So today is my last day of my 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD). WOO HOO!!!! I feel like I need a t shirt or something! It’s a 21 day plan from the book written by Diane Sanfilippo and is meant to help you cut out sugar as well as helping you to beat your sugar cravings. The plan is tough! It has three levels. I chose the first level which is the most lenient. Each level has a list of Yes, No, and Limit Foods. A couple of foods on the Yes list for level one were what helped me make it through. Black Beans and Rice (in limited amounts of course). I knew I could at least have a good old burrito bowl and could survive.
Week one I was a bit grouchy to say the least and obsessed with all the things I couldn’t have. After that it was better and I rolled along ok. It was great because one of my friends was also going through the program, just a few days ahead of me. We would message each other recipes and encourage each other to keep going. It’s hard enough trying to stick to a diet plan when you are a parent and the cook of the family. Luckily you can make the plan work without your family even knowing it sometimes. Swapping out a potato for a green veggie, making homemade chicken tenders breaded with almond flour, lettuce wraps or burrito bowls instead of big tortillas. Don’t get me wrong, my family still enjoyed their sugary carb filled treats like chips, ice cream, cereal, and juice, but I was able to introduce some swaps to them that were easy and tasted great. My 10-year-old was the food police, always checking if I was eating anything I shouldn’t. She freaked out when I tasted a strawberry that I had picked when we were at the orchard. I admit midway through my last week, I gave in and had a couple No list items since we had company staying with us. So if I’m being honest it was probably more of an 19 Day Sugar Detox for me. I’m still proud that I made it through even though I may have gone off the plan for a few items. I think it definitely helps to reprogram your taste buds and develop more of an appreciation for those sugar and carb filled items. Even the slightest things taste sweeter than they used to. Hooray for unsweet tea! I used to usually prefer a little sweetness but now I like ice tea unsweet. I still miss a little sweetness in my coffee, but I’ve come a long way from my heavily sugared and creamed up coffee.
This 21DSD plan was tough. Really tough. I don’t like being told I can’t have something. It just makes me want it more. As I struggled through the first week and wanted to quit every day, I was also seeing changes that kept me hanging in there. My skin looked clearer, more even and brighter. My taste buds were more aware and so much more appreciative of natural sweetness you can find in foods. Coconut milk is a great tool for fooling you into thinking you are having sugar. This plan has definitely made me more aware of how sugar is hidden in so many things you don’t even think of. Our minds and bodies have almost been brainwashed by it and unknowingly we keep the cycle going, craving those foods and thinking that we just can’t live without them.
What I learned from the detox . . .
This type of a no carb plan is a little too restricting for me. I missed fruit so much! A Granny Smith Apple (which I have never cared for, unless it’s drowning in warm caramel) or a green tipped banana just didn’t cut it in the fruit department for me. Forget the pasta- I just wanted a slice of pineapple for pete’s sake! By the end of the first week it was like I was waiving a white flag and surrendering saying “I learned my lesson. I don’t want the piece of chocolate cake. I just want a glass of orange juice. Just a slice of watermelon! Please!” I’m not disciplined enough to say I’ll ever completely give up a food I love, nor would I want to. Sometimes a big bowl of ice cream topped with hot fudge really does make it all better and makes me a happier more pleasant person to be around! But what I have learned is to be more diligent with treating those types of indulgences as special treats. Not daily, maybe not even weekly. For me it’s also about making choices that are smarter, while at the same time I don’t feel deprived. For instance, while on the 21DSD, I made one of our favorite queso dips (Spicy Sausage Queso Dip). All of the ingredients I used were 21DSD level 1 approved. Instead of having it with those yummy lime tortilla chips like I normally do, I had it with fresh red bell pepper slices, fresh broccoli, carrots, and grape tomatoes. It was still great and my Queso craving was satisfied. I will not miss the bun all that much when eating a big old burger! We ate out at restaurants a few times during this fix. I had a garden salad with no croutons which I don’t normally eat anyway and stuck to balsamic vinaigrette dressing. We ate at Texas Roadhouse and I had a garden salad (no croutons), italian dressing, sirloin, green beans and skipped the warm fresh-out of the oven-steaming-when-they-arrive-at-your table-rolls. Yes, I survived! Chipotle was easy since I could just get the burrito bowl. I limited having the rice and beans to days when I burned a lot of calories so I could allow the extra carbs. My girls are a lot like their mommy with their love of ice cream. They can tear through a Costco sized box of ice cream drumsticks in a week. No joke! So when they were enjoying their sugar filled treat and my mouth is dying for a taste, I made my own concoction to put that ice cream craving to rest with the Coconut Milk Chocolate Shake. No, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it helped me get through that day and keep trucking along without sugar.
