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an assortment of fresh, healthy foods suitable for inclusion in a rotation diet

Using a Rotation Diet

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   07/17/21


Our modern diets contain foods our bodies react badly to. We eat on the go and have an abundance of convenience and processed foods at our fingertips.

Using a rotation diet is a great way to find out which foods you are intolerant to. It can also be a great way to lose some excess pounds.

an assortment of fresh, healthy foods suitable for inclusion in a rotation diet

Using a Rotation Diet

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   07/17/21


Our modern diets contain foods our bodies react badly to. We eat on the go and have an abundance of convenience and processed foods at our fingertips.

Using a rotation diet is a great way to find out which foods you are intolerant to. It can also be a great way to lose some excess pounds.

One in ten Americans has a food intolerance. Allergies and intolerances can be irritating and uncomfortable at best and life-altering at their worst.

What Is the Rotation Diet?

The rotation diet is the diet plan created by Martin Katahn, who coined the phrase in his book. The main focus is to vary the calories you consume each day.

For example, for a woman on the rotation diet, for the first three days, you eat 600 calories. Then you move up to 900 calories for the next four days. For the second week, you increase your calorie intake to 1,200 per day.

Men should follow the same pattern but with 600 calories more for each of the phases.

After you have finished the two-week cycle, you start over and do it again.

The diet also involves eating different foods on different days. This is especially important if you are trying to investigate which foods you may be intolerant to.

For this to work, you need to eat different foods for four days. Say you eat avocado on Monday; you shouldn't eat it again for four days.

Why Do the Rotation Diet?

The idea of switching up your calorie intake has been around for a long time. Our bodies are primed to store fat in case of food shortage. When we restrict our calories long term, we may lose weight at first but then find it more challenging to keep the pounds off.

If you increase your calorie intake again after a few days, your body won't go into starvation mode. Switching up the number of calories you consume on any given day can help to boost your metabolism.

The other benefit of the rotation diet over different types of diets is the variation in the foods you eat. You switch up the variety of foods you eat every day, which is more nutritionally beneficial.

Another benefit of changing the type of food you eat every day is giving your gut a break. Your gut has the chance to rest from foods you may consume every day that causes inflammation.

You can also use the rotation diet as a means to establish the foods you are intolerant to.

The diet is a great way to establish long-term healthy eating habits as you get into the routine of eating simple, whole, unprocessed foods.

How to Do the Rotation Diet

The rotation diet should be focused on nutritionally rich, whole foods such as vegetables and fruits.

Your meals should be simple with an abundance of vegetables, a protein source, and healthy fat:


If you want to succeed with a rotation diet, it's all about planning. Plan your week of meals so you know which foods you'll eat on which day. This will make it easier to follow and switch up the foods you eat each day.

Stock your fridge and freezer with easy-to-use foods that won't take much prep. You can even prepare your meals in advance on a Sunday night to make it as easy as possible for you to follow the diet.

Track and Record

To find out which foods may irritate your digestion, you should track what you eat every day.

Monitor how you feel after each meal and see if you can find patterns when eating certain foods. This practice will also help you establish which foods you may be intolerant to.

Tracking will help you make sure you are staying within the recommended calorie intake.

Remember, you don't have to be perfect; there will be days when you slip up but don't focus on them! Move on and know you will do better the next day.

Rotation Diet Recipes

Keep your meals as simple as possible. Healthy eating doesn't need to be complicated. You can eat whole foods that take little preparation to feel full and nourished.

Here is an example of a meal plan for a day on the rotation diet:


Oatmeal with apple and cinnamon. Prepare it with water or the milk of your choice.


Broccoli salad with beans and turkey breast.

Try to remember to steam your veggies and not fry them for maximum nutritional value and the lowest calories.


Keep snacking simple too. Eat whole fruits or a handful of nuts.


Salmon and grilled veggies. Use salt, pepper, and lemon juice to season your meals; simple flavors make your meals delicious.

When you go into the 1,200 calories (women), 1,800 calories (men) phase, you can up your portions and perhaps add some whole grain carbs such as brown rice or oat crackers.

Check out these recipes for more healthy meal inspiration.

Once you have tracked your diet for a month, you should know the foods that don't agree with you. If there's a clear pattern, you can cut out the foods that don't make you feel good. 

Try The Rotation Diet

The rotation diet is not only great for rapid weight loss but can make you feel better, improve your energy levels and sleep quality.

Whether you use the diet to lose weight or discover which foods you are intolerant to, it is a great way to increase your nourishment.

The best thing about the diet is that it encourages you to maintain long-term healthy habits.

learn more about making long-term, impactful healthy lifestyle choices with our online education course.

headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

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    comment posted by icon Guest  comment posted timestamp icon 05/02/24 04:59 PM CDT  ban post icon 

    I did the rotation diet in my late 20s. On 600 calorie days I was sleepy by 10pm (working 3-11). The 900 & 1200 calorie days were a breeze after the 600s. Also-exercised daily. Swimming, floor exercise about 1 hour/day. Of course hospital nurses don't sit much so that helped. I lost 18lbs in 2 cycles. More healthy variety these days so I'd recommend. Since I'm 66, I will modify by 900, 1200, 1500 & see how it goes. Oh, no alcohol back then so detox your body. And move it move it.

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