Here is the podcast transcript for our latest episode: Is the Lion Diet the ultimate elimination diet?
Joane Hart 0:34
Hi, everyone, on today’s podcast, we’re discussing the question: Is the Lion Diet the ultimate elimination diet?
Jonathan Hart 0:44
And in my opinion, the answer is “yes”, but we’ll give you a little more detail into why we think it is the ultimate elimination diet.
Joane Hart 0:54
First, I think it’s important to answer the question: what is the lion diet?
Jonathan Hart 0:59
Yeah, for those of you who don’t know what the lion diet is all about, you’re probably not sure what exactly we mean by The Lion Diet.
Joane Hart 1:07
Yes. If you’ve heard of the carnivore diet, this is like a version of that.
Jonathan Hart 1:14
Yeah, it’s like a sub way of doing the carnivore diet.
Joane Hart 1:19
It’s quite a strict one. So on The Lion Diet, which was started by Makaila Peterson, you only eat meat from ruminant animals and salt, and then you can drink water. So it’s very limited.
Jonathan Hart 1:37
Yeah, so if you thought carnivore was limited in options, The Lion Diet is way more limited in options. And if you don’t know what ruminant is, it is basically an animal that has multi-chambered stomachs and they ferment their food that they eat, so grass and leaves and what have you. So chickens don’t count as ruminant. And pigs don’t count as ruminant. So basically, for the general population, sheep and cows will count as your ruminant animals and also your wild game. Most wild game in South Africa will be antelope, so you’re Impala, kudu, and then in America, your deer, your elk. And yeah, I think most other places in the world also will have some form of deer or antelope species. And that will also count as ruminant animal.
Joane Hart 2:41
Yes, well, the first time we did the carnivore diet, we did it how most people do: we had chicken, we had pork, as long as it was meat, we ate it. And it was fine. I learned a lot, but I still didn’t feel that great. And then I realized, “oh, because my body wasn’t responding well to pork and chicken.” And, you know, I learned that they have high linoleic acid levels in them. So we did it that way. And I decided, well, I want to try doing it the way Mickailala Peterson does it, which just, you know, is basically red meat, salt and water, and see if this time, I have a better experience and learn some more from from it.
Jonathan Hart 3:26
And this is why the ruminant animal is such an important factor, because they don’t tend to store that much polyunsaturated fats from the food they eat in themselves. Yeah, yes, there’ll be a small difference between a grass-fed animal and grain-fed animal. But the difference is really small. But compared to monogastric… So, humans are monogastric, dogs are monogastric, chickens are monogastric, pigs are monogastric. And so, when we eat foods containing linoleic acid, we store it in our fat. And so, when we initially did the carnivore diet, we were like: “Oh, look, chicken and pork are so much cheaper than beef. So let’s just go with the cheaper meats. As long as we’re only eating meat, that’s cool.” And yeah, I noticed a lot of digestive improvement because you know, then I was eliminating oxalates and fibre, and so, there was still a benefit to cutting out other things. But like you said, it wasn’t as good as when I was just doing red meat. Because I’ve basically lioned, unintentionally lioned and I did the most of last year. And so, I’m joining you now, but for me, this is kind of like my normal way of eating and it’s just the way I feel best.
Joane Hart 4:53
Yeah, because for me, this has been quite an adjustment because, normally, I’m just on an animal-based diet or eat mostly animal foods, but I’ll have fruit and stuff as well, where for the majority of last year, he just ate meat and red meat, cause I quit pork and chicken in October 2020. And then you also like drastically reduced your intake of that, like you have some bacon every now and then. But that’s about it.
Jonathan Hart 5:22
Yeah, it’s like your omega sixes are still essential. So like, you can’t have zero linoleic acid in your diet, but I think if you get 2% or 3% in your diet, that’s actually like the upper end of what you should be getting. And the issue is that a lot of pork and chicken contain like 20 and up percent linoleic acid, which is still better than your, you know, canola oils and your sunflower seed oils and your vegetable oils that are almost like 80% or 90%. Polyunsaturated fats with like acid. So I just seem to feel that the lower your polyunsaturated fat intake, the better.
