About: The Lion Diet consists of nothing but meat, salt and water. People around the world have been using it to 'cure' their autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, crohn's disease, psoriasis, chronic fatigue, depression and more. Founded by Mikhaila Peterson (daughter of Jordan Peterson, who is also on the diet) it is said to be the ultimate elimination diet that improves health by reducing inflammation. There is little research on the diet so almost all evidence is anecdotal. I am not recommending this diet at all but just documenting my experience on it for others who are searching for it on the internet as I was.
Why am I on it: In 2021 I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue which my doctors think is caused by an unknown autoimmune disease. For over a year I wasn't able to work, travel or exercise and spent a lot of time bed-ridden. I am hoping to improve my energy levels and consequently understand if my health struggles are food/allergy related. I'm also curious to see if it will improve my insomnia, eczema, bloating, headaches and symptoms of depression.
Day 1 (Start Day) -
Day 2 -
-Woke up feeling significantly less bloated. Unusual for me and where I am at on my cycle.
-Had dreams of eating vegetables already!
Day 3 -
Slept 11 hours (normal for me) so no improvement yet on energy or mood.
Woke up with conjunctivitis so bad I couldn’t open my left eye. Not presuming this is related to the diet.
In the afternoon I felt strangely tired as if I was zonked out from sleeping pills.
By this time I am likely beginning to experience carbohydrate and sugar withdrawals which can last 1-2 weeks. This can result in ‘flu like symptoms’.
Day 4 -
Felt really great in the morning and day and light, both physically and mentally. Feeling tired towards the end of the day.
Day 5 -
Eczema flare up.
Felt sleepy/dull in afternoon. Noticing a general dullness to my life that’s always been there.
All bloating gone .
Today I’m starting to miss eating normal. I’m just not enjoying my food at all today. I'm not having any intense cravings but I have had some for the food I see in front of me including honey, lollies, mashed potato, sweet bread. I think I’m craving honey because I know it’s the easiest food to justify eating (honey is said to be one of the least allergic foods, and the diet advises that if you are going to cheat to just eat as much honey as you want).
Nausea around bed time (probably related to carbohydrate withdrawals).
Day 6 -
Depression hit me like the whomping willow.
Already lost 2.3kg. It’s really really difficult for me to loose weight because I fucked my metabolism from starving myself when I was younger (to the point I stopped getting my period). For context, I gained 20kg when I was sick in 2021 and for the last eight months I’ve been really trying to lose weight. I’ve been eating clean and running 40km per week for a lot of that time, and in that whole time I only lost about 6kg. I'm sure my diet isn't as clean as I want to believe, but I don't eat a lot of processed junk/fast food. I’m not doing this diet to lose weight but I was hoping I would because my body weight just seems to be a puzzle I can’t crack. I’m always bloated and feel like my body doesn’t reflect my commitment to my health. Something about this diet just feels right - like I’ve cracked the code and I’m returning to the blueprint of who I am. I felt this from the first day I woke up and wasn’t bloated.
Day 7 -
The diet has lost its novelty now and I’m not enjoying it at all. Not only can I only eat one food, I hate that food. I've never been big on red meat (if I go to the steak house with my family, I’ll order the chicken). l’m noticing that I’d rather not eat than eat meat so I feel like I’m force feeding myself. I seriously considered adding chicken to the diet because it’s still carnivore and what’s the chances chicken is the food I’m reacting to? But I decided to stick it out so I know 100% for sure forever. I’m going to try to find better ways to cook the food so I can enjoy it. On a positive note, I feel 100% certain at least some of my health issues are food related so I’m in a really positive place mentally.
Total weight loss this week - 3.5kg
Day 8 -
Mild food poisoning during the night (supermarket meat).
Today I did my research and realised I can eat Hungry Jack's beef patties (alone by themselves as they are not cooked with oil or seasoned.) This lifted my spirits a lot to know I can include this in my diet and to know there’s always something fast and convenient I can grab. My world view of foods I can eat is opening up.
Day 9 -
Calf cramps in the night. This is expected during week two and has to do with electrolytes. You can buy potassium, magnesium and sodium and make my own electrolytes.
