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21 Tips: How to Complete The 21 Day Sugar Detox With Ease


One week ago from today I completed round 2 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox. It was a breeze for me. There are many reasons for this including the fact that I wrote down everything I ate, took photos of most of my food and added a personal modification to the standard program.

Below you will discover 21 tips that come straight from a Toad’s heart. The first time I dove in I failed. Not this time around. Not all 21 tips will work for you but there will be a few (maybe a dozen or more) that fit your profile. Take action. They will go a long ways. Trust me from my experience!

1. Food journal

Write down what you eat. I did this for round 2 and it was hands down the best change I made from round 1. If I were to give you only one tip it would be to food journal.

I only wrote down the type of food I consumed. I sometimes would write the quantity such as 4 eggs and 3 slices of bacon for breakfast. I wrote down the specific time too.

The following is an example from Tuesday, June 5:

Breakfast: Lemon-Lime Cucumber Smoothie, 1/2 Banana, Piece of cheese @ 10:00.

Lunch: Salad @ 1:30 with Romaine, chicken breast, olives, tomato, red onion, mushroom, fresh dill, lime juice, black pepper

Dinner: Cinnamon Banana Breakfast Smoothie

2. Allow for a personal modification

Round 1 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox did not go so well for me. I failed many times over. That does not mean I failed in the end. I started the challenge again in June and did an exceptional job.

For round 2, I did not follow the program exactly how it is laid out. I decided to allow more fruit and potatoes than what the standard guidelines allow. It’s extremely difficult for me to overeat fruit and potatoes and I am not at all addicted to them.

I allowed them because I am surrounded by both foods and they are inexpensive. I don’t eat them like chocolate (even dark) or anything else that is sweet.

I was still very conscious of what I was eating. And I did eat most of the fruit or potatoes following a strenuous workout which Diane does allow.

What personal modification will you make?

It’s all up to you in the end. You may not need a modification. I did. Had I not, I probably would have failed based on my environment at the time.

Complete the program how you feel you can successfully complete it.

3. Take photos of all the food you consume

This is simple folks. Do not eat anything until you have snapped a photo.

Do you have a smart phone? Then this will be easy. Post your photos to Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc. Hold yourself accountable.

4. Why do you want to detox from sugar? Write it down.

If you have no idea why you wish to embark on this challenge you are setting yourself up for failure. When you know the why to whatever it is your doing you will have a greater chance toward success. This is true with anything in life.

Write it down. Now. It can be a simple sentence or 35 different reasons.

Why did I challenge myself?

To feel awesome and do the impossible. To quit sugar. To be able to avoid bread when it’s free at restaurants. To become more mindful of what I’m putting in my body. To experiment more with foods like liver. To gain better health. To gain confidence in other areas of life. To gain experience and help others do what I did. And more.

5. Practice mindful eating

When you eat, eat. Do nothing else sans enjoying a pleasant conversation with family or friends. Don’t watch TV. Don’t read a blog (including this one). Don’t listen to music. Don’t write.

Just eat.

This will seem weird in the beginning. Get over the weirdness and just do it. If you really want to curb your sugar cravings then learning how to become a mindful eater will go a long ways.

Smell the food. Chew. Chew. Chew. Taste the amazing flavors. Feel the texture inside your mouth.

Just eat.

6. Don’t stress about local, grass-fed, pastured, organic etc.

Aim for the best quality foods that you can afford and find without stressing out. If you have easy access to grass-fed beef and are able to afford it then buy a few pounds. Is there a farmers market nearby? Visit it. You’ll have a blast and will find an abundance of fresh, whole food that is approved on the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

But don’t stress. This is key! A normal grocery store is fine. I personally almost always buy grass-fed ground beef but if I want a steak then I rarely buy grass-fed because it eats up (no pun intended!) a significant amount of my money.

You know your financial situation better than anyone else. You know your environment better than anyone else. This means you know how difficult or easy it is to source the best quality food. This means you must decide what food you buy. Ok?

7. Have a standard activity for when emotions hit

Are you an emotional eater? Maybe you are an emotional smoker or drinker. When you are stressed you eat, drink or smoke.


