Sunday, September 29, 2013

21 Day Sugar Detox: Round 2

If you recall, the 21 Day Sugar Detox is a program developed by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites to crush your sugar addiction, reduce cravings, and re-set your sweet tooth. It has "21 Day" built right into the name; it is not meant to be a permanent lifestyle, but rather a 3-week detox during which you can reclaim your power over sugar and see what life without sugar is life (and how good it can feel!)

The sugar detox rules (which prohibit/limit not only obvious sweets but also alcohol, fruit, and even cashews) can be found in the book available on Amazon.  It gives you all the information on what, why, and how to complete this detox and free yourself from sugar's grasp.

Last January, I completed my first 21 Day Sugar Detox, although I'd cut it short and made it 20 days--a decision I made ahead of time. You can read about that experience in this blog post. Overall, it was a great learning experience.

After this summer, I needed it again. I'd welcomed chocolate back into my life whole-heartedly, and I was beginning to feel some of the effects. With September--a new school year and a new busy schedule--I wanted to re-set my sweet tooth, cravings, and body once more, to show myself how sweet life without sugar can be.

This time, I did some practice and preparation the month before. During August, I consciously tried to cut out chocolate, and it felt really good. My stomach aches subsided and I stopped having "sugar head"--the state where I'm kind of foggy, but it's not quite a headache. Throughout the month, I had chocolate maybe two to three times, which is an accomplishment for me, someone who tended to eat chocolate nearly daily! Plus, those few times were each worth it; it wasn't just my standard Doves or chocolate-covered cashews; they were things like chocolate-dipped bananas. Yum.

Anyhow, enough reminiscing over the good times we had; for the most part, August established a separation between me and chocolate, which I'd hoped would make the transition into the 21 Day Sugar Detox easier.

And at first, it did. I was already out of the habit of simply picking up a bag of my favorite treat just because I could. When I was tired after a long day, I had to think of something else to reward and relax myself--a manicure? curling up with a good book? going for a walk and listening to a podcast? calling a friend?

But something funny happened, too. Saying goodbye to chocolate for August had been surprisingly not as difficult as I'd anticipated. I didn't have too much trouble. BUT: the minute I started the detox, it was all I wanted. Suddenly, all I could think about was getting my hands on chocolate.

The reason was twofold: 1) Knowing it was a "can't" instead of a "don't want to", and also 2) the timing.  I began my detox at the same time that work was starting back up. Stress kicked back in. I wanted to turn to my old soothing friend, chocolate.

Still, I managed.  In some ways, the stressful, busy times make it difficult to make the smarter choice, but at the same time, refraining from sugar kept me healthy and energized during the time I needed it the most.  The Daily Detox Emails from Diane & the 21DSD team were incredibly helpful motivators to keep on keeping on!  Without sugar, I had a clear head and was able to focus on my work.

All in all, a success. I had one evening of sugar-laden indulgence, one part of which was planned (a chocolate pretzel I'd been looking forward to), and the other part which was not planned (other things that, after eating the chocolate pretzel, didn't seem so bad at the time--if I already had one sugar/gluten item, why not just have a few bites of the other things NOW, too?) ... Well, that backfired. Eczema started up a bit and stomach definitely noticed. It was fine, though; these things went away.

 It was just a startling reminder of why I do what I do, further proof that what I consume has a direct and immediate effect on my health.  That's the lesson I need to keep learning over and over, and take with me as I continue to make better choices my default choices.

Other benefits:
- Improved skin clarity
- Improved mental clarity
- Slept well
- Realized that it is addictive; once I had one bite, I wanted more and more.
- Realized that sugar is hidden in many things I think of as safe, real foods

Once it was over -- then what?  Reunited with fruit and wine.  Realized that those chocolate-covered cashews really do make my head cloudy and my stomach cramp.  Taking three weeks away from an ingredient and then reintroducing it is the most effective way to see what it does to you.  And knowledge is power. It doesn't mean I will stop eating sugar or chocolate forever, but I can know and acknowledge its power over my health and make informed decisions about when and how I choose to consume it in the future. 

For anyone looking to crush their sweet tooth, or to discover if your headaches, stomach aches, any aches could be related to sugar, I highly recommend the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

Interested in trying for yourself? Check it out the soon-to-be-released book!

There will also be a companion cookbook, filled with recipes to help ensure your success during the three-week detox: The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for Any Program Level

Want it sooner? Check out the E-book.  It contains all the information you need, as well as recipes and workouts to help you along your way.  There are three different levels of the detox; you do not need to be following a paleo template to use the detox.

For more information on the 21DSD program: Read my previous post or check out The 21 Day Sugar Detox website or the active Facebook Page, where detoxers come together to answer questions and offer support to one another.

Have you ever done a sugar detox--or this detox? How does sugar affect YOUR mental and physical health? 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cultivate A Better World

I shared this on the Dare You To Facebook Page last week, and maybe you've seen it floating around the web.  Dare you to watch this short film released by Chipotle and to imagine another way:

Chipotle's video (and game app) is hardly an advertisement; the company name is not promoted within. Chipotle is very clearly continuing its pursuits toward quality ingredients by daring us to cultivate a better world.  The "Scarecrow" witnesses the atrocious conditions of the "all natural" modern food industry, and decides to try another path.

What I love about this is, first, that Chipotle has been not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk.  Earlier this year the company campaigned to make GMO labeling mandatory, vowed to get GMO ingredients out of their restaurants, and even went so far as to voluntarily reveal its current GMO ingredients when so many other companies--with the same or more amounts of GMO products--keep theirs secret.  Unfortunately, this got Chipotle flack instead of praise, but I am pleased at how they have come out about it on their own.

