The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas (2013): What to eat and foods to avoid

by Penny Hammond on March 26, 2013 · 214 comments

in Diets


The Plan - diet book by Lyn-Genet RecitasThe Plan Cookbook by Lyn-Genet RecitasThe Plan (2013) is an elimination/rotation diet that tests your reactions to food to check what foods work with your body chemistry

  • Start with low-reactivity foods
  • Introduce other foods one at a time
  • If you gain weight, you could have a reaction to that food

Below is an outline of the food recommendations in the book.

Get a copy of The Plan for the detailed meal plan, recipes, and more.

Get The Plan Cookbook for more than 150 recipes.

The reasons behind The Plan

This book argues that weight gain is nothing more than your body’s chemical reaction to foods. You’re not eating too may carbs, or too much fat, or too many calories – instead you’re eating certain reactive foods that are triggering an inflammatory response, and the inflammation causes a number of problems including weight gain and some chronic health conditions. These issues occur more as we get older.

We all have certain foods that are inflammatory for us. These foods might be healthy in a vacuum, but when combined with our body’s unique chemistry, they can be quite toxic. When we eat one of these trigger foods, our bodies sense that something toxic has been introduced into our system, and flood the tissues with water trying to keep that toxic substance away from the brain tissues. It’s never the food itself that causes weight gain – it’s the chemical response it triggers in your body. The Plan helps you to systematically test foods to learn how your body reacts, so you can make informed choices – which are your “friendly” foods and which are your “reactive” foods.

The Plan diet – food list

The book gives you exact meal plans for each of the first 20 days, and guidelines on how to plan meals after that. Reactive foods are tested in a specific order, beginning with the least reactive foods, and the menus should be followed closely to get the most accurate results possible – this is a testing protocol systematically designed to gather the critical information you need to become an authority on what works with your body. You can substitute after the 20 days are over.

Weigh yourself first thing each morning – if you lose less than ½ pound, or if you have a flare-up of chronic symptoms, you may have a reaction to the food you ate the day before – put it on hold and re-test it later.

If the inflammatory response was moderate (up to ½ pound weight gain with no accompanying physiological response), then going forward you might want to incorporate that food only occasionally, say once every seven to ten days. Follow that day with a friendly day to allow the body to repair any inflammation. If the reactive response is more extreme, in terms of either weight gain or physical symptoms, avoid that food for right now and retest it in three to six months.

Potentially reactive foods for you to test

% is the percentage of the author’s clientele that tested reactive to that food

  • 90% reactive: Farm-raised fish, deli meats, most sushi, hot dogs, bagels, corn, thick-crust pizza dough
  • 85% reactive: Shrimp, turkey, tomato sauce, eggplant, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, black beans, cannellini beans, cauliflower, cabbage, hard-boiled eggs, nonorganic spinach, cottage cheese, grapefruit, salmon, asparagus, bagels
  • 70% reactive: Regular yogurt, green beans, oranges, pork, white or whole wheat pasta
  • 60% reactive: Peppers, mushrooms (excluding shiitake), tuna, swordfish, edamame, pineapple, cod (unless you are thyroid deficient, in which case it lowers to 30%), whole eggs (other than hard boiled), sweet potatoes
  • 50% reactive: Veal, cow’s milk, couscous, white rice, almond milk, quinoa, artichokes, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas
  • 40% reactive: Wild white fish, lentils, peas, lactose-free milk, tahini
  • 30% reactive: Egg whites, nut butters made from roasted nuts, strawberries, tofu
  • 20% or less reactive: Bread, scallops, steak, roasted nuts (if you have chronic illness, autoimmune disease, or depression, this can bump up to 70%), snow peas, bok choy, cow’s milk cheese, sesame seeds, tempeh
  • 10% or less reactive: Pit fruits (mangoes, avocadoes etc.), garlic, chickpeas, raw onions, shiitake mushrooms (may be higher if you have systemic yeast), chard (will be much higher if you have thyroid issues), organic spinach (will be much higher if you have thyroid issues), radicchio, endive, lamb, chicken, goat or sheep’s milk cheese, pears, apples, berries (except strawberries and raspberries), broccoli, carrots, kale, zucchini, winter squash, beets, mixed greens (baby romaine, red leaf, butter lettuce, etc.), arugula (will be higher if you have thyroid issues)

Prepping for The Plan

  • Get tested for hormone function. If you have an underactive thyroid, avoid goitrogenic foods until testing them in The Plan: broccoli, broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, kale, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, millet, peaches, peanuts, pine nuts, radishes, raspberries, soybean and soy products including tofu, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, watercress
  • Check for yeast overgrowth – set aside one day and include in your daily menu wine and beer, balsamic vinegar, and chocolate – all three in one day, or eat more of the others if you don’t like one of them. The next morning, check your tongue to see if it has a white coating – if so, take high-quality probiotics for a week before starting Phase 1

General guidelines

Eat three meals and a snack a day, following the exact menu in the book.

Portion sizes for each meal:

  • Animal protein: one serving is 4 – 6 ounces for women and 6 – 8 ounces for men (about the size of the palm of each gender’s hand)
  • Vegetables: unless otherwise indicated (e.g. limiting roasted vegetables), eat Plan-friendly cooked vegetables until you feel full
  • Salads: eat until you feel full
  • Soups: eat until you feel full
  • Cheese: 1 ounce is the optimal amount to begin with
  • Nuts and seeds: when they’re included in salads or eaten as a snack, use a generous handful unless otherwise indicated, which is roughly 1 ounce for women and 1 ½ ounces for men
  • A few foods listed in the meal plans have portion sizes to limit the reactivity potential of those foods and mitigate excess sugar

General – eat:

  • Drink plenty of water – approximately half your body weight in ounces – for every sixteen ounces less than your body needs, it will hold on to half a pound. Don’t drink more – it can be detrimental. Start your day with 16 ounces of fresh water with a squeeze of lemon juice, along with a liver detox supplement and/or cup of dandelion tea. Get all your water before 7.30pm to avoid having it show up the next day on the scale
  • You can replace the snack that is listed with fruit (half a piece for women, a whole fruit for men) and a handful of raw nuts or kale chips after day 4, as long as you’ve already tested and passed them. You can replace the hummus recipe with raw almond butter if you test okay with it
  • Always have a salad with cooked vegetables. In summer / warm weather, you can just have raw vegetables, but in winter / cold weather eat an even ratio of cooked and raw vegetables.
  • You can switch the lunch and dinner meals if you like, as long as they’re meals from the same day
  • Eat the three meals and a snack, rather than grazing throughout the day
  • For optimum success, eat your meals at home for as many days as possible. Dining out is a test on day 18, when you test foods you’ve already identified as friendly – it’s difficult to order in a restaurant with a limited selection of foods. If it’s not possible for you to eat at home for 17 days, do this test on an earlier day and move the other tests back by one day
  • In winter or cool/cold weather, follow the Winter Menu, which is the regular plan in the book (pages 69-148). In summer or warm/hot weather, follow the Spring Menu (pages 233-257)
  • There’s also a Thyroid Menu which avoids goitrogens (pages 259-290)
  • There were some alternate Plans available online if you want to avoid certain foods, but unfortunately they were taken offline. There are books available on Amazon, but at the time of writing this update (March 2015)they don’t have reviews.
  • You can add these spices or condiments whenever you wish: basil, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, Maine Coast Sea Seasonings, nutmeg, onion, oregano, rosemary, thyme, turmeric
  • Eat everything recommended in the meal – don’t skip any part of it. Skimping on protein or fat impedes weight loss. Eat until you are full
  • Potato chips are allowed – 1 ounce for women and 1-2 ounces for men
  • Don’t be shy with olive oil, butter, cheese, and nuts once you pass those tests – especially in the winter
  • Stick to organic where possible, especially the Dirty Dozen produce. Try to find hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken and meat
  • Healthiest ways to cook are steaming and sautéing / water-sautéing, followed by roasting and grilling. For meat and fish, with the exception of chicken, rare to medium-rare works best, as the proteins and fats in meats are unstable when heated and may affect your response if overcooked. If you test reactive to fish or beef, you may want to test sashimi or carpaccio

General – limit or avoid:

  • Limit roasted vegetables to one or two cups a day during the plan; after that you can find your own balance
  • Limit low-fat and nonfat milk products, as they are harder to digest and may hinder weight loss
  • Limit sugar, honey, and agave nectar – they are okay within reason (“within reason” isn’t defined)
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners, sugar-free product, and also sugarless gum, and even avoid stevia
  • Tapioca is highly inflammatory, and so is potato starch
  • Xanthan gum can aggravate pain and inflammation
  • Avoid farm-raised fish
  • Limit salt/sodium – excess sodium in the body takes a mildly reactive food and turns it into a wildly reactive one
  • Avoid these spices during testing: paprika, licorice, chili powder, and fennel
  • Avoid seasoning mixes that contain MSG, or that say “spices” without listing the individual ingredients
  • Avoid mustard, or any dressings containing it, until you have tested it (read labels carefully)
  • Avoid ranch, blue cheese, or any other dressing that contains dairy until you have tested it

Have a rest day if:

  • You have a reactive day with physical symptoms
  • Your weight is up
  • You know that you are going to have a particularly hectic or stressful day

If you gain weight after a friendly day:

  • Make sure you drink the right amount of water, before 7.30pm
  • Make sure you don’t have much sodium
  • Don’t over-exercise
  • Make sure you get enough protein and fat
  • Get enough sleep
  • Leave time to recover from prior inflammation
  • Keep stress down
  • Look out for yeast overgrowth
  • Pause testing from 3-5 days before the beginning of the menstrual cycle until day one of your cycle, as many women’s bodies go into pro-inflammatory state
  • Check for allergies

Phase 1 – the 3-day cleanse

This is a 3-day detox to create a neutral base line in your body.

Foods to eat during The Plan 3-day cleanse

For all tests – the next morning, weigh yourself first thing – if you’ve lost less than ½ pound you may be reactive to that food – don’t eat it during the rest of the testing period, and retest it later. If you react badly to a food, take a few days off and eat only foods you’ve tested successfully before.

  • Day 1 – No test. You start out with flax seeds, blueberries, coconut milk or rice milk, carrots, zucchini, onion, beets, kale, shiitake mushrooms, butternut squash, broccoli, mixed greens, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, broccoli with orange oil and lemon juice, pear, apple, citrus zest (orange oil or lemon oil), 1 teaspoon of brown sugar / honey / agave nectar per serving, and the spices/condiments listed above. In the followings days you continue to eat these foods and introduce other foods to test for their reactivity
  • Day 2 – Almonds and rice. Test raw, unsalted almonds (a handful), and brown rice (a cup for women, 1 ½ cups for men).
  • Day 3 – Chickpeas, chicken, roasted vegetables. Test low-sodium chickpeas (1/2 cup), baked chicken without salt (2-3 ounces for women, 4 ounces for men), and roasted vegetables (1 cup for women, 2 cups for men)

Foods to avoid or limit during The Plan 3-day cleanse

  • Coffee (green or black tea is okay, 2 cups maximum). You can have coffee if you really need it, not decaf, but it may make the detox less effective
  • Don’t add any salt to your food – you can use Maine Coast Sea Seasonings / seaweed-based seasonings instead. After the end of the cleanse, seas salt may be used in moderation
  • Avoid butter – only during the cleanse, it’s encouraged afterwards
  • Only eat the foods suggested
  • If you react to a food, stop eating it during testing

Phase 2 – the testing phase

Foods to eat during The Plan testing phase

  • Day 4 – Cheese, coffee, wine, and chocolate. Add one ounce of goat cheese. Have a cup of coffee in the morning if you want to test coffee (not later in the day), don’t include milk until you’ve tested it although half and half or heavy cream is allowed. You can have a glass of wine if you want to test wine. Test 1 ounce of dark chocolate, 65% cacao or less. Note that tomorrow, if you introduced wine, chocolate, or vinegar, you should check your tongue for a white coating to see if there’s yeast overgrowth – if so, avoid one of them for a week to retest
  • Day 5 – Rye. Test 1 rye cracker for women, 2 for men. If you react badly, it’s likely you’ll also react to wheat.
  • Day 6 – Protein. Test a new protein – could be wild white fish (avoid tuna, cod, and swordfish for now – you can test them later), a meat (beef / steak, lamb, or duck, preferably cooked medium rare, or venison, preferably carpaccio or cooked rare to medium) or egg (cooked any way but hard boiled). Note most people do well if they have beef only once every 7 days or so, and eggs every other day
  • Day 7 – No test – take a one-day break to allow your body to reset

Now we start testing some higher-reactive foods

  • Day 8 – Bread. Test plain white or wheat bread – not multigrain, sprouted grain, high fiber, or bagels. Regular bread, cakes, and cookies are made with lower-gluten flour, and are usually tolerated in moderation, say 2-3 days a week. Pizza, pasta, and bagels (which can be tested later) have a higher gluten content and may be tolerated less often. If you have a fully balanced diet with plenty of grain and vegetable fiber, a little white bread will have a minimal impact. If you pass this wheat day, you can now introduce other grains like spelt and kamut into your diet, which widens your choice for breakfast cereals. If you don’t pass the wheat test, stick with a rice flake cereal (not puffed rice)
  • Day 9 – No test, rest day
  • Day 10 – Test new protein. Test a protein you didn’t test before, from the list on day 6, or a higher-reactive protein such as pork (fresh, not bacon or deli meat / cured meat), scallops, or cow’s milk cheese (1 ounce)
  • Day 11 – No test, rest day
  • Day 12 – Test new vegetable. Test one new vegetable, mixed with an already approved vegetable. Snow peas (test 5-6 peapods), bok choy (test ½ cup), brussels sprouts (test 4-5), savoy cabbage (test ½ cup), tomatoes (save grape and cherry tomatoes for a future test), red pepper (not green, orange, or yellow), potato, radicchio, or endive
  • Day 13 – No test, rest day
  • Day 14 – Test new breakfast addition, or milk. Some ideas: oatmeal, yogurt, French toast, bagel, whole or lactose-free milk. Stick to one test – either milk on an already approved cereal, or a new breakfast addition without milk, cream cheese, or yogurt
  • Day 15 – No test, rest day
  • Day 16 – Test two proteins in one day, at lunch and at dinner – use proteins you’ve already tested and passed
  • Day 17 – No test, rest day
  • Day 18 – Test new restaurant (or new vegetable). At a restaurant, eat foods you’ve already tested at home, using the same portion sizes – the restaurant itself is the test. If it tastes salty, send it back
  • Day 19 – Test new vegetable. Mix with other vegetables you’ve already tested, as day 12 above.
  • Day 20 – No test, rest day

