- What was your diet like before The 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) and were you on Level 1, 2, or 3?
- How do you feel now that you’ve reduced the amount of sugar or dense carbohydrates you’ve been eating?
- How has your sleep been? What about your digestive function?
- Do you think that eating sugary or carb-rich foods will make you feel better or worse?
- Has the time and energy commitment that’s gone into avoiding sugar and dense carbs added more stress to your life than it alleviated your cravings and how much sugar or carbs has controlled your life and food choices?
For those of you on Levels 1 and 2, The 21DSD may have been a HUGE change in dietary habits for you. If that’s the case, and if you were previously eating bread, cereal and pasta, then refer to point #1 in this post. You’ve essentially been on an elimination diet for three weeks and need to go SLOWLY when re-introducing foods, especially the ones that are highly allergenic like wheat, dairy, and soy.
Consider how often you used to consume sweetened or carb-rich foods, then decide whether adding some of those foods back in perhaps once a day versus at every meal will be something more livable for you on a regular basis.
Fruit, for example, is a great way to enjoy a dessert or a treat, but most of it isn’t included on The 21DSD. Consider whether you previously ate sweets or dense carbs as rewards, as comfort, or even just as part of a habit. Then consider whether or not eating them made you feel your best or helped you to reach your goals. A LOT of people lose weight on The21DSD, but it’s not the primary goal of the program.
If you did lose weight, recognize that the bite here or there of sweets that seemed innocent enough before may have been too much for you and for your goals. If your goal was not primarily weight loss but rather to break unhealthy habits and conquer cravings, think about how eating sweets again triggers the problems and causes a downward spiral, then become mindful and conscious when choosing what to eat on a daily basis.
To safely and slowly add some naturally occurring sugars (like fruit) and starches back into your diet, take care to consider portions and the timing of these foods.
Fruits should not be eaten alone if blood sugar regulation and cravings have been issues for you historically. Eat small portions of berries or half of a piece of fruit if you’re not a very active person, or larger portions if you are more active.
Starchy foods are best added back in on days when you are more active and specifically in the meal following your activity or workout. Keep portions of starchy foods to a minimum otherwise, and don’t allow them to monopolize your plate if weight loss maintenance is your goal.
If simply avoiding cravings is your goal and you feel okay/don’t have them when you add back in some starchy foods, then you can enjoy root vegetables and tubers like sweet potatoes and squash more frequently. Continue to avoid refined foods including bread, pasta, cereal and other products made from flours and purchased in packages – these are never the best options.
The bottom line: After The 21-Day Sugar Detox, a sugar-bender is not recommended. The first time I completed The Detox myself, I ate candy the following day when I was hungry (note: this means my blood sugar was already low!). I spiked my blood sugar so high that when it crashed about an hour or two later, I nearly passed out. Seriously. It was that intense. I vowed at that point that I’d never let that happen again. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake, and from the questions outlined above, when choosing how to ease back into your regularly scheduled programming of life and food.
The last thing I’ll note here about what to do post-21DSD is that many who weren’t previously following a Paleo type of diet find that it’s the next natural step in their journey towards better health. If that’s your plan, I’d recommend grabbing a copy of my first book, Practical Paleo, as its going to be your absolute best all-in-one resource for going Paleo!
Keep rocking it!