People are challenging themselves on social media to consume nothing but meat, salt and water for 30 days in a restrictive meal plan dubbed ‘The Lion Diet’.
TikTok users from around the world are posting their progress when trying out the controversial diet, which sees them chowing down on nothing but meat for 30 days.
In some cases people have posted videos of themselves eating raw meat, such as liver, claiming it can help with issues such as headaches, bad skin and allergies and balance their moods.
TikTok user @roryskitchen from Brisbane who suffers from a myraid of allergies and decided to give the diet a try – filming his progress.
People all over TikTok have been trying the Lion Diet including this woman tucking into raw meat, featured on an Australian influencer’s account
He went to the butcher to pick up some grass-fed steak and was seen eating salt- seasoned mince on a daily basis.
At first he said he had the ‘best night of sleep’ but soon began to feel unwell entering his second week of the diet.
After a while, Rory began to notice ‘his skin looked better’ and he was more ‘regular’ going to the bathroom – however he did feel upset watching his family eat something other than beef.
Medical site Healthline says of the diet: ‘The Lion Diet is a diet that anecdotal sources claim can help transform your life and improve your health.
Rory, who is on day 20 of the Lion Diet says he is more ‘regular’, has improved skin and has slept well , however he did notice the first two weeks were difficult and suffered headaches
Rory is eating beef, salt and drinking water for 30 days to see if his allergy and gut issues clear up
‘Followers of the Lion Diet have reported a long list of benefits associated with the diet, including decreased inflammation, improvements in mood, and relief from issues like headaches, insomnia, and allergies.
‘However, others have dismissed the plan as unsustainable, unhealthy, and ineffective, noting that it’s overly restrictive and extreme.’
Coined by TedEx speaker and Canadian podcaster Mikhaila Peterson in 2018, she’s touted the diet as a ‘cure-all’ for fatigue, intolerances and gut issues.
The mother-of-one began the Lion Diet in 2016, and has never looked back since, inspiring people worldwide to follow in her footsteps and eat nothing but beef products, including steak and mince, sea salt and plain water for six weeks.
Mikhaila Peterson, 28 is a TedEx speaker, podcaster and mother of one who suffered with health issues such as juvenile arthritis since the age of seven, she has made a miraculous recovery by stumbling upon the now well-known Lion Diet by accident, after cutting out food groups following health problems
Rory stocked up on grass-fed steak from his local butcher, and will be adding mince and liver to his diet
The carb-free meal plan can be likened to the Keto diet, which relies on the body going into a state of ketosis (starvation) in order to lose weight, because energy from slow-release carbs isn’t available, the body uses energy from food quickly and becomes hungry, producing ketones.
What are the foods you can and can’t eat on the Lion Diet?
FOODS YOU CAN EAT
- Meat from ruminant animals, including beef, lamb, goat, bison, and deer
FOODS YOU CAN’T EAT
- Fruits: apples, peaches, plums, berries, melons, pears, bananas
- Vegetables: potatoes, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, mushrooms
- Grains: bread, pasta, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, rice
- Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, cashews
- Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter
- Meat from nonruminant animals: bacon, ham, pork chops, rabbit meat
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, goose
- Seafood: salmon, trout, anchovies, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, lobster
- Fats: olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, margarine
- Beverages: coffee, tea, soda, juice, beer, wine
Mikhaila, 28, was diagnosed with a rare form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at just seven-years-old and was prescribed immunosuppressants.
From the age of 12, the entrepreneur was prescribed SSRI medication for depression and continued using them until her mid twenties. She was also prescribed stimulant medication Adderall, usually used for ADHD, at age 14 after suffering chronic fatigue.
She describes herself as ‘beyond miserable’ due to ongoing health issues that took over her life.
At 17 she underwent two joint replacements in her hip and ankle for the arthritis, but was continued on medication by her doctors.
The TedEx speaker told FEMAIL: ‘I couldn’t wake up, the depression was the worst out of everything.
‘It took me a long time to start taking diet seriously, but I started researching the carnivore diet and eventually gave it a go.’
At age 23, Mikhaila decided to try a meat- based diet which is sometimes called the ‘carnivore diet’ or the paleo diet, consisting of beef products including offal such as liver, steak and mince with sea salt and water.
She explained: ‘I went on a very restrictive paleo diet – mostly meat, greens, and some root vegetables, and by September of 2015, most of my symptoms had gone away.
‘It was insane. A month into the super restrictive paleo diet and I felt way better and started getting off of medications.
‘In December 2015 I stopped taking my SSRI for the first time in years, the withdrawal made me sensitive to certain foods.’
In 2016, at the age of 23, Mikhaila fell pregnant and her chronic fatigue symptoms and depression came back – which led her to decide to cut out even more food groups.
A meal for Mikhaila. In 2016, at the age of 23, Mikhaila fell pregnant and her chronic fatigue symptoms and depression came back – which led her to decide to cut out even more food groups and stick to beef
A meaty snack. The 28-year-old’s family has also joined her on the Lion Diet, and according to Mikhaila ‘nobody has vitamin deficiencies’
After having her daughter in December 2017 Mikhaila decided to stick to a beef based diet, and eliminated most food groups in an act of ‘desperation’, miraculously after a few months she noticed many of her symptoms began to disappear.
