I’ve been using stevia water for a long time now – really ever since I knew that I had candida. You can make a very sweet stevia water from the green herb, fresh or dried. It has really helped us avoid sugar!
Processed stevia is a super-sweet sweetener that doesn’t feed candida or raise blood sugar and insulin levels, so it’s used by many who want to have something sweet without the bad ‘side effects’ of sugar.
Going To Stevia As An Alternative
It is problematic that many brands of stevia at the store contain additives like maltodextrin, dextrose, inulin, natural flavors, and erythritol. These are NOT real foods as pointed out by Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe). She tells us:
What Kind Of Stevia To Avoid
The 40-step patented process used to make Truvia should make you want to steer clear of this stevia product alone, but there are two other concerning ingredients added (not only to Truvia but other stevia products as well). First, erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar that is sometimes found in fruit, but food manufacturers don’t actually use the natural stuff. Instead they start with genetically engineered corn and then go through a complex fermentation process to come up with chemically pure erythritol. Check out the manufacturing process below:
“Natural flavors” is another ingredient added to powdered and liquid stevia products, likely due to the fact that once the stevia leaf is processed it can develop a metallic taste. Manufactured natural flavor is contributing to what David Kessler (former head of the FDA) calls a “food carnival” in your mouth. This makes it difficult to stop eating or drinking because the flavors they have synthesized will trick your mind into wanting more and more. When companies use manufactured flavor, they are literally “hijacking” your taste buds one-by-one; that’s why I recommend putting products that contain “natural flavors” back on the shelf.
I write about ‘Addictive Flavors & Foods To Avoid‘ and why it is so important to protect our children’s brains from these hidden additives.
“Stevia in the Raw” sounds pure and natural, but when you look at the ingredients the first thing on the label is “dextrose” – so it’s certainly not just stevia in the raw. And Pepsi Co’s “Pure Via,” also pictured above, isn’t exactly pure either with this ingredient being first on the label, too. Dextrose is a sweetener that’s also derived from genetically engineered corn and has a long complicated manufacturing process, just like erythritol.
The Food Babe sums it up by stating,
Even certified organic stevia can have sneaky ingredients added, like this one above which has more organic agave inulin than the stevia extract itself. Agave inulin is a highly processed fiber derivative from the blue agave plant. Also on the ingredient list is an item you are probably familiar with from those little packets sometimes found in boxed goods – silica (pictured). It is added to improve the flow of powdery substances and is the same ingredient that helps strengthen concrete and creates glass bottles and windowpanes. It may cause irritation of the digestive tract (if eaten) and irritation of the respiratory tract (if accidentally inhaled). While it is non-toxic and probably won’t kill you in small quantities, it’s definitely not a real food ingredient I would cook with or that I want to be putting in my body.
Chemical processing and nasty fillers are the number one concern voiced against using stevia. Also watch for some stevia that is manufactured in China!
A Prepared Stevia I WILL Buy:
There is one form of stevia that I will use for company and special desserts, but not all the time.
THM Pure Stevia is processed completely through cool water extraction, no chemicals allowed. The powder is white, and not green, simply because the reb-A is not related to the chlorophyll in the plant, which is responsible for the green color. Serene Allison is a food purist, and the processing meets her standards.
It just takes a very small amount to achieve sweetness. How little, you ask? One teensy ‘doonk’ of THM Pure Stevia is enough to sweeten a cup of yogurt or a cup of coffee. A doonk is 1/32 of a teaspoon; this is about as sweet as 2 1/2 to 3 tsp of table sugar.
You May Want To Make Your Own Liquid Stevia
I use concentrated stevia water for all my herbal and iced sweet-teas (1 tsp. or more of dried stevia herb when brewing 2 quarts of sweet tea), hot coffee, hot chocolate, lemon-aid, my Better Than Kool-Aid recipe, anything I can add liquid to.
I also can use the concentrated stevia water for popsicles, fruit salad, and for other recipes that need just a little sweetener like cole slaw, chia and other raw puddings, and cold cereals where adding stevia water will work.
(Note: If you don’t mind fine flecks, make it into a very fine powder and mix that right into baked goods, baked beans, oatmeal WHILE it’s HOT and cooking, and puddings. You will need enough liquid in there to draw out the sweetness. You will also have to experiment how much to use. Heat (steeping/baking) with moisture is what unlocks the sweetness. You can’t just add it when it’s cool or cold. It is sweet but not really VERY sweet just added as a cold herb.)
I discovered How to Use Dried Stevia Leaves as a Sweetener in Recipes for how to replace back the volume/bulk in baked goods, cereals, sauces, and and other dishes!
You can make ice cubes out of stevia water and freeze them.
I am still learning as I go, so it is sharpening my cooking and baking skills.
If there is color to the recipe, the slight green color of stevia water will not be a factor (as in the Kool-Aid), but if it is white you need, go with the THM Pure Stevia.
By taking pure stevia herb which is just naturally green stevia leaves that have been dried and steeped in boiling water, you can make a very sweet-tasting, calorie-free, sugar-free solution of stevia water. There are NO CHEMICALS or ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS involved in this extraction method, either. It does NOT raise blood sugar or insulin levels, and it is sweet, sweet!
Make Your Own Pure Stevia Water
- 1/2 cup pure dried stevia (homegrown or purchased)
- 2 cups NOT-QUITE BOILING filtered water
To make stevia water, dissolve 1/2 cup pure dried stevia leaves with 2 cups NOT-QUITE BOILING filtered water in a 2 c. glass measuring cup. Stir in leaves and leave out at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Once steeped and cool, strain the stevia out of the liquid and use or store the liquid stevia in the refrigerator.
If you are here for the first time, you may not know that I LOVE the Bulk Herb Store and their products. It is where I get my dried stevia leaves. They supply us with many excellent medicinal herbs and herbal blends (usually organic) along with a website designed to teach you to become an herbalist yourself!
Some Ideas On How To Sweeten Recipes:
Use liquid stevia in freezer jams and apple butter. You can reduce the amount of sugar required by half or more using stevia water. Do a taste test to find the sweetness you desire. For jams that are not runny (with too much water), you can make a super-super concentrate but steeping less water and more stevia leaves in that batch.
You can can with stevia, just as you can can with other artificial sweeteners. However, you need a special pectin to do it well. There’s a Ball no-sugar pectin, but probably the best choice is Pomona Pectin, which allows you to use as much or as little sugar as you prefer, or substitute other choices for sugar instead.
You can also Make Your Own Stevia Extract using vodka which keeps unrefrigerated for years:
Do you have a favorite stevia brand we should know about? What are you doing to decrease your sugar intake? Please share your thoughts in the comments 🙂
Thanks for reading!