A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zevia: Great for Drinking and Baking!

Have you ever cooked with a can of soda?  Well, Zevia is far from just a can of soda; it's an all natural sugar-free soda sweetened with stevia.  Stevia is a sweet herb plant that provides the perfect sweetness (to me) without the empty calories of sugar.  As a sugar alternative, it is way better than the artificial substitutes out there. 

Here's a great list (shortened by me) of the good and bad substitutes I found on this site:

Bad Guy #1: Aspartame
There's conflicting evidence regarding the safety of aspartame, a common chemical sweetener used in diet soda and other low-cal or low-sugar goods, but some people report headaches or generally feeling unwell after ingesting anything containing the chemical.

Bad Guy #2: Agave
While your health food store likely stocks agave sweeteners, it may be best to keep them out of your cart. Many agave nectars consist of 70 to 80 percent fructose—that's more than what's found in high-fructose corn syrup!

Bad Guy #3: Sucralose
It's processed using chlorine, and researchers are finding that the artificial sweetener is passing through our bodies and winding up in wastewater treatment plants, where it can't be broken down. Scientists worry it could change organisms' feeding habits and interfere with photosynthesis, putting the entire food chain at risk.

Good Guy #1: Stevia
All types of stevia are extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant, but some forms taste better than others, says Gates. Stevia contains zero calories.....Expect to see more stevia on store shelves, as Coke and Pepsi got the green light to use Truvia (a sweetener made in part from stevia) starting later this year.

Good Guy #2: Sugar alcohols
Popular sugar alcohol sweeteners include xylitol, sorbitol, and erythritol, natural sweeteners made through a fermentation process of corn or sugar cane. They contain fewer calories than sweeteners like pure sugar and honey, but more than stevia. Just don't overdo it—too much can cause GI distress.

Good Guy #3: Organic, raw local honey
While honey does boast higher fructose levels, it also contains a bounty of cancer-defending antioxidants, and local honey has been said to help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Good Guy #4: Blackstrap molasses
Although heavy on the calorie content, blackstrap is rich in iron, potassium, and calcium, making it a healthier choice than nutritionally defunct artificial sweeteners....
I have experienced both the good and the bad ingredients in this list; the bad substitutes always gave me painful cramps and gastric problems for several hours after consuming.  It took me a while to make the connection on what caused this, but diet sodas were the main culprit.  Now, Zevia is the only "soda" I will consume; otherwise it's coffee, tea, and water....unsweetened.

So, what do you do to sweeten baked goods if you don't want sugar and don't want the bad stuff?  Since stevia does not measure at a 1 to 1 ratio with sugar, baking is difficult to find something to replace sugar's volume.  Enter Zevia!

After reading an easy baking recipe on Zevia's blog using cake mix, I became inspired to make my own treat with Zevia without a boxed mix.  Although I need to adjust a few measurements and whatnot, the end result was great.  I had been craving some cornbread and decided to make my own Zevia cornbread with protein; I just like using protein powder in my baking.

Here is my rough draft recipe:


1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg and 4 large egg whites (I have used 12oz of pureed Mori-Nu Silken Tofu for a great vegetarian substitute)
1 cup whole wheat (or other whole grain) flour
1 cup whole grain corn flour

1/4 cup all-natural stevia sweetened vanilla soy or whey protein

1/2 cup all-natural unflavored soy or whey protein

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 12-ounce can Zevia Ginger Ale

Optional: omit the vanilla protein and only use unflavored for a savory bread you can add cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan or a 12 muffin baking pan with non-stick spray
  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk, add all other wet ingredients and whisk to blend
  2. In another bowl, mix the flour, protein powder, salt, and baking soda together.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix just until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean.

This is great as a thicker bread or if spread out flat on a cookie sheet for more of a thin bar to take with you to work or when traveling.
With the success of this cornbread, I will be in the kitchen using all of the Zevia flavors to see what I can create.  Do you have a favorite Zevia flavor?  Let me know if you are craving a certain baked good....I'd love to try and make a healthy version with this great all-natural sugar-free soda!
Of course, you could just skip all of the kitchen work and sit back with a chilled can of your choice.  Either way, you're sure to be pleased.

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