Friday, August 28, 2015

21 Day Sugar Detox: DONE!

Hi, and Happy Friday!

If you've been following our 21 Day Sugar Detox (first post here, update here), you may know that we finished on Sunday! We did it! I'm so proud of Spencer and myself for sticking with it, even when it got tough.

The hardest parts were the cravings and how to cope when I didn't prepare well. The foods we could eat almost always required some sort of preparation, so just grabbing a "quick snack" wasn't always an option. We also went over our grocery budget.

The other tough part for me was self-inflicted. My half-marathon training suffered a bit because I wasn't getting nearly the amount of carbs my body needed. In fact, this past weekend my running buddy and I were in the beginning of our 9-miler and I thought I would pass out. This was one of my two "cheats." We went up to a nearby gas station and I grabbed a Cliff Bar and a Powerade. Neither of those are acceptable on the detox, but I knew my body needed carbs and sugar. It definitely helped! The other "cheat" was after week 1, I had a kids size ice cream at the outlets with my mom. #sorrynotsorry. Full Disclosure.

Would I do it again? Probably.
Was it tough? Definitely. Some days were harder than others.
Do I feel good? Absolutely. 

I lost about 7 lbs. initially, but then due to my running, gained a few back during the three-week process. I'm learning that weight gain when you begin a running regimen is pretty common. Thankfully it seems to be muscle!

I also noticed an increase in my overall energy levels - no more afternoon crashes...hooray! My guess is that this has to do with my blood sugar levels balancing out, but I'm no dietitian, so that's just a guess.

In addition to those results, I've noticed a difference in my eating habits. I no longer "bored eat" - I just don't have the desire to munch like I used to. I also can more easily recognize when my body is full. When you eat processed food and foods that are filled with sugar, your brain is tricked into wanting more and more. When you eat whole, nutrient rich foods, however, your brain and body can recognize when it's had enough. It's really pretty amazing.

This week? Well on Monday, Spencer and I enjoyed some sweets and a glass of wine to celebrate. I got a little tummy ache, but I wasn't mad about it. I also enjoyed a sandwich for lunch this week, and felt just fine.

Going forward, we are going to continue with watching our diets. Both Spencer and I found benefits in eating less sugar, and we intend to keep that up. We will modify it a bit by allowing ourselves to incorporate fruits back in (natural sugars), and to treat ourselves when we have a craving. I personally would love to train my taste buds over time to enjoy darker chocolate. I love Hershey's and Dove dark chocolates, but those are about 45% cacao. The higher the percentage of cacao, the less sugar is in the chocolate. The detox actually allows 100% cacao chocolate, but it's really gross to eat plain haha. If I can just slowly increase that percentage over time, my hope is that rewarding myself with chocolate bites will be less and less sugar-laden. 

By request, I will share with you a typical day on our detox. The book (21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo) contains a full three week eating plan, complete with a grocery list to make it super easy.  I knew that I wouldn't stick with that whole plan because Spencer and I often have to miss dinners together and at home due to our work schedules. I also enjoy cooking, so I wanted to allow myself to be able to create some dishes.

Almost every morning started with 2 eggs with a slice of tomato (or a handful of cherry tomatoes) and a cup of coffee with unsweetened almond milk or half-and-half. The coffee without flavored creamer was an adjustment, but we stuck with it pretty easily. Another option is to use whole milk (note: we did the level 1 detox which allows full-fat dairy).

Lunches typically consisted of either a salad with a protein (chicken, salmon) or leftovers from the previous night. This can get pretty boring, but it's fast to pack and easy to make ahead of time. We did include some fun ingredients like sunflower seeds and avocado to jazz it up a bit.

Snacks were a must! Spencer and I both kept raw almonds at work to snack on, and we each took a granny smith apple to eat sometime during the day. This was especially yummy with the raw almond butter! The GS apple is one of 2 fruits you are allowed on the detox since it is not particularly sweet. The other is a green, unripened banana - we never had these though because I could never find them green!

Dinners allowed for a little more creativity. Generally they consisted of a meat of some sort and a vegetable. Because I am running, I tried to eat sweet potatoes often (the sweet potatoes are a detox modification for those who are particularly active - otherwise they are left off). Some of the dinner entrees we enjoyed were salmon, steak, pork chops, chicken - all great on the grill! I also made some dishes with ground beef and ground turkey (ground beef with veggies in coconut oil over scrambled eggs; ground turkey stuffed peppers; etc.). Sides were all over the place! Kale, cabbage, roasted carrots, zucchini, avocado, squash, peppers, side salads, you name it. Dinner never got boring, it was just the preparation that sometimes got me. Coming home from a long day at work, sometimes I wished we could just throw a frozen lasagna in the oven. But once I got going in the kitchen, it wasn't so bad.

That just about sums up our experience! I am more than happy to answer questions you might have about our experience. I am not a dietician, a doctor, a nutritionist, or any other sort of professional expert. I can, however, let you know about our experiences in particular. If I can be helpful to you in anyway, I'd be honored.

Until next time - -  

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