I wanted to go back to Trim Healthy Mama after my latest birth, but one thing that has always made me a little uncomfortable with the plan was the stevia.
First of all, there’s the taste. It just doesn’t taste like sugar. I don’t care how you salt it, hide it, mix it up, it will never taste like sugar. And most people notice a major icky aftertaste. Yes, you CAN get used to that weird taste (most describe it as “bitter”), but there is something about it that screams Don’t Eat Me!
Because of the taste, I found myself not wanting to eat stevia-laden desserts – they weren’t as satisfying as the ones that contained real sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Because of that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with it – I would eventually cave due to my desire to have something that tasted REAL, and more than likely, OVEREAT the sugary stuff once a morsel crossed my lips.
Then, there’s the color. My brain had a difficult time wrapping itself around the fact that stevia is a plant and it shouldn’t be white. In my past experiences with stevia, I purchased it through Frontier in bulk packages and it was GREEN – like a plant. It still didn’t taste great, but it looked like a plant. Pouring white powder from a packet that said it was PURE stevia sort of weirded me out. (Yes, I know there is a process the plant goes through in the factory to end up looking like that white powder, but remember, this is my story – I don’t begrudge anyone else for being perfectly fine with whatever color their food may be.)
Then, there was all the conflicting reports of the side effects of eating stevia. Everything from infertility to anxiety and all the rebuttals in between. (sometimes I hate the internet!) Unfortunately, once something gets stuck in my head, I have a hard time getting it out.
And then, I actually experienced my own stevia-related side effects. It took a while for me to realize what was happening, but once I connected it to the stevia, I couldn’t make myself go back. My symptoms were even lower blood pressure than I already have, feeling sick to my stomach and muddled in the head (probably blood sugar issues), and finally, searing abdominal pain that doubled me over day after day. (please note, I was eating stevia several times a day.)
Related post: No Stevia Trim Healthy Mama Menu Plan
So, I stopped doing Trim Healthy Mama. I was convinced I couldn’t do it without the stevia. This is also why I’ve been so quiet about Trim Healthy Mama here on the blog. But, you might have noticed I’ve been quiet about weight loss altogether. The reason was because there was nothing to talk about – I wasn’t losing weight. I stalled 17 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight which happens to be the place I ALWAYS stall at. (Those of you who remember, this is the weight I was when Emily died, and my brain doesn’t like to go below that.)
I tried other diets as well as going to a whole foods diet, but the carbs were killing me. I simply do not know when to quit when it comes to breads and cookies. You can make them super healthy, and I will still eat them all gone.
So, back to me not losing weight…
I knew my body needed the kind of eating THM promotes. I knew I needed the structure and the support THM offers. I knew I needed to separate out my fuel sources because my body doesn’t process them together very well. But, what about the stevia? Could I really do Trim Healthy Mama WITHOUT the stevia?
The answer is YES!
Many people believe THM is ultra-reliant on stevia, and if you don’t like stevia (or xylitol), you can’t do the diet. But, I beg to differ. The biggest reason stevia is included in so many of the recipes you see floating around out there with the THM name slapped on them (including my extremely popular Cookie Dough Dip) is because we like our sweets! We like the idea of eating sweets and losing weight. We like to have cake for breakfast, cake for lunch, and cake for dinner, and the only way to make that work is to stick to a no calorie sweetener in that cake.
But, let’s be honest…that’s NOT what Trim Healthy Mama is really about. In fact, I am living proof that if you don’t practice BALANCE, you will stall out your efforts to lose weight. You can’t eat all S, all E, all FP, or all STEVIA. So, even if you LIKE stevia, it would be a really bad idea to eat it all the time!
There is a lot of information out there on stevia, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong. My husband and I decided to quit using it (except for very rare occasions), but that doesn’t mean we have all the answers, it simply means WE decided to quit using it. You have to make that decision for yourself based on your own reactions and research. No matter what you do, stevia or not – remember MODERATION and BALANCE. It really isn’t healthy to eat cake 3 times a day, and I’m pretty sure Serene and Pearl never meant for you to do that.
Here is a one week No Stevia Trim Healthy Mama Menu Plan that shows you how to get started eliminating stevia from your THM journey!