Foods to avoid or limit during The Plan testing phase

  • Limit sodium
  • Only eat the foods suggested
  • If you react to a food, stop eating it during testing

Phase 3 – testing on your own

Foods to eat with The Plan when testing on your own

  • Continue to test new foods, so you have a wide range of friendly foods you can eat. If you continue to eat a small range of foods, your body will adapt and your weight loss efforts will stall. You can create food sensitivities if you don’t keep rotating and adding in new foods.
  • Guidelines for testing new foods
    • For greater weight loss, it’s best to test a new food every 4-5 days
    • When you’re testing something new, test in the smallest reasonable amount to see what your body can tolerate
    • Any portion size of a friendly food that is increased by more than about 15-20% is a test
    • Test what’s important to you and what you enjoy
    • Keep hydrated
    • Don’t cut calories
    • Certain food combinations are tests as well. Rice and beans in the same meal, rice and animal protein in the same meal, beans and meat in the same meal, eggs and another animal protein in the same meal, a dense carb and a protein in the same meal
  • Guidelines for daily menu plans
    • Aim for at least 10 grams of protein at breakfast, 15-40 at lunch, 40-70 at dinner.
    • Rotate your friendly proteins – beef only once every 7 says, lamb 2-3 times weekly, beans once per day, fish twice weekly, eggs once every other day, 1-2 servings of nuts every day, 1-2 servings of seeds per day, cheese 1-2 ounces per day
    • Include as many tested vegetables as you can fit into a day
    • Limit fresh fruit to no more than 1 ½ – 2 servings per day; any fruits not already incorporated into the diet are a test
    • One serving a day of dense carbs (rice, pasta, bread) is best for weight loss
    • Test any condiments and sauces you haven’t already tested
    • Use approved herbs and spices
    • Sweets and treats are a test
  • Five-day self-test
    • Create a list of all the foods that have worked for you. On rest days, you’ll stick to these entirely, and on test days, you’ll eat them surrounding the new foods or variable you are testing
    • Have one dense carbohydrate a day (like rice or bread) maximum and one animal protein a day maximum for weight loss (unless you tested well on two proteins in one day)
    • Day 1 – No test
    • Day 2 – Test portion size
    • Day 3 – Test new breakfast item
    • Day 4 – Test exercise
    • Day 5 – No test

Foods to avoid or limit with The Plan when testing on your own

  • If you react to a food, stop eating it

Lifetime diet

Foods to eat with The Plan for the rest of your life

  • Eat the foods you’ve tested
  • If you’re testing a new food, don’t drink past 7.30pm
  • Retest “failed” foods occasionally
  • Continue to hydrate well
  • Continue to eat the same amount of fat as on The Plan

Foods to avoid or limit with The Plan for the rest of your life

  • Beer, champagne, or mixing soda with hard alcohol can be an issue. However many cocktails like margaritas or cosmopolitans are okay if made with fresh lime juice

Health benefits claimed in The Plan

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: acid reflux / GERD, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes, digestive ailments, eczema, high blood pressure, hormonal disorders, infertility, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome IBS, joint pain, migraines, overweight/obesity, Parkinson’s disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS, premature aging, psoriasis, skin conditions, yeast overgrowth

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.

Get a copy of The Plan for a detailed meal plan, recipes, and information on how this elimination diet works.
Buy now from Amazon Diet book
Get The Plan Cookbook for more than 150 recipes.
Buy now from Amazon Cookbook
You can also see the author’s website at (with additional tips at, and follow her on Twitter at and Facebook at, and discussions on SparkPeople and Facebook.

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.


{ 214 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeannie Barrington May 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Bought the book and it seems compicated. There are a lot of things Ihave never heard of.
Went to store today and can’t find some of them. Maybe because I live in Canada.
Also can’t chew nut’s and seed’s. Not sure what to do if I have to follow exactly what the book said.


Penny Hammond May 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi Jeannie,

What are the foods/ingredients you couldn’t find? Let me know on this page and I can give you some pointers on where to find them. It’s not unusual to be nervous when you’re trying new things, and some diet books introduce new ingredients and think you’ll know exactly how to find them, or even what they look like – that’s not always true!

You could try nut and seed butters or ground nuts/seeds if you can’t chew whole nuts and seeds – check your local health food store or look online for almond butter, tahini (ground sesame seeds, check for other ingredients), and other nut butters. Be careful how much you eat, as these are much easier to eat than whole nuts and seeds. If you don’t like nuts and seeds, you don’t need to eat them.
The author advises against having ground flaxseed, however, because of its estrogenic properties. Which makes it difficult for you, as she tells you to follow her meal plans exactly – perhaps you could have only a small amount of flax meal (ground flax, found in health food stores or online) with your breakfast before you’ve tested other breakfast foods.


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 5:59 am


There is a suggestion for breakfast to use kamut and/ or spelt flakes from Arrowhead Mills; I ordered them online since I work in Italy and not too many things are available on these markets. For instance, the unsalted potato chips are also something I had to order online but needed my family in the States to forward them to me.

Good luck!


Ann May 30, 2013 at 3:25 am

On the official website, the Blueberry Pear Compote recipe is suggested as an alternative to the flax granola breakfast. You can do a google search for LYNGENET.COM COOKBOOK to find it.


Amy June 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

Thank you for this great synopsis! I m wondering if there is a spring menu for people with thyroid issues? The spring menu works better for me,( as there are many food winter-wise I cannot tolerate, kale being one,) but I do seem to have a low temperature. Also, so much of the breakfast seems dependent on flax seeds, but I am concerned about having too many as I have a fibroid and need to avoid estrogenic foods, kindly advise more options if you might know of some. Many thanks, Amy :)


Penny Hammond June 16, 2013 at 6:32 pm

You could try the spring menu and cut out goitrogenic foods, substituting them for approved foods that you know you’re okay with – or if you’re okay with cooked crucifers, make sure they’re well enough cooked for you.

To reduce flax seed, you could move an alternate breakfast food to one of the earliest foods that you test.
To avoid it completely, you could try substituting other seeds such as chia or hemp, although there are some reports that they may be goitrogenic as well. A thought – soaking until they’re starting to sprout may reduce some substances that you react to.


Amy June 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Thanks very much for your reply, I so much welcome the guidance :). The book seems so strict asking for no substitutions, and claims to be so chemically balanced that a small tweak can throw things off. I have a hard time eating foods that really make me nauseous, like avocado, broccoli, would love some substitutes that work with the balance of the other ingredients if you know any. Also, kale or other cooked greens are just not to my liking. I also am curious if there is a vegetarian option for the plan. I try to avoid soy, and have relied upon combined proteins in the past, but these seem to be possibly reactive things, I have yet to test them though. I shall. I wish there were a new round of recipes to add breakfast variety. Do you know if there will be more recipes in the future?

Lastly, do you know if exercise is always to be restricted to no more than 4x a week after the testing phase?

Thanks again so much for your help. Trying to make this work . if yo uhave other idaes for other successful and balanced diets please feel free to recommend. You rock :)! Thanks!!


Penny Hammond June 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm

You’re right, the book’s really strict about no substitutions. I’d guess that foods that have the same macronutrients and micronutrients profiles could be substituted, as long as they aren’t foods you commonly eat or in food families you’re intolerant to.

I wonder why certain foods make you nauseous – usually it’s because you got sick after the first time you tried them, or you ate them at a time when you were really sick and somehow you associate them with nausea. Some people don’t like avocado because it’s a little slimy, and humans have a natural negative reaction to sliminess because it can mean bacteria or mold. It’s possible that they contain something that you’re intolerant to, but unlikely. For the kale and cooked greens, you probably just didn’t like them much when you first ate them and you haven’t gotten over it – humans react to bitter flavors because they can be poisonous, but greens either aren’t poisonous or they’re just the right amount of poison for health, so it may be a good idea to teach yourself to like them – either cover them with a flavor that you like and wean yourself off the added flavor (some people teach kids to eat broccoli by adding a lot of cheese sauce), or just eat it 10 times until you get used to it.

I didn’t find a vegetarian option for the plan, or guidance about whether exercise is always to be restricted to no more than 4x a week after the testing phase. I’d guess that when you’re testing additional foods you should restrict exercise.

If you’re really interested in detecting your food allergies/intolerances, have a look at Food Allergies and Food Intolerance by Jonathan Brostoff – I used it many years ago to discover my own intolerances, a long process of eating on your own if you do it thoroughly but great if you have chronic issues you’d like to address.


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:11 am

I found veggies that I don’t like either but am not reactive to them; hence, I changed the manufacturer (if frozen) or cooked them from scratch. Fresh Kale is unavailable to me in Italy but frozen kale is a great ‘substitute’, so that’s what I incorporated in my meals. I’m happy for you to see that you actually realized so fast what works and doesn’t for you. Imagine you would have continued eating the healthful way but instead, all those foods make you sick.

As for exercising more than four times a week, I personally like to stick with some short sessions of yoga or Wii games which capture very well my progress. Make it fun!


Susie June 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I have just started “The Plan” and I am a little confused by the way we know if a food is reactive for us. As I understand, the day after we test a food, if we gain weight or feel bloated then that food is reactive. Is that correct?

Thank you.


Penny Hammond June 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Yes, that’s about right. If you lose less than ½ pound, or if you have a flare-up of chronic symptoms, you may have a reaction to the food you ate the day before – put it on hold and re-test it later.


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:16 am

Your body temperature might be higher, too, trying to fight the inflammation; it’s important to capture it every morning before getting out of bed (for an accurate reading), ideally at the same time of the day.

Other side effects to look for are related to headaches on the entire scale up to migranes, sleepiness, low energy, etc. You’re the only one who can feel the difference between feeling great and not so great or worse. Capture when these symptoms appear; there was at one point a testimonial of a patient who realized that chicken served at lunch was making him sleepy (so do I) and swapped it with dinner. As such, he was able to have business meetings without risking the side effect. Great tool once you know how your body reacts! It puts you in control! I’m sold on it! :)

Good luck!


Theresa June 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Hi Penny, We are on Day 5 of The Plan. My husband has lost 9.5 lbs, my daughter has lost 5lbs and I have lost 4.5lbs. This weight loss has given my family the motivation to continue on each day with the plan. It has been a difficult 5 days for us (especially my husband and daughter – whose taste buds are vey limited) because of the introduction of so many new foods to our family. Finding the foods in the grocery store and cooking them has been a challenge because of this newness. But I think we have turned a corner. Now that we are getting used to where to shop for ingredients and my cooking skills are improving everyone exclaimed that supper on Day 5 was delicious! Even good enought to serve company. Woo hoo!
Your website has been a wonderful resource for us since the book is a little hard to manouver. I find you really have to re-read and flip back and forth between the sections of the book to get a good understanding of what you can and cannot eat.
Can you give me the low down about drinking alcohol. We are going to a weekend party where there will be a lot of drinking. Do you have any suggestions? I thought I read somewhere that for every alcoholic beverage you drink you need to compensate with an extra glass of water (before 7:30pm).
Also can you comment about the magic hour of 7:30 pm to drink all of your water. Can this time be adjusted if you are a late riser and go to bed late??
That’s all for now. Thanks for this venue to chat! Theresa


Penny Hammond June 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hi Theresa,
Congratulations on your success so far, and well done for trying so many new things!
Did you test wine on day 4 to see if you got a yeast overgrowth? If so, you should be able to drink that. If you react to yeast, avoid wine and beer, but hard liquor should be okay – don’t mix it with soft drinks, and try to have fresh lime juice in it (e.g. margarita). Definitely have some water. It’s not really clear, but I think if you go off-menu and drink alcohol you should consider it a non-test/rest day – don’t test anything on that day, and perhaps the day after, so you don’t get false information affected by the alcohol. Or consider it as a test for whatever you’re drinking, as long as it’s only one thing and you’re not having excessive amounts of it.
I imagine that the magic hour of 7.30 could be changed if you’re a night owl – but you should probably make sure it’s at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
Hope that helps, Penny


Ruth June 24, 2013 at 10:44 am

I have a question about the liver supplements. They generally suggest a dosage of “3 capsules.” When you take your liver supplements in the morning — especially during cleanse phase (I am using OptiLiver) — should you take all 3 capsules, just take 1, or spread them out? Thanks. I am just not sure how they work.


Penny Hammond June 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

I know more about the food side of things than the supplements – can anybody else help?


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:19 am

I take only one as recommended by The Plan. In fact, I introduced my regular supplements and resveratrol with a tiny reaction (+0.2 lbs) but it might be related to something else. Will retest later.

Lyn, the author, has a way to answer emails; I yet have to find how.


