The consumption of sugar is at an all-time high, with the media catering to a population addicted to it. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "High consumption of sugar and high-sugar foods may be associated with a greater risk of pancreatic cancer." It has also been associated with childhood obesity, high cholesterol and gallstones. To avoid the negative effects of high sugar consumption, and to detoxify your body, a natural diet that is low on the glycemic index is recommended.
Before You Start
Prepare your friends, family and co-workers your change in diet. Your mind and body function as a result, partially, of what you consume. So any major change in your habits is going to affect how you respond to stress. Detoxifying your body from processed and refined sugars may leave you feeling fatigued, anxious, irritable, and in some cases depressed, at least for the first week or so. Explain to loved ones that it is temporary and ask for support.
Cleanse your cupboards before you cleanse yourself. This won't be easy if other members of your household don't adhere to your nutritional choices. If you must keep sugar in the house, keep it away from your main pantry. Remove anything that is processed or refined, including bread. Replace your supply with foods a little lower on the glycemic index, such as whole grains and vegetables.
Get familiar with the glycemic index. It won't do you any good to detox from sugar, only to return to your unhealthy eating habits when you are through. The glycemic index should be your guide to choosing which foods to eat and when to eat them.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the glycemic index is "a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health."
A natural detox plan doesn't consist of any "magic" remedies to rid your body of sugar. You are retraining your body to respond to sugar in a healthy way, by abstaining from refined sugars and then gradually adding back natural sugars.
Begin by taking a weekend to restock your pantry and slowly reduce the amount of refined sugar you consume. For instance, you may choose to use an artificial sweetener in your morning coffee instead of a heavily sweetened, flavored creamer. One tip is to make a laminated glycemic cheat sheet of the foods you eat most often.
On Monday, eliminate all refined sugar and begin a food diary. You won't have to keep this forever, but it is a great tool for the first few weeks. Write down everything you put into your body (supplements and vitamins included) until you are completely comfortable with a diet free of refined sugar. This could take a few weeks or as long as a couple of months. It depends on how much research you are willing to do in order to educate yourself on what you are eating.
By the end of the first week, you should notice a marked difference in how you feel. Candida albicans (systemic yeast), which is present in every human body, feeds off of sugar and has the propensity to proliferate if given the right environment. You may have had an issue with systemic yeast that you weren't aware of. You may see your skin become supple and less prone to drying and flaking, along with your scalp.
Valerian root, a liquid extract, is used for anxiety and promotes peace and tranquility. Taking 15 to 30 drops, mixed with a little water or hot tea, will ease the symptoms of withdrawal. You can also use rose hips, a natural form of vitamin C, in the form of tea or capsules.