Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Gluten Free

Categories: Beverages    

This is one of the simplest drinks to make.

Lemonade in a glass next to lemons and limes
Image by: Thora Toft

Prep time: 10 minutes Makes: 1 serving Difficulty: Easy

Gluten free Dairy free Egg free Grain free Soy free Vegan

For those who are new to stevia, lemon is a good mask to the slightly different flavor of stevia. It can take some people a couple weeks of regular use to get used to it. Since stevia is not actually a sugar, it registers a bit different on the tongue. Give yourself at least a couple weeks to get used to it if you don't like the taste. This is such a great sugar replacement, that it really will be worth the effort to get used to it.

To get your family and kids used to it, if they whine about it, mix it 25% of the recommended amount of stevia, with 75% of the amount you would normally use of sugar or honey, and then transition over a couple weeks to fully using stevia. They also will get used to the taste. 1/32 of a teaspoon of powdered stevia (no fillers!) is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey.

Use all organic ingredients.

Shopping Tips - what to look for to get the best gluten free, real ingredients for this recipe:

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Each year a US report is created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) listing the most and least pesticide contaminated common produce in the US. It is useful to know where to put your initial focus on what to buy organic and what can be lower on your priority list. I'd suggest that if a crop is not on the EWG "Clean 15" list on the below listed site, that you buy organic.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

For anyone who really wants to dig into the full datasets of the EPA residue testing, they can find that at the bottom link below. This will include the most recent reported data.

Lemon and lime juice should be made from fresh, organic lemons or limes. Bottled lemon and lime juice often has additives that can cause digestive issues, including preservatives and flavorings. Lemons and limes have not been tested by the EPA for pesticide residue. Three other citrus fruits have been tested, and all of them are midway between the least and most residue contamination. Tangerines rank 22nd, grapefruit ranks 24th, and oranges rank 27th. Since organic produce for other fruits and vegetables have consistently had less residue, you should buy only organic lemons and limes.

Check out these 4 articles. The first 2 show this year's EWG report on pesticide contamination, and will be updated automatically based on the current year. The third article is the Consumer Reports summary page for pesticide residue on produce, including conventional and organic, and domestic and imported. The fourth article is the direct link to the EPA residue testing site, where you can do further research:

You want to buy organic stevia. It comes in a variety of suitable forms, and a variety of non suitable forms.

This is a plant that has a natural sweetness about 100 to 300 times as sweet as sugar. The chemical make up of this plant is actually different, so the sweetness does not actually come from a sugar type of molecule, thus it has none of the effects of sugar, such as being a load on the insulin system in your body.

Fresh leaf - The best form to use would be to use the fresh leaf, and chop it very fine, and add to your dishes. Since it's green, it can take a bit getting used to. A trick I used when I first started using fresh stevia was to just think of it like mint.

Dried leaf - You can also buy it as a dried herb. This also can be used chopped fine and added to food. You can place it in the liquid part of your dish for a couple hours, and the sweetness will enter into the dish.

You can also brew it like coffee, and make "sweet" water, that you can then add to dishes.

Concentrated liquid or powder - NO FILLERS - You can also buy it as an extremely concentrated pure liquid or superfine powder. You need to be VERY careful when you buy this, as you want pure liquid or powder extract. You DO NOT want to buy the new versions that have recently hit the market that are loaded with all kinds of fillers, additives and sugars.

Since stevia in it's natural form takes up a ton less space than sugar, you will need to adjust how you cook. The "cup for cup" new products out there are a toxic mess. Don't buy those, as most of the fillers and additives will cause varying degrees of stomach upset. And the ones with sugar as fillers are just plain stupid. The point of using stevia is to stop using sugar.

Check out this list of articles about stevia:

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2 cups Water
1/2 Fresh lemon, juice of (or lime)
1/16 teaspoon Pure stevia powder, * see Shopping Tips section above to find out the right form to use
  • Pour water into a pitcher. Squeeze in the lemon or lime juice and add the stevia.

This tastes great chilled with ice cubes. Stir and enjoy!

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