5 a.m. And Rethinking Sweet


A couple weeks ago I woke at 5 am. (It has not happened since and there are no signs it will happen again.) But I was brewing coffee before the sun and my neighbor’s dog, rose. (In my more forgiving moments, I think of him as my own sweet urban rooster).

There is something about being productive at 5 am that is very foreign to me and I unfortunately have only the coffee to thank for that state.  But I’ve been making a concerted effort to cut back, not on early mornings, but on coffee and its accomplice, sugar.

But rather than looking for a “healthier” sweetener, I’m discovering spices and flavors that will distract my taste buds and make them not want sugar. Because the thing about simply replacing one sweetener with another, is it keeps the addiction alive. So I’m training my mouth to get better at detecting “sweet” in places it’s not used to looking and in so doing recalibrate the sugar dials. It’s kind of like holding the reset button down for a couple weeks.

These flavors have lately been making their way into my food:

Cinnamon. I’ve been adding a dash to coffee grinds as they brew. It doesn’t replace sugar but it seems to make the coffee less bitter so I’m using less. Thanks to KD for first introducing me to this morning habit by casually slipping it into the pot.


Vanilla Powder. It looks like a pile of dirt and tastes like a vanilla sundae. I discovered this magic dust at the tiny Whole Spice in Napa and I’m hooked.  I sprinkle it on plain yogurt and no longer miss the honey. I’ve not tried it in smoothies but can imagine it would be divine. It’s hard to find at regular stores, but you can buy vanilla beans and crush them or buy the powder from their online store here. It’s not cheap but you need but a wee amount to get the hit. Vanilla extract wont quite do the trick, since the alcohol has a dulling effect on the sweetness.

(Update: I was recently send some powder and whole beans from a wonderful company called Indri Vanilla. Divine! Check out their online store. )

See the powder in use.

Chipotle Peppers. I’ve found almost nowhere that the chipotle does not belong. I’ve added them to lentils, squash soup, homemade salsa, and chile. There is something about the smokey flavor that registers “sweet”. I don’t know why, but it does.

Yesterday I added a dried chipotle to quinoa as it cooked and it gave it an exotic, smokey, Mexican accent. See the ensemble here, Smokey Quinoa and Zucchini.

Coconut Oil. It’s no secret that I am deeply infatuated with the entire coconut family.  I especially love the oil for sauteing greens. Flash sautee them in a touch of coconut oil with a dash of salt, and a hint of sweet emerges.  Unlike olive oil which loses almost all its olive flavor when heated, coconut oil (due to its high smoke point)  retains its flavor. Try cooking scrambled eggs with it for ” breakfast on the beach”.

Nutmeg. I tossed this into an omelet one day on a whim and now the jar stays next to the stove. I’d added it to quiche in the past, but not until lately has it been making its way regularly into breakfast eggs.

Fruit. This may not belong on the list since it already bring its own sugar, but a tip to get more sweetness out of it is to heat it slightly. On oatmeal days, I add a few raisins while it’s cooking . Try warming up berries just slightly before adding them to yogurt, then let them cool and you’ll get the sweet juice in addition to the berries.

I do admit that if I’m tired, letting go of  the “real” source of sweet is far harder than when I’m rested, which raises the question of whether a 5 am wake up is actually a healthy habit in the long run…

Share your own recos for living a sweet life with less sweet … or healthier forms of sugar you’re using that pack more of a sweet punch?

Related Posts

Smokin’ Hot (Discover the various smoke points of oils and which to use when.)


How Bad Can It Be When It Tastes This Good (Our delicious addiction that can go too far.)


Squash Soup with Ginger and Cumin (Two other spices invaluable to cooks.)


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  • Anonymous

    Great list! Cinnamon has the same affect in smoothies for us.

    When we started running low on rapadura, I started adding raisins to our morning oatmeal and we all prefer it that way.

