21 Pounds in 21 Days: Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox

By Mike Howard

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The title alone is enough to make even the most casual of skeptics cringe. It would appear the title is also enough to send people flocking in droves to their local bookstores (21 days debuted at #3 on the NY Times Bestseller list). Let’s take a look at what people will find beyond the very alluring cover…The contents of this book are every bit as outrageous as its title. According to the author, *”Dr.” Roni DeLuz – the cause of our ill health can be summed up in one word…toxins. Indeed, this glib obscurantist concept is the reason why we are so fat – not our poor food choices and overindulgences thereof (an afterthought) or our lack of intentional exercise (not even mentioned).

The first chunk of the book is replete with the same unscientific rhetoric and mysticism as other toxin-theorists before her – with the usual dose of alarmist hearsay for good measure. Amongst the items on the “evil” list: Deodorants, fluoridated water, artificial sweeteners and pesticides, to name a few. The book also extols the virtues of other scientifically questionable concepts such as food combining and eating for enzymes. Of course nowhere in the book will you find proof in the form of journal references to substantiate her claims.

The program itself consists of a 3-part detox program centered liquid meals (juices/soups) and supplements. And of course no detox diet would be complete without a colon cleanse (a colonic is recommended).

So let’s just pretend for a minute that losing 21 pounds in 21 days is reasonable/realistic/safe (I’m pretty sure it is none of the above). This is what you can look forward to less than a week into the cleanse, according to DeLuz;

  • Acne
  • Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny Nose
  • Ear Aches

Wow – sign me up! Of course these symptoms are due to the “toxins” being released from our bodies – not the near-starvation level of calories. But sadly, many people won’t bat an eyelash at these undesirable side-effects if they will lose the weight as promised. DeLuz claims on her website that “It is not a starvation diet; it allows you to drink tasty, nutritious cocktails all day.”

I don’t know about you, but these “cocktails” are sounding an awful lot like Kool-Aid!

*Roni DeLuz holds “degrees” from Clayton School of Natural Healing and the American Holistic College of Nutrition – both schools are unaccredited. Her nursing degree is legitimate.

45 Comments

  1. Mark

    Mike H, I’m a little concerned that you aren’t getting enough attention elswhere that you are posting such negative comments about something you have no idea about. You haven’t done the detox program, so why are you berrating those that have, and have found it useful? It’s really perplexing to me. I think you should take some time away from Diet-Blog and get your life together. You angry, angry little man.

  2. Mark

    What were you expecting? A delicious tasting powdered, vegetable drink. Also, if you’re worried that you may be losing muscle mass have you been exercising? Have you been working out? I guess I’m confused why you’re even still on this detox program if you’re worried about your health. If it’s such a pain, quit!

    As for the rest of you, at least know what you’re being skeptical about. The body rids itself of natural toxins, true, but not heavy metals or other pollutants. The program works for many people, if you aren’t willing to do it, or don’t want to put in the effort, okay, but don’t criticize something you’ve never done. People like you keep a combination of wholistic and western medicine from being available to us Americans.
    Aren’t you embarrassed to criticize what you don’t know?

  3. Mike H.

    Hi ablee,

    Here is my response to various aspects of your post;

    ablee said:
    “I’m curious what kind of support for the program you are looking for other than people who have tried it and been successful…..”

    Studies…of any kind, anywhere – give me something!! I would want to see a trial of sorts. Test this method vs. a control group. Measure markers of health such as inflammatory markers, blood lipids, body fat and oh yes “toxins”. Name the “toxins” that are supposedly being released from your body and perform before and after blood analysis to prove your claims. Anecdotal evidence means very little to me. How many people have tried it with success? What would you define as success? Wait a year, 3 years, 5 years and then tell me it’s great. How many have tried and given up even before the 3 weeks were up? How many people suffered through the long list of side-effects one can expect (according to the author).

    ablee said:
    “Have you actually read the book yet or just the title? The title is outrageous(but she’s trying to sell books and outrageous works) The book is quite good.”

    Yes I have.. I don’t produce book reviews without having read the book first. Yes the title IS outrageous and so is the contents. The author is spinning an angle on weight loss that is scintifically untenable and potentially damaging. As far as the book being “good”, that is a matter of perspective. I disagree.

