Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard countless doctors, nutritionists, bloggers and the like talking about the dangers of consuming too much sugar. As a bonafide carb-lover and sugar junkie, I know I’ve got to really limit those things if I want to achieve my health goals and avoid type 2 diabetes.
But saying no to sugar is REALLY hard. Especially when you struggle with food addiction.
What is 21 Day Sugar Detox?
My counselor recommended a short-term program called the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) to help me cut the sugar and clean up my diet. Nutritionist and popular food blogger Diane Sanfilippo developed this program to help people “bust sugar and carb cravings naturally” by eating a clean, whole foods based diet for 21 days.
The program offers three levels (with varying degrees of difficulty) based on your personal goals and your current relationship with sugary, starchy foods. She even offers a quiz to help you determine which level is right for you. (Obviously, I’m at level 1 since I started breaking out in hives at the thought of giving up sugar.) For more details, check out the book or follow me on Pinterest for more ideas!
Here’s a recap of Week 1 on the 21DSD:
3 Days Prior to Starting: I knew that I would be completely and utter miserable if I didn’t ATTEMPT to wean myself off of sugar and bread a bit. I started cutting back a little each day, and (spoiler alert!) that must have helped because I never got the detox headache that so many people complain about during the first week.
Day before: I mapped out a meal plan for the week using my 21DSD guidebook and cookbook, plus the Hungry Girl Clean and Hungry cookbook. (I modified a few Clean and Hungry recipes to fit the 21DSD program.) We also grilled up some veggies and chicken to get us through the first part of the week.
Breakfast: Chocolate almond butter smoothie with full-fat Greek yogurt and unsweetened almond milk and a green-tipped banana. (This is the only kind of banana you can eat on level 1.) I will not lie. I missed my little drizzle of agave nectar.
Late Lunch: Nitrate-free hot dogs (no bun) with melted cheddar, fajita veggies, salsa/greek yogurt dip and raw veggies
Afternoon snack: Celery with almond butter
Dinner: Went out to dinner for an impromptu date night. Enjoyed a cup of gumbo (minus the rice) plus a bunless-burger topped with bacon, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, and blue cheese.
Confessions: I have to admit that I experienced major apprehension about giving up ALL sweeteners. I don’t care for black coffee, and I really REALLY like Coke Zero. I did feel a bit tired, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with leftover fajita veggies, avocado and salsa. Iced latte.
Morning snack: 24 pistachios
Lunch: (At a catered lunch meeting) Deli meat from a sub sandwich (I discarded the bread), plus raw veggies and salsa/Greek yogurt dip that I brought from home. 1/2 green-tipped banana with almond butter
Afternoon Snack: hard boiled egg and 1 oz cheese; ice coffee (black coffee + whole milk)
Late night snack: (working late) grilled chicken bites, grape tomatoes, snow peas and Clean Blue Cheese Dip.
Confessions: I seriously wanted a Coke Zero ALL DAY today. I did drink some sparkling water instead and the fizzy factor seemed to help. Still had lots of energy though, and I didn’t feel bad.
Breakfast: Breakfast bowl with leftover “Mexican-style” cauliflower rice topped with 2 over easy eggs, avocado and salsa. (The texture of the cauliflower rice reminded me so much of quinoa, which is something I use often in breakfast bowls.) Iced coffee.
Morning Snack: 1/2 green apple with almond butter and shredded coconut
Lunch: Buffalo chicken salad (grilled not fried); green tipped banana with almond butter and shredded coconut (I know, I went over my fruit limit.)
Afternoon Snack: P3 Protein pack with nuts, turkey, and cheese.
Dinner: Taco Bowl with brown rice and pulled pork
Late night snack: (working late) Raw veggies & Clean Blue Cheese Dip
Confessions: I felt so tired that I could have slept for days. Still no headache or body aches, but dear Lord, the fatigue set in and all I wanted to do was sleep.
Breakfast: Failed attempt at a coconut milk smoothie. Took 2 sips, gagged and concluded that I cannot bear the texture of full-fat coconut milk. It feels like I’m chugging Canola oil. Resorted to leftover chicken, veggies, Clean Blue Cheese Dip and iced coffee.
Lunch: Stuffed chicken breast with side salad (spinach, parmesan, red onion & pecans tossed with dijon vinaigrette)
Afternoon Snack: Turkey/cheese rollups
Dinner: 1/2 cup brown rice, chicken and veggie stirfry
Dessert: No sugar chocolate almond butter cups
Confessions: I really want to like these almond butter cups but let’s face it. My taste buds have been trained by Betty Crocker and these were SOOOO bitter. I added a drizzle of honey which basically defeated the whole purpose of a no-sugar dessert. I cannot imagine a world where these taste sweet.
Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites with havarti cheese & thin sliced roast beef. Iced coffee.
Lunch: (at the local science center with an over-tired toddler) The chicken pulled from a Subway sandwich, pickle and tomato slices. In a moment of weakness, I ordered a Coke zero to avoid stress eating a big Subway cookie.
Afternoon Snack: Roast beef/cheese rollups
Dinner: (Arrived home to find that the water main busted in our neighborhood & we had no water). Loaded up toddler and dog and headed to my mom’s house, where I made taco salads for dinner. (No shells/tortillas for me)
Confession: I haven’t been this tired in a LONG time.
Breakfast: Another egg white scramble with random stuff from the fridge. Iced coffee.
Morning Snack: Green apple with almond butter and shredded coconut
Lunch: I can’t even remember. I know I wrote it down somewhere, but…
Afternoon Snack: Roast beef/cheese rollups
Confessions: My rear end is seriously dragging. This must be what people were talking about when they say you feel like crap coming off sugar. Can I please take a nap? There is NOT enough cold-brew coffee in the world to help this kind of tired.
Breakfast: Omelette with chicken sausage and sliced avocado. Iced coffee.
Lunch: Around 4 p.m. I realized that I completely FORGOT to eat lunch. This has literally never happened before.
Dinner: Black and Bleu salad. (OMG. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE blue cheese????)
Confessions: No snacks on this day. I was super busy packing for a last-minute trip so I didn’t slow down long enough to think about food. I also didn’t feel so darn exhausted anymore. Thank God.
Week 1 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I cut out sugar, bread and sweeteners of every form and survived for an entire week. This, my friends, is a miracle JUST short of the resurrection. (Okay, not really, but you get the point.)
Stay tuned for a recap of Week 2 next week.
Have you ever done a sugar detox? Share your experience in the comments below!
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