Today I ate the last half of a Liz Lovely cookie for 10 days. I've never done a processed sugar detox before and decided it was time to get an idea of just how much I am consuming. I'm certainly not as bad as I used to be. I rarely drink soda or sugary drinks anymore. I no longer put sugar and creamer in my morning coffee (my grande, soy, two pump hazelnut latte notwithstanding). But I do enjoy something sweet at night for dessert and I know there are probably many hidden sugary elements to my daily diet that I don't realize I eat. How hard can this be, right?
Pre-Detox Shopping Trip:
Luckily, I am already a label reader when I go to the grocery store. I figured I would need to buy duplicates for things I already have in my kitchen that have added sugar in them...peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, etc. A few items that I actually couldn't even find without sugar were barbeque sauce, ketchup, fruit pops, and coconut milk yogurt. I'll survive...hopefully.
I have to say, day 1 was pretty uneventful. I did want a little sweet treat before going to bed, but had a few potato chips instead—wait, I think I just missed the point of this. Ok, day 1 lesson. Don't replace one vice with another.
We call Thursdays "Thirsty Thursday" in our office because four of us take turns getting Starbucks. My grande, soy, two pump hazelnut latte has loads of sugar in it. So of course, I had to opt for a black coffee instead to stay on this damn sugar detox. I couldn't even just get a plain soy latte because the soy milk Starbucks uses is sweetened...which normally I LOVE. But today it just ticked me off.
My husband and I are lucky enough to live 1/4 of a mile to a handful of amazing restaurants—a bonus of living in a tourist town. On Friday nights we like to go down to Bravo! Bravo! for happy hour and dinner. There's not much I enjoy more than a glass of half-priced wine and a bowl of french fries with ketchup. In my opinion, truly the perfect pairing of food and wine. It was everything I could do to not dip my fries in that perfect little dish of sugar loaded ketchup.
The hardest part of this sugar detox is turning out to be avoiding foods that contain hidden sugar. The ones you don't really think about. I'm doing fine without eating cookies for a few days. But living without the soy milk and the ketchup may end up killing me.
Today, I was surprised to discover that my Vega Protein Smoothie powder does NOT contain processed sugar. It tastes sweet so I just assumed it did. If you look at the ingredients in many protein or meal replacement powders you will find processed sugar listed in the ingredients...hey, they've got to make it taste good, right? Vega uses stevia leaf, which I love and have growing in my garden.
People are always amazed they aren't losing weight on diets that contain smoothie meal replacements. You have to be very careful when constructing your smoothies because even the natural sugars found in fruit add up to an exorbitant amount of calories. Not to mention the extra calories in the sugary powder mixes you buy to add extra "nutrients" to your liquid meal. Build a healthy smoothie and you can make them a part of a realistic weight loss plan.
Shame on me for not looking at the ingredients in my Vega powder earlier. I could have been making my daily protein smoothie for breakfast or lunch 7 days ago!
Daily Protein Smoothie (GF,V)
Time: 5 minutes
1/2 medium banana, peeled
1 scoop Vega Protein Smoothie mix (vanilla or chocolate) or your favorite processed sugar free version
2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter (or sugar free natural peanut butter if you are detoxing)
1/2 cup (handful) fresh baby spinach
3-4 ice cubes (start small, add as needed)
1-1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk or filtered water (start small, add as needed)
Using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, add all ingredients into blender in order listed. Starting on low, ramp up blender and blend until completely smooth, adding ice or liquid as needed for the right consistency. Serve immediately. Makes one serving.
Nutritional Estimations: Calories 202. Total Fat 4 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 425 mg. Potassium 427 mg. Total Carbs 24 g. Fiber 5 g. Sugars 11 g. Protein 22 g. Vitamin A 44%. Vitamin C 13 %. Calcium 57%. Iron 28%.
Some sweet person bought me a gluten-free, vegan treat today from a small bakery on the other side of the state. For those of you that are even just gluten-free, you know how precious treats can be. So grateful this is the last day of my detox and I can eat it tomorrow!
Like I mentioned before, the hardest part of this 10-day processed sugar detox challenge was trying not to eat the everyday foods that contain hidden processed sugar. I'm not a big cereal eater, but I know most of them—even the healthier ones—contain processed sugar. Say you are trying to be healthy and a few main elements to your meal plan for a day is to eat a bowl of granola with coconut yogurt for breakfast, a fruit smoothie for lunch, and a bean burger with barbeque sauce on a gluten free bun for dinner. I plugged just generic brands for this sample day in to www.myfitnesspal.com and found that you would go over your daily sugar allowance by 20 grams! And that's without eating one treat or snack!
So what was the biggest lesson I got out of this detox challenge? Try to limit your hidden sugary food intake so that you can have a little treat once a day. I always find it is easier to stick with a healthy diet or weight loss plan if you don't completely eliminate everything that makes life enjoyable. Make a healthier smoothie for lunch and put an avocado on your burger instead of the ketchup or barbeque sauce. And then you can have a cookie before bed to make your sweet dreams, even sweeter.