Breast pain. Not the usual tenderness but sharp pain. I googled ‘lion diet and breast pain’ but what came up was keto diet and breast pain. My body would be in ketosis right now (the state when your body has no carbohydrates to use as fuel so it uses fat as an energy source) and according to online breast pain is a common side effect.
Day 11 -
Nausea at bedtime
Day 13 -
Worried I’m not getting enough calories so I bought beef tallow from Torquay Wholefoods to increase my fat and calorie content. I am only eating about two meals a day. It is common for people on this diet to have less appetite whilst eating as much as they want. I don’t feel hungry and I don’t feel like snacking. In a way this diet is easy because I can eat as much as I want and I don't have to waste time negotiating with myself if I can eat naughty food - I know the answer is a hard no.
I am conscious given my history of eating disorders there is a part of me that enjoys under-eating and so I’m actively ensuring I am eating at least 1,200 calories a day, but sometimes I fall short of this right now. I know low calorie intake is likely contributing to my weight loss, along with ketosis and intermittent fasting, but I do feel intuitively the weight is falling off because something in my health is aligning.
Day 14 -
Buying myself presents at the end of every week as a reward. Last week it was clothing and this week it is a PlayStation controller.
Weight loss this week - 1.8kg
Total weight lost in two weeks - 5.3kg
Day 15 -
Day 16 -
I’m not supposed to have Panadol or any supplements as the fillers used in these tablets have been known to cause reactions for people. However I decided to take a Panadol today as I have been unwell. I didn’t take Advil but they are coated in sugar.
Day 18 -
Feel normal. I’m noticing I never hear anything from my stomach. There’s never any grumbling or gas passing through.
Day 19 -
Diet is becoming easier. I’m not having cravings.
Stool wavers between normal and diarrhoea. According to Dr. Paul Saladino, author of the Carnivore Cure, long lasting diarrhoea (more than a few days) can result in people with underlying gut issues or nasty biomes as they heal their gut. Diarrhoea in the first few days is often a result of shifting populations of bacteria in the gut as the carbohydrate loving bacteria die off. It can also be the result of increased excretion of substances from the gallbladder to emulsify the fat content of the diet.
Day 20 -
Stomach cramps in the evening.
Weight loss this week - 0.8kg
Total weight lost in three weeks - 6.1kg
Day 23 -
Started adding in beef liver supplements which are meant to be enormously nutritional. I'm hoping I don't react to the gelatine cap.
Day 24 -
Stomach cramps woke me in the night, diarrhoea.
Day 25 -
I went to Sir Charles darling Hotel for steak night tonight and they put pepper on it. I didn’t realise until halfway through. I’m not supposed to reintroduce food until 4-6 weeks. I am 3.5 weeks in. When you introduce a food it usually takes 2-3 days to react. I was really annoyed because I've been trying so hard and doing perfect on this diet and it has been compromised by someone else. It made me feel like I can't be normal and go out for dinner. In future I will call ahead and outline my situation so they are aware before I show up and hopefully take it more seriously.
Day 26 -
I felt very energetic today. Can't be sure this is diet related.
Day 27 -
I'm actually starting to enjoy steak and even crave it. I asked work to get a bbq and they did so now I can cook steak for lunch!
Day 28 -
My dad has started on the carnivore diet now and he has lost 4.9kg in one week. His gout has mostly gone away. He is so happy and really taking an interest in food for the first time in his life - he is reading labels and talking about growing his own food. lt’s so cool to see (he is 58). My mum, who is already health orientated, has mainly been on the diet and also lost about 3kg in the first week.
Weight loss this week - 1.7kg
Total weight lost in four weeks - 7.7kg
Day 29 -
Today I woke up happy, which is really rare for me lol. Usually when I wake up my internal monologue is like Dr. House and I have to coax myself into positivity, and then after an hour or so I’m happy. But today I woke up and I was just positive. I can’t say this is diet related but depression has been reported to improve.
Day 30 -
I’m noticing a pattern with my weight loss which is to stay the same for 3-5 days and then drop 0.5+kg overnight.
