Jordan Peterson’s Diet – September 2017

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 figuring 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 backward. 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
  • wild herring – check the ingredients!
  • wild sardinescheck the ingredients!

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
  • 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!

UPDATE:

The Diet – Updated March 2018

54 thoughts on “Jordan Peterson’s Diet – September 2017

  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

          • Nicholas says:

            Mikhaila

            Very interesting diet, I too have found that diet can make or break my depression. Have you heard of “the food type diet” which suggests a diet based on epigenetic self analysis. Essentially, the book breaks down genes into 5 ancestral groups that evolved eating particular diets.

            My epigenetic profile is “explorer” which theorizes that my dominant ancestral genes come from (eskimoes?) which evolved consuming mostly fish and wild bird game. The book goes through looking at fingerprint patterns, bone length ratios, body shape, etc.

            Anyhow, the author of this book seems to think that about 80% of people are incapable of digesting gluten and milk. Which makes sense if I think about it – because humans are the only mammals that consume 1. other animals milk 2. milk after the age of 3 years old.
            The author also theorizes that the epigenetic profile that can digest milk is the Asian profile. The Asian profile is thought to be able to digest milk because of the way that their immune system evolved. It theorizes that their immune system evolved to handle more foreign substances due to being on horse back thousands of years before the rest of civilization.

            The author also believes that our growing issues with gluten stem from the relatively recent genetic modification of grains. Apparently, our grains hardly resemble the grains that our ancestors consumed. Essentially, the grain has been modified to contain different chromosomes which enhance yield.

            It makes sense though that sugar is causing many of us significant problems. My grandma used to state that oranges and fruit were so rare that they used to eat the Rhine. Now days we are bombarded by sugar everywhere we look.

            IF you get a chance, I believe you would really enjoy “that sugar movie” via Amazon Prime.

            Anyhow, thank you for this general diet outline. It looks to be very helpful & I appreciate your site and what you are doing.

          • I’m going to look into this. IgG markers show up in about 80% of people to gluten and milk, so that kind of aligns with what this guy is talking about… I am going to check that book out. I’ve looked at genetics for food but haven’t found anything useful yet. Thanks for the info.

  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.

    • jdadfan says:

      That could be a career in itself, a non-profit educational organization set to change policy in Canada and abroad with compiled scientific studies that seek to differentiate and debunk all the dietary habits showing up that prove to be benefiical without scientific backing as of yet like for Ketogenic diets, highcarb/lowfat diets, veganism, etc. and to debunk myths and push to have dietary education for more medical professionals on such topics at the academic level
      (Perhaps an organization/site kind of like http://www.examine.com which breaks down supplement ingredients using publicly published studies from http://www.pubmed.gov (which is a simple form of https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/, the simple form will take you to the longer form of the address so it helps to just remember the simpler form)).

      Videos on youtube like this that are information-dense, academically/scientifically proven, etc. would be a godsend out there with so much broscience and snakeoil floating around. And to make it an outreach arm of a legitimate non-profit organization could prove to make it a viable option for working from home. Don’t pass up this opportunity to leapfrog off of your father’s fame and popularity to draw other ills of society out of the shadows and into the light!

  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.

  14. Aaron G. says:

    Hi there, good stuff. I have a few questions though:
    1. Is this the baseline, and then you’d introduce new foods after about a month or so?

    2. Once you start introducing new foods, how long do you stay on that new food before you begin to introduce new ones?

    3. What about sauces? I can’t imagine eating straight up chicken or ribs, that seems miserable. If you can’t do BBQ sauce at first, for example, then is something like chimichurri okay? Or what about spices in general? I see you’ve included a list of some spices and herbs, but my goodness that seems to exclude many that would otherwise make plain meats and veggies more palatable.

    4. Would you recommend any of the popular elimination diet books found on Amazon, like Amy Myers’ or Patsy Catsos’ or Maggie Moon’s? I’m curious what inspired your particular solution. Was it a book like these, or was it just you figuring out which foods are most likely to cause an inflammatory reaction and other negative immune responses, and then sticking to the least likely groups?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    Aaron

    • 1. This wasn’t baseline believe it or not, this was after some reintroductions but I think most people can start at this. Once the symptoms are alleviated (takes about a month for me unless I mess up), a new food can be added.

