I mean really, really, REALLY (Ok I think you get it) crave the bad stuff...
Things like doughnuts, bread, sugar, pastries....
What do you do?
First, I don't really ever crave gluten-containing foods. If I do, I have the reassurance that I will end up in a ball on my bed to help keep me from indulging. Having said that, I frequently crave ice cream.
So I delay it. "If I really want it again tomorrow, I can have some." When tomorrow comes, I do the same thing.
It also helps that I don't keep ingredients for really "bad stuff" on hand. I have to convince myself to go to the store to buy the stuff. And by "go to the store," I mean "walk to the store." That's my litmus for how badly I want it. Most of the time I just don't want to leave the house.
If I've delayed for a while and am willing to walk to the store, I'll indulge. But I have to buy an pre-portioned container (of ice cream, anyway). It doesn't really happen very often, though! Honestly, I'm too hungry the day after I eat it to make it worthwhile on a frequent basis.
Triggers for me used to be smells. I no longer have those, so I suspect you can train your senses to not crave things.
If you are cravings something sweet and want to get over it, take a little bit of L-Glutamine, which can be used to feed the few brain cells that require glucose, and thus quiet the craving. Once you get over the cravings, you won't need this stuff, so a little bit can go a long way.
Another thing that immediately turns off your appetite is coconut oil. Have a little bit several times a day and you'll find you're not hungry at all. I mix in about a tablespoon or so with a few teaspoons of dutch processed cocoa powder and then pour hot coffee over it. The cocoa powder does two things: it prevents a large oil slick at the top of the coffee, which if hot will burn your mouth, and it also provides some more Magnesium, preventing the caffeine from stealing Magnesium due to phytates. Make sure you use hot coffee as the heat turns off some of the phytates. (Alternatively when you mix cocoa with extra virgil coconut oil, pour a little bit of near boiling water over it, just enough to help you mix the two.)
After about a month of this, you won't crave things anymore. If you do, just stick with it and be stubborn about it. It's worth it.
If you do give in to carbs the danger is that you'll mess up your hunger reflex and will want to binge - at least for that day. Sugar makes us keep eating. In the wild we rarely had access to large sources of calories except for things like honey, or more likely fruits which were only available at the end of summer. So by binging on fruit, we packed on enough fat to survive the lean times in the winter. This is why eating sugar doesn't readily satiate us. (We just get a sugar rush, followed by an insulin spike which stores all that blood sugar, followed by a blood sugar low, followed by more cravings, repeat until diabesity.)
Been there, done that!
The suggestion to try a teaspoon of honey is a new idea to me and I think it's a good one. It's so sweet it would be impossible to eat very much of it straight--at least for me.
Anyhow, back to the point. When I sprained my ankle last summer the recovery included both good days and bad days. It's been the same in my recovery from gluten/sugar addiction. Some days are so solid it's tempting to think I'm permanently cured--hah! That's a pipe dream.
On the bad days, the first thing I do is eat a full serving of fatty meat. On those days, the thought of fatty meat is much less appealing than usual, but I eat it anyhow. I almost always find it tastes even better than usual and I think that's because my "taste network" is unnaturally excited. That seems to be part of the craving process, firing up every neuron related to taste. So eating healthy food is step one.
Step 2 is to do something that's not usually part of my routine--go walk around the neighborhood or a non-food store or do errands if you have any--think distraction! Whatever you do needs to keep you away from home for an hour or so. For me now, that's the end of it because I've had time to digest the meat and I'm not hungry or craving anything any more. Whew!
If you can't make yourself use step 1 (eating a filling, healthy meal) or you're still craving neolithic foods after the distraction you'll have to face that you're not YET deeply committed to this lifestyle. You may be in an hour, but right now you still have an inner debate going on between your rational side (should not eat that) and your subconscious (want to eat it anyhow.)
Keep trying! Failure isn't any more permanent than success. Every time you fall off the wagon you can use your disappointment to build even greater determination NOT to fall again.
I don't usually crave the stuff anymore. But my neighbour sometimes bake this pretty darn good smelling cakes that makes me want to give it all up...so I eitheir just buck up and do something else, or I do this:
Heavy or coconut cream some melted butter melted 89% belgian chocolate
and eat veery slowly with a spoon. :)
Berries, cherries, almonds, a broken dark chocolate square, coconut milk/kefir, splash of grass fed heavy cream, splash of vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Nature's ice cream sundae. Been getting a few more cravings in these winter months and that combination is something I don't think I will ever truly be guilty about!
I take coconut mana (pureed whole coconut, find it on amazon) and cocoa powder, microwave it a bit so it melts, mix it up and put it in the fridge for a few minutes. It comes out sort of like dark chocolate. It isn't all that sweet, just sweet enough.
It doesn't come up very often anymore, but here's what I do.
In addition to playing the delay tactic Banded mentioned, I eat a lot of fat and fatty meat. That seems to help me a lot.
There is an interesting theory that sugar craving is actually a form of fat craving: Why Did We Evolve a Taste for Sweetness?
A plausible inference would be:
The sweet taste evolved primarily to encourage the eating of fatty, energy-dense meats; and of essential fat-associated micronutrients such as choline and inositol.
The sweetness of fruit may result from plants having evolved a way to hijack the sweetness receptors, and animal food preferences, for their own purposes.
If I'm completely honest, I give in. That's exactly my problem... I am starting to get a handle on it, and try to just eat something else instead that's good for me. I have to admit that restraint is not my strongest character trait...so trying to resist the temptation and assess whether I'm really hungry and say no if I'm not, just isn't working for me yet. I do have to say that the more Paleo I eat, the easier it becomes, and the longer I do Paleo, the easier it becomes. Progress for me was like Sunday afternoon - I made a cup of tea, the packet of cookies next to the tea jar started calling my name. I had one. Yes, just one. A year ago I would have eaten at least 3 if not the entire packet...