The problem with Stevia and The start of my 21-Day Sugar Detox Journey

 I don't often share my personal stories but decided to share my story with stevia and share why I'm joining in on the next 21 Day Sugar Detox (starting sept 1st!).

This is what Stevia looks like in nature

This is what Stevia looks like in nature

I have a confession...I love SWEET tastes. I love anything sweet...but, I hate what sugar does to me. Sugar (even fruit) makes me jittery, strange and overall rather gross!  As a result I have become addicted to Stevia. It's true. My friends even make fun of me for it. When they come over, they instantly try to guess how many things on their plate have stevia in them. From tea to salad dressing and cupcakes, if I can, I add it.  It's a problem. It's both totally insane and completely hilarious.

I first discovered this sweet herb as a teenager when I went into a tiny funny smelling health food store WAAYYY back in 1990 when my naturopath put me on a gluten free vegan diet (that's another story!). Let me tell you, back then, there were no such products like Truvia, Sweetleaf or other tasty extracts, I got into the green leaf stuff. I grew to love the slightly metallic, overly sweet flavour and being a weight obsessed athlete I loved that it was calorie free. I grew up with Nutrasweet and figured this was a much healthier option.

Now, over 20 years later, I realize I have a mega problem with stevia! It's changed the way I experience my food. I overly sweeten my tea and espresso, make my gelatin coconut milk treats sickly sweet and have even been spotted dropping the stuff right into my mouth. I know....gross but true.

This is how we turn a plant into a problem...or at least it's a problem for this Paleo Midwife ! 

This is how we turn a plant into a problem...or at least it's a problem for this Paleo Midwife ! 

Although Stevia is one of the better sweeteners out there, over consumption of any highly refined product is never recommended and can even have negative effects on your health. Mark Sisson did a great post outlining the benefits and risks of stevia that is worth checking out.

Some studies show that stevia consumption can cause hypoglycaemia. This may be a good thing if you are insulin resistant or diabetic, but for a normal active gal with a high stress job, this hypoglycaemia may end up taxing the precious adrenals and effect the delicate hormone balance. These are important things to have if you have a stressful job like me or are trying to maximize your fertility.

I came across this post from Kate Skinner who does a beautiful job explaining it. 

" Stevia is “sweet” on the palate, so the body assumes it is receiving sugar and primes itself to do so. Glucose is cleared from the bloodstream and blood sugars drop, but no real sugar/glucose is provided to the body to compensate. When this happens, adrenaline and cortisol surge to mobilize sugar from other sources (liver and muscle glycogen, or protein, or body tissue) to bring blood glucose back up. 

The whole process is stressful to the body. We don’t want to be relying on raising blood sugar at the expense of skin health, muscle mass and immune function. Since we want to be avoiding increasing stress hormones (for many reasons, but they are inflammatory, strongly linked to weight gain, low thyroid function, insulin resistance and other health problems), avoiding hypoglycemia is really important for increasing and maintaining overall health.  " 

SOOO, I need to stop and reset. I'm not saying I'm going to give up using stevia as a sweetener all together but I need to cut way back! How on earth am I going to break this long standing habit? The 21 Day Sugar Detox of course! 

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin from the 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook. So delicious and got me rave reviews from my guests. 

If you're not familiar with the 21 Day Sugar Detox let me tell you, you should be! It's a wonderful program put together by the author of Practical Paleo, Diane Sanfilippo. I have recommend this program to a number of my clients who want to help bust through sugar cravings in the third trimester or do a general reset after their baby comes. It's a nutritionally dense program that doesn't put women in a caloric deficit. This is critical if you are aiming to maximize your fertility, are pregnant or are breastfeeding. That being said some folks loose weight on this program. This is likely due to having a more optimal blood sugar balance and eliminating excess sugars from their diet.

So, what's included in this program? LOTS! This includes: a quick-start guide you can download right after you buy it, downloadable meal plans, tons of great recipes (from some super cool guest bloggers as well as Diane), shopping lists, workout and lifestyle guides, audio programs and guides to modifications for athletes and those with autoimmune issues. You have the option of buying the print book and cookbook (at a great price) too. There will even soon be an online community to connect to others sharing this road to wellness. 

No Joke Chocolate Cake from ZenBelly with my signature Paleo "Buttercream". The coconut chocolate whipped filling is AMAZEBALLS

No Joke Chocolate Cake from ZenBelly with my signature Paleo "Buttercream". The coconut chocolate whipped filling is AMAZEBALLS

As a pre-amble to my journey away from sweet tastes, I made one of the recipes in the 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook  for a friends going away party! (see above) It was amazeballs. Can you say pork wrapped in more pork? My guests loved it. Oh, I also made a GIANT chocolate cake! I used this recipe from ZenBelly. She's right, this chocolate cake is NO JOKE! Perhaps it would make a great treat at the end of your detox or like me, something to help you kick it off :) 

Stay tuned next week to learn more about why the 21 Day Sugar Detox is great for Pregnancy, in particular the third trimester! Send me your questions or join me on this journey. The next 21 Day Sugar Detox starts Sept 1st!