Is the Lion Diet safe?
Healthline says: One of the main issues of the Lion Diet is that it’s restrictive, lacking vitamins and minerals.
The diet is also very low in calories. Decreasing your calorie intake too much can cause serious side effects, including fatigue, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
Experts argue followers of such an eating regimen miss out on fibre, antioxidants and vitamins. Lacking in these nutrients can affect a person’s immunity, digestion, circulation and cognitive function.
Eliminating most of the major food groups does cause many carnivore dieters to lose weight, however, it can also lead to constipation.
Although research has shown that our primal ancestors may have eaten a similar type of diet to the paleo diet, or only had meat for a certain period of time – it can increase risk of Glycogen and water loss.
These side effects are known to be factors in the initial weight reduction on low carb-type diets such as paleo, carnivore and keto diets.
Due to meat being rich in protein and fat, many followers claim they feel fuller for longer, even though they are missing out on vital nutrients.
Experts claim followers of such a diet may initially feel better due to them cutting out sugar and processed food. Yet such eating plans are often unsustainable, causing dieters to feel frustrated and defeated.
Among those who take it one step further and eat raw red meat, they are putting themselves at risk of food poisoning if they become infected with bacteria like Salmonella.
Some experts have warned against the meat-only diet, with excessive amounts of red meat previously linked to bowel cancer.
The NHS states: ‘Red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and can form part of a balanced diet. But eating a lot of red and processed meat probably increases your risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer.
‘That’s why it’s recommended that people who eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red and processed meat per day cut down to 70g, as this could help reduce your risk of bowel cancer.’
‘I knew I had gotten rid of all my symptoms with diet so desperately hoped diet could still be the answer,’ the mother recalled.
‘After I had my daughter and five months into breastfeeding her, I cut my diet back to just eating beef, out of desperation really.
‘I didn’t think I was reacting to beef and didn’t know what I was reacting to so that seemed like a good place to start.
‘Two weeks into the diet my joints felt better and I stopped crying in the morning.
‘Six weeks in my fairly severe depression went away, and five months in the anxiety/leftover antidepressant withdrawal went away.’
She has now been on the diet for five years and founded her own website liondiet.com where she tells her story to others in the hope of helping them cure chronic pain and fatigue.
The mother-of-one said that people embarking on the elimination meal plan can find the first three weeks ‘a little rough’ as their body adjusts to the changes.
Mikhaila said: ‘You get insane food cravings for anything other than meat, and if you are immunocompromised I recommend increasing the sodium (salt) intake to keep your electrolytes balanced.
‘Most people feel better after six weeks.’
The 28-year-old’s family has also joined her on the Lion Diet, and according to Mikhaila ‘nobody has vitamin deficiencies’.
She added: ‘My mother’s Lupus is kept in check and my father’s depression and psoriasis has been helped by it too, everyone is healthy and nobody has vitamin deficiencies.’
Social media fans are generally doing a ’30 day challenge’ but the founder says that six weeks is the best timespan to see a noticeable difference.
‘Usually rather than 30 days I recommend six weeks. It depends on the person, but generally speaking people are less hungry, have more energy, have a much more stable mood, and see their autoimmune symptoms drastically lessen or go away entirely.
‘People are able to get off of psych meds with much reduced and sometimes completely eliminated withdrawal. Also there’s a lot of weight loss,’ she explained,
‘This diet removes potential allergens and allows the gut to heal, with the goal of slowly reintroducing foods back in after.’
TikTok users are eating mainly beef but the diet allows for a bit more variation.
You can have any ‘ruminant animal’ which means an animal that has is a herbivore, eating only grass and plants – such as cows, lamb and deer.
Mikhaila said:’Lamb, beef, bison, elk, etc. but high fat, not lean cuts, that’s important – so that it’s a plant free ketogenic diet.
‘Otherwise people get too hungry. Liver is optional, eat it if you want but there’s no need to buy liver supplements or anything, and generally I tell people to eat a lot of salt but some people don’t use salt after they’re on the diet for a while.’
The podcaster and mother of one wishes that science would ‘take the diet more seriously’ and hopes that studies will be done to test its effectiveness in patients with intolerances and depression.
She told FEMAIL: ‘It would be great if some scientists could take this seriously and run a large study monitoring disease over a period of at least six weeks to three months using the diet.
Rory found he craved what his family was eating after days of steak and beef, but stuck to the plan
‘It’s worked for tens of thousands of people, so I assume at some point that will happen. But if I had changed my diet earlier I’d still have a hip and ankle. That’s why I share the info, not because I make money from it, because I don’t.
‘I have a full time job and a podcast that has nothing to do with the diet.
‘The diet isn’t easy at all. It’s socially isolating which is why I created the Facebook group. It’s terrifying taking your health into your own hands.
‘The people who go on this diet have done everything they can with a medical system that failed them. Having it not ridiculed would be nice, it helps a lot of people.’
The Keto diet can help prevent Alzheimer’s, and a host of age related diseases
Keto burns several times more fat than the standard diet.
The paleo diet could save you from having a heart attack, and could reduce the risk by 25 per cent