Two Related Topics
In the next few health posts, I will spend more time talking
about Jon Barry. He's an interesting guy, and certainly has a
lot of interesting things to say in the field of alternative
But first, I want to write today about the sweetener, Stevia.
This is actually a natural sweetener, not like aspartame,
Sweet and Low, or Sucralose varieties of sweeteners. It is
typically available as an extract and comes from a tropical plant
grown in South America. Stevia is widely used in South America
and in Asia as a natural sweetenr.
I've been reading about it for years, and have tried to get a
braille or recorded book of recipes, but to no avail yet.
However, there are plenty of recipes on the web, and the other
day I convinced Marvelena to try one. In this case, it was a
peanut butter pie.
Essentially, this is a fairly typical sort of graham cracker
crust with creamy filling pie. The main difference is that
instead of any sugar in the whipped cream or filling, stevia
extract is used.
So, how was it? Did it taste exactly like sugar? In all
fairness, I'd say not exactly. ALso, I might use a little less
stevia because in extract form, it's REALLY sweet, 300 times the
sweetness of sugar. To me, it had a slightly cloying taste but
nothing like the bitter, to me totally objectionable, aftertaste
of artificial sweeteners. The taste was good enough that it is
absolutely worth trying other recipes and experimenting with the
amount of stevia. In fact, as I copied down this recipe for the
blog posting, I have noticed that Marvelena misremembered the
stevia amounts and we added over twice as much as the recipe
calls for. No wonder I was thinking of reducing it!
Buying stevia isn't too difficult. Locally, it can be found
readily at Rainbow Grocery and Trader Jo's.
For the adventuresome, here is the recipe Marvelena used.
Peanutbutter Pie with Stevia
Serving Size: 1 slice â€¢ Total Servings: 8
1 cup (8 oz.) heavy cream
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. stevia extract
4 oz. NeufchÃ¢tel cream cheese, softened
½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
3/4 tsp. stevia extract
1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust (preferably Arrowhead
Mills brand because it has no hydrogenated oils or refined sugar)
1. Beat heavy cream, vanilla and stevia extract until stiff
peaks form. Set aside.
2. Fold cream cheese and peanut butter in
large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium
until well blended.
3. Add the 3/4 tsp. stevia extract and whipped cream > mixture
to the peanut butter/cheese mixture. Beat until smooth.
4. Place filling into pie crust and cover. Refrigerate or
freeze for at least 2 hours. Prior to serving, if frozen,
defrost on counter for about 30 minutes.
Now, back to Jon Barry. He is a formulator of a variety of
natural health products. I have been studying one in particular
because it is claimed to reduce blood sugar greatly and decrease
the body's resistance to insulin. Looking around his website,
http://www.jonbarry.com I ran across a fascinating article on
stevia. It also discusses the major commercial sweeteners used
as sugar replacements. Truly fascinating reading. His summary
statement will give a flavor of where he's coming from:
"One has to wonder why aspartame, sucralose, and high fructose
corn syrup -- all with proven major negative health effects --
are approved by regulatory agencies in the US, Canada, and Europe
and are currently in widespread use; whereas stevia is not. Not
to be cynical, but perhaps the companies behind aspartame,
sucralose, and high fructose corn syrup (G.D. Searle, Royal DSM,
Tate and Lyle, and ADM) have a political clout that small
independent stevia producers cannot muster for a non-patentable
natural sweetener. "
He also discusses an attempt by Cellestial Seasonings to use
Stevia in a brand of tea. The FDA came down on them very hard
for that. Thus, his final comment:
"Guys, as long as you approve aspartame, sucralose, and high
fructose corn syrup as healthy and refuse to allow stevia to be
used, calling it unsafe, despite all reasonable evidence to the
contrary, you will have no credibility among thinking people. It
is tantamount to an open admission that approval has nothing to
do with safety -- only what's bought and paid for."
Read the full discussion at:
The Stevia Shibbotleth: Baseline's Alternative Health Newsletter