What the heck did I eat . . .
I love eggs. Over Easy are my favorite. If only they loved me back. I eat them a few times a week to help with my protein intake, even though they give me stomach issues. So breakfast was my hardest meal during the detox. Normally before the detox, I would eat a quick protein bar on workout days, or maybe oatmeal. I made some pumpkin pancakes. They were edible, but the texture was a little different.
I made a coconut flour pancake which was better, but man how I missed the real deal pancakes that I was used to.
I ate sausage and some bacon, but the grease from those doesn’t always agree with me so I had to limit those.
I made some yummy eggs with salami and grape tomatoes that was a nice treat.
I also made some baked chocolate doughnuts that were sweetened with the green tipped banana and were actually not bad.
I ate a lot of salads. The Mae Salad was a great lunch meal. I just had to swap out the honey roasted almonds for regular sliced almonds and omit the dried cranberries. It was still great. The dressing and all the other ingredients are all 21DSD approved. I added in some power greens with spinach and kale instead of using only romaine like normal. I also increased the amount of chicken to pump up my protein.
I made my Taco Soup and had that for lunch and dinner a few times. I just had to omit the corn, but all the other ingredients were ok on the plan.
I ate a lot more meat, that’s for sure! Grilled out Pork chops, steaks, brats. Just added an allowed vegetable like green beans, broccoli, red pepper and I was happy.
I also made the cauliflower crust pizza that turned out to be a great meal during the plan.
As I said before, I knew I could have a burrito bowl on the level 1 plan so I could have those on days when I worked out. I even enjoyed some homemade guacamole, and just ate it with fresh veggies instead of chips.
One night I made hot wings and swapped out almond flour for all purpose flour and made my own ranch dip with sour cream, milk, and spices. They were pretty tasty.
Snacks were sometimes difficult. I ate a lot of almonds, cheese, a few green apples 😦 and lots of veggies. I was so excited when I read that sunflower seeds were allowed. I enjoyed the Coconut Milk Chocolate Shake and Coffee drinks made with unsweetened almond milk and a little coffee over ice.
Results . . .
After completing the first week of the 21DSD I dropped almost 5 lbs, but then a few pounds crept back up a little after that. Overall, I lost a little over two inches in my belly since starting the 21DSD which was my target area for this sugar detox. I definitely think those nutritionists must be on to something with lowering carbs to help get rid of fat. My clothes are fitting better and I feel less bloated in my belly. The scale can sometimes be your worst enemy when you are trying to lose weight. Going by how your clothes fit, if you are brave enough to take pictures for your eyes only so you can compare, or if you can take measurements and track them are ways that help you see your progress no matter how stubborn the stupid scale is! I was looking through my weight numbers from back when I first started on this “Ok, it’s time to get serious about your health” journey in Feb 2013. My body fat was around 31% and my muscle was 29.9%. Summer of 2013, I got down to my lowest post pregnancy weight but then it slowly started to creep up and I’ve been struggling to get it back down ever since. My workouts are a little lower in frequency than when I first started working out in 2013, however they have really increased in intensity and my weight training has improved so I know I may not see a big drop in pounds and that’s ok. The number on the scale doesn’t bother me, as long as I’m seeing improvement in my body fat and muscle percentages. My Taylor BodyFat Scale calculates it for me which is great. Sometimes I wish I could just cover up the weight number and just be able to only see the body fat, muscle, bone, and water percentages. The working out part is easy for me, it’s the eating right that I struggle with. I love food. I love to cook. I love to eat that yummy food that I cook! Sometimes even the best workout can’t overcome the damage I can do with eating. I was happy to see that my body fat is now 20.8% and my muscle is 40.2%. This change from where I started in 2013 is in no way all from the 21DSD, but from my dedication to my weekly workouts over the last few years and tracking my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal so I can see exactly what I am eating, where I need to improve and be inspired and accountable by my friends on there. This is definitely a learning process and a constant juggling act between moderation while not feeling deprived of the food I love, and not over indulging at the same time. I’m going to keep on going and pushing along! I made it through the Sugar Detox so that gives me hope for having more self-control over food in the long run. This has always been a weakness of mine so knowing that I have made it through this program along with surviving the torture of watching The Cheetah Girls movie with my girls as I write this so hopefully this will give you hope to tackle your own challenges head on. Did I mention before that I can’t stand most musicals?