Worst Offenders to Safest Foods – And Why Vegans Get Better

This is a list of foods that I found irritated me the most to the least. If I’ve missed any foods, please comment. I know it comes off as a random/quack list of foods, but I’ve put some thought into it, and this is how my body has reacted.

Why Vegans Feel Better:

If you eliminate the first 3 on this list you should see quite an improvement.

This is part of the reason going vegan makes people feel so much better (depending on the person of course). The first three foods are really hard on people. Eliminating dairy can really help. Going vegetarian is probably the worst thing you can do, you end up eating grains and dairy and eliminating meat. Increase your consumption of soy to replace meat and you’re in even worse shape. Not a good idea. At least going vegan eliminates dairy. They just lump meat in there and end up getting rid of the safest food. So I understand people who have changed the way they ate, gone plant-based, and felt better. Hell, the people who go gluten-free vegan and limit their sugar intake have already eliminated the top three harmful foods. No wonder they feel better. Gluten and dairy and sugar are not good. But meat can’t be lumped in there just because it’s an animal product. People need it in order to really thrive.

If you eliminate the first 6, even better. I would say the first 12 items really bothered me, but not as bad as the first 6. Go all the way to greens and meat, even better, or even just meat.

Worst  to Best

  1. Gluten-containing grains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut
  2. Dairy
  3. Cane Sugar
  4. Soy
  5. Citrus fruits
  6. Legumes (including peanuts) and bananas and melons
  7. Other grains – rice, quinoa
  8. Figs
  9. Canola oil
  10. Potatoes
  11. Almonds
  12. Green Cabbage
  13. Squash
  14. Grapes
  15. Plums
  16. Berries
  17. Peaches and nectarines
  18. Pears and apples
  19. Macadamia nuts (people seem to tolerate these better than other nuts)
  20. Avocado
  21. Red Cabbage
  22. Coconut flesh
  23. Black pepper
  24. Olives
  25. Greens – lettuce, arugula, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard
  26. Tea – peppermint and black
  27. Coconut oil and olive oil
  28. Fish
  29. Chicken
  30. Beef
  31. Salt
  32. Water

Things I don’t know/really have an opinion about:

  • Coffee – from what I’ve read, as long as you get high-quality coffee it doesn’t seem to be nearly as bad as some of these foods. I don’t really have an opinion on this. Dad had a bad reaction to it, so did Andrey, but some people seem to be able to tolerate it.
  • Pork – Dad reacts to pork, but Andrey can eat it. This seems to depend on the person.
  • Cocao – I tried to reintroduce this, pure. It didn’t seem to bother me that much, but completely got rid of my appetite. Plus it’s not thatttt tasty without the sugar anyway.


  • I can tolerate the minerals they add to sparkling water (potassium citrate, etc.)
  • I can take activated charcoal. I use this before I go to bed if I drink.
  • I can drink vodka and bourbon and not suffer for too long afterward. I’ll be a bit stiff, and have a hangover, but that’s about it. Other alcohols have additives I react to.


Posted in FAQ

80 thoughts on “Worst Offenders to Safest Foods – And Why Vegans Get Better

  1. Abigail says:

    Coffee showed up on my IgG test and it is the one thing I know for sure causes me issues. Cane sugar also showed up as well as dairy, spelt, and bananas. Interesting how there are similarities across the board.

    • AK says:

      Sugar is awful for the body. Dairy is a late introduction and only amongst certain ethnic groups. Grains are terrible, especially for Europeans who apparently have little or no carbohydrate tolerance (whereas Asians tend to have high carb tolerance).

      And bananas are man-made.

      • C says:

        Are you from Scandinavia, AK? I’m currently eating a paleo diet and starting to feel better. I believe cutting out grains has had the biggest effect on me feeling better. Not sure if im going to stop eating diary though. Tried cutting it out but haven’t noticed that much of an effect. Guess i have to try reintroduce it and see. I’m from Scandinavia so my body should be addapted to it but I’m not sure. Are you eating diary?

