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8 Tips to Dining Out During a Sugar Detox

Dining Out During a Sugar Detox

No matter whether you are starting a sugar detox on your own, or you are joining a program like the RESTART program, 21 Day Sugar Detox, or the Whole30, one thing is clear: the best way to stay clear of hidden sugars and processed ingredients is to cook at home. However, the reality is that we all have busy lives or we still want to socialize at restaurants with our friends from time to time, and cooking EVERY one of our meals during the sugar detox may not fit within our lifestyle.

And hey, that’s totally fine!  One of the main rules of changing to a healthier diet or lifestyle is: Be kind to yourself. Don’t stress out about not sticking to the diet perfectly, but DO try to make the best decision possible with the options that you are presented with. If you are looking to learn how to do just that while dining out, follow these tips so you can still enjoy restaurant food while sticking to the sugar detox!

1. Pick the restaurant yourself and do your research.

If you have plans to meet with your friends, offer to pick a restaurant yourself. My friends know I have food restrictions so they just leave that up to me, and it usually turns out to be delicious!

Dining Out During a Sugar Detox2

Yelp will be your best friend. I always filter my search with words like “gluten free,” “farm to table,” “organic,” or “paleo.” These restaurants will be more accommodating to your needs in case you need to make changes to the menu items. You can even call ahead to make sure they offer a flexible menu and talk about your restrictions.

2. Ask about ingredients.

This might seem uncomfortable and intimidating at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets! Ask if there are any hidden ingredients like breadcrumbs, cheese, soy sauce, or flour. If the server isn’t sure, she or he will just go back and ask the chef. And even better if the chef comes to talk to you directly, because they are usually willing to make a dish especially for you.

Another way to ask is if they have gluten free options on the menu, or even a gluten free menu. Half the work is already done for you if they do, and these menus are usually better about listing the ingredients in each menu item.

3. Salads are you best friend.

Almost any kind of restaurant will serve some type of salad, and this will be your go-to option. Make sure to let them know to leave out cheese, croutons, or any other ingredients that’s not on your sugar detox plan. Ask for protein choices that are grilled, and not breaded or fried.

If you are at a buffet, a restaurant with a salad bar, or see a build-your-own option, make sure to take advantage of that! You’ll have freedom with the ingredients you choose which will help you to make the best possible choices.

Dining Out During a Sugar Detox

4. Sneak in your own condiments.

Some of the most offensive ingredients are in sauces and dressings. Avoid artificial sweeteners, gluten, and vegetable oils by bringing your own. I have brought tamari sauce to Japanese restaurant, and olive oil or dressing if I know I’ll be having a salad. I like using travel-sized bottles to keep these in so I can carry them easily in my purse.

5. Hold the rice, hold the bun.

Dining Out During a Sugar Detox3

Don’t be afraid to let your server know that you don’t want certain items that come with your dish. It’s so much easier to avoid the temptation of eating them when they are not there, and the restaurant doesn’t waste food that way either.

If I’m at a Thai or Indian restaurant, I’ll ask them to tone down on the spiciness of a stir-fry dish or their curry, and say I don’t want rice. Making the dish a bit milder makes it easier to eat on its own. At a sushi joint, I’ll just order a shashimi or a salad that doesn’t come with rice.

Same goes with bread and buns. Just say no to bread baskets. If you are choosing a meal, burgers and sandwiches are a great option and it’s really easy get them bun-less (all the flavors are in the meat and fillings anyway!).

6. Ask for substitutions.

I used to be afraid to do this, but most restaurants are really accommodating about it and I have gotten quiet comfortable with it. I think food allergies are getting more and more recognized so it’s becoming easier to ask for substitutions while dining out.

Getting a burger? Ask for a salad as a side instead of fries. They’ll be sugar detox compliant with the dressing you brought from home! You can also ask for grilled or roasted veggies instead!

Don’t want to bring your own dressing? Ask if they can provide olive oil and vinegar instead. Fresh lemon is also a great choice to season your meat, salads, and more. If they have guacamole on the menu, I’ll order that on the side to use as my dressing and it’s delicious!

Do they use vegetable oils to cook their food? Most likely. Ask if they can use olive oil or butter instead. Most restaurants will have those two cooking fats.

Make sure to get creative! If you ask them to hold the rice on a dish, ask if you have extra veggies instead. There are so many options that can be easily accommodated once you start getting comfortable with asking.

7. Be super duper nice and friendly.

Seriously, be polite and grateful with your server and it’ll go a loooong way! Smile and be friendly because the restaurant will be way more likely to be accommodating with your requests. Also, be confident with what you are asking. As long as YOU look and sound comfortable, the people you are dining with and the server won’t make a big deal out of it either. Leave a good tip if you received exceptional service.

