Monday, September 3, 2012

21-Day Sugar Detox: Week One

I am sure you are all wondering why in the world I am doing the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Especially, those that know me and know that one thing I do not need, is to lose weight. Well, let me assure you, this is not a program to lose weight. Though some may lose weight as a side-effect, it is not the end-goal. At least not for me. In fact, I will be tuning in more to the amount of calories that I am consuming to try to NOT lose weight (I am typically not a calorie counter btw).

The 21-Day Sugar Detox was created by Diane Sanfllippo, a Holistic Nutritionist specializing in Paleo nutrition, blood sugar regulation, food allergies/intolerances and digestive health. Note, with Diane's program, there are three different levels. I am doing the level three because I had already removed grains, legumes and dairy and so the only thing I had to eliminate was fruit (with the exception of green-tipped bananas) and fruit disguised as veggies such as cucumber.You can purchase the guide here if you are interested in learning more on the specific levels and 'yes/no' food lists. This program may be a healthy option for you if you have any of the following: extreme hunger, strong cravings especially for sugar or carbohydrates, yeast overgrowth, trouble concentrating, depression, anxiety, fatigue etc.

Nancy Appleton, PhD, has done extensive research on the effects of sugar on the body. Some of her findings are below, the remaining 143 points are here.

Sugar can...
  •  Increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia
  • Cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract,
    including an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in
    patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s
    disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Interfere with your absorption of protein
  • Suppress your immune system
  • Cause hyperactivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate and crankiness in children
  • Cause ovarian,  endometrial, renal (kidney) cell cancer (list not exhaustive) 

I fully intend on introducing natural sugar back into my diet though I also intend to be more mindful of the amount of sugar I am consuming. Even eating whole fruits and other natural sugars (like honey) can be too much of good thing.

What is my goal with the 21-Day Sugar Detox?

My purpose with this program is to optimize my health. Despite my eating clean unprocessed foods, I have been experiencing a series of health issues including digestive distress in which medical practitioners have not been able to find a root cause. I also still experience extreme hunger which I chalk up to hyperglycemia without diabetes though I haven't been legitimately diagnosed with that condition by a medical practitioner. I am hopeful that this program will help me to heal my gut by removing excess fructose as well as help regulate my glucose levels. While many of the issues I use to experience have gone away due to eating a diet based on primal, there is still some learning and exploring to be had.

So, here we have the 21-Day Sugar Detox ;)

Week One grocery prep...

Raw cacao, pumpkin seeds, eggplant spread, kalamata olives, fresh dill, oregano & rosemary, artichoke hearts, romaine, spinach, kale, fresh artichoke, scallions, spaghetti squash, zucchini, frozen cauliflower & broccoli, avocados, organic/nitrate/hormone free chicken legs, breast and sausage & tuna fillet.

Day 1
  • Double shot Americano**
    Chicken sausage & broccoli
  • Shredded chicken breast
  • Celery & Sunbutter
  • Avocado, cucumber and dill salad
  • Half jar of tuna fillet (wild caught, low mercury)
  • Sun-dried tomato & basil chicken sausage with steamed broccoli
Day 2
  • Double shot Americano**
Baked cod with summer squash
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, organic, cage-free 
  • Salad: Romain, chicken breast, cucumber, kalamata olives, scallions & dill
  • Half jar of tuna fillet (wild caught, low mercury)
  • Baked cod with steamed zucchini and yellow summer squash  
Day 3

  • Hazelnut bread (made with homemade hazelnut meal, chia seeds and pumpkin)***
  • Double shot Americano** 
  • 1 avocado chopped with 2 hard-boiled eggs and scallions 
  • Mini salad: 1/4 cucumber, chicken breast, 3 kalamata olives
  • Baked cod with steamed zucchini and yellow summer squash   

Day 4
  • Hazelnut bread (made with homemade hazelnut meal, chia seeds and pumpkin)***
  • Double shot Americano**  
Spaghetti Squash & Chicken Sausage
  • Avocado salad: one avocado, handful of spinach, 1/2 diced cucumber 
  • Celery & Sunbutter  
  • Nut mix with cacao: Few macadamia nuts, few walnuts, sprinkle of coconut flakes, sprinkle of cacao nibs and about 1/4 cup almond milk (ummm delicious) 
  • Spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomato and basil chicken sausage

Day 5
  • Double shot Americano**   
  •  Shredded chicken breast w/ celery & sunbutter 
  • Salad at a local restaurant in Boulder: Spinach, cherry tomatoes, roasted fennel and broiled shrimp 

Day 6
    Raw Zucchini, pesto & mahi
  • 2 cups black coffee (french-press style with my favorite Royal Abyssinia Coffee
  • 1 large carrot with ~1.5 tbls pumpkin seeds
  •  Smoothie: 2 cups spinach, 1 cup water, 2 tbls hulled hemp seeds, 1 small semi-frozen green tipped banana, fresh mint 
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree with a small avocado and some chicken breast
  •  Raw Zucchini Noodles w/ Clean Pesto & Mahi Mahi

Day 7
Turkey burger & brussel sprouts
  • Green-tipped banana with 1.5tbls sunbutter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree with macadamia nuts & 1/4 tsp or raw cacao

* I use a semi-frozen banana because it is easier to blend in. To do this, I either take a frozen one of the freezer and hour prior or put a fresh one in the freezer an hour prior to making my smoothie. Green-tipped is due to the amount of sugar. The more ripe a banana becomes, the more sugar it will contain. More information on sugar in bananas here.

** Caffeine is 'allowed' on the 21-Day Sugar Detox AND contrary to popular belief, espresso contains less caffeine than regular coffee

*** Recipe for the Hazelnut flour bread is not posted as it was not 'blog worthy,' still experimenting with this one ;) 

**** Ingredients: Chicken, Water. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Evaporated Cane Syrup, Salt, Spices, Sage. Meat with small amounts of sugar are allowed in the 21-Day Sugar Detox:

"These are allowed on The 21-Day Sugar Detox. Since the purpose of the detox is to remove most sweet tasting and dense-carb sources from your regular diet, these foods are fine for the 21 days..."

Additional thoughts...

What I liked about the 21-Day Sugar Detox this week...
  • I didn't have cravings for sugar. Not even fruit. Odd? 
  • Overall, I felt pretty good all week 
  • It was easier than I had anticipated 
What I disliked about the 21-Day Sugar Detox this week... 
  • I had a wicked headache on and off for the first 5 days. this is apparently common. "A headache is most common on days 2-5 when your body is adjusting to the fact that you’re no longer feeding it a constant stream of sugar in the form of dense or refined carbohydrates. Remember to drink plenty of water and eat protein and fat-rich meals." 
  • I did feel a bit more tired than usual 
  • It's difficult to bake without honey or maple syrup! 
  • For the first time in a long time, I had a hard time gauging my hunger ('normal' side effect)
  • I was insanely thirsty (another side-effect deemed normal) 
  • Any sort of processed meat makes me feel ick. Out of desperation for protein, I had the Applegate breakfast sausages. Something that I had eliminated out of my diet prior due to it being processed. My body just does not like that type of food. I don't know if it's the processed aspect or the heating aspect. But, I'll have to find another solution to protein. Fresh good protein.

Stay tuned for week two...



  1. I personally get a lot of gut trouble from chocolate (and cacao) nuts (phytates), and caffeine. Have you tried cutting those out?

    1. Hi Christine,

      I have tried to cut out all forms of chocolate and caffeine in the past and it did not improve my symptoms or relieve them. So, I was just very grumpy. LOL. Nuts are my next trial. I have been trying to be very aware of the amount of nuts that I am eating at the kind. Making sure that I am not over doing it on one particular nut (i.e. if I eat some almonds in the morning, have some macadamia later). Ideally, I wouldn't be eating any type of nut more than once a day. After the detox and I get back to eating whole fruits for a while, I will experiment with no nuts.