Thursday, May 13, 2010

sweet bounty

I think some of my family members are thinking about starting food blogs just so they can get free samples of things like I do. I love capitalism. I have so much swag at the mo!

First off:


Stevia! NuNaturals kind of overwhelmed me with stevia-tion!

Here’s why I requested a sample; this is true confession time.

I am a total artificial sweetener addict.

I’m not too bad about diet soda (well, I scarf it down at my dad’s house, but fortunately I’m not at my dad’s house very much. And I scarfed it down during exams, but I very wisely graduated early!).

However, I eat FRIGHTENING quantities of “lite” flavored yogurts (whatever brand is on sale) and they have ingredients ranging from unappealing Splenda to cancer-inducing Nutrasweet.

The other big offender is coffee. There are times I just like it black, or in a cappuccino, so that’s okay. But, I am far too reliant on “skinny” lattes with artificially sweetened syrup and on iced coffee with a Splenda packet or two.

It’s odd, because I’m so neurotic about the other things I put into my body, but some of it must be weight paranoia disguised as health paranoia, because I put the CRAP that is artificial sugar into my body in a grim tradeoff for no calories.

So I’m thrilled to be trying stevia! Stevia comes from PLANTS!

I took it out for a spin first in my afternoon coffee. I started with a nice familiar form: the packet.


The products I got actually ranged from packets to the baking mix to liquid stevia to- this is most mind boggling- the pure stevia concentrate. When you use pure stevia concentrate, the sweetness of 3/4 of a teaspoon is equivalent to ONE CUP of sugar (!).

Have other people used stevia before? Any recommendations?

I poured out the packet along with some instant coffee. Stevia in its crystallized form definitely isn’t fooling anybody- it looks like artificial sweetener, not sugar.


I added hot water and milk and sat down in the living room to enjoy my afternoon coffee with yet ANOTHER review product: more from Newman’s Own Organics.

This little guy was the Ginger Hermit. As you can see, it is basically identical in appearance to the original Hermits. My review? Also virtually identical in taste. I’m not complaining. Hermits rock my life.


As for the stevia in coffee?

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Very sweet (I may actually use a bit less than a full packet next time. Now that I think of it, I use a bit less then a full packet of other sweeteners, too), but the best thing is that there is no aftertaste. I’ve heard people complain that stevia is bitter, and while it may be in some cases, this particular product is not. It also doesn’t have that weird horrible chemically thing that Splenda does (eurgh eurgh I am so glad to be freed of that addiction!)

S’more swag from the lovely people at YouBar!


Trail mix AND bars AND shakes. I’m excited to have some more exciting ways to get protein in my life. Since Food, Inc, I’ve been trying to cut back on meat (and only eat things already in our freezer!), but beans do get a bit tiresome.

The first thing I tried was a trail mix: the BDWMC’s Climb Fuel.


It contains: raw almonds, raw cashews, roasted pepitas, dried cranberries, mini pretzels, sweetened dried cherries, SunDrops [a less artificial version of M&Ms], pistachios, and dried apples.


My thoughts? Honestly, as a Trader Joe’s shopper, my standards for trail mix are EXTREMELY HIGH. Theirs always have insanely fresh and delicious fruits and nuts with great seasoning.

I was underwhelmed by this trail mix! First of all, I find raw cashews dull, so this may not have been the trail mix for me. However, everything else was dull, too. The nuts were not exceedingly fresh or crunchy, the fruit was too dried out and chewy, and there was no appreciable seasoning or unity. The pepitas, too, were really small, and more than that were way smaller than all the other ingredients. I love pepitas, but had I just eaten this straight from the bag, I wouldn’t have gotten any til the end. And who wants to go through the work of scraping up ingredients from the bottom of the bag? Eating trail mix should be easy!

I only had a few bites and passed off the rest to my sister, who’d just returned from a run. She gave them some points for excluding peanuts, as they tend to overwhelm trail mixes made by other brands, but overall agreed that it was boring.

However, I’ve heard great things about the other products, and am looking forward to reviewing them!


Genesis said...

never heard or tried of stevia...interesting though because i do the same thing with artificial a splenda addict.

i really disliked YouMixes trail mix. it was so bland and seemed like it was not fresh. but i did LOVE their cashew bar. my favorite by far and their shakes werent shabby either.

Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

I love using stevia and love the vanilla stevia drops in coffee or even on apples with cinnamon. yum.

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen said...

Perhaps I, too, can curb my addiction to Splenda in my coffee?

You have provided me with some inspiration!

Gabriela said...

I love the free blog swag too :) I used to be a Splenda addict, but I've switched to only issue is that it's so expensive! It definitely makes me ration those little Truvia packets :) Happy Friday!

Ilana said...

Thaaank you for the stevia review! I'm actually due to get some NuNaturals myself (won in a giveaway). I tried another kind and I really couldn't stand the taste of it, so I'm hoping NuNaturals is better - not that I'm much of a sweetener-adder anyway. Yesterday I seriously considered getting a frap from Starbucks during that happy hour thing and then I noticed that a tall plain coffee one had 39 GRAMS of sugar in it, where I'm trying to cut back on sugar! Serious wakeup call.

runnerforever said...

I have to try the Youbar product, heard way too many good things about them now! It is hard to compete with Trader Joes prices though

MelindaRD said...

Looks like you got some good goodies delivered to you. I have tried Stevia before, but I like splenda. I carry it with me in my purse here because they only have sugar around here. Some places have sweetnlow, but I hate the taste.