Most of us crave sweets, but let’s face it, processed sugar doesn’t do us any good. It adds empty calories without any beneficial nutrients, and sugar has been linked to a variety of ailments including candidiasis, hyperactivity, and some types of diabetes. Sugar Blues, by William Duffy, is an excellent book about the problems associated with refined sugar.
The fastest way to kick the sugar habit is by replacing processed sugar with nature’s sweetener: stevia. The term ‘stevia’ in this chapter refers exclusively to stevioside products, such as pure stevioside, stevia blend, or packets. You can substitute stevia in your favorite recipes by following a few simple tips. Since stevia extracts are so highly concentrated, a little goes a long way – you can replace a whole cup of sugar with just a small amount of stevia. Be sure and follow our conversion charts carefully for the best results.
If you are dairy or lactose-intolerant, try replacing the milk with Almond Milk (see Index), soy milk, or rice milk (both soy milk and rice milk are available at health stores). Vegetable milks work well, but store-bought vegetable milks often have added sugar, so read the labels carefully.
Beverages: This is the easiest place to use stevia. A few drops of clear liquid extract or a pre-measured packet can replace the sugar in traditionally sugar-laden drinks like iced or hot teas, coffee, lemonade, and pre-mixed drink powders.
Yeast Bread: A common misconception is that yeast breads won’t rise without sugar to act as a catalyst. However, bread can rise with just the flour to feed the yeast; this process just takes longer.
Quick Breads: As with cakes, stevia-sweetened quick breads tend not to rise as well as conventionally sweetened breads. We have made adjustments in the amounts of baking powder or soda in our recipes to give you amazingly delicious sugar-free muffins and breads.
ADDING THE STEVIOSIDE: THE KEY TO GOOD TASTE (See chapter 2 for essential information about stevioside)
The final secret to successful cooking with this herb is using a quality stevioside product and carefully blending it with all other ingredients. Stevia blends (see Types of Stevia, Chapter 2) are the easiest to work with. If you use a bit too much, it won’t ruin the recipe. However, pure stevioside is so concentrated that you must measure carefully; just a pinch too much and your wonderful creation may only be fit to feed to the garbage can. We recommend thoroughly mixing pure stevioside with the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients, or completely dissolving the stevioside in one of the liquid ingredients (stevioside dissolves faster in warm liquids). Cooking with clear liquid stevioside is generally not recommended because its sweetness varies so greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Whatever the type of stevia extract used, thoroughly combine it with all the other ingredients or your baked goods may not turn out as you expect.