This last week I did a 6 day sugar detox. It was supposed to be 7 days but I ended it on day 6 so that we could go out to dinner, and so I could enjoy New Year’s. It is really tough to eat out when you cut out sugar, because it is in EVERYTHING! I’m talking sauces, salad dressings, etc.
I know that cleanses, detoxes, and whole 30 are really trending right now, but I have purposely stayed away from any sort of “cleanse” because I feel they are too limiting and would just deprive me of a ton of foods that I love. I follow a healthy diet already, so I have never really felt the need to do a “cleanse” or “detox”. I actually hate the word detox because our body naturally detoxes itself everyday through our liver and kidneys.
The reason I decided to eliminate all sugar from my diet, even unrefined sugar like honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar, is to try and reset my hormones. Sugar intake is very much related to our hormones and our adrenals, and women with PCOS have an especially difficult time with sugar (some are even insulin resistant). Without going into all of the science behind it, I knew this would be a good decision for my body. I chose to still consume fruit (I would not have been able to do this without it!) because I will never deprive myself of something that comes from the earth, even if it does have some sugar in it. I also believe that when you eat the whole fruit, you are also consuming other things like nutrients and fiber. To me this is different than maple syrup, for example.
The first two days of the detox were fine, but day 3 was the worst. I felt moody, and was craving sugar from the moment I woke up until after dinner. All I wanted was a hot cocoa with marshmallows. I ended up having a chocolate chip RX bar (made from fruit and nuts) with a cup of tea and the craving finally dissipated. I seriously almost just quit that day.
I decided to focus less on what I couldn’t have, and more on what I could have with the sugar detox on day 4. I made a delicious french style omelette and had it with some smoked salmon and homemade paleo bread (I used a teaspoon of honey in this recipe and decided that was negligible enough to use), and added some kite hill almond cream cheese to it. This ensured I wasn’t hungry again in another hour, and ready to turn to sweets. I also stayed busy, because I like to eat when I am bored (who doesn’t).
Here are some things I learned:
- Almost all canned tomato sauce, even just plane tomato puree, contains cane sugar. So lame. We have started using this brand now, because it is SO delicious, and has the best ingredients.
- I tend to turn to sweets when I am hungry, and eliminating sugar taught me to turn to healthy fats and protein instead. I made some almond coconut fudge bars (pictured above) for afternoon chocolate cravings, and made a big smoothie with fruit, spinach, coconut milk, and collagen for a mid-morning snack. I ate a lot of nut butter with no added sugar, and snacked on veggies and hummus if I needed to as well.
- Our labeling system for sugar in the US is so ridiculous. Some companies have turned to listing not only sugar, but added sugar (in grams) under nutrition facts, and this is SO helpful. I have to read every ingredient, and sometimes sugar won’t be listed but then under nutrition facts it will say 2g of sugar. This happened with some of my nut butters. I guess peanuts have naturally producing sugar? I don’t know, but it is really annoying and it is no wonder people consume more sugar than they should be consuming. It is like rocket science trying to even figure out what is in our food these days.
- My energy went up, and brain fog went down. I definitely started to feel this on day 4, and this happened even running around with a toddler and trying to keep him occupied in 20 degree weather. The proof is in the pudding I guess! No drowsiness, and only took a nap one afternoon (day 3, when i just wanted to end it all haha).
- I can probably cut down A LOT on sugar when I am baking (probable by half), even if I am using something like coconut sugar or maple syrup. That is one good thing about a sugar detox. It completely changed your palette, so things like dried fruit or a smoothie with frozen berries tastes deliciously sweet.
Sugar Free Recipes & Snacks
- Almond coconut fudge bars (eat with a few raisins and it is sooo good)
- Coconut cashew bars
- Rx bars
- Teeccino or coffee with homemade almond milk (sweetened with dates and vanilla)
- Gaia Golden Milk
- Oatmeal sweetened with half a banana
- Paleo toast with natural peanut butter and half a banana