21 Day Sugar Detox – My Experience
Where to start???
My friend Kat (from https://ideatthatfood.com) decided to complete a 21-Day Sugar Detox this past summer and asked if a few of us from our NTA class wanted to join. She wanted to support a small group of us during the 21 days for our health but also as a new NTP. SURE, I’m in, I said! Little did I know how difficult this would be for me!
I have ALWAYS been a salt craving junky: potato chips, cheesy poofs, corn chips. So I thought that this would be a piece of cake…. UMMMM NOT! It was really the most difficult 21 days I’ve had in a LONG time! But, at least I know why now and will share later!
I decided to journal each day and I want to share that with you in a minute, after I share what the 21 DSD is and why it can help so many with health issues.
Sugar – A Brief History:
Those of us in the States, as well as other countries, have increased our consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates since fats were discouraged as early as the 70’s. I can’t remember a time when eating fat was considered a healthy option for me, until NOW!
I always had access to lots of fruits, veggies and massive amounts of carbs, my favorite! But everything was fat-free or low-fat; stay away from butter and use Crisco; eat some Cheerios but stay away from the bacon. A lovely form of brainwashing to get us away from healthy fats and closer to the door into SUGAR HELL!
If you look at any graph that shares the increased number of those diagnosed with Diabetes, or any chronic illness, they all SKYROCKET after the 70’s ‘Fat Ban!’ I specifically remember a high school friend in the late 80’s, who was using a famous diet program to help her lose weight. They told her to eat practically no fat but encouraged her to eat Sweet Tarts and Fun Dip! I remember that day she told me, we were in math class and I just kept thinking “really, you can lose weight by eating sugar?” Needless to say, eating sugar never helped me lose any extra pounds.
Some interesting reads for anyone wanting more about this topic are:
Our bodies were designed to be fat-burning machines, but over the years we have made ourselves into sugar burning disasters. Healthy fat is so important for our brains and our hearts as well as for hormones production. Yes, I did type FATS! Isn’t that exciting?
Healthy fats like coconut oil, olives, quality butter, avocados, nuts and even ‘clean’ bacon is what we should be eating over chips, breads and pastas. Sugary foods and refined carbs are meaningless to us and provide nothing to our bodies and organs. Have you ever polished off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or a bag of Doritos in one sitting? GUILTY! Have you ever been able to eat a 20 oz. steak in one sitting? NOPE! WHY? When we eat the proper nutrients (proteins, fats and healthy carbs) our brain gets a signal that says, “ok we are full, stop eating.” So simple right?
Below are my journal entries while I did the 21 Day Sugar Detox.
Journal from my 21 DSD – Summer 2017
Day 1 – Wow, if this is what it’s supposed to be like, I will totally be AOK! Enjoyed a meat and squash hash for breakfast with a spinach salad with olive oil and balsamic dressing I make and love. Lunch was shredded chicken over a lovely spinach salad, some steamed broccoli and ½ a green banana (they aren’t as bad as I thought). Dinner was a modified AIP lemon pork chop – minus the cassava flour for mine. Drank a ton of water, some herbal tea and 8 oz of a booch. I’m not bitter or anger and kind of excited for tomorrow!
Day 2-3 – WHAT THE F! I would like to crawl into bed and nap ALL DAY! By 11 am on day 2, I had a mini-migraine, so I tried to drink more H2O and added some Redmond Salt. I have been worn out, emotional, starving, snarky and restless. I will add that I was a bit stressed out with my NTP program and trying to do my work, read a ton of material while working a FT job. I am also a mom to a 16-year-old who is getting her license. Thank GOD for my husband who was ready to hug me as soon as he walked in the door after a long day at work. This will be tougher than I originally thought! I tried to eat more olives and meat, but it’s fresh fruit season and I want some strawberries or peaches in coconut cream! Hmmm, water!
Day 4 – YEAH, I didn’t wake up with a raging migraine today and am psyched! I have more energy and got a lot of school work done as well as some business planning and brainstorming. I did have a little nervous break down in the late afternoon for an hour, but once again my husband was able to talk me off the edge and the rest of the day went smoothly! Green apples are pretty good, and I am looking forward to one every night for my snack before bed. I need to find some healthy fat to go with it…maybe I’ll sauté some in butter tomorrow??? Some meditation needs to start back up ASAP!
Day 5 – I may be feeling better? I can’t tell, and I don’t want to jinx it. I am in the office today so I’m not going to promise anything spectacular. My mood seems to be better and I’m not feeling as snarky as day 2-3. I do have some funky shin splints and muscle pain. I also have this WICKED nose pimple so I’m sporting the Rudolph look! Eating more healthy fats and meats with all sorts of yummy veggies and salads. Butternut squash zig zags from Trader Joe’s are saving the day. Roasting them with some salt, onion and garlic powder and allowing them to burn just a little. YUM!
Day 6 – I am INVINCIBLE!
I feel strong. I am not craving fruit today. I don’t feel like I need sugar to live. I let shit go at work within 15 minutes (which is a miracle) vs. having a complete mental episode. I have better concentration and some of my brain fog has lifted. I think I may be sleeping better too. Found out I don’t care much for a sautéed green apple in butter. I added cinnamon, but it just didn’t do anything for.
