When my mom and I decided to do a cleanse to shake things up, it was the perfect opportunity to document our experience and put together a 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan, ‘Do-It-Yourself’ style. It wasn’t easy, mainly because counting calories is new to me, but having this experience will make things much easier next time. This meal plan is vegan, low-lectin, and relatively low-histamine.
I was inspired by reading about the longevity benefits of a 5-day fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) from The Longevity Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry and following Dr. Valter Longo’s work.
My sister and her husband have done the ProLon fasting-mimicking diet a few times. Yet, that can be costly, hence not accessible to everyone. So I wanted to put together a 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan ‘Do-It-Yourself’ style (sometimes referred to as FMD DIY) for my mom and me, a plan that can also be done anywhere in the world, with familiar and affordable ingredients.
While all the food in this plan is safe and nutritious, and there is plenty of food not to feel like you are starving, always apply caution when fasting at home. If you have any medical conditions you are treating or a history of food eating disorders, please consult your medical provider before starting an FMD.
What is a 5-day fasting-mimicking diet?
Dr. Valter Longo, an Italian-American biogerontologist and cell biologist, developed the fasting-mimicking diet at the University of Southern California. The 5-day fasting-mimicking diet is a 120-hour prolonged nutritious, low-calorie fast, mimicking the benefits of a water fast. According to him but also Dr. Steven Gundry, these are the potential health benefits of a fasting-mimicking diet:
- deep healing
- resetting metabolism
As Dr. Valter Longo and Dr. Steven Gundry suggest, we could do this fasting regularly: every 8 to 12 weeks. For healthy individuals, following a healthy diet and doing a regular intermittent fast, doing an FMD twice a year should be enough.
However, it depends on many factors, so I would recommend reading The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo, PhD or watching some of his more recent podcasts or interviews, like this one on The Dr. Gundry Podcast, published in May 2022.
Dr. Valter Longo is very cautious regarding DIY fasting-mimicking diets. He advises medical supervision. Please do not make any drastic changes in your diet without consulting with your doctor, especially if:
- you take medication like insulin, statins, steroids, immunosuppressants, etc
- you have diabetes, low blood pressure, cancer, or other medical conditions
- you have a history of eating disorders
- you have a very low BMI or are underweight or frail
- you are over 65 years old
A little hunger and lack of energy are expected side effects of this diet, possibly a light headache, but anything other than that, please stop and add more food to the plan. Ensure you drink plenty of water, at least 2 liters per day.
The rules for the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
This is possibly one of the most restrictive meal plans I made and certainly something entirely new for my mom. I’ll mention that my mom is generally healthy, takes no medication, and is not diagnosed with any illness. She was also under 65 years old when we did this diet.
While I was already following a grain-free, sugar-free, lectin-light diet for a few years, my mom never eliminated any of those food groups entirely from her diet. And on top of that, it was calorie-restricted.
We can do this meal plan even without the calorie restriction part. Eating clean, real food for five days, will benefit us, no matter what. But if you want the benefits of fasting along with the benefits of cleaning up your diet, you have to keep calories under 900 per day.
NOTE: Don’t forget that we are all different, and it’s better to consult your doctor before you make any drastic changes in your diet, especially if you are under any medication or treatment.
For easy reference, here are the general rules of this 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan ‘Do-It-Yourself’:
Rule 1: It’s calorie-restricted
You only eat 900 or fewer calories daily to mimic the benefits of a month of full-time calorie restriction (according to Dr. Steven Gundry).
Fyi, Dr. Valter Longo, who has been studying the benefits of calorie restriction fasting for decades, has a 600-calorie limit on his ProLon meal plan. You can do either or somewhere in the middle. Some even say we can still reap the benefits if under 1,100 calories. 800-900 calories sound like a good number, achievable without hunger.
Rule 2: It’s vegan
No animal protein or dairy is allowed. This is a 100% plant-based / vegan meal plan.
Rule 3: It’s lectin-light
No plants with a high content of harmful lectins are allowed. We will soak beans and legumes and pressure-cook them to eliminate most lectins and eat a maximum of one cup a day (8oz). This is mostly Dr. Gundry’s addition to the FMD plan, and from personal experience, consuming beans and legumes without soaking and pressure-cooking will not help digestion.
Rule 4: You eat only whole foods
This meal plan is free of heavily processed foods.
Rule 5: It’s free of sugar, including fruits
We can include a small number of berries, but that’s probably something you will have to decide, depending on your current health state. The original ProLon meal plan has some nut bars that include a small amount of honey. So in my interpretation, this plan can include a tiny amount of sugar from fruits or honey if that fits your needs. Dr. Steven Gundry will probably advise against it.
Rule 6: Make it nutritious
I applied the nutritarian approach when I built our menu. It’s a term coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman about a diet that maximizes micro-nutrients and minimizes macro-nutrients. That means a diverse diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods and low in calories. And remember that the point of calorie restriction is not to starve yourself of nutrients; on the contrary.
Make sure you have a transition day after the five days, when you eat a normal calorie diet, but you keep it 100% plant-based, adding complex carbs like sweet potatoes, beans or legumes (pressure-cooked), plenty of healthy fats and lectin-free grains like sorghum, millet, fonio or teff.
