Episode 030: Secrets to A Successful 21-Day Sugar Detox

 Using Functional Nutrition to Address IBS

In this episode, I’m joined by two of my clients for a roundtable interview on their experience with the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Vicky Cook is a corporate executive who works long hours with a commute and has a coaching business on the side. Judy Caban is a wife and mother who also works full-time.

You’ll hear them share their fears in doing the program, how they approached it, what their experience was like and how the program has changed them - physically, as well as their mindset towards food. What I loved most about coaching Vicky and Judy is that they’re friends, who decided to do the program TOGETHER - and you’ll definitely hear them talk about how they’ve been able to support each other, not just during the program, but after it ended too!


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You guys, I never thought I'd make it to Episode 010, and here we are at Episode 030! This is amazing! I'm so excited! And I'm even more excited about the guests I have on today's show. Now, I have a lot of people tell me all the time that they're interested in doing the 21-Day Sugar Detox, but they never really get around to doing it, so I always like to do a little bit of digging and whenever I've asked why, I'm told things like,

  • "Well, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
  • I'm scared I won't be able to see the program through the completion.
  • My family just won't be supportive," and the most common thing I hear is,
  • "I just don't have time to cook."

So, today, I'm doing my very first roundtable episode where I have two guests on at the same time. Vicky Cook and Judy Caban are alumni members of my 21-Day Sugar Detox group coaching program. I thought it would be so awesome to have them come on the show and share their 21DSD stories with us because they were both afraid that they wouldn't be able to see the program through the 21 days. They both tried doing similar programs, but weren't always successful, and they both had very different circumstances under which they did the program.

Vicky is my first repeat guest of the show. If you'll recall, she was on Episode 006 where we talked about "Taking the BS Out of Time Management." Now, Vicky has a 905 job, she's a leader in that role. She also has a pretty long commute to work everyday. She's in a relationship, and she runs her own coaching business. She is one busy lady.

Judy also works full time, but unlike Vicky, Judy's a mom. She has a 10-year old daughter and she has a husband, both of whom did not do the program with her.

Despite their different circumstances, both women had apprehensions, understandably so, about doing this program. But they put their fears aside, they trusted the process, and they both successfully completed the program and I am so proud of them both. You will hear them share what their fears were, how they approached the program, what their experience was like, and how the program changed them. Not just physically, but also in their mindset towards food.

Now, here's the kicker, and this is what I was really excited for them to share. What I loved most about coaching Judy and Vicky is that they're friends. They're real life friends who decided to do the program together. They live in the same community, so they really were there to support each other and it was pretty awesome to witness. You'll definitely hear them talk about how it just made the whole program easier, but it also made life easier after the program ended.

I fully believe in the power of community. In honor of Episode 030, when you join my upcoming 21-Day Sugar Detox group coaching program which begins on Monday, March 26th, it's just around the corner, you'll receive a 30% off coupon, after you join, that you can share with a friend so that you can both do the program together just like Judy and Vicky did. Not only will you have my guidance and support, but you'll also have the support of your friend or your loved one or whoever you choose to share this discount code with.

Before we get to the episode, I have a little disclaimer. Like me, Judy has a little dog who is so cute and wanted to be a part of the interview, too. You'll hear her little puppy dog make different appearances during our interview, and we are dog-friendly community, so we welcome that. That is fine. We could hear her fine, it didn't distract from the messages she had to share, so we just went along with it and we hope you will too. Without further ado, let's get to this Roundtable interview with Judy and Vicki, and Judy's puppy.

Naomi: Hi ladies! Welcome to the show.

Vicky: Hi Naomi.

Judy: Hi!

Naomi: I'm really excited to have you both on here because I think you bring a really interesting aspect to the 21-Day Sugar Detox that I really want to get into. But before we do, I'd like to just hear what compelled you to do the program. Why don't we start with you, Vicky?

