Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My New Year, No-Sugar Detox

Happy New Year! Crazy to think that another year has passed and that it's 2013 already. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. J and I had a fantastic trip to Cuba for Christmas, but I'll post about that later in the week...

First I want to share my detox plan for this new year. Let's face it, most of us overindulge during the holidays. A few drinks here, a few extra treats there, food at parties that you don't normally eat. It starts to add up, and we may feel sluggish or irritable, develop pimples, and may even get a cold or get sick - the body's way of coping with an overload. Sweet things seem to be a big part of the equation. Desserts, cookies, sweet drinks, chocolate.... even if it's "healthy" (gluten free, refined sugar free, raw, and/or vegan) it's still sugar - and too much sugar in the body is bad.

So what's the cure when we've had too much? Simply abstain for a while. It's as easy as that. Or is it? For most of us it can be challenging to give up sugar for a while because we're either addicted to it and/or we're so used to having it in our lives. Have you ever gone off all forms of sugar? Was it easy or hard?

As you may know from my other blogs, I've done several sugar free detoxes over the past few years. Since I love sweet things so much it takes a mind adjustment in the beginning but becomes smooth sailing after that. I always feel refreshed, strong, energized, and mentally/physically balanced during and after the cleanse. I also notice that my digestion and metabolism improves greatly. These are the reasons I do it.

Here are some of the posts I've written about my sugar cleanses in the past:

- My two week sugar free diet one Autumn and another post on why I think this works for me.
- My strategy for going off sugar and cacao in this post on Universal Eater.
- The verdict of my sugar cleanse.
- The start of my sugar detox last January.

Starting today, I'm going sugar free for 2 weeks - maybe a little longer, maybe a little shorter. I'll go with the flow.
What exactly does this plan mean? I'll be eliminating almost all forms of sugar from my diet. I say "almost" because this time I've chosen to include some berries and stevia in my daily protein shake. I've gone sugar free with and without the shake before and I've found that it satisfies me in a good way - without it I found myself snacking on too many nuts. This is also a gluten free and grain free plan.

I choose not to think of this as a restriction, but rather as a chance to rebalance in all ways, fill up on nutrient dense foods, and experiment with fun new savory recipes that I otherwise wouldn't make.

What will I eat? (Check out more of the above post links for my sugar free eats in the past)

- eggs
- wild meat/fish
- vegetables
- plain yogurt
- nuts/seeds
- butter, coconut oil, spices, herbs, apple cider vinegar, himalayan salt
- berries
- lemons
- whey protein powder
- raw (unpasteurized) cheese, feta

I know this may sound limited, but there's so much you can do with these foods - just think about how many vegetables there are to choose from, and spices really make the food fun. Since I'm a creature of habit for the most part, I enjoy many of the same meals every day like my egg/veggie breaky, protein shake, and salads with meat. But this is an opportunity to get creative! I'll be trying new paleo style recipes - I've got a few new cookbooks to try and will report back about the things I make.

Have you gone sugar free? Paleo? Would love to hear your experience and any great websites or cookbook recommendations.

To get started, here's one of my favorite veggie dips that I posted a while back on Universal Eater. It can be made chunky as I have here or can be pureed to be more smooth and creamy. I've made it countless times - it's that good.

Chunky Eggplant Red Pepper Dip

2 eggplants, peeled and diced into 1-2" pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toss the veggies with enough olive oil to coat, and sprinkle with salt/pepper.
2. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
3. Bake in a 375F preheated oven for 20 minutes. Check on the veggies, pushing them around and then bake another 8-10 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.
4. Roughly mash the veggies with a potato masher. Add another drizzle of olive oil.
5. Chill before serving (but I like it warm too).

Cheers to feeling great!

Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesday


  1. Best of luck with the detox!! I'll keep you accountable and cheer you on :) Check out that 21 day detox link I sent ya - it has to do with the "Practical Paleo" book that's really popular and has sound information in it as well.

