For many years now I’ve found ways to incorporate more natural sources of sugars to sweeten my morning cup of Joe, my yogurt and even in my baking. I’ve gone from white/brown sugar to cane sugar, sucanat, maple syrup and even Agave nectar. In particular I’ve enjoyed agave because it scores low on the glycemic index and therefore does not spike your blood sugar levels as quickly. It is also much sweeter than other sugar, some sources I’ve found claim up to 40%, therefore much less is needed to sweeten your food.
In my attempt to find new ways to reduce my sugar consumption, I’ve recently incorporated some Stevia into my diet. I tried it a few years ago and didn’t really like the taste. I wanted to tweak my diet once again and am working extremely hard at reducing my stubborn belly fat. Since I already eat very healthy, I figured reducing my sugar intake will definitely help me get one step closer in getting leaner and attaining that flat belly that I so desire. So my experiment with Stevia has begun once again.
So what is Stevia you ask?
It’s actually a native herb of Paraguay. It’s been used as a sweetener and flavour enhancer for centuries by the people of South America. It’s an all-natural zero calorie sweetener, something that cannot be said about Splenda or those other artificial sweeteners.
So how can you buy Stevia?
It comes in a variety of forms. The most natural form of stevia and the most unrefined state is the Fresh Stevia Leaves. But you have to dry the leaves and then put them through an extraction process in order to make use of the leaves in a more practical way. Too much work for me.
You can also buy dried stevia leaves that have been crushed and are sold in a powder format. It is slightly green in color and can be used in a variety of foods and drinks. The powdered stevia would probably work really well in baking. But remember, it’s a lot sweeter than regular sugar, so a 1-1 exchange would definitely not work.
Stevia extracts are mostly used as a sweetener and can be bought as a white powdered extract or as a liquid extract. Websites I’ve come across have said that this form is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar (by weight). Therefore, you should only use a pinch or drop at a time to sweeten your food since it’s so sweet.
I went to our local health food store and came across this brand.
NOW Foods sells a Dark Chocolate Flavoured Stevia extract….heck yes! If it has chocolate in it, it HAS to be GOOD.
So far, I’ve put it in my morning coffee, oatmeal and yogurt. And there is no aftertaste. By doing this, I’m already eliminating 3 tsp. of Agave and 2 tsp. of Maple syrup from my daily diet. Bye Bye Stubborn Belly Fat
Apple cinnamon Oatmeal (sweetened with 4 drops of Chocolate Stevia)
I am still experimenting with my use of Stevia and am hoping to find ways to replace the sugar in some of my recipes with the powdered or even the liquid stevia.
Does anyone have any experience baking or cooking with any form of Stevia? We would love it if you shared with us some of your tricks or ideas.
Disclaimer – I am sharing with you my knowledge about sugar and stevia. I do not claim to know everything about these topics. This information is based solely on my own research, opinions and experiences.
So my surgery is set for tomorrow. I’m having my tonsils and adenoids taken out since they have been causing me nothing but trouble in the last couple of years. I’m looking forward to not catching so many colds and my days of tonsillitis are over. I am going to be spending the night in the hospital, which I am nervous about as I’ve never been in the hospital for longer than a day. I will not lie and admit that I am getting nervous about the procedure. But I have prepared myself for the weekend by stocking up on soup, applesauce and I made a bunch of popsicles.
Wish me luck I’m sure everything will be just fine.
How many of you have had your tonsils taken out as a kid? Adult?
I am hoping to be back posting something new by the end of the weekend or early next week.