These low-calorie five days will be much easier if you are already eating a clean diet before your start.
NOTE: This cleanse can also be considered low histamine. By some lists, beans are not low histamine, but I never had problems with beans in the past, and they are included in one of the most reliable anti-histamine programs online, HealingHistamine.com. Additionally, many of the foods I use in this cleanse have anti-histamine properties. Only one meal of all ten includes a small amount of avocado, and the snack has some cacao, but you can easily remove/replace both.
About sourcing and cooking methods
To keep it nutritious, think of sourcing, as much as possible, locally and organic, in season, and include both raw and cooked vegetables. It’s not that you have to make it perfect, but do the best you can with what’s available to you. I would not go out of my way to source ingredients that grow in the tropics while I’m in Romania, and it’s autumn.
If you need a printable shopping list and an overview of the plant paradox food list, please see my article The Plant Paradox Shopping List (Printable, Lectin-Free Diet).
Accessibility of this 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
Maybe because I wanted this experience to inspire my mom, I wanted it to be as simple as possible and use ingredients that are easy to find in Romanian stores and markets. However, everything will look familiar and accessible wherever in the world you are. And as long as you stick to the rules above, you can use any ingredients available to you.
If you ever wanted to do the original Prolon 5-day fasting-mimicking diet, but you couldn’t afford it, or it wasn’t accessible in your area, and you wondered how to mimic the Prolon diet, this is a starting point. After getting familiar with the rules, you can personalize this diet plan to fit your lifestyle.
Beans and legumes, preparation and storage
In the case of beans and legumes, if you include them, remember they have to be soaked and pressure cooked to reduce the content of harmful lectins. In my cleanse, I use chickpeas and lentils.
While I don’t soak lentils because they’ll go mushy, I wash them well, pressure cook for 15 minutes, and discard the water.
As for chickpeas, I soak them overnight, change the water about three times, and pressure cook for 23-25 minutes. I do not add salt to the water when cooking, as some say it interferes with the cooking process.
Black beans are also excellent to use during this cleanse. I do the same as with chickpeas, but the pressure cooking time is 25 minutes. You find a guideline on how to pressure cook beans/legumes in The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook by Dr. Steven Gundry.
Prepare the beans in advance
To make this DIY fasting-mimicking diet meal plan easy, prepare the beans in advance and freeze them. When you stew the beans, you can use them directly from the freezer if packed in individual portions. If you want to make something like hummus, take them out in advance, or you can even warm them in the oven before blending.
Stewing the beans is easy. Start with a bit of extra virgin olive oil or whatever approved oil you like (you can use avocado too), measuring the oil, depending on how many servings you make. I cooked for two, so I used one tablespoon for two servings, which means 119 calories.
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Sauté the onion until fragrant and translucent, add some garlic and the beans, and eventually a little water so they don’t stick or dry out. I usually add beans straight from the freezer, so I cook until the beans are all thawed and soft. If you use other greens, like kale (see Day 4, Meal 1) add them just for a few minutes in the end. Fresh herbs can be added: parsley and cilantro are perfect for beans.
More about beans here: Reintroducing Beans. Three Easy and Delicious Recipes.
Planning meals is not something that comes naturally to me; I’m more of a spontaneous cook and eater. But I learned a few tricks that helped make my life easier.
Freeze beans in Souper Cubes
Soaking and pressure cooking beans and lentils in advance and freezing them in individual portions are some of them. For freezing, I use Stasher bags and Souper Cubes.
My favorite ways of freezing food are with Souper Cubes. You can buy the Souper Cubes here.
‘Take out a frozen cube, warm it up in the microwave, on the stove, or bake in the oven. Warm your food up the way that works best for you!‘
Spices and salt for the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
During the cleanse, I wanted to keep it simple, so I mainly used Herbs de Provence as a spice mix, plus salt and pepper. Use fresh cilantro and/or parsley and even dill to your heart’s desire; they are super tasty and nutritious and don’t add many calories. Also, add fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil to your dishes. Prepared pesto is problematic for this 5-day fast mimicking diet meal plan because it requires a lot of oil and will have a lot of calories.
Speaking of salt and pepper, add to your taste. I had to add a little less salt than usual when cooking because my mom doesn’t eat as salty as I do, so I’d rather have to add more than making it too salty. Salt is important in a cleanse, especially when you eliminate all processed foods that usually contain a lot of added salt. I used iodized Himalayan pink salt (with no fillers or anti-caking agents), which I know is pretty hard to find in the US. If I were in the US, I’d use Redmond Real sea salt, naturally rich in minerals and iodine, or iodized sea salt.
Alternatively, you can use some seaweed to add some umami flavors and iodine to your meals.
Counting calories for the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
For me, this was the most annoying part of this 5-day fast-mimicking diet meal plan. I never count calories, and in general, I’m not advising anyone to do so; however, there is no way around it when you have to follow a calorie-restricted meal plan.
One thing I noticed is that we tend to underestimate the number of calories we are eating, so to keep it under 900 a day, I had to be very strict with my portions and especially with the use of oils.
NOTE: In my everyday life, I follow the plant paradox principles of eating, and for the past years my weight has been stable despite me eating way above the number of calories suggested in the mainstream channels. That’s mainly due to eating a lot of extra virgin olive oil – Dr. Gundry advises 12 tablespoons a day, which means over 1200 calories only from oil. I don’t eat that much, but still quite a lot. So, all this to say, if you do follow the plant paradox eating principles, you will have to be careful with the use of oils as they tend to be the most caloric in this plan.
Beans and oils are the highest in calories
Another ingredient that is allowed but must be calorie-restricted because it quickly adds up, is beans/legumes. The amount you can have daily is 8oz (1 cup) so if you have two meals a day, you can have half a cup per meal.
I included chickpeas and lentils for almost every meal. I didn’t want this to be a tough experience for my mom, who was eliminating so many food groups from her diet at once and for the first time. Plus, as I said, I wanted our food to include a maximum of nutrients, and beans do provide that if are properly prepared.
During this cleanse, beans and oils are the highest in calories, so that’s where you have to pay attention when counting calories, especially since when preparing the beans, you always need some sort of oil. My choice for oils would be extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, sesame oil, or maybe perilla oil if you have access to it. Here are the calories in beans and fats (they are rough estimates, though, keep that in mind):
- 1 cup of boiled lentils – 230 calories
- 1 cup of boiled chickpeas – 267 calories
- 1 cup of boiled black beans – 227 calories
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil – 119 calories
- 1 tablespoon of avocado oil – 124 calories
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil – 117 calories
- 1 tablespoon hemp seed oil – 126 calories
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed butter) – 89 calories
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds – 111 calories
- 1 brazil nut (1 kernel) – 33 calories
- 10 olives – 59 calories
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned) – 552 calories
The vegetables and the greens are pretty low in calories. I counted now to have an idea, but the next time I do this, I will not bother. The only other vegetables I would pay attention to regarding calories are the starchy ones, like the sweet potato.
How to prepare the sweet potato
The sweet potato has to be cooked, cooled, and reheated for a better nutritional profile (more resistant starch and slower absorption of sugar). I like to cook my sweet potato in the oven, in the skin, with no oil or water. Just in a tray, at 350F, until they are soft to touch. Time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
Then I let them cool, eventually overnight or for a few hours in the fridge, and when I’m ready to eat, I reheat them or eat them cold. I douse them in extra virgin olive oil regularly, but I’m careful during this cleanse, considering one tablespoon of olive oil has 119 calories.
How to prepare the non-starchy vegetables
For the rest of the veggies, I eat them raw, steamed, roasted or boiled/blanched. To maximize the amount and types of nutrients, I make sure I eat vegetables in different forms, both raw, minimally cooked (blanched), or roasted. I love raw cauliflower, but I cook broccoli and other leafy greens. Though I love raw cabbage salad, I also love roasting it, and I love boiled Brussels sprouts (al dente).
Here there are the calories for the veggies I use in this 5-day fast-mimicking diet meal plan:
- 1 head large cauliflower (840g) – 209 calories
- 1 bunch broccoli (608g) – 205 calories
- 1 medium onion – 44 calories
- 1 cup chopped cabbage – 22 calories
- 1 bulb fennel – 73 calories
- 1 raw carrot – 30 calories
- 100g raw beets – 43 calories
- 200g asparagus – 40 calories
- 100g sweet potato – 86 calories
The 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
There are different ways to split the allowed food/calories throughout the day, but we chose two meals a day: lunch and early dinner, which is our regular schedule anyway.
Our first meal was around noon, and dinner was not later than 6 pm. Sometimes we had snacks in between and coffee in the morning.
Ingredients for day one of the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), hemp seed oil, red onion, leeks, cauliflower, asparagus, fennel, garlic, ginger, hemp seeds / sweet potato, lentils, broccoli, arugula/salad, olives, herbs de Provence.
Meal 1: Veggie hash with leeks, cauliflower, and asparagus (246 calories)
Start by sautéing leeks, onions, and ginger, until fragrant and translucent. Remember, the amount of oil used should be a minimum, 1 tablespoon for 2 servings should be enough. Add the garlic, riced, or chopped cauliflower and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for a couple more minutes. Add salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence in the process and taste. You can add some sliced mushrooms to this meal if you feel like it. Serve with hemp seeds and a drizzle of olive oil or hemp seeds oil. Refer to the lists above for the number of calories, but don’t worry about counting the calories in the non-starchy vegetables. Keep the oil to a minimum and measure the hemp seeds.
Meal 2: Buddha bowl with lentils, sweet potato, and broccoli (317 calories)
To prepare the lentils, measure 1/2 cup of pressure-cooked lentils per serving. Sauté red onion until translucent and fragrant, add the lentils, add fresh garlic, herbs to your taste, and cook until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add some water so they don’t dry out. Finish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Boil or steam a few broccoli florets; keep them al dente if you can. To prepare the sweet potato, slice baked and cooled sweet potato and warm it in a pan in a little bit of olive oil, with herbs de Provence, on both sides. Serve with a green salad/arugula and a few olives.
