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About the Program
So, who doesn't struggle with sugar and carbohydrate cravings? And I don't just mean refined sugar laden junk- I mean fruit, and starchy vegetables. It was difficult at first for me to understand why I should restrict either of these foods, and I know this can seem overwhelming. The fact of the matter is, we just do not need many carbohydrates to function optimally. The amount of carbohydrates you need to function optimally can vary between person to person, and depends a lot on your body type and activity level. With that being said, over-eating carbohydrates and sugary fruits can put your body on a blood-sugar roller coaster, and this detox can help your body get back on track. Consuming too many carbohydrates, even those from fruit, demands insulin to get your blood sugar back to "normal". This is why we feel crashed and tired after over eating too many carbohydrates. And where does this leave us? Wanting more sugar, for a quick burst of energy. These highs and lows in blood sugar causes a stress response from our body, which leads to increased cortisol production. When you hear the term "adrenal fatigue", this is referring to depleted cortisol levels. Cortisol is produced in high quantities in the morning to get us through the day. It's also produced when we are in "flight or fight" mode, to give us a quick burst of energy. Essentially, cortisol is not a bad thing, but it can get out of balance. Feeling a crash after eating too many carbs, and then needing more carbs, and then crashing again can really wreak havok on your blood sugar levels and adrenal health. Diane says that when your blood sugar is not balanced, it affects a myriad of other systems in your body, especially your hormonal balance. When our hormones aren't balanced, this can lead to an array of problems like weight gain, acne, fertility issues, pcos, hypothyroidism, low testosterone, etc. So, in a nutshell, this program requires us to restrict our fruit and starchy vegetable consumption for 21 days, in an effort to balance out blood sugar and hormones. It only takes 21 days to form a habit, right?
Who Should Do This Program?
Anyone, except for those who are training to complete an all-day athletic event. This program is even safe for those with Type 1 & 2 Diabetes. Diana actually recommends this program to those suffering from Diabetes, and says that many people have great results from doing so! There are 3 program levels, to suit any diet and activity level. Level 1 is great for those who are athletes, or are just beginning the Paleo diet. One of the biggest problems people have when trying to transition to the Paleo diet is carbohydrate cravings, so I think this program would be a great tool for transitioning. There are also options for Pescatarians, and AIP'ers! If you just started the Autoimmune protocol, I would wait 1-2 months before starting this detox; it could get a little overwhelming.
There are several charts in this book that let us know what we can eat, and how much per day. There are so many meats and vegetables to choose from, that you won't feel deprived at all. There are also over 90 recipes in this book that are all 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly- from soups and salads to cookies! Yes, I said cookies!
Week 1 - What Did I get Myself Into?
I won't lie- The first half of the first week was tough. Extremely tough. I found myself drooling while preparing my toddler fruit smoothies. Having conversations with bananas. Dreaming about dates. While it took a lot of will-power to get through those first few days, it also really opened my eyes to how addicted to carbohydrates I really was. I found that I felt best keeping my activity levels to a minimum- like, doing yoga for 30 minutes or so. I didn't get fatigued, but I definitely didn't feel up to my regular HIIT session. As the week went by, it got easier. By the end of the week, I had almost forgotten about fruit.
Week 2 - Smooth Sailing
By the middle of week two, almost all cravings had subsided. Before starting the program, I needed to eat a small meal about once every 1.5 hours or so. By halfway through the second week, I was going 4 hours without eating, and didn't feel "crashed" at all. In fact, my blood sugar felt so balanced, I had to remind myself to eat. And when I did eat, I just loaded up on protein and fat and felt sustained energy for hours. By the end of this week, I felt like I could do this indefinitely. I definitely realized that I didn't need any more than about 60-70 grams of carbohydrates to function optimally. I am 5' 4", 107 pounds- so that might be different for you.
Week 3 - I Feel Awesome!
By the end of week three, I just felt amazing. My relationship with fruit and carbohydrates was completely changed. I was conscious of how many carbs I was eating, and what amount made me feel the best. My blood sugar felt balanced, and I had sustained energy through out the day.
Some things I learned while on the 21DSD: I need 1-2 servings of starchy vegetables a day, or else my hormones get out of balance. For the first 18 days, I didn't even eat my allotted "1 green apple' per day. I noticed that I became moody, and started to get headaches. I added the fruit, and I literally felt better within 2 days! For the first part of the detox, I was near ketosis with the amount of carbohydrates I was eating. When I noticed the headaches, and hormonal imbalance, I added a bit more carbohydrates. Some people feel great in ketosis, some don't.
I didn't do this program to lose weight, but many people do. Diane recommends that you stay away from the scale while on this program, and I do to. I recommend that you stay away from scale most of the time, actually. What's more important: the way you feel. I kept a journal during my cleanse, and noted my energy, sleep, skin, bowel movements, etc. While I didn't weight myself before or after the cleanse, I do think I lost weight. My clothes fit better, and my stomach doesn't seem as bloated. My favorite benefit of the 21 Day Sugar Detox (by far) is the mental clarity! I literally have never felt so clear and in control of my thoughts and mood!
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