The 21 Day Sugar Detox: Completed!

I finished!  I can’t say I loved the program, but I’m glad I did it.  My biggest takeaway was “Sugar Awareness.”
Awareness that there’s a lot of sugar in a lot of foods.  The main reason the diet plan is primarily vegetables and meat is because they don’t have much in the way of natural sugars.  Which is a good way to eat until you start adding dressings, marinades, sauces, etc., especially if they’re store-bought.  If I buy food that has a label on it, I read it.  Being dairy, egg, gluten and soy-free means I have to read labels all the time.  But my eye is trained to look for allergens, not sugar content.  So this program has taught me to take sugar quantity and type into account now too.  For example, every now and then I buy coconut milk yogurt of which there are two kinds at my local health food store – regular and Greek style.  The difference in sugar content between the two?  Regular style has TWICE as much sugar as Greek style.  22g vs. 11g is a big difference in my opinion and I don’t feel slamming my system with 22 grams of sugar first thing in the morning is the wisest choice, so we’re going Greek from here on out.  Bottom line: read labels and determine if the amount and type of sugar listed is what you want to put in your system.
Another thing I learned while doing this detox is that I don’t care for the Paleo diet.  I mentioned here that the provided meal plans are primarily Paleo and I wasn’t a big fan at that point (Week 2).  After the full 21 days, I can definitely say I won’t be incorporating a Paleo diet into our lives.  Like I mentioned before, it’s fine for some people, but it doesn’t work for me.  I can’t be convinced to eat that much animal protein when there are other protein sources that are perfectly healthy to consume.  To each their own!
So, did I gorge on chocolate and carbs on Day 22 like I thought I would?  Nope.  Surprising, since I had these bad boys waiting for me…
During Week 2, hubby was in Norway and before he left, I told him to make sure he brought me back some chocolate.  The awesome thing about these?  They’re vegan! (And non-GMO, which is a bonus.)  Do you know how difficult it can be to find chocolate that doesn’t have some form of milk in it?  Sometimes even dark chocolate has milk derivative(s) added.  Anyway, I was excited to try these, but still had a week to go on the detox.  I thought for sure I’d have gone officially crazy by the end of the 21 days from too much meat & too little happy foods, and would end up eating all carbs or sweets in sight.  But I did good.  I only had one square of chocolate on Day 22.  As for other sugars, anything else I consumed that day was in the form of natural sugars.  We aren’t generally stocked with cookies, breads, or even much fruit so there wasn’t much in the way of sugars for me to even eat.  And since the completion of the detox about a week ago, I’ve noticed my sugar cravings have dramatically decreased.  I see those chocolate bars in the pantry, but I rarely reach for them.  Hubby & I went out to dinner right after I completed the detox and he offered to buy me a cupcake for dessert, but I didn’t want one (which is the first time I’ve ever turned down a cupcake!).
But I feel I should confess to another slip-up.  I confessed here to my earlier tiny sugar cheat, so I’ll confess again: I had corn chips at a beach BBQ.  I don’t even really like them and I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually bought any.  But they were there, I was tired of meat and vegetables, and I was close to the end of the program.  I didn’t feel guilty then, and I don’t feel guilty now, but chips have always been one of those foods that I purposely don’t buy because I’m a snacker and have a hard time stopping at just a few.  So my rule is that if we go somewhere and chips are available, I can have as many as I want.  If 95% of the time I never have chips, then I’m going to enjoy that 5% 🙂
Do I recommend the program?  If you think it’s something that would be beneficial to you – you know you’re addicted to sugar, or want to find out if your body is without you realizing, and you’re relatively healthy (if you have health issues, research or discuss with a doctor first to decide if this is something you should do), and you’re not endurance training – then absolutely give it a try.  There are 3 levels to choose from, some more forgiving than others and the book provides a short quiz that will help you determine which level is best for you.
Advice if you do the detox:
  • Be prepared for your body to go through an adjustment.
  • Take the time to do the shopping and as much food prep ahead of time as you can.  When you have a hunger headache, or feel like you have the flu, the last thing you want to do is be in the kitchen for a long time making a snack from scratch.
  • Play around with the meal plans to suit your taste and be prepared to be in the kitchen a lot.
  • Eat some starches if your body is telling you to (squash did wonders for me the two times I had it).
  • Don’t feel bad if you cheat, but keep cheating to a minimum.
  • Only weigh and/or measure on Days 0 and 22, not during the detox.  It’s not a weight loss diet, but there is potential to lose.
Speaking of losing, I lost 4.5 pounds and 2.5″ total.  More than I was expecting, and I’ll take it!  I think it was all “sugar weight” anyway courtesy of my sweet tooth 🙂
If you’re interested in the program, check out the author’s website.  She provides a lot of info that could help you make the decision about whether this detox is right for you.  FYI, I’m not being compensated in any way for these posts.  I bought the book on my own and decided to do blog updates as a way to keep record for myself, and to possibly raise a little awareness in the meantime. 🙂
Cheers to health!

