Hi, my name is Valerie, and I have a sweet tooth.
A BIG sweet tooth.
There is no doubt about it; I am a comfort eater. And sweets are my biggest weakness. Chocolate, jelly beans, Quinn Candy chews, cocomels, sugary, bready (gluten-free) anything; and gummy bears and peanut M&M's are my Kryptonite. And, I can never get enough of it.
Don't even get me started on FroYo, prosecco, and a darn good ole' fashion Sidecar.
I know.. I know! It's bad for me.
I know I can easily consume over the daily recommended 50g, and I know that can lead to health problems, tooth decay, and physical discomfort, among other issues.
Yet sugar tastes nostalgic. It taste like the ice cream truck jingling down the street of my childhood home; snuggling up with cocoa topped with marshmallows in the winter; making gooey cookies with my younger brother; the taste of my grandmother's decadent flan; like the spiked Mexican eggnog my cousins and I would sneak sips from when we were young. It tastes like cups of Pinkberry fully loaded with rainbow sprinkles, and like the wine glasses I was throwing back the numerous visits to wine country. (Hey, when Napa is a quick hour away, your summers will be filled with wine country visits!) It tastes like pure bliss, and I love it.
It's a problem though.
I think many people associate sugar with cookies and cakes and whatnot, but what people might not realize is sugar is hidden in 74% of packaged foods. This includes bread, pasta sauces, dressings, low-fat, fat-free anything, etc.
You've probably heard that quitting sugar is the next big thing. It's been all the rage on social media. And last month I tried a 7-day sugar detox with my friend Rachel, aka @JustDimpletIt. Mind you; I was also on vacation that week. Shockingly, it was super easy. The hardest part was fighting the peer pressure to drink. I survived my one week without sugar and survived. The craving to eat sweets weren't there. I give credit to the sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of Puerto Rico for the nice distraction.
Well, we are doing it again this month, and we are starting tomorrow!
If you’ve never done a detox before, you may even be a little wary about what to expect. There are plenty of good things about giving up sugar for a week, like using wholesome, all natural foods to provide the body with plenty of nutrients while on the detox.
There are also some parts of it that are a little iffy, like the claim that it will cleanse you of excess candida. Here are 10 important items you should consider so that you have a better understanding of what to expect, and what it all entails…
Cutting cold turkey.. sorta'
Stop all forms of sugar, all flour products, and all artificial sweeteners. These things cause increased cravings and slow metabolism and lead to fat storage.
Detox your kitchen pantry and fridge
When you quit sugar, the first thing you detox is your kitchen pantry and fridge. Get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names). Ideally, for the next 7-days, you'll avoid any foods that come in box, package or a can or that have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food. Basically, anything that lives in the middle of the grocery store is off limits!
Know What To Cut
For 7-days, skip carbohydrates like wheat and other grains, alcohol, and all forms of added sugar. (Watch out for sneaky sources like tomato-based sauces, salad dressings, and marinades.)
Fuel Up With Protein
Protein at every meal, especially breakfast, is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin and cutting cravings. Start the day with whole farm eggs or a protein shake. Because I can't have eggs, I personally love avocado, smoked salmon, spinach wrapped in an almond flour tortilla. A serving size is 4-6 ounces or the size of your palm.
Eliminate Bad Carbs & Pick The Right Ones
Yes, that’s right. Unlimited carbs. Did you know that vegetables are carbs? And you get to eat as much as you want. Unlimited refills! There is only one catch. Eat an unlimited amount of non-starchy veggies such as greens, the broccoli family (cauliflower, kale, collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, spinach, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, peppers, etc. What’s out are potatoes, winter squash, and beets for the next 7 days. Keep sweet potatoes to the minimum and on days your workout. Also, skip grains and beans for. It supercharges the results, so you lose weight and feel great.
Replace Sugar With The Right Kind Of Fat.
Fat is not a four-letter word. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar and is necessary for fueling your cells. Along with protein, have good fats at every meal and snack including nuts and seeds (which also contain protein), extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados, and omega-3 fats from fish. This will also help you feel satiated a lot longer.
Swap Distress With De-stress
If you're an emotional eater like myself, exchange distress for ways to de-stress. When you are stressed, your hormones go crazy. Cortisol levels go up which makes you hungry, causes belly fat storage and leads to type 2 diabetes. Studies show that taking deep breaths activates a special nerve, called the vagus nerve, which shifts your metabolism from fat storage to fat burning and quickly moves you out of the stress state. And all you have to do is take a deep breath. Find activities to help you keep distracted like yoga or pilates.
Foods to Avoid for a Sugar Detox
To help you have a successful plan, we have compiled a sugar detox food list of foods to avoid eating. Once the no-sugar days are completed, you can gradually introduce foods with natural sugar such as raw honey and fruit.
Go dry by dumping all alcoholic products including wine, beer, and spirits.
All condiments such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, mayonnaise, vinegar, salad dressings, and barbecue sauce are strictly prohibited.
Eliminate all fat products such as trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and those foods that are fried.
Toss out all those dairy products, including milk, buttermilk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter, and Kefir.
You will have to cut out most fruits, fruit juice, and dried fruit, with the exception of lemon, lime, avocado, and Goji berries. A granny apple or a green-tipped banana is allowed once a day.
All grains such as bread, rice, noodles, cereal, wheat, barley, flour, oatmeal, millet, buckwheat, pasta, and tortillas are forbidden.
Most processed meats such as deli slices, sausage, and beef jerky are also off limits for the sugar detox.
No surprise here! Get rid of all sweets such as sugar, cane sugar, sucrose, fructose, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, Agave nectar, honey, cane juice, cake, candy, and chocolate, apart from 100% dark chocolate. Stevia and Monk Fruit sweetener are perfectly OK, but don't go crazy with it.
Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, with a moderate amount of grape tomatoes, beets and carrots allowed.
You may be wondering what is left to eat and we have that answer as well.