Learn which stevia products to trust and which to refrain from.
People love stevia as a natural, zero calorie sweetener. You can find so many stevia products out there these days: liquid stevia, granulated stevia, and stevia baking blends. Is it all the same? If not, how can we sift through all of that? Stevia used to take up a small section on the grocery store shelf, but now almost every store carries it and the natural sweetener section is large! I thought it would be great for you to have a quick guide on the good and the bad stevia products out there, so let’s get to it!
First, the best and safest stevia product I found was green leaf or whole leaf stevia. It is probably the least processed of all of the commercial stevia products available. Manufacturers essentially dry and ground the whole stevia leaf. This type of stevia adheres the most to the Paleo lifestyle. Stevia extracts are debuting on the market as well. The companies that make these extracts target the less bitter of the two sweetener compounds to place in their products.
Sadly, most of the sweeteners that claim to be stevia actually use a complicated extract process many times removed from the actual stevia plant. This goes for the well-known brands like Truvia and Stevia in the Raw. So, I encourage you to try whole leaf stevia if you choose to sweeten your drinks and food with a sweetener besides honey or natural syrups.
If you like to garden, growing stevia is just as easy as growing any other herb. If you want to get into gardening, growing herbs is a great place to start. You'll want to pick up some seedlings at a trusted plant nursery and plant them about two feet apart after the last expected frost for your area. These plants grow 2-3 feet tall, and can get kind of bushy. Make sure to keep their soil well-drained. You can definitely plant your stevia in pots, just drill extra drainage holes in the bottoms of your pots! You will most likely want 3-5 plants for a year's supply of fresh and dried stevia. With proper care, your stevia plants will draw back during the winter and return every spring, providing you with sweet, calorie-free leaves.