21 Day Sugar Detox: Week 2 Recap

I actually finished up Week 2 a few days ago, so here’s my late recap on how it went:
Day 8:  Woke up hungry, but not nearly as bad as the previous week.  Craved bread big time.  The Beef & Broccoli recipe was really good.  Our cat agrees as he was willing to stand on a warm stovetop in order to eat the steak out of the pan.  Thankfully we had already served ourselves.
Day 9:  Felt okay overall, but a little tired.  Tired of having to make snacks so I craved ready-made snacks, especially chips!  Made the Herb Drop Biscuit recipe to satisfy the still-present bread craving.
Day 10:  Turning point of the program for me!  Woke up feeling good, not hungry, not tired.  I think my blood sugar levels officially evened out to where they could handle the overnight fast.
Day 11:  Felt good, but needed to eat every couple hours to prevent a “crash.”
Day 12:  Made sunflower seed butter from scratch, which was pretty good.  Discovered I can only tolerate small amounts though.
Day 13:  Needed to snack less, not as hungry throughout the day.
Day 14:  Lots of cravings and really tired of cooking for every meal, but feeling good.
Thoughts:  My main takeaway from Week 2 is that I’ve decided the diet portion of this program has way too much meat.  I’ve mentioned the diet is primarily Paleo, and it’s just not for me.  I know some people love Paleo, but I can’t see a reason to have meat be my primary source of protein at every single meal.  I’m looking forward to introducing other non-soy, non-meat protein sources back into my diet when I’ve finished the detox.  There were days where I felt I needed to detox from meat, so Week 2 lunches often consisted of vegetables and salads.
So happy about Day 10 – the turning point!  The author suggested that Days 7-10 were when most people started to feel better and it was true for me.  Since then, I’ve felt fine every day.  The first week was rough, so I’m definitely happy to be beyond that part of the program.
Like I said, I’m behind in sharing my recap, and I actually finish the program this coming Sunday so I’ll be posting my final recap soon.  Very much looking forward to saying that I completed The 21 Day Sugar Detox!

21 Day Sugar Detox: Week 1 Recap

Here’s a rundown of what I experienced during Days 1-7 on Level 2 of The 21 Day Sugar Detox
Day 1:  Headache kicked in late afternoon.  Particularly enjoyed dinner of mustard glazed chicken and roasted golden beets.  Two thumbs up from hubby too, so that’s a recipe we’ll use again even after the detox.
Day 2:  Woke up super hungry and had a headache all day long.  Didn’t care for the breakfast veggie hash or shepherd’s pie recipes, so kind of a downer day for food.
Day 3:  Hungry and a little shaky first thing in the morning.  Headache was mild in the morning, but came back to previous days level in the afternoon.  We had dinner at a friend’s house and it was challenging to find something to eat.  I’m sure I inadvertently ate something on the “no” list.
Day 4:  Hungry and shaky again in the morning, plus the addition of a new symptom – muscle fatigue.  So-so food day…nothing really stood out as amazing or terrible.
Day 5:  Woke up hungry again and felt like I had the flu – shaky, winded, muscle fatigue.  By late morning, I was feeling better, but remained tired all day.  The olive and caper tapenade recipe to go with our salmon dinner was really good – another keeper.
Day 6:  Worst morning so far.  Felt awful – shaky, weak, exhausted.  I didn’t wake up crazy hungry though so that was a plus and eventually felt better by late afternoon.  Part of breakfast was half a grapefruit and I could tell my taste buds were starting to change because that half actually tasted much less tart than the other half I had eaten on Day 4.  We had dinner at my in-laws and the natural sweetness of roasted butternut squash was amazing after not having anything sweet for 6 days.
Day 7:  Felt less hungry than any previous day upon waking and flu-like symptoms had mostly subsided.  Felt pretty good throughout the day until late night when the consumption of almonds, almond milk, and almond meal caught up with me.  As far as food sensitivities go, they’re a “moderate” for me so I do best if I only eat or drink almond products once or twice a week.  I had been so focused on feeling sick over the course of the week, I didn’t realize just how much almond product I had consumed.  But lesson (re)learned on almonds!


Level 2:  No sugar, sweeteners, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, caffeine, alcohol.  The only fruit allowed is under-ripe bananas, grapefruit, and green apples.  Nuts are okay, except for peanuts and cashews.  Since the diet is primarily Paleo, eggs are allowed, but they are considered a “high” food sensitivity for me so I’m egg-free and had to modify a lot for breakfast meals.


