Is it time to do a sugar detox? (plus sugar-free recipes)

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Sugar, sugar, and more sugar! It’s everywhere and in everything! According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes up to 22 grams or more of sugar per day.  Many people don’t even realize they are consuming so much sugar! It can be hidden in our foods using tricky words like syrup and words that end with “ose,” like fructose and glucose.
Needless to say, there is sugar in more foods than you realize. Iced teas and caramel lattes probably contain more sugar than you expect. “Healthy” foods such as yogurt, granola bars and protein bars  tend to have tons of added sugar as well. Next time you’re at the store, check on the spaghetti sauce label and ketchup bottle. You might be surprised by what you’ll find!

How sugar is harming your body

With all this added sugar in the average American diet, it is no surprise that many people have sugar addictions. A neuroscientist used MRI scans to discover that sugar triggers the same part of the brain that is activated when drugs like cocaine are used. The bottom line is… sugar is addictive. (Like we didn’t know that! LOL)
Too much sugar intake can create many negative side effects on the body such as diabetes, insulin resistance, weight gain, moodiness, joint pain, headaches, heart disease and the list goes on and on. Which is why detoxing from sugar can help you do more than lose weight—it improves your overall health.
Sugar spikes your insulin levels, which contributes to that sleepy effect after going on a sugar binge. If weight gain and heart disease aren’t enough for you to decide to reduce your sugar intake, knowing that sugar can age you faster might. In this study, it was discovered that sugar can disrupt how your body makes anti-aging proteins, which can, in turn create premature aging.

How to 7-day detox

The key to successfully breaking your sugar addiction is to plan out and prepare for a sugar detox. I hate to say it, but the best way to start a sugar detox is by going cold turkey. While this may sound extreme and can be rough at first, it really is the best option. Even eating a little bit of sugar makes it hard to stop the craving cycle. Once you have a little taste, it is easy to want and consume more and more. Cutting sugar out altogether skirts this dilemma and makes a hard and fast rule which isn’t as easy to wiggle your way around. 😉

  1. Before you start the detox, step on the scale, take your measurements, or try on your “skinny jeans” so you can compare your results at the end.
  2. Then, either give away or put away those tempting and sugary foods that can steer you off your detox path.
  3. Now, make a grocery list for foods that do not contain sugar.

Here are some sugar-free recipes to help you get started with that grocery list!

Breakfast

Avoid items like cereal, smoothies and flavored coffee creamers during breakfast, opting instead for a protein and veggie filled breakfast like the recipe below! It’s also a great recipe to make ahead and have ready to go in the fridge for busy days. The ingredients aren’t measured out—use all of them to your taste and feel free to get creative.

Veggie Egg Muffins

What you need:

  • 6 pastured chicken or duck eggs
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Chives
  • Red bell peppers
  • Basil
  • Pink salt/pepper
  • Other spices to your liking

Directions:

  • Spray a muffin pan with a nonstick coating such as a spray avocado oil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Finely chop your veggies.
  • Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk.
  • Sprinkle your chopped veggies into the muffin tins. This will be the filling of the egg muffin.
  • Pour your whisked eggs over the veggies in the muffin tin, leaving room at the top for rising.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Poke the muffin with a toothpick and when it comes out clean, they are done.
  • Let cool, then remove the muffins from the pan and enjoy!.

Lunch

For lunch, you have many options! You can try an oil and vinegar salad, gluten-free pasta with spinach and broccoli, or grilled chicken, roasted garlic cauliflower, and quinoa. Here is a yummy recipe suggestion:

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Gluten-Free Pasta

What you need:

  • A box of your favorite gluten-free pasta
  • 2 organic chicken breasts
  • 3 cloves of sliced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 juiced organic lemons
  • Pink salt & pepper to your taste

Directions

  • Boil the water for your pasta. It should be done by the time you are finished making the chicken.
  • In a skillet, cook the chicken with salt and pepper until fully done and tender. Slice it into bite-size pieces.
  • In the same skillet, heat the oil and add the pepper flakes and garlic. Then, pour in the cooked pasta and toss so oil is evenly distributed.
  • Add chicken to the pasta. Pour the lemon juice over pasta and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and enjoy.

Dinner

Dinner doesn’t normally incorporate sweeter foods, so thankfully you won’t have to change your diet too much. You can try something like homemade chicken and wild rice soup or shrimp scampi. Need a dinner idea?

Green Vegetarian Soup

What you need:

  • 1 lb tomatillos
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A big sprinkle of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups cooked small white beans (or 2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Husk the tomatillos.
  • Place tomatillos and jalapeno peppers onto a baking sheet. Poke small holes in the tomatillos.
  • Bake, rotating every 10 minutes for 25 minutes or until lightly blackened. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • While the tomatillos and peppers are in the oven, prepare the soup base by adding the olive oil to a large saucepan.
  • When heated, add onion and oregano. Saute until soft, but don’t let them brown.
  • Add garlic, coriander, salt, and pepper. Stir for one minute.
  • Add flour and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Slowly add in broth while stirring. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and let cook for 15 minutes until it thickens.
  • Peel the jalapenos and taste to see how hot it is. Jalapenos vary in heat, so if they are very hot, you may want to add less, or if they are mild, you may want to add more, including the seeds.
  • Remove soup from heat. Puree the soup in batches using an immersion blender. Return to medium-low heat.
  • Add the beans and the can of diced green chilies and stir.
  • Add additional salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Bring to a simmer the chilies and white beans. Take off heat and add lime juice.
  • Serve with cilantro leaves and lime wedges if desired.

(Source)

Snacks

If you are craving sugar in between meals, don’t give in! Have a large drink of water and keep some healthy snacks available. I like keeping on hand celery or carrot sticks with nut butter or pepper slices with hummus. You can also bring some trail mix, seeds, nuts, and jerky with you.
Check out this recipe for no added processed sugar granola bars! The dates in this recipe are pretty sweet on their own so keep that in mind when making them. You can also find a protein bar recipe that is lower in natural sugar on my previous blog here.

Granola Bars

What you need:

  • 1 cup pitted, deglet noor or medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted, chopped almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • Your favorite dried fruit (NO added sugar), nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc. (optional)

Directions:

  • Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a dough-like consistency that can be rolled into a ball.
  • Combine oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl and put to the side.
  • Heat almond butter on low. Stir and pour over oat mixture and mix evenly.
  • Put the mixture in a 8×8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  • Press to flatten so it will hold together better.
  • Let cool in fridge until it hardens.
  • Remove bars from pan and cut into squares.

(Source)

Healthier Alternatives to Sugar

Also, if you are someone who normally adds sugar to tea or coffee, you can try some sugar substitutes.

  • Stevia – made from a shrub from South America (Can be a little bitter tasting)
  • Xylitol – a sugar alcohol found in some plants, fruits and vegetables (FYI, this can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea in some people)
  • Yacon Syrup – it is derived from the Yacon plant
  • Monk fruit sweetener – made from the fruit’s extract (I like to bake with Monk Fruit)

Let me know how your sugar detox goes in the comments below! Hopefully this sugar fast helps you lessen cravings, making it easier to make healthy choices in the future.