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Sources for stevia

Anyone have any sources to share, for either liquid or powdered stevia? I just got a surprising medical update from my doctor: "you're fat." In my efforts to cheat the system, and still eat delicious baked goods, I read up on stevia, which is apparently "all natural," boosts your pancreas' health, and is basically indistinguishable from sugar in flavor (though is much more concentrated).

Any leads on no-cholesterol heritage pig breeds would also be accepted.

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  1. I've seen it just in ordinary grocery stores around here, and at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Some common brand names are Truvia and PureVia,

    2 Replies
    1. re: fesenjan

      I would steer clear of the recent commercially marketed "Truvia" and "PureVia". They are NOT 100% pure stevia, and have other ingredients (including erythritol, which can cause digestive disturbance in alot of folks). If you want to use stevia, buy 100% pure, not these marketed, bastardized versions.

      1. re: Science Chick

        Agreed. Until recently, it has been illegal to market stevia as a sweetener, so it's been grouped in the nutritional supplement aisle. That's why you've never seen it as in diet sodas. PureVia and Truvia are proprietary patents by CocaCola and PepsiCo and are the only brands allowed to be sold as sweeteners. They are not all natural (if they were they couldn't be patented). It's food politics 101. The real thing is still in the nutrition section of WFM and health food stores. That said, as much as I like the concept of stevia, I don't really like the taste.

    2. Both TJs and WF carry it. However, it is not indistinguishable from sugar. It has an odd aftertaste and a somewhat sweet affect, but somehow less satisfying than other sweetners IMO. However, more concentrated in terms of sweetness doesn't begin to suffice. It is SO strong that a tiny pinch replaces a 1/4 cup sugar (see this link: http://www.steviashop.com/additionalu...), so as far as baking goes it isn't a very good substitute (weight/mass-wise) and my experience is that the texture of baked goods gets thrown off considerably. However, dissolved in a beverage, say, it might be ok. I suggest buying a little bit and experimenting. I've never been that successful with it, and have switched most of my baking recipes to agave instead. Still a sugar, but more complex so no sugar "rush and crash".

      1. For questions like this, I call Deborah's Natural Gourmet health food store in West Concord. The staff is very knowledgeable, much more so than you'll find at WF to TJ's.

        1. Thanks for all the recs. I'm going to give it a try, but don't hold out a lot of hope if there's a nasty aftertaste - I can't stand the taste of equal, splenda, etc., and this stuff sounds like it could be worse in that department. I am also going to try agave nectar, which I've used in drinks, but not for baking yet. I hear maple syrup's a "good" sugar too, but I remember a prior thread where someone mentioned that agave nectar essentially converts into "bad" sugar when heated.

          Incidentally, I also saw that A New Leaf in Needham (and I think they have a couple other locations) has stevia in a number of forms, so I think I'll finally stop in and check them out. I've only been in once to get a smoothie, which was pretty good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nsenada

            I saw fresh stevia leaves at the Boston Food Show and was curious how one uses it.

          2. Can't help with the Stevia. However, I just signed up for the Houde Family Farm Meat Share CSA and they have wonderful pork from heritage pigs. You can get a pork-only share according to their sign-up sheet and they deliver to your doorstep, though their beef is quite yummy too (and grass fed). If you search the board you can read a few good mentions of them. I am wonderfully pleased with our first shipment.

            http://houdefamilyfarm.com/index_file...

            6 Replies
            1. re: Ladycale

              nsenada, there's been a fair amount of discussion here in the past of meat CSAs and the like. I don't know if they all use heritage breeds, but Houde does. However, I've never heard of heritage breeds being no-cholesterol. Is this a certain type of breed? The pork we get from Houde is Tamworth, I believe, and on the fatty side... which I love, but I'm not sure that's what you're looking for.

              1. re: Chris VR

                Not sure if you mean "lower in fat" rather than "no cholesterol". All animal protein has cholesterol. It isn't in the fat, actually, it is in the flesh (meat).

                1. re: Science Chick

                  Yeah, I'm confused as well, hopefully nsenada will clarify.

                  1. re: Chris VR

                    Was just joking - the stuff I'd been hearing about Stevia made it sound too good to be true - like a no cholesterol pig!

                    1. re: nsenada

                      Hee-hee......sorry I missed the joke! You'd be surprised how many people really believe things like this are a possibility!

                      1. re: nsenada

                        Ahhh. Duh :-) I'm in a dumb place this week!

              2. Thanks for all the recs. Got a small amount of powder at Trader Joe's in Needham. I mixed it into some peanut butter and agave nectar to boost the sugar in some granola I made. Seemed to boost the sweetness without too much nasty aftertaste. I am going to try to experiment with it "straight," perhaps making a small batch of oatmeal-blueberry muffins with it. I made the mistake of trying a small amount on my tongue. Blechhh. Definitely reminded me of equal.

                -----
                Trader Joe's
                1427 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                4 Replies
                1. re: nsenada

                  On CH recommendations, I bought Sweet Leaf online. It's pure stevia, but still has a distinct minty aftertaste which is, to me, stronger than that of Equal or Splenda. It was not much better than the older version which Trader Joe's sold some years ago.

                  I also tried Sun Crystals, a stevia/cane sugar blend, which I found in Market Basket. The aftertaste was strong.

                  I do like the Trader Joe's agave nectar. It's got calories but doesn't spike blood sugar as much as sugar does. I typically sweetened my morning mug of decaf with a packet of Splenda and an eighth tsp of sugar to counteract aftertaste, and found that a few drops of agave, instead of the sugar, will also do the trick when using Splenda. However, agave is a pricey way to go if you need more than a spoonful here and there.

                  I think Stevia would be more suitable as a sweetener for ice tea or lemonade, where the minty thing would me more acceptable. People's palates differ, and that is further compounded by certain prescription meds, so don't assume any of these recommendations will necessarily hold true for you.

                  1. re: nsenada

                    i really don't like the TJ's stevia - i returned it after one taste.

                    my favorite brand is KAL. it's extremely potent, but once you get the hang of it to measure out the right amount, it's got the cleanest flavor of all the ones i've tried...and i'm pretty sure i've tried practically every brand on the market over the years :) the liquid is easier to control, and the flavor is not quite as strong. the powder can also be tricky to dissolve unless you're adding it to hot liquid.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Thanks for the tip! Yeah, I have the TJs one and never liked it at all. Maybe I'll try the KAL stuff!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Yeah, I threw out the one I bought at TJ's - should have returned it. Awful stuff.

                        Has anyone tried Whey Low? It's seems to only be available by mail in the Boston area, at least for now:

                        http://www.wheylow.com/

                        I want to try it, but it's not cheap - with the shipping it'd be crazy expensive for me, especially since I haven't tried it. I desperately need to cheat the system, too.