This summer got a little rough as far as me eating sugar goes. The early part of the summer we moved which encouraged my stress eating. I tried to keep it “approved” with dark chocolate, fruit and treats made with natural sugars, but still, I overdid it. Then the vacations started: camping, Disneyland, weekends with family, etc. I’m all for vacation splurges, but August came around and I was feeling the pain of all my indiscretions. My energy was low, my joints hurt and I just wanted to eat a bag of chocolate chips for breakfast. I needed to start fresh. I decided to give the 21-Day Sugar Detox a go (Click here for link to the program).
The 21-Day Sugar Detox has three options or Levels. Level one is the least restrictive, based on a paleo diet but includes dairy and legumes (no grains or sugars). Level three is the most restrictive and is strict paleo (meats, nuts, fruits and vegetables).
The difference between the 21-Day Sugar Detox (21 DSD from now on as I’m getting tired of typing 21-Day Sugar Detox) and a Paleo diet is the elimination of ALL sugars. While the Paleo diet allows natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and all fruit, the 21 DSD allows zero sugars except for those found in grapefruit, green-tipped bananas and Granny Smith apples.
Because this is so similar to the Whole 30 (click here to read more about the Whole 30), I can’t help but compare the two. After doing both challenges, I definitely prefer the 21 DSD. For one, the 21 DSD allowed me to still have Paleo breads and desserts (sweetened only with the three approved fruits). This made it so much easier. Perhaps this was bad as far as getting over breads goes, but I’m perfectly fine having breads my entire life as long as I know I can make them out of ingredients I’m comfortable putting in my body.
The main reason I liked the 21 DSD better than the Whole 30 was because I feel like it got to the heart of the addiction. As I mentioned in my review of the Whole 30, that particular program just made me very dependent on fruit. On the 21 DSD, I could satisfy my sugar craving with one very non-sweet fruit a day. Beyond that I just had to cowgirl-up and get through those cravings.
As far as the program support goes, I felt like the 21 DSD was GREAT for beginners. The daily emails were links to some great resources and the daily audio support series was very basic information. I’ve studied and lived this lifestyle so I found myself very bored with the support. I wanted more scientific, in-depth information. This felt a little too basic.
Another mode of support this program has is the books. The 21 Day Sugar Detox gives an overview of the plans, including all three levels, plus a ton of great recipes. The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook is just a cookbook with recipes approved for the program. I love these cookbooks and used them regularly before I even did the program. The food is delicious and great for your whole family, even if you’re the only one on the program.
The program started out as expected. The first week, I just wanted a treat. Luckily, because I’m used to this lifestyle, I didn’t go though the “flu-like” symptoms it’s normal to feel when giving up sugar. But this would be very normal the first week giving up sugar. The audio series talks about this and even gives tips to overcome the headaches and fatigue that comes from these symptoms.
Sadly, at the end of the program, I didn’t feel like I was cured of my sugar demon (click here to read about sugar addictions). Day 22, I still wanted sugar. I was surprised to see how much my taste buds had changed though. I was so excited to have my stevia-sweetened protein shake, but discovered it tasted a bit strange. But the next Sunday I made Paleo brownies sweetened with honey and had no problem downing two.
Still, the program was really good for me. It didn’t get me over my sugar demon, but it did get me back on track and changed my habits. My habits had become so bad over the summer, this was the reset I needed to get back the lifestyle I know works best for me.
One thing I didn’t like about this program was the lack of accountability. This may actually be a bonus for some people, but it was a negative for me. I am very competitive so the idea of having a “score” or knowing that I have to start over if I slip up is actually a huge motivator for me. This had no progress tracking or even consequences for slip-ups. Though if you’re intimidated by those things, you may actually like the idea of the lack of accountability.
And as with the Whole 30, I wish there was a fitness aspect. I continued to work out 6 (ish) times a week during the detox, but not because I was required by the program. Fitness and nutrition need to go hand-in-hand. I prefer programs that encourage this more.
My Well-Thought-Out Opinion…
So if you need a fresh start, I recommend this program for you. If you’ve never lived “Paleo” and eat donuts for breakfast, I ESPECIALLY recommend this program for you.
Why do I especially recommend this program for you? As I mentioned before, this program is very basic. This gives you tips and tricks to get you through and explains the “whys” without getting too scientific. The levels also make it customizable. This is a great way to go Paleo for the first time, or you can add the modifications and still have cheese, peanut-butter and hummus.
So in the end, do I believe you can cure your sugar addiction in 21 days? No. Do I believe you can set good habits, strengthen your ability to resist sugar and find healthy ways to satisfy cravings in 21 days? Yes. Absolutely!
Let me know if you have experience with this program or if you want to give it a try. I’d love to hear about your experience!