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Digest Diet FAQs

You asked, we answered: Fans of our book, The Digest Diet, posted these questions at

1 / 11

“The recipe for Lemony Lentil & Chard Soup on page 173 seems to be missing a liquid. Help!”

Our mistake! Step 3 should begin: Add 7 cups of water, the chard leaves….

(Photo: Lisa Shin)

2 / 11

“I’ve just started the Fast Release phase. Any tricks to know about?”

If you get hungry, try drinking a huge glass of water or seltzer with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. If that doesn’t satisfy you, you can try the small glass of fat free milk. Or, eat a salad of veggies with 1 teaspoon of Digest Diet Vinaigrette.

(Photo:Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Thinkstock) 

3 / 11

“I’m in the Finish Strong phase, but I love the shakes and I don’t want to give them up for a week.”

While it is okay to keep having the Fade Away shakes for breakfast in the Finish Strong phase, we do encourage people to branch out and try other breakfasts as much as possible. In general, the more varied your diet, the more likely you are to get enough of different vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.

4 / 11

“Is the Digest Diet diabetes-friendly?”

The Digest Diet has many diabetes-friendly options, but always consult with your physician or a nutritionist before starting a diet program.

5 / 11

“I’m vegetarian/lactose intolerant/on a gluten-free diet. Can this diet work for me?”

We recommend you follow the diet as closely as possible, but substitutes for certain foods are an option. For instance, if you’re a vegetarian, you can get protein from beans, tofu, or similar. If you eat fish, salmon and shrimp are great sources of protein.

Most of the meals on the diet (and most of the fat releasing foods) are already gluten-free. For those that aren’t, you can just substitute any gluten-free equivalents for the gluten-containing ingredients.

If you’re lactose intolerant, sub milk with lactose-free milk. You can substitute coconut milk, soy milk, or almond or other nut milks for milk in the shakes and snacks. Similarly, you can substitute yogurt made from coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk. You can substitute soy cheese for any cheeses or just leave out any recipes that call for cheese (just sub in an alternate recipe from the same phase). And be sure to load up on other calcium-rich foods such as almonds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, bok choy, broccoli, kale, spinach and other dark greens (like collard, turnip, dandelion, and turnip), and watercress.Some people with lactose intolerance issues are able to eat yogurt.

Overall: Be sure to consult your doctor or a nutritionist about specific concerns. With the variety of food in this plan, it’s easy to avoid certain foods that don’t work with your diet.

6 / 11

“I’m having issues finding certain foods. What are some swaps I can make?”

The book gives a list of suggested substitutes in Chapter 9. Here are a few:

Pumpkins seeds (or any other seeds) for sunflower seeds.

4 or 5 large roasted red peppers pureed with 2 cups water and seasoned with cayenne pepper for ancho chiles.

1/2 jalapeno for 1 serrano pepper

Regular almond butter or natural peanut butter for raw almond butter

Nonfat yogurt for skim milk

One possibly hard-to-find ingredient is flaxseed meal. If your local stores don’t carry it, try or

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

7 / 11

“I’m traveling during the 21-day plan. What do I do?”

You should try to stick to the recipes in the diet, which were carefully developed to maximize the plan. For our test panel, we had several people who had real-world travel plans either for work or over the holidays. They found that it was much simpler than they thought to make the shakes while away, or bring what they could and store it in a fridge.


8 / 11

“I’m getting some muscle cramps. What can I do?”

A common cause of muscle cramps is dehydration, so try drinking more water. Low levels of calcium, magnesium, and/or potassium can also contribute to cramps. Happily, many of the Fat Releaser Foods are high in all three of these minerals, including: bananas, beets, greens, halibut, kale, milk, sardines, soybeans, soy milk, spinach, sweet potatoes, white beans and yogurt. So you may want to repeat recipes you like that feature more of those ingredients.

(Photo: Comstock/Thinkstock) 

9 / 11

“I’m going crazy without coffee!”

You may be going through caffeine withdrawal. A gradual decrease of caffeine is best. Remember: It’s fine to have one cup of caffeine a day while on the Digest Diet.

10 / 11

“I don’t like the taste of yogourt. How can I make the smoothies taste better?”

Try adding more skim milk and nonfat milk powder instead of the yogourt.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock) 

11 / 11

“I’ve done the 21-day plan and still have weight to lose. What should I do?”

Make sure to take a look at Chapter 8, which gives tips on what to do if you still want to lose more weight after the 21-day cycle. Basically, you’ll want to repeat Phase 2 (Fade Away) for 10 days then Phase 3 (Finish Strong) for 2 weeks. Keep repeating that cycle (no need to take a week off) until you’ve reached your goal weight. Chapter 8 gives additional other tips and variations if needed.

(Photo: Jupiterimages/