      2. Sometimes symptoms don’t start until about a week after a new food is introduced, so I’d recommend trying the new food (very small amounts if it’s suspect), then waiting a week. If none of the old symptoms return, you’re probably good to keep that food and try a new food. If you don’t wait a week, sometimes you can reintroduce foods to quickly, get a flare, and then you won’t know what caused it. It’s very annoying.

      3. Believe it or not, these foods are excellent without the sauces. (That being said, I believe we’re going to add back in coconut milk soon and that can make excellent sauces with curry powder – turmeric, coriander). Try out the chicken wing recipe and see for yourself. It’s shockingly good.

      4. I figured it out by myself. That being said, there are a number of diets that pretty much follow the same pattern. The autoimmune protocol, paleo (to a degree), keto, GAPS, and SCD, all seem to cut out the most irritating foods. Unfortunately for me, a number of the foods that are deemed safe on those diets, still give me (and when I say me, the same thing happens to my father) a very nasty flare up. For someone who isn’t as sick, those diets would probably make a big difference too. If you’re really suffering I would recommend the most limiting diet and then reintroduction, just in case those other diets keep something that bothers you.

  15. Sara Garcia says:

    Hi Mikhaila, greetings from Mexico!

    I just found your blog through your father’s twitter post. I was wondering if you have tried to introduce onions at some point. There are several varieties, red, yellow, white. Maybe you can find one you like. I sometimes prepare french onion soup with the white one, and I have found I feel better in general and with less allergy symptoms.

    If you happen to handle onions well, apparently they can aid in introducing tomatoes to your diet when you pair them together in the same meal.
    I hope you feel better!

  16. Luke says:

    Hi Mikhaila,

    That’s fascinating, thank you for sharing. I’m on a very similar diet for 5 years now (although I re-introduced some things recently), and it completely changed my life – lost tons of weight, gained strength, more energy, vast psychological improvements etc. etc. It might not be for everyone, but this diet sure seems to help many people.

    I wonder if you have looked into iodine supplementation – that’s something that also helped me a lot (and at least for me, it keeps infections at bay!). There is a book about it called “Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without it”. And another, less scientific one called “The Iodine Crisis”. Another can of worms for sure!

    All the best to you and your family and thanks again from Germany

  17. Hi Mikhaila,
    I found your blog after your dear Dad mentioned his meat and greens diet on Joe Rogan.
    I am so very glad you have had success with your dietary changes and I was moved to tears when you spoke about the unexpected benefit of your depression lifting.
    I am keto, but need to quit dairy. Argh. You have lit a fire under me.
    Keto and fasting (and quitting alcohol) have helped me hold an aggressive cancer at bay, and taken 10 years and 60 lb off me.
    I love fasting and only do so when I weigh enough to actually fast.
    I am going to add foods back one at a time after my next fast.
    I am walking the Camino soon (March/April) and intend on putting one foot in front of the other as long as I can.
    All the best.

    • He’s sensitive to pork unfortunately. Even though that was basically his favourite food.. It’s hard to find bacon that sugar and preservative free as well.

  18. Suravi says:

    Hi Mikhaila
    Have you looked into Ehlers Danlos Syndrome? My daughter and I have this. I have depression, anxiety, severe foot problems, chronic pain, hypermobile joints. My knees, hip, shoulders and neck moves. I am fatigued all day, hard to wake in morning and yet want to stay up late at night! I was on antidepressants for chronic pain for some time, now on baclofen and Ritalin. Ive just ordered some CBD oil as I’m not liking the baclofen. Need the Ritalin to get up in morning! Other symptoms include reflux, allergies, gingivitis, almost all of your dads and your symptoms fit..
    I’m going to try your diet for sure. My partner doesn’t have EDS but is overweight and tired a lot, so he’s gonna do it too.
    My daughter is 11 and eats so few foods that if I excluded potatoes and bread I don’t know if she’d be alive still! So I may wait until she’s older.

    • Honestly getting rid of the bread for your daughter could be the best thing you could do for her. That’s much more important than getting rid of the potatoes. Good luck on the diet! I used to take Adderall to wake up in the morning, so I feel for you.

  19. Sam says:

    What about chicken eggs, free range, are they okay to consume? I’m Trying to workout what I could have for breakfast or to supplement my daily protein requirements, to have at least an alternative to the copious amount of meat/fish I’d have to be consuming.

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