I’ve never been a smoker or done any drugs, and I have spent my life avoiding alcohol after growing up with an alcoholic parent. However, there is one addiction that I have held onto tightly since childhood: sugar. I love sugar in pretty much all of its forms: cereals, baked goods, candy, chocolate, etc., and I regularly consume it with abandon. Until yesterday.
After a week of delicious, processed, dessert-with-every-meal eating while on vacation, I came home to continue my constant consumption of sugar wherever I could find it: ice cream cones, M&M’s, birthday cake, cookies, etc. I realized how terrible I was beginning to feel: tired, sluggish, sick, miserable. I knew what needed to go: sugar.
While at family camp, I was reinvigorated to pursue healthy eating from discussions with a friend. She talked about doing a food-based cleanse when she got home (it’s called Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox). I liked the sound of eating during a cleanse and jotted down the information. When I returned home, I looked it up and read several of the reviews, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. (I still may, in the future.)
From what I could see, in addition to the supplements, this cleanse was basically all about eating well, similar to the way I had been learned from Dr. Joel Fuhrman: lots of greens, veggies, beans, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and fruit; little to no meat, butter/oil, sugar, dairy. I just needed to reset my system and get back to what I knew to do.
Thus, the sugar detox. It is also, informally, a dairy and refined flour detox, but the primary focus is on sugar. I have done this once before, and I remember feeling terrible (headaches, tired, achy, etc.) for a couple of days, but by day four, I no longer craved sugar at all. I remember being amazed at how quickly the body detoxes from such a potent substance, often compared in its addictive quality to cocaine.
I started my detox yesterday. It is not perfect; I could have prepared a little better than I did (I need avocados!), but I can tell it is working. Here are my two posts on Facebook from yesterday, sharing what I ate and how I felt as the day wore on:
Day 1 of sugar detox, which simply means, no foods with added sugar (to the best of my ability). So far, I’ve eaten my first bowl of Grape Nuts with unsweetened almond milk. (All this time, I’ve been buying it sweetened, not even noticing the unsweetened cartons right next to them at Costco.)
For snack, a smoothie with almonds (first time for that, too), blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, kefir, and a touch of raw honey (shoot, I forgot the spinach!)
For lunch, organic tortilla chips with garden fresh salsa I made this morning (yum!) and a salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing with a hard boiled egg.
The worst temptation: leftover birthday cake. That was so hard to serve up to the kids after lunch. I gave the birthday boy the extra, last piece, and immediately submerged the pan in water before I could scrape off the last of the frosting. Phew! Crisis averted.
At the End of The Day
Well, I made it through the day, but sugar withdrawal (headaches and hunger) has begun. I should mention that I am also trying to abstain from refined flour and dairy products.
For the latter part of the day, I ate grapes and peanut butter (Smucker’s Creamy Natural Peanut Butter is sugar-free) on Angelic Sprouted 7-Grain toast with banana slices for snack.
For dinner, I made boneless chicken thighs with assorted summer vegetables (zucchini, red pepper, onion, summer squash, mushrooms, and spinach) cooked in olive oil, vegetable broth, white wine, no-salt seasoning, and pepper.
At the end of the night, when I thought I would eat the carpet, I ate another piece of toast with a thin layer of organic butter and a small bowl of Grape Nuts with nectarine slices and unsweetened almond milk.
(Oh, I have led an indulgent life this past year with sweetened almond milk! But, I will adapt. Sometime, I’ll tell you about how I ruined our broccoli cauliflower soup by using the sweetened almond milk in place of regular milk; this was before I knew there was an unsweetened version.)
Day 1 is complete, and I am halfway through Day 2. You can read all about it tomorrow. 🙂
Have you ever done a sugar detox? What was your biggest challenge? Victory? Did you stick with it, or how did you modify your diet after you finished?
Anyone want to join me?