Vicky: Okay, so, I guess, the reason why I wanted to take it, or do the program, is because I have a huge sweet tooth. In addition to just all of the sugar that I know is in all of the food. I've studied a little bit about sugar and all of that in the past, so I knew that there is just tons of sugar in everything even when you don't think there is sugar. But, in addition to that, I just had a huge sweet tooth. I really wanted to just get a handle on that and try to break up with sugar so that I could reset the thought, so to speak, and just start the year off better.

Naomi: Judy, what compelled you to do the 21-Day Sugar Detox?

Judy: Well, I don't have sugar cravings, but for me, it's more I had gastric issues. I was paying attention to what I was eating and I wasn't really sure what was the cause of my pains because I do get pains and things. I wanted to do something different, and I felt that maybe giving up sugar would be good for my body, I guess, but also trying to find out what's the cause of me getting sick all the time.

Naomi: Right. So was that your ultimate goal for the program? To figure out what was causing your pains?

Judy: Yep, yep. And giving up dairy, which is probably the best thing that I've done so far.

Naomi: Interesting. We'll get into that. Vicky, what about you? What were your goals for this program?

Vicky: My goals were to just release that hold that sugar had on me, and then also to learn new alternatives for things to eat that had less sugar in it so that as I transition out of the program. My goal was definitely not to permanently be sugar free, but at least once I finished the program, I wanted to have some recipes and food and things that I could use on a regular basis to continue to eat the sugar that I'm eating down to a much more reasonable level.

Naomi: What was your eating habits like before? You said you had a sweet tooth, were you eating candy and sweets all the time? Or what was that like?

Vicky: Not all the time, I try to eat pretty good, but I tended to eat a lot of carby based foods, so a lot of bread, definitely some sweets. I would have something sweet everyday, but it wasn't like I was sitting around gorging on candy everyday, but I know that, for me, the bread-based carby type of foods, I indulge in that much more easily than, let's say, a square of chocolate. I wanted to cut that hold that it had over me and, again, to learn alternatives to the more bread-based diet that I was eating.

Naomi: And, Judy, what was your diet like before? I know you mentioned dairy, were you eating a lot of dairy? What did it look like before the program?

Judy: I think I was addicted to pizza. Oh, my gosh, I love pizza.

Naomi: I love it, too.

Judy: My first thing that I do in the morning is that I have my coffee. I normally would have it with milk or some type of creamer. I always did feel kind of uncomfortable, kind of knew that it was caused because of the dairy.

Naomi: By uncomfortable you mean digestive issues?

Judy: Digestive, I felt bloated all the time. I don't think I ate anything different than I started eating now, I probably ... Well, maybe I did. I ate a lot of bread, that's for sure. I love bread. I love it.

Naomi: Who doesn't, right?

Judy: I definitely had a lot of bread. Yeah, and a lot of the Spanish food that I eat is sometimes fried, which is not good. So, yeah, a lot of the Spanish food definitely something that is causing my issues, I guess.

Naomi: What was it like for you?

Judy: It was scary because I didn't think that I was going to actually follow ... I mean, when I went in it, I went in it. I appreciated that I was told, "Okay, you can't have this, you can't have that," because I'm that type. I'm not-

Naomi: You're an Obliger!

Judy: Yeah, yeah. Just tell me, "Don't do this," and I will follow it through, but at the same time, I was afraid that I wasn't actually going to do the 21 days. I didn't know how I was going to react to it and it wasn't so bad, I have to say.

Naomi: What was the one thing that you thought you couldn't do?

Judy: Oh, the pizza.

Naomi: But you did!

Judy: I did it, yeah, and then the greatest thing was that my daughter loves pizza. I mean, the Caban family loves pizza. They would go and they would feel bad like, "Oh, so sorry," and I would go, "No, no, no. It's fine. It's okay. You guys can have it."

Naomi: And your daughter's how old?

Judy: She's 10 now. She was nine and a half when I started the program. When I ended, she had turned 10 that day. But yeah, I think giving up pizza was hard, and my coffee. Coffee was definitely-

Naomi: That was your hard one.