Sydney June 26, 2013 at 1:42 am

I just started the detox part of the plan today and I am having a really hard time. I have a splitting migraine and everything I have eaten (all the day 1 items) I do not normally eat and I am feeling very sick. My body is very weak and I am dizzy as well, I have been pretty much confined to my bed all day because of this. I feel as though my body is not getting essential nutrients that it needs, such as protein. Does this go away? I am only on day one and I am considering quitting because I am having such a severe reaction to it.


Penny Hammond June 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sorry to hear that.
Probably, the migraine, dizziness and other symptoms are because of the detox. If you’re not eating some of the potential toxins you usually eat (caffeine and sugar come to mind), it’s pretty common to get symptoms like that for a few days as your body releases toxins. It feels bad for a few days, but you’ll probably feel like a whole new person once it’s out of your system.
If you’re not used to eating the suggested foods, you could try adding them to your regular diet so that you become used to them and then starting the diet again. Going through migraines in detox is bad enough as it is, but if you’re uncomfortable with the foods that you’re eating that’s a lot of stress at one time.
Alternately, try cutting out caffeine and sugar while eating your regular diet for a few days before starting this diet. They’re the most likely suspects for the detox migraine.
Don’t worry about not getting essential nutrients – you should be getting everything you need if you follow the book’s recommendations.


stephanie July 5, 2013 at 9:44 am

In the book, she suggests Emergen-C for lightheadedness. It is a better electrolyte alternative to Gatorade and other such products.


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:26 am

I agree with Penny. That’s why it’s called the Detox phase. That’s why it’s recommended not to exercise, so your body regenerates the organs versus muscle mass. If cutting out the coffee gives you withdrawals, the dandelion tea should help in the morning. My second day was so much better and I started to immediately see myself ‘shrinking’ while I went on further without a headache for two straight weeks (a common thing for me at least 3-4 times a week).
Capture everything in writing so you can analyze the data. When do the migranes appear, at what time, for how long, in what section of your head; other associated reactions? Do you hydrate enough? Do you sleep enough? Do you eat the three meals and snack at balanced times throughout the day?

I hope by now, a month later, you could give us a reply on how you’re doing. We’re crossing the fingers for ya!


fwoze June 26, 2013 at 3:56 am

yup I’m frozen in the same old weight. :)
have done the 1st 2 weeks of the PLAN 3 times now.
only lose during the 1st 3 days. found out there was a Spring menue. so started again
found out cuz i’m on synthroid and temp is always 36.5 in a.m. that i should follow thyroid menue.
got that menu but now find out that no cole crops for thyroid troubled people. ARG. why do they have kale and broccoli on the thyroid test days then?
each time I’m learning something new. but this is ONE slow process.
The book is just tooo poorly written, this summary here was MUCH help.
Can anyone help us out with the PROPER protocol for those with thyroid issues?
why doesn’t she include the thyroid menue without all the broc. ? what are we supposed to live on instead?
avacado in the soups is delicious.

Anyone else having these same troubles? I’d really like this to work, makes sense and works for some friends, but the thyroid issue is certainly a culprit?


Penny Hammond July 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

See pages 41-42 for the author’s notes on goitrogenic foods. She points out that cooking often deactivates goitrogens, especially broccoli and kale, so I’d guess that’s why she’s included them in the menus. If you know that you have trouble with them, try substituting a green leafy vegetable (not cruciferous) for each of them.


Linda Roney October 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I am with you, I found the book jumped all over the place. As well there didn’t need to be repeated instructions for drinking water and liver supplement, but so vague in other areas. I also think my thyroid is sluggish but not sure. I will probably go with the thyroid menu as I don’t think it can hurt.
I was not accustomed to using some of those spices and so the recipes take a while to tweak them ..even a hint like – half a teaspoon…. up to a tablespoon! My daughter but 2 tablespoon of cumin in her soup and was wicked strong, I put a quarter teaspoon in mine and it was bland! It is challenging enough to get motivated and in gear and will have to read the book 3 times to get it straight in my head. Actually think I will write it out as I go and do it in my own format.
I go online and read contrary stories on the kelp and maine sea salt, etc. so not sure what to do,
But still gonna give it my best shot! Am on day 3 and been having the major headache and flu symptoms so must be doing something as 3 others are doing this with me and we all feel the same way!


fwoze June 26, 2013 at 4:02 am

i forgot to mention, if trying to loose weight, then when does one start using the recipees in her book?
better to test only 2X / week if trying to loose. then how does one keep it from being very boring? are the recipees only really for AFTER you’ve lost your weight?


Penny Hammond July 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm

In phase 1, days 1-3, follow the meal plans on pages 69-75.
In phase 2, days 4-20, follow the meal plans on pages 97-147.
If you’re living in a hot climate or it’s summer – the spring meal plans for all 20 days are on pages 233-257.
If you have thyroid issues – the thyroid meal plans for all 20 days are on pages 260-286.

The recipes for all of these meal plans are in the book, pages 173-229. So when you see a recipe mentioned in the meal plan, look it up in the recipes sections. The meal plans tell you what page to look at.

After you’ve finished the first 20 days and you’re ready to move on and test foods on your own, follow the phase 3 guidelines above to plan your own meals.


Teri June 28, 2013 at 5:54 am

I have been reading the book and thinking of trying it…I have been working with a functional medical dr for about 4 months and have done the elimination diet w him. In addition I have a pretty bad intolerance to avocado, fresh pineapple, corn and cantaloupe. Therefore cannot eat. If we must eat the menu exactly how would I do it because I cannot eat avocado.



Penny Hammond July 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Hi Teri,
This is an elimination diet, to test which foods you react to. If you’ve already done a full elimination diet with a functional medical doctor, you probably don’t need to do this as well.


Susie July 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

Hi. I tested a new veggie last night, Brussels sprouts, and went up a full 2 pounds! Is that even possible! Can it be that reactive to me body?


Penny Hammond July 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Wow! Yes, that’s possible… Give it a rest until the end of your testing, then re-test it later. Watch out for other cruciferous vegetables, in case they have the same effect.
Also note that for some people, hormonal cycles can make you gain or lose (water) weight at different parts of the cycle, usually just before or during your period.


Susie July 3, 2013 at 1:05 am

Way too late for that…wish I could blame the time of the month, but I’m 63!

Thanks so much.


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:31 am


I did not test yet the Brussels sprouts and even though I’m not crazy about them, I occasionally eat them for the iron content. This is a plan that I’m testing so my mother who’s your age can do it, too. I’m very excited to do it because I, personally, can see the benefits and results. I lost 10 lbs in three weeks.

Thanks to Penny I’ll check out the cruciferous vegetables list for grocery shopping purposes.

Put the Brussels sprouts on the non-friendly food list and retest later with other friendly foods. My top gain is 2.4 lbs from pork steak. Ouch!


stephanie July 5, 2013 at 9:38 am

I lost four 4 lbs the first four days, but I woke up on day 5 and weighed the same as yesterday. I did drink some water late as we were up watching 4th of July fireworks and I was thirsty from yardwork. However, the Plan introduced mango, cucumber, chocolate, and goat cheese all on one day. How am I supposed to know the cause? When I did this before, I was using the winter menu and followed the plan for the day and lost a pound. Frustrated! Any suggestions?


Penny Hammond July 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

As you had water late in the day, that may have thrown off your weighing this morning
A couple of suggestions: either take a rest day (menu from days 1-3) and try the same foods again, or avoid those foods to the end of the diet and then re-test them at the end.
if you already tested cheese and chocolate in the regular winter menu, they’re probably okay for you – goat’s milk cheese is in most cases going to be less reactive than cow’s milk cheese, if that’s what you tried before. But worth another test just in case.


Susie July 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

I have stayed the same weight for the last three days, day 16,17,18. Any suggestions to break this plateau?



Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:36 am


The author suggests that you continue eating normally so the body doesn’t go in ‘starvation’ mode. Once it figures out you continue eating without cutting calories, it will move on to its good mechanisms as long as you continue following the rules. The other explanation is that you no longer need to lose weight ;)
I’m guilty of not resting enough and drinking water late; however, I’m working on it and drink water with lemon juice throughout the day.

Have you sent a question to Lyn on her Facebook page yet?


Cori July 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Susie, I noticed when this happened to me it was because I hadnt eaten enough. Try some more calories and maybe a glass of wine or 2!! I worked for me. Good luck!


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:37 am

I should try more wine, too LOL


Cori July 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I have a question for others. Once we test some other veggies, can I eat them instead of squash and zucchini all the time? Will I still loose weight? As well, how can I incorporate more fibre in my diet? I don’t particularly like the flax granola but regular cereal doesn’t give me enough fibre. Any suggestions? And the soups… I love soups but I hate the ones listed due to the water base. Any ideas how to give them more flavour without the extra salt from beef base or bouillon? Thanks!


Penny Hammond July 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Lyn-Genet says in the book that you should follow the menu exactly during the 20 days of testing, but you can substitute after the 20 days are over. But it looks like she might make an exception for vegetables – if you look at the spicy vegetarian soup recipe, it says that as you discover your friendly vegetables, you can add them to the basic soup recipe. So it looks like you should be able to eat other veggies you’ve tested and passed.
Try to have green leafy vegetables for weight loss and for fiber.
For extra flavor in the soups, try adding herbs. If you don’t like watery soups, try pureeing them.


Susie July 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I’m testing Chinese noodles today. I’m so nervous. I’ve lost 4 pounds (I’m only 4’11”) so 4 lbs is a big deal for me. So hard for me to lose weight. I hope I don’t have a big weight gain, but I love Asian food so this is my first test.


Isabela Dunklin July 18, 2013 at 6:44 am

How did it go with the chinese noodles, Susie?


Susie July 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

I went up 1/2 lb. I had noodles, eggplant with peanut sauce and green long beans. Truthfully, I didn’t enjoy it because I was so obsessed with worrying about the weight gain. I do better with testing foods that I eat more often, I don’t stress out over it, like eating bread or grains or even some desserts. I live in San Francisco and there are so many Asian restaurants here. How are you doing on this plan?


Susie July 30, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Anyone out there? I have been “on my own” for about a week and my weight went way up. I thought I was doing ok but obviously not. So disappointed and realize that this Plan is not very easy to do on my own. Anyone having similar problems? Any advice would be appreciated.


Penny Hammond July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm

A few ideas:
– Did you have any symptoms that you used to have, that stopped while you were following the diet? If they’ve returned, maybe something has snuck back in that you didn’t realize. Check the ingredients of everything you eat
– Were there any foods that you tested and had ambiguous results for? Watch out as you may be slightly reactive to them
– Are you drinking enough water?
– Are you eating more sodium than when you were following the meal plan? Check ingredient lists
– Are you eating the same foods every day? Try to make sure you’ve got variety in your diet
– Have you been exercising more? The author believes that can lead to weight gain
– Are you eating the same amount of fiber as when you were following the meal plan?
– Do you have seasonal allergies or have you been sick? These could contribute to inflammation and weight gain


Susie July 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Thanks Penny. I’ll go over everything you mentioned. I’ll check back in a couple of days. Really appreciate the feed back.


Susie August 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

Hi Penny,

I don’t think I have any of the issues you mentioned above. Eating enough, eating fiber, not exercising…the weight loss is minimal. Not even close to what it was. I’m about to give up. I went on Lyn’s FB page and posted but no response .


Penny Hammond August 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Hi Susie,
I hope that at least you’ve managed to get rid of other symptoms by knowing which foods trigger them.
You could try going back and doing the diet again if you still need to lose weight – if you lose more weight, keep an eye out for any foods you reintroduce that might be causing you trouble. if you don’t lose any more weight, look for another diet.

Marianna July 31, 2013 at 6:55 am

I have allergies to both Coconut and Nuts and Seeds, are there replacements I can eat?


Penny Hammond July 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm

That’s tough. The author doesn’t offer many alternatives, and I haven’t found anything in the forums.
Try contacting her directly at or


Janelle August 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm

I gained on rye crackers and I might be reactive to chickpeas, so i cut them too. I haven’t been able to lose anynore weigh since the gain. Not sure what to do now.


Janelle August 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Another day still the same weight. It’s frustrating because It means I can’t tell what I’m reacting to. I’ve even repeated a day that I’ve lost on and it still wont go down, so I don’t know if I’m reacting to something else. I’ve twittered, facebooked and emailed Lyn-Genet and have got no response. I’ve been the exact same weight for 5 days and I’ve only been doing it for 9 days. I’m very careful with my water intake at the right time and weighing out the portion sizes, I’ve followed the menu perfectly (sans rye and chickpeas). Any suggestions?


Penny Hammond August 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm

It’s possible that you’re not losing weight because of hormone fluctuations or sickness. Or you could be reacting to one of the basic foods in the menu – it’s difficult to know how to test for that on this diet as it’s so prescriptive.


Elize August 8, 2013 at 8:02 am

I just started the cleanse today after quite some time preparing, but can’t keep the flax granola down. what can I do


Penny Hammond August 8, 2013 at 11:19 am

Try the Blueberry Pear Compote instead (without the almonds until you have tested them) – you can find it at, page 2


shawna August 9, 2013 at 7:03 am

Once we pass the test for wine, Day 4, does that mean other kinds of alcohol are okay? Also the rule for no water 3-4 hours before going to bed. Is that the same for a drink of wine at end of night?

Thank you


Penny Hammond August 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm

It looks like this is more of a test of yeast than of alcohol – look at your tongue the day after drinking wine (or chocolate or vinegar) to see if you’ve got a white coating, which means there’s a yeast overgrowth, which you can remedy with probiotics (p.101)

If you want to have another kind of alcohol, you should test it.

