Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Going Paleo and The 21 Day Sugar Detox: Week 1
A couple of weeks ago I decided to embark on a 21 day journey that, to my carb and sugar loving self, seemed rather daunting. I picked up a copy of The 21 Day Sugar Detox and committed to giving the detox a whole hearted try. I honestly wasn't sure what I would be getting myself into, and I didn't really know what to expect from the program, but the reviews of the book/program on Amazon were pretty glowing so I was hopeful it would be a positive experience. As of today I'm on day 10 of the detox and I have to say, I'm pretty darn impressed!
So, what would make a cupcake lovin' gal suddenly decide to give up her beloved sugar, wheat, and dairy (among so many other foods)? Well, to start, I've been carrying around quite a few extra pounds and they were getting in the way (quite literally, even) of me fully enjoying life. The hubby and I would like to begin trying to start a family later this year and I knew that at my current state a pregnancy would be uncomfortable, in the least. I didn't even want to think about all the potential health problems for myself and a baby that could arise due to my weight. Wanting to start a family was the big push that really got me motivated to lose weight. I made the decision to attempt a Paleo "diet" and to try out Diane Sanfilippo's 21 Day Sugar Detox after having suffered for as long as I can remember with daily "digestive upsets," frequent headaches, constant fatigue, and generally feeling like crap 24/7. My symptoms suggested something in my diet wasn't agreeing with me and I figured eliminating a few common problem foods could do me good.
The 21 Day Sugar Detox book is broken into three parts, the first of which introduces the program and explains how our bodies react to sugar and why it's so beneficial to cut it out of daily diet. I found this pretty fascinating. There was a lot of information that I had read before via various articles and whatnots online, but between this and Diane Sanfilippo's other book, Practical Paleo, I really learned a lot about how our bodies react to certain foods and what the benefits can be of removing them from our daily diet. The general idea of the detox and diet is that by cutting out sugar and bad carbs, the body learns to effectively use and burn fat becoming"fat-adapted."
The second part of the book introduces the three program levels. According to self-quiz in the book to guide readers regarding which program they should follow, I was best suited to try Level 1 of the detox (the most lenient) suited for those who are used to the typical American diet. However, because I would also be following a Paleo "diet" and aimed to not only detox from sugar but also lose weight, I chose to follow Level 3 which was the most restrictive. In accordance with each level, a full 21 day meal plan is provided for those who need a little guidance. I've only used the meal plans as a loose guide, generally making whatever sounds good to me, as long as the recipe only includes ingredients that are allowed in my program.
The last section, which constitutes about half the book, contains over 90 gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and Paleo-friendly recipes which followed the restrictions of the program levels. I've made several of the recipes thus far and I've been really impressed with them! In general they require very few ingredients, minimal work, and taste fantastic.
After familiarizing myself with the program over a few days, I was oddly excited to start my detox. Day 1 was February 3rd and the first week went better than I could have hoped. The book warns that some people may experience cold or flu-like symptoms in the early stage of the detox. I honestly can't comment on that as I was legitimately sick during the first week (an illness that began manifesting itself before I even began the detox, so it wasn't related). Aside from one day during the week when I was seriously craving a cookie and some chicken and dumplings, it was honestly pretty smooth sailing. Even with a house full of candy, and having baked homemade cookies for my husband and some company, I resisted all urges and didn't consume as much as a crumb of any "cheat" food.
The results? I feel fantastic! I haven't experienced any "digestive upsets" since I began the detox and since I've gotten over my cough, I haven't had a single headache and have had quite a bit more energy than normal. In addition to following the detox, I exercised a little the first week, walking on the threadmill for about 40 minutes four times in the week. While the program doesn't recommend weighing yourself during the 21 days (only once before and after), I couldn't help but check my progress. I mean, if I'm avoiding all my favorite foods I want to see some results to encourage me. Crazy enough, I lost 13 lbs. during the first week! I realize the weight loss will slow down quite a bit, but seeing so many positive reactions to the detox initially is great encouragement to stay strong and keep it up.
I still have a little less than two weeks left of the detox. I'm curious to see how my body continues to react and what my overall impression will be at the end. My plans have been to use the 21 Day Sugar Detox as a sort of jump start to curb my sugar and carb cravings so that I can continue to follow a more modest Paleo diet while, hopefully, continuing to lose weight.
I've seen some pretty extraordinary success stories of people who have gone Paleo and I find them incredibly motivating. A Hopeful Loser has become a daily read of mine and a huge inspiration. I can't say for certain where I'll go once the detox is over, but I imagine feeling so much better will push me to continue to eat Paleo at least most of the time. I can't picture myself giving up gluten, dairy, and sugar 100%, but I'm definitely a convert that they shouldn't be as much of a fixture in our daily diets as we've made them.
Let me know if you're interested in seeing any Paleo-friendly recipes here on the blog. I'm sure I'll get around to sharing some eventually (several that I have made thus far from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book have been delicious and anyone would love them). However, don't fret, there will still be the occasional cupcake, cookie, etc. as I love baking and I'll never give that up even if I'm not able to partake of all the delicious things that come from my oven.
Follow me on Instagram if you're interested in seeing some of the meals I've enjoyed while on the detox. You may be surprised!
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