Jordan Peterson’s diet

Dad suffered from a number of health problems. He had GERD, minor psoriasis, mouth ulcers, fatigue and had an extremely hard time losing weight. He stopped eating desserts, went without sugar, and tried exercising. The worst health problem was severe depression. It seems to run in our family.

When I started figured out my problems were caused by food, and my depression lifted, I convinced dad to go on the same diet. The first year he lost 50 pounds. No joke. He lost about a pound a week. I know this sounds extreme but he’s eating well. We eat a lot and we definitely don’t calorie count. All his minor health problems went away, and he seemed to age backwards. No joke, check out his previous YouTube videos (2014 ish) compared to 2016-2017’s. The depression has been harder to get under control but it’s under control too. He doesn’t nap either. We’re going to make a video soon about it.

Anyways this is his diet:

Meats:

  • 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

Veggies:

  • 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

Fruit:

  • 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.

Vinegars:

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

Oils:

  • 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!

Spices/Seasonings

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

Other:

  • 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
  • bourbon
  • silver tequila
  • vodka (unflavoured)

 

This makes it extremely difficult to eat out, and we’d be more relaxed about it if messing up didn’t result in a deep and miserable month long depression. We’re trying to branch out to more foods, but it seems like most of what we try and reintroduce goes badly. Next test is tomatoes!

35 thoughts on “Jordan Peterson’s diet

  1. Victoria Ilgacs says:

    Former client of Jordan’s. Can’t say I don’t miss working with him. All the best to your dad Mikhaila. Been working on making food changes as well. Not in such a strict elimination way, but definitely watching what effects me and send me spiralling worse into depression. BTW – congrats on the baby.

  2. Heinrich says:

    Dear Mikhaila,

    sorry for the intrusion again; I have commented on a previous post of yours, but I think it got stuck in moderation. One possibility that may be worth considering is “Hereditary Alpha-tryptasemia”, which has to do with mast cells. There is a FAQ on the website of the US National Institute of Health. Your dad’s symptoms would be a fit, in any case. (You did check celiac disease, right?) All the best!

    • I haven’t heard of that. I’ll look into it. Celiac does run in our family, but dad doesn’t have the gene for it. Although his symptoms are similar enough for sure. Thanks!

      • Heinrich says:

        Alpha-Tryptasemia has only been discovered a year ago, that’s why nobody has heard about it yet. 🙂 (But it is believed to be quite common, easily ~4% of the population).

        I meant “check celiac” in the sense of “get biopsy and analyse for vlilous atrophy”. Genetic testing is nice, but not all genes have been discovered yet, so it may well turn out empty.

        All the best!

        • Actually, if you don’t have the gene you can’t have Celiac, and biopsy testing results in false negatives quite frequently. The best way to rule it out is to do the gene testing. If you have the gene, then you can get a biopsy. Or you could stop eating it anyways haha

  3. Hi Mikhaila,

    I just ran into your blog a few days ago, but have been following Dr. Jordan Peterson a little over a year now. I remember him mentioning a few times about your condition and his eating habits. I’m incredibly happy to hear that you’ve discovered what foods work for you and your father to reduce your depression. I’ve been struggling with my stomach pains and depression for a minute now and believe I will take his diet into consideration. I’m curious to know what resources and book references you might have that has lead you down this amazing nutritional path? Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Also, congratulations on your new born! 🙂

    • I’ll write a post about other bloggers and doctors who I’ve found helpful because there are a bunch.. But I originally came up with the diet through extremely painful trial and error. I realized gluten was causing my skin problems, then thought maybe it was also causing my arthritis. I went on a kind of half assed elimination diet because I didn’t think it would do anything. Then I reintroduced bananas and had a huge arthritic flare, I couldn’t walk. Then I cut down to basically just meat. Turns out food was causing all my problems. Then I started reintroducing. If I had followed anybody else’s diet, my depression wouldn’t have gone away. Plus I knew nothing about food, or diets. I thought milk was good for you and gluten free was a fad. It’s always the things you laugh at that get you in the end

