in my last post, I casually mentioned how I had recently embarked on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I didn’t get into all the gory details because I was about 4 days in and quite frankly, not
100% at all confident about my ability to follow through. I am not known for having the most self control (see e.g., Lululemon shopping). I don’t think Super Dad or anyone who is even remotely familiar with me, including Super Girl, had any confidence in my ability to complete the detox. Perhaps this is why I was actually successful?
The whole premise behind the detox is that you need 21 days to “break the chains sugar and carbs have on you – and help you find food freedom.” To call my addiction to sugar and carbs “intense” would be an understatement. I had the diet of a toddler: carbs, carbs, and more carbs. The only difference between me and a 2 year old is that I ate more, I drank booze, and I chugged Diet Pepsi. Shudder. Times a million. I was convinced that my chronic pain and another inflammatory condition from which I suffer were exacerbated by my horrific diet. After talking with some friends and perusing the internets (and more importantly, getting – and ignoring for 3 months – a free 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook from a friend), I decided to dive in. Here is the gist of what you can’t eat on this detox: grain, sugar (including sugar from molasses, honey, coconut sugar, stevia, whatever), artificial sweetener, fruits other than coconut, lemons and limes (oh thank God, because I eat like 10 a day… said no one ever), green-tipped bananas, and apples. And, YOU CANNOT DRINK BOOZE. AT ALL. I repeat: NO BOOZE.
After mentally preparing for months, I set a date to start the detox. I bought a bunch of coconut aminos, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water, and basically everything else ever made from coconut, and started planning out my attack plan. I chose what I could make ahead of time for breakfast and snacks so I wouldn’t just grab a cereal bar or eat spoonfuls of honey-infused creamy all the sugar added peanut butter whenever I was starving. I set up our produce box so I would have all the ingredients to make meals that seemed simple enough, but tasty enough that I wouldn’t miss the Chinese Food I wouldn’t be eating. Yes, shudder again. That is what I used to eat. Frequently.
I made sure to remove all things from the house that I would normally want: ice cream, chocolate, Korean pastries, American pastries, French pastries, cookies, that other carton of ice cream. I planned out our dinners and what I would eat versus the kids. I would usually have some 21DSD approved version of their meals. So I would feed them veggie pasta and make spaghetti squash for myself. And then, they would end up eating all of my spaghetti squash. Why does this always happen?
The first day, I made sure to fill myself up with eggs and have a nice big coffee with coconut milk. The taste of actual coffee, not covered with vanilla syrup or a bunch of Splenda (cancer sprinkles) was horrifying. People actually drink coffee black? How is this possible? Oh well, at least I can have my caffeine so nobody gets murdered at work. I snacked on pistachios and cheese at work. Dinner was some delicious chicken and vegetables I prepared the previous evening. I felt GOOD and it had only been 12 hours.
The next couple days were smooth sailing. I felt less bloated, less belchy, less gassy, and didn’t get my typical afternoon sugar crashes. I lost 4 pounds in a couple days. Obviously water weight. I was less rage-y with the drivers on the road. I didn’t wave to anybody but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Around day 5, I noticed I was getting lightheaded and nauseous, and then I was like “oh duh, I have been working out hard every day, running in 100 degree heat, and eating maybe 50 grams of carbs a day. And I have no clue how much protein.” Instead of focusing on what I SHOULD eat, I was focusing on what I should not eat. I wasn’t timing my carbs right or eating enough protein. Plus, my body was going into ketosis, learning how to metabolize fat instead of carbs. I remedied that very quickly, and discovered my love of coconut water. Sooooo yummy, especially after an intense workout.
The weekend were particularly hard because I spend a lot of time at the pool with the kids, and the pool snackbar isn’t exactly known for having Paleo friendly or sugar free selections. I once went without packing anything other than animal crackers and Goldfish for the kids. So yeah, that worked out well. I also love a nice ice cold Diet Pepsi when I am at the pool. I know, I’m gross. The 4th of July was not super amazing either. Why did I choose to have Day 11 of the detox fall on 4th of July? I know, because I’m a moron. I snacked on veggies with homemade dressing, burgers without a bun, and organic Applegate Farms hot dogs. And more veggies. And oh, I drank a lot of La Croix and plain water. I used to despise La Croix because it felt like it was a juice poser. Such a tease, like “here is just a hint of Grapefruit/Lime/Raspberry. Do you like that? Well that’s all you’re getting!!!” Now, it is a way for me to get my bubbly fix. I will say that tolerating my children while sober on the 4th of July was exceptionally difficult, but it did help to ensure that no sparkler injuries occurred.
I won’t recap the other 10 days because they were uneventful. Eating the same things over and over got B-O-R-I-N-G but I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that my diet was super boring before. I ate the same terrible things over and over again. I had very little variety when it came to the fatty and carb-filled treats. I ate a lot of pizza and Chinese Food and Jimmy John’s. So why was I so bored eating the same healthy things repeatedly? With each day, avoiding junk became easier. Watching the kids eat ice cream was not that hard. Driving by Bojangles was easy. I don’t know if is because staying away from sugar and most carbs just made me stop wanting them, or because feeling SO DAMN GOOD helped me plug on, or some combination of these things. But I really was surprised when all of a sudden, it was day 21. Super Dad was obviously surprised too. The “WOW, I am really proud of you for finishing the detox” was code for “I was absolutely 15927% sure you would eat a biscuit on day 3, so bravo.”
I finished the detox last Sunday and on Monday, I was like “hmmm what should I eat today?” I was hesitant to see what would happen when I “broke the seal.” I started with my typical breakfast that I had prepared a few nights earlier. I packed a salad for lunch as usual. But then I had a hot pretzel at the mall and a Diet Pepsi. I about spit the drink out. It was so.freaking.sweet. Like, disgusting. The pretzel though- it was glorious. But I felt like a steaming pile of dung within an hour. I was bloated, and I felt so full and gross. The next day I ate well again for breakfast but had a sandwich for lunch. Felt terrible again all afternoon. And so on and so forth. I ate cupcakes this weekend, and Chinese Food, and pizza. And last night I decided that eating all that crap is simply not what I want. I gained back all 5 pounds I lost and then another for good measure (lol, I blame weaning Super Baby and going on some medication, yup, right that is it) and some of my pain returned. You are what you eat. I have said it many times before. It is a cliche but it is so true. I eat crap, I feel like crap.
It took 21 days on the 21 Day Sugar Detox for me to kick my sugar cravings. It took about an hour for me to realize that even though I like the way cupcakes and donuts and pizza make me feel for about 21 seconds, I hate the way I feel for days afterwards. I need to find a way to make some version of the detox a sustainable part of my life. Today, I had not a drop of added sugar, no sugar substitutes, nothing. And I already feel better. So I am open to suggestions, and I encourage anyone who feels controlled by carbs and sugar to try the 21 Day Sugar Detox (no this is not sponsored).