The 21-Day Sugar Detox (Week 2)

It's a little late, but here's my recap of Week 2 of The 21-Day Sugar Detox.

Just two weeks ago, I thought I was dying from this sugar detox. I had some serious withdrawal symptoms: shaking, dizziness, nausea, headache, exhaustion...you name it! Thankfully, it was only one day. I survived it. Cut to...today: Day 19. I. Feel. Great!

As I write this, I'm munching on carrots - they've been a pretty standard snack for me throughout this detox, mostly because they're easy to prep, and I can eat them no matter where I am. Also, you'll notice in my food journal below that pecans and raw milk cheddar are staples. But the rest of my diet has been pretty varied. As I mentioned in my 21DSD Week 1 post, I have viewed this detox as a culinary challenge...a chance to try some new dishes and get the dinner menu out of the boring rut in which we'd been stuck. And I think I've done a pretty good job. I've even got The Man eating some of my creations, though I don't think Mr. Cherry Pepsi will ever tackle a sugar detox! LOL

If you had told me a year ago that I would attempt a technically low-carb/Paleo diet, I would have laughed in your face. I've never been a fan of the Atkins-type low-carb diet, simply because there's so much emphasis on "0 carb" processed foods and less emphasis on whole foods and healthy carbs.

And the Paleo diet bugged me because it eliminated entire food groups (dairy & grains). Granted, these food groups are very irritating to some, myself included, but that doesn't make it a "one size fits all" solution. I typically do fine with grains (though I think the shrinking size of my belly might prove otherwise), and as long as the dairy I consume is *not* pasteurized, it doesn't bother me at all. So, at least for myself, I don't think it's necessary to follow the Paleo plan in its entirety.

But, the 21-Day Detox is a bit of a combination of both low-carb and Paleo, and I've loved (mostly) every minute of it. Day 3 was the big exception! But do I think I could do it long-term? Probably not. I'm tiring of eggs for breakfast...I miss my Quinoa Breakfast Porridge. And I miss fruit...mostly because of it's convenience and ease...the original fast food! And quite honestly, I kind of want a PB&J...and Hawaiian BBQ...and probably a bunch of other things I can't think of right now! But most importantly, I've learned that I can have these things in moderation, and I don't *need* sugar in order to survive. Nor do I need to swear it off completely. It's all about balance, kids...yep! I believe that's the key!

So, here's what I ate last week...interesting, I know. :)

Day 8: 
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee
Lunch - spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara
Dinner - Almond-crusted cajun chicken, cauliflower rice, grilled asparagus
Snacks - carrot sticks, raw milk cheddar, pecans

Day 9: 
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee
Lunch - leftover almond-crusted cajun chicken, cauliflower rice, green beans
Dinner - grass-fed hamburger with raw milk cheddar on a bed of lettuce with homemade pickles, homemade mayo, tomato, and onion
Snacks - carrot sticks with almond butter

Day 10: 
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee
Lunch - Chicken salad in lettuce cups, avocado, snap peas
Dinner - Steak with balsamic reduction, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and browned butter
Snacks - carrot sticks, raw milk cheddar, pecans, sugar snap peas

Day 11: 
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee
Lunch - Taco Salad
Dinner - meatballs and marinara
Snacks - carrot sticks

Day 12: 
Breakfast - scrambled eggs, black coffee
Lunch - Chipotle salad
Dinner - second half of Chipotle salad
Snacks - raw milk cheddar, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumber slices, a few salami cubes

Day 13:
Breakfast - scrambled eggs, black coffee
Lunch - Turkey Cranberry Waldrof salad from Cafe Moxo (minus the cranberries and with balsamic dressing)
Dinner - Krabby Patties from NomNomPaleo, grilled asparagus in lemon butter
Snacks - raw milk cheddar, raw veggies

Day 14: 
Breakfast - scrambled eggs, black coffee
Lunch - Chipotle salad
Dinner - eggs, bacon
Snacks - raw milk cheddar, pecans

So, there ya have it. I feel like I did really well last week, I began feeling fantastic, and the food was delicious!

Stay tuned for week 3, my end results, and my maintenance plan (if I have one)! :)


The 21-Day Sugar Detox (Week 1)

A week ago, I decided to advance my diet transformation one more step...a sugar detox. I mentioned this the week before while having lunch with a friend, to which he replied, "You're always changing your diet to something else." It bothered me a bit, so I'd like to take a moment, before diving into the detox details, to provide some history of what I refer to as my diet transformation.