8. Don’t stress out too much.

Make sure to enjoy your meal and have a good time! If you weren’t able to stick to the sugar detox plan 100% with your meal, that’s okay. Stressing out about it will only impact your body negatively and you’ll have a much better result both physically and mentally if you can just practice gratitude for the food in front of you and enjoy it thoroughly.

Move on with your day, and keep practicing every time you dine out. Just like anything, you’ll get better and better the more experience you have!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Are you on the Whole30, 21DSD, or The RESTART program- Learn how to dine out during a sugar detox!

7 Effective Sugar Hangover Cures

7 effective sugar hangover cures

It’s that time of the year again when we are faced with all things sugar. Today is Halloween, and then soon, holiday season is coming up and it doesn’t just go by without cookies, pies, and cocktails. I can always just say practice will power and don’t grab those sugary treats, but we all know that just isn’t realistic. Food is emotional and we connect them to our favorite childhood memories. While we can do our best to stay away from them or limit their intake, we will no doubt slip up from time to time, and we can be faced with a sugar hangover the next day.

I think we’ve all be there before. Nausea, brain fog, low energy, headache, digestive issues, and even depression. I personally start getting acne when I consume too much sugar and this isn’t uncommon for most folks. Sugar hangover and the commonly known hangover from alcohol aren’t much different. They are both symptoms from a high sugar intake which can dehydrate the body and put the liver through a highly stressful state.

While it may take time for a sugar hangover to pass, there are several things you can do to speed up the recovery process and minimize the symptoms.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

You’ve heard this one over and over again before, after a night out filled with ALL THE FUN DRINKS. Sugar and alcohol are both extremely dehydrating for the body and overworks the liver to start detoxifying. When you are feeling the effects from this stress, it’s increasingly important to rehydrate your body to help flush out the toxins. I always suggest squeezing lemon juice into a cup of warm water in the morning which helps alkalinize the body after an inflamed state.

Coconut water is also a great choice because it’s filled with vitamins and minerals to refuel the body from the nutrients it lost from the high consumption of sugar. Another great way to stay hydrated is adding a pinch of sea salt to your water. I’m not talking about plain white salt which can do further harm to strip away nutrients. Go for mineral-rich salt that is pink or gray. I like to buy this salt in bulk and it helps me hydrate so much better than just drinking water plain.

Another favorite sugar hangover drink of mine is bone broth, because it’s chock full of nutrients and does an excellent job to rehydrate the body and heal the gut.

2. Probiotics

There’s no question about it. Sugar feeds yeast and the bad bacteria in your gut. After an overconsumption of candies, sweets, and even processed carbs, your gut bacteria is all out of balance and can cause digestive disorders like constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. This is also the reason for low energy and brain fog during a sugar hangover.

This is when it becomes extremely helpful to incorporate probiotics into your diet. I always suggest getting it from food sources like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, or kombucha. They are so beneficial for rebalancing the gut and will help tremendously with your hangover symptoms. If you can remember to take it the night before, even better!

If you’d rather take supplement probiotics, this brand is the one that I recommend that works for many people.

3. Protein, fat, and greens

Overconsumption of sugar is a real stress on the body that taxes the immune system and throws off your hormones. In order to rebalance your body, eating a well-balanced, nourishing meals throughout the day is important. Also, even if you may want to, DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST! Breakfast helps stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t crash mid-day.

So what do you eat? When you are feeling the effects of a sugar binge the day after, it’s important to focus on protein, healthy fats, and dark leafy greens in your diet. Protein and fat are extremely beneficial in balancing blood sugar, detoxifying the liver, and assisting in recovery. Dark leafy greens alleviate inflammation and are helpful in restoring balance in the gut. These are some of my favorite hangover-recovery recipes:

Breakfast Burrito Collard Wraps

BLAT Bison Burger

Simple and Easy Tuna Patties

Mexican Shakshuka

Turkey Eggplant Lasagna

Bacon Chive Paleo Muffins

Hearty Chicken Salad

moroccan meatbllas

4. Activated charcoal

I’ve talked about activated charcoal before and I think it can be very useful at times. Activated charcoal is very effective in absorbing toxins or poisons out of the body by attaching to these substances then excreting them out. It’s a great detoxifier both internally and externally.

Internally, charcoal capsules help reduce digestive discomfort after a sugar or alcohol binge. This is especially effective if you take them the night before. Activated charcoal is also helpful in reducing symptoms of yeast overgrowth in your gut, which can happen after a high consumption of sugar.