Forget will power. Why not make it easy on yourself and just replace the bad habit with a good habit? Instead of opening the cupboard or door to your refrigerator mindlessly when you are not at all hungry, why not go for a walk? Read a book? Play with your dog? Call a friend or family member on the phone?

I’ve had numerous episodes of binge eating. It was a habit. I decided to become more busy. It worked. What will you do to replace your poor habit?

8. Keep busy and relax a lot

Don’t get bored. Do something. When you are bored you are more bound to begin eating emotionally. Boredom is a form of stress; you don’t know what to do with yourself.

You don’t have to be working on a big project every second. Why not listen to a podcast? Music? Dance to the music? Create beautiful artwork if that is your thing.

During the 21 days you are going to want to avoid eating out and thus you will probably not spend as much time with family and friends as you usually do. This is ok. You will live and will actually grow from this experience.

It’s only 3 weeks folks. Don’t you forget that.

Do something. Anything that will keep you from thinking about food.

9. Find a partner and talk on a regular basis

Talk on the phone or in person. This is better than email or texting. However, talking through the computer is probably better than doing this on your own if you are “scared” at all. Find someone in the MDA forum to do this sugar detox with you. I bet you will find someone if you start your own thread.

Exchange advice, trials and tribulations. Send each other pictures of your food. If you live in the same area then cook together. Instead of your typical Friday or Saturday night meals, why not cook a meal that is 21 Day Sugar Detox approved? Grocery shop together too.

10. Blog about your experience

I’ve written 3 posts on this sugar detox to date. This is my 4th. Doing this has held me more accountable. I spent time discussing what I was doing and shared that on the web where anyone can view it.

This post that I am currently crafting discusses tips that will certainly help you if you take action. I am reflecting on my experience and sharing with you what worked for me. I knew I was going to do this going in which helped me complete the challenge with relative ease.

You can begin a free blog through or you can buy your own domain and hosting if you blog through Do you need help? Email me.

Or, why not make it simple and start a tumblr blog? Post on Facebook or google plus? Or even just Pinterest. It’s all part of blogging and you can utilize these platforms for mini blogging. Post photos of your food that you have been eating and discuss your trials and tribulations.

11. Grocery shop before day 1 begins

Everyone needs to plan a little. Don’t be hard on yourself. If you are starting the 21 Day Sugar Detox on a Monday then take a few hours on Saturday and/or Sunday to prepare. Grocery shop. Visit your farmers market. Think about what foods you are going to eat the most. Bacon? Butter? Eggs? Ground Beef? Coconut?

You know what you want to eat and can eat. Work from there. There are more options available than you think. You just need to search for them and be willing to try new things.

12. Treat yourself once per week

That does not mean I am suggesting that you eat a cookie.

Let’s say you are on a tight budget and are buying grass-fed ground beef and inexpensive steaks that are not grass-fed at the supermarket. Why not splurge once a week and buy the absolute best quality steak and enjoy that once per week?

More than likely you normally drink alcohol on a weekly basis. During this detox you will be avoiding all alcohol. No exceptions, and I strongly advise to NOT allow any sips as part of a modification I discussed above.

So you are saving some money by not purchasing any alcohol. Why not take that money and buy a quality steak? Or some freshly caught seafood like Wild Alaskan Salmon from the Copper river?

Do it.

13. Eat bigger meals

Are you a snacker? Is it difficult for you to go more than 3 hours without food?

If you are and if it is, you need to eat more at meal time.

Eat more food. Whole food. Eat the yolk with the white. It’s where all the nutrition is! Add butter to your vegetables. Eat half of an avocado. Add real olive oil to your salads. Eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.

14. Don’t be afraid to eat the same meal many times over

Do you work an 8 to 5 job? A salad is easy to bring to work. Buy a decent amount of salad veggies and fruits like cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, onion, avocado, romaine or other greens like spinach, chard and Boston lettuce. Throw it in a container with meat and maybe some real olive oil with lemon or lime juice for dressing. Dress it up with dried or fresh herbs if you wish.

I enjoyed a salad every single day when I worked at Amway for 5 months last year. My hours were 9:30 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. I only had 30 minutes for lunch. You can do this for 21 straight days if you need to. If you have the time to create a variety of meals go for it. But some of you may be extremely busy and thus want to make things easy.