  2. AK says:

    Coffee – very possibly tannin sensitivity. I never used to react to tea but after years of drinking huge amounts of black tea, I noticed it was giving me hives (particularly in my legs) and a sore stomach. Decaf was better but not by much.

    Alcohol – along with additives, there is also the question of the amount of yeast left in it. I am allergic to yeast/mold and I am a lot more reactive to beer than spirits (beer tends to be high in yeast, spirits/distilled drinks contain little or none).

  3. Charles says:

    Hey, I like your stuff.

    I’ve been eating (roughly) paleo for a long time, but I’m having a go at just steak and greens for a while after reading your blog.

    What are your thoughts on food sensitivity tests?

    Will you keep trying to reintroduce veggies as time passes from your pregnancy? I’ve read before that pregnancy increases food sensitivity in women because of children’s weaker immune systems, so maybe after you have finished breastfeeding you will become less sensitive again.

    I can’t remember if it was you I read it from or someone else, but they were talking about how you don’t use your microbiome to break down meat but you do use it to break down veggies, I assume there is some good that comes from eating veggies (although maybe not)? I know you’re biome changes depending on what you eat, like if you eat more sugar you get more bacteria that digests sugar, I assume it’s the same for greens for example, so what I was wondering is if you are at all concerned that if you don’t have green veggies (or any food) for long enough, you’ll lose so much of that bacteria you won’t be able to digest it again when you try to reintroduce it, orrrr when you first reintroduce it your body will have a hard time with it and give you bad reactions, but your body may adust to it and even like it if you keep eating it and your microbiome adjusts.

    This is just random ideas and I don’t even know if I’m thinking along the right lines, but maybe some food for thought, pun intended 😀

    I had another question, but I forget.

    Good luck and keep blogging!


  4. Cory Levenberg says:

    Great posts. I am relatively new to your blog, but I have been “meat and greens” for 9 months now after reading Gary Taubes and feeling great. But I don’t know what I would do if I had to give up my coffee with cacao butter or 100% chocolate. It’s there for me during the cravings.

    I second the question on what folks think about food sensitivity tests (not ever having had one done).

  5. Luka says:

    What do you guys think/now about goat milk?

    I’ll try meat and egg diet, but including goat yogurt, whey and hard cheese also for my autoimmune disorders for at least 30 days and see what happens.

    • steven v says:

      Speaking for myself, I do pretty well on goat cheese, never really tried goat yogurt.Definitely have to read labels closely on the ingredients of goat cheese. Whey and casein are a BIG no for my diet, for if I eat one of those I could be hungover for 2-4 days. I’ve read that whey and casein are two of the harder products for the body to digest and it corresponds with my body.
      Good luck on your diet, hope you find some things out!!

  6. Katy O. says:

    Hi Mikhaila,

    Thanks so much for this helpful info. Where are eggs for you in terms of sensitivity? I consider dairy to be products made with milk (or are eggs considered part of dairy?). Are other nuts such as pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts and cashews about the same level as almonds for you in terms of sensitivity?

    Thank you!

  7. Jack says:

    Did you ever get around to testing tomatoes, peppers, or cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower)? And were sweet potatoes and white potatoes equally reactive to you?

    Also I do believe you left eggs and onions off the list.

  8. Coen says:

    Hi Mikhaila and others! Inspired by you, and later on other people like Amber O’Hearn too, I’ve started an elimination diet last friday. My depression went away on saturday, which is only day 2! I was very surprised and I’m not ready to draw any conclusions yet, as I want to be careful with that (I’m thinking of placebo effect, having some better days coincidentally etc.). However, I’m hopeful. All I’ve been eating since friday is meat, eggs and coffee. I love eggs and coffee and I don’t feel like they harm me, but just to be sure I’m planning to eliminate these as well – my way of “easing in to it”.

