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Mikhaila Peterson: Carnivore Diet, Genes & Autoimmunity

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Today I am here with Mikhaila Peterson. In this podcast, we will be learning about Mikhaila’s long and complicated health journey, discussing the benefits of a carnivore diet and some potential nutrient deficiencies that may result from it, and seeing what her genetics have to say about her body using our health tool, SelfDecode. SelfDecode allows you to identify specific genes that impact your body the most and see what substances interact with these genes to potentially improve your health.

The interview took an unexpected twist when we started discussing her genetics on SelfDecode. I was very curious if she possessed a “lectin sensitive gene” that only 3% of the population has and that I noticed was correlated with food sensitivities. Continue reading or check out the podcast to find out her results!

About Mikhaila Peterson and Her Health Journey

Mikhaila Peterson, author of the blog “Don’t Eat That”, used a carnivore diet of beef and water to treat severe autoimmune arthritis (multiple joints replaced as a teenager), chronic fatigue, depression, as well as a plethora of other symptoms.

From a very young age, Mikhaila suffered from multiple health issues. When she was an infant, she fell ill and was put on antibiotics for a strep infection, which caused her to develop thrush (an overgrowth of Candida yeast in the mouth). When she began walking, her parents noticed that she walked “funny” and was later diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Mikhaila went on to become the first child in Canada to be put on the biologic Enbrel for her arthritis.

Mikhaila’s health issues continued to follow her throughout her childhood. She developed depression, a seasonal rash, and in her late teens, had to have her hip and ankle replaced due to her arthritis.

While Mikhaila was in college, her health dramatically worsened, forcing her to leave school to focus on her illness. After conducting extensive research and getting her genome sequenced, she began to find some answers as to why her body was failing her.

She learned that she has an autoimmune condition that causes her body to react to various kinds of food. Typical food common to most diets was causing her body to be in a constant state of inflammation. She started to feel much better after cutting out most foods except for beef, vegetables, rice, and apples. Today, she feels her healthiest on a simple carnivore diet of beef and water.

Mikhaila is now finishing her degree in biomedical science and taking care of her daughter. She is also working on a book due for release next year, which will be a carnivore diet how-to guide.

How Does the Carnivore Diet Help People?

Mikhaila and I discuss our thoughts on why we think the carnivore diet is helpful and compare them to Rhonda Patrick’s opinions.

Rhonda Patrick and I have very different views about why the carnivore diet benefits people. She believes the main reason it helps is that people eat fewer calories and fast. On the contrary, I found that my clients, Mikhaila, and I have overall increased our caloric intake compared to our previous diets. Many of my clients were underweight before switching over to a carnivore diet, but they were able to gain weight and improve their health while on it.

I think the main reason why the carnivore diet is so beneficial is that it eliminates immune-stimulatory agents. The majority of people who benefit from a carnivore diet tend to have autoimmune disorders. By cutting out the agents that trigger their immune response, they are able to reduce their body’s overall inflammation load.

The Food Sensitivity Spectrum

If you have food sensitivities, your body does not fare well when you consume foods that are found in a standard diet. Some people can simply exclude dairy from their diet and feel fine, while others are very limited in what they can consume. It’s important to find out what combination of food works best for you and your body.

Mikhaila’s Diet Today

Mikhaila definitely falls on the more extreme side of the food sensitivity spectrum. Surprisingly, she feels her healthiest on a diet of only beef and water.

Before switching over to a carnivore diet, her white blood cell count was always flagged as high. Since adopting the diet, it has dropped significantly and is now at a normal level. White blood cell count can be used as an indicator of inflammation, infection, and other bodily stresses. This suggests that Mikhaila was able to become healthy by eliminating stress factors that were coming from her diet.

Does a Carnivore Diet Cause Nutrient Deficiencies?

In this podcast, Mikhaila and I discuss our different viewpoints on what is considered a nutrient deficiency.

Mikhaila’s blood results indicate that she is not deficient in any nutrient, but can these levels be trusted? She thinks that if her labs don’t point to any deficiency and she feels great doing what she’s doing, then there is no reason to alter her regiment.

Mikhaila argues that the standard dietary requirements (ones that would indicate she is not consuming enough potassium or magnesium) are intended for people eating a standard diet filled with vegetables, carbs, and fruits. She points to the fact that no studies have explored dietary requirements for those on a purely meat-based diet. I, on the other hand, am a little more skeptical.

In general, I have found that measuring nutrients in the blood can be very unreliable. It is hard to accurately measure minerals, not to mention whether your body is using them efficiently. Your kidneys can be working fine, accounting for normal levels, but your body may still not be absorbing sufficient amounts.

Mikhail has a more “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality around supplementing nutrients, while I have a more “fix it before it breaks” mentality.

Other Biohacks That Helped Improve Mikhaila’s Health

Although supplementing did not help to improve her health, Mikhaila did notice that she felt significantly better when she spent more time in the sun and inside an infrared sauna.

Going Through Mikhaila Peterson’s Genome on SelfDecode

We were able to briefly go through Mikhaila’s genome on SelfDecode to see if she has any SNPs that coincide with her health issues.

After hearing Mikhaila’s health journey, I was curious as to whether she possessed a very specific SNP in her CNR1 gene. Specifically, TT in rs1049353. This rare SNP in the CNR1 gene only affects around 3% of the population, and from working with all of my clients, I have found that those with this genetic variation all suffer from major food sensitivities on a plant-based diet. It turned out that Mikhaila did have this rare gene variation, which corresponds to her limited diet.

Using SelfDecode, we found that Mikhaila has significant SNPs related to food sensitivities, rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac disease, and depression in a short amount of time.

With a little bit of time and patience, you can use SelfDecode to identify specific genes that impact your body the most and see which substances interact with these genes to potentially improve your health. It will equip you with all the knowledge you need to understand how your body is designed and how to work with it.

Where You Can Find Mikhaila

You can find out more about Mikhaila Peterson and what she is doing on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine… and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission is to empower people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time. 


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