Okay, so I am one week into my second round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox, feel free to read about my first experience here. This time I did very little planning, this is because I knew exactly what I was getting into, and because I am almost already 100% gluten free (I say almost because there are times that you just can't be sure) and I ate mostly paleo meals, not to say I am paleo, I am not, but I knew that level 3 would be easier this time around than before.
So far so good, not planning things is nice, makes things feel more sustainable, but I still have cravings, mostly for fruit, strawberries in particular. Also, I went to the fair, and truth be told I didn't exactly follow the detox, and realized how fast I can slip into the world of sweets.
I find that I lack self control if I am not being conscious about it, so I need to be more conscious about that. One thing I wanted was a quick snack, high in fat and protein, low in carbohydrates and more interesting then just plain nuts. I created this sugar-free no-fuss paleo "granola."
It is sort of pumpkin-ish, it tastes nothing like pumpkin, but I used gingerbread spice and a scoop or two of pumpkin puree, so it is sort of pumpkin, I am not sure, it all made sense when I was making it.
This turned out crispy and flavourful, not sweet at all (be mindful, granola traditionally is just oats masquerading as candy, this granola has ZERO sweetness, you were warned), but I am excited about the possibilities. I plan on using bananas or apple sauce in the future to add to the mix (but I didn't want to waste my daily fruit option on granola), and potentially add in some raisins after cooking to make it just a touch sweet without a sweetener. It makes a yummy topping to a chia pudding (chia seeds + nut milk) or as a cereal substitute, I think it will look cute on top of a smoothie as well for photo purposes.
Sugar-Free Pumpkin "Granola"
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups nuts* (I used hazelnuts and walnuts)
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg white, whisked
1 tbsp gingerbread spice blend
2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree (I used canned, nothing added)
Have you done a sugar detox? What would be the most challenging thing for you to have to give up?
So I finally made it, 21 days ago I started the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I never really thought that I was “addicted” to sugar but, knowing the dangers and harmful effects sugar can have, I wanted to give it a try, no sugar and very limited sweet things for 21 days. I have finally completed it, to the excitement of my whole family and my loving boyfriend.
I decided to take on level 3. Diane insists that you don’t “be a hero” but after taking the quiz I ended up in level 2, which included full fat dairy products. I don’t eat dairy anyways so I decided to go with level three, full on paleo eating style. I would not say this was challenging in the typical way, my struggle was to come up with meal ideas, because the food was tasty and while I did have cravings for sweets at times, I was able to be strong the whole 21 days.
What was the toughest thing?
The hardest thing for me was figuring out my carbohydrate balance. It wasn’t until the last week and a half that I actually got my carbohydrates balanced; I was going way too low in the beginning. After day one and two I felt like total garbage. Then I had to teach a fitness class, and struggled to inspire my class because I was feeling fatigued. After talking to my good friend, I realized that I should be following the energy modifications to accommodate my high intensity cardio class. I was starting adding in sweet potatoes after my classes and was starting to feel better, but I still had ups and down. I was doing a lot of meat + salad, which is fine, but not only does it get boring, it made me exhausted. I finally rechecked my yes foods and added in parsnips and pumpkin more frequently to help me stay energized, the difference was astounding.
What about sugar carvings?
I would say I had a couple sugar cravings, but nothing that my piece of fruit or a not-sweet treat couldn’t handle. I made some almond butter cups and they got me though, I've always been a chocolate person! To my surprise (kind of) I experienced general carbohydrate and gluten with drawl. I have heard time and time again in school that gluten is addictive too and it has the ability to cause with drawl symptoms, I had no idea that I would experience them. I miss, and did the whole time, fresh bread, garlic bread and the like. I also really want a cookie, just one, a real cookie would be great, but I promise I am not craving it; I just feel bored and want a cookie.
What does the future hold now?
I plan on introducing gluten, and assessing how my body reacts. We learn in school that introducing foods, which you are sensitive to but have healed, can be tolerated once every 4 days. I really am not ready to fully go gluten free, but I plan on drastically reducing my gluten and doing almost all gluten free baking when I bake, I actually really enjoy gluten free baked goods and will incorporate more into my life. I also plan on adding in grains to my diet, gluten free ones as usual, but I want grains, I feel better with them. I will also reduce the sugar in all recipes and replace sugar content with banana, pumpkin and apple sauce.
What have I learned?
I learned that I am a strong person, that I can do something for myself, even though people around me are eating differently. It was a lot of effort to make my own meals and watch my family eat spaghetti with fresh garlic bread and pass it right in front of me while I ate a meal I wasn’t totally enjoying. I also learned that I don’t need sugar. I already don’t use refined sugars, but I learned that thai-style foods don’t always need honey, salad dressings don’t really need something sweet, and treats don’t need sugar, and that fruit is so satisfying.
I also learned that full on paleo 100% of the time is not something that I can do, not because I don’t want to, but because my body doesn’t feel best on it, not right now. I need to listen to my body, so much protein is not my ideal way of eating and my body knows it. I also learned to use fat more, cause it is awesome and totally satisfying!
Would I recommend it/do it again?
Absolutely! I loved this program and I loved not having anything refined at all! I also enjoyed educating people on sugar during the process, and although everyone respected my choices they are not all ready to give it a try.
I will do this program again, no question about that! I am going to get my boyfriend to do it with me! I have never felt myself have such balanced moods before, so I can truly appreciate the whole blood sugar balance thing. I never used to feel a drop in my energy levels, but after the holidays I struggled to wake up and get going, but I am back on track and ready to keep going with my healthy life!
Tell me, have you ever tried a sugar free diet? What would be the hardest thing for you to give up?
Amanda is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist out of Southwest Middlesex, and London ON. She works with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals!
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