6 Tips to Really Love Stevia

Don't Like Stevia? Here are 6 Surprising Tips to help you Change Your Mind!

{Today, Candace from Candida Free Candee joins us again. If you don’t LOVE stevia, then this is the post for you! This time, she is sharing some super-helpful tips to help you love stevia–even if you think there’s no way you will. Don’t turn your back on stevia just yet…..}

Are you a stevia lover?

Do you wish you were?

Do you wish you could enjoy all the pros of stevia without the palate-intruding cons?

Well look no further! Today I am going to share with you some tips and tricks that will help you enjoy each and every trip you take to Stevia-land! Read on to learn more.

When I first heard about Stevia, I was ecstatic. I thought it was a godsend to my candida-ridden body.

What is Stevia?

1.  Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant and can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. {From Adrienne–as such, stevia can be pretty hard to use in recipes. Check out How to Use Stevia here.}

2.  Stevia is a zero calorie sweetener that does not contain any sugar or carbohydrates, nor does it feed candida.

3.  Easy on your digestion–stevia lacks the unpleasant tummy-lurching side effects that are a characteristic of some other non-candida feeding sweeteners.

4.  Stevia comes in many forms with varying amounts of processing. Among theses are: homemade extracts, liquid or powder extracts and ground stevia.

- Homemade extracts, also known as “teas”, are made by steeping the leaves of the stevia plant, which can often be found at local greenhouses.
- Liquid or powdered extracts are made by using either water or alcohol to extract two types of glycosides from the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevioside and rebaudioside A).  {Here’s a super simple way to make Homemade Liquid Stevia–on the cheap.}
- The third process simply involves the grinding of dried stevia leaves into a green powder with no extraction process.

I remember taking that first bite of baking prepared with this new (to me) and exciting sweetener with delicious thoughts dancing through my head of treats that had been off-limits for so long.

Well, was I ever disappointed! My palette was bombarded with a strong, unpleasant flavour and bitter aftertaste. What had I just put in my mouth? I was thoroughly displeased, and quite defeated. Fighting candida exhausted me and ignoring my sweet cravings was getting to me.

Well, I thought, I’ll just have to live without sweets for a while longer. That turned out to be waay too tough, so much so that I thought I’d try stevia again, this time a different brand. And again it was gross. The only thing that irritated me more than the awful taste was that it seemed some people couldn’t taste it at all! I watched in awe as my father-in-law devoured half a plate of stevia brownies all the while raving about how good they were!

Well, I decided I was going to make myself enjoy stevia if it was the last thing I did. So everyday I ate a piece of the remaining brownies with the hopes that eventually I would not be able to taste it either.

Right? Wrong.

The experiment lasted a couple of weeks in which I saw no improvement. I knew I had to try a different approach if I was going to learn to love it.

I am now a huge stevia fan and you can find it in almost every dessert recipe I make. It took a little time and effort but it was well worth it, as stevia is now my sole sweetener and probably will be (other than fruit) for a long time. Yes, I like it that much. In honor of my affection for stevia, I put together some tips and tricks to help you go from hate to love painlessly, so you too can enjoy a refined, sugar-free lifestyle!

Tips to Love Stevia

1. Don’t go cold turkey.

I mean it. It seems like a good idea but it isn’t (for most people). This is the one valuable piece of information I gleaned from a desperate google search for which I literally typed “how to make yourself like stevia”.

Don’t one day decide to put it in everything, on everything and use only stevia until you love it. In my experience, you’ll hate every moment and feel the same way about it as you did at the start. You may be likely give up just like me with a bad taste–literally–in your mouth.

2. Get the good stuff.

Stevia extracts are not created equal. I have purchased my share of brands and while some are palatable, others just don’t make the cut. However, as you learn to like stevia you will likely be more tolerant of even the most unpalatable brands. Luckily, some are just delicious and a great place to start.

My personal favorite is new NuNaturals. Sadly, they had to change their formula, but I still enjoy it. I am however, always on the lookout for new options. Having said that, NuNaturals still has a smooth flavour with minimal to no aftertaste. What I do detect in aftertaste in the new formula is also pleasant, and after a few uses went away completely. This stevia has been a godsend to me!

Do a little experimenting. Try liquid and powder (I prefer liquid) and find what tastes the best on your palate. Some stores will let you return your purchase if you don’t like it–so be sure to ask!

One word of caution when choosing your stevia is to check the ingredients!

Some stevias (especially the baking mixes) have added fillers and ingredients, like maltodextrin, (which is not good for candida). And some, shockingly, even have sugar in them. Yes, straight up refined sugar. My poor mother-in-law slaved away on a birthday cake for me using a stevia baking mix with sugar in it. I felt just awful, but I just couldn’t eat it! The mixes with sugar might be an OK short term option if you’re learning to like stevia (see tip #4) but I believe there are better options for your overall health.

