Stevia, the Healthy Sweet
As Americans, we love our sweets, but we know now that refined sugar can give us more health trouble than it’s worth. We don’t want to give up our treats, but we also want to feel healthy, so what can we do? In mid 1980’s the answer virtually fell into my lap. I encountered stevia, a plant 15 times sweeter than sugar with no calories.
Back then, stevia only came in dried, whole leaf or powdered form and had a limited number of uses. Also, whole leaf stevia often has a slight licorice flavor – a real turnoff for me. I found the whole leaf forms difficult and inconvenient to use since they did not dissolve in liquid, so I continued consuming foods and beverages full of sugar and (worse) artificial sweeteners.
Almost ten years later, wiser and a bit heavier, I investigated stevia again. This was when I heard about Stevioside (aka white stevia powder), the molecule that makes the stevia leaves sweet. Although researchers found new ways to use this sweet molecule, it was illegal to use a a food. So those of us old-timers would purchase it in packaged as a “supplement,” or even a “skin care treatment.” We didn’t care how it was labeled; we were just grateful our local health stores sold stevia. (This was before online shopping.) It wasn’t until the 2000’s stevia earned its rightful place as a sugar-free, natural sweetener.
Going back to the early 90’s, one of the new forms of stevia I found on the market was a stevia blend: Specifically Stevita Organic Spoonable stevia. This new form combines stevioside extract with a non-carb filler to make it easier to measure. With this easy to manage form of stevia I could now replace sugar in my recipes and beverages. I started substituting stevia for sugar in my diet and lost 20 pounds! This success inspired me to write the original Cooking With Stevia cookbook, and later the Paleo friendly, Low-Carb Cooking With Stevia cookbook. I had no idea Cooking With Stevia would become a best-selling cookbook, or that it would be temporarily banned and destroyed by the FDA
Now, along with helpful stevia tips, you can enjoy all the best recipes from both Cooking With Stevia cookbooks free on the Stevita Naturals website.
Good Reading and Healthy Eating,
-James Kirkland, The Stevia Gourmet