They say for just about anything that’s difficult to get through, the first week is always the hardest. I’d have to say that’s also true about the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) and Whole30. I currently follow a paleo diet, so both of these programs aren’t HUGE changes for my normal eating, but I still do have struggles in that first week. The other caveat is that I’ve done the detox several times – so this is not new to me. Although that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
Day 1: I spent most of Day 1 doing meal planning, food prep and cooking since it was a holiday. If it had been a normal Monday, I would have done all of this on Sunday. I’d made sure to freeze some soup and Kalua pig a week or so ago, so I’d have some food to get me started in the day. The worst thing you can do when starting one of these programs is to not have any food on hand for Day 1. The hardest thing about Day 1 is beating the “maybe I should start this next week” thoughts – so keeping myself occupied and busy was a good thing. Plus, I looooove meal planning, I loooooove food shopping, and I really loooooove cooking. I could live without food prep, but it’s a necessary evil for the cooking fun.
Day 2: I didn’t find this day to be very difficult. I was back at work, in for a hard workout with my trainer and the only thing I found I was missing was sweetener in my coffee. Ok, I already missed wine, too. Just a little bit.
Days 3 – 6: These were the tough days for me in terms of physical symptoms. I started to get headaches off and on throughout the day, I found that I was very irritable and prone to irrational anger, I had literally zero patience and I also had problems sleeping. The not sleeping was new – I’ve done the 21DSD several times now and I don’t recall ever having issues before. Perhaps this had nothing to do with the detox – but it made dealing with the other symptoms challenging because I was really tired on top of everything else. The good news, I got through those four days and nobody died. Although there were a few close calls.
I definitely find it helpful to keep myself busy during the first week with little projects and chores so I don’t let the physical symptoms get to me. It’s hard to stay motivated and positive when you’re grumpy and have a headache. It’s much easier to get a case of the “f*ck it”s and eat your weight in dark chocolate. I find that if I keep myself occupied and distracted from the fact that I’m not feeling so good, it passes much quicker.
Day 7: Starting to feel more like myself again in terms of normal temperament and mood. However, I caught a cold at some point this week which is definitely impacting how I feel. I don’t feel terrible or sick, but I don’t feel strong or particularly healthy at the moment. Normally, that’s how I would start to be feeling around Day 7, so this is kind of a bummer.
What I Ate
I’ve put all the recipes I used for the week in a Pinterest Board, link is at the end of the blog. I tried to branch out from some of my standard paleo blog go-to’s for recipes. No particular reason, but I thought it would be fun to try out some new recipes.
- Coffee with almond milk and Vital Proteins collagen powder – ok, so I know I’m not supposed to use almond milk on the detox unless I make it myself, but I simply don’t have time these days to break out the nut milk bag and do that. Califia Farms brand doesn’t have carrageenan – so I’m ok with making this substitution.
- Detox Chicken Soup – this soup is a good meal for any time of day. I’d defrosted some to get me through the week. I also had as a snack on one of my workout days, too.
- Egg Foo Young – I love these for breakfast because I can reheat and eat on the go and I’m able to get a good amount of veggies in as well. I’m not a huge fan of ham, so I used some leftover Kalua pig instead. Winner! I ate these every morning, along with a side of roasted veggies. This wasn’t a new recipe for me, but it had been out of rotation for awhile.
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup – this was a new recipe for me and it turned out great. Very tasty – I ended up adding some coconut milk after it was done cooking to give it a little creaminess which made it even better. A bowl of soup topped with some avocado, some more veggies on the side – boom!
- Taco Casserole – this recipe was also a new one for me. It didn’t turn out so great but I blame some of that on myself. I mistakenly bought a large spaghetti squash instead of a small, so I decided to try and double the recipe to make it work; I undercooked the spaghetti squash so it was too al dente (the noodles were almost crunchy); I missed the line in the recipe that said to combine all the ingredients in the casserole dish before cooking in the oven (oops); and I also substituted turkey for ground beef (and this dish needed the fat to add some flavor.) I was able to salvage it by sautéing everything in more salsa to soften up the spaghetti squash and it ended up tasting pretty good, although I admittedly used a lot of guac to help it out. However, if I was to make this recipe again I would definitely not double it, I would stick with ground beef, and I would also use two eggs as a binder to hold it all together.
- Grass Fed Ribeye – by the end of the week I was craving red meat, so I got a lovely 10 oz. ribeye for Saturday and Sunday dinner.
- Tomato Bacon Soup – another new recipe that had me at “bacon.” This one used the instant pot. Ever since I’ve got a pressure cooker, I’ve been worried about opening it too quickly and having everything go “BOOM!!” and there will be food everywhere. Well, it finally happened. Not to be all dramatic…it was more like a “boom” and it only moderately sprayed soup over the kitchen. Ah well, lesson learned. The soup was pretty good – this was another one where I added some coconut milk after it was done and that really made the dish.
Snacks and Sides:
- Roasted Vegetables – I don’t mess about with too many vegetable recipes. I’m a purist when it comes to veggies – just toss in a little oil (bacon grease this week) and season with salt and pepper and roast away. I had a head of cauliflower, one broccoli crown, one bag of brussels sprouts and one bunch of asparagus for the week. I’m definitely trying to eat more vegetables.
- Raw Veggies – I had picked this tomato and cucumber salad recipe, which I only ended up making the dressing for – the dressing was absolutely delightful. I made a few side salads, but I also cut up a few peppers, cucumbers and had baby carrots all set for snacks.
- Roasted Sweet Potato – I’m doing the athlete’s modification for the 21DSD, so I diced and roasted two sweet potatoes to have on-hand.
- Daily Fruit – it was either green-tipped banana or grapefruit this week. Fun fact – sun-butter drizzled on a banana with a dash of salt is pretty damn good. However, it looks like oddly colored dog poop when photographed, so I decided to leave that one off the blog.
- Coconut Chips – so I don’t really like coconut, but I really liked these which totally surprised me. I felt they were appropriately named because I was like, “DANG! I’m surprised how good these are.” I ate them plain but they are also really good in soups and salads for a little crunch.
It’s funny how slow time goes when you’re doing one of these eating programs. At the end of week 1, I feel like it’s been a month. Hopefully, this cold will get out soon – it’s a little frustrating (and ironic) to be eating so healthy but not feeling good yet.
Are you doing any kind of eating program right now – or a Whole30 or 21DSD? How’s it working out for you so far?