Joane Hart 6:09
I also agree with that, because I always read that you need to make sure that you consume enough omega 3s and that your ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that you consume is important, like you’re not supposed to have a lot more omega 6 than you do Omega 3, but with the standard like diet, and most people are on it, that’s what ends up happening. And so, people are encouraged to take these high doses of Omega 3 fish oil just to counteract all the Omega 6 they’re getting from their diet. And like I’ve been tracking what I eat, and even looking at how much Omega 3 I’m getting in. And as long as I eat enough, like fatty meat, short rib is also a really good source, then my omega 3 intake seems to be where it should be. So I don’t need to worry about taking like these expensive Omega 3 supplements, because it’s all about the ratio between the two fatty acids.
Jonathan Hart 7:09
Yeah, so obviously, as soon as you go above that 3% and you start going up above 10% linoleic acid, then it starts becoming really difficult to play catch up by having enough Omega 3. And that’s why I feel like it’s simpler and easier just to make sure that you’re making Omega 6 on the low side, so that you don’t have to worry about taking expensive supplements, just to sort of, you know, counteract the effects of your diet.
Joane Hart 7:39
That was definitely something I realized when I went more animal based and then also cutting out pork and chicken and seeing the results for myself, you know, I felt like inflammation in my body reduced a lot just from doing that. I also cut out nuts and seeds at that time, because they’re also high in linoleic acid, and I wanted to do an experiment. And I’m happy I did that. You will not get me on a high linoleic acid diet again.
Jonathan Hart 8:11
Yeah, and I’ll have bacon and even have chicken here and there, but it’s like maybe once every two months. And it’ll be in small amounts. I think that’s sort of the way people should approach it. But this is all based on like store-bought chicken and pork. It’s just because the majority of the feed that those animals are getting is grain, and then the grain contains the linoleic acid. And so, then they store that linoleic acid in their fats. Yeah. So the other way that you can still include chicken and pork in your diet is if you get truly free range chickens, and pigs, because as soon as they are eating a more natural diet, and they’re not just getting grains fed to them, then suddenly, the amount of linoleic acid in their fat goes way down. Yeah, I also doubt it can go down as low as 4% or 5%, which is, you know, basically a 75% improvement. And so if you could get your hands on someone who’s feeding their chickens, zero grain and just sort of like feed feeding them a more like insect-based diet or just like letting them free roam and not actually feeding them any pellets, then you can be confident in the fact that that animal won’t have stored a lot of linoleic acid in its fat and you know it’ll be a lot better to eat on a more regular basis. And the same with pigs. You know, if you get pigs that are out in the pastures and they’re just rooting around for their normal bugs and routes and whatever, and they’re not just getting fed grain-based pellets or just grain, then you know, okay, this animal hasn’t really been storing a lot of linoleic acid in its fat. And with pigs, the other benefit is if they’re out in the sun, and not in like a house or a shed or a barn, then they get vitamin D, and they’re fed. So it’s, you know, it’s not like anti pork. I’m just anti-grain fed pork, anti grain-fed Chicken.
Joane Hart 10:44
That’s just something you need to consider if you want to do an elimination diet, and if you think “I’m gonna do the carnivore diet”… the carnivore diet is an amazing elimination diet. It really is amazing. You don’t have to do The Lion Diet. But if linoleic acid is something you’re concerned about, and you think: “Well, I’m doing an elimination diet, to try to cut out a lot of foods that could cause inflammation or other problems in my body, and I’m trying to see what it is.” I think a diet that’s as low impossible in, you know, irritants or whatever, as with The Lion Diet, that’s maybe a better approach for a lot of people. What do you think?
Jonathan Hart 11:29
Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of obvious that The Lion Diet is a better elimination diet, just on like two factors. It eliminates more. So therefore, just on how much you eliminated, it is superior, and you get to test more things. So on a carnivore, diet, dairy and eggs are still acceptable. And dairy and eggs are not good for everyone. Like, it’s allergy wise, like some people do get reactions to, especially dairy, but also eggs. And so, if you go like: “Oh, yeah, I’m going to do the ultimate elimination diet and do carnivore but still include eggs and dairy. You know, you could still have an immune response to eggs and dairy. So then, if you’re not eliminating them, then how can you say it’s the ultimate elimination diet? When you do The Lion Diet, which is just red meat, salt, and water, that’s like as good as you can get in terms of an elimination diet.
