Need some oral fixation!
July 11, 2008 12:03 PM   Subscribe

I need to stay on a quite impressive roll of having given up a long held vice. Could you all please assist in this effort? Specifics inside.

Brief history: Have chewed tobacco for most of my life. Just turned 40 and promised my bride I would give it up at 40. Most recently (past 3-4 years it has been the Swedish variety Snus. Before that it was the nasty Skoal, Copenhagen combo). I have been free of this monkey (without relapse) for about a month.

The big question: I need to continue feeding my oral fixation but am running out of ideas. What I need are specific favorites. No gum or candy please. And nothing generic like carrots (unless they are infused with blue cheese). Anyway, the closest I can come to an example is the Trader Joe's brand of habanero pistachios. Almost perfect, except I am really tired of them. So please be specific by brand and maybe where I can find your suggestions. I don't care what it is provided it is not sweet. Thanks a lot.
posted by repoman to Health & Fitness (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Mint snuff.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:06 PM on July 11, 2008

Slim Jims. Chew on 'em a bit and then pack in your lip. I used to do this as a teenager.
posted by danep at 12:16 PM on July 11, 2008

Jerome Lettvin, a professor of mine, long ago, in the process of giving up cigarettes, took up chewing on those rawhide dog chews, the ones the size and shape of a cigar. Here he is with a smoke. I don't know if it worked, but he said they tasted OK. (Can't be any worse than tobacco, anyway.) And they're zero calories, or close to it, I would assume. On the other hand, your wife might rather have you chewing tobacco than those things, or make you sleep with the pooch.

By the way, it seems to me that one of your goals needs to be to get to where you don't need anything in your mouth. To that end, something that provides no actual nourishment might be best.
posted by beagle at 12:24 PM on July 11, 2008

Dental wax, the kind that people who have braces use. I used to love chewing on that stuff as a kid.
posted by MsMolly at 12:27 PM on July 11, 2008

Cinnamon toothpicks worked for me when I quit smoking.
posted by stefanie at 12:30 PM on July 11, 2008

Blue cheese or hot pepper stuffed olives? For lighter snacking, pickled stuff - pickles, pickled peppers, what have you, just look in, you know, the pickle aisle - tend to be very low calorie.

I've made my own roasted nuts, cayenne and lime is a favorite combination (I couldn't give you the specifics of cooking as I wing it but the cooking description in this recipe sounds about right). There are lots of commercial hot nut mixes out there these days. I like cayenne on popcorn too, I use the Alton Brown method but there are prepackaged hot microwave blends (see various hot snacks links below for nuts and popcorn).

If you like wasabi you've got options, I've loved me some wasabi peas in my day (and that site looks like good hunting grounds for snack options in general)...

How do you feel about jerky? There's this bison jerky dude that had a stand at a local farmers market, he had this habanero Jamaican jerky that really satisfied in small doses (and being bison, very-low-fat protein). I can't tell you where to buy your own but I'll save you typing out at least one search.

Hot snacks, hot snacks, hot snacks!
posted by nanojath at 12:35 PM on July 11, 2008

I've never smoked or chewed tobacco so I don't know how this would stack up as an alternative, but I try to keep something relatively healthy (or at least proteiny vs sugary) at my desk so that I don't break into the candy bowl all the time. A current favorite that sounds like it might be similar to your jalapeno pistachios is wasabi/soy almonds (they also have a lime/chili variation that was my last favorite). I also like salt & pepper pistachios.
posted by srah at 12:35 PM on July 11, 2008

(Er, the Alton Brown popcorn method. No special equipment required).
posted by nanojath at 12:37 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, it's like the pistachios, but Trader Joe's Chile Lime Cashews are good.

I had a friend who was really into tea tree oil toothpicks.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2008

Oh, and congratulations and good work, man. Tobacco habits are real bastards. That habanero jerky got me through some tough moments with cigarettes.
posted by nanojath at 12:39 PM on July 11, 2008

Licorice root is fairly common here in NYC among the African community. It's basically a short stick you chew on for a long time. Good natural toothbrush to boot. Hafta like licorice, though.
posted by mkultra at 12:40 PM on July 11, 2008

I quit smoking again a little over four weeks ago and I've found that I've been talking a lot more than I used to. May be a mood thing, may be a way of dealing with the oral fixation. Just thought I'd throw that out.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2008

And - last message, I promise - check your phone book or whatever for hot pepper oriented stores, they're a pretty common gimmick these days and they all have hot snack selections. But you can get stuff like wasabi peas in your better bulk sections.
posted by nanojath at 12:42 PM on July 11, 2008

As a kid, I loved sucking/chewing on whole cloves from my mom's spice cabinet. I like sliced fresh ginger too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:44 PM on July 11, 2008

2nd on cinnamon toothpicks!
posted by Echidna882003 at 1:01 PM on July 11, 2008

Wasabi Peas for sure!
posted by boba at 1:08 PM on July 11, 2008

Get some of those flossers, at least occasionally. Flossing is good for teeth & breath.
posted by theora55 at 1:14 PM on July 11, 2008

Wax lips.
posted by crickets at 1:19 PM on July 11, 2008

Trader Joes Wasabi Peanuts ( I Like them a lot better that the peas)

Also it should take about a month to get the nicotine out of your system. Things should get easier from here (2 - years w/o smoking)
posted by bitdamaged at 1:39 PM on July 11, 2008

hot beef jerky, altoids licorice, ginger candy, and wasabi peas are all good.

you can make your own snacks by taking your nut of choice, popcorn, or even canned chickpeas (rinsed, drained, and patted dry), tossing with just enough oil to coat, shaking in a bag of chipotle powder, or curry powder with cayenne, hot mustard powder, chinese 5-spice and cayenne, powdered ginger, you get the picture. spread the coated nuggets on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15-30 minutes (shorter for nuts and popcorn, longer for chickpeas), until it's golden and crunchy.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cloves? You can get them whole, chomp'em, and let them stew in your mouth a bit. It works as a good breath aide, too.
posted by kellyblah at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2008

sunflower seeds
posted by birdlips at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2008

In the wasabi department, there are also wasabi soy nuts, which are high protein, no fat.
posted by beagle at 2:04 PM on July 11, 2008

Candied ginger delivers a lot of mouth sensation/flavour per piece. Pretty low calorie, too.
posted by emyd at 2:09 PM on July 11, 2008

Oops, you said to be specific about brand. I like The Ginger People stuff you can buy at Whole Foods. And candied ginger really isn't that sweet, despite the name. More spicy.
posted by emyd at 2:12 PM on July 11, 2008

I totally love these tea tree oil toothpicks.
I generally suck on them for a while, and then when the flavor starts getting weak, I start chewing on them, until I have a mouthful of splinters. Then I spit them out and get another one.
(each toothpick lasts me about an hour. they also come in cinnamon.)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 2:12 PM on July 11, 2008

Nthing the tea tree oil chewing sticks. They're mighty tasty.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:29 PM on July 11, 2008

This might sound bizarre, but as a kid I used to like chewing on a big wad of cinnamon dental floss! Never liked cinnamon gum.
posted by peep at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2008

The exact tea tree oil toothpicks that the Esteemed Doctor links helped me quit smoking. Helped not only with the oral fixation, but helped cope with the loss of the habit/rituals of smoking. At all the times when I was used to reaching into my bag to get a cigarette, I'd get out a toothpick instead.
posted by Mavri at 3:30 PM on July 11, 2008

When I quit smoking I went through insane amounts of wintergreen Altoids. I didn't really even like them, but they were satisfying in some awful way. Now, I'm still hooked. I've also tried the ginger and licorice varieties, but wintergreen always wins.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:54 PM on July 11, 2008

sunflower seeds
seconded. you can even switch in the BBQ ones now and then if you'd like a little variety.
posted by bowmaniac at 4:29 PM on July 11, 2008

tea tree oil toothpicks if you didn't see it the other 10 times :)
posted by thylacine at 7:29 PM on July 11, 2008

My buddy tried this and it got him all the way through a Nascar race so that is saying alot...
Hooch Snuf
posted by bkeene12 at 8:37 PM on July 11, 2008

Make a big bowl of popcorn and use seasoning mix instead of salt. Very yummy!
posted by happyturtle at 2:19 AM on July 12, 2008

Nicotene free snus is common in Sweden. Also available abroad, here's a link to a random webshop.
posted by Iteki at 5:57 AM on July 12, 2008

I've never been an oral tobacco user so I can't say it is the same but since a couple people suggested herbal substitutes I'll repeat what I said in the herbal cigarettes thread - the only thing simulating the experience of my tobacco habit ever did for me was lead me back into smoking tobacco.
posted by nanojath at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2008

I know you said no to candy, however, this is a bit different. Jolly Rancher Fire Candy (if it is still around. Been abroad for 10 years). It's HOT cinnamon hard candy. It burns, wonderfully. It helped me last time I quit smoking. May even be better after chawin terbacker.

And don't underestimate the value of hot coffee. Especially hot. Burning helps, apparently. (I expected coffee to be difficult w/o a smoke. I was surprised to discover the opposite).
posted by Goofyy at 7:00 AM on July 14, 2008

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