    1. Thanks for your support my dear! Checking it out and might get the book! ;) xo

  2. I'm definitely with you on the no-sugar detox! My version is to eliminate all refined-sugar from my daily food. Over the holidays, too much refined sugar snuck it's way into my life, and I'm ready to move it on out.

    1. Yay! Good luck with it - there's so many great alternatives.

  3. inspiring Heather! I'm also going to do a detox for the new year. I look forward to reading your experiences :) Happy New Year girlie! xo

    1. Happy New Year to you too lovely! What kind of detox are you doing? Hope you had a great Christmas! xo

  4. I'm really liking Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan and her website:

  5. Heather I have been meaning to email you!! How are you? I will write soon. But Lori and I got the Practical Paleo book and really like it, have learned a lot. We are not sure where this will take us but for now we are focusing on healing our gut!


    1. Michelle! I'm good! Yes we definitely need to catch up!! I've seen that book, will look into it some more. xo

  6. So cool Heather, I'm really excited to see you recipes for this challenge! I think if I ever did another sugar-free detox, it would be with berries and stevia. I think I would feel a lot more balanced. Good luck with yours my dear :)

    1. Thanks lovely! I remember your sugar cleanse. There's just something about having a little bit of sweet without it triggering any sugar cravings. Happy New Year!

  7. Good on you Heather...funny cos I'm going sugar free for a month(ish)too and am planning on eating pretty much the same as what you've listed...being re-inspired by the Body Ecology principles and look forward to purchasing a fermentation crock for making cultured veggies.
    Best wishes for the New Year : )

    1. That's awesome Lana. Yes Body Ecology is great... I need to get a new batch of fermented veggies going. I love kraut with caraway. Good luck to you and your sugar free month! :)

  8. Wow, I am doing this too. It will be encouraging to follow you. I have gone paleo for months before but did eat some raisins, I lost heaps of weight and friends started getting concerned so I added oats back into my diet and then other grains came back in slowly and I have never been able to get back there. I am on about day 4 now and am feeling terrible, but I figured out last night it is because I have almost cut out fruit and vegetables too so today I will try eating a lot more vegetables. Please keep us updated.

    1. How wonderful Fiona! Its great that you had success in the past. I think lots of veggies and a little slow glycemic fruit is really helpful. Best of luck!

  9. Cheering you on, babe! And can't wait to hear about Cuba :)

  10. I'm doing the Sarah Wilson quitting sugar program. First week coming up! Haven't decided r.e. stevia yet. I think I'll try without first and then see if I feel like I need my protein powder (stevia-sweetened) or any fruit..A little nervous but excited!
    Oh and that eggplant dip looks fabulous:)

    1. I've never heard of that program but wish you the best of luck! I'll have to pop over to see if you're blogging about it. I know the feeling - it's a mind thing to get over at first but once you're into it.... jsut wait and see how great you feel :)

  11. You go girl! I don't think I could ever do a detox like that, but I'd enjoy trying your eggplant dip.

    1. Thanks girlie!!! The eggplant dip is a winner, hope you try it!

  12. Hello Heather,

    just came across your site when researching homemade Sauerkraut recipes - yes I loooove Sauerkraut :-) (btw. try adding Juniper berries - very nice!

    Really glad I checked your site out as it appears that we share the same passion for Sauerkraut ;-)and nourishing food in general(your creations look and sound truly delicious!!!

    ...and yoga and sugar free challenges - mind you, I've been on mine for the past 2 years, hah, so I've got a few recipes up my sleeve. Come and check them out on my blog over on I think you might like my healing cabbage breaky.

    take care,

    1. Hey Sandra, thanks, will check out some of your recipes :)

  13. Made that eggplant dip this morning and am eating it right now. SO YUMMY! No one else in my family likes eggplant so it's all for me!

    You've inspired me to do a sugar cleanse. The first of March (today) felt like the right day to start. I'm going to look into your other savory recipes too.

    Did you ever consider making a little "Print this" button to go with your recipes? I love them but have to copy and paste to my notepad to print them out. And then they look all blah... not so enticing when flipping through my recipe binder.

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