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Well, this has definitely been an interesting 30 days so I figured I would share with you guys!  It started about a month ago on a Monday at about 2 AM when I woke up deathly ill.  I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but I actually felt like I was going to die. Dizzy spells, headache, chills, sweats, and projectile you know what (coming out both ends – SORRY I SWEAR I WONT GO INTO ANYMORE DETAIL).  I just wanted to make sure you had the full effect.  To top it off I actually passed out/blacked out for about 15 seconds. I don’t remember a lot other then my husband yelling me name as I slowly came back. I never get sick let alone this sick, so it came as a big shock.  What was it in my body that suddenly changed from when I went to bed and 2 AM?  Well, I caught a virus!  There have been a few virus’ going around Santa Monica and I went out to film content for about 6-7 hours on Saturday at different Santa Monica locations, and needless to say I think I picked something up!  It could have been from that day or prior, but it came on quick and with a vengeance.  When I first woke up at 2 AM, I was slightly concerned – but honestly thought I could sleep it off.  When I finally got back into bed and fell asleep until 6 am, I knew when I woke up it was going to be a LONG DAY.  I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew it was something bad.  I have a high tolerance for pain and I couldn’t even get out of bed without assistance from my husband.  I had to be wheel-chaired up to the doctors office (Umm……I don’t think I’ve ever not been able to at least walk).  I couldn’t believe I couldn’t physically walk.  

Apparently with a virus though, you just have to sleep it off and be super uncomfortable for the first 24-48 hours.  So, there I slept in my weakened state for 2 days.  The doctors made many suggestions on what I should be doing for food and hydration but to be honest I couldn’t keep anything down.  I know it’s bad when I can’t even drink coffee or eat something sweet (haha, my 2 staples).  So the first day was behind me and Tuesday I felt good enough to walk, but it was at a snails pace.  So I got in my car and drove to the grocery store.  I walked super slow through the aisles, trying to find remedies and load my cart up with all liquids basically.

-Pedialyte 
-Coconut water
-Bone broth
-Saltines
-Master cleanse ingredients 

YEP!  You read that last one correct.  I got the ingredients to do the master cleanse.  Not sure WTF I was thinking with that – but during my sick day in bed, I had more time than I’ve ever had to scan the internet and research things I’ve always wanted to but never had time.  I think I had convinced myself that since I caught a virus, my system was weak and I needed to get rid of toxins in my body.  Enter……the master cleanse.  

I’ll rewind by saying (and I’ve been much more candid about sharing this recently) that I have a ton of digestion issues doctors have NOT been able to solve. It requires a lot of diligence with nutrition and also testing things out to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s super frustrating because I’ve done plenty of eliminations and tested out eliminating certain foods I thought were the problem and have come up with ZERO solution. However, it’s something I live with everyday and has come on much more extreme over the course of 2 years. It’s just extreme discomfort in my stomach and it comes on suddenly out of nowhere. Sometimes right when I wake up when there’s nothing in my stomach. It’s almost as if my stomach cannot even digest WATER sometimes. Like it just sits in there and sloshes around. I’ve pretty much had every test done short of a colonoscopy because to be honest, I’m avoiding it.  And I also tell myself I’m a young, healthy, female with ALL normal blood tests, exams, etc.

I don’t know why in Gods name I thought I could handle doing 11 days of a lemon/cayenne pepper drink (oh and a detox tea at night YAYYYY – like that’s supposed to be your treat), but nonetheless I had my mind set.  I wanted to detox my body of the bad things that were inside.  I don’t even eat bad foods by any means, but I have felt a little sluggish and maybe eating more sugar than normal lately and a ton of animal protein.  These are things over time that I know in mass quantities are not good for us.  So I was going to USE this sickness as a great kick-start to kind of detox my system!  

It was easier now than it would have been if I was eating normal leading up to trying to start the cleanse.  Cutting everything cold turkey would have just sucked.  I mean……it still sucked the way I did it.  But luckily after Monday – I didn’t even want to look at food or even taste it.  I couldn’t keep anything down, so it was an easy transition to do just liquids.  Without going into too much detail about the master cleanse, IT TOTALLY SUCKED.  I made it 4 days and felt so weak and so lethargic.  I also think this had to do with some withdrawals I was experiencing from not having coffee, and sugar, and full meals.  I knew it was going to be uncomfortable.  After 4 days though, I genuinely felt I had detoxed everything from my system.  There was nothing left in me (literally haha).  I had zero energy gain to show for it after the virus which is what I was longing for after having the life sucked out of me.  LOL.  I was only furthering the “life being sucked out of me” by trying the master cleanse.  I felt good about being done with it too.  I didn’t feel like I failed or anything, I just knew it wasn’t for me and my body probably didn’t need a full 11 days of this.  So I listened to my body and slowly eased back into liquids, and really high quality food.  