15. Have a go to approved food option

What do you really love that you will be allowed to eat for the next 21 days? Stock up on that food. Never run out. Whenever you feel a craving for sugar, eat that approved food.

This may be bacon, macadamias, pistachios, coconut flakes or butter, veggies with butter, etc. You know what you like more than anything else.

The main reason you are doing this challenge is to curb your sugar cravings. Right?

So eat what you love that is not full of sugar. And, again, be mindful of what you are eating.

16. Begin with level 1 if you are a newbie

Many of you will be able to start at level 3 on your first go around and easily complete the challenge. However, this is definitely not most of you. I’ll add myself to this list. I did not eat grains but I modified it to where I enjoyed a little more fruit and potatoes. I did avoid alcohol and chocolate and bread and all processed junk.

If you are new to this program and are unsure then begin with level 1. You have the rest of your life to give level 2 and 3 a shot. Why set yourself up for failure right from the beginning?

Don’t. You know yourself better than anyone else. Choose the level that fits you best.

17. If you falter, don’t quit

You don’t have to be 100% perfect to say you completed this detox. I say I avoided all alcohol but I did actually have 2 sips on 2 different occasions. No worries, right?

If you make a small mistake then move on. Forget about it. Even if you have one big cheat meal. Find out why you may have done this then move on. Keep going. Don’t quit. You have no reason to quit. Finish the 21 days then start again sometime in the near future.

18. Don’t count calories or carbs

Some of you may do better if you count. Most, however, will be better off if you don’t worry about the total amount of calories and carbs you consume.

If you follow the guidelines exactly how they are laid out you will naturally be eating a lot less carbs. Carbs in and of themselves are NOT bad for you. There are foods that have a lot of carbs that are bad for you. But you are doing this program to detox from sugar and carbs. Focus on the “fattier” foods like meat, eggs, avocado, coconut, etc.

Follow my first tip and food journal. Just understand that there truly is no need to weigh and measure everything and spend countless hours on it. If you want to do this and you don’t add stress then go for it. Those who fit this bill are few and far in between.

19. Drink smoothies

I personally enjoyed a lot of smoothies on my second round. Yes, I did allow for more fruit but this does not mean that you can’t enjoy smoothies that are 100% 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) approved.

Inside my ebook, Toadally Primal Smoothies, you will find a grand total of 71 recipes that are 21DSD approved. Only 6 out of these 71 recipes are only level 2 approved. The other 65 are level 3 approved. For the June 2012 update I added a label feature. You will know whether or not all 150 recipes are approved or not based on the label right below the title.

Click here to discover my 12 favorite smoothie recipes.

20. Don’t plan on eating trash food once you complete the detox

Don’t do it! If you do, you may begin a downward spiral. Doing a sugar detox and then eating something heavy with sugar that is not fruit is a horrible “reward.” Instead, eat that strawberry that is in season.

Just avoid the fake food. Do it for yourself. Not for me.

It’s been one week for me since I completed the sugar detox for the second time. I have yet to eat too much sugar at once. I am damn proud of myself. I passed on the bread at Greek Islands in Chicago the following day. I did eat ice cream at iCream after dinner but it was full fat, organic and homemade. Whole raspberries and blackberries were on top. No syrup.

I did enjoy some wine and one NorCal Margarita this past weekend but I “failed” to have too much. I did embark on the 2 pound burger challenge at Wheel House in Chicago this past weekend that also included a huge ass pile of fries but I made an incredible memory. I was the first one to complete the challenge (Wheel House has existed for 5 months!). It took me all 45 minutes but I am glad I did it!

I have yet to eat chocolate. This is quite strange; going 4 full weeks (and counting) without any type of chocolate. I don’t plan on buying any anytime soon either.

And guess what? I used to be addicted to it.

No more.


The choice is ultimately up to you.

21. Sleep. Move. Play. Go outside.

You can not forget these 4 vitally important factors to vibrant health.

Sleep. If you fail to sleep you will add stress and there will be a better chance of failure.

Move. Take a walk or do a CrossFit workout. Do some push-ups. Move in a way that you want to move. Be active but don’t worry about being as active as you normally are. If you do decide to workout intensely you will need to fuel yourself with more carbs as Diane explains inside.

Play. Don’t forget to have fun! Make a game out of this sugar detox. Don’t stress about it. Do what makes you feel awesome. What makes you happy. This could be playing basketball with friends or staring up at the sky. You may go to the beach or play a round of golf.

Go outside. If it’s not scorching hot (heat index will be up to 110 degrees here in Grand Rapids, MI for a few days this week!) or brutally cold then spend time outside. Even if it is this or that then still spend some time outside. Just being outdoors is healing. So get out!

That’s it folks. Do you have any tips to add? If you do, please chime in by leaving a comment below. Discuss your past experiences on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Anything that will help others reading this post.

Or, maybe you have struggled in the past. What did you struggle with? Leave a comment below and myself or someone else will gladly try to help you out. Feel free to email me too.

Go HERE to learn more about the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Good luck!

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  1. It definitely gets so much easier the further you get into avoiding sugar. After a couple of weeks I find the cravings have almost completely gone.

    • You bet! When you have been perfect or nearly perfect then that last week becomes a breeze.

  2. This is amazing. I plan to try this detox in the near future. I am very, very addicted to sugar. I also love smoothies and plan to pick up a copy of your e-book soon. I don’t always feel motivated to chew on veggies – sometimes it’s easier to drink them, and fruits are yum.

    I’ve realized that I am way too hard on myself. I usually give up on something like that if I make a small mistake. This gave me some really good ideas. Next time I take on a challenge I’m going to keep going even if I make a mistake.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom 🙂

    • Please do pick up a copy! That would be awesome! I am now offering my ebook for free when you pick up this detox program. Both will not disappoint!

      There is never a reason to give up. If you make a mistake then enjoy that mistake. Learn from it. We are told in our young years to never fail. I’ve learned that failing is the best way to learn. Fail. Fail often. Michael Jordan failed over and over again and then rose to the top like no one ever has.

  3. Good point about mindful eating. Our brains are quite well wired into knowing how much and what we should eat. If we would just pay attention to them. Taking time to be mindful of what you eat can do wonders in getting junk out of your diet. Once you realize what you are doing the stuff just loses its appeal.

    • Exactly. A lot of people say that they have lost that ability. They may have but if they literally do nothing but eat then they will eventually gain back that ability.

      • Yeah, it’s a matter of practice. I remember reading some studies showing a decent drop in caloric intake when people don’t distract themselves while eating. This means no TV, reading or anything like that while you eat. Other studies have shown drop in caloric intake from chewing each mouthful longer.

  4. Thanks for the tips, Toad! They are very helpful. Few months ago I tried to eliminate sugar from my diet, but miserably failed. It was very hard for me and I even started dreaming about cakes and cookies at night 🙂

    Your post has motivated me to give it a go again and I’ll definitely follow all your suggestions!

    • Lol. Good luck! Did you follow Dianes program, another one or did you just try to stay away from sugar yourself without any guidelines?

      • I tried to stay away from sugar myself without following any guidelines and I think that it was one of my mistakes.

  5. For me, eating was always or the experience, time with friends, etc. so I had to find something to replace it. Tip 21 was the clincher for me. when I finally came to the conclusion that I can enjoy myself with something other than food, it all got easy from there.

  6. Sugar is terrible. Love that you’re trying to help people get off the stuff. Like any other substance the brain gets wired to crave, I simply weened myself off it. I went from 2 teaspoons of sugar in my coffee to 1 1/2, eventually to 1, and now I’m down to just half a teaspoon.

    It’s funny, I don’t enjoy my coffee any less now; your brain grows accustomed to various tastes if you slowly incorporate or remove them from your diet. I used to hate whole wheat pasta (my Italian nana would kill me for saying this) but after slowly incorporating it into my diet, I’ve grown to enjoy it more than the regular stuff. Improving your health is all about slow, steady, and gradual progress. Nice post, and great blog..I’ll definitely be back to check out more.

    • Oh you will love your coffee black. It’s how I drink mine when I do drink it on occasion. I usually just add a little to smoothies here and there.

