Go tell it on the Big Rock Candy Mountain
The 1st of February signals the end of sugar-free January, and it’s just around the corner. I know I’ll be grabbing a vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert on Wednesday. I also know I will not go crazy and binge like it’s 1999. It can seem tempting to indulge in all of the cravings you may have had for sugary sweet treats, but it may surprise you how your body will react. Keep this in mind when you’re grabbing a coffee on the weekend and you think “Oh nice! Now I can have a peppermint mocha instead of an Americano with cream”! Your body has been cleansed in a sense and the reintroduction of sugar on a moderate to massive scale could trigger things like headaches, fatigue and an increase in cravings for more sugary things. No, I’m not a doctor, but previous experience has shown me that it’s a quick downward spiral the moment you cease to consider the ramifications of the sugary indulgence. Hopefully this last month has shown you how many seemingly innocuous products contain sugar (like pretzels, ketchup and gum).
All is not lost in the sweets department though. Lots of people make a living by providing healthier alternatives to Standard American Diet (SAD) foods like candy and pop. Remember moderation, even with a “no calorie” drink like this Blue Sky Creamy Root Beer.
This drink is made with Truvia (a stevia-based sweetener). It’s a zero calorie, zero sugar, and zero net carb pop. It looks like there are only about 2 states that don’t sell it. I am one of those people who cannot stand the taste of artificial sweeteners, and I enjoyed this drink. I think it would make an amazing root beer float with vanilla frozen yogurt too.
Let’s talk Stevia for a second:
- What is it? Stevia is a plant (specifically, a member of the chrysanthemum family) native to portions of northeastern Paraguay. It has been used to sweeten foods and beverages like Yerba Mate for more than 200 years. It’s about 30-45 times sweeter than table sugar.
- Is it ok for diabetics? It registers as a 0 on the Glycemic Index.
- Is it gluten-free? Yes, it’s gluten-free.
Stevia is not approved by the FDA for anything other than “food additive” although stevia-based sweeteners are now approved for sale in the UK. I’m not saying that it’s a perfect sweetener or that it should become something you ingest all day every day. But if you are dealing with a hankering for pop that won’t go away then this might be a special treat. Stevia is insanely sweet and when using it in recipes I always use a pinch and go from there regardless of the amount recommended.
Don’t let Valentine’s Day undermine all of your hard work. Keep going sugar-free if you want! The only person in charge of you is YOU. Maybe encourage a friend by telling them about your experience, challenge yourself to see how long you can go sugar-free, or challenge yourself in the kitchen by experimenting with other sweeteners. Being sugar-free is a beautiful thing.