Stevia: the grossest substance imaginable


People who know me know that I have a fairly restricted diet. I’ve been vegetarian for 25 years, and cut out dairy 20 years ago due to migraines and other associated unpleasantness. Then, 12 very long days ago, I also committed to being gluten-free in an effort to find a way to reduce some longterm chronic pain issues. Oh, and I’m allergic to a few tree nuts. And eggplant makes me swell. And coconut’s just gross.

I think that’s a pretty comprehensive list of what I won’t/can’t put in my mouth.

So what’s left? What foodstuffs could possibly still bring me joy, with that many things on the “no” list?

Delicious refined sugary goodness. You will quite seriously have to pry sugar out of my cold dead hands, because I love sugar as much as Charlton Heston loved guns. That’s right. That much.

So my friend Chris and I were at the Big Carrot this afternoon, because I’m feeling tired and lazy and where else am I going to find ready-made take-away that meets my requirements? I got some very weird though strangely delicious “chicken” and roasted veggies, and he bought a cookie and a can of Zevia ginger ale.

Walking down the Danforth, he popped open the can, took a sip, and declared it decent. He offered me a swig, and I accepted.

It was not decent.

In fact, it tasted a lot like what I’d imagine something dying in my mouth would taste like. This confused Chris: “It tastes like a decent diet ginger ale.”

Ah. There’s the disconnect: I don’t put the words “decent” and “diet” in the same sentence. Ever. It’s been years since I’ve eaten anything labeled “diet,” as aspartame is the devil, and Splenda scares me (it’s just not right). Low-fat food tastes like cardboard.

Also, removing the good stuff from food does not make people make better choices. It just makes people angry and frustrated and more likely to cave and eat the forbidden food in higher quantities than they would have if their food had just been left alone in the first place. Let’s not forget the shame that comes from this “failure.”

I LIKE having fat on my body. I like seeing other people have fat on their bodies. I like people being happy with their bodies, regardless of size. Food that’s had every last bit of fun sucked out of it doesn’t make happy or healthy people. Healthy food makes healthy people, and moderation (not deprivation) makes happy people.

Back to the Zevia. Truly awful awful stuff. I almost left Chris on the side of the road as we passed Suckers, so tempted was I to rinse the horrible taste out of my mouth with the delicious goodness of sweet sweet day-glow sugar.

To be fair, if you’re going to drink things that have no calories and you need a flavour, Zevia’s probably a better option than most. For those, however, who prefer to have food in their food, you’re probably not going to like it.

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5 Comments

  1. Carolyn said,

    August 5, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Oh yeah, Stevia is deeescusting! I bought a box of Krisda brand stevia to put in my coffee and it was so unpalatable! Blech.
    I don’t mind the Organic Zero and Xylitol though.

    • Yellow said,

      August 5, 2010 at 10:03 pm

      LOL! I LOVE stevia. Yes, it tastes “diet”, but I LIKE that “flavor”. I grew up drinking Tab, so to me that taste is oddly like comfort food.

  2. Carolyn said,

    August 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Yellow, my sister actually likes the taste of stevia, too.
    Weirdos. 😉

  3. Berta said,

    August 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Oh yah, stevia is not for me! I don’t mind xylitol though but sugar wins!

  4. Andrea said,

    August 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    A nutritionist friend pointed out that the fact that when stevia comes in the form of a white powder, this is indication that it’s been highly processed. I just don’t like the taste.

    I won’t do Splenda because sucralose is essentially chlorinated sugar, discovered by accident in a lab. If I’m going sweet it will be proper processed sugar (I know what I’m getting), brown sugar, cane sugar, honey or maple syrup. I avoid agave as much as possible since learning about how most of it is processed and learning that it’s quite similar to HFCS.

    I totally agree with the following:
    “Also, removing the good stuff from food does not make people make better choices. It just makes people angry and frustrated and more likely to cave and eat the forbidden food in higher quantities than they would have if their food had just been left alone in the first place. Let’s not forget the shame that comes from this “failure.”

    ….Food that’s had every last bit of fun sucked out of it doesn’t make happy or healthy people. Healthy food makes healthy people, and moderation (not deprivation) makes happy people. ”

    The same nutritionist friend recently quoted a nutrition teacher of hers who said, “I rather share a burger with a friend than a salad with an enemy.” -Or something like that. (It might not have been “burger”.) We’ve got to nourish ourselves from the inside.


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