Thursday, January 9, 2014

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Thoughts

As I shared yesterday, I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through Diane Sanfilippo's "21 Day Sugar Detox"! I thought I'd share some information and my thoughts on the program so far in case anyone else has been looking at giving something like this a try as well!

What is the 21DSD?
"The 21-Day Sugar Detox is a clear-cut, effective, whole-foods-based nutrition action plan that will reset your body and your habits! By focusing on quality protein, healthy fats, and good carbs, this program will help you change not only the foods you eat, but also your habits around food, and even the way your palate reacts to sweet foods." (taken from the 21DSD website)

Why are you doing the 21DSD?
As I mentioned yesterday, when I found myself on my 8th iced sugar cookie of the day before Christmas, I realized I had a problem.  While I had been maintaining my workouts and eating healthy meals, I found myself snacking way too frequently on sugary holiday treats.  I needed a "reset" for my system! After reading reviews of the 21DSD on a few blogs, I decided to get myself a copy of the book and look into it.  When I realized the program wasn't some crazy "eat only spinach for 21 days" kind of program, and that it actually wouldn't change my diet that drastically, I decided to give it a shot!

What kinds of foods can you NOT eat?
If you know anything about the Paleo lifestyle, the 21DSD is very similar. The program does offer 3 different levels that vary in their restrictiveness. In all levels you can not have ANY sugar or sweeteners - that includes all kinds of sugar, honey, syrup, molasses, and artificial sweeteners (including my beloved Stevia). You also have no refined carbs (think chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, etc.). The plan also limits certain grains (including all gluten), beans, most fruits, and dairy products (depending on the level you choose).

What kind of foods can you eat?
You can eat lots of good food!! Seriously - I have tried a bunch of the recipes in the book so far and they've all been really easy and really delicious. Some plans have you making these crazy complicated things, but Diana does a great job of providing simple foods that still pack a lot of flavor. Basically, the plan includes protein, vegetables (with some limits when it comes to starchy veggies), full fat dairy (if you choose the levels that allow that), some grains (quinoa, rice, and a few others are allowed in limited amounts on some levels), limited fruit (either 1 green banana, 1 green apple, or 1 grapefruit per day), and also most nuts and seeds.  For a sample of what I am eating in a day, see this post!

What's been your experience so far?
Days 3 and 4 were the toughest for me.  On day 3 I felt lightheaded, foggy, and had a little bit of a headache most of the day. I chose to run a 5 mile race on day 4 of the program - not the smartest - and I noticed that it was one of the toughest runs I've had in awhile.  Otherwise, I'm really not (knock on wood) struggling with this at all so far! I haven't had a lot of sugary cravings (with the exception of really wanting a jelly donut for a few days - strange) and haven't felt bad at all.  In fact, I've felt more full and satisfied on this program than I've felt in a long time!

What benefits have there been so far?
Like I just said, I feel full and satisfied on this program. I'm not hungry all the time. The first week, I actually lost 3 pounds! I finally hit 165 on the scale - and I've been hovering around 167-169 for awhile now. Also, I've never played around much with my macros (carbs/protein/fat) and their percentages. I'm finding that my body seems to be loving this ration of higher fat and protein. I am sleeping better, feeling better, and eating some really delicious foods!

How do you fuel for workouts?
One of the things I was most worried about entering these 21 days was fueling for workouts - and specifically for longer runs. On my long runs, once they get over an hour (which is about 7 miles or more), I take fuel with me - dates and dried apricots, both of which are not allowed on the 21DSD. The purpose of fuel during a run is to provide your body with quick energy, so something with a higher sugar content is ideal. I planned to do the 21DSD before I got to my 7+ mile runs in my training plan, so I won't actually have to worry about it.  However, the 21DSD does have a section on energy modifications. Diana gives athletes some extra carbs!! So, on the days that I'm running a little more, I add an extra half cup of mashed sweet potatoes to my food to give me that boost. Otherwise, the plan already provides plenty of energy in the form of good fats and protein!

Overall, I'm loving this so far! The recipes in the book have all been so good that I know I'll make them again, even if I'm not on the 21DSD. It's a totally manageable plan without any crazy restrictions, pills, powders, or potions. In fact, you can't have any of those powders or potions on the plan at all - haha! I'll let you know my final results somewhere around January 21st!

Anyone else doing or have done something like this? Any other questions you guys have about the 21DSD?


  1. I totally devoured this post as I've been eyeing the 21DSD myself! It's so good to hear it's not crazy restrictive, and I'm excited for you and the fact that you're enjoying it! When I did a paleo challenge last year I felt great and I think not having sugar was a big part! Can't wait to give this a try myself. Way to go with sticking to it so well!

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