Top foods to avoid (if you don’t want to do an elimination diet)

If doing an all out elimination diet isn’t feasible for you, or if you’re relatively healthy and just looking to improve your energy or lose a few pounds, avoid these foods:

  1. Gluten – You know those stereotypical Californian girls who don’t eat gluten “because it makes you fat” but they don’t exactly know what it is? Well they were right anyways. He who laughs last right? Anyways, gluten is composed of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. It looks like gliadin is really what’s bad for people. Yes, all people. Not just people either, mammals. I have a more in-depth post here, which I’ll add to eventually. The gluten molecule is in these foods: wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt… And those foods are everywhere. Twizzlers, soya sauce, bbq sauce, any thick sauce or soup, some chocolate bars.
  2. Dairy – Cow’s milk is for baby cows. The dairy industry has everyone convinced that you need milk to have healthy bones. This is a blatant lie. The highest rates of osteoporosis are in countries that drink milk. You can get your calcium from greens, or if you’re really worried you can supplement, but dairy should be avoided. Yes, unfortunately this includes cheese. Don’t worry, the cravings don’t last for more than 3 weeks.

Eliminating these two foods should make a huge difference. Don’t just cut back, get rid of them. If you really want to lose weight fast, also cut down on processed foods and grain. Eat whole foods (but avoid grains). Basically eat meat and green vegetables and root vegetables. That’ll make you thin and healthy fast. Don’t eat candy, eat less sugar (or no sugar), drink soda water instead of pop, all those obvious things. But if all you can do is cut these two foods, that should help fairly quickly. Cut them out strictly though.

If you cut those two out and want to cut out more, get rid of these next:

  1. Soya (and other legumes – kidney beans, black beans, etc.)  – anything that makes you bloat you just shouldn’t eat. Your body doesn’t like it, and it’s important to listen to that kind of thing. Green beans don’t seem to be in the same category as the bigger beans.
  2. Grains – make you gain weight.  Rice, quinoa, oats, etc. They’re empty. They’re not like gluten containing grains but they’re not good for you. You want meat and veggies and fats to be healthy. (This is why the vegetarian diet is such a bad idea. Dairy and grain =  seriously bad times, and at least if you’re vegan you get rid of the dairy.)
  3. Sugar – people know sugar is bad but they don’t really know why. Our microbiome is really important and the bacteria in our gut compete with yeast. Sugar feeds the yeast. There are many other reasons but this is a big one. It’s hard to cut out too. I had the most difficult time with dairy and sugar cravings.

The simplest way to eat healthily is to eat whole foods, without grains and dairy.

But if you’re really sick, I still think an elimination diet is the best way to figure things out. Sometimes there isn’t time though, so start with those first two foods!

There are lots of people who will argue about whether certain foods are bad for you, or good for you. I wasn’t a huge grain advocate but I was most definitely a milk advocate and oh I was wrong. Try it out yourself, and then decide.

14 thoughts on “Top foods to avoid (if you don’t want to do an elimination diet)

  1. Marta Cvetković says:

    Dear Mikhaila,

    To begin with thank you very much for all the information and stories you have shared on your blog. It has been truly useful, insightful and encouraging. I live in Belgrade, Serbia and that being the case it is quite difficult to attain certain foods of good quality or alternatives to the mainstream diet (besides the locally grown vegetables which are great). I have been firmly trying for a long time to use food as a medicine
    (dealing with hormone issues, depression, skin problems) My diet is vegan like (plus occasional consumption of fish). Breakfast seems to be the biggest issue, and I know that you have mentioned somewhere that you don’t really eat breakfast/ however i have been wondering if there is some advice based on what you have read of maybe even some recipes that you came across which would be suitable for a breakfast like meal? What is the breakfast solution for the others in your family?
    Also could you refer me, if possible, to any research papers on the link between food(mainly gluten) and depression? I have tried researching it through the libraries over here, but didn’t have much luck.

    Once again, thank you very much. Wishing you the best of luck with all that you are bravely and brilliantly doing and with your new family!