    I’d also add cardamom to this list. A pinch of it goes a long way when you wanna reduce the amount of sweetener you use. Too much is just weird, though.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Yes to the cardamom! I’m a such a fan that it’s actually going to get it’s very own post with a recipe I’ve been concocting, very soon…

      • Sarah

        I never knew the joys of caramom until I adapted a pullah recipe for my Finnish father in law. I think it may have been the single most delicious bread I have ever made. The smell of cardamom is unlike any other!

  • Belinda @zomppa

    I too love coconut oil and peppers and…that 5AM time is supposed a wonderful time to get a lot done!

  • kristy

    Excellent post, thank you for the great info! Instead of a sweetener, I like to add cinnamon AND nutmeg to my coffee–I call it “doughnut coffee.” Not only does the cinnamon trick your taste buds into registering “sweet” but combined with nutmeg it conjures the flavors of an old-fashioned, homemade doughnut. Not quite as satisfying as the real thing, but way fewer calories. :)

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      I love it! So much of how we perceive foods IS by their name – if you label something “doughnut”, then of course it will taste like one!

  • http://piquantprose.blogspot.com Michaela

     Have you ever tried Good Earth Original tea? I find it almost overwhelmingly sweet without any sugar added.

    Also, nutmeg is one of my favorite spices–I even add it to pasta sauces. It’s really best fresh ground, though. I use a cheese grater. The smell of freshly grated nutmeg is intoxicatingly good.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

       Interesting that you mention Good Earth Tea … I wrote a post about it here….http://www.thesweetbeet.com/herbal-tea/

      I am highly suspicious that a lot of the “sweet” in their tea comes from the “natural flavors” and not purely from the ingredients themselves.  Sure there’s some cinamon and other potentially sweet spices in there, but as you say the sweet is almost overwhelmingly sweet …

  • martha v

    I am salivating over your chipotle quinoa dish…can’t wait to try it asap!  :)

  • Lisa

     Don’t forget the lucuma powder! It tastes like maple syrup.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

       Hi!  I think you mentioned this on Facebook and I actually went looking for it!  My local WholeFoods doesn’t carry it and nor did another health food store I went into, but I’m going to keep looking for it as I’m intrigued. (If I’m correct it’s derived from a S.American fruit.)

  • Brknarw25

    I worked for a large coffee company for many years, and we experimented a lot with spices during our weekly (often daily) coffee tastings.  Try brewing some Chinese five-spice or cloves with your coffee, especially if the coffee’s origins are Indonesian or Sumatran.  

    I wonder, since so many types of coffee pair well with raisins, how would it be to toss a few raisins in with the grounds before brewing?  Hmm…


    PS, a while back you gave me some advice about probiotics for my mom.  She’s been taking them for about a month now and is mightily impressed with how much better her stomach functions have been.  Thanks so much!

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      I would imagine those brewed raisins would deliver a lovely hit of sweet!  

      I am so happy to hear your mom is feeling better.  As we get older, our digestive enzymes start to diminish (meaning food is less well digested) so though I am a big fan of tossing a handful of probiotics into the gut on a daily basis at ANY age (I’m hooked on my morning kombucha), it really helps when you’re older and the body actually NEEDS those enzymes.

  • Stella

     I love your blog, Michelle, and always look forward to your
    email popping up on my phone.  Your
    approach to using spices to reset your sugar dials is brilliant!  I wish I had thought of that a few
    months ago.  I used to be a
    self-proclaimed “candy and sugar pig.” 
    Jokingly, my four main food groups were “Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corn
    and Syrup.”  I loved cotton candy,
    chocolate, cake, ice cream – whatever as long as it contained A LOT of
    sugar.  I was a sugar addict.  So last year I decided to break my
    addiction and banned all forms of sugar from my diet.  Cold turkey.  I could
    eat what ever I wanted but only allowed myself a mere 15 grams of sugar and not
    a milligram more.  I read every
    label to find hidden sugars and even removed fruit from my diet (that was the
    most difficult part). I did this for four months and it completely changed my
    palate, my behavior and my view on sugar (it really is like a drug).   I still love sugar but now find the
    taste of sugar to be just “too sweet.” 
    I no longer have to add it to my coffee or tea and if I want a dessert
    or candy one or two bites is sufficient because it tastes far too sweet to eat any more than a few
    bites.  This approach certainly
    isn’t for everyone, as I know some people who have experienced some really
    awful withdrawal symptoms.  It worked for me but I wish I’d had your spice recommendations :)