Day 34 -
Food poisoning for the third time on this diet. Intense stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhoea.
Day 35 -
Last day of week 5 and I’m feeling like I did at the end of week 1 - like I would rather not eat than eat meat. For a while I found meat I liked, like hungry jacks and even steak. But the food poisoning disheartened me and now I don’t want anything. Truth is I’m not enjoying this diet.
Weight loss this week - 1kg
Total weight lost in five weeks - 8.7kg
Day 37 -
Today I went to the Torquay Farmers Market and I found wild deer. I am allowed to eat deer but didn’t think I would be able to find it. I didn’t enjoy the deer. However the market sold other local meats including beef, lamb, pork and fish which are organic and grass fed. I got some Otway steak and it was delicious. My parents also bought some local goat cheese and sheep yoghurt. These are some of the first foods I am allowed to introduce and I am very excited! They seem to be loving finding these foods and trying them.
Day 42 -
Last day of the six weeks. Feeling very excited to reintroduce foods tomorrow. The best steak I’ve found is Otway meats at the Farmers Market and the best steak I’ve eaten is the eye fillet from the Jan Juc Hotel. I have another page with my diary for reintroduction and another page for resources for where to buy foods in the Geelong region.
Weight loss this week - 1.3kg
Total weight lost in six weeks - 10.0kg
All up I’ve lost 10kg with zero exercise during this time.
I am never bloated, even during PMS week.
I have less headaches.
My insomnia seems to be a little bit better (inflammation of the brain can cause poor sleep) but it is difficult to say if this is related to the diet.
Eczema still comes and goes.
Overall I feel more healthy and on track. My energy levels and chronic fatigue syndrome have not improved much at all, however I have noticed that I also don't feel worse. I crash a burn a lot less. I have read several books (see the resource page) and many scientific studies but the author I trust the most is Dr. Grundy who is a very reputable doctor with much experience treating autoimmune patients with diet.
My hypothesis is this - I believe I have ‘leaky gut’ which is causing my chronic inflammation and consequential fatigue. Grundy hypothesises that lectins (proteins in plants that are toxic to humans part of their internal defence mechanism to stop themselves from being eaten) cause damage to the intestine wall. This allows food to pass through into the bloodstream which the immune system mistakes as foreign invaders. This results in inflammation. Not only this, I believe I have insulin resistance and mitochondria coupling, which causes poor energy productionin the cells. Dr. Grundy says that this causes fatigue, weight gain and headaches, which fit my profile perfectly.
The fact I’ve lost so much weight and am no longer bloated suggests to me that at least part of my issues are food related. It could be the ceasing of lectin consumption that is having this effect. However, if I have mitochondria coupling then too much animal protein can actually be detrimental. To be honest I intuitively don’t feel like I'm thriving when eating only meat. For some people I’m sure it's the best thing for them but for me I don’t think it's the best thing for my body. Moving forward, I will be reintroducing foods. To do this I will introduce one thing at a time e.g. chicken and then wait three days to see if I react. If i don’t then i'm in the clear and can introduce a new food. Grundy has a list of foods to introduce to build back good bacteria in the gut and I will be mostly following this to see if this helps. There are several food components that could be affecting me - such as lectins, oxalates, soy, dairy, etc - and now it will be a game of deciphering exactly what it is.
6 MONTH UPDATE
I have since found the cause of my chronic fatigue and insomnia. It turns out I have autism. Most females don't get diagnosed until later in life and for me I found out when I was 30. Autistic burnout is very common as it takes an autistic person a lot more time and energy to process a single day than a neurotypical person. Now that I know my fatigue is something that cannot be fixed I am learning how to manage it. However, I am still eating mostly meat because I feel so much better as a carnivore. I don't bloat, I don't crash, and when I do eat carbs again it doesn't have as much of an effect on me as it used to. I haven't been eating strict organic, suggesting that my reactions are not to preservitives etc but to carbohydrates more than anything. I eat meat, avocardo and dairy, and I seem to feel better eating A2 dairy.