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SUGAR DETOX: 6 things to help smooth the pain (Clue: ‘eat birthday cake’ is on the list)

It’s Day 71 of Anna Magee’s No Sugar for 90 Days odyssey so she’s pretty qualified to bring you six ways to help ease the pain of a sugar detox. Good news, ‘Eat birthday cake’ is on the list.

It’s day 71 of my No Sugar for 90 days detox and I think by now I am qualified to name a post with the above headline for I can tell you that cold, hard pain and a few tears have taught me the things that will smooth the gnawing aches – and there will be plenty, emotionally and physically – of a sugar detox. This is not to say it’s not worth it, but you have heard me wax lyrical about some of the benefits on previous posts and let’s face it, no-sugar evangelism is getting a little overplayed dontcha think. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty amazing but having gone 70 odd days without the stuff, what anyone who is thinking of joining me needs more than reading about how good I feel is how the f*&k I have managed to get this far.

1. Replace it a little at the beginning (but don’t overdo it)

If you can’t stand non-sweet porridge or yoghurt then by all means replace it with something like Stevia or a little vanilla essence but give yourself a cut-off point, say 30 or 60 days into the detox by which you will cut that out too. I did it 60 days in and it helped. Why? Because it’s the sweet taste you get hooked on, not the sugar itself. But choose your artificial sweeteners – and the amounts of them you consume – wisely. This is something I found out the hard way.

2. Do it for 90 days

I know, I know. This is a ridiculously long time but it really took me until around the 45th day to start feeling any real fundamental benefits. Seeing my skin clear and losing the PMT were big ones but they took time. It’s only the results that kept me going and if I was only doing it for 30 days it wouldn’t have felt like much of a real change as those results wouldn’t have become obvious.

3. Eat birthday cake

Having said that, I have a confession to make. About a month ago I had two interns turning 21 on the same day. Now if that is not an occasion, I don’t know what is. I surprised them with this delightful red velvet cake from the dee-vine Buttercup cake shop in Westfield Stratford City just near the office. I couldn’t not have some, it would have been sooooo rude, and I felt like such a party pourer declining. Actually, scratch that, I didn’t even try to decline. I inhaled it. And here’s the thing. It tasted incredibly, positively unfathomably sweet. Funnily enough.

It was healthista pink and all
It was healthista pink and all
I promise I left the flowers to the birthday girls, honest
I promise I left the flowers to the birthday girls, honest

But seriously, it also tasted like such a novelty, almost drug-like in its decadence (I don’t get out much anymore) because my taste buds weren’t used to the richness of the icing and the odd, almost chocolatey taste of the red filling. It was so filling too. I thought ‘Oh here we go I will want more sugar now’ but one piece was more than enough and I found myself craving a healthy dinner that night where in the past I would  have probably wanted more sugar. The moral of the story? Eat birthday cake. How boring not to and unless you have a ridiculous number of friends, how many times a year will someone’s birthday come around?

Peanut_Butter4. Don’t skimp on fat

One of the no-sugar bloggers on Twitter suggested this to me right at the beginning of this journey and I can’t thank her enough. Anyway, eating fat has helped keep my energy stores high (fat is a great source of fuel, better than sugar) and also keep me satisfied between meals. My favourite sources include my avocado, frozen strawberry and kale shake post-breakfast. So satisfying, I simply mix about eight frozen strawberries, a half an avocado and two handfuls of kale into my Vitamix (you don’t need a posh blender but it helps as frozen stuff can be hard to blend). I also love snacking on Whole Earth peanut butter, almonds and Brazil nuts and adding decent amounts of olive oil to my salads.

5. Eat enough

Skimping on calories at meals won’t help a sugar detoxee as you’ll get hungry and want energy quickly. Now, I always make sure I eat well at meals with a decent amount of protein such as lean lamb, fish, legumes, eggs or plain yoghurt along with trimming like olives, seeds, edamame and nuts plus heaps and heaps of vegetables to really fill me up.

6. If you possibly can, try and cut down (or cut out) the caffeine

I only started this in the middle of last week as a result of being inspired by our blogger Chloe Nichols’ success going caffeine-free. She is looking so good and said it helped with sugar cravings. Well, the first six days were hell. I repeat. Hell. I was dog-tired, flu-ey with a blocked nose and aches all over with the worst headache I had ever had as though  there was a little gremlin with a power drill doing DIY behind my eyes. But then on Sunday I woke up and there it was, I felt clearer and looked better. Now, I  don’t get as hungry or tired in the afternoon which makes it easier to resist sweets. Thing is, caffeine acts a bit like sugar in the body and creates a surge of adrenalin and a sudden blood sugar increase, in the same way sugar does. So your body thinks it’s getting sugar which make it react in a similar way. That means, a few hours later you crash in the same way you would after eating sugar. Sorry to be a bore but it does help.

Looks so lovely too
Looks so lovely too


Read more No sugar for 90 days blogs from Anna Magee

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