3. Be patient.

I’ve mentioned that most people find that stevia has a distinctive taste. Some find it slightly unpleasant, while others are oblivious. Just be aware that it can be an acquired taste, and the more you try it, the less you will taste it.

4. Start gradually and cut it to mask the flavour.

Ok, this is my secret trick. Until you are used to the flavour/aftertaste, depending on the brand you’ve chosen, cut the stevia.What I mean by this is don’t use stevia as the only sweetener in your recipe. Instead, use some stevia along with a bit of another sweetener like honey, maple syrup, fruit juice, coconut sugar, molasses, xylitol (if you have candida), whatever you like, but do try to use your healthiest option available.

The reason being is when stevia is mixed with another sweetener the taste is greatly reduced and often not even noticeable. This is also true when there is fruit in the recipe, like an apple crisp or oatmeal raisin cookies. The stevia is much less, if at all, noticeable.

Slowly, steadily, each subsequent time you prepare something, decrease the other choice sweetener and increase the stevia with the goal of cutting out the other sweetener completely over time. Trust me, you will reach a point where you will be using all stevia but cannot taste it anymore. Seriously.

5. Stay committed.

It may take a little time, a little experimentation and a little searching for the brand that works for you, but let me tell you, it will all be worth it when you pick up a “sugar” cookie, or a bite of ice cream sweetened only with stevia and you enjoy it as much as the “real” thing. So worth it, my friends, so worth it!

6. Freeze it.

If you added too much stevia to a recipe or if the taste is too strong don’t throw out your hard work, instead, freeze it for a day or two (letting it sit in the fridge works well too). I don’t know the science behind it but for some reason putting it in the freezer dissipates unpleasantness resulting from too much stevia. So glad I discovered this early on in my stevia-loving journey, as I would have wasted a whole lot of money tossing perfectly good food!

There you have it, my tips for teaching yourself to like stevia. I hope you all will be enjoying some of my stevia-sweetened homemade Dairy-free fudgesicles and Sugar-free Lemonade soon!

Do you like stevia? Have you tried any of these tips?

CandaceCandace is a stay-at-home-mom, wife, graphic designer and food lover. She loves to make healthy, whole foods that are dairy free and candida friendly. She loves being a mom and is passionate about parenting, living healthy and helping others do the same. She shares her recipes and candida fighting tactics at: candidafreecandee.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Shared at Real Food Forager, Time Warp Wife, Chef in Training, Intentionally Domestic, Growing Home, Nap Time Creations, Far Above Rubies, We Are that Family, Frugally Sustainable, The Nourishing Gourmet, and Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Comments

    Speak Your Mind

    *

  1. Any tips for those who seem to be sensitive to stevia? I am currently doing the FODMAPS thing. I know stevia is not included in that polyol list but it seems to do the same thing to me as xylitol. I did read some where that if you are allergic to ragweed (which of course I am!) that you can be sensitive to stevia. I don’t like to use honey or dates as I don’t want the sugar and I don’t like the taste anyway!! (I did try mixing stevia with pumpkin as I think you suggested to mimic date paste and it worked out very well! Thanks!!) Your website is great and must bookmark at least an article a day!!

    • Hi Laura. I am going to chime in but maybe Candace has an idea or 2. I thought I was allergic to stevia but turns out I am not. I fought it for a long time, and I am allergic to ragweed. First of all, tell me what happens. Second, are you using a really clean brand? I would consider NuNaturals to be that and I am looking at other brands that only process with water. Third, are you using pure extract with no fillers?

      I LOVE dates and honey – you are very fortunate :).

      Thanks for the kind words.

    • Hi Laura,
      What symptoms do you experience? Also what fruits are you allowed to eat? I am not completely familiar with FODMAPS but are you able to eat apple or grape juice? I agree with Adrienne that trying a clean brand of stevia, if you have not, would be a good first option.

  2. I loved the Nunaturals brand (old formula) haven’t tried the new because of all the reactions to it. But I have tried KAL stevia extract powder and LOVE it!!! It is also VERY reasonably priced….lasts for a long time! I also use the Stevita liquid as well…

    • I have heard great things about the flavour of KAL and am excited to try it out! Thanks so much for tip!

    • I’ve tried them all and always go back to KAL. I need less and there’s no aftertaste.

      • I heard it’s a new formulation and that it’s not as good. Thoughts?

