HEAB Unsweetened

by HEAB on February 20, 2010

Gosh, I didn’t realize how much stevia I was using. For anyone who doesn’t know, I gave up stevia for Lent. I survived yesterday, but it wasn’t easy. My taste buds were screaming for some sweet love! Yesterday’s breakfast:


Oat bran cooked with water and raisins. After cooking, I stirred in 1 TBSP coconut butter, vanilla and cocoa powder and topped my bowl with toasted almonds. Normally, I would have added Jay Robb’s rice protein powder. This tasted fine without any stevia as the coconut butter added enough sweetness. However, this bowl didn’t do much for me. Just wasn’t feeling the oat love yesterday.

I got hungry after lunch and decided to make some chocolate avocado ice-cream


Instead of stevia, I used half a frozen banana to balance out the coco and avocado flavors. I also added a spoonful of unsweetened shredded coconut. Again, wasn’t feeling this bowl too much either, but I ate it anyway. The 1/2 banana didn’t sweeten the ice-cream nearly as much as stevia…or a few squirts of sugar free Torani syrup would have. 😉

I finally made something without any added sweeteners that left me feeling completely satisfied…


A big frothy mug of HEABified Hot Chocolate. I usually drink this without stevia anyway, and I love it. 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 TBSP cocoa powder, a few drops of almond extract, all heated together on the stovetop and then frothed. Perfect evening snack with 1/2 square Bakers unsweetened baking chocolate.

Today has gone much better. I simply drank my coffee with cream, and I’m getting used to the taste of it without my beloved vanilla stevia drops. Other than that, I’ve just been eating savory foods, and my cravings for sweets have stayed at bay. Honestly, I feel a lot more in control of my hunger when I stay away from the sweet stuff. Know what I mean?

Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday. Nashville is beautiful with blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Instead of doing yoga, I took the pups on a 3.5 mile walk. It was lovely. 🙂


CaSaundra February 24, 2010 at 6:01 am

I am always adding Splenda to sweeten different foods, and I usually bake with it too. I’ve tried cutting down a bit at times which seems to be working.

yk February 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

hi heather, i didn’t realize the bakers stuff wasn’t bitter. the only thing i know about it is that cook’s illustrated put it in the NOT recommended category for baking. but i like that it’s cheap! (some of those “artisanal ” chocolates are more expensive than truffles).
on another note – have you heard of Macca powder? are you a fan of it?

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm

YK, Yes, the Bakers is not nearly as bitter as the high quality chocolates, and you can’t beat the price. So, it’s not organic or fair trade or sourced from the best cacao beans out there, but I love it. 🙂

Love maca powder as well and had some in a green smoothie today for lunch. Will post about it tomorrow. 🙂

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heathee February 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I do feel that when I eat a bit of sweets I begin to crave them even more! Sometimes it’s just easier to stay away or else I might go way overboard.

Susan February 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Totally get what you mean about controlling your hunger! Oddly, I find that when I have savoury breakfasts, I’m a lot less likely to crave sweets for the day. But when I have something like pancakes covered in syrup, I turn into a chocolate fiend! Almond extract actually sounds like a perfect replacement for sweetener 🙂

kristilyn February 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

I can’t imagine totally cutting out all sugars, but I have found that since I’ve been eating healthy, sweet things just don’t cut it for me. I find certain things – coffee drinks, especially – way too sweet for my taste buds!


Kelly February 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

I always feel like you never know how much you use of a single product until you take it out of your diet. I was that way with gum. I didn’t reaize how much I actually chewed until I tried to stop! WAKE UP CALL!!!

Carolyn February 21, 2010 at 6:55 am

We love Bakers Chocolate here and it’s our go to chocolate… But then i also make my own almond butter from Sam’s Club bulk almonds .. and don’t think Starbuck’s coffe actually tastes very good compared to some others..so what do i know…Except that you rock HEAB…Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to hear about your next meal!

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

Carolyn, I’m the same way! We buy all our nuts at Costco, and the only way I can drink Starbucks coffee is when half the cup is filled with steamed cream. Blech – their coffee taste so bitter and over roasted to me. Honestly, I’d rather go to McDonalds.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 21, 2010 at 1:12 am

at first i couldnt live WITH stevia, now I dont think i could live withOUT. You’re a trooper for the lent give-up my friend 🙂

brittac February 20, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Somehow all of this still looks amazing and dessert worthy even without sweeters!

yk February 20, 2010 at 11:39 pm

how can you eat baker’s chocolate? there are tons of great chocolates on the market, that bakers stuff is very low end. if you;’re gonna go to all that effort to eat healthy, you should try some better chocolate too.

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 21, 2010 at 8:44 am

YK, I think that’s actually why I like it. As far as 100% chocolate goes, the Bakers is not so bitter…the really good stuff is.Besides it’s super cheap, and I love it. So, why not?

Jocelyn February 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Totally understand what you are saying..I cut out sugar awhile ago and my cravings have gone down! Good luck with the rest of lent!

tiffnie February 20, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I love taking a bite of dark chocolate and then drinking either coffee/tea or red wine. So good!

I’m giving up cookies. I find that I spend a lot of $ on them (I usually buy one when I go to a cafe and I also like to buy imported Japanese cookies, which aren’t cheap!) so the money saved will then be donated to my church on Easter. Good luck with the stevia fast!

Mae (OhhMay.Wordpress) February 20, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Heather, before stevia was mainstream I used to “sweeten” my things with butloads of cinnamon… Cinnamon has a naturally sweet flavor and Apple Cinnimon tea (with no sweetener) is almost too sweet to drink!
So the plan is to isolate the sweet compound in cinnamon , call it “Cinn-less Sweet” and make $569973935 from the next big zero calorie natural sweetener.
Hahaha I can dream.

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Mae, I’d totally buy it!!! 🙂

Jessica @ Fit & Clean February 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm

OMG! That first pic of the oat bran looked AMAZING. And you’re right about the chocolate with the coffee. I haven’t done that in a loooong time. I’m going to have to pick up that habit again. Everything’s better with chocolate!! 🙂

Sheryl Pizzadili February 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I’m one of those people who can not take stevia for it after taste last for days. I finally switched to Agave, but recently found out that not all agave has the same benifit. Volcanic Agave, I understand is the best. So with Agave to satisfy just a twinge of sweet tooth, it has helped me get off spenda and aspertane, which I am greatful for.

Megan February 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I need to follow your lead. Sugar is wrecking my good intentions these days. I used to be an artificial sugar junkie. I decided to get rid of it and started to use the real stuff thinking it would satisfy me better. Ha….yeah right. I’m no better now than I was before. I just need to go cold turkey and cut it all out.

Mara @ What's for Dinner? February 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Ever since I started this eating plan thing, I’ve been ONLY using splenda in my coffee, and stopping with the using it in everything habit. Do you find that you get that carb reaction/craving after eating oat bran? I have a ton of it, and if you’d like it, I can send it your way…

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Mara, I find that when I eat oat bran in the morning, I crave carbs all day, but I’m okay if I eat it at night. Carbs make me feel so lethargic too – I think that’s another reason I like eating them before bed. They help me sleep, and so in other words, yes, I will gladly take any extra oat bran off your hands. 🙂

Food-Fitness-FreshAir February 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm

That breakfast is gorgeous. I love the nice touch of the almonds.

The Brunette February 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The weather in Chicago is gorgeous and sunny, as well, and I’m loving the opportunity to walk outside. I applaud your Lenten resolution! I definitely agree that my food cues seem more normal when I stick to heartier, savory foods.

Julie @ Pickley Pear February 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

It is hard to give up sweetners. I bet it will taste SUPER SWEET when these 40 days are up! Try agave nectar? I actually like that lighter sweet taste better than stevia.

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Julie, Agave is 90% fructose. Bad bad news for me, and I never buy it.

Danielle February 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I’m going to follow your lead (somewheat) and cut back on Stevia. Sweetness is addictive!

Would you ever use dates as a way to sweeten things??

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Danielle, Yes, I would use dates. At least I have in the past, and I would prefer them any day over agave.

Anna February 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Way to go on the no stevia thing!!!! One day down, right? Well, two now! I’m jealous of your weather– it sounds glorious!

Shelly February 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Keep up the good work! It’s just going to take a little while for your taste buds to adjust. I bet it will get easier after a week or so!
Also, can you make yourself a big batch of roasted veggies? That way you get something sweet for dinner that doesn’t have any sweetener!

