Health and Fitness

Sugar Cleanse Journey: Day 1

Let’s DO THIS THING!

 I woke up in the morning feeling pumped about the journey I was about to take away from sugar and the kung-fu grip it has had on me since my childhood. I reviewed my two-page easy reference guide for the Dr.Oz 14-day diet and searched my mind for some extra motivation. I thought about scenes from “Fed Up” and how I felt when I realized that all this time I had been trying so hard to do the right thing for myself, I was actually being played by a greedy food industry bent on my frustration.

I imagined a greasy salesman offering me reduced-fat Ritz crackers to help me lose weight then pulling a half gallon of ice cream out from behind his back to help comfort me when my goals went up in smoke. I imagined the plan being hatched in some conference room in a high rise where cigar-smoking men wearing Rolex watches slapped each other on the back as a power point presentation outlined a get-rich scheme fit for a Bond villain.

It all mad sugar seem so much less enticing. In fact, it made me angry that I had been such an easy target – that I had fallen right into the plan.

Deep breath. “I joyfully release the past and expect the best now and in the future.” It’s time to change.

I rose up out of my dining room chair and hit the go button on my coffee pot. Time to brew some hot water. Since my babysitter had the day off I was going to spend my day at home prepping for the upcoming week and getting used to the rhythm of the cleanse.

Step one: Hot water with lemon

Drinking lemon water instead of my usual sugar-free-creamer laden coffee was a shock to my pallet. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t as good. My brain cells stared collectively into the cup. This is a joke, right? This is not a joke, it’s a new regime where I am the ruler and my health is the ultimate goal. Lemon water down the hatch.

Got to love drinking lemon detox water out of a candy-themed cup. Irony much?!
Got to love drinking lemon sugar-detox water out of a candy-themed cup. Irony much?!

Step two: Breakfast smoothie

This is where things got dicy. I realized (too late) that I had purchased whole flax seed instead of flax meal and right when I hit start on the blender my toddler informed me that he needed a diaper change. One thing led to another and before I knew it my smoothie had been blending for the better part of 5 minutes. The result was a disaster. It was THICK and GRITTY and well, let’s just say I had to literally talk myself through it. I.E. “You’ve got this, Liz. If you could shoot fireball whisky in college you can sure as hell drink this smoothie. Do it for AMERICA!” Breakfast smoothie down the hatch.

Step three: Makin’ broth

Perhaps the best part of the cleanse I chose is the broth. First of all, it makes me feel good about my life when I buy things like rutabagas. Rutabagas are for winners. My shopping cart made my GranolaHeart glow with pride. The broth recipe is relatively easy since you are going to eventually strain and discard the veggies (after boiling them for an hour to release all of their delicious nutrients). Since you won’t be actually eating the veggies, you only have to chop them into large chunks and throw them into the pot. The smell was amazing as it cooked on my stove: hot soup with essences of ginger and garlic. Bliss. The result was even better than the smell. Since this broth is a big source of important sodium in an otherwise veggie-filled diet you can salt the heck out of it guilt-free and BOY is it good. I made a gallon of it and actually look forward to my 3-4 daily cups. Delish!

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Step 4: Lunch

Since my intense breakfast smoothie experience kept me full since 8 a.m. I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to eat for lunch. A twinge of hunger reminded me that I should probably figure it out around 12:30 p.m. so I went back to my handy two-page sheet. I needed a half cup of brown rice. I hit the fridge for some pre-prepped veggies that I had chopped while I was making my bigg ol’ pot of broth and grabbed some minced garlic and winter squash. A quick sauté with some avocado oil and I had the best smelling kitchen this side of the Rio Grande. That plus some gently milled (whatever that means) brown rice and I had a filling, delicious lunch that made me scoff at the days of Weight Watchers “Smart Ones.” HA!

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Squash sautéed in avocado oil with minced garlic.

Step 5: Snacks

My allowable snacks are hummus (score!) unlimited low-glycemic veggies, a couple of handfuls of salted nuts and pickles (double score!). So I just made sure to focus on that and a few cups of green tea throughout the day. Here’s the kicker, ZERO sugar cravings. I really expected to be in the all-out throes of a sugar withdrawal by noon and instead I felt healthier than ever.

Step 6: Yoga

Nothing makes me feel more centered than a quick yoga practice to punctuate my day. I usually do this right after I pick my baby up from day care (he promptly goes down for a nap) but before my husband gets off work. Nothing destroys a woman’s Zen than an on-looking man-spectator while she struggles with tree pose. Since today I was at home I waited for Wyatt to go down for his nap, finished a cup of green tea and did a glorious 30 mins of Yoga With Adrienne, my favorite You Tube Yogie. Namaste.

Step 7: Dinner for four

When my 6’ 8’’ mountain man comes through the door with my 13-year-old stepson they usually have one thing in mind: dinner. How am I supposed to feed these guys while maintaining my cleanse? Deep breath. Chicken. I’m supposed to have one six-oz serving of chicken, fish or turkey every day. Since I happened to have frozen chicken breasts I threw them into a bowl of warm water for a quick thaw while hitting Pinterest for a whole-foods recipe. About 45 minutes later I was serving lemon-basted Italian chicken with sautéed squash (everybody loves it) and some simple chopped salad with dressing choices on the side. My stepson told me FIVE times that dinner was “really, really good” and my beef-loving husband finished his whole chicken breast and even smiled at me while eating it. Ahhh, success.

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Clean eating for the whole family.

Step 8: Witching hour

I usually get the snack-attack for sugar around 8 p.m. after my baby has gone down for the night and my stepson has settled into a marathon of pop-song parody videos on You Tube. Usually my husband and I are watching something good on Netflix and my brain slams into overdrive craving something chocolaty. Guess what, no cravings! I had a pickle at 7:30 p.m. after Wyatt’s bath and didn’t think about food again until I was brushing my teeth at bedtime. What a trip. No sugar all day and not a twinge of desire to break my stride. Booyah!

Step 9: THREE LBS DOWN

I woke up yesterday (morning of day 2) and took my thyroid pill, which always reminds me to weigh myself for some reason. I hopped on the scale and BAM! Three lbs. GONE. Now, before you dance in the streets remember that I went carb and sugar free for an entire day. That means a lot of that weight was excess water that buddies up to carbs in the body. However, considering that I had been stuck for six whole weeks at a dead plateau on Weight Watchers before starting this cleanse I allowed myself a little water-weight jig in the bathroom. On to day two!

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