Ingredients for day 2: EVOO, hemp oil, kohlrabi, avocado, carrot, asparagus, olives, figs, arugula, chickpeas, tahini, nigella sativa seeds / red cabbage, leeks, fennel, ginger, cloves, green salad (mache), sweet potato
Meal 1: Raw veggie platter with hummus (456 calories)
To make the hummus, mix in a blender: 1/2 cup chickpeas per serving, 1/2 teaspoon tahini per serving, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil per serving, lemon juice, salt. Optionally you can add cumin and garlic. Sprinkle with some toasted nigella sativa seeds. Steam the asparagus al dente. Slice raw kohlrabi, raw carrot; you can use raw radishes if available. Serve with a green salad, olives, 1/4 avocado, and optionally one fresh fig (reminder: figs are flowers, not fruits).
Meal 2: Roasted red cabbage with sweet potato and green salad (350 calories)
To make the cabbage, combine in an oven dish: chopped cabbage, leeks, fennel, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, 2 cloves, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes. You can add 1/4 cup of cooked chickpeas per person to this dish for some protein. Alternatively, you can serve with sprinkled hemp seeds. Serve with a green salad and half-baked sweet potato (a medium one), cooled and reheated.
Ingredients for day three: EVOO, hemp oil, lentils, red onion, garlic, beetroot, horseradish, Brussel sprouts/cauliflower, coconut milk, chickpeas, asparagus, arugula, mache, olives.
Meal 1: Stewed lentils with Brussels sprouts and beetroot salad (350 calories)
To make the lentils, start by sautéing onion until fragrant and translucent in a tiny bit of olive oil; add the pressure-cooked lentils, garlic, salt and pepper, and herbs. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding a tiny bit of water in the process. You can finish with fresh cilantro or parsley. Boil the Brussels sprouts for about 6 minutes (cut the big ones if they are not equal in size).
Grate the horseradish and beets and mix them with a little bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, salt. Careful with the horseradish, it can be very powerful. If you don’t have fresh, you can use prepared horseradish; many brands you find in stores are clean.
Meal 2: Cauliflower mash with chickpeas, asparagus and green salad (470)
Boil or steam the cauliflower and blend it with 1/8 cup coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Sauté the chickpeas with red onion, garlic and herbs de Provence, or other fresh herbs, using 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 servings. Steam the asparagus. Serve with a green salad, olives, and a drizzle of EVOO and apple cider vinegar.
Ingredients for day four: EVOO, hemp oil, lentils, red onion, garlic, kale, cauliflower, asparagus, olives, arugula / sweet potato, hummus, cabbage, carrots
Meal 1: Buddha bowl with stewed lentils and kale, asparagus, cauliflower, and green salad (350 calories)
Prepare the lentils like on day 1 or 3, but add some kale or other leafy greens to the mix. Serve with steamed asparagus, raw cauliflower (cook if you can’t have raw), a green salad, some fresh herbs, and a drizzle of hemp or olive oil.
Meal 2: Hummus and sweet potato platter with a cabbage salad (420 calories)
Warm the pre-cooked sweet potato (1/2 small potato per serving). Shred the cabbage, massage with salt, add a tiny bit of oil and apple cider vinegar, and pepper. Make hummus like on day 2 and serve with raw carrots, cauliflower, and a green salad. You can remove the sweet potato and add more hummus if you like, but no more than 1/2 cup of hummus.
Ingredients for day five: EVOO, hemp oil, cabbage, ginger, red onion, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, herbs de Provence, sweet potato/lentils, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula
Meal 1: Roasted cabbage with scalloped sweet potato (350 calories)
Prepare the cabbage as in day 2, but I used white cabbage this time. You can use any type, including napa or savoy cabbage variety. Slice one sweet potato and sauté the slices in EVOO with salt and herbs de Provence (not more than 1/2 sweet medium potato per serving. Serve with a few olives and sprinkle with hemp seeds.
Meal 2: Buddha bowl with lentils, broccoli and crunchy cauliflower (300 calories)
For the last meal of the cleanse, I didn’t feel like cooking much, so I just used plain pressure-cooked lentils, raw cauliflower, steamed broccoli, a few olives on a bed of arugula. Drizzled with olive oil/hemp seeds oil, sprinkled with salt.
Fasting-Mimicking Diet, Soup Recipes
While I put together this diet plan, I didn’t feel like a soup, and my mom was not a fan either, but I realize now for some of us soups can be a great addition to this plan. Plant-based soups are low in calories, nutritious, easy to make, and can replace any of the meals above.
I make plant-based soups often, and usually, these are the steps I follow:
- I sauté a base of aromatics made of finely chopped: onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips, celery, celery root, and fennel bulb. Cook in a small quantity of extra virgin olive oil until soft and fragrant, but don’t brown them. Eventually, add a few tablespoons of water.
- If you are doing well with red pepper, peel and deseed one red bell pepper, finely chop or slice and add to the base. I love the taste red peppers give to a soup.
- Add fresh thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and one or two bay leaves.
- Add some already cooked beans such as black beans, white beans, or chickpeas, and top with hot water, to obtain the desired consistency.
- Bring to a boil and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes add some chopped greens, whatever you have (spinach, green salad, kale, etc).
