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I admit it. I have a sweet tooth. Big time. Ever since I was a kid, I took after my dad, who also loves the sweets. I’m not so much a hard candy gal, and I certainly don’t drink soda or sweetened drinks (yuck), and to be honest, I don’t care for overly sweet and sugary desserts. I’m a sucker for baked goods, though. And cheesecake. And pumpkin pie. Oh, and CHOCOLATE. Anything CHOCOLATE. Luckily I’m not a milk chocolate fan, so I stick to dark chocolate, 70 percent or more cacao. I have a square or 2 every day. It’s good for you and releases feel-good chemicals in the brain! I also make my own baked goods usually so I can adjust the levels of sweetness and make the necessary gluten free & dairy free adjustments.

more addictive than crack.

more addictive than crack.

But here’s the thing. After the holidays, I noticed my sugar cravings creeping up on me. That’s the thing with sugar: the more you eat it, the more you crave it. This is true also with white flour products, which break down as sugar in the body, and also alcohol.  I have decided to embark a 21 day sugar detox! Starting Monday, January 11, so that I can polish off the remaining chocolate truffles in the house.

This cleanse means no sugar of any kind (including evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, etc), honey, agave, stevia, fruit (except green apples), white flour, booze, or sodas for 21 days. I have sugar sensitivity in my family: that means we are prone to sugar-based addictions (alcohol + food) and hypoglycemia. We have diabetes on my Dad’s side, too. Do you have a history of alcoholism in your family? Diabetes? Is anyone more than 30 pounds overweight? Do you or does someone in your family have trouble with bingeing? Then you DEFINITELY need this cleanse. It’s only 3 weeks!

Sugar is one of the most harmful substances we can ingest. It is linked to more health issues than any single other food. This includes alcohol, which acts exactly like refined sugar in the body. Ever wonder why there are so many donuts at AA meetings? Because alcoholism is a disease of sugar addiction. Take away the booze, and the sugar cravings transfer to food. Same goes for food addiction: any person who has problems with alcohol or food addiction (bingeing behaviors, cravings, anorexia, obesity) MUST eliminate white flour and sugar and alcohol from the diet to truly overcome the addiction. Eventually, the cravings will subside. But every time a food or alcohol addict eats sugar or flour, the cravings will be triggered.

If you need convincing about sugar’s harmful effects, look at this list (very nicely compiled courtesy of Erin Huggins).
Sugar:
*suppresses your immune system, LINKED TO CANCERS
* promotes weight gain and obesity
* disrupts the mineral balance (causing stress in the body)
* contributes to depression, anxiety and mood swings
* promotes gut dysbiosis or overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut, such as candida
* contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes
* can cause hormonal imbalances
* increases risk for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
* disrupt the body’s pH balance
* can cause hypoglycemia
* will reduce good HDL cholesterol and increase bad LDL cholesterol
* prohibits weight loss

SO. What are the benefits? Well, first off, I don’t want to be addicted to anything. I don’t want to have cravings or energy dips, and I want to feel my best! If you have those 3pm sugar cravings that you satisfy every day, now is the time to be free. It takes about 21 days to break a habit, and only about THREE for the cravings to disappear as your body recalibrates. So, you can expect better sleep, MORE ENERGY, clear skin, better digestion, stable moods, lower cholesterol & blood pressure, lower triglycerides, NO CRAVINGS, and…. weight loss, if that’s a goal for you! Expect a 5-10 pound weight loss over the 3 weeks. Can’t beat that!

So, what *can* you have? First off, eat organic. Follow my general gluten free diet, which includes the following:
-lamb, poultry, wild fish, eggs, beef, bison, buffalo
-as many veggies as you can handle and lots of leafy greens like kale, chard, collards, spinach
-legumes such as lentils, beans
-you can have green apples but no other fruit
-nuts, seeds, nut butters (READ LABELS!)
-gluten free grains such as brown rice, quinoa
-dairy, if you can handle it, preferably raw

What to avoid:
* white sugar
* brown sugar
* maple syrup
* agave nectar
* honey
* fruit juice or fruit juice sweetened food
* fruit, except green tipped bananas & granny smith apples
* stevia
* refined white flour – it acts like sugar in the body
* sugar substitutes – no diet drinks
* alcohol

Let’s do it! Quick pep talk: you might have some rough cravings for the first 3 days, but it is easier to quit cold turkey and get it all out of your system. DON’T give in! Tapering down makes cravings worse. Once you get to day 4 or 5, your cravings will be gone–you’ll see!!

I’ll post updates and let y’all know how it’s going. Who’s with me?