Judy: Hard, the hardest. Yes.

Naomi: Vicky, what about you? What was the program like for you, and what was the one thing that you thought you couldn't do?

Vicky: Like Judy, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to stick with it for 21 days because I've done these types of 21 days or two weeks or whatever it's for, whatever the flavor of the month is for, cleaning up your diet, I can never, ever stick with it. My big fear for this program, I know when you're cutting out the sugar because it is in so much. You have to go with a lot of whole food and real stuff to go with the other vegetables and there's a lot of cooking involved, prepping food. The issues with that is I don't like cooking, so there's that problem, and then just with working full-time with an hour commute each way and building a business on the side and having a relationship and wanting to be hanging out with friends from time to time, there's just not a lot of time.

My fear was the first week I knew I'd be all in, but then after the first week, I was afraid that I would not be able to stick with coming home and preparing something from scratch every single night, but I didn't find that to be the case.

Naomi: What were the things that you found worked for you?

Vicky: That's a good question. Well, you, first of all. You gave a lot of great suggestions and, honestly, I think the reason that I was able to stick with this throughout was because of you and your suggestions because you work as well in addition to having your business.

Naomi: I don't have a commute, though.

Vicky: True, but you gave great suggestions for not having to spend hours in the kitchen. I loved doing a quick stir fry, just having fresh vegetables on hand, I had some rotisserie chicken on hand, and just coming home and I did the program where I could have rice or…

Naomi: Level One, so you did Level One.

Vicky: I did Level One and so I would just sauté up some vegetables and some chicken, rotisserie chicken, with a little bit of rice and put some of the approved coconut aminos on it and that was excellent. I still have that and it's a great, quick meal. Also, I loved the taco seasoning that's in the book as one of the recipes. I would try again.

Naomi: And you're, referring to the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide?

Vicky: Yeah, and so I had some of that on hand, I'd shred up some of the rotisserie chicken or I would just brown up some either ground turkey or ground beef and just sprinkle that on. Again, it wouldn't take that long. I basically just found a couple of recipes that worked for me and was able to make that happen.

My boyfriend was also very supportive. Even though I hate cooking, I do like cooking with him. He was totally open with, "Yeah, let's try some of the different recipes, let's give it a go." I give him a lot of credit because he had cauliflower pizza crust with me.

Naomi: I was going to say yeah, you got really brave with the things you tried because you tried the cauliflower pizza crust, you tried a lot of different things.

Vicky: I did, yeah. Sometimes I would end up having leftovers, that way that would mean I wouldn't have to cook the next night. I tried to think ahead with doing that, but I'm not good on the whole meal planning thing. I just tried to have fresh vegetables on hand and some rotisserie chicken. That was my big win.

Naomi: What about you, Judy? What did you find worked for you?

Judy: Well, I did like the food, but I'm like Vicky, I don't like to cook.

Naomi: I mean, let's be honest, who really does? I enjoy it a lot more, but I don't have the time to make these elaborate meals, right? Who does?

Judy: Yeah, yep. So, because I really wanted to be as positive as I could because I was getting tired of always getting sick all the time. I dedicated every Sunday morning to cooking. I would try to get up as early as possible and just start planning my week. Most of the food, except the vegetables, was pretty much done. I think that was the hardest part, was planning my meals, what I was going to eat, because they eat something different. Maria, she was pretty cool, she would try some of my foods.

Naomi: I love that your 10 year old was just so supportive of you!

Judy: Mm-hmm, she was. She was really good. She takes it very seriously like I do because even if I try to cheat, she wouldn't let me. Yeah, definitely making time to cook. It was hard, but I did it on Sundays and that worked out. The foods were good, I have to say. I did enjoy it. I didn't try the cauliflower, though.

Naomi: Oh, you need to try that!

Judy: The only thing I did not try was the cauliflower.

