What Is Stevia?
Stevia is the name of a plant. When prepared, it can be 30-300 times sweeter than sugar. It is non-caloric and does not affect blood sugar. So it is ideal for those who struggle with diabetes and candida. It is a natural herbal product, unlike the chemical sweeteners you find that are so detrimental to health (just google them if you’re wondering).
I don’t use Stevia in baking. It just doesn’t work well for me. I do use it in drinks, herbal tea, smoothies, breakfast cereals, dressings and some desserts. I’ve been using it for 10 years now and still love it.
Some people argue that since it is a refined product, it could be detrimental to health. I have not experienced any negative effects from it’s use. Since stevia is so intensely sweet, only small quantities are used at a time. My research on the devastating effects of white sugar in the body, however, convinced me that I had to have another healthier substitute.
Why I Started Using Stevia
I started having recurrent yeast infections after I got married. I think I had a lot of yeast in my body before that, and I believe it manifested itself in other ways such as anxiety, allergies, fatigue and uncontrollable food cravings, to name a few. This imbalance was at least partially a result of a lifetime of eating refined flour, sugar and other junk foods.
I tried the conventional method for resolving yeast infections, which is anti-fungal cream. But I kept getting them again and again. One time I got a urinary tract infection at the same time, and that was PAIN. After I had my second child, I was experiencing so much fatigue and other kinds of unwellness, I was feeling frustrated and even desperate. I wondered how I would raise a family on low energy?
I took my problem to God. I had prayed about health over the years, but I was at a crisis. I prayed harder than ever. The Lord heard and answered my prayers, and has done so repeatedly since that time. My sister invited me to see a natural health doctor with her. I thought that would be interesting and perhaps helpful, so I went along.
The natural doctor took a drop of my blood and showed me on a computer screen, all the yeast and other junk it contained. He told me that to clean it up, I had to clean up my diet. The visual lesson was so powerful to me, I immediately called my husband to see if he would support me in a complete diet makeover. He said yes.
We threw out all our white bread, white pasta, white sugar and other junkie foods and started eating brown rice and steamed veggies. This cleared up most my allergy symptoms within a couple weeks. I decided that in order to get an upper hand with my yeast imbalance, I would avoid all sugar (even natural types) for a while (it ended up being a year).
The only way I was able to accomplish this was to find something to add sweetness in my diet without feeding the yeast. When I learned about Stevia I started experimenting and have loved using it since.
My Favorite Brands of Stevia
Not all brands of Stevia are created equal. Many have an unpleasant aftertaste, especially if too much is used.
My favorite is KAL brand Pure Stevia Extract. This large bottle could easily last a small family 6 months, and costs about $17 if bought online. In our house it lasts 1-2 months. It’s very strong so only small amounts are needed. It comes with a tiny spoon. When in doubt about how much to use, try one spoonful and taste.
I put a little tape on the inside of the lid so it doesn’t pour out too fast, especially when the kids are using it.
These can both be purchased at Vitacost. The KAL Pure Stevia Extract (it just got a new label and VitaNET has the BEST price I know of for this one), 3.5 oz costs about $16-$19 (but lasts a long time). The SweetLeaf Stevia Plus, 4 oz costs $8 (as of Feb, 2011).
Reasons to Avoid White Sugar
- Leeches calcium, chromium and other vitamins and minerals out of the body, making bones weak and hampering other body functions.
- Paralyzes and depletes levels of white blood cells for 24 hours, allowing the immune system to be more vulnerable to sickness from viruses and bacteria.
- It is highly addictive. Neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin, are impacted in the same manner as alcohol and hard drugs like cocaine.
- The consumption of sugar is considered to be one of the three major causes of degenerative disease in America even by the American Diabetes Association.
If you need more reasons to avoid white sugar, just google it. Sometimes I need to read up on things to motivate myself to take action.
I don’t avoid white sugar 100% of the time, but I do avoid it and encourage my family to avoid it the majority of the time. I buy and make homemade desserts and candy so that we don’t miss out on treats. For baking I use evaporated cane juice crystals, which still retain their vitamins and minerals, and are much more of a whole food. My homemade treats don’t slow me down or make me feel cruddy like white sugar does (unless I eat too much).
Since I got white sugar out of my house:
- I have more energy
- I get sick less
- I enjoy healthier foods more
- I get angry less often
- I am stronger, happier and more emotionally stable
And you can be too!
If you haven’t heard about the dangers of Aspertame, read this article by Dr. Mercola.
Have you noticed that white sugar affects you or family members in a negative way?