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After you decide you’re going to detoxify yourself from the harmful effects of sugar, you should take some time to analyze your current diet. How much sugar are you eating each day? How many high-sugar foods do you eat per day instead of eating healthier alternatives because they’re more convenient … or they seem more convenient at the time?
While you’re analyzing the foods you now eat, be thinking about which food changes you could make that would help eliminate sugary snacks and sugar content from your main meals.
Identify where your sugar intake is coming from. Sugar is in so many foods it’s imperative that you know where in your diet you can make changes for the better. For example, ketchup has a lot of sugar – so you can make the swap to low sugar or sugar-free ketchup. You can even make your own no-sugar-added ketchup by using this recipe.
Write It Down
It’s important when preparing to undertake the sugar detox diet that you keep a daily food diary. A food diary can help you see where you might be overlooking a candy bar, soft drink, or other snack that you might mindlessly eat or drink when you’re having a really stressful day.
It’s best to jot the food down in the diary just after you eat it so you can plainly see where sugar might be creeping in during your day. The food diary should include details on nutritional information and all the various ingredients in certain foods that you may not know are there without reading the labels. Also, take note of what you drink – even water.
Include how you’re feeling when you eat or snack during the day. There may be an emotional pattern you can identify within your eating habits. I tend to reach for chocolate more when I’m having a hard day … or when I’m bored. Really, I reach for anything when I’m bored, but that’s when I’m more likely to reach for the sugar.
Activity patterns are good to note as well. See where your bursts of energy occur during the day and when you have the best mental acuity. I’ll bet anything it’s not 30 minutes to an hour after you ate that donut for breakfast. I know I always feel pretty miserable right about that time.
Knowing the importance of tracking what I’m eating and how I’m feeling when I eat it is what led me to create my 30-day food, exercise, water, fitness, and emotional eating tracking journal. You can get the PDF version for free when you subscribe to my email list, or you can buy the paperback version on Amazon.
Finally, you might want to track your sleep patterns. Here are some of the best sleep and activity trackers available on Amazon. See if your quality of sleep coincides with what you ate before bed and how hungry you are the next morning. Research suggests that eating a lot of sugar before bed can really decrease the quality of your sleep because of something called adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal exhaustion symptoms include:
- Mild depression or anxiety
- Multiple food and/or other allergies
- Lethargy and lack of energy
- Decreased ability to perform daily tasks
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Dry and thin skin
- Low blood sugar
- Low body temperature
- Unexplained hair loss
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
Adrenal hormones can affect blood sugar, and blood sugar spikes and drops can affect adrenal hormones. These things are inextricably linked. The only way to defeat adrenal exhaustion (or adrenal fatigue) is to limit the amount of sugar you put into your body … and your shopping cart.
Get ready to go SHopping
Before you get ready to shop for the food items you’ll need for the sugar detox diet, you have to get rid of the sugar traps that are already in your kitchen. Throw away the donuts and muffins (ouch!). And if you have any leftover Halloween candy, toss that too. Get it all out … even the ice cream.
Take a minute to breathe. … It’s going to be okay. I promise.
When shopping for sugar-free foods, concentrate on purchasing high-quality ingredients and whole foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy. Vegetables should be a focal point of your food shopping list. And any carbs that you buy should be of the whole-grain variety – pasta, flour, and rice. Quinoa (pronunciation: keen-wah, in case you were curious and didn’t know) is also pretty great. Even my kids like to eat it! We’ll get more into the sugar detox diet meal plan in the next post in the series, but for now I want to end with some motivating suggestions.
Don’t give up!
Set reasonable and achievable goals for your sugar detox diet plan. It may look easy, but it may be difficult to adhere to 24 hours a day, seven days a week given the hectic pace of everyday life. Try to keep on track, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up every now and then.
As you progress through the sugar detox diet, you’ll quickly realize that ingesting snacks or a meal that consists of a high sugar content can make you feel sluggish. You won’t notice it at first because of the initial sugar rush, but you’ll feel it when the sugar wears off. You know what I’m talking about. I notice the crash when I’m not making a conscious effort to cut down the sugar in my diet, but the crash hits a lot harder when you start to cut it out all at once. But keep pushing through. As is the case with anything, it always gets worse before it gets better. Keep trying to cut out (or, at least, down) the sugar, and you’ll start feeling halfway normal again before you know it.