Naomi: What I love about this program is that it is a detox, but the foods is not what you would think of when you hear the word, "detox."

Vicky, you had an interesting experience eating out on the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

Vicky: There were a couple times, first time that we went out for dinner, it was on like Saturday night and I was like, "Okay, this is ..." I actually had not planned to eat out for the entire 21 days. I was like, "How in the world can I ensure that there is no sugar in it?" Because I'm also very by the book, by the rules, I'm not supposed to have any sugar so it's not like I can ask them for an ingredient list. I ended up eating the burger and just have them not put a bun on it which I'd never done before and at first when they put it in front of me on the table, I'm looking at it like, "this looks kind of sad." It's a bunless burger. I'm kind of momentarily cursing the program, "This sucks, I can't have a real burger." Then, once I started eating it, I was like, "Wow, this is actually better than with a bun because you can actually taste the meat better."

Naomi: The flavor of the meat.

Vicky: Yeah, the flavor of the meat. It was more enjoyable. Then, we were leaving, I'm used to when I have a burger out for dinner, when I walk out, I just feel gross. I feel like, "Oh, my gosh, I ate so much." I always just assumed it was because I just had a big hunk of meat, but I didn't feel that way after having the burger without a bun. I was like, "Wow, I think that's the bun that makes me feel like eh, so heavy." That was actually really cool and that's another thing I've kept since ending the program is I still prefer the burger without the bun. I haven't even really had a ... I think I've had maybe one sandwich since the program ended. I used to eat a sandwich almost everyday at work and I haven't had one since then.

Naomi: Awesome. Judy, you had some issues with migraines, too, right, that got cleared up?

Judy: Yeah, that was amazing because I'd forgotten about my migraines and when I started, I didn't get any. To be honest, I haven't gotten any at all since starting the program. Definitely, yeah, I always thought it was hormonal, probably, but I guess it was food related. I'm still kind of following the same method …

Naomi: The framework of the program.

Judy: Yeah, I am.

Naomi: It could be hormone related, but maybe whatever you've taken out, the sugar might have been triggering the hormonal response.

Judy: Yep, yep.

Naomi: Now, what I love and why I wanted to interview both of you is because Judy, you are a mom with a family and you are able to do this program, and your daughter's 10. Vicky, you are a busy professional with two hours in the car everyday, but you were able to make it happen.

But, another thing that I love is that you two are friends and you did it together. Talk to me about that experience of what it was like doing it with a friend. You had me, but you also had each other. What was that like?

Vicky: I thought it was really awesome. It was good to have that extra support so she and I would text each other, especially Judy and her coffee.

Naomi: She tried so many things with the coffee!

Vicky: Getting texted, I'm always like try this, try that. I don't remember what I texted her on, but we were there for each other, which made it really nice to have that fort and have that, even now, afterwards, we've been to dinner since the program ended. And, oh, yes, this is a funny story. We went to dinner after the program ended, so we were looking at the menu and I forgot what it was. It's like a BLT, that sounded really good. We were like, "Well, maybe we'll get that." We both were like, "That sounds really good." So she asked the waitress, "What do you recommend of this versus that?" When she mentioned the BLT, the waitress was like, "That's really good, but the bread's really thick." We both were like, "Nope, not having it." So we both ordered something else.

Naomi: That's the power of having the community do it with you! I love in our group community, you, because you both live in the same area, you were like, "What store did you get that from? I'm gonna go by there on the way home."

Judy: I never made it, so I would send Angel, my husband, Angel, to go get it. I was like, "And this is where you'll find the tortillas."

Naomi: And we love Siete Tortillas, they're like the best things ever.

Judy: They are. I still buy them and my husband still picks them up when he sees them. He got me the tortilla chips, oh, Vicky you haven't tried them.

Vicky: I haven't had them. I'll have to get them.

Judy: Oh, they are so good!

Naomi: So a friend of mine, there is a big natural foods expo that just happened in souther California this weekend and a fellow coach of mine went there and she went to their booth and they have a lot more stuff coming out, it looks like. More tortilla flavors and more chips. Exciting!

What's one thing that you would tell someone, one piece of advice you'd give to someone who's considering doing this program but maybe aren't quite sure that they can do it?

Vicky: I would just say if they have any part of them that is wanting to do this, then just do it because it's doable. You make it very doable. I'll be honest, I didn't follow ... in the book, they lay it out each day what you can have, or not what you can have, but suggestions on menu for each day. I didn't follow that at all and a lot of that was in part because you helped us to make it work for us. I would say, if you're considering it, and especially with Naomi, to do that because she makes it doable for you. I wouldn't do it with any, no offense to any of the other 21-Day Sugar Detox coaches, I just know from my experience with you that you make it doable and I know that no matter what struggles anybody has, you're always available and just do it.

Judy: Oh, yeah, I agree with Vicky, totally. Yeah, they're thinking about it, they definitely should try it. At the beginning, it is scary, but it is not that hard because the food is great. Even if things don't work out like my coffee, you're always there to give me different suggestions, which I tried all of them. Definitely, I would definitely, Naomi, I would definitely recommend working with you. You're definitely a good coach.

Naomi: Well, thank you. So, you both use the new 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. Did you both write in the book?

Vicky: No. Nope.

Judy: No, and then it's so silly of me because I would carry it with me, but I wouldn't actually take it with me to the store. I would have my cheat notes on my book which was dedicated to my recipes and everything, and there's that section of the other names with sugar, I literally wrote every single ... So I could go in the store and I would check instead of just taking the book. My daughter's like, "Why don't you just take the book?" I'm like, "No, it's too big."

Naomi: Take a picture of it!

Vicky: Yeah, I was going to say, just take a picture.

Judy: Yeah! And then she thought of that, and then ended up doing that. Taking a picture of it.

Naomi: So I got the Kindle version, downloaded it to my phone because I'm not home right now, but I'm in a home with a kitchen and I wanted the recipes. I got the Kindle version so that I can just download it and I can still follow the recipes.

Vicky: I think one thing I'm going to do is actually take my book to Staples and get them to cut the spine off and spiralbound it because one thing I found, like when I was using the recipes, the book doesn't stay open. If I get it spiralbound, I can leave it open. But no, I did not write in it, and I will not write in it.

Naomi: Can you speak to any of the prompts? Did it help you start thinking about decisions that you were making or how you chose certain foods, or anything about your mindset?

Vicky: Okay, I have to be honest, does the lack of time, I would go through the book for the recipes and tear through it for that, and the list below, the sugars, the things that you do talking about. When it came to the daily prompts, I used the ones that you posted in the Facebook group which I think probably followed it.

Naomi: Yep. It did.

Vicky: I was a bad student in this sense, I didn't go through and read about it. I looked forward to your prompts everyday and the question because it did make me think about it and wonder how things were that day and what I was dealing with.

Naomi: So, Judy, have you had any mindset shifts?

Judy: Yes, I have, actually. I'm still following the same type of eating that I was doing during the program. I have added some things but I feel like I've been getting sick. I go back to it and I'm still actually reading the book.

Naomi: But now you're able to make those connections between-

Judy: Yes.

Naomi: I introduce this, now I have this symptom, so maybe I need to take it out and has my symptom gone away?

Judy: Yes, I definitely do. In the book, I think it says that you have to wait like a day or two and I have to say that in a day, like within 24 hours, I feel something.

Naomi: Not necessarily immediate, but it does happen.

Judy: Right. It's never immediate, never. The only thing that was immediate which I didn't think of it until after, was I tasted my husband's coffee and he puts sugar, he puts regular sugar in it and he puts dairy. That gave me a migraine like in five minutes, I had a migraine. Yeah, so now, I must say I don't use any sugar in my coffee.

Naomi: Wow. So, wait, what are you using now because that was your big thing during the program.

