Lavender Lullaby Mocktail

By far one of the coolest things to trend in the last couple years is the love of mocktails–hence special months like Sober October and Dry January–so that we can enjoy special treats without the guilt like this sleep-inducing Lavender Lullaby Mocktail.

Don’t be intimidated by the lavender… this is just one of many new types of drinks and mixers more crafty than our Boonesfarm predecessors. 😁

The lavender in this craft lavender mocktail isn’t overwhelming; but it is known to induce calmness and help some sleep. Which makes it the perfect post-dinner treat.

**One thing I will caution: Not all lavender sodas are sugar-free, EVEN if they say ‘dry’!! Check the label to ensure you’re getting sugar-free to keep your mocktail anti-inflammatory, low-carb, and keto!

Lavender Lullaby Mocktail

The lavender in this craft lavender mocktail isn't overwhelming but is known to induce calmness and help some sleep. Which makes it the perfect post-dinner treat.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bottle dry lavender soda *Make sure it's 'diet' or 'sugar-free'!
  • 2-3 basil leaves muddled
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice fresh is best
  • 2 drops liquid stevia or use 1-2 tsp erythritol (Swerve brand is great)

Instructions
 

  • Fill a highball glass with ice.
  • Place muddled basil in glass.
  • Pour in lemon juice and drops of stevia (or other sweetener).
  • Fill the glass with lavendar soda.
  • Garnish with basil if you need more fragrance. Enjoy!
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Cozy Keto Pumpkin Muffins

When it’s fall (ya’ll) [sorry-had to be done by a Southerner such as myself] 😆 everybody goes bonkers for pumpkin spice, and these keto pumpkin muffins should definitely be in your saved + often-used recipe collection. And I get it–it’s (hopefully where you live) starting to cool down, and that crisp snuggly feeling should be crankin’ up!

The only thing is… when we think of ‘cozy’ things, it usually veers in dramatically different directions: Either heavier soups and stews (savory), or warm, sweet breads (sweets direction).

Lucky for you, I’ve got the sweet covered with a fiber-filled, pumpkin-spice loaded muffin that is sugar-free, and also has the added benefit of being a great after-dinner snack (if you add on the pumpkin seeds–they contain melatonin. 😉)

Now, I know some of us like stevia, some prefer erythritol, some like monk-fruit, and on and on. So I put 2 options in the directions in case you veer either way, because that one option will determine baking time.

So warm up some unsweetened coconut (or almond) milk and enjoy! 🍂

Cozy Keto Pumpkin Muffins

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 27 mins
Total Time 42 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 6 muffins
Calories 156 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 eggs large
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 TBSP coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp stevia liquid OR 1/3 cup erythritol (Swerve brand works great)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, for topping (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line your muffin tin with liners (paper tend to stick unless you spray with oil).
  • Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, stevia (or erythritol), coconut oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the coconut flour, salt, and baking powder. Then whisk into the pumpkin batter.
  • Evenly divide the mixture in the 6-muffin tin cups.
  • Bake 22-25 minutes (using stevia as the sweetener), or (27-29 minutes using erythritol as the sweetener).
  • Muffins are ready when a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Pop muffins onto a towel or cooling rack, and let them cool completely for optimal fluffy texture.
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free

Cucumber Cherry Lime Mocktail

What a better way to celebrate summer than to use in-season ingredients that have the bonus of giving us better sleep — like this Cucumber Cherry Lime Mocktail!

Although this craft mocktail contains cherry juice, which is essentially straight fructose, the cucumber’s fiber will help blunt the blood-sugar spike. Also, tart cherry juice has mega phyto-nutrients and antioxidants!

{If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, please be smart about consuming drinks with fruit juice. This is technically sugar free, but that only means ‘added sugars’. The fruit juice still contains fructose!}

Cucumber Cherry Lime Mocktail

Prep Time 7 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup cucumber peeled and chunked
  • 1/8 cup tart cherry juice Montmorency cherry juice
  • 1/8 cup lime juice fresh is best
  • 4 oz seltzer water plain, unflavored

Instructions
 

  • In high-powered blender cup, place cucumber chunks, cherry juice, and lime juice.
  • Pulse 20-30 seconds until completely smooth.
  • Pour into glass over ice cubes.
  • Fill with seltzer water and serve.
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Cherry Sour Mule Mocktail

An amazing way to celebrate cooler weather and earlier nigh-time hours is to combine tart cherry (for its sleep-inducing properties) with a Moscow mule to make this delectable Cherry Sour Mule Mocktail.

Although this mocktail is technically sugar-free, it does have tart cherry juice in it, which is basically straight fructose. Tart cherry juice does have less sugar than other cherries, so pay attention to the type you’re buying (it will say Montmorency cherry juice).

So if you’re able to have a bit of sugar and need a boost in sleep, this Cherry Sour Mule Mocktail could be the perfect warm-weather after-dinner beverage!

cherry sour mule mocktail

Cherry Sour Mule Mocktail

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup tart cherry juice Montmorency cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice fresh is best
  • 1 can diet ginger beer Zevia Mixers is a great brand
  • 1 sprig mint for garnish + aroma

Instructions
 

  • Place large ice cube or ball in a copper mug.
  • Pour lime juice and cherry juice over ice.
  • Fill with diet ginger beer.
  • Garnish with mint + enjoy!
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Tart Cherry Almond Mocktail

If you’re searching for a way to use tart cherry to improve your sleep, look no further than this Tart Cherry Almond Mocktail! The sweet almond and tart cherry mesh together beautifully and give a delicious treat to send you off to dreamland.

Tart cherries have been shown to boost sleep through melatonin content and possibly the high amounts of antioxidants. They also have a lower sugar content than other cherries.

So while keeping your blood sugar down is a concern for supporting better sleep (and is necessary for diabetes and inflammatory conditions), this mocktail may still be a viable option, even with the straight tart cherry juice.

Although alcohol can always be added to mocktails to make a full-on cocktail, I don’t advise doing it with this recipe. The recipe-tester (that would be me) advised that it will turn this delicious treat of a beverage into a large, full glass of cough-syrup flavor. No thank you.

Instead, enjoy this tart cherry mocktail treat alcohol-free after or during dinner to prep you for bedtime!

tart cherry mocktail

Tart Cherry Almond Mocktail

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup sugar-free cream soda (diet or Zevia brand)
  • 1/3 cup tart cherry juice Montmorency
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 sprig mint optional

Instructions
 

  • Place ice cube/s in a short tumbler.
  • Pour almond extract first, then tart cherry juice, and top it with the diet cream soda.
  • Add a sprig of mint for garnish.

Notes

**I don’t recommend converting this to a full-on cocktail by adding alcohol– it turns the drink into cough-syrup flavor.
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Vegan

Pineapple Kiwi Mocktail

When it comes to a mocktail that’s fun + fruity but has the added benefit of improving sleep, this Pineapple Kiwi Mocktail is pretty much perfect!

Pineapple contains melatonin, which helps improve sleep, and kiwifruit has been shown in studies to improve sleep as well, making them a perfectly dynamic duo.

