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It’s been several months since I completed Dr. Mark Hyman’s “UltraSimple Diet,” and the one thing that people continue to ask me is: “What did you eat?”

I think people think (as I initially did) that you drink a lot of shakes à la many weight-loss diets. While you do drink Dr. Hyman’s “UltraShakes,” these are basi- cally dairy-free smoothies that are designed to provide essential proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients that support your detox. You also drink Dr. Hyman’s “UltraBroth,” a potassium-rich vegetable broth that provides nutrients and alkalinizes your system, both of which also help in the detox process.

The good news is that you actually get to eat real food as well. The premise of “The UltraSimple Diet” is fairly simple: You avoid foods and drinks that might be causing toxicity and inflammation, such as sugar, gluten, eggs, dairy, alcohol, etc., and enjoy foods that usually don’t pose a problem, such as vegetables, brown rice, nuts and seeds, fish, and chicken. (For a complete list of “Avoid” and “Enjoy” foods, see “The UltraSimple Slimdown” [Jul/Aug 2010]). While many of the items on the “Avoid” list may not be a dietary problem for you specifically, the best way to find out is to stop consuming all of them for a period of time, add them back in slowly, and see how your feel. Remember, the overarching point of this diet is not weight loss, but to listen to your body.

Below is a sample of Dr. Hyman’s general outline for how to eat during the detox, as well as my take on it. Find more details and meal options in his book, The UltraSimple Diet (Gallery Books, 2009).

Dr. Mark Hyman’s UltraSimple Meal Plan

For notes from author Heidi Wachter about about how she modified the UltraSimple Meal Plan, look for notes starting with HW and Heidi’s Take throughout this article.

Breakfast (7 a.m.–9 a.m.)

  • Lemon juice (from 1⁄2 lemon) and hot water
  • 1 cup of decaf or caffeinated green tea steeped in hot water for five minutes. (You may also have the green tea later in the day. Limit your intake to 2 cups a day.)
    HW: I iced the green tea at times, which was a nice change.
  • UltraShake
    HW: Dr. Hyman provides several different shake recipes in his book, The UltraSimple Diet. For a delicious version that highlights berries, see “The UltraSimple Slimdown” (Jul/ Aug 2010) at

If no bowel movement by 10 in the morning, take two herbal laxative tablets (you can take two senna or cascara tablets to ensure you have a bowel movement).

HW: Constipation is a big deal because it interferes with your body’s ability to detoxify. For more of Dr. Hyman’s tips on how to deal with constipation, see “The UltraSimple Slimdown” (Jul/Aug 2010).

Heidi’s Take
As a cyclist, I like to eat a bit more of a substantial breakfast. So, I went with one of Dr. Hyman’s hot-breakfast options: rice cereal. But I did my own thing with it. For example, I added various types of berries, nuts (except peanuts), flaxseeds and raw coconut. Here’s a sample of one of my versions (for other hot-breakfast options, such as tofu-veggie scramble, see Dr. Hyman’s book, The UltraSimple Diet):

  • 1⁄4 cup rice cereal
  • 3⁄4 cup water Pinch of salt
  • 1⁄2 cup berries
  • 1 handful raw almonds
  • 1 handful raw coconut, shredded
  • 1⁄4 cup seeds (I like pumpkin or flaxseed)

Cook the rice cereal per the directions on the box. Pour into a bowl and add all the ingredients listed above. Stir and enjoy.

Morning Snack (10 a.m.–11 a.m.)

  • 1 cup UltraBroth
    HW: For the recipe, see “The UltraSimple Slimdown” (Jul/ Aug 2010). If you don’t have time to make homemade broth, Dr. Hyman suggests using organic vegetable broth.
  • Another UltraShake (if you are hungry)

Heidi’s Take
Drinking broth wasn’t exactly my idea of a “snack,” so instead, I used the broth to cook rice for my dinner. Dr. Hyman has a list of several alternative snacks in his book; in lieu of the broth- and shake-snack options, I opted for the foods below. (Tip: Before eating a snack, drink some water. You’ll be surprised how often dehydration presents itself as hunger.)

  • Raw veggies and hummus
  • Raw almonds
  • Steamed vegetables

Lunch (12 p.m.–1 p.m.)

  • 2 cups or more of steamed or lightly sautéed veggies (You should eat enough to feel gently satisfied.)
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1⁄2 cup fruit or berries for dessert (either here or at dinner, not both, and only one or two times during the seven-day program)
  • UltraShake (optional)

Heidi’s Take
I ate a lot of veggies and rice as recommended, but for a couple of days, I had a green salad from my local grocery-store salad bar. When putting your salad together, be careful to not select any foods on the “Avoid” list. Choose organic ingredients, if possible. Here’s a typical salad:

  • Mix of romaine, spinach and other mixed greens
  • Plenty of shaved carrots
  • Chickpeas
  • Cucumbers
  • Variety of seeds: chia, pumpkin and sesame
  • A dash of extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten it up a bit.

Afternoon Snack (2 p.m.–3 p.m.)

  • 1 cup UltraBroth
  • UltraShake (if you are hungry)

Dinner (5 p.m.–7 p.m.)

  • 4 to 6 ounces of fish or chicken breasts cooked with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice, or 4 to 6 ounces of tofu or legumes (if using canned, rinse well)
  • 2 cups or more of steamed or lightly sautéed veggies (You should eat enough to feel gently satisfied.)
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup UltraBroth

Heidi’s Take
As you can see, the recommendations for dinner are similar to those for lunch. However, you do add in a protein source (the flexibility of suggested proteins is great and works nicely for vegetarians as well). Dr. Hyman has several recipes that work well for dinner, including a baked cod flavored with thyme. When I went to the grocery store, fresh cod wasn’t available, so I substituted salmon and tweaked his recipe to my liking:

  • 1 1⁄2 pound salmon fillet
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 tbs. fresh rosemary
  • 1⁄4 tbs. fresh basil
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon

Preheat broiler. Coat one side of aluminum foil with olive oil and place salmon fillet on it. Cover with additional olive oil, and add rosemary, basil, salt and pepper. Cut most of one lemon into thin slices and place on top of the fillet. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon over the fillet. Wrap salmon in the foil and place in broiler until done (about 4 to 6 minutes per 1⁄2-inch of thickness).

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