My favorite way to use activated charcoal is to use it externally. As I mentioned before, sugar is the main contributor to my acne and skin issues, and this is common for many people. Using activated charcoal mask has been a game changer for me when my skin needs a bit of detoxifying and it’s the quickest way to get rid of acne and minimize pores. You can make your own or buy this high quality charcoal mask from Beautycounter which I use regularly and love.

5. Ginger

As someone who has had digestive issues half of her life, ginger is my best friend. With digestive problems or nausea, fresh ginger solves the problem almost instantly. Ginger also boosts the immune system, which can be compromised on a high sugar diet, and it’s also a great antimicrobial to kill those bad bacteria that thrive and grow in the gut after a sugar binge.

Instead of drinking ginger ale which is filled with sugar and doesn’t even contain real ginger, make ginger tea with grated fresh ginger or if you are bold enough, chew on a small piece of ginger before swallowing it. It is so effective in settling your stomach and reducing your sugar hangover symptoms.

6. Move

No, you don’t have to go run a half marathon or do a cross fit workout. You are already tired and dehydrated so pushing yourself too hard is not a good idea. However, it does help to move and get outside when you are going through a sugar hangover.

I always recommend walking and yoga, and these gentle movements increase circulation which helps your body to detoxify.  A little exercise can also boost your endorphins to boost your mood when you are feeling down and depressed during a hangover.

With that said, listen to your body. If you are feeling sick or nauseous, make sure to get plenty of rest instead or take a epsom salt bath. Do what feels is the most beneficial to you.

7. Let it go

Lastly, but most importantly, let it go. There’s so much guilt and shame surrounding food that it can really affect our mood for days after bingeing on sugar or just any food. The more you think about how much you regret your decisions, the more stressed out you’ll be, and this spike in cortisol will only slow down your recovery time and increase inflammation.

Ultra processed foods, fad diets, and media’s perception of what we should look like have truly ruined how we view our food. There’s a rule in the RESTART sugar detox class, which is: “Whatever I eat, I choose it consciously, I enjoy it thoroughly and then I let it go.” I think this is so important to constantly recite to ourselves so we end our unhealthy relationship with food and our bodies. We need to stop thinking of food as punishment, reward, or emotional need. Food is just food and it’s there to nourish us. End of story.

Next time you binge on sugar or alcohol, try to be kind to yourself and just accept what happened as is. The more you can get your mind to do this, the less likely it will happen again and it will also become much easier to recover and regain your health, both physically and emotionally.

7 effective sugar hangover cures

Blueberry Walnut Coconut Fat Bombs

Blueberry Walnut Coconut BombsWhile working with clients going through the RESTART sugar detox program, one of the top concerns they have is what to eat for snacks and how to kill those awful cravings that hit at odd hours, especially during their first week. The key is to always be prepared and to have the right snacks available, so you don’t go off-plan with a “what the heck do I eat” feeling and grab that box of sugar-filled cereal. One of my favorite ways to stay on track is to eat high fat snack bites, called fat bombs, that’ll fill you up quickly while killing those cravings. I love using coconut anything to make fat bombs because it’s easy to digest and the body primarily uses it for energy, instead of storing it as fat. I recently made these blueberry walnut coconut fat bombs that really did the job for me.

Blueberry Walnut Coconut Bombs

Blueberry Walnut Coconut Bombs

Blueberry Walnut Coconut BombsYou can cool and harden these fat bombs in a prettier silicon mold, but I’m lazy and I just leave them in a loaf pan in the fridge, then cut them into squares once they harden. The walnuts add a delicious crunch to each bite, and the blueberries give a slight sweetness that you might be craving without throwing your blood sugar off balance. I highly recommend you make a batch for the week to get ready for your new low-sugar lifestyle, and see how great you can feel!

Blueberry Walnut Coconut Bombs

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Blueberry Walnut Coconut Fat Bombs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • ⅔ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (omit if doing a sugar detox)
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place blueberries in a food processor and pulse until they are chopped into fine pieces.
  3. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
  4. Pour coconut oil. coconut butter, maple syrup, and blueberries in the pan (no need to combine thoroughly) and bake for 10 minutes until coconut oil and coconut butter are melted, and the blueberries are cooked.
  5. Take out of the oven and let it cook for 10 minutes, then stir in shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
  6. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 30 minutes to let the mixture harden.
  7. When ready to eat, pull out the parchment paper to remove the hardened layer from the pan.
  8. Cut into to mini squares and sprinkle with cinnamon if you wish.
  9. Store in the refrigerator.

Paleo Gluten Free Whole30 Blueberry Walnut Coconut Fat Bombs