It is often said that “You are what you eat,” and it wasn’t until I heard Jordan Peterson talk about his Carnivore diet that I truly understood that sentence.
Not quite a dietitian, Jordan Peterson is a notorious Canadian Psychology professor and now Best Selling author of his new book ‘12 Rules to Life,’ which has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Peterson is highly influential, as well as controversial, seemingly finding himself in some kind of new political predicament each week due to his rather blunt, uncensored opinions on social matters.
Although hugely successful, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Peterson. He has mentioned struggling with severe bouts of depression, along with suffering from what he believes is an auto-immune disease.
Similarly his daughter Mikhaila was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a severe autoimmune disorder which led to her getting both her hip, and ankle replaced when she was 16.
As a result of these ailments, and after almost running out of hope, Peterson’s daughter began experimenting with food, eventually arriving at a diet which seemed to improve all of her conditions.
The Diet? Simple. Nothing more than meat and greens.
Peterson mentioned what is now known as his Carnivore diet on a podcast called ‘The Joe Rogan Experience.’
After seeing this video, my entire life began to change.
You see, my partner Georgie suffers from an autoimmune disease.
Which disease, you ask? Well, she had markers for Crohn’s disease, along with irregular menstruation, a daily battle with Migraines, bloating, cystic acne, hormonal issues, constipation, gum disease, teeth grinding, and random burning sensations on parts of her body at certain parts of the day.
And that doesn’t even touch on the mental aspect of what she was going through. Frequently I would have to watch the woman I loved breakdown into tears after receiving yet another piece of bad news from doctors and health specialists.
It seemed we were on an unstoppable conveyor belt towards her having to wear a colostomy bag and having full-blown Crohn’s disease.
Until, that is, I heard Jordan Peterson talking about diet.
Diet! While we had changed so much to try and minimize Georgie’s health issues, we hadn’t done much to our diet.
In retrospect it seems idiotic of us to have never considered the effect of the foods we eat, but we didn’t even really believe ourselves to be unhealthy.
Sure, we had a sweet tooth, and would maybe indulge in some chocolate every once in a while, but who doesn’t, right?
Well, after listening to Peterson, Georgie and I agreed we should try modifying our diets. I mean, what’s the harm?
And so, almost overnight, we cut out all processed foods, all breads, all sweets, all gluten products, any dairy, sugar, soy, legumes… you name it, we didn’t eat it.
Similar to Peterson we began to only eat meats and vegetables.
This is when things began to change.
Almost all of Georgie’s conditions disappeared.
The migraines stopped. The constipation stopped. The gum disease began to improve. She no longer felt painful bloating after every meal.
Things were finally looking up.
Ailments which had plagued her for years, unfailingly and with no apparent recourse, finally began to subside on this new diet.
And they didn’t just change for her either. I began to notice changes in myself too.
I wouldn’t have called myself a particularly anxious person before changing my diet. Though, after cutting out certain foods, I no longer felt the butterflies in my stomach that would appear in particular situations.
Suddenly my thoughts became clearer, and more positive. I became more confident, more energetic and more extroverted. I became more present, and even funnier (if you can believe it.)
What I thought were just the anxieties of being human, the unavoidable moments of angst at simply being alive, turned out to actually be my stomach processing foods it shouldn’t be eating.
Without those butterflies, my nervousness simply disappeared.
My stomach was now calm and so was my mind. It was the best I’d felt perhaps in my entire life.
Things I considered to be normal, like the gurgling stomach, the 3pm crash, the struggle getting to sleep… these were all as a result of putting foods into my body that I shouldn’t have been.
Now, after trying out Peterson’s Carnivore diet (albeit with more vegetables & fish than Peterson) my energy stays consistent, without the spikes and without the stomach-ache.
And Georgie, she’s still improving. Throughout this journey we’ve learned of the compounding damage of processed foods.
It’s taken nearly a year on this diet for her skin and hormones to finally begin to improve, which we believe is due to the years of eating the wrong foods.
Georgie had several allergenic tests done, and it turned out she was intolerant to egg, and onion, and plenty of other things we had been eating almost daily.
Now we only eat what is good for us, which we figure out through research and also intuition.
For example, we’ve realized Georgie can only eat meat a few times a week.
Unlike Peterson's Carnivore Diet, having meat on a daily basis seemed to be too much for Georgie’s body to process.
How did we figure this out? Trial and error.
It was only after cutting back on the meat, and eating vegetarian for several days a week, that her skin improved.
What I learned from all this was basically to just listen to my body.
If you really listen, and really connect to how you feel after certain foods, you will know what’s good for you.
Now I’ll add the obligatory caveats, I’m not a scientist, or a dietician, or even vaguely qualified to give people dietary advice.
All I will say is to try it. Eat vegetables, eat fish, eat meats, and see what feels right for you. Cut out the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating, and see how you change.
You truly are what you eat, and if you eat trash, I guarantee you will feel like it. Treat your body like the piece of machinery it is, and keep it well-oiled and maintained.
Deep down you know what’s good for you, so listen to your body and thank me later!