  7. Excellent post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?

    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

  8. I bought the 21 DSD last year and I am going on the 21 DSD again for the 3rd time because I love sugar. I love my soda’s and my espresso white coffees. Those are my only weakness. I don’t eat candy or ice cream or any of that stuff. I have trained my body to say no. Now I just need to train my body with no soda’s or coffee drinks from the espresso stands. If anyone has good ideas to help me I would appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Do you know why you love soda? Why do you go for that instead of water or tea? Or coffee? Instead of feeling guilty about consuming soda, instead enjoy it when you do. Think about why you are drinking it. Why not go for that hot tea?

      It’s good to ask yourself these questions and really think about it. You’ve probably been drinking soda for years, maybe even decades, so realize this too and don’t rush through the process of weaning yourself off of it. Some are best going cold turkey and others need to take baby steps.

      Why not consider drinking your normal amount but leaving one sip left in that last can? It will be a small victory but these small victories are what can eventually snowball into what some people like to call “miracles.”
      Does this help at all?

  9. Soda is also my Achilles heel. I’ve been addicted to it for about 20 years…and I do use the word addicted for a reason. I have tried to go cold turkey but the withdrawal headaches I got rivaled clinical migraines and got to the point where they were interfering with work so now I am trying a baby-step approach and decreasing my intake by one bottle every 3-4 days.

    I really don’t know WHY I love it so much, but I always have been a sugar fiend. Since finding out about many food sensitivities over the last 2 years (chief among them being gluten but there are about 10 others as well), I think I feel like I have given up so much, and this is the one last vestige of “normal” that I keep clinging to. I also get bored with water, and honestly feel a little dehydrated after having too much water (over 3 liters a day) so I think I use that as a justification, ridiculous as it is.

  10. These are fantastic tips. I’m so glad you included #6 because that was really where I was faltering. Organic food is simply expensive (which is ridiculous), so I haven’t been able to really go all organic. However, reminding myself that it’s not really about that has helped push me forward.

    • I’m glad this tip resonates with you well. The simple fact that you are beginning to take control of your health is huge. Most folks have no idea where to begin and so they don’t.

  11. I would just like to thank you for this! Your blogs are inspiring and your tips seem ever so helpful. Congrats on all your successes. 🙂

  12. I’m glad this was reposted. I’m a first timer and this was incredibly helpful. I took your advice on several things, including starting a daily blog. Thank you for sharing!

  13. It’s quite sad that we have to go to internet resources to find ways to reduce our sugar cravings. It almost feels like our medical community wants us to fail, or our government (which subsidizes all the bad food we eat) to be programmed to eat sugar. It’s profit over health I suppose, so that they can profit from our lack of health. I wish I found this sooner, before I had to seek it out myself. How sad that sugar-filled cereals are actually labeled as “heart healthy” and that the agencies designed to protect us (AHA, I’m talking to you!) are going against our bodies’ chemistry. I’m sorry for the rant, but it pisses me off that for all three+ decades I’ve been alive, I’ve done and eaten all the “right” foods (whole-grain whatever, carbs) only to find out that they were wrong wrong wrong. No wonder people don’t trust the government. But, here I am on day 2, level 2 (although I have been eating mostly paleo for about 2 months now), and I’m feeling fine. Why couldn’t my doctor help me feel fine?

    • There are several reasons but in the end it ultimately comes down to money. Congrats on taking the plunge yourself. Good luck! It is the internet and social media that may save our health from getting out of complete control.

  14. Thanks! Incredibly helpful. I actually cracked open a small Moleskine notebook last night and wrote down Days 1 to 21 to serve as my food and detox journal and that fact that you said this was the major change that helped you in Round 2 of 21DSD then boy am I glad I did it. Yay to journalling and kicking the sugar habit.

    • I hope it works out for you! I think it can definitely help most. Just be honest with yourself and journal everything!

  15. The advice in this post was the most helpful I have found so far! I am only on day 2 of my detox, but I wish I’d had this before I ever started! Thank you so much for sharing!

  16. Such a great blog post! 🙂 I’m starting my sugar detox on Monday and have already got a lot of supplies at the grocery store. I will definitely be using a lot of your tips throughout my journey! Here’s to a healthier life!

Comments are closed.


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