Several years ago, The Man and I ran into trouble trying to get pregnant...I was eventually diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which was basically screwing with my fertility and also linked to insulin resistance), and put on meds to help us conceive. After a few rounds of the meds, I realized I wasn't comfortable with them, so The Man and I decided I would stop taking them. At that point, I took a long hard look at my diet, and all the crap I was putting in, on, and around my body. I did LOTS of research and discovered that many chemicals, including pesticides and ingredients in processed foods, cleaning products, and even body care and cosmetics can disrupt hormones and cause all sorts of problems. It was at this point that I eliminated many processed foods from my diet and began seeking out organic produce.

After 3 1/2 years of trying, The Man and I finally got pregnant!! Once I started thinking about The Munchkin's arrival, I decided I wanted to make her baby food to try to spare her the same kind of heartache we had experienced while trying to get her here. It was then that I became a religious farmers' market shopper. Seriously, the first day of the market is like opening day of baseball for me. I. MUST. ATTEND. It was at the market where I discovered a number of local farmers growing delicious, beautiful, organic produce, and I began buying the bulk of our groceries there...mostly organic.

Sometime last year, I asked my doctor if there were any tests I needed to have done now that I'd reached the ripe old age of...*GASP*...thirty. He noted my family history of high cholesterol and suggested a lipid panel. Much to my dismay, the results were not great. Three months after not following the prescribed changes (diet, exercise, supplements), my test results were even worse. So, I decided to heed the doctors advice and cut back on my dietary cholesterol. This led to experimentation with vegetarianism, which I quickly realized I couldn't maintain. I missed steak...and burgers...and BACON! So, I did some more research and discovered cholesterol's role in the body (read "The Great Cholesterol Myth" for this enlightening information), and I changed my diet, yet again...and drastically. I began eating grass-fed beef, pastured pork and chicken, and eggs from those chickens (two of them a day!). My research taught me that these animals, as opposed to conventionally-raised "feedlot" animals, were healthier, packing more nutrients into the same amount of food...nutrients my body needed...all because they were allowed to soak up the sun all day and eat their natural diets. And I got to eat bacon again. :) As of June, my cholesterol had dropped 54 points! Woohoo!

Then, in December, I discovered a dairy intolerance...casein, to be exact. It's a protein that my body can't digest, so it creates killer headaches and miserable sinus congestion instead. It's not very awesome. So, I cut out dairy...all of it. I read labels more than ever, asked waiters for details about dishes before I ordered...I irritated myself. Annoyed, I researched again. I found that pasteurized dairy is very problematic for many because pasteurization kills all the enzymes that aid digestion. (But pasteurization is necessary and raw milk is dangerous, right? Wrong. Google it.) Then, I remembered some cheese I had joyously eaten before I got pregnant. It was Ropp Raw Milk Cheddar, and it was phenomenal! I decided to experiment, so I bought some, ate a little bit, and waited to see how I felt. And then nothing happened. I felt fine. Now it was time to find sources of raw milk to try! (It's worth noting that, in Illinois, one must purchase raw milk directly from the farm and supply the containers. These laws vary from state to state.) I found out that, twenty minutes from my house, there is a couple who sells raw milk. Phone call. Visit. Purchase. Wow, I missed milk! And this milk didn't make me feel awful. And The Man and The Munchkin like it too. Jackpot!

Fast forward to today and the sugar detox. You might ask yourself why. And so did I. For months, I've toyed with the idea of doing this. Even though my overall cholesterol is better, my triglycerides aren't, and, come to find out, that's linked to sugar consumption. My PCOS and insulin resistance is also linked to sugar consumption. And my sugar cravings after meals are so intense, I honestly don't have any self-control. This sugar detox is an attempt to curb some of those issues. I fully understand they may not be completely resolved, but who knows...maybe they will. Here are the very basic details of the detox (more details can be found at The 21-Day Sugar Detox:

  • 21 days
  • No sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No grains (bread, pasta, etc)
  • No white or sweet potatoes
  • No winter squash (I know...this is a bad time to live without pumpkin!)
  • No fruit (except either a green apple or green-tipped banana per day)
Sounds fun, right? No? I didn't think so either. And it's been rough at times. REALLY ROUGH! But I have survived those moments, and I'm beginning to feel better. Here's my journal of meals and "feelings" as I've tracked them throughout the past week.

Day 1:
Breakfast - Egg cup & black coffee
Lunch - Salad w/ steak, 1/2 avocado, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, lime juice, olive oil
Dinner - Chicken kabobs with bell peppers and onions, rutabaga (yuck)
Snacks - carrot sticks, iced tea, raw almonds

- Immediately after breakfast, I found myself having an intense chocolate craving. I ignored it.
- Around 10 am, I began yawning, feeling tired, and had difficulty maintaining focus.
- Immediately after lunch, I was craving chocolate again, so I went for a short walk to help wake me up and distract me. I walked to Walgreens to pickup a prescription and get a bottle of tea to drink, and I survived - walking out with no sugary items!
- 2:30 pm - ME. WANT. COOKIES!!! (I ate almonds instead.)
- Got a headache on the way home from work, but eating dinner seemed to fixed it.
- No one died. Yay!

