What can I drink on The 21-Day Sugar Detox besides water? UPDATED!

What can I drink on The 21-Day Sugar Detox besides water?
What can I put in my coffee?
If I don’t like the taste of water, what else can I drink? And… what the heck is kombucha?

These are questions that you might ask if you are new to Paleo, generally trying to reduce your reliance of highly processed foods & drinks, and/or you are doing The 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD – a real food based reset to help you bust sugar and carb cravings naturally). And for many folks, eliminating sugar & sweeteners greatly reduces the types of drinks that they previously enjoyed and relied upon as “staple beverages.” But don’t worry—I’m about to share lots of great options for beverages that are delicious and sugar or sweetener free!

Tips 1-5: Customize your Coffee

You can still enjoy your coffee either hot or iced without commercial creamer and sweeteners—it just takes re-thinking possibilities.

1. Add some fat and flavor. If you tolerate dairy, try some heavy cream. If you avoid dairy, you can use unsweetened coconut, almond or another nut milk (all unsweetened) or even a tablespoon of pure coconut butter. Try this: empty a can of coconut milk into a jar and refrigerate it (quickly blend it first if it’s a bit chunky from the lack of stabilizers, which you should avoid). The cream will rise to the top—scoop it off for an even richer treat. Give it a flavor boost by adding a splash of vanilla and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can find a list of some great 21DSD friendly products & brands such as nut milks and coconut butter here). If you can't find nut milks without weird additives or sweeteners locally, check out Brittany Angell's recipe, Easy Peasy Dairy Free Coffee Creamer for fresh cashew milk, or my own recipe, here, for fresh, homemade almond milk! No matter what, homemade nut milks will always taste better! Love cold brew? Check out my article and video: How I Mix my Cold Brew Coffee (to keep it 21DSD friendly, choose black coffee and omit the optional sweetener).

2. Bullet Proof it. Either keep it simple by blending your freshly brewed coffee with a tablespoon or two of butter or ghee to create a nice frothy cappuccino-like beverage (an immersion blender works great here)…or optionally, add a punch with pumpkin by following Robyn Youkilis' yummy recipe: Bulletproof Pumpkin Latte (to keep it 21DSD friendly, omit the optional sweetener). Speaking of pumpkin…here's another great recipe by Cassy Joy Garcia of Fed and Fit: Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte (omit optional sweetener).

3. Go black. You might think that drinking black coffee is impossible for you, but consider changing the type of coffee (roast, origin) and brewing method to enhance your coffee experience. My favorite is Chameleon Cold Brew!

4. Cocoa it up! Try this Peppermint Mocha from Toadally Primal Smoothies. Or, maybe try this Paleo Mocha Frappo by Life as a Plate featured on Real Everything (formally Paleo Parents)!

5. Do what April does! If you follow April of Team Balanced Bites on Instagram at @21daysugardetox (or her personal and totally adorable account, @pupsandpaleo), you probably wonder how she mixes up her foamy, spice-topped coffee in stories! Wonder no more…here's her 21DSD Morning Coffee recipe!

Have The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook? Don’t forget the 21DSD Pumpkin Spiced Latte recipe!

llc-shareableTips 6-10: Work up your Water

We all know water is good for us, but for some folks, drinking plain water is unappealing. Here are some ways to enhance your water drinking experience.

6. Drink it cold with a straw. Ice and a straw (make it a fun one!) can make a huge difference. I know it sounds simple, but crisp, cold water is much more enjoyable. Using a straw allows you to drink more water with ease.

7. LLC it (fresh lemon, lime and cucumber). Fill a pitcher with water, ice, and slices of lemon, lime and/or cucumber and stir. You now have refreshing spa-like beverage to enjoy throughout your day. This citrus and cucumber-infused water is hydrating, refreshing, and tastier than plain water.

8. Add some fizz. Drinking bubbly mineral water and seltzer water are great options for those who want something carbonated. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for an extra kick.

9. Flavor with essential oil. A few drops of a therapeutic grade organic essential oil (indicated for internal use) can add just enough of a subtle flavor to entice you to drink up with the added bonus of some nutritional benefits. For example, Blood Sugar Balance by Vibrant Blue Oils (a blend of grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, cinnamon, celery seed & ginger) was formulated to support blood sugar and lower cortisol levels, appetite and cravings between meals. One of my staff members, Holly, a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, likes this and uses it with her clients.