Lyn-Genet says alcohol is usually not a problem unless you have beer or champagne or mix soda with hard alcohol.
– Beer – carbonation impairs digestion, and beer is high in yeast, which many people have underlying issues with.
– Champagne is acidic and has added sugars, which can aggravate yeast.
– Many cocktails, such as margaritas or cosmopolitans, are Plan friendly if they are made with fresh lemon juice or fresh lime juice, which can help your liver process the alcohol.
Lightening the load on your liver can help with better weight loss. (p.165-166)

And yes, I’d assume that you shouldn’t have wine for 3-4 hours before going to bed.


shawna August 10, 2013 at 7:52 am

thank you so much


Linda Amen August 12, 2013 at 11:52 am

I am just starting the plan today and am finding that it does not even explain anywhere that I can see what MIXED GREENS are. I am to have them for lunch today.


Penny Hammond August 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm

The author describes mixed greens as “baby romaine, red leaf, butter lettuce, etc.” – so I’d assume a mixed salad / mesclun mix.


shawna August 13, 2013 at 7:22 am

To test for eggs on Day 10 of the Spring Menu. How many eggs should we make for scrambled eggs. Because she recommends a certain amount of protein at dinner I thought it would be 2 to 3 eggs or more per person to get the minimum amount of protein suggested for dinner. Men maybe 3 and women 2 eggs?

Thank you for your tips.


Penny Hammond August 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm

It’s not exactly clear. She says: when you’re testing something new, test in the smallest reasonable amount to see what your body can tolerate. So I suppose that would be one egg. She also says “egg” rather than “eggs” in the list of proteins to test on page 105. On the other hand, she says that if you increase the amount of a food that you eat by 15-20% you should test the new amount, so that would imply that if you only test 1 egg then you’d have to retest if you ate more than one.
So your suggestion of 2 eggs for women and 3 eggs for men makes sense – if you fail the test, you can always try later with a smaller portion.

When you’re testing eggs, scrambled should work – have them cooked any way but hard boiled, as hard boiled eggs are the most potentially reactive.


Mona August 15, 2013 at 1:38 am

I live in Australia where it’s nigh on impossible to get Kale – is there anything I can substitute for it?


Penny Hammond August 15, 2013 at 7:42 am

I had a quick look at the Australian supermarket websites for Woolworths and Coles, and the closest I could find to kale are brussels sprouts and bok choy/choy sum, which are in the same food family (brassicas/crucifers) and are basically dark leafy greens as well. Lyn-Genet is pretty strict about not substituting, but if her recommendations aren’t available you’ll have to be inventive!


Mona August 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm

THanks for that Penny.

I falied the goats cheese test – no shock really, I’ve beem diagnosed by a gastroenterologist as lactose intol and I used the soft goats cheese………….I’ll try again in a week or two with a hard cheese which is usually much easier for me to digest anyway………it was a lovely treat though, its been years since I’ve eaten any soft cheese so was worth all the side effects.

Meantime, what do you think I swap out for all the cheeses used in The Plan going forward? Or do I just skip them out of the meals or swap for another protein?

Have a lovely weekend.


Penny Hammond August 23, 2013 at 7:40 am

Probably best to swap them out for another protein instead of skipping them altogether.
Good luck with the hard cheeses!


Heather January 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm

She now has a “dairy-free” plan that is available on-line now – both Spring and Winter. I had the same problem, and really didn’t know how to avoid the cheese in her recipes. I often swapped avocado or non-reactive seeds or nuts in place of cheese when I was following the standard plan.


Lesley September 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hi, just a comment for Mona… I live in New Zealand and have found the kale at an organic store called Ceres. Not sure if you have this chain over there or Huckleberry Farms but if you have any organic stores near you, they’d probably have it. I’ve seen it from time to time at one of our local produce shops too. Good luck, hope you can find it!


Tania October 16, 2013 at 6:02 am

Hi Mona – I’m not certain where you live in Australia, I live in Queensland. Our local Woolworths and Coles both carry Kale. Perhaps you just need to ask for it. I often ask our supermarket for produce that I can’t see :)


claudia August 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Just a couple of questions. I missed testing coffee on day 4 because I wasn’t sure how many variables to test that day. When can I try again? Also I find that there is too much food and sometimes the thought of facing broccoli, or carrots at this point is unbearable. My question is can I skip the odd salad if I am full with the other things.


Penny Hammond August 27, 2013 at 6:52 am

You could try testing coffee on a day you test another food that you don’t eat very often – that way, if you gain weight or have other symptoms, it will either be from coffee or something you don’t eat very often, and you won’t have shot yourself in the foot by questioning a food that you want to eat. Or you can wait until phase 3, testing on your own.

The guidelines are to eat the vegetables and salads until you feel full – try eating a smaller amount instead of skipping them altogether.


claudia August 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Thanks for the answers, and I have one more question. The instructions on the dandelion tea say to not use for more than 2 weeks. Is this stuff safe. Can I have a morning coffee instead ( once I test it) or at least other tea? Should I continue with a supplement.
Also can I come up with my own recipe ( veggie dish) if I don’t feel like having one in the book?


Penny Hammond August 28, 2013 at 11:15 am

Lyn-Genet recommends having a liver detoxifier – either dandelion tea or NOW Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator. So coffee or another tea isn’t really a substitute.
Whatever liver detoxifier you use, the author suggests taking a week or two off every 2 months or so to allow the body to rest.


Terri August 28, 2013 at 3:46 am

Hi, is this diet suitable for vegetarians


Penny Hammond August 28, 2013 at 11:24 am

The first 2 days of the 3-day cleanse are basically vegan, then on day 3 you’re supposed to have chicken for dinner. There are also some later days that have chicken on the menu.
Although you’re supposed to follow the plan exactly, it may be possible to substitute a low-reactive vegetarian protein that you don’t eat very often.
There’s a list of easily-digested vegetarian sources of protein (p.131):
Broccoli – 5 grams per cup
Sunflower seeds – 5 grams per ounce
Pumpkin seeds – 9 grams per ounce
Almonds – 8 grams per ounce
Cheese – 8 grams per ounce
Chickpeas – 5 grams per 1/2 cup
Chia seeds – 5 grams per 2 tablespoons
Rice – 5 grams per cup
Hemp seeds – 8 grams per 2 tablespoons


Jerry August 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Since I don’t drink alcohol, can grape or some other juice be substituted for red wine?


Penny Hammond August 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

The author asks you to limit fruit to no more than 1 1/2 – 2 servings a day so you don’t overload your body with natural sugar. Fruit juices have more concentrated natural sugars than whole fruits, so it may be better to avoid them or have very small amounts of juice, very diluted. It’s not going to be a direct substitute for the red wine.


Rola August 31, 2013 at 8:52 am


If I have tested reactive to almonds . I am on day 9 where I can have bread with almond butter . What’s a substitution for the almond butter ? I am getting sick if the flaxseeds so am excited that I can now have bread for breakfast :)



Penny Hammond August 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Lyn-Genet mentions in the book that you can replace hummus with raw almond butter if you test okay with it – so I assume you can replace the almond butter with hummus.


Rola September 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Thanks for your reply! How about peanut butter? is that OK?


Penny Hammond September 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

There’s peanut butter in a couple of the recipes (sate sauce, spicy peanut sauce), and she doesn’t list it under the most reactive foods, so it may be okay. If you plan to have it often, check to see whether you have a reaction to it.


Rola September 11, 2013 at 9:54 am

Thanks Penny! You are very helpful!!
One more question, how about diet sodas?

Penny Hammond September 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm

You’re welcome!
You’re supposed to avoid artificial sweeteners (including stevia), so diet soda would be out.

Michelle September 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Hi, just hearing about this diet plan today. I am very interested and plan to buy the book tomorrow. This site has been extremely helpful and plan to keep referring back here. I’m just wondering if I can still follow the plan if I’m lactose-intolerant, have IBS, and can’t eat onions or broccoli? I did a mini elimination diet before to determine my IBS triggers and onions are a big one and broccoli as well. I see you are suppose to follow her diet exactly so would I be able to leave out onions and broccoli in the beginning?


Penny Hammond September 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm

You could probably omit the onions, although that will have an impact on flavor. Are other foods in the onion family, such as garlic and scallions/green onions, also IBS triggers for you? If not, you may be able to substitute them as they’re nutritionally similar.
Are you okay with kale? It’s fairly nutritionally similar to broccoli (and also very low reactive), although you’d have to work out how to cook it in these recipes without it becoming tough.
Something to remember – if you can allow your gut to rest so it can heal, you may be able to occasionally have your trigger foods without too much trouble. Worth testing again a few months down the line.


Michelle September 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Thanks so much for the quick response. I can eat garlic and green onions (only the green parts) so I will try that and maybe try regular onions later. I may try the broccoli and see what happens, it’s normally raw broccoli and large amounts that cause the problem so I’ll limit that. Thanks again


Michelle Taylor September 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi again, planning to get started on the plan this Thursday. Noticed there are a lot of recipes and a lot of ingredients to buy just for the 1st 3 days but I am looking forward to getting started. Just have a few questions. For the 1st 3 days cleanse do I continue to follow the 3 days even if I have a weight gain during one of the 3 initial days or do throw in rest days right away? I hope this will not be an issue and that I will drop weight but just wondering. Also, for the flax-seed granola, can I add raisins and cranberries at the very beginning or should I wait until after the cleanse? Also I assume plain dried cranberries, not craisins which have other ingredients including sugar? Thanks again


Penny Hammond September 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

The foods in the first 3 days of The Plan are very low reactive – most people don’t react to them, so it probably won’t be an issue for you.
The author doesn’t say anything about weight gain during the first day – if that happens it might indicate you’re intolerant to one of the foods you’re eating, and there’s no plan in the book on how to narrow it down if that’s the case.
If you have a weight gain following day 2, it could be from the almonds or rice you’re testing that day; if you have a weight gain following day 3 it could be from the chickpeas, chicken, or possibly roasted vegetables. If this happens, hold off on eating the foods you tested on the previous day, and have a few days without eating those foods before you start testing new foods again.

There aren’t any clear guidelines about when you can include dried fruits – there’s no introduction plan for them, but raisins and dried cranberries are mentioned as snacks and in the recipes. Fresh fruits are limited to no more than 1 1/2 – 2 servings a day – and a serving for dried fruit should probably be small, as they’re concentrated. It may be worth holding out until after day 4 when you test foods that can give you yeast overgrowth, as concentrated sugars (like you find in dried fruits) may aggravate yeast levels, although that’s not discussed in the book. For raisins, it may be better if they’re organic as grapes can have very high levels of pesticides. For dried cranberries, it’s pretty difficult to get unsweetened dried cranberries as they’re very sour, so watch out for the effect of the sugars on you (you are allowed small amounts of sugar on this diet).


Rola September 16, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hi again,

How about during the menstrual cycle? should I be testing. I should be getting my period is next couple of days and I noticed that I didn’t lose weight after redoing a rest day ? is that normal ? I had done that rest day before and I always lost weight .




Penny Hammond September 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

Hi Rola,
Lyn-Genet doesn’t cover it in the book, but your hormonal cycles may affect your weight, for example if there are times in your cycle when you retain water. So it could be that you’re maintaining weight because of your upcoming period.


Michelle Taylor September 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

Hi Rola, I did read online regarding this. She says it is normal for women to gain a day or 2 before starting your period, if this is the case then do a couple of rest days and resume testing.


Kena Pino September 18, 2013 at 12:57 am

Hi Penny, thanks for the awesome thread. I was looking for a sub for goat cheese for day 1. Haven’t started yet. Wanted to know if I can completely omit it or replace it with another protein. Thanks for reading:)


Penny Hammond September 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

Hi Kena,
Lyn-Genet suggests starting out the testing on day 4 with goat cheese because it’s low reactive (only 10% or less of people react to it) – cow’s milk is more likely to give you a reaction (20% reactive) than goat’s milk. (See “Potentially reactive foods for you to test” above for reactivity.) If you don’t like soft goat cheese, see if you can find a hard one, or a sheep’s milk cheese. You could try a very unprocessed cow’s milk cheese instead, as it’s still fairly low-reactive – just note that on this day you’re also testing other foods (coffee, chocolate, wine) and if you have a bad reaction then you won’t know which food is causing it. Keep to the suggested portion size.


Michelle Taylor September 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hi Penny,
Just wondering if there a suggestion for a substitute for the flax granola? I made my own without raisins, nuts or dried cranberries (until tested) and I am having a hard time getting it down. I’m fine with the blueberries and the coconut milk. I just find 1 cup of it way too much and I couldn’t even get it all down today, even after cutting it back to 3/4 of a cup. Any suggestions? I’m starting day 3 tomorrow.


Penny Hammond September 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

If you don’t like the flax granola, try the Blueberry Pear Compote instead (without the almonds until you have tested them) – you can find the recipe at, page 2.


Michelle Taylor September 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Thanks, this recipe looks great and don’t see it in the book


Michelle Taylor September 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

Hi Penny,
I am doing great so far on the plan. Down 5lbs in 4 days. Thanks for all the info and advice.
I think I may have found a food I am reactive too, but not 100% sure. On day 3 of the cleanse I had roasted veggies for dinner which I loved but that night I felt a bit bloated, and some gas and was constipated. I did lose 1 lb the next morning though. The next day, I continued on and did day 4, introducing cheese, chocolate & wine. I also had roasted veggies again for lunch and again that night I ended up with the same symptoms only a little worse. This morning I only lost 0.2 lb. I assume there’s something I’m reactive to, it may be the roasted veggies or the cheese, chocolate or wine. So I’m doing a rest day today instead of continuing with day 5. No roasted veggies, wine, chocolate or cheese. Is this what I’m suppose to do?
Thanks again for all the help


Penny Hammond September 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hi Michelle,

If you have any symptoms – not just lack of weight loss – you should review what may have caused them so you can stop them from affecting your results. Having a rest day afterwards is good.