Day 7 – In the morning I had more energy than ever before. YES!!! I even slept to my alarm! The afternoon at work was a little too much for me – Thursdays are the day where I go DOWNHILL quick. I decided to take a walk outside and the fresh air and my Brain Wave app helped me get into a better mood pretty quickly. I am a bit achy and tired now but still have enough energy to make the Shepard’s Pie from the 21 DSD. Kat said it was delicious, so we are going to try it. I’m going to put Acorn Squash on top since cauliflower mash ain’t my thang.
Day 8 – I woke up all chipper and ready to rumble but as the day continued, I quickly ran out of energy. My jaw is killing me so I’m going to see the chiropractor today after work for an adjustment. Tried to drink more water today so I stayed hydrated, but it didn’t help with the afternoon fatigue. Maybe the weekend will be better since I don’t have to work?
Day 9 – It’s Saturday and I feel ok, not really hungry at all this morning. Tried to get in my water early on. Kind of blah and ready for some kind of sugar detox miracle to happen.
Day 10 – Slept horribly and woke up at 5 am on a SUNDAY! Uncivilized!!! My daughter was out until midnight with friends (Saturday into Sunday) so after I woke up when she got home, it was hard for me to get back to sleep. Decided that the little bit of energy I had after grocery shopping for the week would be used up today on chores and meal prep, but around 5 pm figured out that I had over-done it and then crashed and burned for the rest of the evening.
Day 11 – Bad day, lack of sleep over the weekend is hitting hard on this Monday morning, but at least I can work from home in my jammies!
Day 12 – Slept well and woke up hungry. Don’t ever remember THAT happening. Decent day but still lacking energy to make it through the entire day.
Day 13 – Wicked crabby and wicked tired. I may have bit some people’s heads off today and now have some horrible guilt. Need to meditate and get it together.
Day 14 – Feisty, unsettled, ornery! I’m not able to focus very well on work/life tasks. Food doesn’t sound/taste good and I need LOTS of energy today. Trying to eat more fat but it’s making me gag. I feel jittery and nauseous. Time to stop and figure out what’s up with me and my body.
Day 15 – Asked my NTA/NTP instructors tonight why I was suffering so badly with the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Turns out, some with Hashimoto’s (and other autoimmune conditions) can really feel horrible when eating less carbs. Below is their answer…
“How is their digestion? Someone with poor protein and fat digestion may not be ready for a low carb diet. If they are eating a standard American diet, LOWER carb is probably a good idea but going too low carb before improving their digestion will not make them feel good. Liver/Gallbladder function is especially important here because of the need to burn fat for fuel when we reduce carb intake. Any detox (even a gentle one like the sugar detox) is going to put additional strain on the liver to process released toxins so digestive capacity may be reduced. And we know that detox pathways must be open before pushing detox— this can impact some folks ability to do even a gentle sugar detox.
How are their adrenals? Remember that our adrenals are responsible for raising blood sugar when it dips too low. When someone is trying to transition from being primarily a sugar burner to being a fat burner, they may experience increased hypoglycemic dips for a little while during the transition. If the adrenals are already under functioning, they may not be ready for this increased work load and they may need to continue to get some glucose from the diet.
Expanding beyond the foundations: Many autoimmune clients have reduced thyroid function. Going too low carb can reduce the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to T3 and induce a “hibernation” type state where the metabolism slows way down. Indications of low carb diet impacting the thyroid can look like changes in hair texture or increased hair loss, reduced energy, reduced cold tolerance, low energy/fatigue, weight gain; to name a few.
So, as I said on the call the other night: one week of a low level “low-carb flu” is pretty typical, but if symptoms are severe or they continue past a week; adapting the diet to include some whole food carbs might be the way to go. You can also explore supporting all the systems mentioned above as well as other foundations to see if that helps. I like carb cycling as recommended by Dr. Alan Christianson in the Adrenal Reset Diet, as a modification. This protocol has you eating low carb in the morning and increasing carb intake throughout the day. For some folks, just one serving of carbs (1/2 a sweet potato or so) with the evening meal can be enough.
Here is a pretty thorough article on ketogenic diets by Dr. Sarah Balantyne looking at what science says about the potential benefits and adverse reactions.”
Day 16 – 21: I decided to tweak my protocol and added ½ a sweet potato a night and add another green apple when needed and BOY, what a difference it made. Energy came back, and I don’t feel so homicidal! If I were to do this 21 day detox again, I would modify it right from the start so I would steer clear of the issues I had this time.
BOTTOM LINE: When you follow a protocol/plan and it’s NOT working for you or your body….STOP and re-evaluate. You shouldn’t suffer, and you NEED food to get through your day. It’s okay to change something to make it work for YOU!
Hopefully I planted a seed and provided some general information about why we all should start to limit our sugar/refined carb intake and began to look at more healthy fats.
If you have additional questions, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free 15-minute consultation by going to my Service Page.