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Powerful Powders:stevia

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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!

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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.

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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?

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Spirulina will kick off a 4-part series: Powerful Powders

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Clockwise from the top…Spirulina, maca, stevia and matcha

Spirulina is often found as a deep-deep green, super fine supplement powder. Historically it was used as a sacred power food by the Aztecs in the 16th century and considered the perfect food for space travel by NASA. In these modern times noting the array of stress and decline in soil health we need to think about how we are getting a whole spectrum of nutrients.  Supplements are one way and super foods are another.

Spirulina is an ancient superior (fresh & salt) water algae that is found around the world. This blue-green algae is a protein powerhouse and considered one of the most protein rich plants on the planet! Why so much protein? Well, Spirulina are actually a single-celled organisms and it’s protein is predigested so it is really easy for us to absorb its amino acids.

What other qualities make Spirulina a super food? These little algae have gut regulating anti-microbial properties that balance gut flora. Spirulina suppresses the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the intestines so that beneficial bacteria can thrive.  When good bacteria dominate the gut, we really get the best out of meals and subsequently are much more healthy.  Want to Boost your immune function?

Super green means super good for the blood & immune system. Spirulina is just loaded with chlorophyll which promotes red blood cell production. In addition to protein & chlorophyll this powerful powder has vitamin B complex and minerals, polysaccharides and anti-oxidants. What does all of this mean? Awesomeness for your body. All of these wonderful qualities of Spirulina give your body the tools it needs to stay balanced, rebuild it self and stay true to it’s most amazing quality, resilience!

Spirulina should be respected for its amazing nutrient profile and procured from high quality sources. The easiest way of enjoying it, is in powder form right in a smoothie.

Green smoothie

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(I usually use kale, spinach or collards)

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup water

1/2 pear

1 T Spirulina

1 T chia seed

1 t cinnamon

Blend on high for a minute. Add more water for desired consistency. ENJOY!

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baby approved

There are all sorts of Spirulina products out there. Does anyone remember Death to Smoochy?   Edward Norton rocks that Spirulina tube, on everything.  There are super green powders like Pure Synergy and tablets that are super easy to take. These tablets were my predominate iron source while I was pregnant. There are plenty of sources and a little bit goes a long way!  If you over do it on Spirulina you may experience some detox symptom and if you have an autoimmune disorder please talk to your health care practitioner prior to incorporating Spirulina into your diet. It pays to go quality, especially if it is from the sea, so do your research, read your labels and you can always ask me!

Where did I get my information?  My head and streamlined from:

Natural News & Dr. Mercola