Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stevia: God's Gift to the Incorrigible Sweet Tooth?

"Why didn't you tell me I could have stevia? Don't you love me?!"

This from my good friend who is struggling with the "Dr. Rodier Cleanse" (not exactly for the faint of heart -- the cleanse is a sort of rehab protocol for sugar addicts, wheat worshipers, dairy devotees, and processed food fans).

My friend's diet wasn't so terrible, but included a few vices generally incompatible with good gut health. Namely her relationship to vegetables resembles that of most five-year-olds, her morning tea has more sugar than tea, and she firmly believes bacon deserves its own national holiday.

Why I suggested the cleanse had more to do with her partner, whose been experiencing debilitating migraine headaches for years now. I know migraines often stem from gut issues, and it turns out her partner's diet is rife with sugar and other intestinal enemies.

The duo decided to do the cleanse together, and so far have been troopers, following the cleanse rules to the letter. Kicking and screaming has been minimal. Protests have been halfhearted despite intense sugar cravings. Which brings me back to the top of this post -- stevia. When I mentioned nonchalantly one day that stevia was acceptible to use during the cleanse, my friend nearly fell out of her chair in shock that I could withhold such vital information.

She couldn't understand that I didn't mean to deprive her of stevia. I just don't use much sugar, so the thought of a sugar substitute didn't occur to me as a necessity. She rushed out that evening to stock up on SweetLeaf, and by morning was quick to report:

"On the stevia website it says using stevia actually reduces sugar cravings. I don't know if I believe that, but maybe if I just eat lots of stevia and then I won't even want cookies."

Personally, I'm still going to push her to make friends with her vegetables and other whole foods, even when they aren't covered in sugary sauces. But hey, if stevia helps build the bridge for my friend and many others, I'm sure glad the Co-op can offer it inexpensively.

Stay tuned for updates as my friend and her partner make their way through the cleanse. Right now they're just looking forward to reaching week three when they're allowed to have fruit again, or what they've now dubbed International Fruit Celebration Day.

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