Yep, that’s ya girl on the far right. Killin’ somebody’s birthday cake!!
New year, new me… of course
The start to a new year always brings a strong urge to make positive changes in our lives. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved sweets — sweet cereals, baked goods, ice cream. Not to mention, I prefer coffee with my sugar.. ya feel me? well, this year, I’m committing to reducing sugar in my diet. It’s something I know needs to happen and what better time than during the year I turn the big THREE-OH.
Research: sugar is a drug
A high sugar diet can cause poor skin, premature aging, heart disease and obesity. Research shows that about 10% of the US population is addicted to sugar and, unfortunately, added sugars are hidden in foods we believe are healthy alternatives! Sugar is basically a drug. It causes us to crash when we come down from our sugar-high and we actually experience symptoms of withdrawal when we detox. I’ve relied on the internet for articles that can help me during my time of intense cravings and supreme irritation. What I’ve learned is that the best way to reduce sugar in your diet is to first start cold turkey during a 3-Day Sugar Detox.
Brooke Alpert, dietitian and co-author of “The Sugar Detox”, says that the 3-day detox was most successful for her clients because it recalibrated their palate. “They could now taste natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and dairy that they used to be so dulled to,” says Alpert. She gives a great plan to follow for starting a reduced-sugar diet in the CNN article “One-month sugar detox: A nutritionist explains how and why.”
The first month of forever
- Day 1-3: Only protein, veggies and healthy fats! No added sugars, no fruits, no starchy vegetables (corn, peas, sweet potatoes and butternut squash), no dairy, no grains and no alcohol.
- Day 4-7: Add 1 apple and 1 dairy item each day. Add some higher-sugar vegetables (i.e. carrots and snow peas), and a daily serving of high-fiber crackers. You’re allowed up to three glasses of red wine during the first week.
FACT: Fat helps our bodies to absorb sugar slower, therefore, our dairy options should contain full-fat but be unsweetened (Alpert).
- Day 8-14: Add a serving of antioxidant-rich berries and an extra serving of dairy. It is now safe to incorporate starchy vegetables such as yams and winter squash.
- Day 15-21: Add grains (i.e. barley, quinoa and oatmeal) and more fruit. Add an additional glass of red wine this week as well and 1 oz. of dark chocolate each day — WHOA, 4 glasses of wine and chocolate? I think I can do this!
- Day 22-29: Increase to two starches per day (including bread and rice). Wine goes up to five glasses per week. — the increases in glasses of wine are my motivators, ha! 🙂
The goal is that at the end of the fourth week the addictive behavior will be gone.
Kick the habit, together!
The initial 3-day detox is not recommended for diabetics, pregnant women and extreme athletes (I’m sure I fall into this category). Obviously, my initial detox hasn’t been so extreme because my priority is to be able to function and perform on the court. But for the month of January, I will be doing my best to kick my sugar habit and get on the right path toward not only a low-sugar diet but an overall cleaner diet for life!
It’s important to be mindful of everything we are putting into our bodies. With a focus on consuming less sugar we will naturally eat cleaner. Don’t give into our sugar cravings but definitely listen to them! It can be a sign that we are lacking fiber or protein.
I hope this post has inspired you to embrace a new, healthier lifestyle. I’d love for you to join me on this journey! We can motivate and encourage each other by talking about our experience and sharing whatever recipes, meal plans, tricks and tips we rely on to achieve our goal. This could be the first step toward the ultimate discipline of becoming vegan one day, who knows?!