Slip-ups:  Only 1 so far – I ate a mint without thinking.  And I don’t care.  The 1g of sugar from that mint isn’t going to do any damage.  Plus, it was just about the best mint I’ve ever had – I’m pretty sure my taste buds registered it as 3 times as sweet as normal.
Thoughts:  I was surprised by my symptoms…I expected headaches, but not the flu-like symptoms even though the book warned about that.  I’ve gotten the hang of the author’s menu planning so I’m able to make up my own meal if a particular day calls for something I don’t like.  Day 7 was definitely the turning point for me.  The book says that most people start feeling better somewhere in Days 7-10.  One thing I found to be interesting timing is that the day I started feeling better was also the day the sweet cravings set in.  Hubby was really good about encouraging me when I’d start to complain or say I thought I might be dying.  He’s the best.  But he did eat sweets during the week…in front of me…so he’s also not the best.  I’ll forgive him though…eventually…like in 2 weeks when I can have sweets again.
Now on to Week 2!!

dōTERRA Series: Essential Oil Flavored Ice Cream

Over 4th of July weekend we had family in town, so I thought it would be the perfect time to experiment with something I’ve wanted to do for a while – flavor homemade ice cream with essential oils!  There are so many combinations I’ve thought up, but I narrowed it down to 3 oils for this go-around: Cassia, Lavender, and Peppermint.
I started by making a double batch of this super easy 3-ingredient vegan chocolate ice cream recipe, then separated it into 3 different containers, leaving a couple scoops set aside just in case I overdid it with the oils.  A little goes a long way with essential oils, so when using them to flavor food, it’s recommended to dip a toothpick into the oils, then stir into food.  You can do this as many times as necessary until desired flavor is reached, but make sure to use a new, clean toothpick each time.  Because the ice cream was melting and we were all anxious to eat, I eventually just tapped out 1 drop of each into their respective containers.  That worked fine for the Cassia and Peppermint, but it was way too strong for the Lavender.  Using the reserved ice cream, I added some into the Lavender mixture until the flavors were balanced.  So here’s the consensus from the five people who tried it…
#3: Chocolate Lavender – Pretty good, but also pretty floral.  If you’ve never experienced Lavender flavoring in food or drink before, you might be surprised at the flavor.  If you achieve a good balance between the chocolate and Lavender, it can be very good, but it seemed to be a fine line.  At the very least, it’s unique and something worth trying!
#2: Chocolate Peppermint – An obvious flavor combination so it was no surprise that it was good.  The Peppermint was refreshing in this rich ice cream.  It tasted just as you would imagine chocolate and Peppermint to taste, although not quite as good as a York patty (yum!) in my opinion.
#1: Chocolate Cassia – This ended up being a surprise favorite.  My sister said it reminded her of a Mexican Mocha – that’s a good thing!  Cassia is very similar to Cinnamon and although strong itself, it tends to be milder than Cinnamon.  Aside from tasting and smelling good, Cassia is also known to help promote healthy digestion, so it’s a good one to add to food!  Sweet chocolate with spicy Cassia made for a great combination – I definitely recommend it!
If only making one batch of flavored ice cream, you would want to add the oil(s) to taste before pouring into your ice cream maker.  Or if you do add oils afterwards like I did, I would recommend re-freezing the ice cream before eating as air temp and stirring can cause the ice cream to soften more than you may like.
Other flavor combos I plan on trying in the future:  Coconut Lime, Wild Orange & Vanilla, Honey Lavender, Lemon-Lime Sorbet…so many options!
Important Note:  Always be sure to use essential oils that are labeled as safe to ingest.  dōTERRA has gone through the FDA process to determine if an oil can be considered a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) ingredient to be used as a food additive.  Each bottle of dōTERRA oil states whether it is for aromatic, topical or dietary use.  Those that can be used for dietary use will also have the Supplement Facts info on the bottle.  Please use caution with other brands of essential oils and take the time to find out if they are safe for consumption before using.
If you wish to purchase any of the oils mentioned, you can find them here!

Gluten-Free, Vegan Donuts

Being gluten, dairy and egg-free makes it difficult to find donuts (or any baked goods!) that I can actually eat.  Before eating free of those ingredients, donuts were one of those fun treats that we would indulge in once or twice a year.  If they weren’t so unhealthy, I would have had them way more often!  Several months back, I had such a craving for donuts that my husband went to the store and came back with a box of frozen gluten-free donuts, but they contained egg and tasted like they were frozen donuts.  So I was really excited when I came across this recipe from Fork and Beans.  I already had all the ingredients, so I tested it out this weekend.
I don’t have a donut pan so I used a mini muffin pan, making an indenture in the center of each dollop of batter so it would bake evenly (same concept as burger patties).  It was an easy batter to mix up, especially if you’re used to gluten-free recipes that call for multiple flours and starches.  The bake time was short at 8-9 minutes, but you do have to wait for them to cool before coating.  I opted to make three different coatings – chocolate, powdered sugar and cinnamon powdered sugar.  Surprisingly, the plain powdered sugar ended up being my favorite.  The chocolate was a bit too rich and was my least favorite, but that could be because I was expecting it to taste like Hostess donettes chocolate frosting, and melted chocolate chips just don’t taste as good.  The instructions call to dip the donuts in melted non-dairy butter before coating with powdered sugar.  In my opinion, that took away from the sweetness of the powdered sugar, so I would try melted coconut oil next time.  The donuts themselves were pretty good, but not as light and fluffy as I would have like them to be.  If I were to make them again, I would try using white instead of brown rice flour in an effort to lighten up the dough.
Overall, the donuts were pretty good.  Not something I’d make often because it’s still an unhealthy treat, but it is a good recipe to file away for the next time I have a donut craving.  And as you can see, they’re literally finger licking good!