Throughout this year, I've experienced bouts of exhaustion, hair loss and fatigue. It was not the type of exhaustion that comes with balancing college, work, an internship and being a human. It was exhaustion that would cause me to sleep 11 hours straight and wake up as tired as I felt before going to bed. I was unsure of what could be causing such terrible symptoms so I decided to try the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

What is the 21DSD

tea, beer
Angela Kerndl

The 21 Day Sugar Detox is in total a five week program where you cut all fake sugars, dairy, gluten, and soy from your diet. The goal is to "reset" your body by giving it time to remove all unnecessary sugars and then slowly reintroduce things back into your system to see if you have any food allergies, sensitivities, or unwelcomed reactions to food

I used the 21 Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide to jot down my experiences and to ensure that I had a resource to turn to for new recipes or guidance when eating. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever with my diet, but I learned so much about my body. I want to share these insights with you in case you are experiencing the same awful symptoms I had. 

Week 1: Pre-Detox Learning

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk
Meredith Simmons

The first week of your detox is actually not the detox at all! It is pivotal that one week before your detox you take the time to journal what you eat in a week and how your body feels after consuming meals. If you followed the Daily Guide as I did, this week also ensures that you'll learn the methodology, science, and reasoning behind cutting the foods out that you are. Basically, you learn how much control sugar has over society

During Week 1, I started to realize how many foods I ate that actually did cause stomach aches or energy crashes a few hours later. One of the culprits for my crummy feelings was Starbucks Cappucinos made with soy milk. Before this detox, I already did not consume dairy as I do not enjoy the taste of it. However, the sweeteners used by Starbucks kill my stomach.

Week 2: The Detox Begins

The first week of the detox was possibly the worst week of my summer. The first two days of the detox, I was flying high. I had prepped ingredients for the meals of the week. I did miss my pastas, but I wasn't too scared of what was to come. But then Day 3 happened.

Day 3 was when my body went into sugar withdrawal. The 21 Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide did prepare me by predicting Day 3 as the first withdrawal day, but I was shocked to see how much control sugar had over me. I had a pounding migraine all day, the worst stomach pains, and mood swings that came with a vengeance. Even though the rest of the week mellowed out, Day 3 showed me just how powerful sugar truly is.

Week 3: Surviving

apple, juice, pasture, sweet, tinda
Jenny Georgieva

The second week of the detox was fine, and fine is the only word that fits. I was becoming sick of eating only green tipped bananas and green apples for my fruit allowance and scrambled eggs become boring. The fact that some of my favorite hot sauces were allowed made food a bit more exciting.

I felt good. My physical health felt different. I noticed my sleep was deeper and I felt rested. My stomach started to calm down and not ache as bad. I still missed yogurt, pasta, and cheese like crazy, but the way I thought about food was changing. I started to understand what it means to feed my body what it needs instead of what it craves.

Week 4: The Detox Ends

Dea Uy

The final week felt like I was in the home stretch but sprinting really slowly. I was also moving so I did not have an abundance of groceries or easy access to cooking. It was a week of scrambled eggs and cooking frozen squash, not an exciting combo.

This week, I also had some slip-ups. I ended up manically eating a lot of bread at a family dinner to a truly amazing German restaurant. I did really miss the taste of bread and sausage, but later on, my body bloated like a hot air balloon and my stomach ached for the rest of the night.

Week 5: Post-Detox Reflections 

The final week is a week of celebration. Not only can you start to incorporate foods back into your diet (yay for yogurt and berries!) but you also celebrate the fact that: holy crap you just cut sugar out of your life for three straight weeks! That is a success! 

When I started reintroducing foods back into my diet, I found that my body did not like "sweetened" items, such as "sweetened" almond milk or processed foods like certain granola bars. I also realized that big, carby foods like pasta and pizza would always make me crash after eating them.

penne alla vodka, pasta, homemade, dorm, Easy
Tess Citron

The 21 Day Sugar Detox taught me how to not only analyze what I eat but to actually take the time to analyze how I felt after eating. Since completing this detox, I have been making healthy swaps when and where I can and I now make new dishes that are completely sugar free!

However, I want to be completely honest. I have not been eating the healthiest recently and want to do another round of the detox. What I learned the most out of this detox is that health/healthy eating/dieting/etc. is a constant balance. Sometimes life gets hectic and you'll want to reach for what is easy instead of what is good. But, if you can find a balance (and be prepared with roasted veggies), a slice of pizza is okay once in a while.