STEVIA: THE PREFERRED SWEETENER
By Stefanie Cassetto
We are all looking for ways to change. Ways to break old habits and create new healthy habits. When it comes to breaking the sugar habit–change is a good thing. Whenever we become dependent on a substance to the point of harming our bodies, something needs to change.
We have covered the harmful effects of sugar in the previous articles How Sweet it is; Sugar and Healthy Alternatives or Is Sugar Toxic here on The Daniel Plan website. But as we unpack the subject of breaking addictions, it is worth being reminded again of the powerful hold sugar can have on our lives and the freedom we experience when start thinking, cooking, and eating outside of the box.
Most of us could benefit from decreasing the amount of sugar in diets. One sugar substitute that is making news is Stevia. Commonly known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf, Stevia is a species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family. It is a natural sweetener that has about 300 times the sweetness of sugar, but is low in carbohydrates and has zero calories. It has no known negative effect on blood sugar and in it’s raw form, nutrients known for helping to regulate blood sugar like chromium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc, and niacin have been found.
Using stevia as a sugar substitute in baking can help to decrease sugar consumption and satisfy those sugar cravings. It can easily be used in recipes or added to teas, cereal, or smoothies.
Stevia can be found in its refined form at your local natural food stores.
Stevia is not without controversy. In 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved stevia as a sweetener after years of only allowing it as a dietary supplement. As with any change in your diet, it is recommended to check with your doctors first before adding stevia as a regular sweetener. People with diabetes or high blood pressure, or those taking medications for these conditions should be cautious as it might increase the risk of low blood sugar or low blood pressure.
Freeing yourself from the grip that sugar has on your life is hard work. But it can be done.
Check out this recipe for gluten and sugar free banana muffins.
BANANA WALNUT MUFFINS
Place eggs, oil, bananas, dates and stevia in a blender. Blend on medium speed until combined. Add in coconut flour, salt and baking soda and blend until smooth. Fold in walnuts. Scoop ¼ cup batter into lined muffin tins. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes (my batch took exactly 23 minutes; all ovens are slightly different)
Cool and serve
Link to recipe: http://www.elanaspantry.com/banana-walnut-muffins/