It’s already been 9 days since I embarked on Sugar Detox 2012. And for those of you keeping track, that means I have just five days left… I’m officially over the hump and, I think, over the hardest parts as well.
I know many of you think you couldn’t do it, but guess what: you SO CAN! I haven’t always been a fruit and vegetable goddess (I’ve been thinking about putting that on my business cards instead of my ‘Certified Nutritional Practitioner’ designation… what do you guys think?). Inside, I’m still just a girl who appreciates a nice piece of cake. And I’m soaring through this detox, for real. And I’m feeling awesome!
Let me give you a quick play-by-play on the past week.
Day 1: Monday. Just returned from my parents’ last night and my sad little refrigerator was virtually empty. I planned my meals for the week and bought up the grocery store – kale, spinach, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, lemons, quinoa, yogurt, avocado, apples, berries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, oats, etc. etc. Loads of fresh produce so I have plenty of wholesome foods to choose from when a craving hits.
Day 3: Wednesday. It’s surprisingly not as hard as I expected. I’m eating lots of vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Finding the hardest time for cravings to be a couple of hours after dinner, which makes sense as this is the time of day mom would bring out the sweet desserts over the holidays. Also, on running days I’m hungrier in general. I’ve been dealing by:
- Drinking herbal tea
- Eating a small snack with protein, like a homemade trail mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins and raw cacao nibs, or an apple with a few slices of cheese
I’ve been adjusting to my new home-based schedule at the same time, and without the various cues I used to get at school to eat (usually seeing other classmates’ yummy-looking snacks), I’m not eating on such a regular schedule. I need to consume more snacks throughout the day to help ensure my blood sugar stays balanced into the evening and my body isn’t demanding I feed it glucose.
Day 5: Friday. Still going strong! Cravings have all but stopped. Am curious to see how my first sugar-free weekend goes. Other physical observations:
- Clearer/brighter skin
- Difficulty sleeping (Wednesday night was the worst), and trouble getting up in the morning
- Better digestion/less bloating
- Difficulty focusing the past few days (on writing my final research paper, especially), but this is starting to improve
Here are a few Sugar-Detox friendly recipes that I’ve made over the past week that are completely delicious and satisfying:
Curried Lentil Soup (I added kale for an extra vitamin & mineral kick)
Day 7: Sunday. I must admit that last night, I took a “cake break.” I traveled to see some friends on Saturday – it was my dear friend Alana’s husband’s birthday. And guess what inevitably makes an appearance at every single birthday party in the history of the world? Cake.
Now. I believe that the world would be a much healthier place if not for refined sugar. I believe that the less of it we eat, the more vibrant, energetic, and generally awesome we’ll all feel. But I also strongly believe that to live a healthy, joyful, fulfilling life, we have to be flexible.
You can make all the plans you want, but sometimes, life gets in the way. If you’re really lucky, that “stuff” that comes up will be birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and get-togethers with friends and family. And for those occasions, I make exceptions.
I want to feel a part of the celebration. I want to appreciate my friend’s efforts – seriously, just look at this cake! I think Alana missed her calling as a cake-decorator extraordinaire.
The point of my detox is to get back on track to my healthy lifestyle. If I eat zero sugar for 13.5 of the 14 days, I know I’ll have done for my body what it needed.
The coolest part about my cake-eating experience was that I immediately felt the effects of the sugar. After eating half of my piece, I put it down. I’m noticing that I don’t want to eat as much sugar now. A few bites are more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Day 9: Today. Best day yet. Feeling full of energy, despite the dreary weather. Perfectly happy eating a kale and chickpea salad for lunch, with no desire for a sweet treat afterwards. Ready to go out there and conquer the world!
One thing I do miss a LOT is dark chocolate. Santa gave me a big bar of it in my stocking this year, and it’s been sitting in my cupboard calling to me for the past 8 days. Even after I stuck it in the back of the freezer. But I’m getting there!
So, to sum up…. Lessons Learned in Week 1:
1. Be prepared and plan ahead. You know what your vices are, so make it easier on yourself and avoid them in whatever way you can. Stock up on your favourite fruits and veggies. Test out a few new recipes, and double the batch so you have leftovers. If your afternoon routine includes a cookie break, pack a fiber-rich snack or take a walk instead. And tell your friends, family and co-workers that you’re cutting out sugar – hopefully they will be supportive and help keep you accountable.
2. Tough it out for the first few days. It’s worth it. After you get through the initial withdrawal, you will feel fantastic! And be proud of yourself, because, let’s be honest, you are a ROCK STAR!
3. Don’t make it miserable. You may think the only way to be successful and avoid temptation is to avoid your life. Whatever you do, don’t do this! Don’t turn down a dinner out with friends or a movie date simply because you’re afraid you’ll “give in.” This will make you resent the healthy lifestyle you’re trying to create. And that’s not good. Remember: a healthy life is a balanced life, so keep being your fabulous self!
Anyone else trying to cut back on sugar? How are you feeling? Any strategies to share?