About 8 years ago, I made the switch from regular sugar in my coffee and tea to artificial sweetener. I also switched from my lifelong obsession, Dr. Pepper, to a new obsession, Diet Dr. Pepper. I did all of this after I counted up the number of calories I was wasting by drinking them away. LOTS!
A few years ago, I began hearing all of this negativity surrounding artificial sweeteners. Although there were concerns, I kind of pushed them out of my mind.
I convinced myself that I wasn’t convinced that artificial sweeteners were less than 100 percent safe.
It all stepped into the light for me one day when one of my daughters asked where I kept my “pink packets” because she wanted to start flavoring her tea with those instead of sugar. I found myself saying, in my best mother hen voice, “You know, they aren’t known to be 100 percent safe. If you’re wanting to cut back on sugar, just use less. Or, use a little honey with lemon.”
Then, just as she reached for the honey and I began to cut up a lemon for her, the question came that I knew was headed for me, “So, when are you going to stop using the pink packets?” Um, er, I, uh— What was the question again?
You know that moment when the student becomes the teacher? Yeah, I hate that moment.
Stevia, Enter Stage Right
While I’ve never minded being a mother hen, I refuse to be a hypocritical one.
My husband found a box of Stevia packets (in the vitamin aisle at Wal-Mart) last week. I’ve been using them in my coffee and tea, and since I know I’d allow my girls to use them, I obviously trust Stevia completely.
Stevia not only lacks the “warnings” and “worries” that come with the artificial sweeteners, it has countless nutritional experts praising its health benefits.
Health Benefits of Stevia:
- Aids diabetics and hypoglycemics. I actually first read about Stevia when I was researching ways to prevent diabetes. Diabetes runs in my family, so I was looking for ways my daughters could begin actively preventing this disease. Stevia was high on the list of preventive herbs, foods, etc. Apparently stevia helps stabalize blood sugar levels.
- Stevia is a digestive aid – lessens bouts of gas and stomach acidity.
- Stevia lowers elevated blood pressure in those with hypertension but it has no adverse effect on those with normal blood pressure.
- Stevia, naturally, increases energy.
- Stevia increases mental activity.
- Stevia’s been shown to lessen gum disease and tooth decay. People have actually reported improved oral health after diluting Stevia with water and using it regularly as a mouth rinse.
- Stevia has even been used as a beauty treatment! Whole stevia concentrates are applied as a facial mask. Users report softened and tightened skin as well as less noticable wrinkles.
- Stevia, added to shampoo, is said to eliminate dandruff.
- Stevia concentrate is also effective when used on seborrhea, dermatitis, and eczema.
- Reportedly, cuts and scratches heal more rapidly when stevia concentrate is applied.
- Stevia soothes upset stomachs.
- Stevia reportedly reduces the cravings for sweets and fatty foods.
Grab some stevia as soon as you can and give it a try. It’ll take a few cups (or glasses) to adjust your taste buds – at least it will if you’re used to artificial sweeteners. Stevia tastes sweeter to me, so I don’t add a whole packet to my cup. It makes it last longer AND I actually prefer it now. By far.
I’d love to see Dr. Pepper find a way to sweeted their diet drinks with Stevia. I’d be home free.