What I love about this Pineapple Kiwi Mocktail recipe is that even though we’re using fruit, which contains fructose, we’re not using straight juice. The fruit itself stays in the recipe, which keeps all the fiber. This is important for sleep to help blunt blood-sugar spikes, which can interfere with sleep.

Plus the tropical feel of this mocktail is super fun!

{This is not to say that this mocktail is a good option if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic and having a hard time controlling your blood sugar. Know your body and go from there. ie-be smart about your mocktail options!}

Pineapple Kiwi Mocktail

Prep Time 7 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kiwi fruit peeled and chunked
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks or can use canned
  • 2-3 drops liquid stevia to taste
  • 1 can lemon seltzer water or sparkling water
  • 1 sprig fresh mint leaves optional, for garnish and aroma

Instructions
 

  • Put chunks of kiwi and pineapple, and stevia drops in a high-powered blender cup. Add 1/4 cup seltzer water and pulse approx 20-30 seconds until pureed into a smoothie-like texture.
  • Place ice cubes in a large glass.
  • Pour fruit mixture into glass.
  • Top it off with seltzer water and stir.
  • Garnish with mint. Enjoy!
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Egg, Bacon, + Avocado Bowl

This high-protein, high-fat breakfast bowl will keep you satisfied and focused for hours in the morning. Plus it’s a perfect post-workout muscle builder!

Egg, Bacon, + Avocado Bowl

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 1
Calories 378 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 eggs medium to large
  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 1 TBSP red onion finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP red bell pepper finely chopped
  • sea salt + pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Prep all vegetables per the ingredients list
  • Fry the bacon until crisp on a non-stick pan. Let it cool slightly and chop.
  • Combine the bacon, eggs, avocado, onion, and bell pepper in a bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper to serve.

Notes

Per serving:
32 g fat
14 g carb
23 g protein
*For vegan option, replace eggs with meat-free substitute
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Egg Broccoli + Turkey Muffins

These little savory muffins are full of comfort, without the carbs. They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, and amazing as a batch-prepped breakfast or snack!

Egg Broccoli + Turkey Muffins

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, lunch, Snack
Servings 6
Calories 102 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 5 eggs medium to large
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pinch chili flakes optional
  • 4 slices turkey from deli
  • 1/3 cup cheddar shredded

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 360°F(180°C).
  • Place the broccoli in a pot of boiling water and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Strain and cut into small pieces.
  • Beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl, add the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper, and chili flakes if using.
  • Grease a 6 muffin tray with oil or butter, and fill the muffin tin with evenly divided broccoli, ham, and grated cheese. Pour the beaten eggs into the muffin tin and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until eggs have set.

Notes

Per muffin nutrition:
6 g fat
4 g carb
10 g protein
*For vegan option, replace cheese with plant-based cheese + replace turkey with meat-free option.
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Avocado + Egg Salad

This delicious high-fat take on egg salad is a perfect breakfast or lunch, and can be easily paired with whole-grain or grain-free bread for a quick toast or filling sandwich.

Avocado + Egg Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, lunch, Snack
Servings 2
Calories 298 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 eggs medium to large
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 avocado ripe
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 TBSP cilantro fresh, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Boilthe eggs (put in warm water and cook 5 and a half minutes after the water hasboiled, then pour cold water in the pot and cool). Once cooled, peel and chop into cubes and put in a bowl.
  • Press the garlic,and addto the eggs.
  • Half the avocado, remove the stone and cut the flesh into cubes. Place the avocado and cilantro the bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Season everything with salt and pepper, and gently mix. Garnish with more cilantro.
  • Serve immediately on whole-grain or grain-free bread or on its own.

Notes

Per serving:
24 g fat
9 g carb
11 g protein
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free

Turmeric Poached Eggs

The addition of anti-inflammatory turmeric to these poached eggs adds a subtle spiciness that’s *just right*.

Turmeric Poached Eggs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, lunch, Snack
Servings 2
Calories 219 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tsp pine nuts
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh spinach
  • 5/8 cup tomatoes halved
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP white wine vingegar
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 eggs medium sized

Instructions
 

  • Heata dry frying pan and toast the pine nuts for 2 minutes, then set aside.
  • Inthe meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan and stirfry thespinach and tomatoes for 2 minutes on medium heat until wilted. Season withsalt and pepper.
  • Bringa pot of water to the boil and add in the vinegar and turmeric. Turn the heatdown so that the water no longer bubbles. Carefully break in the egg and poachfor 3 minutesrepeatwith the second egg.
  • Dividethe spinach over two bowls, top with the poached egg and sprinkle with toastedpine nuts. Season withsalt and pepper. Breakopen the eggs just before serving.

Notes

Per serving:
15 g fat
12 g carbs
14 g protein
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb

Raspberry Nice Cream

If you’re looking for a delicious summery treat to cool down, this tart and cool fruity ice cream with a sherbet feel is the best!

Super easy to make, no added sugars (it does have natural sugars in the berries and bananas, but comes with all the fiber goodness), and phytonutrients from these gorgeous raspberries!

*On a side-note, I know lots of readers + clients who aren’t crazy about the seeds in raspberries (myself included). If that’s the case, it’s perfectly fine to sub out the raspberries for blueberries, strawberries, or any other berry that’s frozen and does not have sugar added.

Enjoy!

Raspberry Nice Cream

A submlime and sugarfree sorbet-type ice cream for raspberry lovers!

Prep Time 5 mins

Course Dessert, Snack

Servings 4
Calories 84 kcal

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Freezer safe container with lid (for storage)

Ingredients

  

  • 2 bananas frozen, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 2-3 TBSP milk of choice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

 

  • Place the frozen bananas and raspberries into the food processor, add the vanilla extract and almond milk. Blend until creamy.
  • You may need to add one or two tablespoons of milk, to achieve a thicksmoothie like consistency. 
  • Serve immediately (soft-serve) or transfer into a dish or plasticcontainer, cover with a lid and freeze for 2 hours. 

Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Cottage Cheese + Basil Omelet

This Mediterranean-flared omelet is nothing short of delicious!

*Wanna get a more rich flavor? Sub the cottage cheese for feta!

Cottage Cheese + Basil Omelet

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast, lunch, Snack
Servings 4
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 eggs large
  • 4 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP butter or avocado or olive oil
  • 1 bunch basil fresh
  • 7/8 cup cottage cheese
  • 12 cherry tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Beat the eggs with the water and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat ¼ oil in a frying pan and bake 1 thin omelet, repeat until you have 4 omelets. Keep them warm under aluminumfoil.
  • Chop the basil finely and mix with the cottagecheese. Seasonwith freshly ground pepper. 
  • Cutthe tomatoes into quarters. Divide the cottage cheese and tomato over theomelets and roll them up. Cut diagonally and serve immediately.

Notes

Nutrition per serving:
14 g fat
3 g carb
15 g protein
Keyword Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free

How to Do a Sugar Detox Successfully in 5 Steps

One of the most important discoveries in terms of health in the last decade or so is that sugar consumption is a huge factor in weight gain as well as a myriad of health conditions and diseases. With that comes the next step: pulling oneself off of sugar… which may not be so easy. As a nutritionist, it’s really important to help people find easy ways to get from point A to B in their health journey using food. That being said, here are my 5 steps to a successful sugar detox.

5 Steps to a Success Sugar Detox

5 steps to a successful sugar detox: How to sugar detox and how it can indicate if you're addicted to sugar.
Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Instructions

  • PRE-EXPERIMENT WITH SUGAR:
    Knowing how you respond to sugar (emotionally and physically) is a huge first step in detoxing from sugar. Many people go into a sugar detox thinking they can easily get off sugar for a week or so and be fine. Doing an initial experiment with sugary foods BEFORE you start a sugar detox (and with the right tools to guide you through, like the 'Sugar Detox Experience' free sugar detox offered on the TRUEWELL site) will help you understand how you respond to sugar, and if you may be addicted to it.
  • GET IN THE RIGHT MIND-FRAME:
    Go into your sugar detox with the correct mind frame. Are you starting this to kickstart weight loss, manage a condition, or just adopt a more healthy lifestyle? Know your high-level goals, then dig in to really get to the bottom of your big 'why' for your sugar detox.
  • SHOP + PREP FOR MEALS:
    Having a sugar-free meal plan that is specifically designed by a nutritionist is KEY to completing a successful sugar detox. This is because (especially if you've been on a really high-sugar diet for a while), it can be hard to go sugar-free cold turkey. A meal plan like the one offered for free in the Sugar Detox Experience by TRUEWELL actually pulls you off higher-glycemic foods gradually, giving you the best chance possible of avoiding cravings.
  • FOLLOW THE MEAL PLAN:
    It's very important to follow the meal plan for your sugar detox. Many people *think* they know what foods are sugar-free or safe to eat if they've failed to plan. However, this is usually how they ended up in the situation of needing a sugar detox in the first place. Make sure you follow the meal plan while on your sugar detox! (It has the perfect options for fruits, veggies, and grains while detoxing from sugar!)
  • BE READY FOR SIDE-EFFECTS + BE PREPARED:
    Side effects of coming off high levels of sugar can be rough if you don't know what to expect! Several side effects (like headaches, severe exhaustion, and severe cravings) are very likely, and are a major reason people don't complete their first week or two of a sugar detox.
    Be prepared with the free Sugar Detox Experience video guide plus one week meal plan!

Ready to start your free 1-week Sugar Detox Experience? Get yours below! 👇

how to do a sugar detox, 5 steps to a sugar detox successfully
how to do a sugar detox, 5 steps to a sugar detox successfully

The Sugar Detox Meal Plan to Help You Break Free of Sugar

Can a sugar detox meal plan really help you quit sugar for good?

Well, that depends. As a nutritionist, I help people get off sugar for a ton of different reasons. Some of these include a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes, having inflammatory conditions, or simply needing sustainable energy all day that doesn’t require hits of food just to make it through the day.

When people decide to do a sugar detox, they have an end-goal in mind, whether that’s to kickstart weight loss, manage a condition, or simply enjoy energy from healthy fuel instead of multiple Starbucks runs a day.

Now whether or not the sugar detox is successful in keeping cravings and binges at bay is another story.

There are usually several camps of people that start a sugar detox meal plan in an attempt to quit sugar:

  1. Those who can quit it and forget it,
  2. those who crave it and can’t resist it or quit it once they’ve started (bingeing),
  3. and then a range of in-betweens.

You usually know where you’re at on that spectrum by the time you get to a point of wanting to do a sugar detox in the first place.

So as a nutritionist, it’s extremely helpful to put meal plans out there that are specifically designed for coming off sugar in a particular way. Which is what the Sugar Detox Experience one-week meal plan is (grab it below!)

Most people that do a sugar detox complain about 2 main things:

1- The side effects, and

2- The cravings not really going away.

This sugar detox meal plan is designed to help you gradually come off sugars and higher carb foods to avoid the side effects. But it’s also designed to help you understand the cravings and binges with the bonus video training.

The people that see the MOST SUCCESS with a sugar detox are the ones who:

  • Are honest about their level of dependence on sugar
  • Make the commitment to start with a reliable sugar detox
  • Stick to sugar-free meals going forward to help reset their bodies and brains

The best time to quit sugar is NOW, and the best way to do it is with a nutritionist-designed sugar detox meal plan and guide to help you understand the hold sugar may have on you, and how to beat it for good.

So go ahead and grab yours now below!! 👇

sugar detox meal plan
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The REAL Reasons Why You Should Quit Sugar

Why you should quit sugar and going sugar-free has certainly been a hot topic of the last several years. One group of ‘health gurus’ will claim that the body needs carbohydrates and that sugar is just one of many that are harmless. And yet another will claim that sugar is killing everyone.

What’s been lost in translation here are several factors when it comes to what sugar and carbohydrates do in the body. But also, the way that different forms of carbohydrates determine that.

Firstly, every single person is different. Their genes are different, their living situations, their lifestyles, and their diets are all different. Some claim that sugar doesn’t affect them adversely at all, while others swear that carbohydrates make them bloated, foggy-headed, and gain weight. And yet others feel they’re chained to it, unable to resist the calling for sugar and unable to quit once they’ve started.

One key puzzle piece here, however, is the fact that the body–regardless of all its differences from person to person–will attempt to adapt to survive. (Which is why people on diets ‘plateau’ at some point.)

So where some end up on low-carb and keto diets with very little carbohydrate and zero sugar and feel great, others can do plant-based or vegan dietary styles with much higher carbohydrate content, and also feel fantastic.

But the constant dispute has revolved around sugar and carbohydrates and whether or not they’re bad for us.

So first and foremost– sugar is a carbohydrate. Our bodies get energy from carbohydrates. There are MANY carbohydrates, however, and the ones that are refined (ie, table sugar, the various millions of ‘renamed sugars’ put on packaged food labels, and refined flours) are the key ones that are dangerous. Here’s why.

why you should quit sugar

Sugar and Processed Foods

The first point I always make as a nutritionist is that when foods have sugar, fructose, or the thousand-and-one various ‘new names for sugar’ created by food companies, they will also invariably lack fiber.

Fiber is the thing in fruits and vegetables that prevent our body’s sugar-management system from going into overdrive. Fiber helps blunt the impact of sugars, which is why eating whole fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, is healthy, whereas eating refined sugars and refined grains is not.

What I mean is that the lack of fiber in processed foods, with the addition of extra (added) sugars, normally go hand in hand.

Sugar and Inflammation

Inflammation tends to be lower on the list of concerns for anyone that doesn’t seem to have a condition related to inflammation. This is a huge mistake, as chronic inflammation is the cause of a myriad of diseases, as well as other conditions like depression and anxiety.

And a key contributor to inflammation in the body is sugar. Even after studying the effects of several different types of sugar, reviews of multiple studies show that one isn’t necessarily worse than the other: ALL sugars contribute to chronic inflammation.

Sugar and Your Skin

As a teen, I was told peanut butter could be contributing to my acne, only to read a year or so later that foods don’t affect your skin. As a nutritionist, I now know this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What you put in your body determines how your body functions. And since your skin is the largest organ, this especially holds true for your skin.