Which brings me to the second thing I love about this: Chipotle is bringing humane and safe farming practices to the forefront of our national dialogue.  Period.

Let's keep this conversation going:

What's your reaction to "The Scarecrow"? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

End of Summer + an E-Book Bundle

End of Summer - How did this happen?

It's like the weather knew. The temperature dropped 10 degrees the minute Labor Day passed.  I'm not complaining, this 70-degree, sunny weather is perfect, but I'm wondering when it happened and what happened to July and August.

But, alas, end of summer it is!  To commemorate the occasion, Village Green Network is selling an outstanding book bundle: 30 health and wellness books for just $39.  That's under $2 per book!!   Valued at $650, this is not a deal to pass up.  To purchase or learn more, visit VGN Online here.  It ENDS TOMORROW!

Click to See More!

The End of Summer E-Book Bundle includes the following (mostly NEW) titles for instant download:
1 DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes by Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus
2 Simply Salads by Season by Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade
3 Feed Your Fertility by Emily Bartlett and Laura Erlich
4 The Sleep Solution: End Your Insomnia Naturally by Emily Benfit of Butter Believer 
5 Processed Free by Robin Konie of Thank Your Body
6 Pain Free by Robin Konie of Thank Your Body
7 Get Your Fats Straight by Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist 
8 Love Your Body by Elizabeth Walling of The Nourished Life 
9 Quit PMS by Lauren Geertsen of Empowered Sustenance 
10 Real Food Survival Guide for Busy Moms by Lindsey Gremont of Homemade Mommy 
11 Grain-free Desserts Jennifer McGruther of Nourished Kitchen
12 Sustainability Starts at Home by Dawn Gifford of Small Footprint Family 
13 Natural Cocktails by Kendahl Millecam of Our Nourishing Roots
14 Have Your Cake & Lose Weight, Too! by DaNelle Wolford 
15 Real Fit At Every Age by Julie de Lagarde of Real Fit Mama 
16 Your Custom Homestead Jill Winger 
17 Beyond Broth by Jill Tieman of Real Food Forager 
18 Gluten-free Vegetarian by Hannah Healy of Healy Real Food Vegetarian
19 Kick the Weight with Keto by Kim Knoch of The Eat Fat Lose Fat Blog
20 The 30-Day Heartburn Solution by Craig Fear 
21 From Scratch by Shaye Elliott of The Elliott Homestead 
22 The Granny Plan by Kathy Block of Granny's Vital Vittles 
23 Healer by Joseph Dispenza 
24 Three Weeks to Vitality: The Ultimate Cleanse by Mary Vance 
25 Grain Free Meal Plans for Fall by Cara Comini of Health, Home & Happiness
26 Real Food Ingredient Guide by Kelly the Kitchen Kop
27 30 Days of Simple Suppers by Rachel Jones of Nourishing Minimalism
28 Culture Your Life by Louise Kane Buckley of Loula Natural 
29 Nourishing Our Children Sandrine Love
30 Eating Additive Free by Christy Pooschke of Completely Nourished

This deal ends TOMORROW (Tuesday), so if you plan to get all these books for such a low price, head over to the website ASAP!


For other news, check out last week's Friday Features.  Some must-reads included, especially for anyone concerned about cholesterol.

Latest on me: Took an unplanned two solid weeks off from any fitness activities for personal reasons.  It was strange and nice but now trying to get back into my routine again, or rather establish a whole new routine for the "new year."

As I mentioned in August, this month I'm doing another 21 Day Sugar Detox, so I'm really trying to dig down and re-calibrate my sweet tooth.  One week in, and overall, I'm feeling really great.  There was a minor energy dip for most of the week, but I think that was more related to the previous exhausting week.  Now, I've got my energy back.

It certainly helped that I had already gotten my greatest vices--gum and chocolate--mostly out of my diet for the month prior.  I've been eating well, even through the time I was not working out, and it has proven effective; I'm feeling great.  Now that the school year's starting up again, it's time to start meal prepping on Sundays again.  That will help ensure success for the next two weeks of the detox!

Speaking of, I suppose it's time to start cooking up some meals for the week.  What's on the menu?  Some lasagna from Make It Paleo (read my review here) for dinner, plenty of my Salmon-Avocado Mashups for lunches, some defrosted Paleo Pad Thai that I made last month, and... I'm going to browse my cookbooks for something special to do with the two beautiful eggplants I have from my mother's garden.  Thanks, Mom!

And that's about it!  Have a great week.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Features

A quick set of interesting reads for you to check out!

Ericka guests posts on Miz Fit Online to spread the word:
You Don't Have To Be Hardcore to Do CrossFit.
Her experiences resonated with my own.
Definitely check this one out if you're timid but interested.

Technology: the good, the bad, and ways to disconnect.  
Get Lindsay's take here.

Alec talks walking and proper walking apparel on PopFitLife.

Need another reason to go for virgin coconut oil?  
The Healthy Home Economist recounts the way it 

Danielle has tips for supplementing your income 
by selling your stuff.

Seriously, this perspective is gaining ground.  Take a look.

Want to learn more?  Say... everything you need to know about cholesterol?
Jimmy Moore just released Cholesterol Clarity: 
What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers? 
If you're concerned with your cholesterol or simply want to learn what's in the book,
Jimmy Moore's guest appearance on Episode 51 of the Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness Podcast
is a MUST-LISTEN.  Please please please give it a chance.
You'll be surprised what you learn.

Have a great weekend.