21-Day Sugar Detox

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Stacy of Paleo Parents posted her experience with the 21-Day Sugar Detox this week and I was inspired – I identify with the feelings of inflammation and sluggishness, especially since recovering from a virus.  So I joined one of her Facebook threads, commenting:

Thanks for sharing, Stacy! I’m going to do this too, starting tomorrow! I just bought my copy to get me re-focused in the next few weeks. I need a jump-start. Just recovered from a virus and everything seems to be bothering me – the inflammation is palpable. …And the (natural) sugars have been creeping back in too. Bone broth and probiotics alone just aren’t doing it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way without being glutened and I’m not sure what’s up.  I speculate it’s the natural sugars that have been creeping back into my life with the winter holidays.   While I’ve tried to leave it alone, that sugar is sneaky stuff!

So I decided to put it in writing – out in public where it becomes real.
No sneaky cheats, and I’m accountable to more than just my own conscience.

Eliminating sugar from my diet was the HARDEST part of my journey to health.  Giving up grains and dairy was far easier.  As a sugar addict, I had the dreaded Candida Albicans yeast sending messages to my brain to feed it.  Once it’s embedded in the body, it has the potential to reestablish (overgrown) colonies.  Coconut oil and Caprylic Acid were my secret weapons in the war against candida, and they will once again be my best friends.

But I know it’s more than just the candida.  It’s the rediscovered love of sweetness and habit.  I went for many months without a twinge of sugar love and I was happy.  I want the happy back.  The taste of sugar is not worth the inflammation in the joints, skin and insides.  So here we go!  I will be doing the Level 3 program with adjustments for autoimmunity, just like Stacy.  No nightshades or egg whites, and minimal nut products.

I’ll keep you all posted on the progress.  Wish me luck!


24 thoughts on “21-Day Sugar Detox

  1. pprinkkila Post author

    Today is Day 21. I made it, more or less sugar-free. Looking back on the past three weeks, a few things learned: (1) I was definitely consuming far too much honey and high-sugar dried fruits over the holidays. (2) I need veggie or unripe banana carbs to avoid feeling hypothyroid. (3) A week or so off of sugars can reset the taste buds and kill cravings.

    I highly recommend everyone do this periodically.
    It’s just too easy for that destructive Sugar Love to sneak up on us!

  2. Pingback: Wrapping Up the 21-Day Sugar Detox | Pamela's Paleo Life

  3. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 20 – One day left. Looking back on the past three weeks, I learned a few things: (1) I was definitely consuming far too much honey and high-sugar dried fruit. (2) I need veggie carbs and glucose from bananas or I get tired and feel hypothyroid. and (3) A week or so off of sugars can reset the taste buds and kill cravings.

  4. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 18 – Yesterday I went out to eat for the first time during the 21DSD. We went to one of my favorite GF-friendly places: P.F. Chang’s. I LOVE their Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, and ate some of both. Today I woke up tired. Just dragging and depleted. And bloated. Yuk. Although I had fun with my friends, I am seriously regretting my food choices. The sugars and gluten-free starches in the dishes were just too much. Lesson learned.

    Oh yeah, and that piece of chocolate coconut caveman crack probably didn’t help. My bad.

  5. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 17 – So, I made it more than two whole weeks without ANY fructose! I tried a slice of Gala apple yesterday and was shocked at how sweet it tasted – much too sweet, actually. Also had some freeze-dried tart cherries, raspberries and green apples (Fruit Munchies) and found those to be quite sour by contrast. NOT what I expected at all.

    I must confess that today I ate something that tasted very sweet: a chocolate coconut caveman bar (homemade version of CLIF Kit’s Organic). I was craving chocolate so badly. [I’m blaming hormones. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.] As I was making my son’s lunch, it got the best of me. I really enjoyed it for what it was – a rare treat. These contain dates, almond flour, cocoa, Cacao Bliss coconut butter and coconut oil. Well, back on the wagon for the rest of the Detox through Sunday…

    In the 21DSD FAQ podcast, Diane explains why we are only allowed a green apple or green-tipped banana on the Detox: it has to do with breaking the habit of sweet taste. Your taste buds really adjust quickly to changes in diet. After no sugars (except not-quite-ripe bananas) for more than two weeks, carrots and onions taste very sweet to me. That Gala apple just about blew me away with super-sweetness. I do not plan on acclimating my taste buds to honey, sugar or dried fruits like dates after the 21 days are up. That would defeat the purpose, after all!

