Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Are I Healthy Yet?

Powdered stevia leaves. It has the nasal tinge of bent grass or possibly fine fescue, but it is sweet!

Powdered stevia leaves. It has the nasal tinge of bent grass or possibly fine fescue, but it is sweet!

I’ve been trying to wean myself off sugar for awhile (for health reasons) and that doesn’t mean going to the artificials like Saccharin. When I worked in the local hardware store, they had a $1 section that offered a good amount of it, and I found that it was very handy for wiping out ant mounds. It’s sweet, they love it, they pass it around, and it kills them all in short order. I take that as a message, myself.

So I went to stevia-based products, since real stevia is actually good for you (in small amounts) while sugar is definitely not. (But sugar is still “less bad” for you than the artificials.) Trouble is, all the “Stevia” products in the grocery stores, like Truvia, are doctored-up crap that are high in the “not good” factor. I’m not on a mission to educate here, but just saying what I found as I researched alternatives.

One product that seems the most direct equivalent is

Stevita, available online. I have actually tried Xyla by Xylitol USA, made from the sap of birch trees(??), and it is excellent, so you may want to check that out as well. I also upped the weirdness factor by purchasing a pound of ground stevia leaves to experiment with. Unprocessed, unadulterated. It’s grown in the U.S. and bred to minimize a bitter aftertaste common to stevia. I got it from Raw Life. This is a true powder, and at two teaspoons equalling a cup of sugar, is most suitable for smoothies (which I don’t make), baking (which I don’t currently do), and blending your own teas (ditto). But there’s no rule saying you can’t simply add it to water, iced or hot tea, coffee, etc. It’s just that, despite it being a very fine powder, it imparts its sweetness to the fluid, but doesn’t technically dissolve. It’s not crystals. There isn’t much left at the bottom of the glass, but if you want all its benefits, you need it all, since you aren’t adding much. I normally use more than a teaspoon of sugar in coffee or tea, but just dipping the very tip of a small spoon into the ground stevia does it for me.

The only strange thing about it is that it may or may not impart a very slight green tinge to your beverage, and you may catch a whiff of new-mown grass when you open the stevia container. I’m using the word “strange” instead of “drawbacks” because the color means nothing to me, and I kinda like the scent of cut grass. As far as taste goes, it’s sweet and devoid of any bitterness that I can pick up on. It’s odd in that its sweetness doesn’t wallop like sugar, yet in something like instant iced tea, it takes that dry edge off the tea taste that calls for sugar. it works, but without the bravado.

The flat bag it came in made it look like it wasn’t much at all, at one pound. When I figured out that a ziplock bag wasn’t going to cut it for everyday usage, I started pouring it into an extra one-pint Mason jar that its brethren are tasked with storing and re-humidifying pipe tobacco inside. I don’t yet know how long ground stevia lasts, but this may work and is less messy to use. I was surprised when that fine powder then filled two additional pint jars. At my rate of usage, this may last awhile. So there you go.

I was taught in sculpture class decades ago that the juxtaposition of opposing elements is the basis of one form of humor. I might be pushing it here, though.

I was taught in sculpture class decades ago that the juxtaposition of opposing elements is the basis of one form of humor. I might be pushing it here, though.

The above photo is the sticker from a tattoo shop that my son and his bride used to work at. Both are now knee-deep in the process of setting up their own body art place closer to home, along with a couple of relatively heavy hitters to help the draw. I’m very proud to say that both of my offspring (as well as their spouses) are notably brighter than I was at any given age, and that if any such shop is going to have a shot at succeeding without later derailing, it’s going to be this one. Anyway, I am amused by exaggeration and combining opposites, and when I friend supplied me with some My Little Pony stickers just for this task, I took the opportunity. It looks ridiculous. And no, I applied the stickers before I tried the ground stevia for the first time, thank you.

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4 thoughts on “Are I Healthy Yet?

  1. Virginia on said:

    Oh jeez Dad. I love you, but I’m definitely not brighter than you. I’d be proud to be as bright as you though. And kudos for educational information on less-horrible-for-you sugar alternatives! Cut grass reminds me of spring and summer, which even a whiff of would do wonders in this Midwest chill right about now. I’ll have to give it a whirl sometime.

    • Street smarts! Without that, the formal edumacation or brain wattage available is of very limited value. I’m book-smart, which means I can summarize useless facts while I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. BTW, I just added Xylitol to the post as something else to check out.

  2. John Worzalla on said:

    Hey Doug, Have been enjoying your posts and it is always interesting when you move on to a new topic. I noticed your comment on the toxicity of saccharin for ants and that reminded me that xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs (Google “xylitol toxicity dogs”) so that is info that people who own dogs need to be aware of since a few sticks of sugarless gum that contains xylitol can be deadly for a dog. – – Binx

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