    After reading what you wrote about pork I started thinking: should I eliminate that for a month as well? Is that a specific kind of meat that is so different that it has a bigger chance of aggrevating things? I wonder because last night I had about 280 grams (10 ounces) of pork (the very fat stuff, 28/100g fat) and I didn’t feel so good afterwards. I gotta say I was already tired that whole day though, which might be my body adjusting to this diet as I feel tired today as well. Still no depression though, which trumps everything so far.

    Did you (or other people reading) have some low energy days while transitioning to this diet too? I don’t seem to have any cravings though, that really surprised me.

  9. Monica says:

    We did a food sensitivity test for my son who was out of school for all of 8th grade throwing up and nobody could figure out why. The allergyy tests showed nothing, but the sensitivity tests came up with a really long list of weird and obscure foods, some of which he had only recently been introduced to because we tried eliminating dairy and wheat. I eliminated all the new list of foods (at least 20) and it made no difference to his health.

    This is only one data point, but the food sensitivity test was quite expensive ($1000?) and did nothing for us.

    After I let him have whatever he wanted again, he only wanted meat, flaming hot cheetos, and chocolate milk.

    For those who are hanging on for the rest of the story, we finally gave up on the medical community and he got better with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

  10. Gwen Hamer says:

    I found eggs and dairy to be the worst and they happen to be the foods I most like:-(. I wonder if there’s a connection between craving a food and it being bad for you.
    I found the best thing to do was go cold turkey on diary, eggs, gluten and sugar. I now just eat beef, fish, venison, lamb and vegetables (leafy ones and broccoli), blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Coconut milk and fat is my main cooking substance…so not too bad a list I think. I may try reintroducing nightshades like peppers and see how I react….although I’m feeling so much better I’m almost reluctant to experiment on myself in case of set-back.

  11. Tara says:

    I don’t see either honey or onions on the list. If it’s tolerated, honey is a really good sweetener for cocoa.

  12. Jim Watson says:

    Whole civilizations have arisen on grain, dairy and meat. Our larger brain size is due to an omnivore diet that has genetically modified out bodies for the better. Those who cannot absorb some of these food are either neurotic and/or genetically flawed.

    • Jasper says:

      ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison…’ …or something like that. There’s no point in eating something if your body can’t tolerate it whatever the reason – be it genetic, your biome or even psychosomatic.
      I’m lucky in that no food gives me a reaction as such but by eliminating refined carbs, I feel more alert and can control hunger pangs.
      Closing your mind to dietary factors in your wellbeing is intellectually flawed and dismissing others quest to feel better through dieting is psychopathic.

    • AK says:

      Complete nonsense. Carbohydrate tolerance, for instance, varies wildly between ethnicities. Scandinavians for example have very poor starch carbohydrate with Finnish people believed to have none of the genes required to metabolise carbohydrates.

  13. Edwin R. Fish says:

    Corn right up at number 7 with rice?

    Also, dates with figs?

    And the sugar. I am guessing refined beet sugar is only better by a hair vs. 3 (and might be beets in the 10-13 area). Probably no great improvement with coconut sugar, not with agave. And then there was honey. Please tell me if it’s raw, local, and organic honey, the pollen resistance can be a counterweight to–the fact that it’s sugar–and bump it out of the top six.

    Good things.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Overall you’ve raised awareness of food sensitivity issues and exposed how flawed the recommendations of the medical establishment are – ie, to eat lots of grain and sugars and avoid meat/fat.

    However, I don’t think your diet recommendations have universal applicability any more so than the suggestion to eat a mostly plant based diet. It’s only what works for you and people with similar genetics and problems. Some may be fine and perfectly with grains or diary.

    What i’ve taken away from this is that it’s worth questioning conventional wisdom and experimenting with diet to deal with chronic illness rather than just using drugs to mask symptoms.

  15. Sherri says:

    I’ve only seen tumeric, salt and pepper listed as seasoning, what are your thoughts on other herbs and spices to give some variety to meals?