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

       Re the fruit-cutting part, I agree that if you REALLY want to recalibrate the taste buds, then no fruit for a week or two, will accomplish this for sure!  Even if I go a day without fruit, it makes me appreciate even the humble apple.

  • Susanna

    My coworkers and I work in the coffee industry and we all love and follow your blog. I had to make a comment on this one!  

    I used to take sugar in my coffee as well, until I learned more about how sweet and flavourful good quality coffee can be on its own when it is roasted properly. If you can get your hands on a light to medium roasted single-origin coffee, a good grinder and maybe brush up on brewing technique, you will not need to add any flavours (like spices) to mask bitterness as bitterness tends to lay in the over-roasting of beans. You may be surprised at how complex and flavourful coffee can be!

    Some recommendations for people brewing at home:

    Coffee- try to think of coffee as produce and purchase only what you think you will use in a week. Coffee stales quite quickly. Make sure to check the roast date and try to use within two weeks of that date. Quality roasters of note: Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Four Barrel .. to name a few!

    Grinder- Invest in a burr grinder to get the most from your beans and you will not be disappointed. A good grinder is like a good knife set. Burr grinders (as opposed to blade grinders) will give you an even and precise grind which means an even and thorough extraction of coffee..  = good coffee!

    Water- cold, fresh drawn and filtered. Yum!

    Brewing- I like to use a french press for brewing at home. A press yields a fuller bodied, flavourful cup and has no papery taste from a paper filter. Check out http://www.brewmethods.com for some brewing techniques and videos!

    • Fred

       Good information, thanks.  I just received some whole, organic coffee beans that are from Nepal (distributed thru Common Food Goods @ Amazon), and, well………they are so-so.  I never heard of the 3 roasters you mentioned and will give them a try.

      • marti

        I live in the NW (we know our coffee!) and have to second Susanna’s comments.  In our house it is Stumptown or Intelligensia.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Thanks Susanna!  I spent 6 weeks in San Fran last fall and got hooked on 4 Barrel.  Lately I’ve been grinding Gorilla Coffee beans at home. Do you know this brand? I think they’re Bklyn based.

      Why is the single-origin so important in terms of flavor? And does this mean it comes from one plantation hence higher control over quality?

      Is the reason you recommend the light/med roast is that longer roasting always brings out greater bitterness?

      • Susanna

        Hey Michelle, 

        It’s 11 am .. slept in. No 4 or 5 am call this morning! I’ve got some coffee from Honduras on the go over here. Mm.. I haven’t tried Gorilla Coffee before. Good stuff?

        Great questions! I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

        Roasting coffee is often compared to cooking food. Food should be cooked just enough to bring out the food’s best flavours, but a little too much cooking and you begin to burn the food you are cooking! Coffee is very much like that. Ideally it will be roasted just enough to bring out the bean’s best flavours. When you start to get into darker-roasted beans, more ashy and bitter flavours start to develop and really mask the wonderful flavours that the bean is capable of portraying. Like properly cooked food, it should taste great by itself! 

        Single-origin coffee is coffee grown and harvested from one farm (location). It allows better traceability for the consumer (us!) to know exactly where the coffee is coming from. Quality tends to go up as well as their is only one farmer minding that individual crop, not a blend of various beans from various farms. 

        Well thanks for indulging me, hope this is not overkill. 