10. Sass it up. Check out Sassy Water by Carolina Charm.

11. Or this try this delicious Apple Cinnamon Water recipe by The Food Network (switch out the red apples with 21DSD friendly green apples!).

herbal-tea-shareableTips 12-15: Tantalize your Tea

Hot or cold unsweetened teas of every variety are all approved on The 21-Day Sugar Detox. Choose organic varieties of tea when possible and watch out for sneaky additives. Trying out different teas can be fun—I personally love Traditional Medicinals.

12. Trust the traditionals. Green, white, or black hot or cold tea are all great options.

13. Curb your cravings. Peppermint and Ginger herbal teas are my favorites.

14. Create your own. Or try this Ginger Mint Herbal Tea by FED!

15. Select something special. Check out Emily Schromm's herbal tea blend creation, Element Teas. If you love the flavor of coffee but not the effects of caffeine, try her Herbal Coffee (caffeine free) and to tackle stress head on, relax with Anxiety Release.

Tips 16-19: Sensationalize your Smoothies

While I don’t usually like to drink my meals, I realize that smoothies are great for a pre- or post-workout boost, for people on the go, and for kids who may need some extra calories. To reduce the impact on your blood sugar, make sure you don’t overdo the fruit, add some vegetables (spinach and cauliflower add mild-tasting additions), and include full-fat coconut milk, nuts/seeds, pastured egg yolks, and/or other sources of fat or protein. Here are a few of my favorites smoothies from Toadally Primal.

16. Apple Cider

17. Cinnamon Banana Coconut Breakfast

18. Lemon Lime Cucumber

19. Super Nutritional Powerhouse

I also have some extra delicious no-sugar/sweetener recipes for smoothies in The 21-Day Sugar Detox, The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, and The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. How do coconut, apple pie, pumpkin spice, and banana nut smoothies sound?!

kombucha-shareableTip 20: Kick it up with Kombucha

Kombucha is fermented tea with a high probiotic content that can be a great replacement for your daily glass of wine, soda or other sweet beverage. Kombucha is naturally carbonated and tastes somewhat vinegary, and while some find the taste strong and sour, others love it instantly. Sugar is used in the fermentation process, but if no fruit juices are added, the kombucha will have very little residual sugar. Go slow if you’ve never had kombucha before—the probiotic content is beneficial for good gut health, but it can cause digestive distress if you drink too much.

  • You can find kombucha in most grocery stores, but be sure to read the labels and be on the look out for added sugar in the form of fruit juice or other flavorings. To read more about its health benefits and learn how to make your own, check out my easy recipe for Home-Brewed Kombucha.
Tip 21: Beverage Your Bone Broth

Yes, that’s right, you can sip on bone broth as a beverage! In fact, I do that and I encourage people to incorporate it into their daily routine especially when they feel a cold coming on or they are working to improve gut health. But, you don’t have to be on a healing protocol! It’s pretty yummy all on its own, with some ginger or herbs sprinkled in, or even better, some butter blended in.

drink-pin And More…

I couldn’t write a post about sugar-free beverages without mentioning my recipe for bittersweet hot cocoa found in The 21-Day Sugar Detox! Even kids love it, so check it out! And if you’re looking for even more sugar-free drink options, check out the 21DSD Pinterest page!

A change in mindset goes a long way toward success and failure. Think of your transition to sugar or sweetener-free beverages as a chance to experience new and exciting ways of doing and enjoying things rather than thinking about “can’t have.” Because, really, look at all the awesome things you CAN have!

Need more help getting off sugar? What about just living a sugar-free/low-sugar lifestyle? If getting off sugar seems daunting, or you just want a bit more guidance along the way, I have some exciting options for you to choose from!

Now, I’d like to hear from you! What do you drink on your 21-Day Sugar Detox?!




This post was updated December 20, 2019.

Comments 4

  1. I have a question about barley tea, also known as bori cha or mugi cha. This a common tea made from roasted barley to drink cold, or hot, in Korea and Japan. I often drink this instead of water. Could this be an acceptable beverage during 21-day sugar detox?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Great question! Barley is a grain that contains gluten, and is therefore not approved for the 21DSD. —Moriah, Team 21DSD

    1. Hi Valeta,

      No, red wine is not approved for the 21DSD – whether for cooking or otherwise – due to the natural sugar content in it. —Moriah, Team 21DSD

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