Can you believe Lent started more than a week ago? That means I broke up with sugar 10 days ago, and let me tell you—I miss it! Though I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with it so far, I’ve definitely had some cravings here and there for something sweet. Luckily, I’ve been able to handle everything so far, and I feel great! I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of my journey goes.
For those of you who are trying to cut refined sugar out of your diet, stevia is a great alternative that’s starting to gain popularity. You might have heard of Truvia or Stevia in the Raw, two brands that sell stevia extracts. Is none of this ringing a bell? No worries—read on!
A natural sweetener, stevia extract is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. (Source)
Stevia is a leafy green herb native to South America and has been used by people in that region of the world for centuries. Hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar, stevia extract does not influence blood sugar levels and is virtually calorie-free. The natural sweetener is sold in both powder and liquid forms, but try to buy those that are green or brown in color—the white or clear versions are much more refined.
Because stevia extract is so much sweeter than refined sugar, substituting it in baking isn’t done with a 1:1 ratio. If you’re using 100 percent stevia extract, replace every one cup of sugar with one teaspoon of stevia extract. It’s crazy, I know! Before following this rule, however, be sure to check the package of whatever brand you bought—some of them have different instructions.
Baking with stevia can be tricky at first, so don’t get frustrated if your first batch of stevia-sweetened cupcakes don’t turn out perfectly. It’s important to note that you might notice a bit of an aftertaste, similar to that of licorice. Don’t think baking exclusively with stevia is for you? Try a blend of stevia and white sugar, and remember that any reduction of white sugar is better than none!
Are you willing to try stevia? If you give it a go, let me know what you think!