The 28 Day Reset challenge, created by Cassey Ho, also known as Blogilates on Youtube, is a journey to a cleaner diet and a way to become more aware of how certain foods affect your body. For twenty-eight days, you will remove five things from your daily diet: dairy, gluten, added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. As this challenge is also designed to encourage a holistically healthy lifestyle, users are also encouraged to integrate working out six times a week and be conscious of their daily water intake. The goal is to see how the removal of these foods and the addition of these healthy habits affect your body and if they reveal any possible intolerance to certain food groups such as dairy or gluten. Once you complete the 28 days, you will begin to slowly reintroduce each food group back into your diet (some in moderation of course) and make note of how they affect you.
Her Campus writers and Hofstra students, Cecilia Gray and Sabrina Josephson accepted the challenge at the beginning of this fall semester. Together, we have decided to share our experiences, results, and advice with anyone else who is interested in embarking on this reset. This is Cecilia’s review of the reset, so make sure you also check out Sabrina’s article!
Self care has been a large goal of mine for this year. Oftentimes, I find it easy to put myself last, when it comes to prioritizing things like work, school and family. However, this pandemic has given me more time and opportunities to put myself first and cultivate the healthy habits that I’ve always known I should have, but never dedicated the time to building. After my birthday in June, I made it my goal for the next year to become my healthiest self, both physically and mentally.
I liked the challenge of the 28-Day Reset as it gave me a structured way to detox my body of all the junk that I had consumed during stressful nights working and lazy days watching Netflix. I was up for the challenge of having to consciously monitor what is going into my body, and the daily exercise and mindfulness came as a plus for cultivating those healthier habitats.
The Easiest Part
For me, the challenge seemed daunting at first. Seeing the list of all the things that I couldn’t have made it seem like the 28 days would be full of temptation; however, I found a variety of creative ways to have fun with food without using ingredients that were against the reset.
Dairy was probably the easiest thing to give up. While I missed cheese, I found most that dairy had never played a large part in my diet (if you count out ice cream). Dairy free substitutions such as almond milk, vegan cheese, and coconut oil (in place of butter) all proved to be very delicious alternatives.
In weeks prior to the reset, I had also been trying to stay away from gluten-heavy meals, so even giving up pasta and bread was rather easy as well. When I wanted a baked good, I was typically able to find recipes for gluten free muffins, banana bread, mug cakes, and pancakes that used coconut, almond, or oat flour instead of white flour. On the days that I felt like I needed a pasta fix, Trader Joe’s cauliflower and kale gnocchi really saved me, and pasta alternatives like black bean, brown rice, and chickpea pastas were also nearly identical to the real deal.
The Biggest Challenges
The most difficult adjustment for me was cutting condiments and marinades out of my day to day life. I remember learning in middle school health class that ketchup has roughly 20 more grams of sugar than an equally sized portion of ice cream. However, somehow I was still caught off guard by the fact that most sauces like ketchup, barbeque sauce, and even sriracha are loaded with added sugars. The first week, I was at a total loss for how I was going to add flavor to my meals for the next month. This definitely caused me to think outside of the box and focus more on spices and herbs rather than pre packaged flavors.
Going off of that point, this challenge made me more conscious of the ingredients in everything that I eat. With each trip to the grocery store, I had to carefully read each label to ensure that it did not have added sugar. While this did double the time that I would spend grocery shopping, it did open my eyes to how much sugar (and other additives) I had regularly consumed without even paying attention. Some brands I had just grown up eating, not even knowing that they were probably one of the worst options on the shelf.
While both of these challenges were originally frustrating, I soon learned how to adjust. Furthermore, I was able to become more mindful while I shopped and more creative in the kitchen.
My Overall Reaction
Overall, I really enjoyed the reset. There were few days where it felt like it was indeed a challenge, especially when my mom would leave freshly baked muffins on the stove or would offer me ice cream after a long day. But, having a set goal to look forward to allowed me to stand strong in my reset, and overall, it proved to be rather easy.
Since trying the reset, I have recommended it to multiple friends and family members. This challenge is definitely not a diet, so I wouldn’t expect to lose a substantial amount of weight as you complete it; however, it was a good way to challenge myself to develop healthier habits that I will carry with me well beyond these 28-days. I have certainly learned a lot about nutrition, become a much better cook, and I have been able to notice the ways that certain foods affect me. If you are thinking about the reset, I say go for it!
The most anticipated question is “what were your results?” Along with the overall results that I will share, it is important to me that you know that I adopted a multitude of healthy habits in concert with this “diet.”
Throughout the reset, I maintained my typical exercise schedule which includes a 30 minute run and a 30-50 minute workout each day, which, for the last half of the reset, happened to be the Chloe Ting 2020 Two Week Shred. I also aimed to drink roughly a gallon of water each day; however, that varied with my level of activity for that day. Lastly, it is important to note that during this time, I was working and taking classes from home, so unfortunately I was less active during this reset than I would be on days when I am walking to classes and giving tours on campus.
While on the reset, I strictly followed the challenge treating it like an experiment to see how my body changed. However, since my goal was not weight loss, I never restricted my portions or counted my calories.
