Growing up we had a treat box in our house. I clearly remember it: a round tin can, light blue with trios of tiny white dots all over. On good days it was stocked with bars of chocolate, gummy bears, fizzy candy, or leftover Easter candy. On bad days it was just the leftovers of the leftover Easter candy. We got to pick from it when we ate all our dinner or did something extra good. And I often snuck treats from it without doing anything good. I’m pretty sure my mom knew…
For years – no, decades! – I figured that it was only because of that treat after dinner habit that now, as an adult I craved something sweet after a meal. I was totally convinced. Well, that thinking was totally busted when I learned about nutrition during my studies at Bauman College. One of the main reasons is that I ate too many simple carbs with my meals (bread, pasta, french fries, rice, cereal,…).
These simple carbs trigger the desire to keep eating because the fast rise in blood-sugar causes the insulin to rise too, and now you want more. And when your plate is filled with mostly carbs, you’re likely not getting the “magic” ingredients of protein, fat and fiber necessary to reach the point of satiation. Something sweet will then feel like the missing element.
The first time I felt those cravings melt away is when I did my first sugar detox. I used the 21-Day-Sugar-detox program by Diane Sanfilippo (a fellow Bauman grad), and wowzers!! – after those 3 weeks my entire palate had changed. I had more energy, slept better, and my belly bloat was gone!
Because I was so blown away by the effectiveness of this program, I decided to become a certified coach for the 21DSD as well. Now I’m coaching people through this program with extra support, accountability, and been-there-done-that knowledge that goes beyond the guidebook.
Because most moms and families struggle with healthy eating, and I’m a mom of 2, I decided to really dive into that niche and try out the 21DSD with my own family as guinea pigs. Our first attempt was cut short by hurricane Irma chasing us out of our house, but we returned, and life got back to normal, so we gave it another try in October. I promised everyone that we’ll be done before Halloween, and although my gang wasn’t thrilled about it at first, I have to say they’re doing awesome!!!
Today is day 7 so we still have a long ways to go, but here’s what I’ve learned over the past week:
Meal planning is key, but what’s even more important is SNACK PLANNING. Especially for my kids’ lunchboxes, but also for my always hungry husband. I made a few compliant snacks but they either rejected them or tore through them too fast and I was left stranded. So I turned to the program’s guidebook and cookbook, and made more snacks: turkey jerky, my roasted chickpeas (limited amounts are allowed, especially for my super active husband), hardboiled eggs, apple chips, kitchen sink muffins (recipe coming soon), and grainfree cheese crackers. Protein and fats with every meal. That’s the key.
Breakfast was the hardest. My kiddos were so used to their daily bowl of cereal that they threw fits for the first 2-3 days. Those were the worst mornings. The worst!!! Add to that that one kid doesn’t really like eggs, hates bananas, and refuses raw veggies. The other one was more difficult with dinner (“Mommy, why do you always make disgusting food??” – ouch!!). But we found a common ground: pancakes and waffles. “But how?” you ask? Cinnamon. Lots of it. It gives your tastebuds a sweet sensation. Pair that with a bit of mashed banana, or cooked sweet potato and you’re halfway there. Then add whipped cream (full fat dairy is allowed on level 1 of the program), because fat carries flavor and satisfies. No sugar needed. No honey, no syrup.
It didn’t cost us extra. At first we thought this detox will cost us extra in groceries because we have to make extra to have enough for leftover lunches x4 every day, but no: the extra expenses for more eggs, meats, and tons of veggies were evened out by the money we saved from not buying cereal, oatmeal, bread, fruit yogurts, juices, and beer/wine.
Yes, no drinks for 3 weeks, but you can have coffee 😉 Besides, mamas: you did 9 months without a drink so this is easy-peasy. But you can have GT’s Kombucha and that in a wine glass is my Friday night treat these days.
How’s it going so far?
On day 3 I realized that I was actually snacking less than usual.
On day 4 I noticed that my belly bloat had decreased.
On day 5 I noticed that I no longer craved sweets after my lunch.
And that is only week 1!
My husband who is Type 1 diabetic, noticed that he requires almost 30% less insulin that normal. He did have a few low-sugar incidents and 1-2 highs but that’s normal because his body is adjusting to the reduced carbs in his diet. So far he’s doing great. I’m really proud of him for not throwing in the towel (yet), because after all: I took away his favorite granola, his tortilla chips, and beer.
My kids still occasionally ask for treats and of course it may get harder the longer we go, but they’re eating almost everything we make (well, except for the plain yogurt and the non-sweet “granola”), but we gotta stay positive, no?
The pictures in this post are just a few examples of what we ate this past week. To see more, just follow me on Instagram for daily updates and occasional videos.
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