Hey guys! I realized the other day that I never finished out this post series... oops! I didn't quit and just not tell you guys, I finished it. I even lost a little bit of weight when it was all said and done (yay!). So... here it is, the last two weeks and review of the program.
The third, and what should have been the final, week was pretty easy. Sticking to the meal plan was pretty much second nature by this point so there really weren't any big issues. I did have a bad health day on one day but for the most part my energy level was pretty consistent and I wasn't getting hungry between meals at all. There were days I would easily forget about lunch altogether and end up eating pretty late in the afternoon even. I added a lot more red meat during this week for the iron and there were a few more carbs for energy as this was a week that I needed those things but this is consistent with my normal monthly cycle so it wasn't a side effect of the program.
For the final, fourth, week I decided to add back in strawberries in small quantities. There was a good sale on them and, to be honest, I missed them quite a bit during the first three weeks since I used to eat them nearly every day. I didn't eat many of them and I subbed them for the banana I was allowed to eat on the program so the sugar was limited but I did eat some and strawberries which are not on the program. Just for full disclosure. I ate quite a bit of chicken this week and lots of zucchini (which apparently I love) and ended the week feeling pretty good. At the end of the program I didn't go crazy and binge on sweets but I did get a frozen yogurt which is a super rare treat for me. It was too sweet to finish so my taste buds have definitely been affected in a good way by being on the program.
21 Day Sugar Detox states that it isn't a weight loss program and doesn't want you to limit your carbs or calories necessarily in order to complete the program successfully. With that being said, I ended up losing a little over 5 pounds during the month I was on the program. I'm not sure that it was the program though as I was trying to up my calorie expenditure gradually during this time span.
All in all I liked the program and would likely do a version of it again in the future if I find myself craving sweets or foods that have too many carbs for my body to handle. My digestion felt better by the end, my sugar and carb cravings had lessened considerably, and I felt pretty good energy-wise... I even saw a decrease in my insomnia during the later part of the program. Again, I can't guarantee that it was caused by the 21DSD but it was a welcome change nevertheless.
This week was a bit difficult for me since I was dealing with a very sick pup all week. Being under a lot of stress and/or disrupting my sleep pattern significantly can cause a lot of health issues for someone like me and, unfortunately, both of those things were going on this week. When I am ill I need a large amount of sodium which obviously means that some days I needed to eat in order to get my salt in rather than the meals I had prepped for the week on Sunday but I did my best to choose the most compliant options. Further, when I saw how ill my dog was I literally scooped her up and ran out the door without everything other than my purse, which was by the door... so there was a not-completely compliant meal there as I grabbed something while out of the house. Even if you try to get grain and sugar-less options you can't really control the oil when you are eating out so there was likely some not-approved oil.
If you are wondering about my dog: The vet said it was Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis and they have no idea what caused it... but she nearly died. She is doing much better now thankfully.
All in all though the eating went fairly well this week as I ended up sticking to the program 90%+ of the time despite the crazy week. As for side effects I'm not sure what is stress and what is sugar detox. I do have a breakout of acne on my chin at the moment and am a bit more tired than usual but I'm not sure of the cause and, as far as I know, there is no way to tell for sure.
Meal prep for Week 3 was pretty simple as I already had the protein portions made from previous weeks in the freezer (citrus braised carnitas, spicy roast beef and the chicken thighs from last week since I doubled that recipe). I made several different veggies and added them to containers with the meats for this week's meals. Sauteed zucchini, baked zucchini, roasted green beans with a touch of lemon and roasted brussel sprouts made up this week's vegetables. I have never had brussel sprouts so we will see how that goes this week. I also have a few veggies that I will steam later this week, more green beans and a veggie mixture, in the fridge right now and some green apples for snacks. I tend to not need to cook proteins/mains about once a month as I cook a bit more than needed each week and freeze the excess for future use. This works great in case I get sick on a weekend and cannot cook for the next week. If needed, I have at least a few days worth of meals stored so that I can wait until midweek once I am feeling better before I need to meal prep again. This is also useful as it frees up that extra weekend a month for some deep cleaning that I don't do weekly, go out of town, or anything else that might come up.
Again, here are the books if you are interested. So far I haven't found the program excessively difficult. It has helped me kick the soda habit and may have made this week a little bit easier as there was less stress on my system.
