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The Paleo Elimination Diet (That “Cured” Me Before the Lion Diet)

By Mikhaila


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/lion diet. 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.



  • 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 reintroduce

  • 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

Join the Conversation


  1. Crikey, you Americans are so frightened of litigation! I hope we don’t get that phoney behaviour over here! Good luck everyone with your health – its in our own hands – imogen x

    1. What exactly are we afraid of in terms of litigation? Not sure what you’re referring to. And for what it’s worth, Mikhaila is Canadian.

    2. Sorry about seeing all you Nth Americans as the same – I guess you’re so far away and talk the same way, its easy to do! But thanks for pointing that out. My comment referred to a request that Mikhaila should continually state that she’s not a state registered and licenced nutritionist or dietician – for starters, she’s always said that, but within the community of people she’s informing, isn’t it the point that this is something new?

    3. She’s never been worried about litigation; it’s just a disclaimer so people don’t whine about her having no formal education on nutrition (which personally I think gives her more credibility, not less).

  2. Hi Mikhaila, I just finished with about 3 months of a strict “lectin avoidance diet.” I also took great supplements, daily binders, daily gut healing smoothies, exercised, did hot yoga, used all natural cleaning products, no medication, coffee enemas, colonics, chiropractic and more during this time. If I noticed anything, I was a little less tired. The issues that were not addressed, at all, was my depression, anxiety, lack of pleasure/motivation. Reading above, the carnivore diet appears nearly identical to the “lectin avoidance diet” that I did. Do you think that there is a more restrictive diet that could help me, or is diet probably not the main issue for me? Thank you for your time and all that you do!

    1. It’s worth trying all beef for 3 months. If that doesn’t work, probably ruling out diet is okay. I wouldn’t have gotten relief with purely lectin avoidance (even though it probably would have helped). The carnivore diet that’s popularized I find is a bit flawed. Eggs and dairy can be huge triggers for people with health issues. Going all beef might be worth a try.

  3. Thank you for the quick response! I really appreciate that! I’m pretty far backed into a corner here so I would definitely like to try this out. I’m sure I’d have far too many follow up questions so rather than waste your time with a back and forth, I’m going to try to set up a consolation soon if you have the availability!

    1. If you want to try a raw carnivore diet, shoot me an email and i can assist. It’s been working extremely well for me. I tried Mikhaila’s elimination diet initially, and later moved to the 100% cooked meat diet that Mikhaila’s on now, and it was a step up, but I didn’t quite get all the benefits i was looking for until i went fully raw, added raw dairy & eggs into the mix, and removed salt. I thought I had a form of dairy intolerance like Mikhaila until I started drinking the raw (i.e. unpasteurized) dairy. This diet is really working miracles for me, and has cured many other people of diseases that drugs and surgeries could not fix and often made worse.

      I can send you a PDF I have on this diet if you want, as well as answer any questions you may have. Like Mikhaila, I’m not a licensed physician or anything of the sort, but I’ve done a lot of experimentation and research on my own, and I’d be happy to help since I have some free time at the moment. My email is: uyuyuy99@gmail.com

  4. All of this is leading me to think that we can have very touchy, individual responses to food. I tried meat/greens/salt and felt better emotionally but bonked physically when I tried to exercise on that. (58-yr-old female). I am very clear that beef/salt is helping, and that the more I lean that way the better I feel. Last week, I ate the lovely cake baked by my neighbor, and descended straight into hell. Not a good move! Come to think of it, there was this hellish period some 25 years ago when I was teaching in a Waldorf preschool, and we were all about baking our own bread with the kindergarteners. Not good! And I did it to myself. I wonder how many terrible events in history have had bad chemistry to thank.
    I am thinking about trying all beef again, but see no symptoms from eggs and dairy, and. It will have to be over the holidays, because as a teacher, there’s no place else to adjust if I crash. Hands down, adjusting the diet has been the most effective thing I’ve ever done, and I’m saying this from a low point.
    It is not like we don’t benefit from human support, but I mourn the fact that I’ve wasted so much life trying to figure out what cause to hang my pain on, when much of it has been flatly chemical. This does not negate the fact that there are hard times, scars, and issues that we all must grapple with. Just saying that I personally have spun my wheels trying to find the causal “event” and “heal” in order to function, when that wasn’t the answer at all. Fast a few days, brain clears, no longer hyper emotional, in great pain, etc. etc. Who’d have thunk it?

    1. I don’t know what’s up with dairy. I’ve heard that most lactose intolerant people can drink raw milk and consume raw milk products. Carnivores in the wild will go first and foremost for the udders of their lactosing prey, so it’s not like being carnivore means no milk. Many people are intolerant of eggs, but who in the Carnivore communities is bitching about eggs? True that adults don’t need dairy, but we don’t need any veggies etc either.

    2. Try unpasteurized dairy. I used to think I had a dairy sensitivity but it works wonders for me, and I’m now drinking 4 gallons of milk and eating 2 pounds of butter a week, and I feel amazing.

  5. Mikhaila, how long did it take for you to get rid of floaters in the eyes? Did you get rid of them eating only meat, or also some of the greens you listed above? I’d really appreciate your feedback as there’s barely any info out there on reversing floaters (most of it is grim actually, that there is NO cure) 🙁 . I’ve had floaters for six months and it’s causing me suicidal depression as it really gets in the way of my life. Thank you Mikhaila.
    Kind regards, Miriam

    1. Miriam, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such trouble. If you’re experiencing suicidal depression you need to contact a psychologist or mental health professional as soon as you can, I can attest first hand the amazing quality of life improvement they can have. No one wants to go to one and we have it so stigmatized, but if you give it a chance I promise you a better life.

      As for floaters, consulting an eye specialist is the best thing you can do.

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