  6. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 16 – Five more days to completion. I have successfully reestablished the habit of sugar-avoidance. No more Sugar Love here. And with the exception of Valentine’s Day (which is my 14th Wedding Anniversary) I plan to continue nearly honey and fruit sugar-free, and of course avoid alcohol and cane sugar pretty much altogether.

    Researched a bit more about why I was suddenly so tired and had an absolutely uncontrollable craving for bananas the other day. According to a post at Paleo for Women (http://www.paleoforwomen.com/carbohydrates-for-fertility-and-health/) it turns out that eating very low carb can make some women feel hypothyroid – which I already am due to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Not consuming adequate carbohydrate can make a woman’s body shift into starvation mode:

    “The more of these restrictions a woman undertakes at once, the more and more her body reads this as living in a starved, stressed state. The results are significant. Her adrenals fire heavily, her liver gets tired from performing so much gluconeogenesis, her insulin sensitivity drops, her body fat levels fluctuate, her leptin signalling gets off, she stops sleeping soundly, and she stops menstruating regularly.”

    While I was definitely eating too much honey and high-sugar fruits over the holidays, a full two weeks at very low carb levels may have been too much stress. I have therefore allowed myself to eat more bananas (green-tipped, though!) and plan to reintroduce some apples and a small amount of “safe” starches in the form of sweet potato to keep me balanced.

  7. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 15 – Not sure what happened yesterday, but I seem to be back to normal today.
    Had a little leftover boeuf burguignon and tea for breakfast and no snacking between meals.

    The sun is out today, which makes me happy. This dark, gloomy weather has made me so tired.

    Stopped at the Minnetonka Lakewinds Co-Op instead of Chanhassen today. Found some really lovely slow-cured Italian-style salamis. Well-seasoned and chewy – I’m not sure which of the two varieties I like more!

  8. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 14 – Two whole weeks completed! It’s been a rollercoaster ride in that the cravings for sweetness have gone up and down. Some days I don’t even think about it, finding that carrots are tasting might sweet and that’s enough. OTHER days, not so much…

    Today is one of those days. *sigh* Two weeks into a sugar detox, I have this inexplicable desire for sweet food. This morning I just HAD to have banana. Period. And not just one – I ate TWO big bananas. And they were glorious. Mmm…

    I am also craving dark chocolate and other fruits, but I refuse to give in any further. Thank goodness my banana gorge-fest took the edge off and gave me strength to resist the rest. At this point in time I’m quite sure I’ve contained any candida overgrowth, so I’m confused as to why the craving is so strong. I’m blaming it on hormones. That seems to be a good catch-all when other explanations fail.

    It’s Superbowl Sunday, but we are not joining in on the junk food fest that goes with the event. I’ll be preparing some boeuf bourguignon with the last 2 chuck roasts in the old beef bundle and already have some nummy chicken liver pate in the fridge to be served with sliced cucumbers.

  9. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 13 – Was thinking I’m eating an awful lot today, until I reviewed my food log. I did eat frequently – but very small amounts. Just goes to show how important it is to track food consumption when embarking on this journey. Good advice.

    Abel James posted a picture of George’s Best Ever Banana Bread on Facebook today, and you KNOW I just had to go bake one too! Just couldn’t help myself…

    Thank goodness it’s 21DSD compliant!!

  10. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 12 – Felt a bit creaky with digestive upset this morning. As I reintroduced macadamia nuts yesterday, I suspect they are the culprits. *sigh* Dang, I love those macadamias…

    Drinking lots of Cinnamon Chai today as the weather is COLD! -13F temp with -25F windchill is enough to freeze you in place. It is typical MN Winter, but even we are not used to this with the milder weather we’ve had these past two years. Working in a cup or two of Yogi DeTox tea.

    I just really want to hibernate until Spring!

  11. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 11 – Adding Yogi Detox tea and clay face masks to the mix.

    Caught myself just before eating an apple slice while making my son’s lunch. Oops!

  12. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 8 – Much improved today. I am convinced I was experiencing Candida Die-Off a.k.a. Herxheimer Effect as part of my Sugar Detox.

    When yeast cells are rapidly killed, a die-off (or Herxheimer reaction) occurs and metabolic by-products are released into the body. The Candida yeast cells actually release 79 different toxins when they die, including ethanol and acetaldehyde.

    Acetaldehyde in particular has a whole host of detrimental effects on your health and wellbeing. It can impair your brain function and even kill brain cells. Your endocrine, immune and respiratory systems can all be affected, and it also damages the membranes of your red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen round the body. Again this directly affects your brain, so you can see how acetaldehyde is linked to Candida symptoms like brain fog and fatigue. These by-products also cause allergic reactions and inflammation that lead to an array of undesirable symptoms.

    Candida Die-Off symptoms will vary from person to person, as each will have different degrees of infestation. If you are having severe Die-Off symptoms, slow down your treatment and reduce your dosage of probiotics and antifungals. The liver is your main pathway for eliminating toxins, and the Die-Off symptoms mean that it is being overwhelmed.

    Here is a list of some of the symptoms you might experience during a die-off (otherwise known as a Herxheimer reaction).
    Headache, fatigue, dizziness
    Swollen glands
    Bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea
    Increased joint or muscle pain
    Elevated heart rate
    Chills, cold feeling in your extremities
    Body itchiness, hives or rashes
    Skin breakouts
    Recurring vaginal, prostate and sinus infections

    Today is my first day without any bananas. We had a winter storm and I didn’t venture out to get groceries – so no bananas. Probably a good thing! Cinnamon Chai to the rescue…

  13. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 7 – Well, I spoke too soon. Must be going through another round of detox ’cause I’m cranky, sore and breaking out on my face again. Grr! Well, it is a process… *sigh*

    I tried Oil Pulling for the first time this morning, and it was an interesting experience. Traditional Ayurvedic practitioners have used this technique for generations for improved oral health, with whole-body benefits.

    Per the book Oil Pulling Therapy by Bruce Fife, I used coconut oil flavored with peppermint to swish my mouth. Once the coconut oil melted, I was able to work it around easily. I had to spit it out and start over 3 times though, as it was a little overwhelming. Bruce explains why in his book. 😉

    Overall, my mouth felt cleaner and fresher. Given the benefits outlined in the book, I’m going to give it a go and see if it does what they claim. I would like that!

  14. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 6 – I have noticed that my coordination has improved greatly this week.

    Cinnamon has definitely been my friend! Lots of Cinnamon Coconut Milk and Teavana Maharaja Chai Oolong tea provided that yummy hot cinnamon bite that doesn’t need sugar.

    The benefits of cinnamon include anti-fungal properties – exactly what we need when battling sugar addiction! “Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon as a superpower used to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps and also believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation.” It is also known as a powerful anti-inflammatory.

    I just love the taste!

  15. Pingback: Day 5 of 21-Day Sugar Detox | Pamela's Paleo Life

  16. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 5 – Still subzero temps here in MN, so I went to the Mall of America to get in a walk of almost 3 miles. It’s better than nothing!

    I am also revamping my skin care per Liz Wolfe’s SKINtervention program (other half of Balanced Bites). While at MOA, I picked up (gluten-free) bare minerals foundation in a lighter shade as I realized yesterday while examining my skin that that I have faded dramatically (the summer tan is GONE) since purchasing the last compact. Much better.

    Brain was occupied preparing for a job interview this afternoon, so food was not on my mind. Sugar cravings have been killed. Haven’t taken any Capryl in 2 days.

  17. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 4 – Feeling better. Congestion and inflammation is going down, as is my appetite and food consumption.

    Delighted to find that George’s Banana Bread recipe is 21DSD compliant!
    The 21DSDPinterest post said to control yourself and eat no more than 1/4 loaf (=1 banana)
    which is not a problem because it is SO filling. THANK YOU George Bryant!

  18. pprinkkila Post author

    Day 3 – I am keeping busy with an outside meeting and errands. Keeping busy will definitely distract you from your cravings. Tried some thick-cut bacon for the first time, and it’s a keeper!


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