Quitting sugar is hard. No, really, if you’re anything as addicted to sugar as I’ve been known to be, taking the 10 day sugar detox challenge is rough. If you’ve followed my journey and my reasons for quitting, you know it was no joke, but over those 10 days, I compiled 10 sugar detox tips that I hope can help you should you ever wish to try it.
10 Sugar Detox Tips
Take Stock of your Pantry
… by which I mean, read the labels. You will be shocked at what does or doesn’t have sugar in it. Case in point, day one I made myself some quinoa with pesto. Turns out pesto has sugar in it. Darn. Back to the drawing board.
Once you know what ingredients are out, you’ll likely have to redesign your go-to meals for the week. Below, I’ve included some of my go-to sugar-free meals, but a great website is Oh She Glows where almost every recipe (all vegan) uses natural ingredients.
Not to be confused with meal planning. It’s one thing to know what you’re going to cook and to buy the ingredients, but having things prepped, especially healthy snacks, is the difference between saying “stuff it, it’s easier to order pizza” and pushing through a really rough craving patch. Planning to snack on hummus and veggies? Peel and cut your veggies in advance.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Well… hopefully. If you arrange your pantry and your fridge in such a way that healthy foods are to the foreground (and prepped per the previous point), you’re more likely to be setting yourself up for success. If it helps you, put the off limits ingredients in an airtight box (no beasties for you!) and put them in a different room for storage.
If you’re like me, I’m both an emotional and a boredom eater. Answer? Don’t let yourself be bored during these ten days. Go for walks, see friends, or tackle that household project. Whatever it is, just don’t plonk yourself in front of the TV, or wherever your weak spots/times are for eating sugar.
Liquids Are Your Friend
Drink water. Drink tea. Drink coffee (without sugar). Obviously don’t go for diet or regular soft drinks, but sometimes we crave even though we’re not hungry. When the cravings got really bad, I would chug a huge glass of water to fill my belly. If there is no space anyways, I found the craving would typically pass.
Find a Detox Buddy
Having some support, be it in your home or otherwise, is going to be crucial. If your partner or roommate wants to join you, great! If not, ask them to do what they can to help by keeping ‘contraband’ out of sight. Being a detox buddy doesn’t meant they have to go through it all the way with you, but support comes in many forms.
Talk (or Write) Through It
Our thoughts can run a million miles an hour. It’s so easy to have a tennis match battle in your mind of why you should or shouldn’t reach for the sugar, but it’s another thing to talk through what you want and, more importantly, why you want it. Whether you’re having this conversation with a trusted friend, or simply aloud to yourself, it really helps you to realize why you’re reaching for the sugar. For example, I had many moments where the why was that I was bored, frustrated, tired, or grumpy. Emotional eating? Ding, ding, ding! Writing was also a big help for me, so I wrote a journal through the high and low moments. Seeing the words “I’d KILL for peanut butter icing” on the screen allowed me to step back and go “woah, that’s a little freaky.” Obviously I wouldn’t actually kill for sugar, but it’s frightening to see the intensity of the feelings and just how strong an addiction can take hold. I highly recommend you talk or write your way through this sugar detox.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Here’s the thing: this is tough. There’s no two ways about it, you’ll be tempted, you’ll have cravings, you’ll want to scratch your eyes out (if you’re anything like me!), so be kind to yourself as well. Don’t say that this is the week you’re giving up sugar AND you’re going to run 5km. Giving up sugar is enough, and it’s hard, so be kind. Hang out with friends, go for walks, and give yourself steady positive reinforcement.
Sugar-free recipes to try:
Black Bean Burgers – Oh She Glows
One Pan Mexican Quinoa – Damn Delicious
Sugar Free Thai Peanut Sauce – Raising Generation Nourished (this way you can make a stir fry without the fear of sugar!)
Other snack/meal staples:
- Homemade chilli
- Apple and natural peanut butter
- Veggies and hummus
- Steamed fish
- Homemade sweet potato fries
- Banana ‘ice cream’. For those not in the know: freeze sliced bananas, once frozen you blend. It’ll be like gravel at first, so blend, stir, blend, stir. I add a bit of milk for the texture. You can add some natural peanut butter, or pure cocoa, for a different flavour.
I wish you the best of luck with this sugar detox! I promise you’ll feel so different by the end of it. Then the next step will be deciding what you want to do next, but first things first.
Comment below to let me know how your sugar detox goes or share a favourite sugar-free go-to recipe for others doing the challenge.
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