So, you know how we all promise ourselves each holiday season that we’ll “be good” and not have too many sweets? How many of us can actually raise our hands and say yep, “I stuck to my guns”. Ummm…yah, I would not be able to at all. But seriously, it is the holidays and they only come once a year, so we should be able to indulge just a little bit!
But the last few days before Christmas, I began to notice that my knee was bothering me. While I hadn’t been eating too much sugar (I was on the Alkaline and then the Paleo diet the two weeks leading up to Christmas), something just seemed off. I didn’t think anything of it and kept pushing along in my running training. But come Christmas Day and the day after, I was hobbling and in a lot of pain. What scared me the most was that it wasn’t the knee I had injured 5 years ago.
I spent a good 2-3 days in denial. I didn’t know why it was hurting, but I thought for sure after 3 days off I would be back to normal. Three days passed and I was in worse pain, and I wasn’t even doing anything! I reviewed my training and realized that I had jumped about ten miles from one week to the next earlier in the month due to being sick. So that explained the pain, but I felt like there might be something more.
Then I remembered reading somewhere that sugar could cause inflammation. Like I mentioned earlier, while I wasn’t eating a ton of sugary sweets over the holidays, it was more than my body was used to in a given day or week. Could it be that my body had grown accustomed to not having sugar and when faced with it, just shut down in defeat? I scoured the internet, searching for an article to validate this faint memory. Sure enough, I found an article and decided enough was enough. I needed to detox.
Now, I had already thought about doing a sugar detox the week after New Years, but I hadn’t planned on the urgency of the situation! I doubled my efforts to find recipes that wouldn’t contain any sugar and even decided to cut sugar out of my meals in the days leading up to New Years. I was not putting myself through the pain of dislocating my knee again – especially not the one that was healthy. In addition to resting and cutting sugar, I started a daily workout regime of stretches and strengthening exercises targeting my left leg. It was painful, but I knew it had worked in my physical therapy. It couldn’t hurt.
It worked like magic. I don’t know what part of it did the trick, or maybe it was the combination of everything, but I was able to return to running earlier this week! It was slow and painful, but I just kept telling myself that I was strong and that I could make it – just one foot in front of the other.
Now, did taking two weeks off and only focusing on strengthening my muscles help in this situation? Oh absolutely. I know that had I continued to lay around the house and be mopey about the pain I was in, I would’ve stayed in a funk and been miserable. I was already depressed given my situation with the holidays and then add to it that I wasn’t able to do the one thing that would bring my mood up. Yes, I was a sad panda.
But I know that removing sugar from my diet was a definite plus. I felt more energized as each day passed and I found myself actually being motivated to do things. Even before I was able to get back outside, I noticed a definite shift in my mood. And that made all the difference in the world. So, if you’re struggling with some serious lack of motivation and think it could be due to a sugar-induced coma, keep reading!!
What is a Sugar Detox?
A sugar detox means that for a set amount of time (however long or short you would like), you remove anything with added, unnatural sugar in it. This would be any type of sugar, most starches (especially anything white), most dairy products, and all sweeteners aren’t the ingested. While fruit can be eaten, there are some that should be limited. Check out the infographic below for all the details.
Why do a Sugar Detox?
Ok, so if sugar is found naturally in foods like starches and fruits, why must we detox ourselves? Well, take a look at the list below and tell me how many of those items on the No list you ingest daily. Based on research, we are only supposed to eat a certain number of teaspoons of sugar a day, but society as a whole doesn’t even come close to being in check. Women should eat 5-6 teaspoons of sugar a day; men can have 9 teaspoons. But when a single can of Coca Cola contains 10-15 teaspoons of sugar, you can see how we are surpassing our daily intake! One of the most toxic forms is High Fructose Corn Syrup, which contains a lost of contaminants, including mercury! This lovely syrup is the culprit behind most of our nation’s illnesses: obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancer.
Still wanna eat sugar?
What Can I Eat and Not Eat?
What did you like the most?
I loved that I could have all the fruits that I love, and that I could eat brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. I think pretty much every snack or dessert I had was fruit-based! Also, I don’t usually use sugar in my coffee, but I did slack over the holidays. Surprisingly, I was able to switch back to cinnamon and coconut oil pretty easily. B
What did you dislike?
Not being able to use maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar was frustrating, although I think these are the culprits that got me into this mess to begin with! I rarely use these items because they count as some very precious containers (if you’ve done 21 Day Fix, you know what I’m talking about), but it seemed like every meal over the holidays needed one of this!
What was the most difficult?
Definitely giving up my daily Greek yogurt with fruit. It was on the top of my list of things to eat in this upcoming week!
What did you miss the most?
I really missed having raisins and Greek yogurt. No, not together, but these two were very much missed. I know I shouldn’t eat raisins (since they’re not really natural and hello preservatives), but they go so well with my apples and almonds! And Greek yogurt is may afternoon snack almost every day, so I struggled to get enough proteins in. I wasn’t a fan of eating more eggs or meat.
Tips & Takeaways
- Don’t drink your calories!! One can of soda a day increases a kid’s chance of being obese by 60 percent and a woman’s chance of type 2 diabetes by 80 percent.
- Eat the right carbs AKA non-starch veggies: asparagus, green beans, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, mushrooms
- When you cut sugar, you may wind up experiencing migraines (a lot like caffeine withdrawals). But you don’t have to suffer! Eat a PROTEIN!!
- Start the day with eggs or a protein shake. Use nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat for protein at every meal.
- Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar, and is necessary for fueling your cells!! Be sure to include a good fat with every meal. Some great ideas are nuts and seeds (which also contain protein – woohoo!), extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados, and omega-3 fats from fish
- If you must drink your coffee, substitute the creamer with coconut oil and the sugar with cinnamon!!
If you’re in need of a Sugar Detox, be sure to check out this simple 5-day meal plan!!