  4. Ken says:

    Hi Mikhaila,
    I already follow a similar diet for health reasons rather than specifically for depression or other symptoms trying to concentrate on real food, no sugar, grains or carbs and plenty of organic meat, fish and eggs and root veg.
    You don’t mention eggs or milk on your blog unless I’ve missed it, I know of adverse reactions from milk but thought organic eggs would be fine?
    I’m so glad this diet is working for you and your father,
    Kind Regards
    Ken

    • We don’t eat eggs because of an IgG reaction to egg whites. Can’t tolerate them. That doesn’t mean that everyone would have that response though… I’d cut them out at the beginning if you’re doing an elimination diet and then try to add them back in. Lots of people can tolerate organic eggs for sure

  5. Doug Brown says:

    Dr. Peterson’s dietary change and improved health could be explained by his diet overcoming a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 bio-chemical reactions within the body. Both leafy green vegetables and meat are good sources of magnesium. Calcium and magnesium, both being Group 2 metals, compete for the same sites; the elimination of dairy products [a high source of calcium] would make more magnesium available. A magnesium supplement of high bioavailablity might promote additional health gains.

    On the downside, it would appear that Dr. Peterson’s diet is low in potassium. Recommended daily intake values of potassium vary between 3000mg to 4500mg. It is very difficult to reach those values without eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, lo-sodium V8 jiuce, etc. A potassium supplement should be used caution. Sodium will compete with potassium for sites within the body as they are both Group 1 metals. It would be interesting to look at the relation between low potassium values and depression.

    • We eat a lot of sweet potatoes (I forgot to add that to the original post). He also gets vitamin infusions on occasion, and we get our vitamins tested fairly regularly. He was never low in magnesium, it seems to be a bit more complicated than a vitamin deficiency. We had our vitamins tested to see (I was suspicious about B12), but nothing was low. He only recently started the infusions.

        • Jan S says:

          I’d like to comment on potatoes and sweet potatoes.
          My understanding is the former is from the Solanaceae or nightshade family (like tomato, capsicum, aubergine) and sweet potatoes are a type of yam. They differ particularly in that the wild yam is a hormone precursor. I have no scientific training but tend to treat both as entirely separate vegetables.
          Can someone clarify please?

          • Potatoes are really hard on me. Sweet potatoes aren’t. One causes an IgG reaction, no idea why. They are most definitely not the same at all, just have “potato” in their name.

  6. Danka says:

    Hello Mikhaila, found your blog through your dad, he mentioned it in September Q&A….Love his talks, changed my life….sending it to all my family and friends…he is amazing, and of course from him I knew about You and your health problems…I would have to write a book to tell you about my health problems over the years….I am 60 years old now…anyway…IBS, and more is giving me more problems lately….hate doctors, so went on your diet….bit similar to Ketone diet which I was introduced to in a German Clinic..I am actually drinking bicarbonate of soda, spoon a day with a spoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water…plus ginger ( fresh one) tea makes wonder for my liver! Congratulations on your baby…and kiss your dad for me….had a dream about him after listening to him nearly every day for 2 months ( catching up on all his lectures) 🙂 Warm greetings from Poland 🙂

  7. Lara says:

    Thanks, Mikhaila.

    Is pork problematic? I mean, besides bacon/ham and other processed meat. Does he abstain for religious reasons/personal distaste, or does he react to it?

    Your father advises a large low carb/high fat breakfast for emotional stability. I’d really like to know what such a breakfast looks like on this diet. Eggs and bacon and cheese are out. Chicken wings? Steak?

    Does this diet provide enough vitamin c?

    • Mikhaila Peterson says:

      I’ll write a post on this at some point. We’ve given up on breakfast foods. Breakfast dinner and lunch are all the same. We’re huge fans of chicken wings. So far vitamin c hasn’t been a problem. If you’re worried though, get your levels looked at periodically. You can also take supplements.

  8. David says:

    Have you talked to any women who have endometriosis? My girlfriend and I have been experimenting with different diets to help her pain. The diet you and your Dad are on is the one we have had the best success with but just wondering if you had heard anything about diet and endo. Thanks! Congrats on the baby 🙂

    • I have a friend with endo and she’s on the same diet. Most of the bloating has gone down and other health issues (skin, fatigue), but I’m not sure how much it’s helped the actual endo… She has to be as strict as me though, and has some pretty nasty reactions if she accidentally messes up. If she’s being strict with the list of food Dad is on and it isn’t helping enough, cut out the carbs. It’s restrictive but my friend can’t handle the parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips part… not yet anyways. Good luck!

  9. Hi, Mikhalia, thanks for this post.

    I’m looking forward to hearing your Dad speak next month at Clemson University in South Carolina which is 15 minutes from my home. I am on the keto diet and would be happy to help direct him toward restaurants that will work with the above nutritional restrictions. Hell, if necessary, I’d be happy to serve as a personal chef during the visit if I could hang out and chat a bit.

    Let me know if I can be of any help, and I’d love to hear your opinion of the modern keto diet for weight loss at some point. I’ve had good success with weight loss and have also seen benefits to my mood, energy levels, and complexion on keto. Thanks!

  10. Roger Elliott says:

    Hi Mikhaila – I came across your blog through your Dad’s videos. His diet is virtually identical to mine, although I’ve come to it through adopting the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) after many years trying different things to tackle fatigue and mood problems. People are shocked when they find out what I can’t eat and think I must feel terribly deprived, but compared to being deprived of health, it’s nothing. The best of luck to you in your ongoing journey.

    • I’m pretty skeptical about tomatoes, haven’t reintroduced them yet. As for organic veggies.. It’s hard to say. I notice a difference taste wise, and sweet potatoes that aren’t organic upset my digestion. I think it depends on the vegetable.. and if the price is too much, it’s better to eat the right food nonorganic than to not eat the food right?

  11. Laura Ristovski says:

    Dear Mikhaila
    Thank you for your research on food and healing. I am from New Jersey and have a 17 year old daughter who has struggled with insomnia and constipation all her life and I am hoping to have her implement some of your dietary ideas. On a side note, she my is looking to attend Concordia University in Montreal next September. It is her number one school choice. If you can pass along any advice on her health woes or share any experiences at Concordia, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much!
    Laura Ristovski

    • When I moved out, my health problems (especially fatigue) got a LOT worse. I ended up surviving mostly off of noodles, as university students do… I would highly highly recommend she cut dairy and gluten. That should help, it’s hard in university and when you first leave home but she could start now and see how she feels? As for Concordia, depends. If she’s in science, the campus is a bit far, if she’s in arts the campus is right downtown. Montreal was insanely fun to live in. Cold though. But just warn her about the change in diet when she leaves and try to switch her over now? Good luck!

  12. Simon says:

    Dear Mikhaila

    Congratulations on figuring this out. I was wondering how your father was introduced to these ideas, now I know. In case you haven’t already you should check out Georgia Ede’s http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/ She’s a psychiatrist and came to the same conclusions as you did. I hope you will spread this message far and wide (especially with the traction your father has going). There are also a group of physicians in Canada, which want to change the dietary guidelines: http://www.changethefoodguide.ca/ You should team up and end some unnecessary suffering.

  13. Alexandra Howard says:

    Hi! I have been following your dad’s amazing videos for a few months now and am just about to start the self-authoring program. I have two young children and my own business but have Fibromyalgia with a severe anxiety disorder as an obstacle to succeeding fully with either venture 🙂 I am currently taking very high dose SSRIs which have helped, as have the online lectures but have always ignored people advising me to try taking things out of my diet as I’ve denounced it a little as nonsense. After watching an old tv interview of you talking of your success with dietary changes my mind has been changed about its potential to improve lives. I look forward to following your blog! Thank you from the UK! 🙂

    • Good luck!! It seriously changed my life (I always ignored diet advice too… but a lot of it is “fix you diet and you’ll feel better” which is kind of condescending. Just because it’s diet related doesn’t mean it’s a simple fix.

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