Research has shown that sugar produces advanced glycation end products, which cause a severe slowing of cell turnover rates for collagen and other proteins. The end result is much faster aging on the skin.

Sugar and Aging

Just as sugar produces advanced aging mechanisms for the skin, it also accelerates the same process in all other tissues in the body. This means that your skin will begin to reflect what’s happening to everything inside your body.

Sugar and Insulin Resistance + Metabolic Syndrome

Yet another thing that added sugars do is creates insulin resistance, which causes metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes.

Sugar and Heart Disease

Although dietary saturated fat has been traditionally thought to cause heart disease, studies have shown that sugar is actually a major contributor. This can also be attributed to the relationship with metabolic syndrome, as stated above.

Sugar and High blood pressure

High blood pressure is yet another condition traditionally blamed on excess sodium. It has been found, however, that sugar plays an equal role in high blood pressure.

Sugar and Sleep

Although a generally less-researched field, the connection with a high-sugar diet and sleep are steadily mounting. Many don’t realize that there is a connection with your insulin and circadian rhythm. The fluctuations in cortisol and melatonin affect how your body processes insulin while you sleep (much less effectively) which creates a higher blood sugar level during sleep.

If you’re diabetic you probably already pay attention to this as you check your fasting blood sugar levels upon waking. But people that aren’t diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes should be conscientious of this as well:

High blood sugar levels throughout the day will carry over into our sleep time, creating higher blood sugar while we sleep–even for people that do not have diabetes.

Higher blood sugar levels during sleep have been shown to create less quality sleep and shorter sleep. And the reverse is true as well, less quality and time sleeping creates a worse insulin sensitivity in the body–which becomes a vicious cycle.

Energy Rollercoaster

Aside from the conditions listed above, keeping added sugars out of the diet helps keep you on a steady energy plane all day. I don’t know many people who don’t have too little time during the day for work, family, and home life.

Staying on an energy rollercoaster sets the stage for anxiety, depression, and a vicious cycle of loading up on unhealthy foods that give a temporary energy hit just to crash later and go back to the same foods for another boost just to get through the day.

My advice is to start with a sugar detox to get off added sugars altogether and see how good you feel every day with energy from healthy fuel instead!

Get your free Sugar Detox meal plan + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox below! 👇

why you should quit sugar

Sugar Detox Side Effects and How to Manage Them

Side Effects When You Detox from Sugar + How to Manage Them

Every day the average US consumer added sugar intake will fall between 20 to 30 teaspoons of table sugar daily. The recommended maximum is 6-9 teaspoons, unless you have a condition that warrants eliminating it completely (which I wholeheartedly recommend as a nutrition specialist!)

Reduced sugar consumption could help fight cancers, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, PCOS, endocrine dysfunctions, and loads of inflammatory conditions. But for many this task seems much too difficult, and can even feel hopeless.

When it comes to eliminating sugar intake, whether for weight loss or to manage or prevent a condition, a sugar detox can be a great way to kickstart it… but with some caveats.

Committing to quit sugar out of love and appreciation for your body and health comes with its own challenges–usually referred to as “detox side effects”.

Surely you’ve read the myriad of unpleasant side effects that can happen once you decide to detox from sugar. (Here’s why you should quit sugar.) Your coworker, friend, or sister have had this thing or that happen when they detoxed. Which makes it plausible to have questions.

And here’s the truth of the matter:

Sugar is a giant asshole. It makes you crave it, it makes you gain weight, it ages you incessantly, and it creates a cycle of binging-guilt-cravings. And also–it’s gonna give you hell if you decide to quit it.

Diving in and really committing to a sugar detox can give you an indication if you’re actually addicted to sugar or not.

This is extremely important, because if you aren’t addicted to sugar, you should be able to do a sugar detox and feel great within a few weeks.

If you are addicted to sugar, sugar detoxes don’t work, and end up wasting time and creating misery, frustration, and self-loathing that could’ve been avoided. (I’ll talk about that more in just a sec, so keep reading!)

So let’s start with what a sugar detox is in the first place, how it creates symptoms, how to manage the symptoms, and what to do instead if you’re truly addicted to sugar so you can stop wasting time and emotions.

What is a sugar detox?

A sugar detox is basically where you eliminate sugar from your diet in an attempt to ‘flush’ sugar out.

People normally do this in an attempt to kickstart weight loss, manage a condition, or just up-level their health and energy levels all day with balanced blood sugar.

Sugar detoxes usually come with nasty side effects that (for the majority of those who do it–especially cold turkey) cause enough discomfort to give up.

So I say it’s better to go into one with your eyes wide open, but also with practical tools and the knowledge that you MAY fail–and if you do, there’s a reason why as well as a better strategy to get through it.

What is sugar withdrawal?

Sugar withdrawal is how our body reacts with unpleasant symptoms when we take sugar and higher glycemic carbs out of our diet.

Most sugar detoxes will do a ‘cold turkey’ approach, which can be really problematic for many people (especially if you’re truly addicted to sugar.)

This is where carbs fit in.

There’s a really big difference in types of carbs, and unfortunately, the food supply includes added sugars in approximately 90% of them, further contributing to the sugar dependence problem.

Sugar (all types) and refined flours (even whole grains ) will create a blood sugar spike that triggers an exaggerated response in the reward system in the brain. And as you can imagine, there are thousands of ‘foods’ that fall into this category (most are processed.)

Basically foods that spike your blood sugar are addictive. 

So, first things first– when we consume sugar our bodies release dopamine into the bloodstream. Dopamine is widely known as a ‘happy’ neurotransmitter that is present when our thoughts are most euphoric. 

Humans get a dopamine release when we eat anything, not just sugar or carbs. If we didn’t, we’d never want to eat. 

But the dopamine release in response to sugar and high glycemic carbs is a problem, because it’s exaggerated, and creates the hallmark symptoms of drug addiction: tolerance (you need more to feel the effect), and withdrawal (icky side effects when you quit it.)

Like more addictive than cocaine addictive.

Sugar has been shown in studies to light up the same areas of the brain that drugs like cocaine and heroin do but is way easier to get than drugs. And what’s worse is that it is considered legal and is in 90% of everything in an average grocery store.

Sugar Intake, Dopamine, and Sugar Addiction

If you consume enough sugar daily your brain is more likely to make an extra effort to achieve that euphoric threshold. Those receptors grow the higher the dosage. Again–this is called tolerance.

These continuous cycles of sugar consumption, hormone releases, and euphoria play major roles in how our brain responds.

Bottom line is that it creates a vicious cycle that involves some sort of trigger, a craving starts, you take an action (eating sugar or bread products), many end up bingeing, and then feel incessant guilt. Until the cycle starts over.

This cycle has many implications of behavioral patterns that are signs of addiction, especially when someone knows they have a condition that must be managed by eliminating sugar and high glycemic carbs, but can’t stop eating them even knowing the detriment to their own health.

Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of sugar withdrawal

Although we’re all very different, there are many physical and mental symptoms of sugar withdrawal that have been reported and accumulated.

This is helpful because it can prepare you for what withdrawal symptoms could be ahead as well as how to handle it to help you stay steadfast on your sugar-free journey.

Here are the most common sugar withdrawal symptoms and questions

Why do I get headaches when I don’t have sugar?

Headaches are one of the worst sugar detox symptoms and can be a two-fold thing when it comes to sugar detox side effects. On one hand, your body is trying to adjust to a new energy source for your brain and body.

Secondly, a little-known secret is that carbohydrates hold water in the body like salt can. So reducing it can make you dehydrated. This means that you really need to pay attention to how much water you’re drinking to help alleviate sugar detox symptoms.

Can sugar detox feel like the flu?

Yes! Body aches and muscle aches aren’t uncommon. If you’ve ever heard the term ‘keto flu’, it’s the same situation: that person is moving from a high sugar and/or high-carb diet to an extremely low-carb diet, which will produce many of the same symptoms.

In fact, for years every time I tried another sugar detox, I would get these symptoms and think I was getting sick. I didn’t want to further stress my body, so I would quit every time. (Big mistake!)

Muscle aches and pains beyond flu-like symptoms

It is possible for a person’s body to experience general muscle ache and pain in response to a noticeable reduction in sugar intake. For many people this may be severe enough that you may have to consult a pain management provider first.

If you have long dull and annoying abdominal pains then you should examine their frequency to determine their severity. Sugar withdrawal can produce aches reminiscent of fibromyalgia and other similar conditions.

If the symptom lasts more than 3-4 days or longer than 6 weeks it’s advised to see your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions.

Extreme sugar cravings

One of the nasty things sugar can do is make you feel like your going into a sugar withdrawal situation physically. And when this happens, your body and brain are working together to find some homeostasis.

Again– your body is adjusting to a new energy source, but there are also some reward-system responses from your brain at play here as well. I call these ‘rebound cravings’, and they can keep you coming back over and over again as if sugar is controlling your life.

Sugar cravings vary in severity but typically look like extreme cravings for sweet foods each day. This can include anything from sodas, pastries, chocolate, and other processed foods with added sugars.

Most sugar cravings subside the longer you have reduced sugar intake. Going into a new dietary style with non-sugar ingredients should help to eliminate this problem and help prevent other issues in your healthy lifestyle.

Poor sleep quality

Sugar withdrawal can cause sleep problems as it can lower your REM sleep rate at night. As you reduce sugar foods, this slowly changes your brain’s functioning and can cause your sleep quality to decline as well.

This is a really big factor in getting through severe cravings as getting enough and quality sleep regulates two hormones that make you feel hungry or full. When you don’t get enough and quality sleep you will have a really hard time abstaining from sugary foods because you’ll feel like you’re constantly hungry.

This is usually enough to end the detox period by giving in to the cravings.

Chronic stress can also contribute to poor sleep as well, and–again–this is definitely the time to keep stress managed as sugar detoxing can be stressful enough on its own.

This means that monitoring your sleep and putting effort into making it really solid during this period is extremely important.

Confusion

Confusion is a lesser-known of the sugar withdrawal symptoms, but in sugar withdrawal it may be linked to a sudden decrease in sugar in the body. The brain needs fast energy throughout the day because its primary source of energy is glucose.

When the body is deprived of enough of sugar your mind could temporarily experience some feelings of dehydration. This is closely associated with type 2 diabetes and it can be a confusing condition especially when you’re changing your diet for the better.

Fatigue and weakness

Fatigue can often be caused by a couple of physiological conditions. It ‘d be likely your cells haven’t experienced the usual nourishment it used to. Fatigue is a symptom of low blood sugar levels.

When you have a combination of the body and mind switching energy sources from the easiest to process sugars to healthy carbs as lower levels, in addition to overall consumption of nutrients increasing, it can result in a feeling of fatigue and weakness.

This is temporary, as anyone who has shifted to a low-carb or keto lifestyle can tell you that once your body has had that metabolic shift, your energy levels lift to much higher and more steady than they ever were on high-sugar foods.

Lightheadedness

Having lightheadedness can mean that your blood sugar is low, which should definitely be monitored. This is especially important if you have diabetes, prediabetes, or hypoglycemia. Again, the brain is changing energy sources as well, so it only makes sense that you may have some shifts in that area.

Also, this is where hydration enters the equation again. Staying hydrated can help stave off feelings of lightheadedness as well.

Behavior Changes, Including Mood Swings

As anyone shifting into a new dietary style can tell you, the crazy mood swings will repel your loved ones (and coworkers) like nobody’s business. But this is especially true when you are in sugar withdrawal.

Mental symptoms can include mood changes, sadness, lack of motivation, irritability, and even severe mood swings.

Mood changes involve the decrease in dopamine and GABA levels in your blood. Your body stops releasing dopamine because of low sugar consumption if sugar withdrawal occurs.

This is (again) from your body trying to readjust to a new energy source. This causes blood sugar swings, which can make you feel moody and emotional, unfortunately.

Make sure to have a balanced snack and eat every 2-3 hours during this detox period. But also take some breathing time every day to decompress.

Remind yourself what a fabulous thing you’re doing for your body and mind, thank yourself, and breathe deeply until you’re ready to take on the rest of your day with some semblance of having your -ish together. 🙂

Other Questions about Detoxing From Sugar

How severe your symptoms are depends on how much sugar you ate before you started.

The first thing to understand is that everyone is so completely different, there’s no way to tell how severe symptoms will be until you just do it.

But eating a new sugar-free diet will kick off a plethora of really cool things happening in your body, including your palate changing. Everything you used to eat now feels sweeter and less inviting–unless you have a true addiction to sugar.

And it’s really important to determine this up front so you don’t waste time on sugar detox after sugar detox that always fail.

How long does a sugar detox take?

This really depends on a few things.

  • First, if you’ve had really high sugar consumption for a while, it could take longer than others.
  • Second, if you have certain genetic factors, you could take a while to detox.
  • And third, if you have a combination of all these, it could feel impossible to do it.

In this case, you could have a sugar addiction and need help beyond a sugar detox. It’s what I call sugar deprogramming, but you first need to know your probability of sugar addiction.

How long will sugar withdrawal symptoms last?

The length of sugar withdrawal totally depends on how long you’ve been consuming lots of sugar and refined carbs, as well as how much you’ve consumed regularly.

Some find that the worst are over in a week, but the incessant cravings just won’t quit.

Again– if the cravings are so severe that you keep going back over and over again, do yourself a favor and take the quiz to see your sugar addiction probability score. This will guide you in whether you actually need sugar deprogramming instead of a more basic sugar detox.

What Can you Eat When you have withdrawal symptoms?

It is always very important to stay off sugar when you’re having withdrawal symptoms, but the most helpful foods include eating more protein, including as much fiber as possible from foods like beans and legumes, and healthy fat.

It’s extremely helpful that you don’t reduce your caloric intake when making this shift, because your body will interpret that as a diet, which usually ends with the cravings going into overdrive, as well as exacerbating the headaches and low energy or fatigue.

It is also extremely important to stay really hydrated. Divide your weight (in lbs) by 2, and that will be the minimum number of ounces of water you need every day.

What Can I Eat When Withdrawing from Sugar?

The most important thing is to avoid refined sugar, added sugar, and flours. Some are also sensitive to dairy and other grains like oats, rice, and corn (just to name a few.) Here are a few more specifics:

Know the Names of Sugars

The first thing to know is that food companies are very tricky when it comes to disguising added sugar. The things to look for are the word ‘sugar’ in any form, ‘syrup’, ‘malt’, any word ending in ‘-ose’, and fruit juice or fruit juice concentrates.

It’s a big misconception that naturally occurring sugars are ok and aren’t considered added sugar.

Non Nutritive Sweeteners

Your best bet is to educate yourself on what sugar substitutes can be used to help ‘wean’ you from added sugar intake down to no added sugars. These will also help you to not feel so deprived in the process.

Artificial Sweeteners: Avoid

Artificial sweeteners to avoid are mainly what you would find in the pink, yellow, and blue packets found on tables in restaurants. These are saccharine, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium (or acesulfame-K).

Natural Sweeteners: Use sparingly

The natural sweeteners safe to use during this period are stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit. I recommend using these sparingly because you’re goal is to retrain your palate, brain, and body to not want excessive sweetness in the first place.

More Protein

Eating protein from a quality source and in higher amounts is really important during this time. Too little protein means you aren’t getting the necessary amino acids that need to be replenished to get back to normalized neurotransmitter and hormone operation in the body and brain.

Eating protein also doesn’t have to mean meat. You can get more protein through cheese, unsweetened greek yogurt, organic soy products, and even some nuts and seeds.

You should be cautious, however, that dairy can be very triggering for some. If you try dairy and find that it triggers you to start craving sugar, this is a warning signal.

More Healthy Fat

Adding a lot more healthy fat may seem counterintuitive because of the higher calorie content. But it’s actually the opposite. Not only does the brain need healthy fat to operate, your body having an increase in calories via nutritious foods will help ward off several of the sugar withdrawal symptoms.

Healthy fats include mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats like olive and avocado oils. But also healthy saturated fats like coconut oil and grass-fed organic butter.

You can also get a combination of healthy fat and fiber in nuts and seeds. Walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds are great options for snacks or add-ons to salads.

More Fiber

Fiber is such a crucial component during this period, because it blunts the effect of carbs on your blood sugar levels and helps you feel full for longer.

If you aren’t going low-carb or keto when cutting sugar, I recommend keeping carbs in the way of beans, legumes, and lentils, as well as tons of vegetables.

It may also be ok to consume fresh fruit in small amounts like fresh berries. Although fresh fruit may ‘seem’ ok, for many it can be one of their sugar triggers because of the amount of fructose it contains.

What Can I Eat After a Sugar Detox to Stay off Sugar?

After you’ve completed a sugar detox, it’s really important to keep up your healthy habits to get to or mianintain a healthy body mass index as well as reduce sugar cravings from now on.

It’s extremely easy to get hooked on sugar again, so staying away from the sweet stuff is priority one.

If you’ve made the changes above to avoid unpleasant symptoms by supporting your body through a healthy sugar-free diet, you should definitely keep on keepin’ on!

Some people, however, find it much easier to abide by a dietary style next because they enjoy the structure.

If you’re able to come off sugar and get past the cravings, a dietary style can be a great framework to help you move on to losing weight or managing conditions you have.

Examples of sugar-free dietary styles

Examples of a low-sugar diet or dietary style include low-carb, keto, Mediterranean diet, and Paleo. There are several others, but the common theme in them all is keeping food intake to clean eating whole foods.

This is the next step in my CHEAT Codes to Wellness framework, which you can read more about HERE!

Planning and prepping meals and snacks will also be a crucial tool for helping you stay the course of good nutrition that will minimize cravings and assist you to adopt healthy habits.

What’s My Next Step in Getting off Sugar?

Take this free quiz to determine if a sugar detox is likely to help you or just create more frustration (it all depends on your sugar addiction probability):

👉 Know you’re not addicted to sugar? Head on over to learn how to do a sugar detox HERE.

Herby Breakfast Sausages

When you need a savory protein kick to get your day started, these breakfast sausages loaded with herbs do just the trick!

Herby Breakfast Sausage

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 4
Calories 56 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 9 oz ground pork
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP sage fresh, chopped
  • 2 TBSP basil fresh, chopped
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil

Instructions
 

  • In abowl, mixtogether thepork with salt, pepper, sage, and basil. Combine well and shape into eightsausages.
  • Heatthe coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the sausages overmedium heat until well browned and thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve hot or store in the refrigerator for later.

Notes

Nutrition per piece:
3 g fat
2 g carb
7 g protein
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free

Is Sugar Addiction Real?

One of my lowest moments was being about 25 pounds overweight, constantly ‘saying’ I wanted lose weight, but hiding out in the pantry, terrified of being caught, while I shoved cupcake after cupcake in my face because I literally could not control myself.

So if you ask me, personally… Hell yes, sugar addiction is real.

If you ask my husband, who’s always been able to just have a bite or two and walk away… well, he doesn’t really know. But he can tell you that he feels that way about potato chips.

As a nutrition specialist, I now know that there is mounting research supporting ‘food’ being addictive, including sugar.

For some, sugar alone is what will get them. For others it could be the salt, or even the combination of the flavors like fat + sugar, or fat + salt. Food companies have spent billions of dollars figuring this out. And make no mistake: their interests lie in making sure you keep coming back for more.

As a nutrition specialist and recovered sugar addict (and mom), I get asked this question over and over: Is sugar addiction real? Like really real?

And although the answer has taken many forms over the past several years, my answer to the question is a resounding YES, sugar addiction is really real. And I’ll explain why.

My relationship with sugar started as a kid from the south whose family knew no bounds of cooking with sugar and white flour. This meant dessert after many a meal, and the biggest, sugary-est birthday cakes you’ve ever seen. I loved the sugar and butter combination (or sugar and shortening), and by the time I was a teenager would always request the piece of cake with the absolute most icing flowers on it.

I never knew the damage all the sugar was doing to my gut bacteria, nor that it could have an effect on my moods, hormones, and definitely not my neurotransmitters or immune system.

I developed asthma around 12 and had terrible hayfever that I never really shook. By my teen years, I had terrible acne, was constantly irritable, and forever anxious.

It wasn’t until adulthood when I started studying nutrition that I really took a step back and thought through my constant depressive symptoms as a teen and young adult, and put a few pieces together for the ups and downs of my moods, skin, and hormones.

But it wasn’t until after having gestational diabetes for 2 out of 3 pregnancies (type 2 seems to run in my family) that I noticed that I felt a thousand percent better when I nixed the sugar.

But quitting sugar wasn’t as easy as just saying ‘no thank you’.

Every birthday was a struggle (and it sometimes still is). I’ve been in the throes of postpartum depression 3x where I would hide in the pantry to stuff as many cupcakes in secret as I could into my face before anyone could see. I’ve binged for hours, alternating sugary and salty snacks, in secret when my husband was out of town for work.

I know that I can’t eat more than a bite or two of anything like that without falling back down that slippery slope.

So I can attest first-hand what it feels like to be addicted to sugar. No matter what kind of logic your brain tells you about how crappy you’ll feel the next day (physically and emotionally), that crazy part of your brain takes over and mutes the logic.

is sugar addiction real, sugar detox

The Science Behind Sugar Addiction

While in my master’s program we had to do many projects on various topics that all require peer-reviewed studies to back our answers. Part of the studies I sought out revolved around sugar addiction. At the time one professor pointed out that the only study thus far involved rats that preferred sugar over cocaine.

Also at the time, the book of diagnostic codes contained mental health diagnostics for food addiction, but not specifically sugar. The reasoning was that they, at the time, couldn’t definitively prove that sugar itself was physically addicting, further confusing the ‘Is sugar addiction real?’ question altogether.

I personally have a problem with this, because many people (including myself) have felt the withdrawal symptoms of coming off sugar. These side effects are definitely not imagined, and some have described them as feeling like having a mild case of the flu.

The clincher of sugar is that when consumed, it occupies the same receptors in the brain as drugs like cocaine and heroin. It gives a dopamine hit, which makes you feel good. So it activates those reward systems in the brain and essentially ‘programs’ the brain to want more and make you think you need it.

And once you keep eating it, cravings will start for it.

From that point, it can be very difficult to satisfy the craving and keep yourself from seeking anything to replace it until you completely get off it.

Another thing that happens is that you build tolerance. This is when the brain receptors get a lot of the dopamine hits but eventually adapt and need more to get that reward response.

This tends to be one of the hallmarks of a definition of ‘addiction’, but again– the issue is whether it specifically is sugar, or is another component of the food you’re eating, or even a combination of components. These possibilities need more research before the medical system will consider giving a specific diagnostic code for sugar, specifically.

Do sugar detoxes work?

The last few years have seen a rise in people doing sugar detoxes to get off sugar in hopes of kickstarting weight loss, beginning a diet to manage conditions like diabetes, or simply wanting to eat more healthy in general to feel better and manage their daily energy. Many have questioned if these actually work to help control the cravings.

In my experience, the answer is yes. But there are a few things to know:

  1. You have to be vigilant about staying off sugar. If you’re one of the people (like me) that truly feel an addiction to it, it can be really hard to take ‘just one bite’ of anything and quit. You need a plan, and probably an accountability partner for things like birthdays.
  2. You have to know what qualifies as sugar. You’d be shocked at what the food industry has done to get around the term ‘sugar’. They’ve done their best to trick us into not knowing what we’re eating. But they need sugar for taste and that addiction factor so you’ll keep buying. So educate yourself on all the hidden terms.
  3. Know that grains (especially refined ones) can react the same way in your body that sugar does, kicking off that dopamine hit and reward response. For this reason, many experts recommend quitting anything with grains in it. This includes breads, pastas, pastries, etc. This part can be tough, but when you see the benefits of how you feel, you’ll figure out how to make it happen consistently.

Bottom line is that, although studies are slowly catching up, it’s a very real thing.

There is also evidence of a genetic component to some people feeling addicted to sugar. The gene that controls the dopamine receptors in our brains can have mutations that impair the reward system in the brain, thereby triggering some people to show addictive behavior toward sugar.

Given the current research, it’s just a matter of time before the studies come out to give more definition to the specific addictive properties of sugar, as well as the food combinations that food companies already have the data to back up.

Ready to get off sugar for good? Grab your 1-Week Sugar Detox Meal Plan + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox below! 👇

is sugar addiction real, sugar detox

3 Strategies to Stop Letting Sugar Fuel Your Day

Sitting in the line at CVS bawling my eyes out over everything in my life was definitely NOT how I imagined my life at 37 years old. I was totally fine (for the moment) as I pulled into the drive-thru.

The things on my mind were:

  • pick up the antibiotic for my middle kid,
  • get dinner going in the next 2 hours even though I had no clue what we were eating,
  • feed the baby in the back seat with the little milk I had left,
  • oh yeah—and get the five blog posts edited and scheduled that were sitting in my queue.

I had it mostly together that day. Sometimes I even felt proud that I could do everything I was doing trying to raise our 3 kids nearly as a single parent due to extensive travel my husband’s job required, all while desperately trying to build a business (my one thing, it felt, for myself.)

I patted my leg, giving myself a pep talk as I circled CVS and then stopped in my place in line.

And that’s when I felt it: bumps. Lots of bumps.

I looked down and saw that my legs were covered in welts. And then the panic hit, because that’s what I did—I had anxiety attacks.

I did a mental check to make sure my throat wasn’t closing up even though I’d never had an anaphylactic reaction before. Then I tried to remember if I had any Benadryl with me. It wouldn’t matter anyway, I reasoned, because I was driving and it makes me sleepy.

So I did some deep breathing as the urge to flip the hell out bubbled into my eyes and down my cheeks.

And I sat there crying until it was my turn in line.

Times like this had proven to me that my ability to properly lose my shit and say and do unreasonable things were valid enough to find more healthy outlets for the stress.

Like walking (when I had the time), or journaling (when I had the time).

But now was not the time—forget that I never actually ‘had the time’. Because I was in the process of re-lactating because the baby started developing a rash on her entire body from formula. And ignorance and lack of an ounce of empathy from the doctor’s office had sent me on a journey of my own. A really hard one, on top of everything else life was throwing at me.

When I got home, I covered my legs in cortisone cream and sat down to realize I was pushing having a full-on nervous breakdown. I had zero support, too much on my own, and a severe lack of self besides being a mother.

I grabbed a bag of chocolate drizzled popcorn and downed the whole thing to make me feel better.

sugar productivity focus

How did other women do it? How were they successful with kids this little? How the hell was I even doing what I was doing all day? I certainly didn’t eat right. But I knew… Because this little voice in the back of my head that’d always been there was nagging at me again.

It was the voice of the snacks and the cakes and chips and pasta and every other little thing I’d ever turned to my whole life to make me feel better.

Basically: sugar.

The thing was, with my family’s history of type 2 diabetes, I knew I shouldn’t eat this way. And it was only after completing my master’s in nutrition that I got the full-on gravity of eating that way my whole childhood and early adulthood. It was only by luck that I’d always had a fast metabolism.

But my thirties were quickly catching up with me, and the sugar was sending me on a rollercoaster of emotions and energy all day long that not only made me believe I was being productive, but it also damaged relationships I had because of the Jeckyl and Hyde emotions that plagued me all day. (Not to mention the terrible allergies—hello hives!—and horrible skin that I’d developed through the years.)

But here was the problem: I’d always had sugar, and I’d always craved it. So when I decided to cut it out, it didn’t go nearly as smoothly as I expected. I had severe crashes if I didn’t have any carbs, and my easy answer was to grab something sugary to help ‘balance’ it. My frustration with quitting sugar was growing as I grappled to manage the rest of my life seemingly alone.