Joane Hart 12:32
I was thinking about that today. I’ve been trying to study a little more about health. And I was reading that your top allergies that people have are like peanuts, eggs, wheat and soy or whatever. And in the same document that I was reading through, they did say that 75% of the world’s population struggle to digest lactose, especially if you’re older.
And so, you know, to answer the question: Is The Lion Diet the ultimate elimination diet? I think so. Because, you know, if you just do the normal carnivore diet, like you said, and you have eggs and you have dairy products. And you know, you even have pork, which a lot of people also don’t react well to. Chicken, a lot of people I’ve heard who’ve done the carnivore diet say they don’t react well to chicken. On The Lion Diet, you’re not eating any of these foods. So it’s way better. But if you’re doing a normal carnivore diet with those foods, and those are some of the things that trigger you, it’s not going to be as successful of an experiment, because you’re not gonna realize what it is, unless you cut out those foods first.
Jonathan Hart 13:54
Exactly. And I mean, for the average person who’s eating Krispy Kreme and McDonald’s and eats more fast food than anything else, going carnivore, even just operating in that same logic of like “okay, I’m just going to take my McDonald’s burger and just eat the patty. And I’m going to eat pork and chicken and all the stuff I like, I’m just not going to have a deep fried in batter and sunflower oil anymore. And I’m going to go carnivore in that way.” It’s still a step in the right direction.
Joane Hart 14:33
Yeah, it’s still a wonderful elimination diet, so it’s not like we’re knocking the carnivore diet.
Jonathan Hart 14:38
We’re just saying that you can’t really call it the ultimate elimination diet.
Joane Hart 14:42
Yeah. Because that’s the question we’re asking is: Which one is the ultimate elimination diet?
Jonathan Hart 14:48
And yeah, I mean, I had a colleague at work and she was sort of like asking for advice. And I said: “Well, you know, try The Lion Diet. You know, if you have any kind of autoimmune problems, it’s going to be a really good idea. And she was like, “okay”, and she tried it. And she was absolutely amazed at the results. She didn’t want to do it for too long, so she’s just cut it out for seven days, cut everything out except for red meat and water. And she could already start telling, when she introduced a new food or whatever, that this is causing a certain issue. And she said that she tried rooibos tea, and she got anxious. And so, things that she would have never thought could cause like a reaction actually ended up being highlighted as a problem. Yeah, based on the fact that she was able to cut it out for seven days. Obviously, the longer you cut it out for, the more obvious the reaction will be.
Joane Hart 15:56
That is a very good point. I remember feeling jealous when you told me about her doing it. And that also made me want to do The Lion Diet. So, then when I realized: “oh yeah, World Carnivore Month is coming in January.”, I decided, well, in January, I’ll do it. Because I love New Years. And I like having a nice big goal for when the clock strikes 12. Like, I want to pursue the new goals. So this year, it was fun. When the clock struck 12, it was The Lion Diet from there. Meat, salt and water only.
Jonathan Hart 16:35
Yeah, so I think red meat is also a little bit more nutritious. So you can get away with just eating that because its list of benefits for you in terms of nutrition is pretty high, especially if you eat fatty cuts.
Joane Hart 16:51
Like, don’t be dumb and just eat lean meat. Your body needs that fat and you will be way hungrier. And if you just eat lean meat, you’ll actually end up doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast. And you could go into rabbit starvation and stuff.
Jonathan Hart 17:10
Yeah, we have spoke about rabbit starvation before. But basically, you can’t just have protein. That’s not how it works. No, you can’t just eat fillet or have steak and cut the fat off. Like that will not work. If you’ve got a lot of excess body fat, you know, I suppose you won’t notice as much. But if you’re already quite lean, you will notice very quickly that you’re kind of like going into starvation. And that’s because you need that fat for your body to run on. And if you look at how, especially with the pigs, like I mentioned before, they get vitamin D in the fat. So if you are now eating a pasteurised pig, and then you cut off the fat, you’re basically cutting off the vitamin D that you could have got from a pig.
Joane Hart 18:04
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Oh, I wanted to say what I think a good idea is for someone who really wants to do the carnivore diet the normal way. And that way is start with The Lion Diet as an elimination diet, like a really strict one. And then the first few foods you add from there should be like animal foods. So then you can say: “Okay, well, I’m gonna reintroduce chicken or pork and see if those have an effect.” So you can move on to the normal carnivore diet and kind of do a trial version of that, and then start adding plant foods into your diet if you want.
Jonathan Hart 18:44
Yes, that is a good idea. It is hard to notice a reaction to pork and chicken, because unless you’re sensitive to linoleic acid, you won’t notice a difference. And so, this is kind of the problem with linoleic acid is that it causes metabolic dysfunction. So it’s hard to notice that you’re more tired if it’s sort of this long-time coming. So it’s been a long process of having linoleic acid in your system and your metabolism breaking down slowly over time. It’s hard to notice in the introduction, so if you have no reaction to linoleic acid, and you’re like: “Oh, so it’s fine.” It’s like, you don’t really know that it is fine, because I can’t really see an instance where someone can have such a high percentage of linoleic acid in their diet and still be super healthy. So yes, you can test sensitivity to it, but I’d still be careful of making a large part of my diet high in linoleic acid.
Joane Hart 19:57
Yes. Okay, I’d say bacon should be your side dish, not the whole meal.
Jonathan Hart 20:05
If you don’t want to be eating bacon 24/7
Joane Hart 20:09
No, definitely not.
Jonathan Hart 20:12
Unless you’re getting pasteurized, that’s fine.
Joane Hart 20:16
Yeah, I still say one meal a day, not all three.
Jonathan Hart 20:20
The thing is, if the fat doesn’t have a lot of linoleic acid in there, it doesn’t really change as much.
Joane Hart 20:25
You have to show me what the linoleic acid content is compared to beef, and then I’ll make a decision.
Jonathan Hart 20:32
You can test it, you can get it tested, especially if you’re in the northern hemisphere in a really nice, well-developed country.
Joane Hart 20:42
Yes. Okay, one thing I thought would be good to discuss as well is: What are the benefits of The Lion Diet?
Jonathan Hart 20:52
Well, for me, it’s just such a clean way of eating. That seems to almost like, I don’t know, I don’t want to say cleanse, but it’s just like: 1. You have very stable energy levels throughout the day. 2. You don’t have too much decision fatigue when it comes to what you’re going to eat. Like what you’re going to eat is already sort of decided. It’s very simple. You can basically go about your day without being too distracted by snacks and other things like that.
Joane Hart 21:32
Shopping! Shopping is quick and easy, because you can only buy meat, salt and water.
Jonathan Hart 21:39
Shopping is super simple and quick.
Joane Hart 21:41
So that is one benefit that I love. Because I don’t know, I just love the idea of efficiency and becoming as efficient as possible. I always think of Jordan Peterson saying “You have no idea how efficient efficient people get”. And I just find that so motivating. And when I was shopping today, I realised how efficient it was because it took much quicker than usual, because I just went straight to the meat section, went to the till, paid and left.
Jonathan Hart 22:13
You did get some salt today.
Joane Hart 22:14
I did buy salt.
Jonathan Hart 22:15
But that’s not like browsing the aisles like the standard shopper who goes through every single aisle and thinking do I have the peanut butter? Do I have the tomato sauce? Do I have the oil? Do I have this? Do I have the coffee? Do I have this? All of that is gone.
Joane Hart 22:31
It’s a very easy shopping list to remember: meat, salt, water.
Jonathan Hart 22:35
And the water we make at home. So it’s just so that the shops and you buy salt like maybe once every three months?
Joane Hart 22:43
No, we buy like once every two months.
Jonathan Hart 22:46
Once every two months? Yes. I like so.
Joane Hart 22:51
Yeah, that’s what I love about it. It’s simple. Cooking is simple. We don’t worry about what are we eating tonight. How am I gonna make this fancy dish? Like joh, back when I ate a lot of vegetables, the meal prep would take so long. Half the time of cooking was spent chopping your vegetables, peeling things, it would create such a mess. Where now, we don’t have those scraps. Like yes, we have bones and stuff, but then we put it in the compost heap. But it’s quick, it doesn’t create a lot of mess. Cooking is really simple, we put most stuff in the air fryer because we just like the efficiency of it. You just press a few buttons, you go about what you were doing, and then you go back and your food is done, and you don’t have to spend hours in front of a pot. You don’t get the mess of a pan, you don’t get the mess of a countertop, because you had to prep all these different things for your three side dishes. That’s very simple. I love it. And we get to focus on a lot more stuff that we want to focus on. We spend less time cooking and yeah, there might be some times where I’ll spend some more time and effort into it, but you can only do that much.
Jonathan Hart 24:06
Yeah, and before you think it’s completely antisocial. In South Africa, we have braais, which is basically a barbecue. And 90% of social gatherings are around the braai.
Joane Hart 24:23
So you just take your meat and put it on the fire and eat.
Jonathan Hart 24:26
Just pre-salt your meat. Take it with, put it on the on the grill when it’s nice and hot and, you know, the wood or coals is just got going and you you cook your meat the way you like, and then no one seems to bat an eyelash. And it’s also so simple, because then, you don’t have to worry about salads and breads and all the side dishes that everyone else seems to bring to these events. You know, because people are worried about one thing.
Joane Hart 24:58
Yeah, people usually bring a side dish, so you know, you don’t have to worry about that. The next benefit that I thought of is: it is a very tasty diet. I’m coming from the background where I’ve read so many magazines and diets where it’s like you can only drink green juice for three days. Or there’s this cabbage soup diet, where all people do is you have cabbage soup every day. The potato diet, where people just eat potatoes, that sounds a bit better than cabbage soup diet, but still terrible. And so often, when people think, “oh, I want to do a reset, I want to do a cleanse type of thing” then they’ll go on something like that, where I just think that is horrible. You’re just drinking liquidized vegetables, you know. It’s so limited, and it doesn’t taste that great, you know, where it’s like, the lion died, for me feels like a reset, it feels like a type of cleanse or whatever. Like, I’m just getting rid of certain foods, because I eat a lot of dairy and I know it’s gonna take a while for everything to get out of my system and for my body to get into ketosis again. After eating a lot of carbs, it just feels like a good reset. That’s a way better diet to do than a juice cleanse/juice fast, and drink a lot of celery juice. So that was one benefit people need to know. Like, if you’re gonna do The Lion Diet, but do a juice cleanse. Try the lion diet the next time you want to do something like this and see if you enjoy that more than your green juices.
Jonathan Hart 26:47
Well, a juice fast is pretty much just a fast. The juices really don’t add much other than they have a lot of sugar and they could give you an insulin response. But yeah, I mean, there’s very little nutrition in potatoes. There’s very little nutrition in celery. But with The Lion Diet, you carrying out pretty much everything that can cause a reaction to you. And you getting a good amount of nutrition, like you’re not going to be missing much. You could maybe look at electrolytes, especially in like a transition period where you’re used to eating a lot of fiber and carbohydrates, and then you go on The Lion Diet, there might be a transition where you’ll start losing electrolytes. But if you just take the electrolytes for the transition period, you won’t need to take them once you’ve fully transitioned.
Joane Hart 27:46
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Because I was watching this YouTube video today, where this girl went on a juice cleanse for a few days. And she actually showed the bottle of the juices and the ingredients, and there wasn’t any protein in any of the juices that she had to drink over like three days. And I just thought: “How bad is that?” Like you’re telling someone this is like the ultimate diet that you should do for a week and it’s going to do so much for your body, but you’re gonna deplete your body of amino acids and basically just give it low-calorie carbs.
Jonathan Hart 28:23
That’s why I said you’re basically just fasting. You might as well just not eat anything, if you’re going to do that kind of thing.
Joane Hart 28:31
Yeah, no, that was just terrible. I’m glad we didn’t do stuff like that. So one thing you mentioned is The Lion Diet cuts out foods that can be triggering. And that was the next benefit that I wanted to mention: the fact that you’re cutting out all these inflammatory foods. So if you’re someone who struggles with inflammation, whether it’s your skin, like maybe psoriasis, acne, something else, maybe you have arthritis, anything where you have a lot of inflammation, this is an amazing elimination diet to do because you’re basically cutting out all inflammatory foods. So that is one thing people need to think about it. And then I also love that it’s low carb, because I was eating a lot of fruit before this and having quite a bit of dairy, which, you know, gives you carbs and it seemed way harder to just reduce my carb intake and to try, you know, practice that self control than to cut it out completely. So I kind of felt like it would be easier for me to go zero carb with The Lion Diet for this month. Because then having like one fruit a day will seem amazing. Where now, cutting down to that would have been harder because, as soon as I start eating the fruit, then I’d want more. But I know from the past, like whenever I went low carb and then started having fruit again, I wouldn’t have that much. I wouldn’t overeat, and I’d be a lot more conscious of my carb intake.
Jonathan Hart 30:04
Carbs crave carbs,
Joane Hart 30:05
Yes, carbs crave carbs. I just love it. Because I’ve tried to do keto diets in the past where, you know, I have to do like math to figure out if I have had too much today. Have I eaten my 50 grams or whatever? Where it’s like, with The Lion Diet, I don’t have to worry about how many carbs I’m getting, I don’t have to worry about making sure I don’t overconsume carbs, and that I can stay in ketosis, you know, because that’s just not happening, like you’re on a zero-carb diet. So you can’t accidentally overeat on carbs to stay in ketosis. So if you are trying to get into ketosis, if you are trying to be very low carb, it’s so much easier to do this.
Jonathan Hart 30:08
You just have to watch out for your protein intake, if you’re really set on ketosis. But for me, I feel like as long as you’re not eating more than in a 10 hour window, then you’re getting into ketosis naturally on The Lion diet. If you’re eating in a 16-hour window, and you have a lot of protein for meals or whatever, you might not actually get into ketosis, but just having like such low carbs during the day, and then, you know, when you sleep at night and then have breakfast in the morning, and it’s been 14 hours of nothing, basically, your body will most likely get into ketosis.
Joane Hart 30:41
Yeah, so I’m excited about that. I haven’t been on a keto diet for a while. And like I said earlier: prioritize fatty cuts of meat. So we eat a lot of fatty meat. We eat a lot of short rib, where that fat-to-protein ratio is really good.
Jonathan Hart 30:58
Yeah, that’s very nice ratio.
Joane Hart 31:02
So yeah, based on everything we said, I really think The Lion Diet is the ultimate elimination diet. I know the Whole 30 diet is probably one of the most popular, and you do eliminate quite a bit on that diet, but you also still eat a lot that could be triggering for your body. So maybe you’ve tried an elimination diet that wasn’t as strict (like the Whole 30) days, and you learned quite a bit but you still feel like there are more foods that could be triggering certain problems for you, why not try The Lion Diet?
Jonathan Hart 31:38
I do believe it is the ultimate elimination diet. And like you said, the Whole 30 is very popular, but just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s the ultimate,
Joane Hart 31:48
No, this podcast was not about what’s the most popular elimination diet. This is truly what we think is the ultimate one. And I think anyone can learn a lot from doing an elimination diet, because a lot of people think that they are fine with certain foods. But then once you cut them out (because you’re right, you can become tolerant to things), if you cut them out and then reintroduce them, then you really get a good idea of what your body can actually tolerate well.
Jonathan Hart 32:19
Yeah, and this works with anything. Like a lot of people will be like: “Okay, I’m gonna stop drinking.” And they were able to drink 16 beers in a night, and feel fine, and they’ll be between tipsy and drunk and give up doing that for a month. And then, that first beer after the month is gonna suddenly feel like that 16 beers. Like, your body only adapts to the things you do constantly. Yeah, so if you’re constantly eating something, your body is going to build up a tolerance to it if it’s having an effect, a negative impact. And so, that negative impact over time will be very difficult to tell. But if you just cut it out for 30 days, bringing that back after the days will show you how big a difference it has made to your body.
Joane Hart 33:15
Yeah. So that was our podcast about The Lion Diet and whether or not it’s the ultimate elimination diet.
Jonathan Hart 33:25
And I hope you enjoyed it. Yeah.