Review: The Hormone Reset Diet

Recently I purchased and read The Hormone Reset Diet by Dr Sarah Gottfried. This post isn’t sponsored, it’s just my own review of something I thought would be helpful for me.

A Bit Different Than I thought

I was not really aware that this would be a “diet” book but more an elimination of sorts to see if they body reacted differently when certain types of food are taken out of the daily diet.

The monetary investment is more than the cost of the book

I started reading and then realised there was a lot of tracking to be done besides just calories. The most expensive tracker: a blood glucose device to check your blood sugar levels each morning and throughout the day to see if there were any issues that needed dealing with like hypo or hyperglycemia. Other things needed were a tongue scraper (I still don’t know why except getting rid of bacteria that collect while you sleep, but… isn’t that why I brush my teeth in the morning?), a dry brush (to help the lymphatic system apparently) and ph strips to check your alkaline balance (I did not buy these). There were a couple other items on the list I already had like a blender, food scale, bathroom scale, tape measure and a step tracker. Another item was epsom salts but I don’t have a bathtub so that one was pointless for me.

Seven Eliminations: every 3 days for 21 days

  • No Alcohol or Red Meat for the entire 21 days (start Day 1 – 3) estrogen
  • Day 4 – 6 No Sugar insulin
  • Day 7 -9 No Fruit leptin
  • Day 10 – 12 No Caffeine cortisol
  • Day 13 – 15 No Grains thyroid
  • Day 16 -18 No Dairy growth hormone
  • Day 19 – 21 No Toxins testosterone

Day 1 – 3 No Alcohol or Red Meat

This was kind of a no brainer for me. I don’t eat a lot of red meat in the first place and, while I like my adult beverage from time to time, I can certainly go without it. The reasoning behind no red meat in any case is that, in the United States, a lot of commercial meat is pumped full of hormones in order to supply the demand for it and make it affordable for the consumer. Outside of the US there are much stricter regulations and our meat in the EU is simply not full or hormones because it’s not allowed. So, effectively, this elimination was pointless for me. I did it, but there was no effect whatsoever on how I felt during the 21 days.

Day 4 – 6 No sugar

I don’t add a lot of sugar to my food. I eliminated the 1 teaspoon of sugar I used on my grapefruit and I checked ingredients lists in food I regularly buy (like cream cheese and hummus) and bought different brands with no sugar. This wasn’t hard for me. I don’t even add sugar to coffee. Sugar is not added to bread here.

Day 7 – 9 No Fruit

This one I found harder as I do enjoy fruit in my yoghurt, mandarins for a snack or an apple if I’m feeling peckish before lunch or dinner time. Also part of the “no fruit” category was nightshade vegetables apparently. So no tomatoes, no paprika, no eggplant and no chiles (those are the main ones in my diet). I just had to get a bit more creative with my salads and that was fine. If there was any “feeling” I had so far in this diet, it was that I noticed I didn’t get hungry as soon after I finished my salad as when I ate my regular one with tomatoes and paprika. And I had roasted courgette (zucchini) instead of aubergine (eggplant).

Day 10 – 12 No Caffeine

This one I didn’t manage. I cut down to 1 – 2 espressos instead of 2 -4. Which, to be honest, is still not a lot of caffeine if you ask me. I did try but I just could not function. Sad but true.

Day 13 – 15 No Grains

Ok, it already started going pear shaped with no caffeine; I also did not manage grain-free. However, I want to make it clear I already do not eat a lot of grains! I still had them in the morning, but replaced rice with cauliflower rice (more than once in this 21 day reset).

Day 16 -18 No Dairy

Another elimination that I didn’t need to make. I switched ages ago to dairy alternatives. I wish I would have read more about this reset before buying the book. One thing I am going to do in the very near future is quit all dairy. But right now I don’t think the bit of cheese I have on my pasta once a week is messing with my hormones. I think only eggs will be something I would miss a lot. But again, we have different regulations here in Europe, than you do in the US, so dairy production is not full of added hormones and I try to buy animal-friendly products when I can (milk and yoghurt are soy/almond/coconut milk based).

Day 19 – 21 No Toxins

Here’s where Dr Sara totally lost me. Basically she wants you to get rid of any products you have in your home and any personal care items that may have toxins in them that can affect your testosterone. Sorry, Sara. I already bought a blood glucose device including lancets and test strips. I cannot afford to now replace all products in my house that *may* have something in it that affects testosterone levels So yeah. Didn’t do this.

