yourself or anybody with the information would be hugely appreciated.

    Kind regards,


  7. Penny says:

    Is it going to be possible for me to do this diet since I’m already a vegetarian? It’s going to be a lot more difficult for me and I’m just worried I’ll break after a couple weeks

  8. Sean says:

    I’ve introduced more protein into my diet and cut out carbs. Alot of carnivore doets say dairy and coffee is ok.
    I sometimes eat a few greens and the rare glass of red wine. Will this completely negate my efforts?
    Im feeling more awake but I’m looking to lose weight.

  9. Hi Mikhaila – very interesting read! I have recently(in the past year) changed my diet to be vegan, based on the eat to live book. I changed my diet because I had gone to see so many different doctors about chronic pain and never found d a treatment that worked. I never really put it together that it started in my late teens right around when anxiety and depression started to really hit me. I am on the same stuff you listed, except they have me on cbd oil and Lyrica (pregablin) for the pain.

    I guess I’m wondering what you think about the claims that a vegan whole food diet is more anti-inflammatory than a omnivore or carnivore diet. I’m just curious because I really never thought that I would consider eating meat again…but when you’re in pain you’ll do almost anything to stop it (but I guess I don’t need to tell you that). Thanks for sharing your experience.


    • Obviously this is just my opinion but I think the reason the vegan diet works for some people is because they eat less processed food, cut dairy, and reduce sugar. I don’t believe for one second its the meat. I would have been extremely sick on any version of a vegan diet. I think the best elimination diet you can do is beef and salt and water. And then reintroduce foods very slowly after 4-6 weeks. Or if you’re like me, not even bother.

  10. Alex B. says:

    Hey Mikhaila, I have a quick question. What do you know about eating mushrooms as a part of this diet?

    • I tried them and they really upset my digestion. I was reacting to something at the time so it wasn’t a particularly clean experiment but I just decided no. You could try and reintroduce them after the first month? They don’t strike me as something particularly dangerous like grains or soy.

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