- Simmer for another five minutes.
- Add fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro.
- Taste and finish seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.
Here are a few more soup recipes for the fasting-mimicking diet DIY:
- Creamy Nettle and Cauliflower Soup (You can replace nettles with spinach or kale)
- Cream of Celeriac, Parsnip and Cauliflower
- Low Histamine Cabbage Soup (Skip the chicken)
- Easy, Warming Soup with Cauliflower and Mustard Greens
- Italian Style Mustard Green and Sweet Potato Soup (Skip the prosciutto)
- Healing Vegetable Soup with Kale and Broccoli Sprouts
- Healthy Asparagus Soup (Vegan, Low-Lectin, Low-Histamine)
If you don’t feel like making a soup, but still want something warming and soothing next to the above meals, I recommend GundryMD Lectin-Free Vegetable Broth. One 8oz cup has 30 calories.
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Snack for the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan: mini brownie
Day 4 was when I felt like baking something for a change in routine, texture, and flavors. I made these mini brownies, 50 calories each.
For the dry ingredients, I used: 31g of flax meal, 21g of hemp seeds, 10g of cacao powder, 20g of plantain flour, 10g of psyllium husk, 60g of tigernut flour, 30g of chopped walnuts, a pinch of salt. Mixed them all in a bowl.
In a blender, I mixed: 60g sweet potato, 20ml coconut milk, 20ml water (add more if necessary).
Mix the dry and wet ingredients until you get a nice, sticky ball of dough. Roll in between two parchment papers about 1/4 inch thick or slightly less and cut in equal parts.
Bake at 140C (285F) for about 25 minutes. You will get about 16 pieces. Each piece will be about 50 calories.
They are not sweet but feel free to add some inulin powder if you want some sweetness.
Kale crackers can be a great snack if you feel like crunching on something.
Most days, we had two Brazil nuts for their content of selenium. They have 33 calories each.
Sometimes, when we had more room to play with, we had a few fresh walnuts (we have walnuts trees all around here). I did have a few pistachios one day and a couple of freshly boiled chestnuts.
Drinks and supplements for the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
As you can imagine, optimal hydration is essential every day, but even more, during a cleanse like the FMD. Make sure to drink at least 2 liters of filtered or mineral water every day.
Optimal Electrolyte from SeekingHealth
Adding electrolytes to water is also very important so the water goes to the cells, where it needs to go. Adding electrolytes to water may support healthy hydration and fluid balance, mitochondrial health, and healthy energy levels, among others.
H2 Restore from Gundry MD
You could also add hydrogen water to your diet. While more research is needed, small studies show that hydrogen water may reduce oxidative stress, boost performance and improve blood markers in those with metabolic syndrome.
You can buy H2 Restore from Gundry MD here and save up to $120.00.
We kept coffee in our cleanse, but this can also be an occasion to take a break from caffeine if you want to. Matcha or green tea is ok, but herbal teas are a great option if you’re going to give up caffeine for five days entirely. I love tulsi tea, lemon balm tea, and ginger tea made with fresh ginger.
Regarding supplements, you can continue with the usual ones you take, or ask your doctor for recommendations.
Conclusions on doing the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan
The biggest challenge for me was calorie counting, which I didn’t like at all. The food in this 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan is the type I eat regularly. The most significant difference is that I use much more fat in my everyday eating.
Lost a bit of weight
I did lose weight (about 1.5kg), but that’s normal when restricting calories so much. However, my mom lost 3.6kg, and I think she lost so much more because this was a significant diet change for her.
I don’t think the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet is for weight loss, as usually, the weight adds back to the regular calorie intake. However, the FMD diet is considered the fastest way to lose body fat, especially belly fat, and protect lean body mass.
Felt more focused and energized
Unfortunately, we can’t accurately measure the other benefits, but we certainly felt more focused and energized. We didn’t feel hungry at all, but I felt a need to load on carbs at the end of the five days.
My mom had all the signs of ketosis. However, she didn’t experience the keto flu, which was pretty cool. She was just very thirsty and had a headache one day. She was astonished (and me too!) that she didn’t feel hungry and had no cravings or sugar withdrawals.
My mom felt full of energy and worked full-time, as usual. She didn’t have any other pains other than the headache. When I asked her what she thinks it went so well, she said, jokingly, that she has a strong mind. I have to agree. Nothing stands in her way when she makes up her mind about something.
Let us know about your experience with the 5-day fasting-mimicking diet meal plan ‘Do It Yourself’
Don’t forget that we are all different. It is always better to consult with a professional before making any diet changes, especially if you are under any medication.
If you do the cleanse, let us know about your experience in the comments. It’s fascinating how different we all are and respond differently to the same thing.
And if you like this fast-mimicking diet meal plan, you should also check out:
- 3-Day Gut Cleanse. An Easy Plant Paradox Meal Plan
- Low-Lectin Kitchari Recipe for a 3-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse
*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.
NancyOctober 18, 2020 at 11:54 pm
Hi! You sure went to a lot of work to compose this blog post! Thanks for that. I’m not sure if you meant to, but your menu seems to be covered by your lovely photos. Is it just me?
