A Detox Diet That Encourages Eating? Hello!

Review by Anna Soref
Editor in Chief

“My version of detox doesn’t involve juicing, fasting, or even hunger.” If this quote from Dr. Mark Hyman’s new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook (Little, Brown and Company, 2105) resonates, you might want to turn off your computer and head to the bookstore. . . .

There’s no doubt that Dr. Hyman’s version of detox is unique. The diet revolves around his premise that by eating the right foods, not starving, you will get off the energy roller coaster, lose weight, and say goodbye to chronic health issues like asthma, joint pain and type 2 diabetes.

The cookbook is a companion piece to Dr. Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet (Little, Brown and Company, 2104).

Currently Hyman is the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center, is the author of eight other books, including the best-selling The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), and a regular contributor to Calmful Living.

Simply put, Dr. Hyman’s diet philosophy is “out with the bad and in with the good.” The “bad” is sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, beans, processed foods, certain oils, alcohol and caffeine. Why grains and beans, you ask? Because these carbs can quickly ramp up your blood sugar, and avoiding that is the key to this diet.

What’s refreshing about this diet cookbook is the lack of restrictions. Sure, ditching sugar and the white foods may seem like a lot, but you quickly get in to all of the foods that you can have. There’s no calorie counting or starvation or even deprivation (OK, there’s some deprivation, like no coffee). With an emphasis on proteins and low-starch veggies, it does resemble the currently popular Paleo diet—but there are veggie options. Hyman stresses that healthy eating, and ultimately healthy weight, is dependent on avoiding spikes in blood sugar that result from processed carbs and sugars.

Depending on your level of nutritional knowledge, the information and recipes bestowed in 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook could be a reminder about the no-nos of the processed-food world or they could completely change your world. You can certainly do the diet without the first book; but if you want more information, you might want to pick up The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, which goes into more detail.

The book’s bulk is in the 150 recipes, which are broken down into seven sections including Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Snacks, Spices and Condiments, and Spices, Rubs and Stocks.

Unlike some blood sugar balancing diets, Hyman does allow for some fruit. His breakfast recipes include smoothies like the Blueberry-Nut Smoothie, with blueberries, tofu, walnuts and Brazil nuts, among other ingredients. Another breakfast dish is the egg-based Southwestern Vegetable Frittata—clearly this “detox diet” is not about starvation.

Lunch recipes are heavy on salads, many with an interesting twist, like the Seaweed Salad with Poached Shrimp and the Chicken Satay with Cucumber Salad. Dinner recipes range from easy one-pot stews, like Red Curry Stew with Chicken and Eggplant, to the dinner-party-worthy Tuscan Chicken Cacciatore. The vegetable side dishes are not afterthoughts, and many would convert well to an entrée with the addition of a plant or meat protein.

While the book is meat heavy, vegetarians can sub out animal proteins for soy (organic and non-GMO, Hyman insists) in many cases. Because the diet is dairy-free, vegans will be able to adapt the recipes easily as well, and there are some vegetarian recipes like the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Cashew “Ricotta.” There is a healthy emphasis on nuts as well.

You’ll find little advice gems peppered throughout the 352-page book, such as why you should opt for raw cocoa over processed because it offers more vitamins, minerals and even fiber. You can also find tips to unwind and enjoy dinnertime, including a lengthy list of dinner conversation topics for families.

If you are looking for a restart or reboot program but the idea of juice fasting or 500-calorie days makes you depressed, then the 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook could be a good choice for you.