Kind of a Sham

I mean, ok. If you are a complete mess with your diet and you need guidance to get things under control maybethis book will help you. Dr Sara claims that one could lose 15lbs in 21 days. I wasn’t in this for weight loss and I didn’t really lose any weight (I also didn’t follow it to a “T”). There are menu examples in the book that are utterly ridiculous unless you have a lot of extra money (she suggests at some point eating 4 oz of raw oysters for lunch. FOR LUNCH. What planet are you on, Sara?) and/or have nothing better to than collect wild blueberries personally from a local co-op or fly to Alaska to catch your own salmon. She has recipes in the book like Detox Shakes which include MCT oil (which contains Palm Oil – and I’m not down with that!) which seem to contradict her other beliefs about the environmental and physical effects of commercial meat production. If you actually would calculate the calories for her example menus, they would be pretty low-calorie, so sure… you could lose weight if you aren’t eating enough. Not really sustainable.

One Positive

There are some good things in here which Dr Sara calls “Cell to Soul” practice. It’s about taking the time to get to the heart of what is bringing you stress, how you feel about yourself, your expectations, and the like. So in a way, it’s focusing away from a weight issue and putting more of an accent on mental and emotional well being.

Re-entry after Reset

Dr Sara has a whole section of her book dedicated to re-entry after “resetting” your hormones. My personal opinion is this: you cannot fully reset your body in increments of 3 days at a time. I think your body needs more time to reset, especially if you have a hormone inbalance. Also? If you do have real issues like with blood sugar or your thyroid, it may even take more than food to fix it. My advice? See your GP and have tests done. Insist that they take your concerns seriously. As with any lifestyle change, you need to think about what is sustainable in the long run. Eliminating entire food groups is always a sort of red flag to me; One should be able to do all things in moderation unless you have a true medical issue that determines otherwise.

The Verdict

I learned that I’m not hypo- or hyperglycemic, that dry brushing actually feels good and that maybe eating less nightshades feels better in general. But this “diet” did nothing for me otherwise. I can thank Dr Sara for actually forcing me to dive in further to fixing my what-feels-like-broken system; mostly I need better sleep to produce less cortisol. I’ve moved on to supplements especially for sleep and stress and I think I’ll have better luck with that in the end. I am also going to make an appointment with my GP soon because the menopause thing is a total drag and I think I need some help.

Sorry Sara, but your book/diet is a flop for me.

What’s the craziest diet you’ve ever tried? Have you elimnated certain items from your own diet because of allergies or personal beliefs? What do you think about giving up coffee for 3 days? Were you aware that there are indeed a LOT of hormones in commercial meat production in the US?


  1. Birchwood Pie says:

    I’m 100% with you on the coffee. I only drink one cup a day and it’s painful if I don’t have it. This was a fun post to read, I think advising someone to give up bad stuff for just 3 days is a great way to sell a book, but lol maybe not such great advice to follow.

    1. Renée says:

      agree! I bought the book… another chunk of change to the diet industry!

  2. Marcia says:

    Given the crazy diet I just finished, I don’t get what effect 3 days of rotating food eliminations would have. I’d think hormones would need a longer time than that for a “reset”. I runfess I did not give up my 2 cups of daily coffee (coffee is a bean) on the autoimmune protocol, and I don’t care. I can only be pushed so far. Haha!

    1. Renée says:

      agree with you on the coffee thing. take it all away but leave me my brew! yeah the whole rotation thing kind of blows her theory out of the water. There are testimonials but yeah… some people lose weight on a few shakes a day and oysters for lunch…

  3. Coco says:

    So it sounds like those of us in the U.S. should just move to Europe for 21 days? I’m down with that! In addition to what you’ve pointed out, there’s other b.s. in her plan. While added sugar is an issue, it’s not just sugar that triggers insulin production, but of course, you need insulin. I’m also not sure of the caffeine – cortisol connection. I think there are more studies on cortisol and sleep (or lack thereof). And telling folks to monitor their blood sugar throughout the day is crazy! It’s going to fluctuate based on meals, etc., even “healthy” ones. My husb who has T2D only checks his 2x/day.

    I tried so many crazy diets. As a kid, my parents put me on a diet that had me brining a cold hot dog or hamburger in my lunch box. As an adult, I did Atkins and did buy those keto-strips …..

    1. Renée says:

      well we do have different food regulations so maybe you all could benefit? The more I read the book and did the “diet” in tandem the more I was like “riiiiiiggggght….” And yes to cortisol and lack of sleep. And she does promote sleeping better and maybe with no caffeine that’s possible.

      Keto strips? like pee strips?

  4. Whoaaaa this sounds intense!! Totally with you on oysters for lunch. That’s ridiculous! Thanks for the honest review!

    1. Renée says:

      If I can eat oysters for lunch I probably have enough money for a personal trainer/chef and/or just sucking all the fat out in one go!

  5. I’m always skeptical of stuff like this. I eat really healthy *most* of the time. So when I come across elimination diets like this I kind of roll my eyes. I know the things I’m eating that are bad vs. good and it’s a conscious choice I make each time. Haha. Like chocolate… whatever… ;)

    1. Renée says:

      I really thought that with my hormones out of whack from menopause that this would help me. Now I’ve learned I just need to visit my GP and get tested to see IF my hormones are actually out of whack in the first place. And chocolate is a vegetable :)

  6. Kim at Running on the Fly says:

    Well, at least it was a good learning experience, right? My husband did the Atkins Diet, years ago…and he did it on his own (meaning, I did not participate with him LOL). It did work for him, but it looked really unhealthy to me.