ClaudiaOctober 19, 2020 at 4:09 am
Hi Nancy! Those are the names of meals as a photo caption. I guess you are on a mobile. I noticed the photo caption looks too big for the picture, but I wouldn’t want to remove that. As per the meal plan, it is as you see it in the blog post (no table because tables didn’t look good in this format). Thank you for your kind words, it was a lot of work 🙂 xx
calvin sturdevantDecember 10, 2022 at 9:26 pm
I would like to know what I can eat on this plan to replace the green leafy vegetables. I am on warfarin and was instructed by my cardiologist that I need to avoid all green leafy vegetables because the vitamin k interferes with the medicine. I was also diagnosed with celiac, gerd, acid-reflux, poor blood circulation and pre-diabetes.
ClaudiaDecember 11, 2022 at 10:07 am
Hi Calvin, considering your health problem, I would not do this type of fasting (unless your doctor recommends it and monitors you). I would instead go with the Plant Paradox 3-Day Cleanse – you will find it on the website with the search option. And then follow the plant paradox program until you see some improvements (reading The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry will help tremendously). As per the leafy greens, add more of the allowed vegetables in like cruciferous, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and nonstarchy vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms etc. I hope this helps! Best wishes, Claudia
ClaudiaDecember 11, 2022 at 10:10 am
Also, I forgot to mention that uncooked vegetables can be tough on your digestion; that’s why I’d instead go with something where you also consume some animal protein, like the 3-day cleanse (adapt it to suit your needs and your doctor’s recommendations).
DebbsSeattleMarch 14, 2023 at 2:04 pm
If your warfarin is temporary, Google which to avoid. Mr. Just came off his 90 day post op warfarin protocol. We just limited his veg intake to cucumber, tomato, iceberg, cauliflower, carrots, celery. His spinach was served 20 leaves per portion, broccoli at 2 spears, avocado at a slice as garnish. If you are a permanent warfarin patient, ask your physician to share their recommendations for weekly consumption. For the rest of your ailments, I recommend doing some Google research on “repairing gut health” or “restoring the gut micro biome”. Steven Gundry, Pradheep Jamnadas, Ben Bickman, Eric Berg…all Dr.s with YouTube content…provide plenty of rabbit holes to jump down. In the meantime, the easiest steps are #1: cut out, as in eliminate sugar. Literally, remove it from your home, place it in the trash. Do not replace it with any other sweetener, except honey and only by the 1/2 teaspoon full here and there. #2: move to a whole food diet, eliminate anything from a box or a can, or a barcode with more than one ingredient. Within 90 days you can literally reverse all your symptoms of ill health like we did.
MelindaFebruary 1, 2023 at 9:23 am
Why does Day 1 only have around 600 calories?
ClaudiaFebruary 1, 2023 at 9:51 am
Hi Melinda, good question. The first meal had only non-starchy vegetables, but it was so filling and a pretty big portion that it was all we needed. I also left some room for a few nuts or a few olives to snack on.
MariaNovember 12, 2020 at 10:40 pm
Thank you so much for your wonderful article! Really appreciate the details you spelled out! I started today. But I made a soup of daikon radish, broccoli and kale, soup base was my faux chicken broth, main ingredient nutritional yeast for meal one.
I would like to make the brownie treat but don’t have plantain flour, nor easy fast access to it. So what could I use to substitute for it? Would cassava flour work at the 20g? or would almond flour be better? I also have coconut flour, sorghum and millet flour handy.
Thank you for all your hard work! <3 Looking forward to your answer
ClaudiaNovember 13, 2020 at 2:18 am
Hi Maria, thank you so much for your kind words. I would use almond flour, or half almond half cassava. You soup sounds delicious xx
GilbertJuly 31, 2021 at 3:34 am
How did we get the measurements per ingredient?
ClaudiaAugust 3, 2021 at 3:33 am
Hi Gilbert, I’m not sure I understand this comment / your question. Maybe you can expand if you see this reply?
KellyJanuary 17, 2023 at 1:56 am
I think Gilbert is requesting the measurements for each ingredient in the meal recipes. For example how much onion, leaks, cauliflower.
ClaudiaJanuary 17, 2023 at 4:00 am
Hi Kelly. I have the quantities for the elements that matter – those high in calories (beans, sweet potato, nuts, fats). For the nonstarchy vegetables doesn’t really matter. We can have 4 or 6 florets of broccoli; it’s not going to make a lot of difference. Also, the visuals of my meals are important as a guide.
MariaNovember 13, 2020 at 3:20 pm
Thanks so much Claudia! xoxo
MariaNovember 17, 2020 at 10:57 pm
I finished the 5 day cleanse and extended it an extra day. Not having a pressure cooker, I used the eden mills chickpeas and black beans. But they were too much for me. Although not my goal I did lose 6.5 lbs! My goal was to cleanse from over indulgence in goat cheese and PP compliant vegan, treats. ugh, felt really bloated.
Elimination was not good the first 3 days of the cleanse. So the last couple of days did not have any beans at all. Got my protein from hemp and basil seeds. Made hummus from leftover mashed cauliflower – was delicious! Still feel a little bloated and gassy, but lighter too. Thanks for your inspiration!
