The Accidental Low-Carb Detox

Hey Folks! We're excited to welcome Certified 21DSD Coach Sarah Gillespie. Sarah's article is part of a series contributed by our Certified 21DSD Coaches. Enjoy! – Diane and Team

You did it – you made the commitment to yourself to do The 21-Day Sugar Detox!

You are motivated and can’t wait to get started. You proactively purchased the books and even the online program with ample time to review the materials before the detox kicks off. You are starting off on the right foot and even finding your groove while you are meal preppin’ on Sunday! Week 1 is looking pretty promising!

All that momentum carries into week 1, which starts off really well. You did all your preparation in advance and have been eating plenty of the foods on your YES foods list as well as including the appropriate portions of vegetable starches on your LIMIT foods list. Mid to late week hits, and you start running low on some of your limit foods, and running low on energy. You think to yourself, “No big deal, I still have plenty of mixed greens.”

Salad after salad, your energy starts to slump…

At this point it can be challenging for the first time detoxer to know if this energy slump is a result of the detox or not. It would be a common misconception to think, “Oh, it’s a detox – so skipping some of those limit foods is okay.” (Nope. More on that in a minute… ) OR, maybe you simply needed to prepare more and now mid-week you are so swamped with whatever that you get into a salad rut.

21DSD-Coach-Guest-Post-Square-Gillepsie-LowCarbHere’s the deal – you are not alone!

This is one of the most common mistakes we see from our clients participating in the program. It sadly becomes an accidental low-carb detox for many.

Keep in mind, The 21-Day Sugar Detox was not written as a low-carb, zero-carb or even zero-sugar program.

Right from the FAQs in the guidebook on page 45: “The 21-Day Sugar Detox eliminates all added sugars, sweeteners, and refined foods, but it includes plenty of real-food carbohydrate sources as well as some natural sugars from whole foods.”

If you find yourself slipping into the dieting & deprivation mindset, stop and tell yourself this is not the intention of the program. This program was developed to naturally support your body while it does the work of detoxing from sugar and processed foods. Keep in mind “the LIMIT foods are YES foods with portion size limits” (from the 21DSD guidebook). This doesn’t mean you should not eat them because they are on the LIMIT foods list. They are there for a reason, and will provide you with sustained energy during the detox.

So what are some things you can do to prevent your next detox from becoming accidentally low carb? Well, you have heard us say it before, and will likely hear it again: PREP, PREP, PREP! Our days and weeks can change on a dime. We have to anticipate that obstacles will come up – they WILL happen! Check out the list below for some tips and tricks to prep these YES foods with LIMITS for your next detox:

  • Peel, seed, slice and chop ALL the acorn, butternut or winter squash! Prep beets as well!
    • Keep them in the fridge to throw in a dish.
    • Roast or sauté them that day so all you have to do is reheat! (This is what I do…)
  • Have a plan B. Always have a plan B…
    • Many stores sell some of the approved vegetable starches on the LIMIT list precut and sold in packages – the cost will be much higher, but it is an option. Of course, read labels to be sure nothing on the NO list was added.
    • Stock up on a bag (or 2) of frozen peas. Talk about easy! Thaw and throw on your salads OR heat and top with a YES fat or oil.
  • Try to find ways to get more confident in the kitchen so you can prep in no time!
    • Take a knife skills class.
    • Find videos on how to prep vegetables and then practice.
    • Check out Practical Paleo for more tips!
  • Follow a meal plan for your level from the guidebook to eliminate the guesswork.
  • Work with a Certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach to get extra support.

Don’t limit yourself or your next detox by missing out on these supportive foods. If you experienced this before, you now have the answers why! You are ready for a truly successful detox, where you will feel energized and supported. Happy detoxing!


Sarah Gillespie is a Wellness and Self-Care Coach, a Certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, an Exercise Physiologist, and Blogger at She has a passion for helping individuals uncover their best selves.

Comments 1

  1. Great tips, I’m always looking forward to knowing more. I will take these and bring them to work so I remember how uneasy should be to say No!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *