Stevia is not so much as a super food but a super sugar alternative.
These days you may here more and more about the detriments of sugar. Why is sugar so bad? I could write you a mega-list. But I will say this: sugar (refined cane/corn) offers a load of calories without any nutrition. With that being said I am a huge advocate of asking your self, why do you eat? For taste alone? Nope, we eat to live, for nutrition & fuel… and flavor comes in a very respectable second place.
I could go on and on about sugar, it is addictive, causes inflammation and it is delicious. I am human and love it too, but rock it in mucho moderation. These days it makes me go bananas if I eat to much of it and sometimes even gives me an insta-sore throat. Taking time to notice sugar’s more long-term effects may help you develop a different relationship with it.
So much of my work with clients explores with the concept of crowding out. This means instead of quitting bad habits cold turkey, create new habits to crowd out old ones that don’t serve you.
Examples: Herbal teas for coffee, exercise for over active mind, stevia for sugar!
So back to stevia, it goes by quite a few names and comes in quite a few different forms. My favorite name, just simply ‘sweet leaf’. Stevia is 300x sweeter than sugar! Holy moly, so a little goes a long way. Just like all of the Powerful Powders in this series.
Stevia is native to both North and South Americas. It has a long history in South America where it was primarily used to sweeten medicines and teas (yerba mate). Japan made stevia available decades ago but just approved in the EU in 2011 (there were issues in how to classify it, as a sweetener or supplement). It takes a minute to get used to the unique, sweet flavor. It also may take a moment to figure out exactly how to use it because it is SO potent.
Think of stevia not as a food, for it is calorie free, but more like a flavor enhancer, like cinnamon.
You will find stevia in powder and liquid forms. Many packets (the white stuff) is rather processed, to alleviate the bitter flavor that many people dislike. Different sweet compounds called glycocsides and steviocides are isolated, processed and either dried or mixed with water to form an easy to use product.
Personally I just use the ground green leaf, found in bulk at my local food co-op. I like my foods closest to whole. Stevia makes an appearance in my home mainly as a compliment to smoothies. Personally I could go stevia free in smoothies BUT if I want my husband to drink them they NEED to be sweet as soon as they hit the tongue.
This lady loves her stevia, here is a great macaroon recipe. You can bake with it, preserve with it and basically supplement it all around for sugar. As usual, I recommend reading your labels,usage ratios are often provided. Giving your blood a much needed break from insulin spikes, which subsequently offers you more blood sugar stability, so you don’t crash & burn.
You can find stevia all over the place now, some products more processed than others. In conclusion, stevia is a great calorie free, low glycemic, carbohydrate free sugar alternative. Read labels, look out for ‘natural flavors’, buy organic, minimally processed products.
Understanding your relationship to sweetness can be very complex. What is your sweetness style?