  2. Helen says:

    Corn is another food many people have a problem with and don’t realize it. I have thyroid issues and was told to avoid wheat, soy, and corn. Conventional corn is most often a GMO product and is sprayed with many pesticides. In addition to that, Dr. William Davis (http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2017/02/things-might-not-know-corn/) writes, “The zein protein of corn triggers antibodies reactive to wheat gliadin, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, bloating, bowel urgency, and acid reflux after corn consumption. (Research Study) The immune response responsible for the destruction of the small intestine that occurs in people with celiac disease can also be triggered, though less severely, by the zein protein of corn.”

    • Yes I totally agree. There are other foods I strongly recommend avoiding but if people can only cut out a few, these are better than nothing. I completely agree with the corn being a problem though.

    • I don’t eat fruit, I do eat tuna and salmon. If you’re doing a full elimination diet, fruit should be eliminated too, but if you’re just avoiding the big bad ones, this post should be enough to feel a difference.

  3. Camila Munoz Gonzales says:

    Hey there Mikhaila,

    What are your experiences with eating bacon or eggs? Those two are common household foods, and it’d be great if I could continue to incorporate these with the food items you feel have had the best impact on you. As a 24 year old, I’ve had a history of sleeping 12+ hours/day since I was in my preteen years. Having just watched you and Dr. Jordan Peterson’s “Digesting Depression” interview, I can very much relate to your past experiences (albeit, I’m a less severe case). My memory sucks, my face is red, I have arthritis and joint pain, constant fatigue, irritability, emotional instability, hopelessness/sadness, to name a few. On top of that, I am rapidly gaining weight and getting closer to the dreaded 200 lb mark at only 5’4. My birthday was about a month ago, and I am motivated to change now that I am in my mid 20’s. Life is short, and there’s so much to do.

    Thank you for your blog! It’s nice to see that other’s have found a way out of the tunnel.

    • There is DEFINITELY a way out. And it’s faster than it would seem. If you’re only 24 and suffering from arthritis, you might need to get pretty intense with the diet. Cutting out the majority of the foods will help you feel better and lose weight fast, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you want to keep bacon and eggs in as long as you remove the really problematic foods. You’ll still lose weight and feel better. If after you’ve been doing it for a while, you’re arthritis or skin still bugs you, switch out the bacon for ground beef (bacon has preservatives), and ditch the eggs until you’re sure they’re safe. When I first started removing foods I didn’t do it perfectly and it still got rid of most of my problems. I’m incredibly strict now because I know my body a lot better so I can tell when something isn’t okay a lot easier. That part takes time.

  4. Carolyn Hackett says:

    Hi Mikhaila- my name is Carolyn and I’m Tyler Uzelman’s girlfriend. I was hoping to meet you again at your grandfathers 80th bday. However, I understand you were pregnant and couldn’t make it and have since had a baby, congrats very exciting. Your mom told me about your blog and I have enjoyed reading it and passing it on to several friends. However recently I’ve come to read more of the blog as my father has been recently hospitalized and is recovering from a stroke. My father has polio (leg), carpal tunnel in both hands and severe arthritis. He had an MRI the other day and it was so foggy from arthritis they couldn’t even read the scan. He has lost his walking ability in his polio leg which I think is due to the inflammation in his spine cause by the arthritis. I was diagnosed with RA when I was in my early 30’s and seeked a natural path in Aurora who really helped me. Lucky for me the RA only lasted for about 5 years and I’ve been RA free for 12yrs now, knock on wood! I know how debilitating it is and of course I want the best for my Dad and want him to recover fully. His family also suffers from depression so I will need to deal with this as well which has been made worse by his stroke and lack of independence.
    I’m going home to see my father on Monday Nov 6th and want to get him off of hospital food the first day I’m there- carbs and sugar is all they serve, meals for the masses. I know food elimination is the golden standard but my Dad is not that patient so I may try a food sensitivity test via a natural path in Moncton where my Dad lives but until those results come back, I will definitely get him off of all dairy, gluten and all sugars right away. I would really like your input on the following-