    “I’ve read just about every diet/weight loss book on the market.”

    Have you tried those books you’ve read? Have you considered something less extreme? “What to Eat” by Marion Nestle is a very good read and outlines just about everything you would want to know about food. It’s not a diet book per se but a great read all the same. Have you considered a low glycemic load/Mediterranean diet or simply one with plenty of fruits and veggies, lean meats, good fats, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts?

    ablee said:
    “I’m not at all in favor of drugs to lose weight and this is a very natural approach to getting your body back on track.”

    I agree with the first bit and disagree with your contention that this is a “natural” approach. Eating no solid foods is not natural unless you are under 6 months old. Sticking 9 quarters in a machine and having someone “detail” your interior (colon cleansing) is not natural. Acne, Rashes, Nausea, Headaches, Sleeplessness, Fatigue, Constipation, Diarrhea, Runny Nose and Ear Aches are not “natural” sonsequences of healthy living and weight loss.

    ablee said:
    “I’m 41 and have 4 children, my body is tired, sluggish and not working up to it’s full potential, and yeah, I’d like to lose a little weight (about 40 pounds)—I really believe our bodies can heal themselves much of the time and a thorough cleaning seems like a good start.”

    In all sincerity congratulations! Raising 4 children is a major accomplishment. I have 2 of my own and I find that overwhelming! I too believe that our bodies can heal themselves in the right conditions, I just don’t think this is the way to do it. Physiologically, this detox will set people up for failure as it will force our bodies into a preservation mode, interfering with the proper functioning of our weight regulating hormones such as leptin. Psychologically, this detox will likely take a toll due to the extreme caloric restriction. People often report feeling “better” on cleanses, but this is fools gold as the initial serotonin trigger will eventually subside.

    In the end, ablee – I’m not trying to discourage people from persuing better health. There are numerous paths to optimal health – I just feel strongly that this is not one of them.

  4. Becca

    I forget how I heard about this, but I picked up the book not too long ago and just finished reading it. I figured I would read it and then decide how I felt about it. Well, I’ve decided to go ahead and try the detox. I just bought all of my supplements and such from GNC and planning on trying it out after I return from a business trip the first week in April.

    I started thinking about this a few months ago when I was sick for a good month straight. It started with a severe kidney infection where I was almost hospitalized. After recovering from that, I ended up with a UTI. After that, I had a pain in my upper back whenever I took a step. After that? Another infection! I am a young twenty-something professional that always prides myself as “the one who never gets sick.” All this not only worried, but angered me, as well. I was in and out of the doctor sometimes twice a week!

    Although these sicknesses have ceased, it bothered me that this was happening. So, when I heard about the detox, I decided to look into it.

    I call it a detox because I am going to do it for that reason: to detox. I am not doing it to go on a “diet.” Actually, I frown upon the fact that they even call it a diet. Although I am, by no means, the skinniest girl in the world, I am physically fit. Sure, losing a few pounds will be great, but I am, under no circumstances, planning to lose 21 pounds! If I did, there would be nothing left of me! I drink protein shakes regularly and plan on incorporating those into the detox, along with continuing to hit the gym (which I do at least 4 times a week). I plan on doing the detox for at least 2 weeks. I’ll see how I feel at that point and if it’s necessary to continue, and then I may or may not go on for the final week.

    I got excited after I bought everything from GNC yesterday. I’m trying something new and am excited for the results. And, if I hate it, then I just lost 2 weeks out of my life. No biggie.

    So, we’ll see what happens!

  5. ablee

    Thanks for your response Mike.
    I started the program Friday as planned. It’s only Monday but I feel great. I’m curious what kind of support for the program you are looking for other than people who have tried it and been successful…..
    Have you actually read the book yet or just the title? The title is outrageous(but she’s trying to sell books and outrageous works) The book is quite good. I’ve read just about every diet/weight loss book on the market. I’m not at all in favor of drugs to lose weight and this is a very natural approach to getting your body back on track. I’m 41 and have 4 children, my body is tired, sluggish and not working up to it’s full potential, and yeah, I’d like to lose a little weight (about 40 pounds)—I really believe our bodies can heal themselves much of the time and a thorough cleaning seems like a good start.
    What would you view as support for this detox method?

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