        I’m going round two. Slow, wonderful morning.

        • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

          Thx for this! I had heard that darker could be more bitter but had not been aware of the single origin issue … will be on the look out.

  • Lyoness8

     I add raw cacao and almonds to the grinder….HEAVEN!!! I also sometimes add coconut water to the brew…

    • Chrysanthemum

       I’ll second cacao nibs in the grinder with the coffee beans, though I haven’t tried almonds (sounds delish). Definitely doesn’t add any “sweet” but it does give it a rich and wonderful hit of chocolate that’s really satisfying.

  • Fred

    Some really good suggestions and I look forward to trying them….thanks!  It’s 4:20 AM here, and dang it!!, made my java before seeing your post!  Smiling, something to look forward to with the next cup.

    I did find a really good quality stevia sweetener with Sweetleaf, but I still need the “real” thing with my coffee. Although, it is not organic, Sugar in the Raw is about as wholesome and minimally processed  as it gets, and I gave up the guilt trip when using it in moderation.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

       4:20!  You put my 5am to SHAME!  

      Re guilt  – I’m with you. Either have a small amount of X and enjoy it, or decide you’re going to cut it out and then do it!  The stress of feeling guilt over ANYTHING in life is terrible for the body. FAR worse than a little sugar in the morning joe.

  • meezermom

    I’m with you Susanna – good coffee isn’t bitter. I’m rather a ‘coffee snob’. I like my coffee fresh ground with  good beans (preferably Fair Trade), black, full bodied and LOL – around 5 am. 
    Having said this I do find many of these spice ideas quite intriguing. I think I’ll give some of these  suggestions a try when I have friends who don’t share my enthusiasm staying over.
    Thanks much! 

  • Anne

    How about chai powder – a dash to the coffee grounds, if you like the chai flavor.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=677711056 Susan Crites Wasel

    Cinnamon also has the added benefit of reducing the glycemic index of a particular food.  On that note, eating low GI for a few weeks will certainly rid you of any cravings.

  • akathequeen

     I have found ground cinnamon in my coffee filter to be a little bitter, but learned a great tip from the waitress at a local Mexican food restaurant that always has the best coffee. When I asked why the coffee always tasted so great, she confided that they put a whole cinnamon stick in the pot.  The cinnamon stick unfurls in the hot water imparting the coffee with a pleasant cinnamon flavor and aroma, and no bitterness!

  • kkg

    I’m curious as to how you brew your coffee. Years ago I switched from French press to a Chemex, and it makes all the difference in the world. I agree with the others that the beans and the grind are important, but I’ve found that with the Chemex I can drink my coffee black and not add cream like before.   

    • Susanna

      Hey kkg! 

      I totally agree that a press versus a chemex results in a very different brew. Chemex uses paper filters and filter out any sediment and much of the coffees oils, resulting in a very clean cup. Do you ever find that your coffee tastes papery? Do you rinse the filter before using? Curious! 

      • kkg

        Yes! I just learned that trick to get rid of the papery taste. Before I put the beans in, I pour some boiling water in, which wets the filter, getting rid of the dust, and also heats the glass so the coffee is hotter. Obviously I pour that water out before adding the beans and starting the process. 

      • marti

        My friend owns a coffee shop and has every sort of device known to man… we did an experiment over a few weeks — we would take the same beans and put them in a drip brewer, a french press and some sort of other contraption (maybe the Chemax?).  The results depended on the bean– the same bean tasted radically different brewed different ways!

  • Maloonch

     Just a word regarding coffee. I would suggest that rather than find a way to create the sweetness of coffee without the sugar, to appreciate the taste of the coffee bean as a one man show. I do this with coffee, tea, and cacao: I drink them without the add-ons. I was raised in a family of black coffee drinkers and we wouldn’t think of doctoring out coffee with “additives”. Believe me these is a whole new world that opens to the black coffee drinker. The downside is that you need good beans well roasted because you have no milk/cream/sugar to cover the sour taste of a bad brew.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      I may need to start giving pure, unadulterated coffee a try … like cutting back on sugar though, i’m guessing that acquiring a taste for milk-less, sugar-less coffee could take some time.

      • Susanna

        I just discovered these great how-to videos by George Howell, the cofounder of the Cup of Excellence and also Terroir Coffee. He talks about coffee fundamentals, fair-trade vs direct trade and also some brew methods as well. Great stuff!


        • Maloonch

          and don’t forget shade grown! you don’t have to clear cut a forest if you grow your beans in the shade.

      • Tomas

        You might also try weaker coffee.  Nothing wrong with that.  Strong coffee is not for everyone. 

        I drank my first cup of coffee after graduating from college.  I was at a very early morning breakfast, in a coffee shop in Jackson WY.  The waitress simply plunked coffee in front of me and my travel partner…neither one of us were coffee drinkers.  But we doctored it up with creamer and sugar, and I’ve been drinking it ever since.  But it only took a few months to eliminate the additives.  For a long time I made my own coffee rather weak, and enjoyed it.

    • jmacncheese

      Thank goodness, I was beginning to think I was the only black coffee drinker left in the world. Sugar was eliminated eons ago; milk, while living in a remote location off the grid and milk came in a can (horrible).  So black it was. And I would never, ever think of adding a flavor to my brew. 

      • Maloonch

        Hey, I have a sugar jones with the best of them….but when it comes to my coffee, the only thing sweet is the biscuit I might be seen dipping in it :)

  • Pingback: Rethinking Sweet: Breaking the Sugar Addiction without Sugar Substitutes Use spices and coconut oil! | Health Impact News()

  • Boubha

    Just add a bit more cream (organic half and half)  than normal to your coffee and enjoy the richness of it without any sugar.  I actually now look forward to drinking my coffee without sugar.  I think about it from the time I get up until I taste the rich, creamy, satisfying taste.  And I LOVE that I start my day (and my diet for the day if I choose) without the guilt of added sugar calories.  Oh, by the way, I drink organic instant coffee (available on Amazon).  It is sooo smooth you won’t need sugar to remove any harshness or bitterness.

    I drink all my teas the same way.  Add cream even to herbal teas to smooth them out.  I add orange zest to green tea for added sweetness without sugar!

  • http://www.healthyeatingforordinarypeople.com Rivki Locker

     Love the idea of replacing the sugar with spices. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of scrambled eggs in coconut oil. Why didn’t I think of that? To think of all the fantastic experiences I have missed. 
    I used to have sugar in my coffee, but I cut it out a few years ago simply by forcing myself to drink coffee for one week without sugar. The first couple of days, I missed it, but then it was fine. In fact, at the end of the week, I had no desire to add it back in, and when I tried it a while later, it just didn’t taste right to me!

  • http://www.planithealthier.com Deirdre

    Since you like coconut, have you tried coconut milk in your coffee? If you want to try a morning without coffee, I recommend hot water, cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg and a spoonful of cream. The cream makes it a thicker, satisfying drink and, as you said, the cinnamon and nutmeg are warming and offer just a bit of sweetness.  Enjoy!

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Interesting … never have tried it. Your hot water+ … drink also sounds like it would be a wonderful post dinner (in lieu of dessert) beverage!

  • Acerglyn

    You know it’s interesting that you bring up the chipotle peppers. A coffee shop in my area makes a mocha with cinnamon and red pepper added to it and the red pepper fills out the rest of the flavors. It’s quite delightful. I’ll admit that the coffee in question does have sugar added to it, but I may incorporate the spicing idea into one of my brews at home.
    BTW, cold pressing cuts back on the acidic and bitter properties of the coffee (especially if brewed with a light roast,) and if you grind some cocoa nibs into the mix while brewing, it will give that slight chocolate note. Season it with the two spices mentioned above, and you’re in coffee heaven.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Can you explain what you mean by cold pressing? I’m not familiar with it as something I need to look out for when buying coffee!

