I have always been a huge fan of sweet drinks. I put sweeteners in my teas, coffees, lemonades, etc., to satisfy my sweet tooth. After doing some research I realized how terrible for you a lot of these artificial sweeteners are. It is amazing how some of them, especially the ones that contain aspartame, even got approved by the FDA.
Recently my friend turned me on to a natural, alternative sweetener made from the Stevia plant. At first I was a bit skeptical because of how many products call themselves "natural" but when I looked into Stevia a little bit closer I realized how much better this sweetener is for you! Stevia is native to Paraguay and has been used for centuries without ANY side effects or health issues, but it has only recently been approved by the FDA as a diet supplement. And I say diet because Stevia has NO calories, NO carbs and NO glycemic index - ideal for just about anyone!
I've been using Stevia as a sweetener for my beverages for a little bit and have found that my favorite brand so far is SweetLeaf. It's the only product that has been approved as more than a supplement but as a food additive meaning it's safe to put in anything. On top of that, SweetLeaf has a wide range of products that suit any purpse. It can be used in hot drinks, cold drinks, is great on cereal, brings out flavors in fruits, can be used in cooking and baking, makes great-tasting desserts and is incredible in smoothies and blended drinks. I haven't tried anything yet that I like better and I definitely recommend it! Enjoy!
Also, I found these videos on Stevia and SweetLeaf while perusing YouTube if anyone wants to get more info:
I was very skeptical about using Stevia in place of real sugar. I refuse to use artificial sweeteners and was searching for a healthier, natural alternative to sugar. I have researched Stevia and apparently Stevia-based sweeteners have been used in Japan since the 1970s – ever since that country banned artificial sweeteners. To this date, after being used by tens of millions of people for more than 40 years, there has not been a single consumer complaint about Stevia.
I have been using the Sweetleaf brand for several months now and absolutely love it! You can now purchase it at any Whole Foods store.
This is my favorite drink recipe using Sweetleaf. A great summer drink, enjoy!
Mango Papaya Smoothie
This creamy treat is called Mango Lassi in India.
- 1 quart Mango or papaya juice or a blend
- 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1/3 to 1/2 Tsp SweetLeaf Stevia Extract Powder (to taste)
Mix the ingredients together in a blender until smooth
(Excerpted with permission from "Stevia: naturally sweet recipes for desserts, drinks and more!", by Rita DePuydt - Book Publishing Co.)