Like most women, I wanted to lose a little weight after the holidays, but I was wary of fad diets that promised everything. So I tried substituting meals and eating my hair instead. Maybe you’re suspicious of its claims of being a great way to lose pounds fast for cheap. Hair follicles are rich in fiber, high in protein and low in sugar, plus they grow on you, so they’re free. I tried the diet for a few weeks, and the weight came right off.
Hair was the ideal meal for the busy, frugal gal like me. On hectic mornings I would pluck my hair out of my head, blend it up with some soy milk and frozen fruit, and drink it on the way to work. On the road? Just grab a mouthful as a snack. Trips to the grocery store were cut in half. I didn’t have to worry about my roommates eating my hair when they came home from the bars. Sometimes lonely strands of hair would fall out themselves, like manna from the sky. My brush was an all-you-can-eat buffet. I thought, finally, a diet that works for me. But like many crash diets, the hair diet soon started taking a toll on me.
Shortly after I began my hair diet, I noticed odd symptoms of stomach pain, constipation, and hair loss. Worst of all, I had no energy to get through the day.
I could not for the life of me figure out what was wrong.
I visited my doctor, who after running several expensive tests, suggested it might be my diet. He had me keep a food diary and write down everything I ate. Turns out I was eating 3-4 cups of hair follicles a day! My doctor explained that hair was not a part of any of the basic food group and that I should immediately stop eating it. He recommended other healthy alternatives, like food. At first, this was hard to hear. Eating food again meant I would gain all the weight I had lost, meaning I’d also lose my rich Wall Street boyfriend and afternoon hair pasta.
I worked with a registered Hair Diet nutritionist to cut back, rather than eliminate hair all together. Here’s what worked for me:
Breakfast: Cereal and Yogurt (No hair)
Mid Afternoon Snack: 4 apple slices wrapped with one strand of hair each
Lunch: Salad topped with grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette dressing (No hair)
Late Afternoon Snack: Handful of nuts (No hair)
Dinner: Steamed Salmon, ½ cup hair pasta
Dessert: Pudding sprinkled with short strands of hair
Yes, I miss hair smoothies, but making the simple switch from hair to food has been the best decision I ever made! Within one week I had more energy. Now, I wake up at 6AM, go for a run, go to work, come home, write my blog, record an episode of my podcast, meet with my French tutor, go to Zumba, and my family, friends and coworkers say I’m less cranky.
Even though I put back on the weight I lost (70+ pounds), I wouldn’t recommend starting this diet. I am, however, very curious how people are staying so fit without eating all that hair.