ClaudiaNovember 18, 2020 at 1:57 am
Hi Maria, thank you for your feedback, happy it worked for you. Well done on extending for one extra day and on your weight loss. let us know if you do it again and if you apply any modofications. Maybe less beans would be better for you xx. C
DeborahDecember 27, 2020 at 1:30 pm
Hi, Claudia–Thanks for this blog. It was so helpful to me because I liked the foods and simplicity of your cooking methods. I tried Dr. Gundry’s 5 day cleanse and was very happy but a little bored with the sameness of meals everyday. Your 5 day Cleanse has a bit more variety and choice on veggies, etc. Your post and Living Well cookbook adds to the Plant Paradox and now Longevity Paradox lifestyle I have chosen for the rest of my life. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and wisdom–lectin free!
ClaudiaDecember 27, 2020 at 2:08 pm
My pleasure Deborah, so happy to hear that it helps with your own health journey. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment <3
MiraJanuary 8, 2021 at 11:10 am
Hi. What a excellent web site. Thank you so much for putting everything together. And the recipes looking yummy. All the best to you and your family. Hugs from Canada
ClaudiaJanuary 8, 2021 at 11:13 am
Thank you so much Mira. Hugs from Romania <3
leslieJune 24, 2021 at 9:31 am
Do you have to fast or can you wake up & eat ss long as it’s within your limited calories?
ClaudiaJune 28, 2021 at 2:55 am
Hi Leslie, no you don’t have to skip breakfast if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle. <3
LaurenAugust 9, 2021 at 11:07 pm
So glad to have found your blog! Looking forward to doing another 5 day fast mimicking diet and yours is by far my favorite plan I’ve seen! Thank you so much for all the effort. Beautiful content 🙂
ClaudiaAugust 10, 2021 at 1:24 am
Thank you so much Lauren, so happy you found it useful. Happy fasting <3
RoraMarch 9, 2022 at 11:22 pm
Hello. Your meals look so delicious! But I noticed in the recipe you didn’t have amounts for the ingredients?
Sankdy SOctober 15, 2021 at 2:43 pm
Hi Claudia. I just discovered your blog and am very excited to have another source of support and inspiration in trying to adopt the Longevity Plan. Fortunately, weight loss is not an issue for me. I’m just wanting to get the most healthy eating plan under my belt. I had no problem with the 5-day fast,, but ongoing I am really sick of cruciferous veg and not being a natural-born cook, I am always looking for ideas. You have expanded my horizons! I do have one question concerning getting rid of the lectins: I read recently that it is just as effective to soak the beans overnight and then boil them for at least an hour, as it is to pressure cook them. That person claims that the soaking and boiling will release the lectins and that pressure cooking isn’t that necessary. Is this true? I’d rather not have to go out and buy a pressure cooker! Thanks so much for what you are doing!!
ClaudiaOctober 16, 2021 at 10:14 am
Hi Sandy, glad you found my blog and you find it helpful. Soaking is important, but I don’t think any boiling can match the effect of pressure cooking. Any type of processing will reduce lectins, but pressure cooking is the most effective, at least with beans. A pressure cooker will be your best friend, on so many occasions. Plus, it’s fast. You soak and pressure cook a bigger quantity in advance and then freeze, so you will always have cooked beans on hand to add to your meals. Plus, it works with rice, white potatoes, and meat too. That’s my take anyway, I hope it’s helpful. xx
KrisNovember 13, 2021 at 11:19 am
Hello, I just read over your five day plan. I too follow Dr Gundry and the plant paradox most of the time. I use his protien shake along with his olive oil and mix with unsweetened coconut milk. This adds up to 320 calories. Could this and dr Gundrys chili be used on this cleanse? I also follow time restricted eating as well. I look forward to your response
ClaudiaNovember 13, 2021 at 11:29 am
Hi Kris, maybe this can work if you replace one meal with this mix and follow all the rules. I’m not sure what chili you are talking about though. This is a vegan cleanse, so surely the chili with meat is not allowed.
PeterJuly 25, 2022 at 4:20 am
Hi, thanks for your breakdown of the diet, it’s interesting. I would say the one thing missing is the ratio of fats, proteins and carbs allowed. I found finding enough foods with high fat difficult, I tend to eat a lot of nuts, avocado and olives.
ClaudiaJuly 25, 2022 at 4:59 am
Hi Peter, thank you so much for getting in touch. This is supposed to be a low-low protein, low-calorie fast. And since it’s vegan, the main foods should be low calories vegetables. Even if healthy, fats are to be limited since they are so rich in calories. Same with resistant starches. Legumes provide just enough protein, but they are limited because they are also rich in calories. I think if you follow the rules of this fast and limit the legumes and fats to the recommended amount, then the macros ratios are taking care of themselves, without you having to count too much. But all in all, this is a low-protein, low-fat, moderate-carbs (since we eat only vegetables which are carbs), low-calorie fast. I hope this helps.
