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.
-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
-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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
hey girl! the past month or so i have also tried to cut out processed sugars/foods!!!! i feel so much better both physically and mentally! i have a question, you don’t cut out fruits right? because i know they have a lot of sugar but i know that it’s natural sugar…so i eat tons of fruit and love it!!!! also do you drink coffee now & if so do you use stevia to sweeten it? that’s what i use, but i can’t help but treat myself to a little skim milk and half/half! i only drink one cup a day or none at all. p.s. i’m a pescetsrian! this is so awesome! i loved reading it because i have tried telling so many people
how good ya feel after cutting out processed foods!!! you rock!!!!!!
That’s so awesome – I’m happy to hear it has had similar effects on your! And no I did not cut out fruits in fact I eat a ton of fruits and veggies! In my coffee I put a dash of cinnamon and almond milk. I don’t like stevia so I tend to stay away from that. I’m not a huge coffee creamer person ALTHOUGH I did used to have a starbucks addiction in highschool/college. I kicked that habit awhile ago though. Now I can just drink coffee black which is a far cry from my carmel frapps back in the day LOL. I think my view on sugar is forever changed – like you said. I now find myself telling more people about it – LIKE TRY IT – IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I also used to look at those same people when they told me that and rolled my eyes. Life without sugar sounded miserable to me. But what’s more miserable is feeling the way I did every single day. I feel much better now and with more energy than ever! Thanks for sharing your experience too! I think the more people read and see success stories – the more likely they will try it too. XO
Hey! This is awesome blog. Quick question about your protein bars- I have a peanut butter Think Thin everyday. Thoughts on that? Low sugar on their nutritional label. But I’m sure it’s full of artificial type sweetener
Thanks Olivia!! Yes so I was a REGULAR eater of Think Thin, Kind, Lara, and the occasional Luna or Quest bar. Honestly – here’s the thing…..In regards to bars – think thin isn’t terrible at all. However – it does have a LOT of added stuff just like all of them do. To get the sugar out of it, they have to add other stuff so think about that. For every item taken out – there is likely an additive unless its all natural. Lara and Kind are getting better with this, but still some junk. Perfect Bar is good because they use natural sweetener. At the end of the day though, I just genuinely feel like we shouldn’t need bars everyday and I think I leaned on bars like they were a candy bar almost. I was getting something sweet in, but it was still good for me. Or at least I was trying to justify it probably more than I should LOL. Bars just aren’t something I think are necessary every single day anymore. So I try to get my nutrients from whole foods or nuts, etc. Does that make sense?
Thanks for sharing! I’ve been going through digestive issues as well and have thought about cutting out sugar. I think cutting out animal protein would be way easier than sugar though! I eat vegetarian 4-5x/wk already, so it doesn’t seem too bad. What do you do for snacks throughout the day? Is the smoothie what you eat for breakfast? Again, I really appreciate your transparency and sharing your experience.
SO true though – cutting the animal protein was way easier than I thought it would be. Turns out – half the time I was eating animal protein it was just because I thought I had to eat protein if that makes sense. I didn’t actually crave it like I craved sugar. Sugar is definitely tougher! For snacks I am trying to do fruits and veggies. I’ll do different nuts too or paleonola (grain free granola). I typically have my smoothies either post workout or sometimes even for dinner and I load that sucker up with EVERYTHING under the sun so it’s chalk full of nutrients. I’ve noticed since cutting sugar though – a lot of my cravings have disappeared so I don’t feel as ravishing for snacks all the time. Typically nut butter on a banana or apple will do the trick 🙂 Hope that helps! And I hope you can get to the bottom of some of your digestion issues because I know they aren’t fun. Cutting sugar is a great place to start.
Girl you know I am doing this too, 23 days in and still holding strong! It has made such a difference in how I feel and my energy levels and my body just feels better and happier and lighter.
More than that, I was seriously addicted- you could not put a sweet in front of me and have me say no- I felt like I couldn’t go on with my life after a meal if I didn’t have dessert. When I was hungry, i reached for something sugary for the (fleeting) energy spike. I put sugar (or some kind of sweetener- stevia, honey, etc) in everything- oatmeal, PB, etc) I always turned to sweets when I was sad or stressed (I almost gave in this week with news of my dog passing, but I stayed strong!!). I used to feel so hopeless and weak that I couldn’t get through the day without the sweets but I have felt so strong and proud at how well I have done!! 23 days is a long @$$ time for me and I am so proud. Between that and the KATG, I lost 5lbs and have noticed my overall bloat going on.
I’ve been working on the animal protein since I already have cut out sugar, dairy, and alcohol, and stick to 100% whole wheat or sprouted grain products. i don’t know how to give up eggs, girl! They are my faveeee.
Thanks for posting and sharing your inspo daily <3 love you.
It’s CRAZY right? The differences in bloat and overall energy. I know those first few days are really tough but see – you are already through the worst part and I’m so proud of you for taking the challenge and giving it an honest shot!! Especially during times like this week where you did have a lot going on emotionally – it’s super commendable that you were able to stay strong. Here’s the great thing though about how many days you’ve already gone – I really don’t think one thing would throw you off because it’s going to taste so much different now. I was the same way – like had to have something sweet with every meal (even if it was a “healthier” option).
I’m so proud of ALL the progress you’ve made. You are SO WELL ON YOUR WAY to a healthier lifestyle and it shows girl!! Keep on kicking ass! Love you!
PS – eggs was also hard for me especially since my husband makes them 2-3 times a day if not more so I have to smell them. It’s funny – I haven’t added them back in yet but I think about it often because they smell so damn good lol.
Just found your blog through Nutrition Stripped, and am so glad I did! I’ve been thinking of trying to cut out sugar for awhile… but I always chicken out. I don’t eat *that* much sugar anymore, but I always have chocolate around and my morning granola and protein bars have sugar of course… but you post has convinced me to actually consider trying it. Did you just eat fruit and veggies as snacks instead of protein bars? I have one every afternoon and then I work out after I get home from work. I feel like fruit is not going to keep me full.
Also – in terms of digestions problems, I totally relate! Just curious, have you been tested for IBS? I struggled with digestive issues for so long – bloating, feeling miserable every time I ate, etc and it was exhausting. Finally went to a GI and was diagnosed with IBS. I started eating on the low FODMAP diet and feel SO MUCH BETTER. Although plant-based protein like beans and tofu make me feel miserable so maybe it’s not what you’re dealing with – but might be worth looking into. My blog has lots of info (shameless self-plug!) and this website is also great: http://blog.katescarlata.com/
Anyway, thanks for the post! Now I need seriously start thinking about getting rid of sugar… lol.
Ah so glad you found the blog through McKel 🙂 It’s so funny because honestly I was saying the same thing “LIKE I REALLY DON’T EAT THAT BAD!!!” And the truth is – my diet is pretty clean but I think I was eating too much of those “health” foods like granola, nut butters, protein bars, halo top, etc. I’ve found that smoothie have been my “go to” now to keep me full and I feel like it actually works. As long as it’s a loaded smoothie it can sometimes keep me full for hours.
So in regards to IBS – OH YES – I’ve been tested lol. They actually try to tell me frequently I have IBS but it’s hard for me to believe based on what I eat. I’ve tried FODMAP and it actually doesn’t work for me which leads me to believe it’s not IBS. I have tried it for a consistent period of time too and no real changes. Thanks for sharing your story and blog! I’ll have to check it out. I highly recommend trying the no sugar thing for 30 days. Its rough at first but very eye opening. XO
I see this post is old and maybe you won’t even see my response. I’m in the same boat though with digestion issues. Pain. I’ve tried everything. EVERYTHING. I see a new doctor on Tuesday. Anyway, I’m quite positive it’s my hormones causing all of it. My issues began each time I went off of birth control. Have you looked into that, if you’re still having issues?
Hi!! Yes totally! I think a lot of it was related – I really need to write an updated blog about it because between some of the things I cut out and also going through different hormonal changes – has brought me to a much better place with it all!! But still plenty of answers I don’t have in regards to my digestion but I feel like it will be trial and error for the rest of my life with different foods. I just have a very sensitive system. I hope your Doctors appointment goes well and you get some answers.