Use herbs to avoid the blood-sugar roller coaster.
For those who can’t handle the sugar load of typical holiday punches, this frozen alternative is sweetened only with stevia and fruit. Stevia is marketed in the United States as a dietary supplement; it contains zero calories and is loaded with nutrients, including iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A and C, and flavonoids.
In other countries, particularly Japan, it has captured a large portion of the alternative sweetener market. In South America, it’s used by diabetics and hypoglycemics to normalize blood-sugar levels. Stevia reportedly also helps increase energy, aids digestion, and even reduces cravings for sweets, tobacco, and alcohol. Although it’s said to be up to thirty times sweeter than sugar, it doesn’t taste like sugar or cook in the same way. Its licorice aftertaste is similar to that of artificial sweeteners.
Stevia is available in most health food stores, but the forms and the price vary significantly: The cut leaf may be found with bulk herbs; tea bags may be with prepackaged teas; and the pure powdered form may be with sweeteners. A white processed form, Stevioside, is also a sweetener but does not provide the same health benefits. If you can’t find the cut or powdered leaf, cut open a tea bag and use the leaf inside.
Preliminary research shows that one tablespoon of aloe a day may reduce triglyceride and blood-sugar levels and that black tea may reduce blood-sugar levels.
- 4 cups water
- 4 tea bags of high-quality black tea
- 1 stevia tea bag or 3/4 teaspoon of loose
- stevia leaf
- 1 package (10 ounces) organic frozen strawberries
- 1 package (10 ounces) organic frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly packed
- 6 tablespoons aloe gel
- Mint sprigs for garnish
- In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove it from the heat, and add the black tea bags and stevia tea bag or leaf. Steep for 5 minutes; remove the tea bags and strain any leaf. Cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Just before serving, puree the fruit in small batches in a blender, using approximately 1 cup fruit, 3/4 cup tea, and 2 tablespoons of mint at a time.
- Pour into a punch bowl; stir in the aloe gel. Ladle into small cups, garnished with mint sprigs. Enjoy!