    1. Renée says:

      Definitely a learning experience! Only now I have more questions haha! And I do understand about a diet looking unhealthy. I mean, I don’t get “keto” at all but I know it works for some people. I just can’t. I don’t want to eliminate something unless there’s an allergy or a physical/medical reason for it I’m happy to be mostly vegetarian, dairy doesn’t always sit well with me, but pretty much everything else is game.

  7. While I certainly agree that reducing sugar is always good, not sure I could ever do any of this other stuff. I don’t think I would have anything left to eat! I tried to go vegan for a week a few years back-nope! I need cheese and eggs

    1. Renée says:

      Eggs is the one reason I KNOW I can’t be vegan! I have got my cheese (with pasta) down to about 1x a week now, not because it’s bad, it’s just not great for me. But yeah. I learned.

  8. Farrah says:

    Hahahaha, love your review! (Especially the part about the oysters. And I wish I could go catch wild salmon in Alaska, but somehow, I don’t have the time!) I stronggggly dislike diets that market things like detoxing and “cleansing your body of toxins” (that’s what the kidneys + liver are for…). I’m also extremely against super restrictive often-crash diets.

    1. Renée says:

      this diet is definitely not for you! and I rolled my eyes quite a bit on the toxins elimination. sure, I try to use less chemicals in general and I look at ingredients on personal care items I buy but give me a break. my shower gel is NOT causing a hormone imbalance!!

  9. De Bolton says:

    I think the most restrictive diet I tried was Whole 30. It was crazy to me. It took me 10 attempts just to make it through the first 30 days which h ended up being almost 60. I hope you find something that helps.

    1. Renée says:

      a personal trainer tried to get me to do Paleo and then whole 30! I was like dude! I already modified the paleo thing! I’m not doing whole 30!! my husband would kill me. haha!

  10. kookyrunner says:

    I’ve done WW on and off for the past 2 years. Not sure if that’s considered a diet but I know that it works for me when I follow the plan. However, I do get sick of having to track everything!

    1. Renée says:

      I’ve been most successful with WW! but yeah I’m so so sick of tracking everything at this point.

  11. Natalie says:

    This is just what I needed. I have such a problems lately and i think it’s my hormones. So this reset is coming just in the right time. Great tips. Thanks!

    1. Renée says:

      you may want to try a different reset though as I don’t really recommend this one.

  12. Chaitali says:

    Huh, this book definitely sounds a little weird. But that’s good news that you did get some good insights from it! I think the no fruits/nightshades would have been the hardest one for me.

    1. Renée says:

      I’m back on fruit but doing ok without nightshades! I seem to be fuller longer without tomatoes and bell peppers. but… I love both… so 1x a week pasta and 1x a week my husband’s curry he makes with paprikas…

  13. Jenn says:

    I’m down with coco on moving to Europe!

    I really don’t try any kinds of resets or things like that. I admit to not being that committed. I’m sorry this didn’t do much for you.

  14. Michelle Wood says:

    Thank you for this review, sounds ‘too hard’ to even start. I just purchased this book on Audible, already disappointed, minutes in! A far better book on elimination diet was The Whole Thirty. It was a challenge to give up all the foods for a month. The reintroduction was so worth it, taught me so much about how certain foods affect me. Only problem is I struggle to do another ‘mini’ reset, as I know how strong willed you need to be for it to work!

  15. Dar says:

    Boooo! Worst review EVER! First, one cannot scrutinize a book one failed miserably to follow! And, the attitude of this article is soooo negative. Good luck if you cannot seem to read, let alone abide any new principles. Best-OUT!

    1. Renée says:

      Thanks for your comment, though I’m not really sure what the added value is?

      I reviewed this based on my own experience and this is my own opinion. I admitted that I failed in a couple of areas and that this “diet” was not for me. Your opinion is that it’s the “worst review ever” and that’s fine with me.

      You seem to be one of those people who flourishes on random internet bullying. Unfortunately for you I’m not bothered. Have a good day and good luck with your hormone reset diet.

  16. Dar says:

    It seems you refused to post my honest review, so I guess only your friends made it on here.

    1. Renée says:

      Hi Dar, it seems you actually failed to noticed that I haven’t really posted much on my blog lately so I hadn’t seen your reply until now. Maybe do some meditation and learn to chill out a bit?

  17. Noel says:

    So can you clarify something for me? When you say eliminate coffee for example, is it only for 3 days or for the remaining days until you reach 21 days? So total 3 days or total 11 days without coffee?

    1. Renée says:

      I believe each elimination was 3 days. If I remember correctly she recommends no alcohol for the whole time. So three days total eliminating coffee.

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