I think it’s fitting that my 100th post is a post-of-grandeur, as I’d like to call this. Get ready: this is a long one… but afterwards, have a glass of wine to celebrate post numero 100 with me!
I didn’t want to overwhelm the few readers I have (hi, guys! *wave*) by posting daily accounts of every little thing I’m going through with the 21-Day Sugar Detox I recently announced that I’m doing. Instead, here’s a less-painful summary of how things went. If you want to skip this, go ahead! I won’t hate you. I pinky-swear.
Day one was uneventful. I honestly felt like I wasn’t doing anything special. I had eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. for breakfast, just like I mentioned in my kick-off post. After my run, I gobbled down a couple of slices of smoked salmon before heading out the door. We spent the afternoon and evening walking around the city, and ate at a grill for dinner. I had the ahi tuna salad with all of the sauces on the side. Sauce and dressing replacement was simple: wasabi! At home I made myself a shake out of coconut milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and a few ice cubes. It was filling, delicious, and not sweet, which actually didn’t bother me!
Day two sucked. Seriously. I’ll spare you the details, but I’m 99% sure I was going through some serious Candida die-off. The lovely author of the 21-Day Sugar Detox has a whole page about it in the manual, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. In a nutshell, everyone has Candida yeast in their GI tract, usually around the colon, that feeds off of things like alcohol and sugar. If you eat that stuff, you are in symbiotic happiness with the yeast. By cutting off their food supply, they die. When they die, it can suck for the host… the host in this case is me. Chills, GI issues, headache… to say I was a mess would be an understatement. I damn near cried. And this all happened at work.
I was very close to calling it quits right then and there on only the second day. Still, I got home, made dinner, ate a bunch of healthy fats at hopes it would make me feel better, and basically plopped in bed and watched TV the rest of the night. I had chills for a while, then felt hot; I’m still in my baby-makin’ prime, but I felt like I was a hot-flashin’ menopausal old hag! I read countless paleo blogs and message boards about negative side-effects of the 21DSD and nobody seemed to experience this as badly as I was, but everyone said that any negative side-effects usually end around day 3.
Day three started off odd: I was starving!!! Like, seriously ravenous. For over a week at this point, I had been eating two meals per day (weird, right?) because my body just wasn’t hungry in the morning, and I wasn’t going to force-feed it like a whiny toddler. I snacked on a hard-boiled egg which was apparently all I needed. I ate a big lunch, felt good, then on my lunchtime walk, I felt sick again. Dizzy, chills… enough to cause me to only do one lap (I usually do two) around the business park.
I didn’t start feeling better until an hour and a half later. After asking about my symptoms on the Mark’s Daily Apple forum, I found that my extreme reaction to the Candida die-off could be remedied by hydrating more and increasing my sodium. Luckily I was feeling much better after drinking about 40 ounces of water in my last 2 hours of work, enough that I was able to do a 2-mile run that evening! Afterwards, I drank more water and ate a crap-ton of lightly salted roasted pistachios. Sodium: check. Hydration: double-check.
Day four begun much, much better. Unlike the previous day, I wasn’t starving when I woke up. Speaking of waking up, I was actually awoken by my alarm clock that morning! Usually I wake up about 10 minutes before my alarm (I have a great internal clock, I guess) and just think, “F*** it. I’ll just get up now.” Instead, I actually was awoken by my Mario Brothers theme song alarm on my phone! Go figure!
Throughout my work day, I felt fine. It wasn’t an earth-shattering nirvana-like experience, but I just felt good. Lunch digested just fine and I went on a walk during lunch without issue. Dinner was equally good and because it wasn’t a cross-training day, I didn’t run but did abs/back/core work instead. It took me a little longer than usual to fall asleep, but I slept through the whole night without issue!
Day five was much like day four in that I felt fine. I woke up to my alarm, which again is pretty sweet. I was feeling a bit hungry at work, so I ate a small protein- and fat-full snack that held me over way past when I normally eat lunch. No discomfort at all, no fogginess – just felt normal. I went for a quick 2 mile run and did some lower body strength training without discomfort either. I began growing concerned at my lack of Calories being consumed, so I made a crazy-good icy coffee drink with lots of healthy fats (nuts, coconut, etc.) to bring my Calories up before the day was up.
Day six… Friday! Woo hoo! Day started off fine, waking up to my alarm yet again. I wasn’t hungry at all until when I normally eat my first meal (11am, give or take 15 minutes) so I had lunch at a normal time for once: noon. How novel! I had a busy day after that – synagogue for the sabbath (first time in years!) followed by a movie with friends – so I didn’t really have much time to plan my second meal (dinner?), and without any refrigeration available for me from 5pm to 11pm, I couldn’t pack pretty much anything I’d have wanted to nosh on (chicken, coconut milk, veggies) without them getting room-temperature and gross.
Well, I got a bun-less burger from a local place to-go, and it was covered in 100% natural (but definitely sugar included) bbq sauce. I still ate it, as I hang my head in shame. Also, after synagogue, I got suckered into having a sip of wine and a small (seriously smaller than the palm of my hand) piece of challah. Crap. When I got home from the movies, I ate a handful of coconut flakes and a chicken thigh straight from the fridge, intent on starting anew asap.
[No photos of my food that day… it was busy!]
Day seven began normally, but lazily. Yes, my sleep has been fantastic since starting the detox and this was very apparent when I got over 10 hours of sleep! I woke up but still felt groggy for about an hour and a half, simply plopped on the sofa checking my RSS reader and Facebook. I knew I had to go for a run that day, but was making every excuse not to. (Is laziness a side-effect of the detox??) Eventually, I got my ass in gear and ran, followed by a shower and a great meal.
I had the day all to myself, as the boy is out of town at a bachelor party, so I kept busy cleaning, bike-riding, and cleaning some more… and napping… remember: lazy! On my bike ride, I stopped at the local Farmer’s Market for the first time. Although very small, I got a couple of things accomplished: bought some produce I knew I wouldn’t get in my CSA box, and had some guys tune up my bike. I spent a ton of time in the kitchen that night making lots of home-made goodies I plan to post about in due time. The food I made for dinner was awesome. Paleo deliciousness, and no discomfort or slip-ups this time!
So far I feel good, but not earth-shatteringly awesome. Every blogger I’ve read who has done this detox talks about how great they feel, how their stomach stopped bloating, how their skin looks clearer… that they just feel downright amazing. Needless to say, I’m a bit disappointed (and envious, maybe)! My stomach feels fine (except for day 2 and 3 when I was feeling like crap), my cravings are just as much at bay as they were when I started living a paleo lifestyle, and I don’t feel any kind of elation or awesomeness.
The only benefit I’ve found so far is that I sleep even more like a rock than I used to (which is hard to do, because I seriously sleep like the dead). Here are some photos of my bod to show the physical change… which is nonexistent.
I did learn some things, even in this first week. I have a problem with nuts and nut butters. I eat LOTS of both… at least 1/3 cup per day of nut butter, or about 1/2 cup of nuts. Funny thing – I don’t even eat 1400 Calories/day even after eating these nuts because all of the meat and veggies aren’t as Calorie-dense as nuts.
In the primal/paleo world, this can make the body unbalanced – to much Omega 6 and not enough of the (good) Omega 3, which is the healthy fatty acid found in fish and the like. Of course, I bought a ton of nuts at Whole Foods this week, so once those are gone I’m going to significantly cut down on nuts. I am curious if doing so will finally get rid of that tummy bloating I still get after meals. (It’s pretty significant, and hasn’t gotten better since being paleo or since starting the detox.)
So, here’s to hoping week 2 is more amazing!