Digest Diet FAQs

You asked, we answered: Fans of our book, The Digest Diet, posted these questions at facebook.com/digestdiet.

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

"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....

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"I've just started the Fast Release phase. Any tricks to know about?"

"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.

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

"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.

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"Is the Digest Diet diabetes-friendly?"

"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.

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"I'm vegetarian/lactose intolerant/on a gluten-free diet. Can this diet work for me?"

"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.

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"I'm having issues finding certain foods. What are some swaps I can make?"

"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 bobsredmill.com or hodgsonmill.com.

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"I'm traveling during the 21-day plan. What do I do?"

"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.

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"I'm getting some muscle cramps. What can I do?"

"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. 

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"I'm going crazy without coffee!"

"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.

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"I don't like the taste of yogurt. How can I make the smoothies taste better?"

"I don't like the taste of yogurt. How can I make the smoothies taste better?"
Try adding more skim milk and nonfat milk powder instead of the yogurt.

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"I've done the 21-day plan and still have weight to lose. What should I do?"

"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.

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91 thoughts on “Digest Diet FAQs

  1. Have type II diabetes. Ordered the book but scared to start because of hypoglycemia. any suggestions? thanks…

  2. I am a vegetarian, no seafood either. What can I substitute for chicken, shrimp, turkey, etc?

  3. re: digest diet.  do you really need to put that much fat in the shakes

  4. I ordered the DD book yesterday & I have been following the One-Week Health Jump start information from the article in Reader’s Digest.  But I have to wait 2 weeks for the delivery of the book so how do I continue without anymore instructions.  I did print the shopping lists for the rest of the diet, so my question is can I use the ingredients in each list to  make my own meals…until I get the book? I don’t know how to continue at this point.  Thank you,
    Annie

  5. I’m so new to this that I’ve only begun my first shopping list. The site has me confused and pop ups are constant and distracting. It seems like this page is one way for us to try to help each other. I hope people haven’t given up here since I’m not seeing too many replies to the questions asked. I’ll make an effort to leave answers to anything I’m certain about. Maybe we’ll be able to help each other. Now that I’ve done the reading I am seeing that this isn’t going to be too easy…. Worthwhile and healthy but it’s a bit exhausting. I’ve been on a low carb diet for 8 years. I’m hoping for a change.

  6. What is the average total calories for the Fade away versus the Finish strong weeks. It does not tell you in the book.

  7. What can you substitute for fennel in the pepper recipe and any others calling for fennel?

  8. Is there any good subsitute for the coconut milk?   It is not easy to find and a bit expensive.  Has anyone tried freezing it?

  9. It takes so long to make the shake.  Has anyone developed shortcuts?

  10. my lactose intolerance is triggered by the non fat dry milk in the smoothies (yogurt is not a problem).  Is there something else I could substitute for it?

    1. I am dairy free.  Instead of milk I use water, rice protein powder and calcium powder.  You can skip the calcium if you get enough otherwise. 

  11. I cannot stand beans or legumes of any kind.  What can I substitute?

    1. There is a recipe book due to be available soon. I’ve preordered it. Judie

  12. wondering if I can use the refrigerated coconut milk instead of the cans of light coconut milk… or Almond breeze milk in place of it in my shakes?

  13. I am looking for a nut substitute for munchies, quinoa page 165, pizza page 205, and parfait page 167.  I can’t eat any nuts and I know the nutrition they represent is important.  Any ideas?

    1. Have you tried sunflower  or pumpkin seeds? Not sure whether nut allergies cross over to seeds. I’ve also read olives and avocado can substitute, but I don’t know how good they would taste on quinoa or a parfait.

  14. Two questions:

    The recipe in the book for Chunky Beef & Vegetable Chili with Red Wine calls for 1 1/3 cups dry red wine.  If you prefer not to use wine, do you just use water or some other liquid?

    Dates are used in the Finish Strong section.  Could you substitute raisins or something else?

  15. I have bought the Readers Digest Diet book.  They suggested printing the shopping list and diary page from online site. I am having difficulty finding this page on the site. Please advise.

    Lori

    1. I found that a search for the digest diet shopping list had its own link. I saved that to my favorites and just head there to print. Each diet phase had its own link such as days 1-4. Judie

  16. The digest diet recipes are great but I’d like to adapt expand our weekly menus.  I’d like to be able to add some of our old favorites so that we can enjoy them again, as well as add new recipes.   Any helpful tips would be appreciated.

    Also, will you be adding any new.D.D.  recipes to the website? 

  17. What are the odds that I would pick this recipe (Lemony Lentil & Chard) to try as my first meal and the recipe forgot to mention the seven cups of water… I’m not a cook, but I really wondered where the liquid came from in the picture. My wife thinks it’s called chard because I charred it… Bummer.

  18. Where can one buy ‘fat-free ricotta’? Ive searched the Louisvilee, Cincinnati, and Lexington areas, but no one, including Whole Foods, carries it?

    1. I also can’t find it in area. On line I see  Sargentos has some, but not sure where to find it. Currently, I’m using part skim milk ricotta

  19. What about popcorn, cooked in a tsp. of oil?  A little sea salt?  Is there ever a time on this diet that’s allowed?  Also cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew aren’t mentioned at all – Are they taboo?

  20. Are we allowed to have cherries I didn’t see them on the list anywhere, I love cherries.

  21. I have been reading thru a lot of questions here but not seeing very many answers. Makes me question if we are out here alone. I am on day one of this diet, made the mexican soup very good. The pepper snack thing I only ate 1/2 pepper seemed like an awful lot for a snack. I wonder if I can have the other 1/2 between lunch and dinner if I get hungry so far I am good. Also do we get answers to our questions, are they in the makes of making this dgest diet area easier to use? That would be wonderful!

  22. ok I must be an idiot I was on the digest diet site the other day and was looking at other recipes now I can’t find any. This isn’t a very user friendly site. Isn’t there more ideas for recipes for soup, shakes, dinners? frustrating if you need help and can’t find your way around. Isn’t there an area just for this diet?

  23. I am allergic to dairy.  The book gives little direction on how to make substitutions.  Any ideas?

  24. I began the diet and was on my was with great success. I then diverted to the hospital for three days. Should I beginon day 7 upon returning home.

  25. I too, would like to know if you can substitute the 0% Greek yogurt for the nonfat yogurt.

    1. I too, would like to know if you can substitute the 0% Greek yogurt for the nonfat yogurt.

    2. I asked on the Digest Diet’s Facebook page and they said NOT to switch yogurts. I bought “Nancy’s Organic and it it very thick, almost like Greek and is great in shakes.

  26. Why should I avoid Sweet’n Low and Splenda? It takes too much honey to sweeten my coffee.

  27. I take medicine at bedtime which I mix with about 4oz of orange juice.
    Will this derail my diet?

  28. I really, really dislike any kind of bell peppers.  Is there anything else I can use?  I also don’t drink; can I continue to eat the red grapes?

  29. I really, really dislike any kind of bell peppers.  Is there anything else I can use?  I also don’t drink; can I continue to eat the red grapes?

  30. If you can’t find coconut milk, can I use fat free milk and coconut or cocnut oil and fat free milk???  Is flax seed o.k. in place of the other seeds you call for??

  31. So.  Snack on day one says quarter bell pepper and top each with 2 tablespoons of ricotta.  Is that 2 tablespoons for each quarter or 2 tablespoons for the whole pepper?

    1. My book says top each with 2 tbsp of ricotta. so that means a total of 8 tbsp. My problem is that the book says “fat free” ricotta and the shopping list says “part skim milk” ricotta.

  32. I do not like  red wine  I love white crisp wine and am on day 5  having a hard time not drinking

  33. I do not like  red wine  I love white crisp wine and am on day 5  having a hard time not drinking

  34. okay, question.  I followed days 1-4 to the letter.  Today, my daughter’s birthday party.  Blew it, cake, frosting, “regular” food, the whole works.  Do I start over, or add a day, or take up tomorrow like nothing happened?

  35. Will the book be coming out in an e-edition, like for Kindle any time soon? I have the book – but in the e-edition it would be so easy to carry around, look for recipes and work with it close by.

  36. Will the book be coming out in an e-edition, like for Kindle any time soon? I have the book – but in the e-edition it would be so easy to carry around, look for recipes and work with it close by.

  37. Will the book be coming out in an e-edition, like for Kindle any time soon? I have the book – but in the e-edition it would be so easy to carry around, look for recipes and work with it close by.

  38. I don’t like the taste of the powdered skim milk in the smoothies.  Can I use 8 oz of skim milk plus instead?  This is what we use, normally.  I couldn’t find lite canned coconut milk in the store, can I use unsweetened  almond-coconut milk that is in the dairy case?
    Thanks

  39. Fennel is hard to find and expensive. I  Iike it but would like to find a substitute for it in recipes.

  40. Fennel is hard to find and expensive. I  Iike it but would like to find a substitute for it in recipes.

  41. Is unsweetened almond milk as good or better than fat free milk in this diet?

  42. I don’t like celery. Can I substitute any other kind of green vegetable or any other vegetable for it?

  43. I am on the second day of Fast Release and I have a question:  Can I have just 1 cup of soup and 1/2 of a shake for lunch, then have the other cup of soup and the rest of the shake for dinner?

    1. I’ve found that the easy way to find recipes, shopping lists or anything I’m trying to get answers to is the do a search starting with ‘digest diet’ and then add ‘recipes’ or ‘shopping list’. There seems to be many separate links for each.

  44. I just tried making the chunky beef & veggie chili on page 195. It seems like the recipe needs water, too. Was this left out of the recipe accidentally?

  45. Are there anymore recipes for soups? I hope for more varieties as the originals are not the greatest for me. Thank you.

  46. I would love to try this diet, but after reading the book I find that the diet relies heavily on dairy products, which I avoid due to lactose intolerance.  The book mentions substituting coconut milk or almond milk, but no substitute for all the cheese and yogurt or the powdered milk in the shakes.  Almond milk will not work for me, because I am allergic to almonds.  While I do occaisionally eat dairy, (If I eat it, I take a dose of lactaid and suffer through mild diarrhea, gas, and sometimes cramps.) I would never eat dairy on a daily basis because it would be too uncomfortable.  Aside from the dairy, the meals sound great. Can you recommend a substitute for the diary (including the powdered milk, yogurt, and cheese)? I use soymilk with my cereal every day.  Since I have already bought the book, I would love to be able to make use of the diet.

  47. I am allergic (anaphylaxis response) to all dairy, chocolate, and coconut.  Can I really do this diet?

  48. I ordered the book over 1 month ago.  It has not arrived.  It was charged to my credit card.  Where is my book?

  49. Can I eat watermelon?  Today is our 21st day — my husband has lost 26 lbs and me, 17.5!!!!  Can’t believe it, it’s wonderful!!!

  50. Where is the shopping list that is supposed to be online according to the book? I can’t find it.

    1.  I finally found it on the left hand column of the web page.  Scroll down, hopefully you will see it.  I have been a little disappointed on the ease of us of the web page. I too have found it difficult to navigate and find the supporting community.

  51. Can I eat watermelon????  I love this diet!  Both my husband and I are using it and it works!!!

  52. Has anyone experienced ulcers on their tongue while doing this diet. I am wondering if it could have anything to do with all the vinegar and citrus in the diet?

    1.  yes, but I don’t get them anymore after moving into more variety of foods.  I was eating the Mexican soup.

  53. I work 2 jobs so my days are 5:30am – 11:30pm with literally 20 minutes in between jobs to change uniforms and make and eat dinner. I’m get so tired sometimes from my long days and short nights that my meals right now are ceral, sandwhich, and the healthiest TV dinners I can find. How much cooking time and shopping time is needed for this diet?

  54. I got my book for the 14 day trial and jumped right into the diet. Or tried to… I found that because I live on an island and only have one grocery store, many of the items they don’t carry. But even when I went to the mainland big grocery store they didn’t carry everything! So I decided to substitute what I thought would be the equivalent. Unfortunately after the third day, I started getting heart palpitations and very weak. I thought I was having a heart attack! It turned out I had too low blood sugar! I didn’t think the food I was eating was doing that to me. It was very delicious and filling. I only substituted one thing in the Mexican soup recipe. That was fresh poblano chilies for the dried ancho chilies. Ancho chilies are poblanos dried. Oh well. I am going to still eat some of the recipes, but I have to alter how many shakes. At least I only had one more day of two shakes a day!

  55. I have not been able to find light coconut milk. I have found coconut milk that is 45 calories per serving and 40 fat calories. Is that light? Also the shake is so thick. Can I freeze it and eat it as it thaws out? Will it have the same effect? Could I use fat free milk instead of all the yogurt?

    1. Trader Joe’s sells light coconut milk for .99 a can.  The lowest price I have found.  I have also found the light coconut milk in the grocery store ethnic section for closer to $2 a can.  Good luck.

      1.  Did the Digest Diet ever say it was canned lite coconut milk or the coconut carton milk found in the dairy section?  I never could determine.  Maybe I overlooked it.

  56. Can I use another thing besides the coconut milk? Maybe coconut soy milk?

  57. Can I use another thing besides the coconut milk? Maybe coconut soy milk?

    1.  Book says to switch to seltzer water flavored with fresh lemon or lime juice pg 125 and 298, and only once a day.  Carbonated drinks even sugar free tend to weaken the bones by drawing the calcium out.  I have also read studies the diet drinks are a “fat increaser.”  I don’t know if it is solely because the sweetners are so intense that they trick our taste buds into wanting more sweets or if there are other reasons too. Most sweetners are also hard on the kidneys and liver because of the high processing and mechanical changes they undergo. 

  58. I have ordered the digest diet book 3 times. Never came, no charge to credit card. What gives?

  59. I have ordered the digest diet book 3 times. Never came, no charge to credit card. What gives?

  60. I have ordered the digest diet book 3 times. Never came, no charge to credit card. What gives?

  61. I have ordered the digest diet book 3 times. Never came, no charge to credit card. What gives?

  62. If you buy just a bag of flaxseeds, you can use a plain, old-fashioned coffee grinder to make your own flaxseed meal.

  63. I have a question about the crackers.  If you may have 2 crackers, are each of them 30 calories?  Also, would you please give some specific examples of crackers that meet the sepcifications for calories and fiber?  So far I have not been able to find any!!

    1. The closest one I found was a brand called “34 degrees”. They are little wafer thin crackers, but you get to eat 9 of them for 35 calories.  Only 1 gram of fiber though.  I could not find any with 2 grams of fiber under the calorie limit.  I live in Oklahoma, and found these in the cheese deli section of Homeland grocery store.  The company is out of Denver. 

    2. Try the health food section, for Wasa or (Ryveta (check spelling) the light rye ones have  2 crackers at 3 grams fiber and 60 calories, they make higher fiber ones too. Those are the closet I have found and they are whole grain..

    3.  Try plain old whole grain wheat Triscuits, ‘reduced fat’ or ‘hint of salt’ varieties. Each has 3 grams of fiber and is 20 calories or slightly less per cracker.

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