My dad getting diagnosed with prediabetes gave me a really powerful insight though. He said that once he got out of the cravings period of eating low-carb for a few weeks, those crashes went away. He could feel the difference of balanced blood sugar just by cutting out the sugar and being consistent.

So I finally sat down with myself and created a real action plan to fight the cravings so I could free myself.

This wasn’t easy, mind you—I’d spent years hiding in the pantry to eat as many cupcakes as I could after every kid’s birthday party before somebody caught me. But this time I was determined.

That willpower helped make sugar feel ONLY like a last resort some days, but for the most part I knew it was always sitting on my shoulder trying to tell me it had a hold on me that I’d never be able to shake, like a crack dealer just waiting for things to blow up so I’d come around for another hit.

At first my focus and productivity were about as dialed-in as walking around blindly inside a cloud. I felt angry, irritated, hopeless, and sad all within a matter of minutes some days. And my energy levels were nonexistent. The only reason I made myself get out of bed is because the kids needed me. But my Dad’s insight reminded me it was a process. And besides, I’d made a plan, and I was sticking to it.

My grand plan involved things like meal planning to make sure there were never any last-minute questions or eating out unexpectedly. I had learned to read food labels in my formal education and understand which wording clued me in that sugar was added to anything packaged. And I fully embraced swapping out vegetables to fill me up instead of rice or pasta.

The more I came off sugar and simple carbs, the better I felt.

I started to (finally) notice I was immensely more productive. I started preening my to-do list to only include things that mattered or made movement in my small blog.

Another really cool thing was that I was able to take a step back and breathe through the impulse I’d usually let take over to snap at the kids or my husband about things. This was huge because I’d basically turned into momzilla (and most days thought nobody wanted to be around me.) My husband and I started communicating. Like, really communicating.

And another great part? I started losing the baby weight I couldn’t shake before. (I even got confident enough to get back into a bikini!)

The thing is that most people don’t realize some things about sugar:

  • It’s addictive—like, legit addictive.
  • It makes your body hold onto fat.
  • It makes you believe you have energy, only to give you a crazy straight downhill crash.
  • It makes your emotions go completely berserk.
  • It actually ages you faster. And it shows up on your skin resembling the plague for some.
  • And then it does its thing and makes you come back for more, because either you don’t know any better, or because you crave it so bad you can’t help yourself.

I’ve been on the addiction side of it. I actually call myself a ‘recovered sugar addict’ because I’ve been through the severe cravings, complete lack of control around it, tolerance of it, and physical withdrawals.

But I made the conscious decision to live as intentionally as possible by getting off of it. It controlled nearly all aspects of my life and made me think I had to have it to function.

The truth I found was that it was wrecking nearly everything.

Thankfully I had some moments of complete clarity to be able to, firstly, recognize I had a problem, and secondly, create a plan of action to get off it for good.

There were 3 major things that helped me to truly cut the sugar out of my life:

  1. Being prepared by meal planning, having backups and lists of healthy stuff I could eat,
  2. Understanding the crazy huge emotional connection, and
  3. Breathing through the cravings so I could make healthy choices

Even now I struggle when my emotions are especially turbulent. A funny(ish) thing my husband and I do is yell, “Intervention!” to each other if either of us feels we’re spiraling into a binge. I also do daily mental and emotional check-ins to manage stress and responsibilities. This helps me keep ahead of any potential feelings to bury my emotions in sugary foods again.

These days my life is lived with an intention of goodness and love, productivity and ambition. And I know the way to keep at that is to keep my diet clean, because it’s my fuel for this beautiful ride that I don’t want to miss.

Want the full gamut of a SUCCESSFUL SUGAR DETOX–including help for the rest of the side-effects you may experience?

Get the 1-week meal plan and video guide “The Sugar Detox Experience + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox” below! 👇

sugar productivity focus

Exactly What is a Sugar Detox?

You may be wondering exactly what is a sugar detox? When most think of ‘detox’ they definitely don’t think of a food product. But in light of recent research as well as anecdotal reports of feeling addicted to sugar, it’s no surprise we now see the term ‘sugar detox’ as a form of improving our health.

Many begin searching for a sugar detox in hopes of getting off sugar to kick-start weight loss or help go sugar-free to manage a condition. But there are several nuances to getting off sugar and defining a legit answer to, ‘what is a sugar detox?’

Sugar Addiction

Well, starting out with recent research, we’ve seen that sugar can be especially addicting. There are definitely controversial indicators at play as to what different professions consider ‘addictive’. The mental health community considers it a mental health issue, as sugar triggers area of the brain that respond like drugs. But from a nutritionist stand-point, it’s very unhelpful to categorize this as strictly a mental issue when sugar can trigger cravings and binge-eating for life.

Research has also shown that there is a tolerance that builds so that things sweetened may taste less sweet over time of consistently eating sugar-filled foods and beverages, which is a hallmark sign of addiction.

So while there will be controversy on the technical definition of ‘sugar addiction’ (as well as controversy over how it can be diagnosed), there is no argument that some people cannot resist it.

Taking sugar out of the diet

As is the case with any detox, removing it from the body through diet allows the body to rid itself of the substances that are creating metabolic chains of events that affect our health negatively. Sometimes this is the constant reinforcement of the addictive loop, and sometimes it’s the spike in insulin and consequent hormones. Therefore a sugar detox is the act of ridding your body of sugars to sort of ‘reset’ it.

what is a sugar detox

Different levels

While some people are fine just eliminating added sugars and eating sugar-free from there on out in a clean, healthy way, others have more of a challenge. Some feel that the total sugars even included in fruits should be temporarily eliminated. Another food category that contributes to the continuation of cravings and binges is the ‘grain’ category, which is no surprise since these carbohydrates also raise blood sugar and notoriously make people feel more hungry shortly after.

That being said, it really depends on the total amount of sugars someone has been consuming regularly. But a step further would be the level of health issues trying to be managed in conjunction with the level of ‘addiction’ that person feels is happening any time they consume sugar or grains.

What’s the point of a sugar detox?

The point of the whole process is to get rid of sugars and foods your body metabolizes like sugar so that your brain, taste buds, and insulin response can ‘reset’ itself to behave more closely to normal.

Food companies have figured out how to hijack our brains into ‘needing’ whatever it is they’re selling, and they’ve spent billions of dollars doing this.

Many people pose the question, “Isn’t this level of stripping food freedom away unhealthy?”

Actually, it’s the other way around. The food companies have done a very good job of getting you hooked on those foods. If you initially knew a food was SUPER unhealthy before you even knew what it was, would you automatically say, ‘Yeah, I want that NOW!’ ?

Nope.

But if you knew it was a food you’ve experienced that dopamine rush for, you would.

Most people with that addiction feeling end up choosing the taste and dopamine (sugar-filled) over a healthier food option. That’s not food freedom. It’s not being able to control yourself and make healthy choices.

When you pull yourself out of that addictive state, you’re able to make smarter choices, which is what gives you REAL freedom.

Get started on your sugar detox with the free one-week meal plan + video guide: 👇

what is a sugar detox