Getty ImagesClaudia Totir
If you thought that the keto diet—high in fat and super-low carb—was restrictive, people are taking it to even more extreme heights and calling it the carnivore diet. And it’s gaining traction thanks to one Canadian blogger who eats only meat.
Blogger Mikhaila Peterson, 26, was recently featured in the London-based newspaper The Times for her controversial diet. Along with her dad, lifestyle guru Jordan Peterson, she eats only beef and salt, and drinks water. After suffering from autoimmune symptoms, like depression, fatigue, and weight gain, she says she turned to the extreme diet. “It sounds extreme but this was the only thing that made the depression completely lift, and autoimmune symptoms go away again. I’ve been eating like this since December 2017. I will never go back. I’ve never felt like this before and it’s amazing,” she writes on her blog. As she told The Times, “beef is what makes me feel the best.”
Peterson, who has an almost one-year old daughter, also credits the diet for her amazing postpartum body.
“But I would say this is what a non exercising woman can look like eating zero carb, after having a kid,” she posted recently.
Read the comments in her Instagram and you’ll see she’s flooded with how-tos. (“Do you eat grass-fed or grain-fed?” “Do you eat eggs?” “Do you take supplements?”) A look at the #carnivorediet on Instagram shows that there’s a growing number of people subsisting on mainly meat (and maybe some eggs and cheese).
Should you try the carnivore diet?
Absolutely not. Peterson has a long history of health problems she’s had to work through, including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, and depression, and shouldn’t be faulted if she’s found something that works for her. (Her depression and arthritis have been gone since January, she says). However, Peterson’s now the poster child for the carnivore diet, something that most people shouldn’t try.
“I’m not a fan of severe restriction of entire food groups for the sake of restricting food,” says Mike Roussell, PhD, author of The MetaShred Diet. While Peterson’s goal may have been to treat her health problems, the diet is turning into largely just that—a diet for weight loss. “There is no reason why you would just eat beef, salt, and water. You can, but why? Is the fastest way to reach your goals? No. There is a myriad of data to support the consumption of a diet that is rich in meat and vegetables,” says Roussell.