When you woke up this morning after having cheese, chocolate, and wine yesterday, did you have a white coating on your tongue? That would indicate a yeast reaction. Also, some people have yeast reactions to roasted vegetables because they’re higher in sugars. Keep roasted veggies to 1-2 cups a day to start as they are high in sugars, make sure you have a salad at the same time, and chew everything well. “If yeast is an issue, limit roasted vegetables and squash to 1 cup several times a week.” (p.157)
“If you do experience a yeast reaction, please avoid vinegar and wine or chocolate for a week, until you can retest (no cutting out both wine and chocolate… we don’t scale back on joy that way!).”(p.101)


Michelle Taylor September 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

Hi Penny,
The rest day worked out great. No symptoms at all and down another lb this morning. I also had some chocolate last night :) I am thinking the roasted veggies are reactive for me, maybe just 1 of the roasted veggies so will have to keep an eye on this.
Thanks again


Michelle Taylor September 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Hi Penny,
Just wondering, I went off The Plan for pretty much the whole weekend. I want to get started again, just wondering do I need to start over or just start with a rest day and continue on?
Thanks again


Penny Hammond September 30, 2013 at 8:45 am

It’s probably worth doing a 3-day cleanse to get back to baseline – at this point, have 3 rest days and you can eat foods you’ve tested and passed. Then start where you left off before.


Rebecca October 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment and point out that if you eat vegetables, lean protein, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds for twenty days while cutting out white rice, beer, pizza, pasta and junk food….you are going to lose 20lbs…plan or no plan! This is just another variation of eating right; eating whole foods that you cook at home, instead of high-sodium mystery ingredient processed foods and restaurant foods. Do you plan to never eat out again? Everyone I’ve spoken to has had a “reaction” when they went out to dinner.

I do believe avoiding certain foods can help with inflammation, which is important on its own. But from a weight-loss perspective, this isn’t any different than healthy, whole-food eating. I think I lost weight due to the increase in water intake, which I didn’t need to buy a book for….


Beth October 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

I am on Day 9 of The Plan. I lost over 6 lbs. after the detox and first few days (lost .6 lbs each day consistently).
However, I went out to dinner on Day 6 (protein). I ordered plain mixed greens and a 5 oz. filet. Now, I am stuck at the same weight for the last 3 days,, despite going back and repeating friendly days when I lost weight. Any suggestions for what to do? I’m wondering if I need to repeat the cleanse again? Thanks for your help!


Penny Hammond October 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

Some thoughts:
Do you have seasonal allergies or have you been sick? These could contribute to inflammation and weight gain / not losing weight.
If you’re still menstruating, where are you on your cycle? Some people may maintain weight for a number of days at certain points of your menstrual cycle.


Beth October 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Hi Penny,
Thanks for your reply. No illness, and not on my cycle (it’s about a week away). I’m frustrated because I was doing so well, and would like to lose about 5 more pounds. Today, I am repeating day 3 because I had a lot of the food on hand, and it was a day on which I lost weight. I guess maintaining is better than gaining right now. Also, I forgot to mention that I am following the Thyroid Menu.
Tomorrow, I am having a birthday party, so I’m sure I won’t be following The Plan there…no drinking, just a lot of desserts (I’m going to follow it right up until the party). After the party, what do you think I should do to get back on track? Will I need to start all over again?
Thank you for being so helpful!


Penny Hammond October 13, 2013 at 10:09 am

Hi Beth,
There’s no reason to start the diet again from the beginning; you’ve already tested a number of foods and know the results for those foods. It’ll be worth detoxing again after eating a lot of sugar, though – 3 rest days before you pick up where you left off.
See if that helps kickstart your weight loss again. If you only have 5 pounds more to lose, it’s possible that your weight loss will already be slowing down. And a silly question – are you already at what your body would consider your ideal weight and you’re trying to achieve a “skinny” weight that may not be healthy for you? Even if that’s the case, it would be worth completing the program to see which foods are reactive for you, looking out for other symptoms rather than trying to achieve a 1/2 pound weight loss each day.
You could also look at the thyroid recommendations on the website.


Beth October 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi Penny,
Thank you for your help. Actually, I was only up 1.2 pounds after my birthday weekend, so I was happy about that! I did take a couple days to rest (eating friendly foods), and then picked up where I left off. I have lost another pound. I am having some difficulty getting back onto the Plan exactly as described, but am trying. I don’t know about trying to achieve a “skinny” weight. Mostly, I have been trying to lose my muffin top that would not go away after having my second baby last year (despite hiring a personal trainer, eating “clean”, and exercising 4-5 times a week). I am really excited and happy about the success I’m having on The Plan so far! It makes sense to me, and I am definitely seeing results!


Rola October 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

Hi Penny,

I did day 4 yesterday and instead of going 0.5 lbs as usual, I am up 0.6 lbs. I am trying to figure out what happened, I followed the day as written. I just realized that I had non organic spinach. Could this be the cause?

Thanks again for your response



Penny Hammond October 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

Hi Rola,

It’s possible that the non-organic spinach was the cause – spinach is ranked no. 6 for high pesticides in the “Dirty Dozen” produce list.

It’s also possible, and maybe more likely, that you reacted badly to something else you tested. This is what the testing process is for – to see which foods are reactive for you personally. It would obviously be annoying and frustrating if you’re reactive to one of your favorite foods, but on the other hand it’s good to know what causes you to put on weight and have other symptoms, and even if you’re reactive to something now you can retest it in 6 months and you may have healed enough to be able to occasionally eat it again without causing you trouble.

Try taking a rest day or enough rest days for your weight to stabilize, and then testing just one of the day 4 foods. If you put on weight, the food you tested is most likely reactive for you, and you should avoid it for the rest of the testing program. If you’re testing cheese, wine, or chocolate, check for candida symptoms – if you have a white coating on your tongue the next day, start a regime of probiotics and in a week test that food again (without testing any other foods at the same time).


Jen October 14, 2013 at 6:41 am

Hi Penny,
I am on Day 7 of the plan. I was wondering if I am able to go ahead and substitute the smoothie for the flax cereal. I feel like my body is having a hard time digesting the flax, but hate to deviate from plan if it will work against me. Also, do most people find the use of a probiotic helpful. I have yet to start one, but am wondering if it may help my digestive system to regulate? Thank you in advance!


Penny Hammond October 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi Jen,
The “official” substitute for the flax granola is blueberry pear compote ( page 2).
It looks like the smoothie’s ingredients would probably work for day 7, but it’s lower protein than either the flax granola or the blueberry pear compote, and would probably need to have nuts added. Try the blueberry pear compote first, and if that doesn’t work see if you can adjust the smoothie to have a similar nutritional makeup with allowed foods.


Michelle Taylor October 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Hi Penny,
I have had some roadblocks along the way but am restarting The Plan tomorrow. I have been constantly taking my body temperature every morning and am thinking I may have a thyroid issue even though I had blood work done about a month ago and my thyroid was fine. I have been looking for the supplements and the seaweed seasoning in my area and have some trouble finding products. I live in a small town and it can be difficult to get certain items. The seasoning is nowhere to be found but I did manage to get the B12 and the Kelp extract (iodine). I am a little wary of doses though. In the book it just says to take B12 liquid but it doesn’t say how much. I have 1000mcg sublingual tablets (dissolve under the tongue) for the B12, would this amount be fine to take once a day? Also the kelp extract liquid I found is a much higher does then recommended in the book. The Plan suggests 250-325 mcg a day, but mine is 800 mcg in 1 drop. So I’m wondering if I should take 1 drop every 2 days or maybe put a drop in some water and then only drink half of it? Any suggestions?
Thanks again


Penny Hammond October 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Hi Michelle,
Check with your doctor about your body temperature – if your thyroid measured okay perhaps there’s an issue with other hormones. This book is a useful guide to women’s hormones: The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried (note that this link only describes the food suggestions in the book; there are hundreds of pages of other information including quizzes to find out which hormones may be out of whack).
You should also check with your doctor about supplementation. I look at the food side of diets only, so I can’t make any suggestions about supplementation.
Note that you can usually get hard-to-find items online at Amazon or similar websites.


Elizabeth Novak October 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I read part of “The Plan” at Barnes and Noble before I purchased the book. It made a lot of sense. I purchased the book and read the entire book except the menus before I even started “The Plan”. I wish I had read all of the menus first. I purchased everything required which was not cheap. I bought a lot of the stuff through Amazon per the book. I don’t want to exaggerate but it probably cost me approx $300 to get started. The first day I lost 3 pounds and another 1 and 1/2 pounds on the second day. I drank the required water which was a lot since I weigh 182 lbs. It was tough to make sure I didn’t drink 45 minutes before a meal and then wait 45 minutes after a meal to drink. Drinking the required ounces before 7:30PM was quite a challange. There just didn’t seem to be enough time in the day. The third day I could no longer do the plan. I was gagging on the cereal and when I found out how many more days I had to eat the Granola flax seed cereal I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. It was gross. The carrot soup I ate twice- the second time I had to force myself.
This is the perfect plan for someone who is retired and doesn’t work who likes kale, squash, zucchini, hot spices and other stuff that I have never eaten in my life. The food on the menus is definitely not appetizing. I felt like I was preparing for a colonoscopy. Like I said the idea sounds logical but the food is horrible and costly. Thank goodness I tried the plan while I was off for four days in a row. I don’t know how I would have done this and work. It would be great if there were foods you could substitute for the ones you literally can’t stomach. I ended up giving all of the food I bought to someone that was doing” The Plan”. I didn’t think the food bank would appreciate me donating it to the hungry. Some how I don’t think the hungry would have appreciated it. My husband
is very annoyed at me because of the cost and everything I had to throw out (I couldn’t give it away- no one wanted it) My advise READ the menus first and ask yourself if you really think you would be able to eat what is on them. When I e-mailed Lyn asking about substitute foods, I got an e-mail back saying Lyn would help me with my own menu for 20 days @ the cost of $1100.00. That was another shocker.


Linda Roney October 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

I found the book hard to follow, not the subject, the way it was laid out. Bits and pieces of info everywhere and not in order. I basically had to rewrite it for knowing what to buy and what recipes I had to make etc. It could have been written better in my opinion. My man and I are on day 3 as well as my oldest daughter and her man. We are all experiencing headaches and flu like symptoms so that means it is working!
Not sure…even cooked broccoli makes me gassy but still down half a pound, there is a lot of broccoli the next 20 days and not sure if it reactive yet or not and not thrilled with the gas.


Penny Hammond October 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm

You’re right, gas is not fun. And broccoli is one of those foods that just makes some people gassy, because it contains complex carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest.
Try chewing the broccoli really well; that might help.
Or you could try using a product like Beano, which a digestive enzyme to help you digest certain foods that can make people gassy.


Damaris October 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Hello, I’m starting day three tomorrow. I felt gassy and bloated after eating my almonds today, I have a feeling I’ll weigh more tomorrow. If that is the case, should I have a rest day instead of proceeding to day three? Also can I take a probiotic during the 3 day cleanse? (No bowel movement today, and worried constipation may interfere with data.. Sorry if TMI)

My last question is about day 4. It seems many new foods are introduced all at once..if I gain the next day, how will I know which food was reactive?


Penny Hammond October 31, 2013 at 6:26 am

If you weigh more than yesterday when you’re following this diet, you should take a rest day.

I can’t see anything saying that you shouldn’t take a probiotic during the 3-day cleanse – you’re cleansing yourself of reactive foods, and unless you’re reactive to probiotics (unlikely) it shouldn’t be a problem.

Yes, lots of foods are introduced all at once on day 4. They’re foods that people like that are generally low-reactive, so it’s unlikely there’ll be an issue.
If you gain weight the next day, first check your tongue to see if it has a white coating – if yes, you probably have a yeast overgrowth and should try probiotics.
“If you do experience a yeast reaction, please avoid vinegar and wine or chocolate for a week, until you can retest (no cutting out both wine and chocolate… we don’t scale back on joy that way!).”(p.101)
If you don’t have a white coating on your tongue, you’re reactive to at least one of the foods. You could skip all of them for the rest of the testing period, or you could slow down and test them separately – first take a rest day, then test one of the foods; if you don’t react test the next food; if you do react take a rest day then test the next food. Don’t test other foods while you’re testing potentially reactive foods, because if you do that you won’t know which food you’re reacting to.


Stephanie November 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I am on day five of the plan. First, thank you in advance for the help. I started a probiotic 10 days prior to starting the plan as suggested and had lost a pound a day until I gained .4 on both days 4, 5. I realize i should have had the friendly day or gone back yesterday after the first .4 gain. I really have no symptoms with the exception of my ring being tight on my finger. I am drinking the required amount but find it hard not to go over, and I am not exercising yet. I feel somewhat dehydrated, kind of odd given my water intake, which I used to make up for lack of am water at night. I am not aware of thyroid issues and have been using the basal thermometer daily as well as all suggested supplements. Could it be the roasted veggies? I know I have had the appropriate ounces of water by 7:30. Today I started the cleanse day two again. I did eat broccoli soup instead of carrot because the carrot is not my first choice and I read it was ok to substitute. I am following the plan but am concerned I will wake up tomorrow and have gained more…help, please. I am not aware of a coating on my tongue but I do feel thirsty. I did add raw nuts to my granola for yesterday. Last, I know that switching is a no no with food substitutions unless specified but if I want to eat broccoli at dinner not lunch is that ok or to switch a friendly day dinner with another friendly day lunch?
Many thanks,


Penny Hammond November 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Hi Stephanie,

As you probably already realize, you may have reacted to a food you ate on day 3 or 4. If you reacted to something, you should work out what it is and avoid it during the rest of testing, or it’ll throw off your results. Take a rest day (as you’re already doing), then go back and test one of the day 3 foods – if you don’t have any weight gain the next day test another of the day 3 foods; if you did have a reaction then take a rest day before testing the next food. Then try day 4 again. Don’t move on to the next step until you know what it is you’re reacting to.

