Updated: Dec 24, 2019
Did you know that Snickers is named Snickers after the Mars family horse? No idea why they decided to market it as a Marathon bar for the first 60 years. Kind of weird really.
I looked this fact up on the Eve of Day 1, when I was supposed to be compiling my divine list of foodie commandments. It was when I started wondering how many hands Snickers the horse had been that I realised I needed a break, and some food. So, I typed in ‘sugar detox list’ and five popped up, I clicked on the middle one. Saw that carrots, leeks and butternut squash was on the green (yes) list, and promptly left the house and shuffled to the shops.
It wasn’t until I had left the shop and was shuffling home, that I realised I hadn’t once thought about wine. Prior to my sugar evolution 90% of all my trips to the shops was anchored around wine. I’d pick other stuff up, but I was there for wine. The other 10% of the time, I would still pick up wine it just wasn't the main reason for the shopping trip. So the fact that I had only thought about wine and in the context of realising that I hadn't thought about it in the shop, was amazing to me and I floated the rest of the way home on the high of my small victory.
I started making soup, and then returned to my search, clicked on a different list and butternut squash was not on the Yes list, but on the limit list. And I thought bugger. Well I thought of the word rhyming with duck, but this is a civilised post so bugger it is.
The five published lists were not the same. They don’t agree with each other. This was going to be more complicated than I thought.
I have a small, very large obsession with stationery, any excuse for me to whip out my pencil case and note pad and I’m all over it and list making is my second go to. If in doubt stare at my books and then write a list. I’d already created two to-do lists to prep myself for the imminent detox, not to mention the list of symptoms and of long-term effects for both the white stuff and the bottle and the more colourful the better. Basically, I’m not satisfied until my list looks like a unicorn has puked on it. So, to say that I was disappointed that I would have to create a pre-list to the actual list would be a giant fib.
First, I created a column for no and for limited – since this seemed to be where the bone of contention was and off, I went. It seemed that the five lists agreed that all refined sugar and all refined carbohydrates we’re a no go, other than that none of them could agree. So, I decided that the best way to deal with this was go with the majority.
Of course, it would have been easier to just pick one of the existing lists and follow that, but I didn’t agree with everything on any of the specific lists. Especially not the one that had alcohol on the limit list. I mean not only would that completely defeat the object of my exercise, but booze is literally empty sugar calories. I knew myself well enough to know that if I wasn’t completely on-board with everything on the list, sticking to it would be impossible.
Figure out what makes you tick.
For those of you that are thinking of going ahead and starting a sugar detox, one thing I strongly suggest you do before you start is take the time to explore your motivation. If you don’t have this locked in, you will struggle to anchor yourself during moments of weakness or when the withdrawal symptoms start getting really tricky that voice in your head might say ‘why am I doing this?’ and the second voice might reply ‘dunno’ you will be screwed, because there will be nothing stopping you from stuffing a muffin in your gob. If you have the goals glowing like fireflies inside your mind, they will be your beacon. Without it, you’re in darkness.
I of course made a list, well a mind map. Three key factors seemed to jump out. 1) Booze – back then it was about reducing my intake and developing a healthier relationship with alcohol in general, 2) become healthier mentally, 3) Become healthier physically. Most of the things I listed fell into one of these categories. I liked having multiple goals -in the world of health and safety, 3 points of contact is the law. The more goals you have the stronger your grounding and therefore the stronger your foundation is and you are less likely to topple over or sink. That was my reckoning anyway.
Be prepared to be prepared.
If you’re a ping chef at home, the first challenge is working out what to do to replace all your microwave dinners, but even if you’re not and you opt for a jar of sauce, that is off limits as well .....sugar sugar sugar. Grabbing a quick sarnie at lunch is also out the window and of course takeaways is a definite no go, because you have no idea what it is in most of it and could easily be consuming loads of stuff
What you can eat is lots and lots of fresh vegetables, and dependent on which list you follow you can have legumes, lentils and chickpeas too.
To be clear the sugar detox is NOT like the keto or the Atkins. Excluding an important element like Carbohydrate’s completely is bonkers and dangerous. On the sugar detox you do have a daily dose of the naturally occurring carbohydrate’s in your vegetables and fruit, it’s just you can’t have the refined ones from things like pasta or bread. So, your diet remains balanced between fats, proteins, carbs and fibre. In this way it's more sustainable because you’re not cutting down how much you eat, just what you eat. Plus, sweet potatoes and brown rice can often replace the heavy carb elements of a lot of your favourite dishes. There are also quite a few alternatives to flour like lentil and chickpea flour, and that goes for pasta too. So, if you do a little research into it, you can pretty much source an alternative for most things.
The word Diet, it has such negative connotations these days. It only seems to mean restricting what you eat to the point of being both irritable and miserable. Many people forget that the word diet also means habitual nourishment/food and drink we regularly consumed. The sugar detox is like hitting system reset. Clears away all the bad habits to replace them with better ones.
And finally, before you start, it’s a good idea to have a visual of your goals, maybe keep them all in a journal or on a pin board wherever suits. If your goal is better looking skin, then take a selfie on day 1, then again on day 7 and so on. If it’s weight loss, take a belly selfie on day 1. If your goal is to improve your general well-being, keep a diary/journal. I draw up a chart on my fridge door, with a whiteboard marker to tally up each day on the detox, I wrote the CBT triangle; Thoughts - Behaviour - Feelings on my kitchen cupboard. I took a belly selfie and I re-purposed and old journal to keep a log of my thoughts. I knew I would need to plan a schedule for my training, but I decided that this could wait for another day as I had done enough.
Keeping a record of any kind is helpful because seeing how far you have come, is also a good motivator to keep on going, if on day 24 your feeling a bit pants, looking back on your day one stuff can help loads, it can also help you manage your symptoms.
Day 1, here we come…..