My Review of the Ultimate Reset Food-Based Detox
These pictures may show a slimmer midsection... but if you just notice that and don't read the article, you'll miss the entire point of this program!! It is not about weight loss... I only lost 7 pounds, and most of that was water weight due to reduced inflammation.
If it was only water weight that was lost, then why bother?? After all, it will come back on once you finish the detox, right?
That is true and accurate, but this program serves a deeper purpose than just slimming down for a few days. For one thing, that reduced water weight is a symptom of one of the main effects of the program; through a combination of supplements and dietary modifications, the Ultimate Reset reduces inflammation and allows the body to heal.
The Ultimate Reset is a 21-day food-based detox (meaning you eat three meals and a snack each day). It does also have supplements in addition to food—but it's not one of those cleanses where you subsist on supplements alone.
By the end of the three weeks, the program transitions you to a fully vegan diet, with fruit for breakfast and different variations of salads and vegetable-based soups for lunch and dinner (always with healthy fats included as well). But earlier on in the program, the diet is not as strict: animal protein (salmon, chicken, eggs, yogurt) is allowed in the first week, and whole grains are allowed in the second week. In the beginning, the focus is on removing processed foods from one's diet while gradually reducing protein and introducing supplements that reduce inflammation and support detoxification. Thus, it's only the second half of the plan that is really low in protein. (In case there is any question, this plan is meant to be short-term and temporary, and is not recommended as a long-term way of eating—even less so for people who are physically active.)
Low protein intake is an important feature of the program, since eating less protein means your digestive system is being taxed less. With less energy going into digesting and assimilating food, more of your body's vital energy is left over for supporting detoxification through your liver, lungs, skin, and the circulatory and elimination systems.
Side note... when people say "you don't need a detox, because your body detoxifies itself"... they're not entirely wrong. It's just that our bodies' natural abilities aren't able to keep up with the toxic load we are placing in ourselves through the air, water, food, and personal care products we expose ourselves to. By reducing our toxic load for three weeks and freeing up energy to help the body's detoxification systems work better, this program helps the body "catch up" and reduce its toxic load.
This plan is designed by clinical nutritionists for a very specific purpose. I compare it to going on a targeted course of medication for three weeks. It's not meant for long-term usage but that doesn't negate the purpose it serves in the short term.
Due to the low protein intake, it's not recommended to exercise at all (other than gentle yoga and walking) during the Ultimate Reset. I can't overstate how important this is. With strenuous exercise, the muscles get ripped up with micro-tears as they're being challenged. The body then needs to rebuild and repair the muscle. That requires protein (and it requires a fair amount of energy; this is part of how exercise increases your metabolism and your energy needs). With a reduced amount of protein and overall calories, your body will not have the energy it needs for muscle repair. You'll be miserable AND it's harmful for your health—so don't be tempted to bend this rule as a way to lose extra weight! That would completely defeat the purpose of this program.
Reducing metabolism in a purposeful, targeted way, on a plan designed by nutritional professionals, is a centerpiece of this plan—but that's another reason it's meant to be short-term. We don't want to cause a lasting impact to our metabolic rate! (Side note... you actually wouldn't believe the amount of food you get on this plan! Loads of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. It's not a small amount of food, just a different type of food than most of us are used to.)
As for the food on the plan, it's a nutrient-dense diet with TONS of fruits and vegetables—and thus, TONS of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients—to replenish the tissues and help rebuild the body into a nutrient-rich environment. Our gut microbiome adapts to the food we eat—and I love that my gut environment is now adapted to fruits and vegetables and is optimized to absorb the most nutrients from them when I eat them!
The supplements that come along with this plan also assist in this process. The supplement regimen includes potent anti-inflammatory agents taken daily; digestive enzymes to aid nutrient absorption; powerful probiotics to benefit the gut microbiome and boost immune function and digestion; and a blend of herbs to support the liver's natural detoxification functions.
In addition to the visible results (I lost two inches from my waist and two inches from my hips), I definitely experienced significant changes in the way I felt. I felt calm and focused, with even energy throughout the day. I had deeper, more satisfying sleep. I felt better on less sleep, and the brain fog I experience frequently was nonexistent. I had less pelvic pain and much less gas than usual. Most of all, I was able to release my fear of hunger, and recognize that not feeling completely satisfied (due to the lack of protein) didn't mean I was actually in danger of starving. The biggest victory for me was to learn that I can get through times of stress at work without turning to food to power me through.
The biggest change for me was the lack of protein. Twice I hit a wall (in the middle of week two and again in the middle of week three), feeling my energy crash and feeling like I couldn't continue. I decided to tough it out, while being open to stopping the program if I continued to feel desperately hungry, but each time the feeling subsided within a few hours.
I followed the plan faithfully for three weeks. The only "cheats" or adaptations I made were having one cup of coffee each day (I drink it black anyway, and I switched to organic and reduced the quantity for this program) and playing a bit fast and loose with the quantities of food, while still sticking to the recipes in the book. I also had my full scoop of vegan Shakeology each day, even though only half a scoop is recommended.
All in all, this was not the easiest thing to stick to—you definitely need to have three weeks with no traveling and no special occasions. It does require some time spent in the kitchen, but for me it wasn't significantly more than normal, since I prepare almost all of my meals and snacks at home anyway. In the company I work with, many people do this program once a year as a way to "reset" after the holidays, in the spring, or at the end of a summer of indulging. I can totally see myself doing that and I think it would be a lot easier now that it's familiar!
Interested in learning more about the Ultimate Reset? Check out the program enrollment page, and be sure to shoot me an email if you have questions! You can also find my daily diary, with pictures of all the meals, in my Instagram highlights.