I have a confession to make. I am probably one of the few people in the United States who, until a few weeks ago, had never used Stevia.
Why? Well, over the years, I have pretty much weaned myself from sugar. I know we have some in the kitchen, but in all honesty, I could not tell you where it is.
It’s not that hard to eliminate sugar if you really want to. I started with coffee. When I was young, like most people, I routinely put two spoonfuls of sugar in my cup of coffee. And milk. I decided to cut back, and switched from two spoonfuls to one. After a week or so, I got used to the taste. So then I switched from one spoonful to none. After a few more weeks, I was happy with the taste of coffee totally unsweetened. I switched from whole milk to skim milk. Now, I rarely even put milk of any type into my coffee. And I drink a lot of coffee. In fact, I drink strong coffee, having switched to one of those “espresso” type machines with the encapsulated coffee doses.
So I drink my espresso black and unsweetened, and I enjoy it that way.
Another weakness recently overcome was our long-time use of artificially sweetened soda–cola, lemon-lime, etc. In recent years, we had been cutting back on this type of beverage, switching to iced tea and plain water, but we still wanted that carbonation “kick.” So we bought one of those devices that utilizes a container of carbon dioxide gas to let you make your own “seltzer water.” We have had it for several weeks now, and it seems to work fine. We no longer buy artificially sweetened soda.
I feel good about this, for two reasons. On the one hand, I have eliminated many unhealthy items from my diet–sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, phosphates, etc. On the other hand, at the same time, I am maintaining, if not increasing, my daily fluid intake. This is important, as many of us fail to drink the proper amount of fluids. The importance of this was made painfully clear to me when I had a couple of experiences with kidney stones some years back.
Which leads to another change I have made. I now keep a bottle of water, or an oversized cup, with me at my desk throughout the day. It reminds me to drink, and maintain optimal hydration. I’ve mentioned this before, as I use this as a way to increase my daily antioxidant supplementation as well. Each time I fill up the bottle, I squirt one dropper full of Phyto-Tech Antiox Phyto Blend into the water. This product consists of a blend of antioxidant-rich extracts of acai, mangosteen, pomegranate, and goji. As you might expect, it imparts a slight, mild berry-fruit flavor to the water, and is an excellent way to squeeze additional vitamins and antioxidant supplementation into your daily regimen.
I think it tastes fine just as it is. But, to my surprise, my wife doesn’t like it. Which brings me back to Stevia.
We recently expanded our line of Stevia products at Willner Chemists, adding six flavored liquid Stevia products–vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, lemon, orange and peppermint. As I said, I had never even tried Stevia–flavored or unflavored. But now I was curious. Would the addition of Stevia to my antiox cocktail make it more palatable to my wife and others? Would stevia make my espresso taste better? Would a few drops of flavored Stevia turn my home made seltzer water into a tasty beverage?
So I began to experiment with Stevia. My first mistake was to underestimate it’s potency. I used too much, and found that, for my taste, anything more than one or two drops was too much. It’s amazing just how effective Stevia is as a sweetener.
I’m sipping an espresso (Fortissio Lungo) right now, sweetened with 1-2 drops of the Phyto-Tech Stevia-Vanilla. It’s just right, with just enough sweetness to mellow out the strong coffee, but not too much.
The same can be said for my Antiox Phyto Blend dilution. Adding one or two drops of Stevia (I like the Cinnamon flavor for this purpose) to the bottle of water with a dropper full of Phyto-Tech Antiox Phyto Blend, brings out the nice berry flavor.
For me, one drop of the Stevia is fine. If you are accustomed to more sweetness, you might need more. It will take some experimentation for you to find the amount, and perhaps the flavors, that suite your taste. If you have not tried Stevia, I urge you to do so. Check out the special offer in the reference notes below.
(1) For those of you who, like me, enjoy a good espresso, but do not have any interest in cappuccino, frappuccinos, frothy milk, warmers or similar bells and whistles, take a look at the Nespresso Essenza model. It makes a true espresso, in regular and “double” (Lungo) sizes, using their capsules, at a relatively moderate price. Shop around. I bought mine at Amzaon, when it was on sale.
(2) The seltzer machine is called “Sodastream.” We have had it for several weeks now, and it seems to be working fine. Like the espresso machine, where you have to buy the capsules, in this case you will want to buy spare plastic bottles, and you have to purchase carbon dioxide refills. But it is cheaper, and more convenient, in the long run, than buying bottles of soda from the grocery store.
(3) To encourage you to try the new flavored Stevia products, Willner Chemists is running a limited time deal. It is a true “buy one, get another at half-price” deal. Why do I say “true?” Usually, when you see a deal like this advertised, they base it on the list, or suggested retail pricing. Well, our normal pricing on these items at Willner Chemists is 20% off list price. So our “buy one, get another at one-half price” is based on our usual, discount price, not the retail price! It really is a good deal. Try it, you’ll like it.
Here is a link to the details. (http://www.willner.com/news.aspx?id=43)