Once you make the decision to do a sugar detox, it’s advisable that you come up with a recipe game plan to help ensure your success. Here are a few steps that helped me prepare for my 30-day sugar detox.
1. Know where you’re consuming your sugar.
Where we obtain our sugar naturally varies from person to person, so it's a good idea to keep a journal on where and how much sugar we consume on a daily basis. For those of us who don’t have the time, simply become more aware of how you consume sugar, keeping in mind that a good portion of sugar intake can come from sauces, drinks, and even canned fruits and vegetables.
2. Research what you can and can’t eat. Write it all down.
When you go on a proper sugar detox, it means taking out all sugars and starches for the time you are doing the detox. This is not a diet. It's a nutritional reset so that you may be able to break the cycle of sugar reliance and addiction. That means you need to overcompensate for a while in order to achieve those goals. It helped me to make a spreadsheet and write as many ingredients that I can and cannot eat.
3. Clean out your kitchen if you are at all tempted.
Some of us are more prone to an external food sensitivity, which means that we get cravings after seeing or smelling food — despite whether we're hungry or not. You know yourself better than anyone else, so if this is something that sets you off, then I would suggest cleaning out your kitchen of anything that would serve as a weakness.
Take a look at salsas, salad dressings, juice, soda, candy, sweets, fruit and grain bars, and instant oatmeal. All of these items will have some sugar in them. Try to remove as much of the temptation as possible. If you want to break your sugar cravings, you’ll need to abstain — not moderate — your intake of these foodstuffs.
4. Plan your recipes well in advance.
Once I knew what ingredients I could use and had to avoid (Step 2), I began researching recipes that I thought would work for me. What do I mean by that? Well, I’m someone who typically has an acai bowl with a banana and granola for breakfast, but according to my sugar detox guidelines, I had to avoid ALL of those foods because they all contain high levels of sugar. I typically don’t love eggs and sausage for breakfast, so I started to come up with more acceptable alternatives for my morning meal, some of which involved nondairy yogurts, avocados, and even smoked wild Alaskan salmon with capers.
Recipe substitutions can take some time, so that’s why I didn’t rush into my sugar detox. I made sure that I had around 20 different “meal plans” per meal, plus a whole list of sides and snacks that I could eat before I even started the cleanse. It felt empowering to know that there were so many different alternatives and that they’d be easy enough for me to do — not just for me — but also for my friends, since I decided to do a lot of group dinners.
If you’re curious about some of the recipes I used, you can find them here. I hope that helps start you on the right foot for your personal sugar detox.