        • It depends on when they changed the formulation. I haven’t purchased any in the last couple of months because it lasts so long and I use the NuNaturals mixed with erythritol for baking because it’s cheaper and the erythritol covers the aftertaste. I do know that they changed the label about a year ago and I didn’t notice any difference in the product.

  3. I’m wondering if you can take the green powder from the ground leaves and soak it in water or do a light boil to extract the sweetness, then strain out the powder, leaving liquid sweetner?

  4. I love Stevia. I do mix it up with other sweeteners, too. I have a Stevia plant in my herb garden. I’ve tried making my own liquid Stevia and it worked okay. I had to use quite a bit of liquid to sweeten my glass of tea though. Once, I boiled way too many leaves (about 100) and make a liquid. I used about 1/4 cup for 1 glass of tea and my stomach did not like that strength. I’ve learned to go easy on my homemade liquid. :)

    I do love the store bought liquids that I buy. Our favorites…natural flavor, root beer, and lemon. I’ve been using it lately to sweeten my morning oatmeal. I do need to learn to cook with it. I just haven’t taken the time to figure out how to actually bake with it. I think I’ll give some of your recipes a try!

    Thanks for posting!

    P.S. I don’t really use my blog. I added it because I couldn’t post without putting in a website addy.

  5. I find that a dairy milk (my favorite being goats milk) and the stevia flavors go really well together. I think the fat molecules in the milk fill out the back end of the taste, where the stevia bitterness appears. I recommend having one cup of goats milk and one scoop of stevia to start on a stevia loving journey. :)

  6. NuNaturals is my favorite too. One warning about Stevia though, if you have low blood pressure, you may want to avoid this. My mom’s blood pressure goes so low after eating even just a little bit of something with stevia that she feels ill.
    On the bright side, if you have high blood pressure, by all means enjoy!!

  7. So glad I’m not the only one who finds stevia to be bitter sometimes! I use a powdered type in my morning coffee with heavy cream, and I think the sweet/creaminess of the cream helps mask the bitterness. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal says:

    I already do love and use Stevia a lot :) This is great.

  9. Do you know why NuNaturals had to change their formula? They are my favorite brand too and I’m not sure if I have tried their new formula yet (I bought a bunch almost a year ago and am just nearing the tail end of my supply) but you’re making me nervous!! ;) Were there legal reasons?
    I recently tried the Sweetdrops liquid which I had read good reviews for and I just can’t get past the aftertaste :( I’m awaiting my shipment of liquid NuStevia from Vitacost and hoping it restores my morning coffee to its previous splendor!

    • In a letter from the company it states that the old stevia isn’t available to them any more. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel like finding out :). (following is an affiliate link, just so you know) This is one of the brands I am trying and I really like it so far….haven’t tried this flavor (I have a little more work to do) but I think you will like it.

  10. I am glad to learn that I am not the only one who didn’t like stevia at first taste. It doesn’t taste sweet to me. I have mostly tried it in tea and coffee, and no matter how many times I tried it, I just didn’t like it. I recently began making kefir, and – wonder of wonders – I like stevia in it! I couldn’t believe it.

  11. Adrienne, since it was announced yesterday on the Facebook private group for Trim Healthy Mama, I thought I’d let you know that Pearl and Serene will be selling their own version of pure stevia extract soon within the next few months. I’ve sampled it, and it is even better than the old NuNaturals brand. Keep an eye out for this information, because I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is! I was so disappointed to learn that NuNaturals and KAL changed their formulation, but now I’m excited to be able to use this new product from Trim Healthy Mama in the future!

  12. I love your posts, Candace! :-) Keep ‘em coming! I read this one as soon as it came out but I forgot to comment. I love the freezer tip – mind blowing.
    Thanks for linking at Trim Healthy Tuesday!!

  13. I think stevia is just nasty, bitter and chemical-tasting. My mom and sister happily put a dropperful or two of liquid stevia in a mug of tea and love it. I put in one drop and can’t even force myself to gag the tea down and I’m left with a horrible aftertaste for hours. I don’t think I can force myself to try it often enough to learn to like it.

  14. I know I’m a few weeks late on this one. I’ve been using stevia for yearrrsss! :) My go-to brand has been KAL. After many attempts at different brands, that is the brand I’ve found to be sweetest (needed to use much less) and least after-taste. KAL’s label has recently been saying it’s from China, so I called the company to find out what’s up. The person I spoke with said their bulk product has always been from there and they do their own testing for purity. I’m not keen on any food products from China, so when my current bottle finishes, I’m going to try the NOW brand of stevia – also water extracted, using the whole herb (not RebA) with no added fillers. I will NOT be using any of NuNaturals product. I’m a little surprised that it’s being so heavily promoted – anyone read the labels? In none of their product on the shelves, liquid or powdered, is stevia the sole ingredient. Even their plain powder has “natural flavors” added. As a gal who is meticulous about ferreting out MSG, that is a red-flag label (plus, who needs additional “natural flavors” in plain sweetener??)