The menu suggestions for each day assume that you’ve “passed” foods on previous days; if not you should avoid the ingredient that you react to. I’m not sure about swapping dinners and lunches on different days – you’d have to make sure that you’ve passed all the foods in that meal; also Lyn-Genet does repeatedly say that she’s balancing all your nutrient needs so if you substitute you may be missing out on some nutrients.

I’m scratching my head wondering why you’re feeling dehydrated – if you’re drinking the required amount of water, that should be plenty!
Did you feel dehydrated on days 1 and 2 when you were doing the baseline diet? If so, it could be that you’re reactive to one of the foods you were eating then.
I’m wondering whether it’s possible you may be reacting to the flax seeds – there’s an alternative to the flaxseed granola, the blueberry pear compote – you can find it on page 2 of


Valeria November 25, 2013 at 10:16 am

Is there a site where you can check if a food is reactive or not ? For example, papaya?? I’m also monitoring my basal body temperature, if the temperature drops but weight loss continues…is this an indication that the food is goitrogenic ?


Penny Hammond November 26, 2013 at 8:24 am

You could say that it’s not really the foods that are reactive – you react to the foods.
The list of potentially reactive foods above shows the percentage of the author’s clientele that tested reactive to that food. It shows the foods that people are most likely to react to.
The diet asks you to test yourself to find which foods you personally are reactive to.

I’m not aware of a relationship between temperature drops, weight loss, and goitrogenic foods.


Tina Manley December 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

This is a fantastic diet and it works, if you can avoid the foods that cause problems. We live on a farm and raise all of our food organically. We also have chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas for the eggs. We raise flint corn and grind it for cornmeal. My basement is full of canned tomatoes, beans, juices, relishes, jams and dried vegetables and fruit. My freezer is full of corn, eggplant, beans, and chicken. So what are the foods I’m reactive to? tomatoes, eggs, corn, eggplant, beans! Luckily, we also raise greens, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips – which are fine. Do you eventually become less reactive to foods or can I never have tomatoes again?


Penny Hammond December 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm

How wonderful that you can grow all your own food!

The author says that there’s a good chance your body will heal when you avoid reactive foods, and you’ll be able to have them occasionally.
Test each food every 6 months to see if you’re still reacting to it.


Christine January 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I tested mildly reactive to almonds. It’s there a different nut/ nut butter I can try?


Penny Hammond January 12, 2014 at 10:59 am

The book doesn’t give clear alternatives to almond butter. It also doesn’t mention cashews at all. Perhaps you could try cashew butter – test first for reactivity.


Kathy January 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Hi, I’m on day 8, lost 4.5lb. BUT… I am reacting to the NOW Liver Detoxifier, so I tried organic dandelion root tea. Reacted like crazy to that. What should I do? I’m now taking MSM as she recommended, but don’t know what detoxifier to use.
Reacted to: NOW Liver detoxifier, Dandelion root tea, almonds, chipotle in adobo sauce (in Broccoli soup… don’t know what to use… afraid to try sriracha)
Passed: chicken , goat cheese.

Very slow…


Penny Hammond January 14, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Sorry to hear you’re reacting to both detoxifiers. I concentrate on the food part of diets, I’m afraid I don’t know that much about supplements.


Rola January 16, 2014 at 8:22 am

Hi Penny,

Happy New Year!!
I have been doing the plan since June and I have had positive results. During the holidays, I gained 5 pounds and now I am struggling to lose them. For example, the past two days I redid day 1 ( instead of the carrot soup, I substituted to broccoli soup) and I didn’t have any beets ( I absolutely hate them). I went up 0.4 lbs in total. That doesn’t make sense to me to be going up ? I am completely discouraged… is the plan not working for me anymore ?
I have been congested for the past week, I don’t think this would impact by weight? I also went back to the gym after almost 3 weeks off but I haven’t changed my workout…
what do you think?




Penny Hammond January 16, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Hi Rola,

Lyn-Genet says that being sick (or having seasonal allergies or even having PMS) can contribute to inflammation and weight gain.

You shouldn’t have to go back to the beginning if you’ve been taking a break. You’ve already tested certain foods to see how you react to them. So if they tested okay, you should be able to eat them still.

Hope that helps,


Rola January 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Thanks Penny!


Tamara January 18, 2014 at 12:53 am

Hello! I tested reactive for cheese, but it is in many of the meal plans going forward. I’m wondering what I’m supposed to substitute instead of reactive foods (in this case cheese)? The book keeps saying the menus are chemically balanced and we need to eat everything, but what do we do when a food is reactive? How do I get in the necessary fats and calories without cheese?

Also, I have been very thirsty on the plan, even though I’m drinking my recommended amount of water. I am breastfeeding (the FAQs say the plan can be great for breastfeeding moms), and feel like I need more water because of that, but don’t know how much more to drink, since the book says drinking too much can interfere with results. Can you help?

Thank you so much for answering all these questions!


Penny Hammond January 19, 2014 at 11:28 am

What type of cheese did you test reactive for? Cow’s milk cheese is more reactive than other milk cheeses, and it looks like hard cheeses are more reactive than soft cheeses. If you tested reactive for cow’s milk cheese, try goat or sheep cheese instead. If it was goat’s cheese, try sheep’s cheese instead. If it was a hard goat or sheep cheese, try a soft one instead.
If none of these work, substitute with other fatty foods that are low reactive or that you’ve tested as okay. You could try to test 2 proteins in a day sooner than day 16, after you’ve tested and passed enough proteins not to have the same every day. Also check out nuts, avocados, and olives, which are also fatty.

As you’re breastfeeding, you need to be eating more calories than you normally would if you were trying to maintain or lose weight. You probably need an additional 300-500 calories, and you also need more liquids. This KellyMom article on “Do breastfeeding mothers need extra calories or fluids?” gives a lot of the standard advice for breastfeeding mothers. It’s probably worth increasing the portion sizes or amounts of fatty foods and drinking more water on this diet if you’re breastfeeding. I can’t find this in the book or the website, but there’s a blog that says Lyn-Genet advises to drink 40 oz a day more water if you’re breastfeeding. It’s possible you may also need to be more flexible with the ‘no water after 7.30pm’ rule, as long as you’re not drinking huge amounts of water after that time (as that may affect your weight the next morning). Listen to your body, as you need enough to feed your baby as well as yourself.

You might also consider going through the program again after you’ve finished breastfeeding, or at least testing the foods you identified as reactive for you. Having a new baby can be very stressful and your eating and sleeping patterns aren’t the same as usual – it’s possible that you might have some false positive tests for food reactions.


Marlo Hendriks January 27, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Hi there, I have a question. I am on day 9 but technically eating day 8 food because I redid a rest day because my weight was the about the same since I reacted to steak. So my question is, what if my weight stays the same, I dont lose or gain? Is that a reaction or not? I thought I was supposed to be losing .5 a day? Thank you in advance..


Penny Hammond January 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm

According to the book, you should be losing 1/2 pound to show that you’re not reactive to a food. It’s possible that this doesn’t always need to be the case – e.g. if you don’t have a lot of weight to lose, it would be an unusually high rate of weight loss. Also take into account how you feel – if you’re having physical or mental reactions to the foods you’re eating.


Lorenzo February 8, 2014 at 2:01 am

is there an Italian version of the book I can purchase?


Penny Hammond February 8, 2014 at 6:13 am

The book’s available in a number of languages and countries – see for a full list.

You can order the Italian version of The Plan from Amazon Italy.


Rola February 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

Hi Penny,

Hope you are well. Can you gain weight if your exercise 2 days in a row. I did a normal day yesterday, didn’t eat anything different but I am up 0.8 lbs. Anyone else finding it harder to lose weight in the winter? any recommendations ?




Penny Hammond March 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

I concentrate on foods, not on the exercise part of diets, but found this info: Lyn-Genet says that over-exercising makes it more difficult to lose weight. “Finding what exercise works best for your body and the optimal frequency, intensity, and duration is really important. Exercise types and duration can be tested, just like foods. You take any friendly day and you replicate it, inserting exercise as the variable.” (pp. 92-93) – there’s more in Part 3 and Part 5 of the book.


Rola March 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm

thanks Penny!


Margaret March 3, 2014 at 11:41 am

I’m curious about the flax seeds it seems like a very high amount which Ive reads can be a health problem. Ive also read that flax seeds are better nutritionally if they are ground up rather than whole. Any thoughts? Thanks


Penny Hammond March 4, 2014 at 8:15 am

You’re right, there are a number of different opinions about flax seeds. I don’t know which opinion is right, or whether there’s a single answer that’s relevant for everybody. It’s possible that ground flaxseeds might give you higher exposure to certain substances than the whole seeds.

Lyn-Genet says in this book “It’s important to choose whole flaxseeds … rather than ground seeds. Flaxseeds have estrogenic properties, and too much creates hormonal imbalance. When the flaxseeds are ground, your body will absorb more of these estrogenic properties; keeping them whole cuts down that absorption significantly.” (p.71)


michelinajolie March 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

Hi Penny,
is there an alternative for granola flx seed? I really found it disgustung…and cannot eat it anymore…
pls let me know I’m really desperate about it because I’m used to have large breakfasts and a bwl of granola is so poor and bad for me…
let me know
many many thanks


Penny Hammond March 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

It’s not to everybody’s taste.
Try the Blueberry Pear Compote instead (without the almonds until you have tested them) – you can find it at, page 2


allyson March 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I am confused….during the cleanse do you it a whole cup of flaxseed every moning like it states or are you suppose to eat a 1/3 of the 1 cup recipe for 3 days.


Penny Hammond March 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm

There’s a recipe in the book for flaxseed granola (p.173) – you mix flaxseeds, water, spices, nuts and dried fruit; refrigerate so the flaxseed softens, then bake it to dry it out. You end up with a crunchy granola; the recipe makes 2 servings but you can double it for convenience as it can take a while (and some planning) to make. The serving size is 1 cup of the cooked flax granola – the recipe says it makes 2-3 cups but it may be more like 2 cups.


Edy March 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I am on Day 12, I am a type 1 diabetic and have managed my blood glucose very well for the last couple of years. I am following the thyroid menu and the only things I am not reactive to are the chicken and the goat cheese. I have been chasing my blood sugars for the last 3 days and am having difficulty getting them back under control. I have gained weight, I am 1 1/2 pounds heavier than when I started. I have followed the menus, the days that I reacted to I did not use again. I have even experienced a weight gain on a day I repeated where I had lost before. My reactions to reactive food is miserable besides weight gain, there is a lot of emotion and depression along with bloating. I am going to finish the 20 days and decide whether to continue. I have been very diligent throughout the process, I want this to work. I am 58 years old, soon to be 59 and have been unable to lose weight for a number of years. I am about 50 lbs overweight and the most I lost on any day was .2 lbs.


Penny Hammond March 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Sorry to hear that this isn’t working for you. This diet has a lot of pressure, expecting you to lose weight every day.
You could look at other elimination/reintroduction diet alternatives such as Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser, or Clean and Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger.


Dianna March 23, 2014 at 2:25 am

Hi Penny

Could you please tell me is there a limit on how many cups of herbal tea that you can drink and can they include licorice?


Penny Hammond March 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi Dianna,
Lyn-Genet doesn’t mention any limitations for herbal teas. She says this: “During the cleanse, make sure you drink your recommended daily amount of water to aid your body with elimination. You can also drink unsweetened and noncaffeinated herbal teas.” (p.54)

You should be careful with teas containing licorice – they taste nice and sweet, but licorice can be potent and affect your heart and other systems. Looking at the WebMD page on licorice and clicking on the side effects panel, you can see a number of side effects. Probably worth checking with your doctor if you want to drink a lot of it.


Lynda Martin March 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

Hi Lyn,
I have just begun The Plan and have plateaued for four days. I started because I am intrigued by the concept. Have been a life time member of Weight Watchers until last spring when my cancer came back. I lost a pound the first two days then the last four I have weighed the same 139.4. I have three things that make it somewhat hard for me to follow the plan precisely. 1) I am milk intolerant: usually use almond milk, but now using the coconut milk and used my lactaid pills to balance the side affects. I D ate the lamb cheese once. Didn’t use half & half in my coffee so was it too acid? 2) I have osteoporosis and now doctors now want people with it to have food calcium not just calcium pills. , Any suggestions for amilk intolerant person? 3) And, being 75 years old I only eat about 3-4 cups of food a day. I tried to eat a little more each meal, but do you think I am eating too little to make the plan work?
I am going ahead with the Day 6 plan and we will see what happens. Thanks ahead of time for any
suggestions you can give me. Lynda Martin
generally eat about 3-4 cups of food a day. I have tried eating a little more with your plan but, perhaps
it still isn’t enough for the correct chemical balance.


Penny Hammond April 2, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Hi Lynda,

If you want to write directly to Lyn, you can reach out to her on Facebook –

To get calcium for a milk-intolerance or lactose-intolerant person, there are a number of options. Fish with bones (canned sardines, salmon, etc.) are a good source if you eat the bones (mash them up!) – you could introduce them as the first protein in The Plan. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and swiss chard are another source, and you can eat them at any time in The Plan.