Marco GarciJanuary 25, 2023 at 5:03 pm
Dr. Longo’s FMD (as produced by Prolon) is specific in how much protein and carbs are allowed. It can’t just be “low”. Longo says that it must be within a tight range or else the dieter won’t get the full benefits of the fast. This is why most of the calories in his meal plans come from fat, with a specific amount come from protein and another specific amount coming from carbs. Keeping to the calories themselves won’t do it, according to Longo.
ClaudiaJanuary 26, 2023 at 2:45 am
Hi Marco, while I agree that the best way to do the fasting-mimicking diet is to buy the Prolon kit, many people cannot afford that. Some people have a budget of $200 for the whole month to buy food (and that’s the cost for just one person). I did follow the guidelines given by Dr. Steven Gundry in The Longevity Paradox for making a DIY fasting-mimicking diet, which he recommends his patients do every month or at least a few times a year. He is a friend of Dr. Longo, and a peer, and I’ve listened to all their podcasts and interviews together. I think this DIY version is a safe one for people to try, following the recommendations and guidelines in the post. As always, for anyone with a health condition, talking to their doctor and being supervised is essential.
CarlAugust 29, 2022 at 4:29 am
I’m glad I found this – I’ve been looking for a plan exactly like this. Lovely 🙂
Question: I do 6-10 hours of (hard) workout every week. This means that I burn quite a lot of calories. The daily training alone will burn more than the 900 calories limit in the diet. Should i I reduce training load during the 5 day fast?
ClaudiaAugust 29, 2022 at 12:15 pm
Hi Carl, good question! You should not do anything crazy during these five days. Limit your workouts to walks or anything that is light for you, that will not put further stress on your body. That level of activity would be too much. I hope this helps. If you have doubts check with your coach/doctor or anyone who knows you well and can supervise you.
SamSeptember 4, 2022 at 10:27 am
Hi Claudia, this post is very helpful. Re the brownie, I am wondering if I can replace “31g of flax meal and 21g of hemp seeds” with sesami seeds.,
ClaudiaSeptember 4, 2022 at 11:16 am
Hi Sam, You can replace the hemp seeds, but I think you need the flaxseeds as they hold the thing together. Maybe replace the flax with psyllium husk?
SamSeptember 4, 2022 at 5:55 pm
Claudia, thank you very much for your quick reply! OK, I will use psyllium husk. My family member has a problem with both help seeds and flax seeds 🙁 . We love your cookbook, too.
ClaudiaSeptember 5, 2022 at 3:06 am
My pleasure Sam; I hope it works. xx
CatherineSeptember 24, 2022 at 7:25 pm
I’m so happy to have found you again!
And I’m so excited to try your homemade FMD plan next week.. Love the beauty of your pics (in the same Ikea bowls that we have!)
And I appreciate your clear directions and measurements too. Especially since I usually just wing it.. We have followed Dr G happily for about 3 years. So this is a good monthly addition for us.
Thank you thank you thank you.
ClaudiaSeptember 25, 2022 at 8:59 am
Hi Catherine, thank you for the kind words, and I’m happy you find your way to my website again. Yes, those bowls are pretty and perfect for portion control. With gratitude, Claudia
KevinNovember 3, 2022 at 7:46 am
Thank you for putting this meal plan together. My wife and I have been using it for the past 2 weeks and have been able to lose a good amount of weight and also feel a lot better. We are going to try and follow this for a month during the weekdays to get ready for the holidays. Keep up the good work 🙂
ClaudiaNovember 3, 2022 at 8:27 am
Hi Kevin, so happy it helped, and you both feel great. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. All the best to you and your wife. Claudia
LeraDecember 26, 2022 at 5:21 pm
Hi all! I want to make DIY 5-day program and I have a question. Maybe someone can help me or I’m worrying for nothing.
According to the book, 500 kcal should come from complex carbohydrates and 500 kcal from healthy fats (oils, nuts), 25 grams of protein (mostly from nuts)…
500 calories from nuts and oil is, for example, 60 grams of almonds + 15 grams of olive oil – and this is already 11.2 grams of protein.
500 calories from vegetables and complex carbohydrates is, for example:
400 gr. of broccoli (11.3 grams of protein)+
400 gr. tomato (2.4 grams protein)+
400 gr lettuce (6 grams protein)+
400 gr pumpkin (4 grams protein)+
200 gr mushrooms (8.6 grams protein)+
400 gr cucumber (3.2 grams protein)+
200 gr of arugula (6 grams of protein)
The total is: 40.6 grams of protein from vegetables alone + another 11.2 grams from nuts = 51.2 grams of protein.
Some sources indicate that you can eat some brown rice, chickpeas, avocados or beans, but if you add them instead of vegetables, then you will have even more protein.
Even if you leave only tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce in carbohydrates, then for 500 kcal, 44.8 grams of protein will still come out, this is not even considering that you will have to eat 3.6 kilograms of vegetables)))).
What do you think? What am I doing wrong?)
ClaudiaDecember 27, 2022 at 3:15 am
Hi Lera, your breakdown is pretty impressive, but I would not worry that much. I followed more of the longevity approach from The Longevity Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry, who is a fan of fasting-mimicking but simplified all this. Follow the overall rules by keeping it low-calorie, low-protein, whole foods, and nutrient-dense. I hope this helps xx