My meal prep this week took about two hours (see below... I decided to make iced tea and dressing later that day so I added about 20 minutes for those items) but it was a lot more in depth than I normally would do since I usually make breakfasts in the morning and use my crock pot for one of the main entrees. So... keep that in mind if you are planning on making your breakfasts fresh. Honestly, the breakfasts took longer than any of the other meals so I could easily make just the lunches and dinners from this week in a little over an hour or an hour and a half if I needed to double/triple the number of meals prepared to cook for a larger number of people. If two hours doesn't sound like a bad deal to have every meal for the entire week ready to go then you and I are of the same mindset my friend.
For the numbers oriented reader:
I ended up with 15 mains, 7 breakfasts, and enough veggies and salad for myself for the week in under two hours, including salad dressing from scratch. If I was to cook for two it wouldn't take more than 10 minutes longer since doubling a recipe like these doesn't take long. Should I be cooking for a family though I would make an extra main in the crock pot and do the prep on one more that could be in the freezer ready to toss in mid-week... this would, from past experience, take about an additional 20 minutes for 2 extra mains and you would need to re-prep the veggies and breakfasts plus the one crock pot meal mid-week for about another 30-40 minutes total but would garner you: 60 mains, 28 breakfasts and enough salad and chopped fresh veggies for the week for the whole family. This is enough for a family of 4 easily and you are looking at about 3 hours total cook-time for the week... about 8 minutes per meal when you do the math or 2 minutes per serving... not including the chopped veggies which could easily be a snack. If you are making breakfasts fresh then make it 2 hours and 5 minutes per meal or so for the pre-prepared breakfasts plus however long you need for breakfast making in the morning.
Anywho, now that all the numbers game is taken care of lets get down to what I cooked during meal prep. This week I made: Italian Spice Blend (pg. 208) to use in a recipe, Mustard-Glazed Chicken Thighs (pg. 114), Apple Streusel Egg Muffins (pg. 102), and Green Apple Breakfast Sausage (pg. 94). I also did my own version of the No-Miso Soup on page 164 with what I had on hand "Asian Inspired Shrimp and Zucchini Soup." Additionally I prepped an extra-large salad, tons of sliced veggies including zucchini, peppers, carrots and tomatoes... and some sugar free buffalo ranch dressing as well as iced tea. All in all it was a fairly easy meal prep since the recipes were very easy to follow and uncomplicated.
Week one went really well... until the weekend. So I'll be adding an extra week to the 3 I planned on doing to even it out. I made the choice so its all on me, no excuses. Anywho, the sugar wasn't particularly difficult for me to cut out but I do miss the flavors... maple syrup would've been really tasty in a smoothie I made for instance and my morning tea with a touch of honey was missed. Other than that there weren't too many issues with the sweets for me... cheese was another issue. I ended up letting last week start at a lower level than I originally wanted so that I could take a week to finish up some of the cheese in my house. I somehow missed that I wasn't allowed to have cheese when I did my shopping for the week (ditzy moment much?) and I really didn't want to push the detox back a week so I moved down a level but stuck to the rules of level 3 for everything other than the cheese. This week the cheese is gone and its time for strict level 3.
Since this was my first week off soda, which I got hooked on during the stressful time of moving cross country with the divorce, I stuck with unsweetened black tea so that I would only have to detox off of one thing at a time. I missed my daily soda, that's for sure, but I think that it was easier to kick on the detox than it was the last time I kicked soda cold turkey soda a few years ago. Soda is super bad for you, as we are all aware, but it is really bad for me with my health issues as the chemicals, artificial dye and sweeteners as well as the caffeine can really cause issues with my system. And yet I did it anyways... I know, I know, not my brightest moment that's for sure. The soda is officially gone and I have moved to green tea this week to lessen the caffeine load on my body. This should help my autonomic system a bit but also my sleep cycle. Luckily, I have tons of tea (I LOVE tea) in my cupboard of all types so I will have a varied tea experience this week even eliminating the highly caffeinated black and red teas in my collection 'o loose leaf teas. Today I am drinking a tea my dad brought back from from China for me the last time he was abroad. It is light and pretty tasty even sans sweeten. A lot of people would add a bit of citrus to their tea in lieu of the sweetener but I've never been a huge citrus+tea fan so I personally have not done so yet. I may in the future though, we'll see.
On to prepping for week 2...
I decided to try out several of the recipes in the book for the next few weeks so that I could truly give a well informed review of the book(s) at the end of the process. This week I made: Italian Spice Blend (pg. 208), Mustard-Glazed Chicken Thighs (pg. 114), Apple Streusel Egg Muffins (pg. 102), CoCo-Monkey Smoothie (pg. 92), and Green Apple Breakfast Sausage (pg. 94). I also did my own version of the No-Miso Soup on page 164 since I didn't have all of the ingredients to make her version in the house (I somehow managed to forget to pick up baby bok choy and green onions at the store... I tell you, my brain these days!). I wrote a post about the soup, which turned out pretty awesome and will be my lunch today along with part of the huge salad I made for the week, titled "Asian Inspired Shrimp and Zucchini Soup." Additionally I prepped an extra-large salad, tons of sliced veggies and some sugar free salad dressing as well as iced tea. I will need to rotate some of the meals out of the freezer mid-week and make an additional batch of iced tea but I'm pretty much done cooking for the week. Hurray! I haven't eaten all of the recipes yet but I'll let you know about the ones that I have eaten already.
Apple Streusel Egg Muffins: Took a bit of getting used to as they smelled like they would be sweet but the certainly are not. Day 2 of eating them for breakfast though I really enjoyed it. I will likely add a touch more cinnamon to my next batch and maybe a bit of sweetener once I am off the 21DSD but I can only see myself learning to like these more over the rest of the week.
CoCo-Monkey Smoothie: I did not like this. I'm not sure why I didn't like it though. It was quite bitter of course so maybe I'll lessen the cocoa powder and make sure to ensure that the banana I use is the correct size? I'll let you know next week if I find a fix but for now this is not a recipe I am a fan of.
Green Apple Breakfast Sausage: This one was pretty tasty. I am not a huge fennel fan apparently but I still enjoyed a patty of this sausage with my egg muffin for breakfast this morning.
Italian Spice Blend: You use this in the breakfast sausage so yes, I have tried it. I'm not a huge fennel fan like I mentioned before but it smells just like what I imagine when I think Italian sausage which is what she was going for so I'll say thumbs up.
I am having the Mustard-Glazed Chicken Thighs for dinner (they smelled pretty awesome coming out of the oven!) so I'll let you know about those next week.
All the recipes this week were from the original 21DSD book but I have purchased the 21DSD Cookbook as well and will be trying recipes from it over the course of the next month or so as well. Links to the books for the 21 Day Sugar Detox, should you be interested, are below:
While I don't eat a lot of sugar typically, and rarely any processed sugar but after a week back on grains a little while ago my carb and sweets cravings came back with a vengeance. I needed to kick those cravings in the booty if I was going to succeed in sticking with eating the way that makes me feel the best so I decided to give the 21 Day Sugar Detox a try. I regularly listen to Diane Sanfilippo and her co-host Liz Wolfe on the Balanced Bites podcast and have heard about the 21DSD program several times through that show but also from friends in the online community- similar to how I learned about Paleo actually. During the 'prep week' otherwise known as the week before you start the program was mostly about preparation- as the name suggests. I read the first third of the book, downloaded the 1 page cheat sheets to my drop box so that I could view them on the go, took the quiz to see what level I should do, and planned out my meals for the week. I was level 3... no surprise there since I typically eat a more paleo style diet already. I really am going to miss dairy though... sad day. Other than that the plan looked fairly straight forward so I planned out my meals for the week and got ready to go. There is a meal plan in the book (and the recipes look really good) but I am a little bit of a picky eater (working on that... trying a couple new veggies every month!) so I didn't want to stick with the planned meals list because I felt that would make it more difficult for me to follow the program. Instead I am going to be eating from the yes/no food list this week and following the rules as set forth in the book. Next week I will likely bulk cook a few of the recipes in the book though as they look pretty tasty. I appreciated the FAQ section as well as the day by day thought process section and would recommend that anyone who does not already follow a fairly low sugar and/or carb diet read through those sections especially. On another note, my biggest food weakness is my diet soda... it's horrible for me, I know and understand that completely, and yet I still drink it... even though it is way too sweet for me to really enjoy fully at this point. I'm addicted. Admittedly so. This detox gives me an opportune time to kick this habit for good. While I am not looking forward to the withdrawal I am looking forward to saving some money and getting the chemicals out of my life for good. I'll be updating you at the end of each of the 3 weeks of the detox and then reviewing the book as a whole at the end of the program. See you on the other side!
Books from this program should you be interested in doing the detox with me: