Last week I aired my dirty laundry about my stevia addiction! Today is day 1 of my 21-day sugar detox and so far it's going pretty well. This past week I've been weening myself off the sweet nectar and learning to drink my coffee and tea without any stevia at all...this is a big deal for me and the first time it's happened since probably 1992. Now that I've sufficiently dated myself, I wanted to talk a bit about "detoxing" during pregnancy.
I've been asked by a number of clients and readers about the safety of 'detox' diets during pregnancy. While pregnancy does spark a strong, primal desire to clean up our diets in order to give our growing babies the best we can give them, it is NOT a time to 'detox'.
What is a 'detox' anyhow?
A traditional detox refers to a diet that utilizes a variety of different nutritional guidelines and occasionally herbal supplements to aide the body's natural detoxing process and remove toxins from our tissues and organs.
Toxins are often stored in our fat cells and many of these diets encourage release of toxins by decreasing calorie levels thus encouraging fat loss by simple caloric deficit. Other programs use herbs and certain foods to stimulate the liver (our natural detoxifiying organ) , kidneys and colon (excretion organs). When toxins are released in large loads many people experience side effects such as : headache, acne, bad breath and fatigue or flu-like symptoms.
These sorts of traditional detoxing diets are not safe for pregnancy. You need more calories not less during pregnancy not to mention that the "detoxing" of toxins from your body's tissues could potentially harm a developing fetus and placenta. Stay away....stay far far away.
HOWEVER...... there is one "detox" program I would recommend....The 21 Day Sugar Detox
21 Day Sugar Detox and Pregnancy
The 21-day sugar detox is a safe diet to follow during pregnancy, particularly in the 3rd trimester when your glucose tolerance is low and insulin resistance becomes high.
Say what?? I've written about it before but to to re-cap: when you are pregnant your body wants to store and accumulate extra fat stores by becoming more resistant to insulin, thus increasing your blood sugars and storing additional energy (aka sugar) as fat. It does this for two reasons:
1- To ensure that you have sufficient calories to breastfeed your baby in the event of a famine. Of course our bodies have not quite got the memo that we live in a society of the 24hr drive thru and let's face it, Wholefoods opens at 7am, there is little chance we will miss the breakfast bar.
2- To fatten up your baby (for similar reasons). Unless you're care provider has told you that you are at risk for a small for gestational age baby, it is reasonable to assume that you don't need to over indulge in sugars to 'fatten' up your baby.
As long as you are having a healthy, low risk pregnancy, the 21-day sugar detox can also be used at any point in pregnancy to re-set and help re-focus your diet around clean healthy eating.
I like this program for a few reasons:
- This is not a traditional 'detox' but rather a healthy, whole food diet. There is no danger that you will offload toxins to your baby or enter into a caloric deficit as long as you eat sufficient portions and healthy meals.
- The focus of the diet is obtaining maximum nutrient density from healthy fats, well sourced proteins and lots of vitamin rich colourful veggies.
- This is not a calorie restrictive program making it suitable for pregnant women.
- The emphasis of this program is blood sugar regulation. This is exactly what we are trying to control in the third trimester and throughout pregnancy.
- The program comes with lots of great recipes and menu ideas for a busy mama-to-be.
- There are options for different carb amounts included in the program. When pregnant, eat the approved carbs to satiety. Include at least 150g/day of carbs in your diet more if you are pregnant and active or breastfeeding.
- The diet includes three levels to suit different diet styles or family members. Level 3 is strict paleo (think whole 30) and Level 1 and 2 can include some gluten free grains (rice, quinoa) and full fat grass-fed dairy. Needless to say, it's pretty darn flexible and includes TONS of great recipes.
Want to join me on my 21-day Sugar Detox Program? Sign up here! You can start anytime...you won't regret it!
Always consult your care provider before starting any new diet.