Tis the season for sweets and I need a sugar detox. There are literally BINS of Halloween Candy laying around my house. Kit Kats and Twix quietly whispering my name from my daughter’s room while she is away at Science Camp. (Make it stop!)
My sugar detox starts today.
A friend reached out to me on Facebook yesterday and asked how she could stop eating sugar. Er…well, I am not a moderation girl. So I told her to quit the only way that I know how to quit anything. COLD TURKEY and one day at a time.
Sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Seriously.
We decided, right there on Facebook messenger, to start a sugar detox and committed to not eating any sugar — just for Tuesday. We agreed that we could eat a Larabar or some delicious dates if we were really desperate. But other than that, NO SUGAR.
It is harder than you might think. Even if you can pass on the fun size Snickers and holiday baked goods with ease, sugar is sneaky. The processed food industry knows the addictive nature of sugar, especially when combined with salt and fat; so it is added to nearly every packaged food. (If you are interested in reading more about “how the food giants have hooked us”, check out the #1 New York Times Bestseller on the topic.)
So Tuesday morning, I grabbed a vegan organic protein bar from my drawer and flipped it over to read the ingredients, praying that it was stevia-sweetened because my post-workout blood-sugar was dropping fast. Past my breakfast time, I could feel the “hangry” coming on and I needed to EAT. But alas, there it was. “Organic cane syrup” was listed in the first five ingredients. Of course.
(Whatever, I ate the bar.)
Here are some of the obvious, and not so obvious reasons to do a sugar detox right now, one day at a time:
- Ditch a few pounds for a healthier Holiday Season.
- Reduce inflammation in the body which means…
- Less pain and stiffness
- Improved mental clarity, mood, and energy levels
- Improved digestive health
- Experimenting with new foods
I know, I know. The HOLIDAYS are coming. Don’t worry! You can take Thanksgiving as a cheat day. Cheat days/meals are important when it comes to a sustainable healthy diet. The secret is to make WAY MORE healthy choices, and then enjoy one naughty treat here and there.
Goal: 80% Nice and 20% Naughty
What are the rules for an impromptu sugar detox? I don’t like rules. Let’s just look at tips and tricks:
- Obvi, say no to sugar, candy, cookies, brownies, cake, soda, etc.
- Be an ingredient detective. Don’t buy/eat anything with ADDED sugar, and be careful of the tricky names (see below).
- Avoid artificial sweeteners which can spike blood sugar and cause cravings.
- Try 100% Stevia (I like the liquid drops) as a sweetener in tea or coffee.
- Eat whole fruit in moderation (especially in cold weather, it cools the body.)
- Eat more protein, it will help with sugar cravings.
- Take it one day at a time. It’s not like you are never going to eat chocolate again.
- Find a buddy. Get accountable with someone and check in every day. You will build community and receive/give support.
- Eat a date dipped in almond butter.
- Avoid refined flours to keep blood sugar levels stable and cravings at bay.
It’s not rocket science. And it is not pseudo science either. The data is clear. Refined sugar consumption has been linked to cancer, degenerative brain disorders, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, headaches, fatigue, nervous tension, aching limbs, diabetes, acne, and violent behavior.
So it seems as though reducing sugar can only be a good thing.
For more compelling data on sugar, check out this Forbe’s infographic.
Remember, sugar by another name is still sugar. Malt syrup, maple syrup, dextrose, maltose, maltodextrin, rice syrup, brown sugar, molasses, honey, sucrose, barley malt, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, raw sugar, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, agave nectar, date honey, date syrup. It is all sugar.
Let’s detox. Shall we?