    A few tips about using stevia:
    #1) the chemical makeup of stevia is such that there is a delayed sweet sensation when we eat it. That’s the reason for the feeling that it’s not sweet enough at first – we’re used to that “up front” sweet hit with sugar. This is also why adding a small amount of a natural sweetener which does taste sweet up-front, helps tremendously. You’ll probably find that using less stevia with a small amount of a natural sweetener will be satisfyingly sweet.
    #2) Bitter after taste = too much stevia. The delayed sweet sensation can easily lead to using too much stevia. If your food/drink tastes bitter, you’re most likely using too much stevia. Any brand will have a bitter taste if you’ve added too much.
    #3) I saved the best tip for last! :) A pinch of sea salt will do *wonders* for helping “round out” the taste of stevia, as well as counter the delayed sweet sensation. It has to do with the way our taste buds sense salt/sweet/bitter/sour; some tastes can enhance or sub for others (salt always enhances sweet and cuts bitter, which is why salt sprinkled on grapefruit works so much better at neutralizing the bitter, than adding salt or honey ;) ) I’ve found that even for folks who aren’t used to stevia, if I add a bit of sea salt when I use it, they can’t tell the difference. :)

    • Hi Cheryl. I did talk w/ NN and their flavors are all OK – not MSG. So you can rest assured about that. I do think your salt tip is great – I have been doing something w/ that daily and like it. But it doesn’t always work in baked goods. I always put salt in those and I still get a bitter taste w/ some stevias. Hmmmm..Thanks!

  15. I was just wondering about how you use it in baking since it is sweeter than sugars. What ratios do you use? Let’s say a cake that calls for 1 cup sugar how would you go about that so you still have the right consistency in the finished product? I hope that makes sense what I am trying to say. Thanks for any advice

    • Candace Ouimet says:

      Hi Kristin!
      Good question! For every cup of sugar in a recipe I replace it with 1/4-1/2 cup of a bulking “agent”. My favourites are pureed zucchini and pureed spaghetti squash. I place these in a strainer over a bowl and let as much moisture drain out as possible, sometimes leaving them for a few hours. What I am left with is an almost pasty glop and the measurement is taken from this drained substance, not the pre-drained squash. So, if that cake recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar I would use 1/4-1/2 cup of the drained zucchini or squash (start with a 1/4 cup and add more until you reach a good consistency for the type of recipe).
      Other bulking agents can include apple sauce, apple butter, pureed fruit, nut butters etc.

      I always add stevia to taste in my recipes. I know there are conversion charts out there but it always depends on the type of recipe and what other ingredients are present. I have followed the charts before and always ended up with too much stevia in the final product, so follow your taste buds, and always add a TOUCH more as stevia seems to cook off just a bit.
      I hope that helps!

  16. Stephanie says:

    Hi Candace,

    Thank you for the stevia tips. I have purchased only the NOW brand and find it gross. GROSS! I have been using the NOW brand xylitol to sweeten my sweets. I feel very confused by all this new all natural sweeteners. Would you be able to tell me what is the difference between stevia and xylitol. Is xylitol “bad” in your opinion?
    Thanks,
    Stephanie

  17. I love stevia…when considering going sugar free it saved us. BUT, I have recently read that that stevia (it’s chemical makeup) mimics a steroid. We have considered doing and SCD diet and the founder of that diet, who was a chemist, warns against using stevia for that (steroid) reason. Any thoughts?

    • Was that the founder of SCD? I don’t know what to think. I’ve done a bunch of research and can’t find that anywhere. Can you? Just a few quotes in a few blogs.

  18. Oh, and BTW…my favorite Brand is a liquid version by “Trader Joe’s”! :-)

  19. Arch Bradsher says:

    my wife & I were recommended to use stevia in our morning coffee, not splenda because splenda has the chemical aspartame (could be spelled incorrectly, this is my best guess) in it, & one of our doctors is not a fan of aspartame at all—very unhealthy she says—aspartame is found most/many sugar free sodas, food stuffs, etc.

    we’re using “stevia in the raw” brand, a product of Cumberland Packing Co. in Brooklyn, NY; we purchase it from our local Kroger Grocery store–the challenge for us is its bitter after taste when used in our coffee—any ideas of something, other than store-bought sugar, to add to this combination to sweeten &/or cover up this bitterness. Thanks, AB.