My Sweetener of Choice
One thing that you have to do if you are going to live a healthy lifestyle is kick refined sugar out of your daily routine. It is simply not doing your health or your waistline any favors. But what, then, are your options for sweet treats? A life without sweet things is a life that just shouldn’t be! We were made to enjoy sweet tastes, from the first food of mother’s milk, to fruits and even some vegetables, sweet is a taste we love!
Clearly we can’t constantly fill our bodies with artificial sweeteners and call our journey healthy, and while there are some natural sweeteners like honey and coconut sugar that are far better than refined white sugar when it comes to health, they can still slow down your journey to trim. So what do we do?
Thankfully we have options! And more options are hitting store shelves all the time. However, not all options that you might think are on plan actually are, so let’s clear things up just a bit.
There are 3 primary sweeteners that are suggested on the Trim Healthy Plan: Stevia, Erythritol and Xylitol. These are suggested because they are natural (Stevia is a plant you can grow in your backyard and Erythritol and Xylitol are natural sugar alcohols that are made through a natural fermentation process) and they are either a zero or ultra low on the glycemic index so they have little to no impact on blood sugar.
It is hard to find straight stevia in regular grocery stores, though if you have a health food store or Trader Joe’s near you you can find it. Let me just say, not all stevia powders are created equal! I have tried several, some are very bitter and bitter is not what you want when you are going for sweet! Trim Healthy Mama has by far the best tasting, most economical pure stevia you can buy. You use just a tiny amount at a time and it packs a powerful sweet punch. It is called Pure Stevia Extract Powder. Please do not judge stevia until you have had this brand. 🙂
Erythritol and Xylitol can be used on their own but they are often found blended with stevia. The most common brand on the market is Truvia. It is a blend of erythritol and stevia. Trim Healthy Mama has an Erythritol/Stevia blend called Super Sweet Blend. It is almost twice as sweet as Truvia so it is also a very economical choice.
Please note something when you are looking on the store shelves for a blend like this. You don’t ever want to buy a product that is labeled “for baking” like this
Truvia Baking Blend. It has sugar in it and is not on plan.
The sweetener blend that is the easiest for most people to use when they are transitioning off of sugar to natural sweeteners is a blend of all three, Stevia, Erythritol and Xylitol. This has the taste closest to sugar so the transition is smoother. Xylitol based sweeteners also are the easiest to use with chocolate treats as well. A note about Xylitol: Dogs kidneys cannot process xylitol, so if you have a fur baby like I do you will want to be sure to keep your xylitol and xylitol sweetened treats away from them.
Trim Healthy Mama’s Gentle Sweet is a fantastic blend of these three sweeteners. It is also in powdered form so it is easy to use in so many applications. They do have a Xylitol Free Gentle Sweet as well if you are worried about having xylitol around your dogs. (I personally have not tried this version so I cannot tell you personally if there is any difference in taste.)
The thing I love about the Trim Healthy Mama company is that they truly do their best to make ingredients like this affordable for their customers. The prices on all of these items is comparable or better than any other brands on the market. They do also sell Xylitol and Erythritol on their own if you want the individual sweeteners.
With all of that information given to you I must confess that, while I have purchased and love THM’s Gentle Sweet I often don’t use it. I am a bulk shopper. When I know I will use something I like to stock up when I can. Because of this I like to buy large amounts of ingredients at low prices, stock up and make my own sweetener. In case you are like me I am going to share my recipe here. I shop around for the best prices on xylitol and erythritol and aim for around $5 per pound. This is a great price per pound so when I can get it I stock up. I buy THM pure stevia because it simply is superior and it really is the best price around. The last time I purchased my supplies I got Anthony’s Erythritol and Now Xylitol.
My XES Sweetener (xylitol, erythritol, stevia)
- 1 cup xylitol
- 1 cup erythritol
- 1 tsp pure stevia powder
- Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and process to combine. (You could also do this in a large bowl with a whisk if you wish. The idea is just to fully combine the three sweeteners.) Store in an airtight container.
That is it! Pretty simple! The main difference between this and THM’s Gentle Sweet is that this will still be granular instead of powdered. If you need powdered sweetener you will need to use a coffee grinder or blender to powder this sweetener. I measure this in equal amounts to THM’s gentle sweet in recipes. In my recipes I ALWAYS notate when the powdered nature of Gentle Sweet is important so you know if you need to powder your sweetener or not. Also, while I almost always use my sweetener in recipes, you can almost always substitute the sweetener you have on hand, you just need to adjust for the difference of sweetness in different types. Occasionally the xylitol is necessary (like for caramel) but if it is necessary I will always notate that.