What are the most healthy sweeteners? Here are some thoughts!
When using sweeteners in a drink, your food, in cooking or anything else, you want to use as “whole” and as “natural” as a product as possible. That is because when sweeteners are artificial or refined, they have a tendency to put weight on you, create imbalances, create a more acidic state and aggravate cravings.
There is a way to add sweetness to the things you like without the downside. You just need to follow this rule…. The more natural a sweetener, meaning the more “close to the ground” and unrefined it is, the better. Natural sweeteners can be packed with nutrition and might actually be good for you. The trick is to choose the right one.
Yerba Mate is a strong tea, so most use a sweetener to drink it. Sweetener can be added to the leaves itself, inside the mate or it can also be used to sweeten the water. Either way, used to sweeten the tea or the water, the tea will taste amazing. Play with amounts and see how you like it!
Here are some great ones to try:
1) Maple Syrup
Get Organic and get Grade B as it has a higher nutrition content than Grade A. You can add maples syrup to hot water that you are pouring onto the yerba. This will create a mellow sweetness with a nutty note.
2) Black Sugar
Black sugar might be hard to find in regular markets, so look into your specialty or health food markets. Black sugar is cane sugar that hasn’t been bleached or combined with an anti-caking agent. It is less sweet than white refined sugar with a mellow flavor.
3) Stevia Leaves
Buy organic as this is a crop that is sprayed with pesticides. Put a pinch of leaves in the middle of your yerba mate so that it is mixed well with the yerba. Remember that with stevia “less is more.” Stevia has a very high sweet quotient and if you put in too much, it will have a bitter and metallic aftertaste. Stevia is great to use if you are a diabetic or have blood sugar issues in general. Stevia is a blood sugar stabilizer and will not increase insulin levels. When drinking yerba mate, I use stevia leaves the most.
4) Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
This is another all natural sweetener. It is great to use. This has a high sweetness quotient, but not as high as white sugar. This has a ton of nutrition. If you have blood sugar issues, or are dealing with weight control or cravings, use stevia rather than the coconut sugar.
5) Raw Honey
Raw honey is great to use in hot water for pouring over yerba mate. It has a mellow flavor.
6) Liquid Stevia
I love traveling with liquid stevia because it is so convenient. A few drops of stevia in a large thermos is all I need for a mate. Flavored stevia is fun and creates a variety of different tastes that “change things up.”
Stay away from processed white sugar. This is a flavor that most are used to and drawn towards. White sugar, because of its refinement, creates imbalance and instability. Your cravings and blood sugar levels will intensify. Avoid this sweetener.
Regardless of what you choose, make sure it is whole and unrefined. You want your yerba mate to taste amazing, but not have a bad effect just because you added something in that doesn’t serve you. Have fun and play around. There is no “right way” to do it. Play with different sweeteners, different amounts of water and yerba. Make the beautiful practice of drinking yerba mate your own.