Yes, damn it, I have a sweet tooth. I have been using sweeteners (Splenda, mostly) as my last refuge, my last remnant (along with dairy -- day one of give-up started today on that front) of modern living prior to going "pure" paleo. I obviously need to go cold turkey, as I did with grains, as I plan to do with dairy, but I'm damned if I won't go kicking and screaming into this much needed endeavor. Any advice? Anyone go through this terror at the prospect of giving up the sweet taste of this chemically-toxic-yet-addictive nectar? Haven't I given up enough already?!?!
But seriously ... help!
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STAY AWAY FROM temptation, for now. Don't go where others are eating it. It is helping me to eat plenty of protein and fat, and salt, for now. I am not worrying about weight or sodium for now. I'm just digging on the flavor of savory. I have actually phased out my morning (and afternoon, and evening...) caffeine hit, and am drinking broth before breakfast instead. This is the mom who snarled at her children for touching her Tastycakes. Within the last 60 days, and was accused by husband of being "greedy" with treats. I really do understand your pain. Sugar is the last of my physical vices, having recovered from drugs and alcohol, and I am ready. I really don't have a choice b/c it is another addiction and it screws my life up. Some of us are like teabags and don't work til we're in hot water.
To break a sweet tooth, there's no alternative to avoidance of ALL things sweet. I'd go further - go VLC for a month - nothing remotely sweet EVER during that period. You will find some foods sweeter than you thought - raw almonds, for example, are quite sweet (yes, really!) and still "legal" - but take care not to binge on anything offering such rewards.
The transition to appreciating sweet "hints" in a host of foods will be quite swift. After the month is over - give yourself a special reward - a small piece of dark chocolate (at least 85% cacao) and be amazed at just how sweet that is!
Good luck - it'll be a breeze.
I agree with cold turkey. Use kombucha to ease into the withdrawal. Once you get over it, you will be amazed how much the "craving" subsides. I find that when I reintroduce anything sweet, I get more intense cravings for days. Chemical sweetners taste horrific once you detox.
I'd definitlely go cold turkey if I were you. I haven't started eating Paleo yet, but I have stopped eating sugar in the past. You will get used to the taste!
Try real nectar. You know, the kind that bees spit out. Honey is far better for you than any artificial sweetener.
That being said, honey can still over-stimulate your insulin response, so if you're looking to optimize for insulin sensitivity using Paleo, you might be better off weening yourself into fruits. If it's safe for me to assume that your addiction to Splenda and milk are sides to an addiction to coffee, then try eating some berries with your coffee. It'll give you a hit of sweetness without the guilt. Maybe try some pomegranates or blackberries?
Over time, after you've switched over from artificial sugars (and real sugars), you'll probably find that you no longer crave them. I used to have quite a sweet tooth, but nowadays I don't break a sweat when walking past an open box of donuts.
Cold turkey absolutely. And don't sub in honey or extra sweet fruit or any other sweet thing while you do cold turkey. It's kind of like the heroin addicts who wind up with a serious methadone habit.
Eating a big protein and fat rich breakfast helps immensely in fending off cravings. As you'll read all over this site - if you have really bad cravings for sugary stuff, eat some fat.