Since deciding to get off of artificial sweeteners and refusing to consume anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup, I have discovered Stevia. Personally, I love the taste, although I don’t get the same response from everyone. It seems to be an acquired taste for some…
What is Stevia?
Well Stevia is a herb. It’s really delicious and sweet. And a really good substitute for any kind of sugar.
But to see what the real definition of Stevia is, I tapped into Wikipedia.
Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America. The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.
So basically what they are saying is that Stevia is a herb, used for centuries for naturally sweetening foods and drinks. There are no apparent side effects from using it. It is not a sugar so does not pack on bellyfat, and won’t overexcite your brain cells (whew, what a relief that is).
Wikipedia continues with this:
With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Medical research has also shown possible benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
So it even helps us lose weight, but more than that, it is used medicinally in some populations.
For medicinal use, Wikipedia says:
For centuries, the Guaraní tribes of Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil used stevia, which they called ka’a he’ê (“sweet herb”), as a sweetener in yerba mate and medicinal teas for treating heartburn and other ailments. More recent medical research has shown promise in treating obesity and hypertension. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance; therefore, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
Look who’s has been using Stevia for decades. Again from Wikipedia:
In the early 1970s, Japan began cultivating stevia as an alternative to artificial sweeteners such as cyclamate and saccharin, which were suspected carcinogens. The plant’s leaves, the aqueous extract of the leaves, and purified steviosides are used as sweeteners. Since the Japanese firm Morita Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. produced the first commercial stevia sweetener in Japan in 1971, the Japanese have been using stevia in food products, soft drinks (including Coca Cola), and for table use. Japan currently consumes more stevia than any other country, with stevia accounting for 40% of the sweetener market.
Today, stevia is cultivated and used in food elsewhere in east Asia, including in China (since 1984), Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia. It can also be found in Saint Kitts and Nevis, in parts of South America (Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and in Israel. China is the world’s largest exporter of stevioside.
Where to buy Stevia:
I have found that Walmart has the best deal on Stevia. Look for it in the pharmacy/supplements area. You can purchase a box of 100 packets for $6. I paid that for 50 packets in a health food store!
Check out the Cuisipro Herb Keeper
Storing herbs seems simple but unless you properly store your herbs they will only last a few days. Herbs are sold in bundles and for most recipes a bundle is too much. What happens to the leftovers? If they are not used right away most of what was bought is thrown out.
Cuisipro Herb Keeper’s unique suspended tray system makes it easy to store and access herbs. Other herb keepers tend to be overcomplicated to use or drip water all over the place when gathering herbs.
The Cuisipro Herb Keeper comes in 2 convenient sizes so you can choose the one right for you; large one that handles multiple bunches of herbs and compact size for a single herb bundle.
Click the image to learn more about this product.