The one really great thing that came from the master cleanse was my ability to realize I DON’T NEED HALF OF THE SHIT I THINK I NEED.  I workout like an athlete, so naturally I fuel my body like an athlete.  But to be honest, I definitely justify eating more than I probably should at times (YES – EVEN AS A TRAINER – I DO THIS).

I don’t eat bad foods, but I probably eat too much of the good foods like protein bars or nut butter or dark chocolate or halo top ice cream or boom-chick-a-pop popcorn.  At the end of the day, a lot of that is processed food and can wreak havoc on your body in the long run if you are eating it in mass quantities.  I used this 4 day reset as a way to start another reset.  I asked myself…..”OK Danielle, what are some positive changes you can make in your diet now that you have cut the cravings.”  Since being on the master cleanse limited me so much, I finally felt what it was like to NOT THINK ABOUT FOOD.  I didn’t think about it, I didn’t want it, because I knew I couldn’t have it.  I got a lot done work wise.  I wasn’t distracted with thinking about what I was going to make.  I wasn’t distracted with getting in the routine at night of having something sweet after dinner.  I wasn’t working out either, so I felt less hungry.  My whole body kind of went through this transformative process, so I wanted to spin this into a positive.

I decided to cut out coffee (WHATTTTTTTTTTT???????).  Anyone that knows me knows this is big.  You may be surprised when I tell you I don’t even drink that much.  In fact, I only drink 1/2 a cup….if that (sometimes only 2-3 sips) in the morning.  It’s a very bold (strong) blend I will say, but I only drink it in the morning right when I wake up.  However, it had become something I needed!  If I woke up and there wasn’t coffee, I would immediately have anxiety.  It got to the point where if my husband and I were going out of town, I would call the hotel beforehand and make sure they had a coffee maker in the room.  I didn’t have coffee at any other time of the day, it was just the morning and it HAD to happen.  I only lasted 9 days before adding coffee back in but I definitely don’t feel like I need it. I also decided I was going to cut processed sugars (i.e. pretty much any of my protein bars, nut butters with sugars, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, dark chocolate, even my morning protein oatmeal – another staple).  Why would I do all this at once??  Was I crazy?  The answer to that is…..probably YES a little bit.  It was an uncomfortable decision and I wanted to be able to rid myself of the “routine” I had associated around food. 

Here’s what I have learned going strong still on day 30! 

I’ve noticed an extreme spike in energy from cutting out the shitty foods (i.e. the sugars).  This was something I would typically do at night – mindless eating.  I would have a coconut yogurt, a rice cake with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips, and maybe even a protein bar.  All before bed, and all after dinner.  Sometimes I was having 2-3 protein bars during the day just to get me through.  I think this sugar spike was ultimately leading to low energy levels during the day and in the morning when I would wake up.  Now, I’ve been waking up feeling pretty light and airy so to speak.  I don’t feel as “weighed down” by the foods I am eating.  I have been trying to get in a smoothie a day packed with nutrients which keeps me super satisfied and consists of REAL INGREDIENTS FROM WHOLE FOODS.  I have been adding in plant protein based shakes instead of my typically processed whey protein.  This has also done wonders for my digestion.  I hate the way plant protein powder tastes but I’m trying to get used to it and like it.  I’ve been doing bone broth soups and adding fresh herbs, veggies, spices.  I haven’t eaten animal protein in 45 days either!  For me this is big because I’m typically eating grilled chicken and eggs multiple times a day for my protein sources.  Chicken, eggs, chicken, eggs, chicken, eggs > REPEAT!  It’s been a nice change up for my palette to experience some different flavors.  The nice thing is that most everything I’m eating goes down smooth and doesn’t upset my stomach.  I really thought I’d miss protein but shockingly, I don’t even think about it anymore.  I also thought it was going to change my body entirely.  Like if I wasn’t eating protein you wouldn’t be able to see my muscle.  NOT TRUE.  I have maintained all my muscle but definitely cut some fat.  I’m getting my protein from either plant based protein powder, beans, nuts, and a ton of other foods I’ve found to be protein rich while searching for replacements.  I’m not a huge fan of tofu, tempeh or fake meats so I haven’t even eaten any of that.

In 30 days, I had roughly 2-3 flair ups with my digestion. THIS IS A BIG WIN! I was dealing with this every single day so I’ll take 2-3 days a month compared to 30 LOL. I can’t exactly pin point what it was that drove me to those 2 flair ups. They were completely random. I tried to blame oatmeal since I eventually added that back in every other day. I said to myself, “maybe its grains.” But I’ve had testing done for all of that so it doesn’t totally make sense. I feel like because of this inadvertent “food elimination” experiment – I’ve learned more about my stomach issues than I ever have before.  I used to do one elimination at a time, but never all at once. “You eat healthy. You are young. You exercise. You are fine.”  These are all things I hear from the doctors and in theory ALL THESE THINGS ARE TRUE.  But inside, that is not how I feel (FO REAL THOUGH)!  

All I’m saying is, if you think there is no way you can eliminate a food or something that you think you are addicted to……TRY IT!  You will honestly never know until you give it a real shot.  Not a short stint of it, but an honest week if not longer.  I’m not going to sit here and say it was easy.  

The first few days were really hard.  

All I could think about was coffee and protein bars and sugar haha.  But after the first 3 days, you sail through it.  Once your energy levels pick back up and you start to feel good – that feeling is priceless and you don’t want to lose it by throwing in the towel.  I think that is what has kept me going.  Just knowing that my body feels really good right now and I don’t want to toss something inside me that could jeopardize those good feelings.

-Focus on what you CAN eat
-Don’t think about the things you are cutting out
-Allow yourself to feel the withdrawals
-Get outside for fresh air (especially during those times of deep cravings)
-Give it 5-7 days before calling it quits
-The first 3 days are the worst
-Get rest
-Hydrate a SHIT ton
-Reframe your thoughts
-Remember why you are doing it
-Think about the long term

Let me start this by saying I did NOT do this to lose weight or body fat.  In fact, I’m super happy with my strong body regardless.  But the inadvertent side effects to cutting sugar is probably weight loss and body fat loss in some capacity.  I didn’t even realize it until I compared pictures 30 days apart EXACTLY.  The photo on the left was taken the day before I got sick.  The photo on the right was exactly 30 days later on a Sunday.  As you can tell, things are just a bit tighter.  I honestly hate the scale and step on it like twice a year

Since I had to have my weight taken when I went in for the virus, I had that number to compare to.  I dropped roughly 9 lbs.  I have no idea how much body fat I dropped, but probably at least 1-2% I would imagine.

I know this was a long post but I want to be super transparent with you guys.  This is just something I went through this month that I wanted to share.  I can only hope that some of you relate to this or have dealt with food allergies, digestive problems, illness, etc.  Even though I know my virus wasn’t that serious or life threatening, it still sparked a change in me.  I know there will come a point where I indulge again or add some of this stuff back in, but I am going to be more careful with my portion sizes and how much I choose to eat of a certain thing.

My doctor called after all the testing came back from my virus visit and said my blood work was “beautiful.”  I almost lost it on the phone when he said that because I thought for sure something was wrong with me.  Did I have cancer? Did I have adult onset diabetes? How were my sugar levels? How were my cholesterol levels?  I think I thought something was wrong with me in my body because that’s how I felt!  Now, despite the “perfect” blood work I could have easily been like “OK BACK TO NORMAL EATING HABITS.”  The old me would have rewarded myself with some yummy food and patted myself on the back for having great results.  But not this time.  As I get older, I’m super aware of my health and the foods I put in my body.  I know my metabolism is changing as I age and I don’t want to be a victim to that.  I want to outsmart it.  I want to live a long, healthy life and be strong for my future kids (God willing).

 

This is another picture 24 days into the no sugar challenge.  Once again, it just seemed to get rid of a little fluff and puffiness.  But MORE than what my body looks like – the important takeaway is that I FEEL BETTER.  I have MUCH MORE energy and don’t feel as lethargic daily.  I think I just got into some bad habits with sugar and processed junk in general.  I now read my labels and just see what it is I’m putting into my body.  FOOD IS MEDICINE.  I think this has been the biggest lesson for me probably ever.  I’m glad I did it and want to encourage anyone interested in doing this to give it a try!

Thanks for always listening and being part of this tribe!  If you have any stories to share, I’d love to hear.  You can always tag me in a post on social @daniellepascente or email me danielle@daniellepascente.com.  I’m hosting a new 6 week challenge (announcement coming soon). In these challenge groups I do a ton of  Facebook lives on nutrition, supplements, sharing my journey, and helping you through the KATG.  If you are interested in being a part of the next 6 week challenge group, click here to purchase the KATG.  Stay tuned for more details on how to join coming soon on my instagram!

If you have comments on digestion issues, cutting sugar, etc…..I want to hear! You can type it right into the comment box below!  I know it can be a scary thing to commit to and honestly – not something that I wanted to jump at LOL.  What fun is life without sugar?  The glory is that I can now add it back and not be “bingy” about it.  I think I had a chocolate chip cookie on day 35 or something and it legitimately did not taste the same.  Not only that, but it didn’t sit well in my stomach so all those memories came flooding back of feeling shitty everyday. I can confidently say I’ve gone about 47 days with barely any sugar.  I’ve had 2-3 instances where I had processed sugar and both were not memorable or even good.  I encourage you – JUST TRY IT!  You’ll never know how you feel until you give it a fair shot. 

Love you guys!  I’m always here for support so reach out anytime!