When you quit sugar, you will indeed likely go through a withdrawal period. Your cravings can get intense and this is where you’re likely to blow it and sabotage your health goals, or teeth healing protocol.

Any restricted diet also causes feelings of deprivation and this is another saboteur that can wreck your goals. So the trick is to have lots of substitutes, ready to go, when these cravings or deprived feelings descend on you (and they will). Remember that as the yeast (Candida albicans) overgrowth and bad bacteria begin to die-off, you may get very intense cravings – it helps to know this is not ‘you’ it’s the microbes screaming to live. Don’t feed them!

You will likely create your own substitutes or treats as you go along, but here’s my list to shorten your learning curve and help set you up for success:

1. Non-sugar sweetener – The best-tasting natural sweetener I’ve found is Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (if you can tolerate erythritol). If you can’t tolerate any of the sugar alcohols (erythritol, xylitol, maltitol etc) and they cause gas/bloating or loose stools, then you’re best to just use stevia and/or monkfruit (luo han guo).

I treat myself by going to a cafe and ordering a tea misto (Earl Grey, Rooibos, and Chai are my favorites), then sweetening it with a packet of Lakanto.

2. Chocolate cravings – The best-tasting no-sugar chocolate bars I’ve tried are Lily’s Dark Chocolate Almond or Coconut. Again, they too contain some sugar alcohol in addition to stevia. But perhaps only a piece or two when you’re jonesing bad will be sufficient. Especially if you combine it with cocoa butter! I use these organic cocoa butter wafers and I use half a wafer per square of Lily’s chocolate – SO delicious and satisfies my craving in a few pieces.

Lily’s chocolate with cocoa butter wafer

You can also make your own chocolate, but personally I like to increase the cocoa butter called for to make up for the lack of sugar. Remember, although coconut sugar, agave and honey have a much lower glycemic index than cane sugar, they are still sugars and not allowed.

3. Nibbles – When you’re hankering for treats or snacks, I’ve found cashews, pistachios or other favorite nuts to be satisfying. I may have my salted nuts along with a cup of Rooibos tea + almond/oat milk + 1 packet of Lakanto sweetener. Feels like a real treat and knocks out the emotional feeling of ‘being deprived’.

I’ll also buy plain ripple potato chips and use them to scoop my Tuscan Tomato Goat Cheese dip (you can sub with zucchini if you’re sensitive to tomatoes). As about 15 potato chips satisfies me, this is far less carbs than eating a baked potato. And less sugar (less than half) than eating tortilla chips.

4. Herby Honey Mustard Sauce – Instead of honey, I just use stevia to sweeten this sauce that I then use with everything from scrambled eggs to chicken strips, or as a veggie dip. It’s so good that all my houseguests want it with their eggs too, so I’ve had to double my usual recipe!

5. Pretty Fruit – I eat 1 piece of whole fruit (no juice or puree!) every other day. Fruit cut up in a pretty bowl helps it feel like a treat. If you’re having fruit like blueberries or watermelon, add some fresh chopped mint.

6. Creamy Caesar – For some reason, a big crisp caesar salad with my homemade caesar dressing really counters any ‘deprived’ feelings I might be having. Perhaps because once you quit sugar, you are able to taste the sweetness in things like romaine lettuce. Or perhaps the good (cold-pressed) fats in the dressing are super satisfying to the palate. Chop or slice some grilled organic or pasture-raised chicken on top and you have a delicious meal. If you find it difficult to tolerate romaine, then use a mix of “baby greens” or butter lettuce instead.

7. Lettuce burger – homemade burger patties from grass-fed beef (I get mine from the farmer down the road) on a base of lettuce or baby greens instead of a bun (keeping carbs to a minimum). I add fresh sliced tomato (or salsa), avocado, fried onions and slather it with my Herby Honey Mustard sauce (see recipe above). SO good. No deprivation here!

8. Chicken salad or Tuna salad – I keep either of these pre-made in the fridge for a quick meal or snack when I’m tired, hungry and most prone to reach for a carb-rich or sugary pick-me-up. I use my homemade mayo, diced green onion, tiny diced celery and whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, mixed with diced chicken or canned tuna. If I want to make it a meal, I use a bed of lettuce or baby greens, then top with tuna or chicken salad (sometimes I’ll add some goat or sheep cheese) and chopped tomato (use Roma tomoatoes and remove the seeds and skin for maximum gut tolerance).
Note: I don’t eat more than 1 serving of dolphin-friendly tuna per week as it has high levels of mercury.

If you decide to consume sugar again at some point, see which of these healthy practices you can keep going with no effort. There is never a downside to keeping sugar consumption at a minimum or, as I teach my kids, save your sugar for when it really counts!