Sugar is a sneaky little bitch.
It’s in everything! Bread, pasta, coffee creamer, peanut butter, salad dressings, bacon, frozen meats…seriously EVERYTHING! So unless you’re eating only whole foods you are probably consuming a lot more sugar than you think. Don’t believe me…next time you’re at the store just read a few nutrition labels and you’ll be shocked.
Anyway, let’s get to why I’m doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox aka 21DSD. I eat a pretty balanced diet but over the past few months I’ve been consuming more bread, flavored creamers, crackers, chips, chocolates, frozen foods and processed crap than usual. I’ve noticed changes in my sleep, my skin, my energy levels and have had the craziest drops in blood sugar that make me shaky and panicky if I don’t eat immediately.
Something needed to change!’
What is the 21DSD?
According to the creator of the 21DSD, Diane Sanfilippo, the 21 Day Sugar Detox is a real food-based program designed to reduce or eliminate your cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. The program focuses on quality proteins, healthy fats and good carbs with the goal not only being to change the foods you eat but also change your habits and palate.
In the 21DSD book Diane provides a wealth of knowledge about sugar and how it interacts in your body. Even if you have no intention of ever doing the 21DSD I highly recommend reading the book.
I’m not going to go to deep into the program here but if you have any additional questions feel free to visit the 21DSD website or shoot me an email Diana@LiveLeanEatGreen.com. There are 3 different levels for the program (1 being the introductory and 3 the most restrictive). I am personally doing level 1 because I have never detoxed from sugar. On the program you have a list of “Yes”, “No” and “Sometimes” foods with modifications available for those who exercise at high intensity.
- Yes foods: all meats and fish, veggies, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, whole milk dairy, lemon and lime
- No foods: starchy veggies, fruit, refined carbs like bread/ bagels/ tortillas, alcohol, juices, protein powers with sugar, condiments with sugar
- Sometimes foods (1 cup/ day): green apples, green tipped bananas, starchy veggies, grains and legumes like black beans/ chickpeas/ lentils/ brown rice/ quinoa, kombucha
Egg muffins, lemon caper chicken over zoodles, raw nuts I roasted with almond meal and cinnamon + Hope hummus helping me survive this detox
Why is sugar so bad for you anyway?
Besides sugar simply making people fat and basically being like crack consuming too much sugar can also lead to some very serious health conditions.
Diane breaks down the health issues excessive consumption of sugar can lead to into short term and long term conditions.
- Short term: mood swings, acne, rashes, unrestful sleep, fatigue, muscle fatigue, digestive issues, decreased immune function, other food addictions
- Long term: anemia, depression, anxiety, cystic acne, infertility, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, neuropathy, type 2 diabetes, alzheimers disease, obesity
My standard breakfast: 1/2 avocado, 2 eggs and 1/2 sweet potato mmmm!
Should you do a sugar detox?
There is a short quiz in the beginning of the book if you should do a sugar detox or not:
- Do you crave sugar all day, every day- or even a few times a week?
- Do you crave carbohydrates? (including pasta, pastries, oatmeal, sandwiches, wraps and breakfast bars)
- Do you include something sweet with every meal or snack?
- Do you experience spikes and dips in your energy levels throughout the day?
- Do you often feel tired upon waking in the morning?
- Do you drink alcoholic beverages daily or multiple times per week?
- Are you trying to burn body fat?
- Are you following a lot-fat whole-grain-rich diet that isn’t working?
- Does the way you eat leave you feeling unsatisfied, hungry, and grazing on snacks every 2-3 hours?
- Do you a clean-eating type of lifestyle (including, but not limited to, Paleo, primal, low-carb, vegetarian) but still experience carb or sugar cravings?
If you answered yes to at least one of these questions then you may want to consider trying the 21DSD.
My experience so far
I’m writing this post Sunday (1/8) morning so have been on the program as of Tuesday (1/3). I’d be lying if I didn’t say THIS PROGRAM IS HARD A HELL!
The first two days I seriously thought I was going to die. I was starving, shaky, had a terrible headache and really just think I wasn’t prepared with enough healthy snacks. I ended up caving on day 1 and had an Almond Coconut Perfect Bar but other than that I have stayed on the program.
On day 3 I woke up and just felt like shit. I workout a ton and was desperately reading the 21DSD book to find the modifications for those who exercise. The modifications allow you to add a piece of fruit per day and additional carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa..etc.
After making these changes I’ve felt GREAT! I have so much energy now and am craving sugar less and less. I’ts been a rough adjustment training my mind that it’s okay to not have a bun on a burger and that I don’t need chocolate after dinner but slowly my body is giving me signs that everything is going to be alright.
I’m pretty much sticking to the plan 100% but am making a few allowances for things like Hope hummus and Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise. Look, I’m not going to make these things from scratch when there are pretty darn good options out there. #Lazy
Below are the food journals that are recommended to complete during the 21DSD. Most of the recipes for the lemon chicken, tuna salad, salmon salad, stuffed peppers…etc are all from the cookbook included in the 21DSD book. Seriously, THANK GOD for the recipes so far they’ve been great and really take all the thinking out of the program.
Random thoughts from Week 1
- Planning is everything- it’s so important to plan out your breakfasts, meals, snacks to be sure you have enough food to get through the day and don’t fall into temptations
- HOLY SH*T sugar is in everything- It took me an extra hour at the store reading nutrition labels to prepare for this detox.
- Eating clean is pretty expensive- Never in my life did I think I’d be spending $10 on a jar of mayonnaise or $8 on a pack of bacon. BUT these are the only options at the store that don’t have sugar or other crap…really unfortunate.
- Find what works for you- Yes, I’ve bee sticking to the plan about 95% perfectly but with my level of exercise I really do need a little extra carbohydrates. I’ve been having *gasp* maybe a sweet potato and piece of fruit but I feel so much better with the extra carbs and figure it’s better than saying F it and quitting.
Have you ever done the 21 Day Sugar Detox?
Do you look for sugar in your foods?
Are you doing any specific plans for the new year? (Whole 30, Paleo, Bikini Body Guides…etc?)