We decided to try the Sirtfood Diet. We lasted exactly one day, almost. Here's what it was like.

When Adele made headlines and practically broke the internet for revealing her new slimmed-down body after losing about 100 pounds on a "Sirtfood Diet" The Beet had to find out more. Sirt foods are mostly plant-based and high in antioxidants that help trick your body into burning fat at a higher rate.

It's called Sirtfood Diet, because it includes eating foods that are high in sirtuin activators, defined as seven proteins found in the body that regulate metabolism, inflammation, and the longevity of cells. Developed by two British Nutritionists, Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, the foods are supposed to activate your body's "skinny gene" to prompt your body to burn fat faster. They wrote the "official" guide: The Official Sirtfood Diet.  

Now the Sirtfood Diet is known as the Adele diet, but Pippa Middleton and others have used it too. After eight weeks of working from home and eating everything within an easy radius of our desks, we needed some strict tough love. We decided to try it. Could we live on less than 1,000 calories a day? Mostly from three green juices and a single meal? The good news is that Sirtfoods include red wine and chocolate, so we knew there would be hope if we got that far. We loaded up with our Sirtfood shopping list and hit the store, optimistic that this diet could help us cleanse, at least for one day of strictness. But it did so much more. Here's what happened.

D Day arrived, the day we started our Sirtfood Diet

Introducing the characters. Caitee, one of my oldest friends, was staying with me during quarantine so at least we could go into this adventure together. We promised to not let the other person cheat.

Greens are a major struggle for Caitee since she loves vegan grilled cheese and eats pasta on the regular, but won't eat a salad if her life depended on it. But I was happy to stock up on fresh veggies; I need to eat healthier in quarantine and I am excited to get creative with new, random ingredients.

It's easier to diet when you have your best friend to motivate you and of course to slap the baguette from your hand at your weakest moment. So we swore to keep each other straight on the Sirtfood diet for one full day in order to see if it was possible to sustain.

My hope was to simply do it as a one-day cleanse and to stop me from eating junk food even dor a day. The night before we carbo-loaded, eating pasta, cakes, cookies, and of course the famous banana bread. We made a hard stop of stuffing our faces at midnight. You could say that we were fueled up for the challenge.

The Sirtfood Adele diet is a lot harder to do when it's such a shock to your system. You wake up and drink a green juice and then another for lunch and a third later in the day, and you can have one meal but the whole thing has to come in at under 1,000 calories. That would be equivalent to a single meal the day before!

We woke up starving.  That's what happens when we stuff ourselves the night before

We went to the store to stock up on kale, arugula, parsley, soy, garlic, oil, buckwheat, green apple, garlic, chocolate, wine, and everything on the Sirtfood list. When you look at this list, the diet does not sound so bad, but the hardest part is drastically reducing calories when you're used to eating a heaping bowl of oats and fruit for breakfast, of over 300 calories.

Exactly What You Get to Eat on the Sirtfood Diet

On the first day of the diet, we are allowed to have three green juices made of Kale, Arugula, Parsley, Celery, Ginger, Green Apple, Matcha Green Tea. Plus snacks of dates and we decided to make dinner out of Buckwheat ride, capers and a touch of olive oil. The best part of course is that the diet allows you to have red wine and super dark chocolate.

Sirtfoods Include:

  • Kale
  • Red wine
  • Strawberries
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Soy
  • Parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
  • Matcha green tea
  • Buckwheat
  • Turmeric
  • Walnuts
  • Arugula (rocket)
  • Bird’s eye chili (peppers)
  • Lovage (herb)
  • Medjool dates
  • Red chicory
  • Blueberries
  • Capers
  • Coffee

Minor Crisis: We could not find one key ingredient.

Masks on, hand sanitizer at the ready, grocery list handy, Caitee and I shopped at the local IGA to stock up on Sirtfoods. We were curious to find out if we could score lovage at this small grocery because normally lovage is only sold at large chains.

First, we hit the produce section, where we found all of our vegetables except lovage. We asked the store clerk who looked at us like we were crazy; he's probably not wrong.

Next, we found matcha but the price was shockingly expensive, $17 per 1/2 cup. Right next to the beverage section was the dried fruit. We snatched a container of dates and made a joke that Caitee loves to go on dates, so these were perfect for her.

Then, we stood in the pasta aisle, silently crying as we skipped the penne for the buckwheat rice. Our only previous buckwheat experience was pancakes, but they are not on the Sirtfood diet. Instead, I decided on warm buckwheat with fried capers and with a drizzle of EVOO for dinner; we're not chefs here.