    1) lemons- I love detoxing first thing in the morning with lemon and water. Lemons alkaline water which is acidie so everytime I grab water I put lemon in it, I want my Dad to start this as well. What is your take on lemons?
    2) green tea- great anti oxidant do you drink green tea
    3) Breakfast- what do you eat for breakfast. I was thinking of having him do a smoothy but I usually incorporate fruit in smoothies- banana, pineapple and spinach- thoughts. I see your Dad eats fruit, do you think fruit has too much sugar for people dealing with inflammation and arthritis
    4) Salad dressings what do you do for dressings
    5) what do you think of healthy fats like avocado’s
    6) nuts- whats your take on almonds, chia seeds
    7) tumeric and pepper- Tyler and I both take this every morning and I believe this is great for inflammation- have you tried
    8) what do you do for a sweet treat?
    9) in terms of veggies- mainly root veggies because things like- broccolli, carrots, celery, onions have too much sugar? I’m wondering how you make your chicken soup or any soups without onions, celery and carrots.
    9) I understand you take 5HTP for depression and recommend if your not on anti anxiety or depression pills. I need to get some of this for my father.

    I would appreciate any response and will let you know how it works on my father.

    • Hi! Nice to virtually meet you! If you get him off of sugar, gluten and dairy I think that’ll make a big difference. It’s really difficult for people to cut out food successfully, so if he can do that, that’s great. If that’s not enough, than an elimination diet is a good idea, but maybe that’ll be enough? I also answered all your questions here: http://mikhailapeterson.com/2017/11/04/faq/ For the sweet treat thing, if you can manage to get your dad off of those big bad ones, use honey, fruit, etc. If that doesn’t work (you should be able to see a difference in a month), then yeah, getting a food sensitivity test done is a good idea, and getting rid of sugary things might be necessary, if he’s willing. Fruit gives me terrible arthritis. Good luck! Keep me updated.

  5. pero says:

    It makes sense if you think about it. In the wild, fruiting period of trees and grains is 2months per year (near the fall but it depends on plant), so cold-dwelling hominids dont really have access to sugar except for a few months of the year.

    I was always under impression that sugar and salt were the bane of the western world, because theyre SEVERAL orders of magnitude nore available than in nature. And hyper concentrated into crystals to boot… Can anyone imagine eating a spoonfull of crystalized squid protein?

    Milk and gluten is a close second contendwr for to bad guys, but there seem to be more people that can tolerate it. Carbs from grains and tubers are a third worst, even if gluten is ignored, we do eat a lot more of it than we should.

    As to the good…. We seem to be adapted to fungi, meat of all kinds, and herbaceous vegetables (salads, cabbage, celery etc). And longer periods without food, than 3 times a day.

  6. Carolyn Hackett says:

    Hi Mikhaila,
    Hope you enjoyed the weekend. I’m heading out east today and I’m looking forward to having Dad start his food elimination rather then continue with hospital food where he is basically eating carbs and sugar. I know lunches and dinners will be no problem. I’m just having a tougher time thinking of creativity around breakfast. What are your thoughts on eggs? Your Dad speaks to having a high protein breakfast with fats. My father who is recovering from the stroke is having physio 3xs a day so a high protein breakfast would be great for him due to the amount of exercise he has to have. He has had polio so fatigue, muscle weakness is part of the after effects of this disease. I’m going to discontinue sugars except apples and pineapple (bromlein is in pineapple and it acts as an anti inflammatory). You were talking about apple cider vinegar so I figure, apples would be ok??

    • I had the least issue with pears and apples. Pineapple was an issue.. And eventually the sugar in all fruit became an issue. Or I became aware of it, I’m not sure. If you can manage to drastically reduce gluten, dairy, and processed foods and sugar, I think you’ll see a huge difference even if you end up keeping a bit of fruit. You can decide about those fruits later.

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