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Shelly, I just had a big batch of veggies for dinner with a sweet potato for dessert. Perfect and no added sweeteners!

Erica February 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I commend you! I’m not sure I could give up the sweeteners all together- especially sexy jay robb! All of your dishes do look tasty though- especially the ice cream. Your fake hot chocolate is my new love- I have it every few days- so delicious! Enjoy the weather!

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) February 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Oh man, you are talking to one overly sweet girl, and I’m not talking about my personality, believe me!

I add stevia to my stevia. Tsk Tsk. For a short while I was having coffee and tea sans sweetener and Derek was so proud, but I couldn’t do it any more. It made life quite bleak. I would definitely use your example to start cutting back though. If I take out a little bit at a time, perhaps I won’t miss it when it gets down to small amounts.

Your caca oats looked really good- too bad you weren’t feeling the love. gah! 🙁

Enjoy your lovely weather. I’m hunkered down in a coffee house in the mountains where it’s bloody cold and rainy! But kinda cozy. And I have WiFi!!! Wooot– that means I can go and read all your posts and leave my comments for you my friend!! 🙂

eatmovelove February 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I want Nashville! HEAB – did you consider instead of going “cold turkey” , to simply “cut back” instead!! Or to say , stop with so much of one thing – like the protein powders – but use it for regular stuff like coffee and stuff…. just a thought ! I admire your dedication. I just feel that a big problem nowadays is that “all-or-nothing” mentality – for instance after Lent – will you go back to the usual amount you used??
I think people should just accept small changes and things and not worry about doing EVERYTHING at once or getting overwhelmed by stuff – and I’m talking in general here! – not really about just food and stuff….
Cheers 🙂

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Eatmovelove, Nope, I’m going all or nothing with the stevia. If I allowed myself a little, then I would somehow find a way to allow myself a lot. I lived a good life pre-stevia, and there’s no reason why I can’t do it again. Don’t know if I’ll go back to my stevia-laced lifestyle after Easter. We shall see…

EE February 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Wish I had your weather!

I’ll probably always need a little bit of sweetness in my life, but I really respect the choices you make.

Alice February 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Wow I will be interested in seeing what sorts of alternatives you come up with Heather, while you are surviving Lent. Perhaps at the end of all this you will not crave sweetness anymore and will be able to go without Stevia? lol

marla {family fresh cooking} February 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Great job! Glad to read your taste buds are adjusting. What is it about those NuNaurals Vanilla drops, crazy addictive I tell ya!

Evan Thomas February 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Something tells me it’s going to be a long Lent, but you can do it! I added about 1 tablespoon coconut milk to oats today for the first time and ohmygod. It added such a great richness that any sweet or saltiness to it would have just killed it

Kate February 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

You’ll get used to the umm, un-sweetness. Hahah. I’m a sugar-free girl twenty-four-seven so I know it’s possible. I have stevia on rare occasions but I try to avoid it for the most part since I don’t want to whack my tastebuds too much. I love using dates (or date puree) and frozen RIPE bananas as sweeteners. They have the perfect amount to make something seem “dessert-y” without adding anything more than a serving or two of fruit.

You can even use date puree in baking too. If you still want to indulge in “protein pancakes”, buy some unflavored stevia-free whey or brown rice protein and then use whipped banana in the batter to sweeten things up. There you have it – BANANA protein pancakes. Even better.

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Heather Eats Almond Butter February 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Kate, Thanks for the pancake tip – whipped banana protein pancakes sound delicious!

nicole @ making good choices February 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I know it is so hard to give up sweeteners! I had the same thing when I have up splenda and eventually I just got used to it but I did it gradual. Cold turkey is tough! You have a ton of will power!

Ashley February 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I totally know what you mean about being more in control of your hunger. Once you stay off added sugars for a short time it gets easier and easier to stay away. I find myself decreasing the sugar for recipes like banana bread by almost half. It makes me feel so much better, but I actually have to be careful, b/c things like a whole piece of cake will make me feel crappy pretty quickly! I was doing some reading on artificial sweeteners [not sure if stevia is included] but that the zero calorie aspect actually screws with your body + digestion and makes you crave the calories you were trying to avoid anyway! Not sure if it’s 100% true, but it’s interesting! Can’t wait to see how much your sweet tooth has changed after lent!

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