At the end of the reset, I had lost 4lb, which may be largely on the part of the sheer intensity of the Chloe Ting shred. I definitely noticed a spike in my energy; as someone who is normally a night owl, I was able to shift into becoming a morning person who woke up at roughly 8am each day to workout. I also noticed that my skin became slightly more clear. I have always struggled with acne, and although, I continued to get pimples throughout the weeks of the reset, overall I could see a change in my breakout patterns. Lastly, I noticed myself feeling a lot less bloated, and as I started to reintroduce certain foods into my diet, I learned that it was a result of not consuming large amounts of gluten. Apparently my body is less of a fan of bread than my mind is.
Overall, the greatest result was the confidence that I gained while on the reset. This challenge put me into the mindset that I was being healthy, and this bolstered my confidence and allowed me to know that I was making progress towards my goals of better physical and mental health. Rather than rapid weight loss, I was mostly focused on developing a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, and this challenge gave me a foundation to do so.
If you are thinking about trying the 28-Day Reset, I want to stress the importance of meal prepping. As college students, our schedules are busy and we might find ourselves only having 20 minutes to eat a meal between classes. The best way that I was able to avoid the temptation of making pizza rolls or mindlessly snacking was by meal prepping.
Every Sunday, just because it was my off day, I would make a meal plan for the week, go grocery shopping, and spend the afternoon meal prepping. This may not be doable for everyone, but I found this entire process to be extremely therapeutic. I would plan out a single lunch dish and a single dinner dish to eat throughout the week, and as I cooked I would call a friend, listen to a podcast or audiobook, or blast Folklore.
My second piece of advice would be to make small changes in your diet before you fully commit to the reset. I had relatively eased myself off of dairy and gluten for my own reasons before I had even considered trying the reset. I had also been trying to limit obvious sugar intake from desserts and processed foods for weeks before I began. This way, the restrictions are less daunting.
The last thing that I want is for this reset to feel like a punishment. This advice will hopefully make the challenge more of a fun experiment than any type of restrictive diet. You should only embark on this journey to see if any foods are negatively affecting your body. There is no need to restrict yourself from the foods that you love, when it will make you unhappy.
My Top 3 Recipes
If you are going to try the reset, or even if you want some new meal inspiration, these three reset friendly recipes and have been obsessed with each ever since I tried them.
- I have found myself to be a member of food TikTok, and on my FYP, I discovered the creator faiths_fresh. Faith has countless fun and healthy recipes on TikTok, and even more on Instagram. These baked oats are absolutely delicious, and Faith has so many flavor variations for you to try.
This recipe is from 28-Day Reset creator herself, Cassey Ho. I love fried rice because you can easily load it with your daily vegetables, and it still tastes great. My favorite additions are frozen peas and corn.
*If you are curious about the coconut aminos, I will 100% vouch for them. It is a much less salty version of soy sauce, and it has become a staple in my pantry.
Another TikTok recipe that I have fallen in love with comes from creator justine_snacks. I have tried a variety of pancakes recipes, especially the ones where you essentially jmix a banana and egg, and none of those live up to the expectations of a fluffy pancake. However, Justine’s recipe seem to get the fluff just right and they taste identical to any other pancake. An added plus is that, since these are made from blueberries, the blue aesthetic will spruce up you plate and make any brunch 10x more enjoyable.
*I have substituted the maple syrup with both protein powder and liquid stevia with positive results!
5 Pantry Must Haves
Grocery shopping was by far my favorite part of this reset. Living in these corona times, I try to limit my public exposure, so as strange as it seems, grocery shopping became a weekly adventure for me. Each week, I would journey to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Target to buy all of my essentials for the week. Here are 5 products that I couldn’t have lived without:
I would, and still do, buy at least two bunches of bananas a week. Most of them, I would cut and freeze so that I would have it on hand for breakfast smoothies and nice cream. However, bananas also became a really great post workout snack.
Orgain Vegan Protein Powder is 100% reset friendly, and it tastes amazing! I was hesitant to try protein powder at first because it does come with a pretty price tag, but after trying it, I became obsessed. Protein powder is full of nutrients, and it serves to keep you fuller for long periods of time. I would put protein powder in my morning smoothies to add an extra vanilla flavor and fill me up until lunch. There are also a variety of recipes such as mug cakes, protein bites (that taste like cake pops), and pancakes that you can make with protein powders.
If you love cheese like I do, then giving up dairy might be one of the hardest challenges in this reset. I was skeptical about trying certain vegan products, but halfway through the reset, I just had to give it a try. Violife is a vegan brand that makes plant based dairy alternatives that taste legit. If the packaging hadn’t said vegan, you could have had me fooled by the cheese pull and creamy taste.
Trader Joes has a variety of staples, but if I have to pick just one, then the kale gnocchi is definitely the winner. This nutrient packed, frozen good is absolutely amazing for anytime you are missing pasta. There are plenty of reset friendly pasta options such as black bean pasta and brown rice pasta, but this surpassed both of those in my opinion. Best of all, I promise that you cannot taste the kale.
This has become a staple in every meal that I cook. Since most condiments and seasoning mixes contain sugar, I had to go back to the basics and make up my own flavor mixes. Garlic powder is an intense flavor that worked in nearly every meal that I made including scrambled eggs, pasta, and roasted vegetables.
I definitely learned a lot during these 28 days, and I hope my experience and advice helps you as you begin your 28-Day Reset. For more advice on the reset and suggestions of recipes, check out fellow Her Campus writer, Sabrina Josephson’s article. You can also visit the Blogilates website for a variety of recipes, workout plans, and advice columns.