As part of kicking off the training cycle, I decided that after the holiday eating and boozing, that some good, super-clean eating would do me some good. I don’t know about you, but when I eat like crap or drink more than I should, I can definitely feel and see the difference. My skin isn’t as clear, workouts are harder, I feel sluggish and tired, my digestive system gets all out of whack, and my pants get oddly tighter. Hehe.
The 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) is a program I discovered just shy of 4 years ago that ended up starting me on the paleo lifestyle. In a nutshell, for 21 days I will:
- Cut out all forms of added sugar (natural and artificial)
- Cut out all processed foods and refined carbohydrates (I typically don’t eat these anyways, but it’s a major point of the program so I wanted to include)
- Cut out all legumes and rice
- Cut out all dairy products
- Limit starchy vegetables to only certain ones and a certain amount per day
- Very limited fruit options (green apple, grapefruit or green-tipped banana) and one per day only
- Abstain from drinking any alcohol
It’s got three levels and I’m doing Level 3, which is the most restrictive. Levels 1 and 2 allow certain dairy and some legumes and grains.
Why do this? Here’s the cliff notes – our bodies are actually hard-wired to crave sugar (thank you, dopamine.) The more sugar you eat, the more you end up wanting it. While ALL sugars or some sugar consumption isn’t bad, there’s a lot of hidden sugar in processed foods that don’t have a lot of nutritional value which makes them “bad carbs.” Too many bad carbs means increased body fat. Too many bad carbs means all your liver is doing is processing them and not addressing other toxins that build up in the body and cause other ailments. Too many bad carbs can do a lot of things and I could fill up this entire blog explaining how.
But you have to buy the book and read that yourself.
Honestly, I do it because after getting through the first 7 days, I start to feel pretty amazing. I can feel the difference in my energy levels, I can see the difference in my skin and I just feel…strong. Most people actually go through some physical “withdraw” symptoms in the first week. I definitely have…actually going through them right now. Mostly just headaches off an on. I also have the patience of a two-year old that missed a nap.
Now, the 21DSD is not recommended during strenuous training but the first three weeks of my training are moderate mileage build up, so I’m following Level 3 with the athlete modification. Basically, I just eat a half a cup of starchy carbs on days I work out. Since I follow a paleo diet normally, this isn’t a huge change for me. Except for not having any natural added sugars, reduction of fruit, and of course…no chocolate or wine. *sigh*
Now, I’ve never actually done a Whole30 but it’s basically very similar to the 21DSD Level 3. It’s just not quite as restrictive on starches and fruit. I decided to also do a Whole30 challenge because I wanted to keep myself on the straight and narrow for the entire month of January and doing an extended sugar detox during training isn’t sustainable as I get up in mileage. After I get through January, I’ll probably lighten up a little more, but it’s my intent to keep a fairly strict paleo diet through this training cycle, as I want to see how it lends itself to my training. Ironically, whenever I train hard, I tend to eat less healthy. I supposed because I feel I’m entitled because I’m running so much, I should get to eat and drink ALL THE THINGZ!!
I’ll be logging weekly recaps on the blog on how the 21DSD/Whole30 is going, how I’m feeling, how its working with my training, and if I’m sticking to it.
I’ll be posting meal prep and meals on Instagram.
I’ve also created some Pinterest boards with the recipes I use from each week that I’ll include with each recap. As part of the recap, I’ll also let you know if I thought the recipe was good or what I would do to make it better.
Well, here’s to a sugar-free, wine-free month!