On this diet, it says for most foods to eat until you’re full. So you should be fine there. Just make sure that what you’re eating contains all the recommended types of food in that sitting.

Good luck!


Amanda March 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Hello! I was able to lose a significant amount of weight doing whole foods on WW. Now that I am back to work full time, my weight has crept up a bit (I would like to lose a total of 15 pounds), and my rosacea is out of control (even spreading into my eyes). I am on my fourth day, but I am repeating day 2, as my weight did not change this morning. (A real bummer – I was looking forward to wine and chocolate today!) I know that chick peas are considered low reactive, but I believe my stabilization in weight is from adding this item to my spicy vegetarian soup yesterday. (I’ve had enough water within her recommendations, sodium intake is a non-issue, and I cut out exercise for the cleanse.) My question is: what is the theory surrounding legumes? Does this mean no peas? No peanut butter? How careful do I need to be moving forward? The reaction was not “major,” but seeing as I dropped over four pounds the first two days, I was surprised to see the scale hold steady this morning. Thank you!


Penny Hammond April 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Hello Amanda,

Keep an eye out for other things that might be happening while you’re following this diet – if you have allergies, or are sick, or have PMS, inflammation from those causes might affect your weight and it might not be the fault of food alone.

Lyn-Genet’s theory on legumes is… that they’re all different, that you should test them separately to see what you react to. “Chickpeas are low reactive, but black beans, which dieters seem to love, are a whopping 85 percent reactive.” (p.84)

If you’re really interested in detecting your food allergies/intolerances in case it’s food rather than environment that’s causing your rosacea, have a look at Food Allergies and Food Intolerance by Jonathan Brostoff – I used it many years ago to discover my own intolerances, it’s not exactly easy to do if you tend to eat with other people and it can take a while to test thoroughly, but it can really help pinpoint unusual triggers.


Amanda April 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Thank you, Penny!
It’s been several more days, and I actually believe (now, after some testing) that I am reacting to broccoli and zucchini. (I am going to retest chick peas later.) One day after removing broccoli I dropped almost 2 pounds after holding steady for four days. This is certainly a process! I don’t eat out often, cook whole foods at home, and am working towards figuring this all out. My 20 days, however, will definitely take me longer, but I believe it’s worth it. Thank you for your response, it is much appreciated, and I will definitely look into Jonathan Brostoff.


Kellie May 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Hi there! I just started Day 1 today. So far, I’m ok with how everything tastes; but, the carrot/ginger soup has to go! The puree has just enough texture in it to set off my gag reflex (I was a sensory kid…go figure). Additionally, I can’t eat blueberries – no how; no way. I did well with the salad, broccoli, sunflower seeds all put together as a huge salad and I used the spicy coco sauce as kind of a dressing.

Am I in the process of royally screwing this up?

Thanks for any sugguestions!



Penny Hammond May 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Hi Kellie,
This diet can be a little unforgiving for people who don’t like the foods, as it’s so prescriptive about what to eat on which day!
There are a number of alternative menus – see


Kim June 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I am on day 8. I started the plan on the fall menu. Can i switch to the spring menu?


Penny Hammond June 8, 2014 at 11:55 am

You should be able to switch menus – the only thing to check is that you’ve already tested for all the foods in the plan.

Here’s the reintroduction plan for the spring menu:
Day 1: No test (same)
Day 2: Almonds (fall menu also tests rice)
Day 3: Chickpeas (fall menu also tests chicken and roasted vegetables – but note that this day’s spring menu also includes chicken)

Day 4: Cheese (fall menu also tests wine, coffee, and chocolate – but note that this day’s spring menu also includes chocolate)
Day 5: Rye (same)
Day 6: Protein (same)
Day 7: No test (same)

Day 8: Bread (same)
Day 9: No test (same)
Day 10: New protein (same)
Day 11: No test (same)
Day 12: New vegetable (same)
Day 13: No test (same)
Day 14: New breakfast addition (same)

Day 15: No test (same)
Day 16: Two proteins in one day (same)
Day 17: No test (same)
Day 18: New restaurant or new vegetable (same)
Day 19: No test (fall menu has you test a new vegetable, days 19 and 20 swapped)
Day 20: New vegetable (fall menu has a rest day, days 19 and 20 swapped)

So it looks like nothing in the fall menu is introduced earlier in the spring menu – should be fine for you to go from the fall menu to the spring menu.

If you were going the other way round, you should take care to keep an eye out for rice, roasted vegetables, coffee, and wine reintroduction.


Mimi June 3, 2014 at 8:36 am

Question. I’m on day 4 and my weigh in remained the same. I think it must be the chicken. Shall I continue with day 4’s menu or repeat day 2? Any information is most appreciated.


Penny Hammond June 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

You tested 3 foods the day before – chicken, chickpeas, and roasted vegetables. You might be reactive to any one of them.
These ingredients are all pretty common in the rest of the menu, so it’s worth testing them separately to find out if there are issues with any of them.

First, take a rest day – re-do day 1 or day 2.
Then, try adding chicken for a day. If you react to it / don’t lose weight, according to the book you should avoid it for the rest of the program (you could test it again later); also take a rest day if you reacted to it.
Then, try adding chickpeas for a day – same follow-up as above.
Then, try adding roasted vegetables for a day – same follow-up as above.

You might find that when you try them separately they all test okay – sometimes there are other reasons for you not losing weight for a particular day.


Mimi June 7, 2014 at 11:46 am

Question, if I weigh the same with no loss do I have a rest day or do I continue? I’m a bit confused on that.


Penny Hammond June 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm

If you’re looking to lose weight and haven’t lost weight on a day you’ve tested a specific food, it’s probably worth having a rest day so your body can calm down in case it reacted to the food you ate. Either re-test the food or avoid it until the end of the program when you can test it again to make sure.


Cynthia June 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Hi ,
I am on day 5, for the second time, of the plan. I gained weight on days 1 and 2, (.2lb. each day) and discovered I had the wrong water intake, I was drinking 20 oz. more than I should have. I corrected this on day 3 and lost .4 lbs. but I now am cramping and bloated. Day 4 I lost .2lbs. and am bloated and very crampy. I am thinking this could be the flax granola? I switched to the compote recipe this am. but my cramping is continuing. Any idea what may be causing this. I have been diagnosed with divaticuli (sp.?) Could the flax be bothering me, as well as the chia in the compote? Is .2lbs. lost considered non-reactive day? Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Penny Hammond June 29, 2014 at 10:58 am

It’s quite possible that you are reacting to seeds in general (flaxseeds and chia seeds) – they tend to have high levels of phytic acid, which some people react to. You could reduce the effects by soaking the seeds for a day or so until they start to sprout, but that’s time-consuming – the recipe tells you to soak the seeds, and many people miss that step. If you soak the seeds and still have a reaction, it’s probably better to avoid those foods during the initial testing phase, and introduce them for testing later.

The book is very cut and dry about the amount of weight you should lose for a food to be considered non-reactive – it’s always a half pound a day. However, some people are already close to their goal weight and aren’t likely to lose that amount per day, and weight loss may also be affected by hormonal cycles and sickness. So watch out for other factors that may affect your weight loss and take them into account.


Mimi June 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Thank you, Penny. I’m down 8.6 lbs and testing on my own. I found that I have a pattern of losing then maintaining for several days followed by a gain then I start losing again. The greatest part of The Plan… no more shoulder pain. :)


Megan July 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Just purchased the dandelion tea, SAM-e, and Pro-biotics, going grocery shopping this week, I’m very excited to try The Plan, I have about 15lbs to lose, and am really hoping this does the trick.


Penny Hammond July 6, 2014 at 7:52 am

Good luck!


Leah July 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I am on Day 7 today, following the spring menu closely with a few additions/substitutions of tested foods. I am on synthroid (75mcg) and chose not to take the B12 and kelp. I love raspberries and have organic bushes in my back yard which are now producing big sweet berries. I have had some in the last week without weight gain. (I realize they are goitrogenic but cannot pass them up!) I had lost 3.9 lbs until yesterday. Today I am up .4 lbs (steak reactivity, I think.) I am not overweight. My concern is the weakness and shakiness that I feel between meals. I am reading this as hunger, but am now wondering if it could be something else. I am thinking of abandoning The Plan because I can’t function well this way. Could fluctuations in my thyroid cause this? My thyroid medication has had to be dropped in the last few months (pre-Plan) due to blood test results. Any ideas? Thank you.


Penny Hammond July 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Lyn-Genet lists raspberries as goitrogenic foods, but funnily enough I can’t find out sources that also say they’re goitrogenic.
Weakness and shakiness is not a good symptom! Did it start with the diet, or just arrive in the last few days? I wouldn’t have been surprised if you had it when you first started out the diet, especially if you previously had a lot of processed foods, but on day 7 it seems a bit late in the game for withdrawal symptoms. It could possibly be hunger; I don’t know whether fluctuations in thyroid could cause it.
Try adding a bit more food and giving it another day or two – if you’re still suffering, it may be best to abandon the diet.


Leah July 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Hi again,

A little more info: My weight went down .4 today so steak is likely reactive. My weakness and shakiness continue, but go away after dinner (animal protein.) I have had my thyroid tested and it is in the normal range. I am around 100 lbs, 5’1″. I really want to know my reactive foods but will probably be stopping the Plan unless you have a suggestion.
Thank you.


Penny Hammond July 9, 2014 at 7:25 am

You’re at the low end of the normal weight range for your height, so the “you have to lose 1/2 pound a day or you’re reactive” rule probably doesn’t apply to you. That’s relevant for people who are overweight.
What you should focus on is non-weight symptoms – how you feel physically and perhaps mentally.
How did you feel on the 3-day cleanse? If you felt better than before you started the diet, you had probably cut out some foods you’re reactive to. If you didn’t feel better after day 3, either you were reacting to one of the foods on the 3-day cleanse or you don’t have reactive foods and should be looking to non-food factors. You could look at Clean by Alejandro Junger if you think your issues may be wider than food only.


Coco July 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

I’ve just started the plan and am at the end of day2. I have followed it all but am suffering huge bloating and wind. How can this be? When can I expect it to change as it’s very uncomfortable!



Penny Hammond July 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

Probably something you’re eating is giving you bloating and wind.
Try eating slowly and making sure you chew everything well before swallowing.
Make sure that you follow all the steps in the flax granola recipe – soaking the flax in water overnight may make it easier to digest.

If it continues for more than a few more days, try the Blueberry Pear Compote recipe instead of the flax granola.


Geoff July 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Hi Penny — do you consider olives (not olive oil) to be a test?



Penny Hammond July 20, 2014 at 7:54 am

Hi Geoff,
Lyn-Genet doesn’t mention olives at all in the book, either as something to eat or something to test.
They’re not a food that’s commonly tested in elimination-reintroduction diets, although it’s possible that some people may have a reaction to them. If you have an intense craving to eat them (or any other food) often, then it would be a good idea to test them.


Jenne Singer July 21, 2014 at 8:39 am

I am away to try to start the Three day cleanse. However I hate soup! and also do not eat cooked vegetables. They make me gag! What can I substitute the soup for and can I eat raw broccoli instead of cooked? (might manage the cooked Kale)


Penny Hammond July 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

The spring menu has soup as well, so that doesn’t help you much… you could try to eat the ingredients raw, but it sounds like you may have a difficult time on this diet because of not wanting to eat cooked vegetables – this diet is very specific about what to eat each day, and Lyn-Genet expects you to follow those instructions.


Fawn Rosenbohm August 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

I tested negative to the Rye cracker with a 1lb weight gain, but day 6 says to have the rye crackers again? Should I not eat them? Thanks


Penny Hammond August 24, 2014 at 7:23 pm

If you reacted to a food, you should avoid it during the rest of the Plan (although you can re-test it later). Substitute instead with a food that you’ve tested okay with.


Christine October 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I think I am reactive to chicken. After the first two days on the plan, I lost 4 pounds, 2 pounds each day. The next two days Chicken was introduced and both nights within 1-2 hours my pelivic/hip area began to ache and worsened through the night to the point I got very little sleep. Each day after I lost not one ounce. I didn’t gain but I didn’t loose. So I suspect it might be corn-feed chicken as I know the source is Soy-Free and grass but they don’t say Corn-Free and I can’t find Corn-Free Feed Chicken meat. I have chicken on the menu tonight! I’m not eating it and need a substitute until I can find Corn-Free Chicken meat. Help!


Penny Hammond October 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm

First of all, are you sure your reaction came from chicken? On day 3 you introduced chickpeas, chicken, and roasted vegetables, and it could have been any of those that you reacted to.

After your reaction, you should have a rest day – eat from the day 1 and 2 menus, foods you know you’re not reactive to.
When you’re back to baseline and not reacting any more, try a day with chicken but without chickpeas or roasted vegetables, to see if that’s definitely what you’re reacting to.

If it is chicken you reacted to, as chicken is included for so many days, it’s probably a good idea to find a substitute that you can use instead. Find another protein you can use in the chicken recipes, one that’s listed as low-reactive, and test that for a day. If you don’t react, you can use that protein going forward in the plan instead of chicken.

If you confirmed that you reacted to chicken and you do manage to find a corn-free chicken, don’t assume that your reaction will be different – do a proper test day where you add only the new chicken, and see if you react to it.

Hope that helps!


Cheri M November 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Hi. This is a great blog!! Thanks so much!

I am confused on the thyroid plan. I didn’t see it until after I had already started, but why does she say broccoli isn’t ok for thyroid and it is still in the Plan??