Day 2:
Breakfast - 1/2 egg cup, black coffee
Lunch - Leftover chicken kebobs, 1/2 avocado, pecans
Dinner - hamburger with raw milk cheddar on a bed of mixed greens with homemade lacto dill pickles, tomatoes, and onions
Snacks - raw milk cheddar, carrots, egg fried in bacon grease

- I wasn't falling asleep at my desk this morning.
- I probably didn't pack enough lunch...it's 1pm, and I'm still hungry.
- I'm resisting the temptation to eat the remainder of The Munchkin's banana from this morning..."Not Gonn' Do It"...based on principle alone...
- I got another headache on the way home from work...I think I was just hungry.

Day 3:
Breakfast - egg cup, pecans, black coffee
Lunch - egg salad in endive boats, 1/2 avocado, carrot sticks
Dinner - baked lemon-garlic tilapia, cauliflower "rice", brussels sprouts w/ butter and bacon
Snacks - meatballs (I had to do QA!)

- soooooo tired this morning...slightly dizzy...can't focus...feel disoriented.
- late morning/lunch time: began feeling really awful...headache, dizzy, nauseated, lack of appetite...just want to lay down
- got a second wind that at least allowed me to cook dinner and prep for Day 4
- I LOVED the cauliflower "rice"...all this experimenting is a lot of fun, and I'm trying new foods I wouldn't have otherwise thought to try

Day 4:
Breakfast - scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee
Lunch - leftover tilapia, cauliflower "rice", brussels sprouts
Dinner - meatballs in marinara, steamed veggies
Snacks - carrots, pecans, raw milk cheddar

- I slept terribly last night! After The Munchkin came in around 1:30, I could not go back to sleep...
- still having some sugar cravings after meals, but I'm noticing they aren't immediate...they're delayed by about an hour
- even on 3 hours of sleep, I functioned pretty well all day, through The Munchkin's swim lessons and all the way home, but as soon as I sat on the couch, it sucked all the energy from my body. I went to bed at 8:45pm.

Day 5:
Breakfast - quinoa cooked w/ granny smith apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts, black coffee
Lunch - Chipotle Salad with very small scoop of black beans, extra veggies, chicken, mild tomato salsa and guac - YUM!
Dinner - Roast, roasted veggies
Snacks - pecans, carrots, raw milk cheddar

- I'm beginning to feel human again!
- I have a decent amount of energy this evening, though I'm mentally exhausted from my day.

Day 6:
Breakfast - scrambled eggs, bacon, black coffee
Lunch - Salad w/ steak, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, balsamic vinegar, olive oil
Dinner - Taco salad with mixed greens, taco meat, raw milk cheddar, garden tomato, green onions, and an avocado
Snacks - chocolate chia pudding (FAIL!), pecans

- Feeling as human as ever
- seemed to have more stamina to tackle things in the kitchen and around the house
- no more grogginess, dizziness, midday headaches, etc

Day 7:
Breakfast - quinoa cooked w/ granny smith apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts, black coffee
Lunch - Spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara
Dinner - Fried eggs and bacon
Snacks - pecans, salted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raw milk cheddar

- It was a lazy Sunday, but I didn't feel lethargic or unmotivated
- I'm sleeping a TON better...as in, all night!
- drinking less and less coffee each day...not on purpose, but I've noticed I'm dumping out more each day once it's cold

There you have it! That's everything I've eaten in the last seven days. No chocolate. No honey. No popcorn. No ice cream. No cookies. No lemon buttermilk pound cake. *DROOL*

Do I miss those things? Yes. Have I realized I can survive without them? YES! I'm proud of myself. The Man told me tonight that he can tell how proud I am...he said he sees it on my face when I talk about it.

Also, this detox has given me the opportunity to try foods I probably wouldn't have otherwise tried like rutabaga, cauliflower "rice", spaghetti squash, and chocolate chia pudding (which I hated, by the way, and did not eat). It's also been fun, as a foodie, to get creative with our household dinner menu again. And I must give big kudos to The Man for at least trying a bite of each new thing I've prepared, even though I've made "regular food" for him and The Munchkin. He even admitted tonight that he likes the cauliflower rice, and he could eat it regularly! :)

Stay tuned for week 2!