As we marched out of the grain aisle with a basket of greens and buckwheat, we spotted the 85% cacao dark chocolate...  the only kind allowed on the Sirtfood diet for its high anti-oxidant contents. On our walk to the register, Caitee tried to sneak the vegan cinnamon rugelach into our cart, but I knocked the package from her hand and said she can eat them tomorrow.

As we checked out, washed our hands, and headed for the car, we realized we forgot the wine! The next stop was the liquor store but they weren't open so we placed an online delivery and four bottles of wine showed up at the house an hour later.

The juicing catastrophe began, as we tried to make juice from an ancient juicer

We used the old heavy juicer I scored for a great deal at a yard sale but it worked like a charm to liquify all the greens, but every time we would add a new vegetable it splattered green all over ourselves and the kitchen. Vegetables were flying out of the juicer and made a huge mess.  We tasted the drink and agreed it tasted like the wet clippings from a lawnmower. We added more green apple to the mix and more matcha to make it sweeter and ended up deciding that a grassy taste is part of the deal.

Sirtfood Juice

Sirtfood Green Juice


  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Parsely
  • Celery
  • Ginger
  • Green Apple
  • Lemon
  • Matcha Green Tea

Afternoon comes and the Sirtfood diet begins to feel like a game to stay awake

By the early afternoon, I was snacking on a few dates for sugar and to try to keep my energy up.  I was writing this article and glanced over to see if Caitee was working and noticed she had fallen asleep on the couch. Meanwhile I was doing my best not to nod off at the keyboard.

We realized we were failing the diet, or it was failing us. It simply was not impossible to eat this little. We knew we had permission from the diet to make another juice but it was the thought of having another green juice that was making it so difficult to find joy.

Around 2:30 pm we forced ourselves to make and drink our second green juice of the day. Something unexpected happened: I got a second wind and burst of energy. and Caitee was still tired but went for a walk.

I also let her clean up the entire kitchen which involved scrubbing green juice off of every surface, cabinets, fridge, walls etc. Maybe we were both getting the hang of this since our energy came back.

I do have to admit she cleaned the entire juicer after the big mess was made so maybe she was tired from the cleanup process. The second juice of the day gave us hope that we could get through this without passing out.

By 4 p.m. Caitee felt a little dizzy and I needed some air and was losing focus so I went for a little stroll through the neighborhood to gather my thoughts and get my focus back. It helped to drink some water with lemon because I've heard people say when you're really hungry to drink water because your body might be craving water and food.

I got back to work with a jug of ice water with lemon next to my computer

Hydrating helped me come back to life. We really wanted some carbs--so I let myself have some blueberries to give me a jolt of energy. Of course what I really wanted was a nice big piece of bread. The dates were the closest thing to eating my usual carbs because they're thick and sweet, so we ended up eating all of those.

Toward the end of the day the wheels started to come off. We sipped the third green juice (we had made a big batch earlier) and started to pick at the chocolate. We had thought that eating the dark chocolate would have helped both of our moody outlooks. By this time we were snapping at each other and not particularly enjoying this whole exercise. But the chocolate was not enough to bring us back from the edge.

Finally, time for dinner and red wine -- and sleep

By the time it got dark and we felt that we could open the bottle of wine as a reward I was just ready to go to sleep. My stomach was empty and nerves frayed. But Caitee wanted to have the wine so I stayed up and with her.

Dinner time meant that we could actually eat the buckwheat rice and capers and oil but we were just tired we didn't feel hungry. As excited as we should have been to enjoy a meal with some substance, we just really wanted to go to sleep. The motivation for staying awake and eating dinner was the glass of wine that went with our meal. However, we knew that one sip of wine would make us fall asleep at the table.

Caitee cooked the buckwheat in a pot of boiling water and I roasted the capers on a pan with a touch of olive oil. We then combined the two ingredients, grabbed forks, and ate dinner in less than 15 minutes. I was not in the mood for a glass of wine so I had just one sip and Caitee poured herself a generous, well-deserved glass and drank it down.

As a result of doing a diet together, it was easier to stay on track, kind of like we used to try to do back in high school. But our true admiration goes out to anyone who does this diet and sticks with it for more than a day. Adele lost 100 pounds and reportedly used the Sirfood diet to help her do it. We couldn't stay on it for more than a day.

By the next morning we were back to our old eating habits. One thing we learned: If you need a little energy a green juice is the way to go. Maybe if you get into the groove it gets easier. The first day is the hardest, but for us it was also the last day.

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