Penny Hammond November 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm

You’re welcome, I’m glad you find it useful!

See pages 41-42 for the author’s notes on goitrogenic foods. She points out that cooking often deactivates goitrogens, especially broccoli and kale, so I’d guess that’s why she’s included them in the menus. If you know that you have trouble with them even when cooked, try substituting a green leafy vegetable (not cruciferous) for each of them.


Leah November 27, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Hi Penny,
This site didn’t work for me after I posted in the summer so I had no idea until now that you had replied to my two posts. I made it to Day 10 in July but have re-taken up the Plan in the last month with success and no shakiness. It was likely hunger. I often need a morning snack. I am in Phase 3 now and getting a very good idea of my sensitivities. I had the same physical symptoms on the cleanse both times and feel better after doing it. I appreciate your replies and the resource you suggested.


Rebecca December 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Hi Penny! Thanks a lot for such an amazing compendium to The Plan. I’m starting to apply some of these strategies and I have to say I definitely feel different and I’ve even lost some pounds. I’m excited to start out and experiment myself :-)


Penny Hammond December 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Hi Rebecca – you’re welcome, and good luck!


Jasminn Burt January 11, 2015 at 11:55 am

I’m on day 7 of the plan and going strong. There have been some days where I wonder was I reactive or was it a fluke. That is the only hard part for me. For example, on the evening of day 2 my lower back started hurting …….not a joint flare or something I’ve had on a regular basis, but I was wondering. The next day I gained nor lost any weight. This also comes after being on a 2 week vacation and going back to work and sitting for a whole day. Was it the rice or just from sitting all day. One only knows. I haven’t had the brown rice since, so we will see. Maybe I will incorporate it today since it’s a rest day. Also yesterday I introduced Venison and a new cheese. No unusual pain but I gaine .2 pounds. However, I had 2 glasses of wine (I drank the water I needed to accomindate for the wine). But it was well after 8:00 when I finsihed my last glass. Was it too late. Do I need to make sure all my liquid is in before 7:30.


Penny Hammond January 11, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Maybe you should keep an eye out for your chronic symptoms, rather than new symptoms you haven’t seen before – it’s possible they could be caused by a food but more likely they’re caused by something else.

If you want to check to see whether you react to a food, don’t do it on a rest day – they’re designed to give you some time to rest/see what’s happening, and a test deserves its own day!

From what the book says, you should be avoiding drinking water for 3-4 hours before going to bed – presumably that should extend to other liquids (including wine) as well. Lyn-Genet says that’s to avoid having it show up the next day on the scale.


Jasminn Burt January 12, 2015 at 8:21 am

I think that I’m reative to chickpeas. I introduced them then the next day no weight loss. Now, I could not find low sodium anywhere, so I got the ones with the lowest sodium content 240 (still pretty high). The next day no weight loss and my back actually started hurting the night I introduced them and into the next day. I finally found some chickpeas with 125 mg of sodium. I never got around to making the hummus becuase I don’t have a food processor, so I ate a handfull of the chickpeas instead on day 6 instead of the hummus. Shortly after I had a terrible headace. I assocaited that with having no caffine that day, but I’m now thinking that it was the chickpeas. The next day I was up .2 pounds. However, it is that time of the month so I can’t be for sure. I think I will leave them out for now and introduce them down the road.


Penny Hammond January 12, 2015 at 8:15 pm

That makes sense – it could have been something else triggering the reaction (such as caffeine withdrawal), and it’s always worth testing later.
When you do try it again – try using a potato masher to make the hummus – it’ll be chunky rather than smooth, but it’s better than nothing!


Jasminn Burt January 12, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Thanks for the tip regarding the potato masher, I will have to try that. I think I will wait a bit still and try to get through a few more test.


Kathy January 16, 2015 at 11:32 am

I don’t like blueberries so may I substitute another fruit to eat with the granola?


Penny Hammond January 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Lyn-Genet says in the book that you should follow the menu exactly during the 20 days of testing – she doesn’t give any guidelines for substituting.
Try looking at the different menus – e.g. the spring menu – to see if the foods there are more to your liking.


Lori January 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm

I’ve been on the plan for a week and so far so good. Before starting the plan I drank green tea and various herbal teas and really miss them. But the question I can’t seem to find an answer to is if you drink tea does that count as part of your daily water requirement.


Penny Hammond January 20, 2015 at 6:31 pm

I can’t find any clear guidance on that in the book. She says you should limit tea to 2 cups a day to avoid inflammation, but doesn’t say whether those cups contribute towards your water intake requirements of half your body weight in ounces. She does say that you shouldn’t drink more than your recommended amount, as that can stress out your kidneys. My assumption would be that tea (limited to 2 cups/day) can count towards your water limit.


Amanda January 24, 2015 at 8:08 am

Hi, I’m on day 7 – rest day today. All other days i have passed the tests and am good with all nuts, seeds, vegetables, chicken, goat cheese and rye. Yesterday was introduction of protein. I opted for white fish. I had lost 4.5lbs in total so far but today I had 1/2lb increase. I will of course retest it after the initial 20 days and I’m also bearing in mind I ate later than normal yesterday. Today is great as is a rest day so will check on everything again tomorrow. Tomorrow is bread but I noticed the dinner says approved protein. Well I’m assuming for now that white fish is not approved. I can’t pick another protein from that list because I’ll be testing that as well as bread. What can I do about dinner tomorrow and on any other days when I test a new food until Lyn asks me to test new protein again?


Penny Hammond January 24, 2015 at 2:57 pm

You could introduce another protein testing day and test another protein, then go back to the day 8 plan.
Otherwise, you could continue to eat the proteins you were eating before – nuts and seeds, chickpeas, chicken, and goat cheese.


Rebecca January 31, 2015 at 5:06 am

Hi penny,

I have a silly, kind of embarrassing question.
So I did the plan with some success last year before having my second baby. Now that my baby is about two months old, I’ve started over again since I know our chemical make-up can change through pregnancy. One thing I remember being tricky about the morning weigh-ins was the variable of whether I’d gone number two or no that morning. I don’t know about anyone else, but it can make a half pound of difference to the scale if you don’t take a dump yet. I remember thinking I was reactive to something and then a little later I’d go number two and change my mind. Any thoughts on this?


Penny Hammond February 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Hi Rebecca,

First I want to check – are you breastfeeding? If so, now maybe isn’t the best time to be doing this…

I’m not sure there’s a strong need to retest yourself just because of the possibility that something may have changed. How about this – go back to the last day you did on the diet, eating the foods you’ve already tested, and see how you react to eating that way. If there’s a change, you can go back and re-test.

It makes sense to weigh yourself at a consistent time each day, as you’re comparing your weight with the day before. So I agree with you that having a no. 2 or not having one can make a difference. Would it be possible to weigh yourself each morning as soon as you get up, before having a bowel movement?


Les March 9, 2015 at 12:51 am

I have the same problem and it’s really the biggest road block for continuing the plan. I’ve been doing The Plan for almost 10 days now and still can’t get past day 4 because so much was introduced between goat cheese/rice/mango/cilantro/almonds, etc. Every time I try to reset and try 1 item at a time, the whole timing of a poop interferes with knowing the accuracy. Since starting The Plan, I tend to poop only every few days and somewhere between middle of the night and mid morning. Well, that makes a huge difference on the scale. So…was the weight loss really because I didn’t react or because I pooped a couple hours earlier. Was the weight stabilization because I’m mildly reactive to the foods or because I still haven’t pooped but will in an hour or so? It’s incredibly frustrating and not sure how many more reset days I can tolerate and how many more carrots/broccoli I can try to get down. I started as a healthy eater and am afraid I will end up detesting these 2 veggies by the time I figure out my sensitivities. I’ve been much more backed up while on The Plan than ever before in my life (never had a problem before) so have now gotten rid of both flax granola and Blueberry pear compote (thought they were both terrible tasting anyway!) as well as probiotic I started taking that didn’t help and tomorrow I’m getting rid of the Dandelion Tea. Aside from all this, I’m 5’5″ and started at 122lbs so am not overweight. During the first 7 days I surprisingly lost 6 pounds quickly and have stayed the same since. The crazy thing is I lost weight after nights where I felt like there was a slight reaction and stayed steady after days where everything felt great. Thinking I could be at my steady-state weight, but I’m still not pooping and that seems odd. When I do poop, it’s ribbon-like so tells me I have inflammation. My tongue is now also scalloped on the sides (never used to be), which I believe indicates digestive troubles. No surprise given the poop issue. Any advice? It seems so strange to lose so much weight (while not being overweight) yet be so stuck on reset days trying to pinpoint which foods are reactive.


Penny Hammond March 10, 2015 at 5:29 pm

My gut feeling when reading your message (less poop than usual, scalloped tongue) was to wonder whether you’re drinking enough liquid – are you avoiding drinks you usually have and not replacing them?

Interesting post mentioning scalloped tongue:


Rebecca February 4, 2015 at 7:23 am

Hi Penny. Thank you for your reply!

I don’t know why I didn’t think to just try starting where I left off. I assumed a cleanse would be needed. Thankfully it hasn’t adversely affected my milk supply that I can tell.

I tried weighing myself before going #2 every morning but even doing that would give me varying results depending on how recently I had gone. I know it’s probably silly to be fretting over this but I’m actually surprised she doesn’t address this in the book since it does make such a big difference on the scale.

Thank you for your response. I’ll try looking for my old notes and picking up where I left off to see how body does.


Lori February 16, 2015 at 8:39 pm

Hi — I was wondering if you could help me. I started the plan, but am noticing that the flax granola (day 1 with raisins, day 2 with cranberries) is making me really bloated and hurts my stomach. I thought this was supposed to help but it’s not. What do I do in this case if it’s not working for me? Also, the nuts are making me swollen too.


Penny Hammond February 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

A lot of people have trouble with the flax granola. Lyn Genet says “Until you test more foods you can sub the Blueberry Pear Compote in. It will not have the digestive benefits of the flax and some people note it is not as filling. Please add sunflower seeds as a topping to the compote.” ( You can find the recipe at page 3.


mireya acierto February 27, 2015 at 9:18 am


I have a question about the plan which I haven’t been able to find else where. I thought about buying the cook book to see if there are any alternatives but thought I would ask you first. I wanted to see if there are any alternatives to the meat options. I am a pescetarian, so I eat only seafood. In the cleanse stage, I saw that she introduces chicken on the 3rd day. Do you suggest I just eliminate that from my menu? I would substitute it with fish but she mentioned trying not to alter the menu too much.

Any suggestions are welcome. thanks!


Penny Hammond March 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Lyn-Genet used to have alternate meal plans online for different types of food restrictions, but they’ve been taken down. Instead she has a link to books you can buy on Amazon – one of the is the Vegetarian/Pescetarian workbook (I haven’t reviewed this).

In general, what you’re supposed to be doing is clearing out all the stuff you’re reactive to, then reintroducing foods to see how you react.
So, instead of introducing chicken, introduce a protein that you can eat that’s unlikely to be reactive. See the list of potentially reactive foods and decide which protein to test. If you don’t react to that protein, use it in place of chicken for future days.

Hope that helps!


dena March 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Hi penny,
Someone just recently gave the the plan and I’m convinced that I’m reactive to foods. I’m currently in central america and none of the foods/ supplies I would need are available. I here for an unknown amount of time, but am suffering immensely. Is there a list of non reactive foods I can eat until I return home? Everyday is a guessing game weather I will be functioning- majority if the days not!
A year and a half I have been going like this. I quit smoking, gave up all the toxic processed foods and started exercising everyday. Instead of feeling better I feel worse! I’m exhausted to the point of depression, I’m foggy and confused. I have quite literally tried everything I can think of. I have worked with a homeopathic Dr, a few general practitioner, a GI Dr and cardiologist. On top of my other symptoms I’ve also had diarrhea almost everyday(not watery) and get dizzy- not dehydrated.
The cardiologist says I’m fine and the stool test show high fat content which is in part with mal-absorption and high lysome(? Not 100% on name) which is indicative of a food senativity.
Im desperate for help and the drs are all scratching their heads, I guess what I’m asking for is a way to get through the rest of my trek.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give!


Penny Hammond March 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Hi Dena,

This diet is extremely specific about what you can eat, and pretty US or at least Western-focused, so it may not be the best fit for you right now.

Look at Clean and Clean Gut by Dr Alejandro Junger – also elimination-reintroduction diets which are a little less specific in what you can eat – they start you off with a simple diet that most people can cope with then let you test other foods.

There’s also Food Allergies and Food Intolerance by Jonathan Brostoff – it’s what I followed about 10 years ago to find out my own food sensitivities, and must write up a food list summary for it at some point.


Carrie W March 2, 2015 at 7:45 pm

I have no thyroid and have Hashimotos. I’m stable on my meds for over 2 years. Should I follow the thyroid diet? I really don’t have issues anymore since there’s nothing there, but I don’t want to aggravate anything.


Penny Hammond March 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Check in with your doctor for their advice – if they don’t think goitrogenic foods would be an issue for you any more, you could follow the regular version of the diet.


Tanya March 10, 2015 at 9:59 pm

how many eggs is considered a serving?
I have been eating two usually for my servings. yolk and the white.

what does it mean if your weight is neither down or up.


Penny Hammond March 15, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Serving sizes aren’t given.
When testing eggs, try starting with one egg to see your reaction.

There aren’t clear guidelines of what to do when your weight is neither up nor down. If it hasn’t gone up, there’s less likelihood that you’ve had an inflammatory reaction.


Saloni March 26, 2015 at 1:47 am

The plan is too good
It’s for people who are determined
Have recommended it to people who can take time out of their busy schedules to look after themselves


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