      • Acerglyn

        It’s actually a process of brewing. Rather than brewing the coffee hot, you brew it cold. I use a 4:1 water to beans ratio, then throw in the cocoa nibs afterward. I generally let this steep 12 hours overnight at around 34 degrees, then I filter it twice.

        • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

          This sounds like a beautiful ritualistic homage to coffee. I’m still at the 101 level with my brewing techniques so I might have to work my way up to this one!

        • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

          This sounds like a beautiful ritualistic homage to coffee. I’m still at the 101 level with my brewing techniques so I might have to work my way up to this one!

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes I wonder if, in some people, the decreasing desire for sweetness may be related to age? Before my mid-30s, I was a such a sugar-holic, I could eat an entire bag of Mary-Janes in a day. But now, 20 years later, I much prefer unsweetened beverages & not-so-sweet desserts. I never crave candy any more either. To be fair, I have made a conscious effort to reduce refined sugar & carbs – no white sugar, bleached flour, soda, etc. for years now.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Could be .. I also think once you leave your 20’s and realize you CANT eat a chocolate sundae and still fit into your jeans the way you once could, you start to have more conversations with yourself around whether you REALLY need it or maybe a biscotti will do .. I also think as you get a bit older you start to not take health for granted and start thinking more about the profound relationship between health and food — not something I was doing in college that’s for sure!

  • Yaskter

    Great post on a topic near and dear to me.  I’m a coffee enthusiast first then a foodie, and I find that freshly roasted coffees have amazing flavors that often don’t require any added sweeteners.   Good Brazils have nice chocolate and hazlenut flavors, African coffees have fruit and berry flavors (some Ethiopia coffees taste strongly of blueberry), Central American coffees can be cleaner and have hints of Orange Blossom or other notes. 

    Besides the freshness, the level of roast affects the flavors.  Light, fast roasts can emphasize the brightness (fruity, acidic flavors), you can roast for more sweetness, or if you take the roast further along you’ll get less of the sweet and acidic flavors and more roasted flavors.  Darker roasted coffees, though, tend to loose some of their originality and all start to taste of the roasting process.

    It helps to find these flavors if you’re already started down the process of weaning off strong sweeteners.  As someone who doesn’t drink a lot of soda and other strongly sweetened foods, and someone who has tried many different coffees (and roasted them at home) I find it easier to find these wonderful flavors, but don’t expect the coffee to taste as sweet as a soda or to a drink that you’ve added sugar to.  It’s subtle and takes a little patience to bring out.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      I just bought a brand that uses beans from Rwanda and I’m loving it … is it fair to assume to ALL Rwandan beans (if roasted in a similar fashion) would have similar notes, or can they vary enormously from farm to farm and region to region?

      • Yakster

        There are definite regional or origin notes that are common, but processing (picking, sorting, removing the seed from the fruit, and drying) has a lot to do with it too. Better quality coffees start with better sorting so that all the coffee cherries are ripe and there’s three main processing types Wet, Pulp Natural, and Full Natural that can affect the flavors, positively if done right and negatively if done wrong (such as beans that taste fermenty or musty).

        Coffee is also a crop and varies season to season based on weather and soil.

        Once the coffee is processed, it’s shipped as “green” coffee to the roaster and their roasting of the coffee (light/dark, fast/slow) will also have a lot of affect on the final taste.

        Finally, you buy the roasted coffee and you can get the most out of a specialty roasted coffee by grinding the beans with a good burr grinder right before brewing the coffee and by trying to use the coffee within a month of when the coffee was roasted.  Just like over-roasted coffees start to taste the same, stale coffees also start to taste the same, they lose the special notes such as fruity, herbal, floral, etc. and just start to taste of old, stale coffee.  They’ll also taste more bitter as they age.

        • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

          My coffee knowledge has just gone from 0 to 60. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Yakster

    One thing that I am enjoying adding to coffee lately, though, has been sliced ginger.  I’m finding that it makes for a refreshing cup.  I’ve also been making ginger tea.

  • Veggie Wedgie

    Great post! Vanilla powder is a great way to add a full sweet flavor. Although I still use the honey… Coconut oil & vanilla is a great sweet combo to use less sugar. what a lovely post.

  • Vee

    I actually started putting a dash of cinnamon in my coffee instead of sugar, but never thought to add it before brewing! I like the kick the cinnamon gives the coffee; it’s not sweet, but the spiciness fools me into thinking I’ve gotten some kind of expensive frou-frou latte or something (even though I don’t put milk in it) from Starbucks. (What can I say, I’m easily tricked.) After a few weeks of that, I actually transitioned into drinking my coffee black. I know it’s not for everyone, but I appreciate the almost-bitter nuttiness that a good, dark cup of coffee provides. Not only does the caffeine give me a kick, but the first mouth-puckering, bitter sip is like, “Holy woah, ok, I’m awake.” I’ve gotten to the point where anything with too much sugar (like SODA! yuk) leaves the most awful aftertaste in my mouth and just makes me more thirsty.

  • Lelias03

    I’ve discovered Stevia. I like the brand Sweet Leaf. It comes in several forms. The liquids are many flavors. I use cho. raspberry in my iced tea, root beer in seltzer water, vanilla cream in hot tea & most everything. I really like it & it takes just drop or more depending on your preference.

  • http://eatwellwithjanelblog.com Janel

    I did a month long trial when I tried my hardest to avoid as much added sugar as possible. When I eased back in, I was shocked by how intensely sweet completely unsweetened foods were like bread, cereal, veggies, and wine.  I heard our cells, including tastebuds, turn over every 3 weeks, so its a good way to readjust your eating style to adapt to new flavors, or even just original flavors without all the added sweets. Aaaand now I must find vanilla powder :)

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      You’ll love it, I’m sure! Report back after and let us know what foods you found to add it to …

  • Olithechef

    Liquid Stevia is my pick, and I’m surprised its not listed. Its a naturally made product that has no after bitter taste that I find the overly processed powder does and lasts forever.

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Stevia’s great. It didnt not make the list, b/c there is anything “wrong” with it her se, it’s a great natural sweetener, but I was going for ideas of what one could add to foods that were not first and foremost sweeteners (natural or otherwise), hence stevia (used purely as a sweetener) didn’t make it…

  • http://twitter.com/qutequte qutequte

    Cinnamon is great alternative to funny “anti-diabetic” sugar.  :)

  • Andre P

    Espresso made properly is so sweet by itself that you will never think about adding sugar to your coffee.  You’re in NYC so go to Grumpy on w20th, Culture on w38th, Blue Spoon on Chambers, 9th Street Cafe on e9th or in Chelsea Market, Everyman and Joe’s on w13th… Get an espresso.  Drink it black.  Taste the sweetness.  Learn to make french press properly and sometimes you’ll get such an overwhelming sweet taste in your coffee that you’ll save the Cinnamon for cakes!

  • Jude

    I love this blog.  Gorgeous pictures and great ideas.  I’m a recovering sugar addict and working toward beating my reliance on dessert binges.  Laugh and cry along with the yakking sugar addict at http://butimnotperfect.wordpress.com/

  • Dee

    I have adjusted my sweet tooth and now greatly enjoy hot cocoa
    like this –
    almond milk
    2 tbs raw cacao powder
    1tsp or less coconut oil
    Cacao powder ( no the regular cocoa!) seems to hold great
    nutritional value . This almost reminds me of a coffee drink as
    slightly more bitter than traditional hot choc , but have become
    addicted to this now!!