Judy: I'm putting almond milk.

Naomi: Okay.

Judy: Yep, I found it. I've found my source.

Naomi: That is awesome. That is awesome. And you pretty much just summed up the whole, honestly, the kind of work that I do, just by helping people learn how to pay attention in a way that they've never done before to make these correlations between, "Hey, if I eat this, this is causing me this issue, and if I don't, it doesn't," and it's not about following a diet. We've had that conversation about how you want to eat after the program, but it's really about discovering your personal evidence about what works for you and what doesn't.

Judy: Definitely. I mean, really, I feel different. I don't feel sluggish anymore like I used to. I do feel like I have more energy now than I did before.

Naomi: That's amazing. So, to wrap things up, is there anything else you guys want to add to anyone who's thinking about doing this program? What's the one thing you would tell them?

Vicky: If they're like me and they have a sweet tooth, they love their sugar, you're going to be okay. You'll survive and you're going to find other things to enjoy. Like I said, I wasn't planning to be sugar free forever, now I try to have just chocolate in the house so that I don't indulge in that like I do the other stuff. I've learned how to improve my relationship with it. If you're afraid, if you have this love of sugar and you don't want to necessarily totally let go of it, you don't have to. You can just learn how to create a better relationship with it.

Naomi: That's exactly it. I mean, I eat the fruits not on the program. I will have my dark chocolate on occasion, but it's about the relationship and being more mindful about the choices you're making.

Vicky: Yes, because I do think about things differently now, like the whole thing with the sandwich. I went really quickly when I was work, because we have cafeteria there, and I was starving and normally when I'm really hungry, I want a sandwich, something more than a salad. I almost was like, "You know what? I'm just going to get the sandwich because I'm hungry," and I was like, "No, I'm not going to do that because I know I'm just not going to feel great after having all that bread." I ended up getting something completely different. I think about things a little bit differently now, which is nice.

Naomi: Anything to add, Judy?

Judy: Yeah, if anyone is having any type of gastric issue, because that's really what I was going through, definitely doable. Scary, but it's doable. And you're there for them if they need help. Naomi: Well, thank you so much. I had such a fun program with you guys. It was so fun for me to see the two of you supporting each other because you are friends. Honestly, like a week into the program, I thought, "I'm going to have them both on the show," because I want them to share their experience of doing it together with a friend. Thank you so much and I am so happy to hear that you both are keeping up with your own personal takeaways that you took from the program. That really warms my heart. Thank you very much.

Judy: Thank you.

Vicky: Thank you.

Naomi: Wasn't that great? I just love, love, love how these two friends came together to support each other! That's the kind of support that can make all the difference in the world, and that's what can make this change sustainable for you for the long term. Don't forget, when you join my next group coaching program that begins on Monday, you will receive a 30% discount code after you register that you can share with your friend or whoever you want to bring along to do the program with you.

The program begins on Monday, March 26th, that's this coming Monday, and that first week's going to be our prep week. You won't be making any dietary changes in that first week, but we'll take the time to help you figure out which level's appropriate for you and I will give you tips and some guidance and support and how you can go about preparing yourself, your mindset, your kitchen, for the detox that I'll actually begin on Monday, April second, after Easter Sunday.

Go to www.livefablife.com/21dsd, or go to the show notes for this episode. As always, all the show notes can be found at lifefablife.com/ whatever the episode number is, so 030. I hope to see you in the program with your friend and we will have the best time together for the next five weeks. That's all that I have for you this week, we'll catch you next time!




Hi, I'm Naomi

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I’m an expert in Functional Nutrition, a nerd when it comes to clean living, and my obsession is debunking fad diets and weight loss myths by teaching others where food meets physiology so they understand where health and healing truly begins.

A San Francisco Bay Area-based health coach, 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, podcaster and puppy mama to Coco Pop, my happiest days are spent empowering health-conscious women to speak their truth and become leaders in their own healthcare.

Come hangout with me at:  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest