My 10-day sugar-free detox: Days 6-10 – The proof is in the pudding

Louise reaches the end of her 10-day sugar-free detox, having
lost pounds, inches and any desire for something sweet

Drum roll, please. It’s over, my 10-day sugar and everything else free adventure comes to an end, not with a doughnut and wine blowout but a gluten-free bowl of porridge and raspberries made with coconut milk.

I’m a devil me, a devil.

I’ve lost 7lbs, 3in from my waist and 1in from my hips. In a way, these numbers are disappointing because, in the book, there are miracle stories of weight and inch loss.

I wish now that I had done the full battery of tests from blood sugar to BMI to cholesterol. But the numbers don’t tell the full story about the eating plan I’ve just followed.

I don’t want a coffee. I don’t want a sandwich. Heck, I don’t even want a glass of silky Malbec (last sentence is a lie).

I want to continue eating fresh fish and chicken with lots of veggies and drinking caffeine-free tea. It feels good. It would appear that my salad days are far from over.10410523_10152264321532098_7032904221024941578_n

My sleep has improved immeasurably, aided greatly by my purchase of a 98p sleep mask (more of that later). My energy levels are up to the point of doing a spin and metafit class back to back on Wednesday night and not expiring.

My overall mood has improved also, nothing earth-shattering but a calmer, more pragmatic approach to things – very handy when your two-year-old has three tantrums in as many yards in The Avenue in Newton Mearns. Not here darling, please. Not in the Mearns.

Everywhere I look, whether it be on television or in a newspaper, there are people talking about sugar and the unhealthy alternatives which are ladled into every food stuff you can imagine.

It would seem we are slowly waking up to the reality that if we don’t become more conscious about what we buy and consume, then we are in for some pretty nasty long-term conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and chronic arthritis – and at increasingly younger ages.

In my family, gastrointestinal problems like reflux are common, so my goal is to avoid those if possible.

Drawbacks to the diet? It is restrictive and some dishes still scream out to be mopped up with a big hunk of baguette, there is no denying it.

The fibre supplement I was instructed to buy is so unpalatable I gave up even trying to force it down on day 2. Note to anyone else thinking of trying this, buy it in capsule form.

Also, buy a natural laxative, just in case you get a little … ahem … backed up. Senekot, if you are wondering. It does what it says on the box!

10421394_10152264319912098_6880657289349987779_nTop five discoveries? Tamari, a gluten-free soy sauce and indispensable for seasoning. Organic nut butters, almond especially.

Although eye-wateringly expensive, they are creamy and sweet if you need a quick pick-me-up. Coconut oil for cooking, cholesterol-free and loaded with good fats. Black sesame seeds scattered on salads and chicken or fish for crunch and flavour.

And finally, my 98p sleep mask, you complete me. The gorgeous northern European light nights are fantastic in so many ways, but they are a bugger to get to sleep in and stay asleep in. The only drawback to the mask is taking it off in the morning, when I turn into a gremlin for a few moments: “Bbright light, bright light!”

So, it’s over. But I’m not done. I want to be fit and healthy for a long time yet and pass on good eating and exercise habits to my kids. I’ve signed up for the Great Scottish Run a 10k in October and I need to start training for that ASAP.

Running is not my favourite form of exercise but I will make myself love it. I might even need some carbs in my diet for that. I may even blog about it. Watch this space.

•Louise was following Dr Mark Hyman’s 10-day Detox Diet

My 10-day sugar-free detox: The Weekend – Brazilian wave

Deep into the sugar-free detox, Louise has reached the weekend …
and hit a brick wall of tears, steaks and Rihanna envy

The good Dr Mark Hyman, whose program I’ve been following for the past seven days, warns that around day five “it’s not uncommon to feel waves of emotion that can catch you off guard”.

I can testify to this, given the heart-wrenching sobs that bubbled to the surface when Mario Gotze scored his cracking winning goal for Germany in the World Cup final on Sunday night.

In bits I was, bits.

Whether I was crying for a new-found love of all things Teutonic or simply pining for one of their very finely crafted beers, I have no idea. All I know is that my tears took me by surprise then, and again the next morning when, recounting the story to my dear sister Fran, they freely flowed again.

I also saw a picture of Rihanna, flanked by Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger, holding the World Cup trophy and was consumed both by jealousy and wanting to be her at the same time.

I’m not sure if these are the emotions that myself or Dr Hyman would be expecting, but I’m having them anyway. I own them.

The weekend was tough, as you can see. On Sunday morning, I woke to find a small stye forming on my lower left eyelid. I wanted a large T-bone steak goddammit, with all the sides and a big glass of decadent red wine, a deep Rioja, a sultry Malbec.

I was restless all morning, pre-match nerves you could say, which I channelled into ironing. I am my mother’s daughter.

I was forced to come to certain conclusions on Sunday. The detox part of the program is still ongoing – I feel very good physically – but I want something sweet, I really want that steak and wine combo and I love the World Cup, despite FIFA trying to ruin it for the whole planet (including the USA – welcome to our world of pain!)

I got my steak, sans vino, and it was lush. I got my tears and joy and I went to bed, emotionally drained.

When does the football season start again?

My 10-day sugar detox: Days 1 & 2 – sugarfree me

It’s three days into Louise’s 10-day sugar detox. Here she
shares the good and bad of the experience so far

I have not caved. Not once. A spiral of wholewheat pasta intended for the girls’ dinner almost made it into my mouth straight from the pot to check readiness but instead was hurled across the kitchen floor when I realised what I was doing.

A punnet of grapes handed to me half empty begged to be finished in the blazing sunshine in Largs. I stood defiant.

Nardini’s? You’ve got nothing.

After a spin class on Day 1, my head was thumping. I rarely get headaches, so I confess to being a wuss when I do, but this was a cracker, right behind my eyes, dull and achey.

I wanted to go home, pull the curtains and wait for the next day to come, but I still hadn’t recorded my pre-diet measurements,(waist, hips, etc) because I do not own an-old fashioned tape measure.

I was not in the mood for shopping, however, so after the third shop assistant shook her head sadly at me, I was off for home. However, to get home, I have to pass an Aladdin’s cave of a newsagents called Para Para.

Just on the off chance then. “Tailor’s tape missus? Right here.” I could have kissed the man.

Measurements taken and recorded (not to be shared), I had a quick lunch of baked haddock with salad and guacamole. Delicious, and to top it all, my headache had lifted.

I started reading the book again, this time in a bit more detail. I have not followed the diet to every scrupulous detail so far nor do I intend to.

I didn’t visit my GP and order a battery of tests, nor will I be testing my blood sugar every morning. I balked slightly when the author referred to his pastor and “healing outreach”.

But I do think that a time out from certain foodstuffs, processed and natural, seems like a good idea.10462682_10152252893932098_6879760276140779981_n

My first day dinner was another of my own creations – chicken with tamari, baked green beans and shallots. Lots of fresh chilli, too. Five minutes of breathing was done in my Epsom salt bath, multi tasker that I am.

Girls to bed, cup of fruit tea and I settled down to watch the Germany-Brazil game.

Did I mention that the good Dr Hyman also advises limiting TV and social media before bed? Och, I won’t get that excited, will I? I peeled myself off the ceiling and into bed at 11.15. Bad girl.

I slept really well. My youngest woke at 5 a.m. And that was the first I had stirred. I stumbled into the kitchen, heated some milk and gave it to her. Then, oh miracle of miracles, I fell asleep again. Normally I would lie back down, toss and turn for 10 minutes, then get up and get the coffeepot ready.

No coffee, more sleep. This I could get used to.

I felt so much better on the morning of day 2, headache gone but slightly congested, as though I had a cold coming on.

I made one of the smoothies from the book, omitting only what I didn’t have in my cupboards. It was ok, no great shakes (sorry, I can’t help myself).

Spin class next, with the toughest instructor in the gym and I felt great. My energy levels were high and I felt up for it. That’s the thing about a plan like this, you start to feel better and better each day, so you’re curious to see how you feel tomorrow. I wonder if that’s how they are designed. Cynical me.

Full of flavour but out of favour – no ice cream for Louise at Nardini’s

The first day of the plan was tough, so I wasn’t exactly “let’s go to the park!'” mummy. I was feeling guilty today, so as it was a lovely 22 degrees, we piled into the car and set off down the coast.

I haven’t been to Largs for years and wanted to introduce my kids to Nardini’s, the famous ice cream parlour on the sea front. Claudia slept in the back while Alice and I belted out whatever song came on the radio, windows down. Memories are made of this.

Of course, we arrive and Largs is heaving. Thousands of old people and children, it would appear. I guess Gran and Grandpa figured out a long time ago that a massive ice cream is eaxactly how to keep the grandkids quiet in the holidays.

We get parked finally and toddle down the promenade. Nardini’s always has massive queues and people streaming out with ice creams running down their wrists.

We soon joined them, my eyes flitting for a second over their 32 flavours of gorgeous, creamy Italian ice cream. A second. I was soon jolted back to reality by the cost of them. Two small scoops each for the girls, a flake in each, £5.60. Ka-ching!!!!934747_10152252897292098_7768118084154140066_n

Feeling ever so virtuous, we head on home. It’s only 4pm and I am starving. I grab some nuts and olives when we get in and start cooking. Omelettes, toast and homemade sweet potato fries for the girls, salmon with chilli and lemon for me.

I’m using coconut oil for cooking on this plan which I was slightly wary of, but I seem to have hit on a good one, with no coconut taste at all. Alice is fascinated by this diet, which is a good thing as she is trying everything I’m eating and liking it. Long may that continue.

It is still very warm, so I cannot face a bath tonight. I opt just to soak my weary feet and give myself a pedicure instead. I feel just as relaxed.

Luckily, Argentina and the Netherlands are on hand to lull me to sleep.

What can I say? Like the Dutch, I missed the penalties.

My 10-day sugar detox

No more rock stars in New York bars. Now it’s school runs and sticky buns

This is one of (hopefully) several guest blogs by my sister Louise.

Mindful of recent headlines and health warnings about the time bomb of obesity and diabetes, she has decided to embark on a sugar detox.

So, for the next 10 days (starting on July 8), she’ll be sharing her experiences here, for good and for bad.

Feel free, as usual, to share your own thoughts below.


I don’t think any of us can have escaped the latest screaming headlines on the obesity epidemic facing us all. Sugar has replaced fat as the font of all evil and how could we not have known?

Maybe something to do with Big Food over the last 40 years and governments colluding with them in servicing ever-cheaper crops, shovelling what appears to be a whole bunch of shit into our foodstuffs and then telling us we had never had it so good.

There exists a term known as “the bliss point”, which food scientists and large food conglomerates strive for in their products. This is the perfect amount of salt, fat or sugar which makes our brains reward centre release endorphins and make us feel good in a similar way to cocaine, heroin and other supermarket staples.

Check out this little lovely from Indiana University. Food for thought indeed.

I digress. I’m 41, not obese, quite active and a single mum to two young girls. As I’d like to see them grow up to become fit and healthy adults, what I put into my body, as well as theirs, is extremely important.

Lately, despite spinning three times a week and cooking from scratch almost every day (sometimes we get pizza), I’m feeling sluggish.

My hips do not lie. However, what do you do? 5:2? Atkins? South Beach? Blood type diet? There are more diets out there but increasing obesity. It is a very confusing and profitable world out there.

sugar11f-5-webSo I decided on a sugar detox. It’s not just cutting out sweets and chocolate. For the next 10 days, I will not be allowed dairy, wheat, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, sugar in any form including artificial, beans and legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods and grains.

This is, according to Dr Mark Hyman, how to reset our bodies and stop sugar addiction. The above list sounds and is prohibitive, but I can eat all vegetables (except potatoes), chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and certain berries and seeds for protein breakfast smoothies.

All natural and without preservatives. Along with some very pricey supplements and Epsom salts with lavender oil for a big old bath every night to reward myself.

Right, off we pop.

In the book, you are advised to take two days to prep yourself and detox your kitchen before embarking on this diet.

Bollocks. The girls and I took off for Whole Foods in Giffnock armed with a long list of stuff and me jonesing for a coffee. I resisted.

A woman in the mind-bogglingly comprehensive nutrition section smelt my fear and fetched me what I needed. After my two selfish children begged for cupcakes in the face of my impending austerity plan, it was a quick stop at the checkout for an assistant in a Dick Turpin mask to come and relieve me of a small fortune.

In case of emergency, take two ibuprofen. I took three. The headache continued all night, as did my two-year-old.

I decided to use my prep day just to ease myself into things. Organic almond butter? Actually rather lovely. Black sesame seeds scattered over a crunchy chicken salad? Delish. Caffeine-free Earl Grey? A bit pish.

The new essentials, top, but the outcome, bottom, was tasty

All was going quite swimmimgly until about 6 pm when a dull headache started. Have more Vitamin C, the book said. I did. Breathe deeply for five minutes. I did. In case of emergency, take two ibuprofen. I took three. It continued all night, as did my two-year-old.

I didn’t get the uninterrupted seven or eight hours you’re supposed to. I didn’t get up this morning and do a sun salutation either. But I woke, had hot water with lots of lemon and got through the morning with no coffee.

All in all, despite the headache, I certainly didn’t feel hungry and I did make spin class this morning. So far, so good.