This guest review comes from Andrea Hayes, an Ottawa native who’s been transplanted to Toronto. She’s a child protection worker with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, and likes to go to concerts and movies – and somehow finds time to read (what’s that?!). Andrea delights in her gorgeous niece and nephew who live around the corner.
Andrea received a sample pack of Pure Via products in exchange for her honest review.
Mommy Gearest is one of my younger sister’s best friends, and it just so happens that she and I got into a discussion on Facebook one day about alternatives to sugar, such as artificial sweeteners and so-called “natural” sugar substitutes.
You see, I recently had weight-loss surgery – gastric bypass surgery to be exact. I had reached a point in my life where I needed to make a choice about whether to live or die (of obesity-related co-morbidities, such as diabetes). I chose to live! Mostly because my niece and nephew are just about the cutest people on the planet and I really want to be the “cool aunt” that they come to when their organic/grain-fed/all-natural parents get on their nerves.
So, one of the things that you have to do post-surgery is avoid sugar. That might seem like a no-brainer at first, but sugar is in EVERYTHING and, as someone whose weight has been a lifelong challenge, sugar is also my go-to food for comfort.
Eating more than 10 grams of sugar per serving of any food at any time can cause me to get very ill – and I mean VERY ill. Using sugar substitutes, such as Splenda, Equal, Sweet’n’Low, etc. becomes absolutely necessary. But, as many people know, there is a lot of debate these days about the health risks of using zero-calorie sweeteners vs. the health risks posed by eating sugar. Hence the discussion that Mommy Gearest and I got into – when you have no choice but to avoid sugar as much as possible, as I do, how do you enjoy things that are sweet without ingesting a million chemicals into your body on a regular basis?
As fate would have it, Mommy Gearest was approached by a company called Whole Earth Sweetener Co. to sample and write a review of its Pure Via Stevia zero-calorie sweetener, and she asked me if I’d like to try the product out and see if it worked for me. I was happy to oblige!
Whole Earth Sweetener Co. sent me a lovely gift box of tea, a mug and three different Pure Via Stevia products: a box of sweetener packets and a bag of granulated sweetener plus a box of Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar and Stevia Blend packets.
First, I tried the Pure Via Stevia packets in my regular tea. I had heard that Stevia can leave a strange aftertaste in foods/beverages, but, wonderfully, I did not notice one while drinking my tea. The taste of the Pure Via Stevia was pleasant and sweet (but not that “super sweet” taste that often accompanies other zero-calorie and, notably, chemical-based sweeteners).
Next I tried the Turbinado Raw Can Sugar and Stevia Blend in a French Fruit Fondue recipe from the booklet that came with my sample pack. This was a fantastic choice, as it allowed for a fruit dip with a smooth and even-tasting sweetness that helped make “just” eating fruit become a craving-quencher without adding a crazy number of calories.
I was really curious about how Pure Via Stevia would perform in baked goods. Though I am not one to bake or cook very often, the requirements of my surgery are such that I must now eat pretty “cleanly” – not too much processed or store-bought items. So, I decided to try the Melt in Your Mouth Vanilla Cookies from the recipe booklet. Again, I was very pleasantly surprised that the granulated version of Pure Via Stevia worked exactly like sugar. It had the right consistency, mixed well with the other ingredients and made for some light-tasting yummy cookies that satisfied my sweet-tooth without adding any extra calories.
I do not know how much these products cost in stores and I do not know if they are available in regular grocery stores; either way, I believe the product is worth a higher price point and an extra trip to a specialty store to enjoy blissful sweetness with no guilt about calories or chemicals.
I was disappointed that there was not more information on the packaging of the Pure Via Stevia products I tried out, explaining what Stevia actually is. I was interested in how it was extracted from the Stevia plant, what else was added in that process, the differences between the pure zero-calorie sweetener and the cane sugar and stevia blend, etc. But, then I remembered what century I was living in and checked out the website. It was great! There was lots of detailed information provided about the products in a “Frequently Asked Questions” style that made it easy to understand and see why stevia is a more natural, healthy choice for non-sugar sweeteners. And the recipes I was provided with are also available on the website.
The only criticism that I would have for Pure Via Stevia at this point is that they haven’t come up with a calorie-free version of chocolate yet!
So…where can you get it?
- Loblaws and Bulk Barn stores
- Or, call toll-free to find out where to buy Pure Via in your neck of the woods: 1-800-824-2334