    • Miloš Marinković says:

      I think you should stop asking her the questions and listen to your body. It heavily depends on your ancestry and their diet.
      What works for her may not work for you because you have different genetics, blood type etc etc.
      I know it’s hard to listen to your body since you eat many foods throughout the day but it’s the only way you can actually get results.
      What works for everybody is cutting processed garbage foods that cause inflammation. Try also adding some anti-inflammatory foods to your diet and see how you feel in few weeks

  16. kayesem says:

    Great posts happening lately, thankyou : )

    Where are: Fruit / Veg like tomato, cucumber, onion, pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and mushrooms. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, coriander. Seeds like chia, pumpkin, sunflower. Dried fruit like dates, apricots.

    How long, if ever, do you think it will take before you can re-introduce items without reacting?

    All the best and keep up the good work!

  17. Tara says:

    Does anyone here have other people that they cook for who don’t need to follow this diet? I would love to try this restricted diet because I have all kinds of health problems, mood as well, but with so much time spent preparing a varied diet for others, I kind of give up and eat what they eat. I’m trying to figure out how to work this.

    • Jeff S says:

      Just a bit of background: I’m on a low carb/high fat diet, basically trying to follow the ketogenic ratios. Within my family of four, I’m the only one that does this and in general, I do most of the cooking for the entire family. Here are some notes from my personal experience:

      – If you go carnivore or low carb/high fat, after some acclimation time, one of the most notable things you discover is that you loose your cravings. So it’s often I cook something for the wife & kids, and I don’t even have the urge to taste it.
      – I cook in bulk at times too (e..g, a whole bunch of salmon). For instance, it’s not uncommon that I cook too much of something for the family and they end up eating the same thing for multiple days (tough luck, I have a full time job too).
      – Having some set & forget type equipment helps. For instance, I use my Air Fryer around twice a week or so.
      – Sometimes I prep (e.g., cut veggies) way ahead of time, if I have the time.
      – I typically make sure I have at least two things for myself (protein & veggie).
      – Although I’m keto strict they aren’t (meaning they can eat what I eat). I’ll cook up a broccoli that’s keto friendly, and that will end up being the main veggie dish for the entire family.

      Also, another note. I love steak, notably ribeyes (so satiating). Steaks in general is very easy to prepare, and one method I use is the reverse sear. I place a steak in the over for 20 minutes, then I sear it on a cast iron, high heat 45 seconds on each side. Whenever I cook steak, it’s usually what I do last right before dinner time since all I need is 45 seconds per side. Note, depending on how you like your steaks done impacts everything – that’s just what I do for myself.

  18. steven v says:

    I am shocked on how easy and quick this meat diet is in preparing!
    Been only doing it for 5-6 days but I watched a video on preparing “rib eye steak on a george foreman grill” on YouTube. This guy folds a piece of aluminum foil around the meat and puts it in the grill. After a few minutes your meat is done and you throw away the foil. No cleanup and ridiculously fast prepared food!! All you need to do is to set a timer to find out how you want your meat prepared. You will get efficient very quickly. Good Luck

    • Jeff S says:

      Agreed, once you get into the swing of things. As noted in a post above, I’ve used the reverse sear (oven, then cast iron) method. On the weekend, when I have more time, I’ve used the sous-vide method – turned out great. And when I’m really squeezed for time, I’ve actually stuck a raw steak in the Air Fryer (@ 400, 12 minutes, flip it once at the halfway mark) and surprisingly it came out pretty good too.

  19. Giselle says:

    Hi Mikhail, I just saw you on Depression to Expression, and heard you mention sever allergies to outside and all. I am really allergic to dust, snow molds, pine trees etc, so spring is really hard on me. I got a IQ Air purifier and for the first time in years and years and after 3 weeks not, I have to say that it is keeping me out of bed, because I usually can hardly function.

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