In January 2019, I convinced my husband to do a sugar detox with me. The intention was to reset our digestive systems after the holidays and for me to learn what it was like to go through this type of dietary adjustment. I wanted to be able to relate to my clients better once I completed my certification from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. I’ll be honest, it was a challenge, but one I am more than willing to do again.
To guide us through the detox, I purchased Dr. Mark Hyman’s book: The 10-Day Detox Diet. I then created spreadsheets and all sorts of lists for what we would eat, when we would eat, and all the other self-care designed into his program. Reading through the book, I expected any sugar withdrawal symptoms I might have to be mild, lasting a day or two at the most. I felt I ate pretty well and wasn’t consuming too much sugar at the time. Instead, I had five days of fatigue and brain fog while my husband only had three. What I didn’t expect was to have sugar withdrawals coupled with caffeine withdrawals.
Fortunately, by the time day six came around, it started to get a lot better. I had energy again, I could focus, and I was motivated to get out and do things. It was such a relief. Even better, the energy stayed with me continuously throughout each day instead of the usual ebb and flow I had experienced before the detox. By the end, my overall happiness and emotional well-being went up, and my stress level went down. There was a toxicity quiz you could take before and after the detox. My score before was a 47. My score after was a 15! And it only took ten days!
Looking over the recipes I have shared with you in the past, I realized a few of them were inspired by those we ate during the sugar detox. One, in particular, has stuck with us and gets used nearly every week. The Super Salad Bar, shared with you all today, was a lifesaver for us then and now. Even with working from home due to COVID-19, we still make up salads inspired by this recipe. We may not put them in mason jars these days, but we still enjoy the grab-and-go simplicity of having them ready to eat when lunchtime comes around.
My biggest tips to anybody who plans to do a sugar detox (and I firmly believe everyone should try it at least once) are the following:
- Go into it with a plan. Map out the entire ten days beforehand so that you don’t have to think about it when you are in the middle of it.
- Self-care is critical. Your body is adjusting internally to many changes. Taking the time to care for yourself externally is extremely helpful in keeping you motivated. Some ideas include taking a bath, enjoying quiet time with a book, and taking walks in nature.
- Leftovers are your lifesaver. If I could have done anything differently, it would have been making a lot of leftovers so that I didn’t have to cook every night. I love to cook, but by the time we were done, I definitely needed a break.
- Do it with a partner. Whether it’s a friend, your spouse, or a family member, having that support to share in the experience (both good and bad) makes it more manageable and enjoyable.
- Wean off of Caffeine. Take a week to slowly reduce your caffeine intake to zero before starting. Trust me. It’s worth it.
If you are interested in doing your own sugar detox, I recommend checking out the guide I helped create with Empowered Health Institute. The recipes are delicious, and the benefits you gain through self-awareness and overall health are priceless. If you need a partner to help you through it, you can always hire a health coach who’s been there (nudge nudge wink wink).
SUPER SALAD BAR
2 cups Greens, choose one or more:
• Mixed greens
1–2 cups Veggies:
• Any combination of non-starchy vegetables
4–6 oz. Protein (choose one or a mixture of the following):
• Poultry (cage-free or pasture-raised): Chicken, Turkey
• Fish (wild caught): Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, Salmon, Herring
• Other Proteins: Omega-3 Eggs, Tofu, Tempeh
Good fats (choose one):
• ¼–½ avocado
• ¼ cup raw nuts
• ¼ cup raw seeds
Dressing (1 cup total):
● ¾ cup Oil:
○ Extra virgin olive
● ¼ cup Acid:
○ Lemon or lime juice
○ Apple cider vinegar
○ Balsamic vinegar
○ Wine vinegar
- Make dressing by mixing chosen oil and acid at 3:1 ratio. Add avocado or tahini to make it creamy. Store in fridge until ready to add to salad.
- Mix greens, veggies, protein, fat, and 1–2 tbsp dressing in a bowl.
Erika is a Tri-City native and Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. She enjoys sharing the results of her experiments with health and wellness on her blog: erikaslifestylelab.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram: @erikaslifestylelab.
Photo by S'well on Unsplash [https://unsplash.com/@swell]