What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 21 Days

For the past five years, one to two times a year I’ve done my own version of a cleanse or reboot. Generally, I do this as the seasons change — I find it gives my digestion system some well-deserved attention after being an avid participant in the Philadelphia foodie scene, traveling, and holiday celebrating (and all the indulgence that comes along with that).

This year, instead of the familiar cleanse I’ve used in the past, I created a sort of elimination diet in an attempt to address some potential food allergies and hormonal imbalances. Some of the foods I refrained from eating for 21 days included dairy, gluten, bananas, coffee, and — dun, dun, dun — sugar, in all forms (with the exception being limited amounts of blueberries, sweet potatoes and butternut squash).

I found that 21 days without any sugar is just as difficult as it sounds — but it’s not miserable! If you are trying cut down on your sugar intake (after, most of us eat way too much of it), you can prep yourself for the road ahead by reading what I learned from the process below.

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The Checkup: This Food Pyramid Makes Mastering an Anti-Inflammatory Diet WAY Easier 

 

• I can’t go a single day without seeing the word anti-inflammatory more often than I see an enraged Facebook status about Donald Trump — which is reallllly often. And for good reason: Inflammation is linked to everything from acne to heart disease. Which is why this nutritionist-crafted anti-inflammatory foods pyramid is SO darn handy. Hint: kimchi is your friend. [Well + Good]

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Make This: One-Skillet Citrus-Chili Shrimp and Green Beans

Citrus-chili shrimp and green beans | Photo by Becca Boyd

Citrus-chili shrimp and green beans | Photo by Becca Boyd

I’m a big fan of dishes where the meat and vegetables cook together in the same sauce. Typically I avoid short cuts (like prepared sauces) because they can be loaded with sugar, salt and preservatives, but frozen vegetables, when they work in a recipe, are fantastic timesavers. Why clean, trim and steam green beans when they come prepped (and are just as healthy)? You’re right: There is no logical reason.

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The Checkup: The Tricky Ways Yogurt Can Sabotage Your Healthy-Eating Plans

• 7.7 billion dollars. That, my friends, is how much Americans spend on yogurt every year. I’ll give you a moment to wrap your brain around this. Okay, here, a clinical nutritionist breaks down the benefits of a slew of yogurt types in the growing aisle — from coconut to Greek to low-fat — and what to look out for (sneaky added sugars, for one, run rampant) before you throw it in your cart to avoid screwing with your healthy-eating plans. [Outside]

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New Research Will Make You Question All Your Drink Choices 

If you’re planning on drinking anything aside from water today, you’re going to take note of three studies that came to our attention this morning. One, dishing on an unexpected side effect of loving white wine, will certainly impact your happy hour decisions, while the others will probably make you think twice about reaching for a Coke (or Diet Coke) this weekend. Read up!

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The Checkup: The 10-Minute Trick to Overcome the Dreaded Afternoon Slump

• The dreaded afternoon energy slump hits harder than ever on Fridays, when you are counting down every single second until the clock strikes five. But research shows that, instead of reaching for a shot of espresso come 2 p.m., taking on a set of stairs for 10 minutes could be just the fix to perk yourself up and make it through the rest of the day. Worth a try, right? [Men’s Health]

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The Checkup: How This Common Ingredient Could Be Making You Fat 

• Put dooooown the salt shaker: New research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that folks were hungrier when they were on higher-sodium diets than when they were on lower-sodium diets consuming the same number of daily calories and nutrients. And being hungrier means there’s a greater chance you’ll reach for that 3 p.m. office-kitchen donut. Womp, womp. [TIME]

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