(created as a guest post for The 21-Day Sugar Detox Blog)
Did I just call the 21-Day Sugar Detox a “little change”? I guess I did. I realize that it’s not a little change for most people tackling 3 weeks of no-sugar eating. But going into this, I was already following the paleo autoimmune protocol, eating very few starchy vegetables and almost no paleo treats. I didn’t feel like my eating was out of control and I didn’t feel like sugar cravings were controlling me. That being said, I was completely in the habit of grabbing a piece of fruit (or two) any time I felt like a little something sweet. I didn’t limit fruit consumption or the types of fruit I ate. So, maybe I was in a little denial about having a sugar problem—because 5 or 6 pieces of fruit per day adds up to quite a bit of sugar! I had known for a while that I was going to have to test what effect this large amount of fruit per day was having on my body and, in particular, my autoimmune disease. The 21 Day Sugar Detox was the perfect experiment.
If you had talked to me during the first week, I would have privately told you that nothing had changed. My skin was doing some funny things, but it wasn’t better. My energy level was about the same. My sleep was about the same. I wasn’t having headaches or carb flu type symptoms, so it didn’t feel like change was around the corner. I was feeling some resentment that I couldn’t just eat those delicious berries or grapes that my kids were eating. And it felt like I was depriving myself for nothing.
And then week two came. I lost a couple of pounds. Bloating that I didn’t even realize was there went away. My skin completely cleared. I started to notice differences in the skin lesions from my autoimmune disease. My sleep seemed deeper. I had more energy during the day. My brain seemed to be working faster. I seemed more productive. And it just kept going into week three. I lost a few more pounds. My clothes started fitting way better (probably more because I wasn’t bloated anymore rather than weight changes, but I’ll still take it!). My skin lesions looked better than they had in months. I felt like everything was coming together. I was seeing dramatic improvement in my health. I felt great.
And then it hit me. What all this amazingness actually meant. I did have a problem with sugar. Sure, I was choosing vitamin-rich whole food sources of sugar, but I was in a cycle of craving, feeding the craving, then craving more. I am healthier when I eat less fruit and more vegetables. Dang. That first week I kept telling myself was that the upside was I wouldn’t have to change anything when I was done with this whole detox thing. Now, I know that I need to be more moderate with my fruit intake.
So, what now? I have relaxed some, but really most days look pretty much like how I ate on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. I’m working on some autoimmune protocol-friendly dessert and treat recipes for my book and notice that on days when I have that extra dessert, I don’t feel very well (for the rest of that day and the next plus then I crave more sugar). I’m looking forward to having these recipes done so there won’t be so many tempting sweet foods in my house, because I really do think these need to be much more occasional treats than how I was eating before. I’m already planning on doing another 21-Day Sugar Detox when the recipes for the book are done.
So, what are great recipes that are both AIP-friendly and 21-Day Sugar Detox-friendly? Actually, most AIP-friendly recipes are automatically 21-Day Sugar Detox-friendly and a quick browse through the AIP Recipe Section of my blog will provide you with lots of great options. And of course, there will be over 100 new recipes in my book. During my detox, I greatly enjoyed eating Egg-Free, Tomato-Free (Hidden Liver) Paleo Meatloaf (made with the suggested AIP-modifications in the recipe and made without the molasses). I also enjoyed Lemon-Dill Poached Salmon and Greek-Inspired Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb.