Monday, July 16, 2012

Opening the Doors to Health, Wisdom and Happiness

I have never been a "tea drinker" because coffee has always been my thing. My pick-me-up. My go to beverage. Nothing cures my morning blues like a cup of coffee. Late night studying is usually paired with a sweet and caffeinated something or other. Undoubtedly, I am not alone. Caffeine is the most popular "drug" in the world and can be found among all cultures. Whether the dose of caffeine comes from coffee, espresso, energy drinks, or soda, everyone is so strung out on this stuff. Me included! I have been slowly trying to decrease my dependency on coffee by drinking tea. I'll be the first to admit that tea never enticed me the way coffee did, but it's finally growing on me.


Excessive caffeine consumption is a problem for me, as well as many others. Unfortunately, day after day, people continue to devourer their cafe lattes like there's no tomorrow. Asking for extra cream and extra sugar, not really giving thought to what they are putting in their bodies. Too much caffeine can stress out the immune system and your heart, making you feel anxious and on edge. There is even research that supports caffeine increasing the chance of wrinkles, chronic heartburn, breast cysts, heart palpitations, and fertility problems. No thank you!


So, say you are a casual coffee drinker. Or you like decaf coffee. And maybe you don't add mounds of sugar to your drink. There really are no horribly related diseases or effects of drinking coffee in a social way. But, there are really no benefits either. Sure, there have been studies that loosely link coffee to reducing the risk of Type II Diabetes and increasing your metabolism, but generally coffee does not leave you feeling good all day long. When I drink coffee, I notice myself fully alert and fidgety for a few hours and then crashing shortly after, craving yet another cup. And my cup of coffee is not always the healthiest, as I can taste the difference between decaf and regular, and love my cream and sugar. With this dilemma and my new quest to take care of my mind, soul and body, I looked a littler further into becoming a tea drinker.


I can definitely say a recent trip to Teavana contributed to my growing interest in tea. Though their mission to provide the highest quality loose leaf tea, I have found myself actually enjoying my morning cup of tea rather than forcing it. Teas in bags (the supermarket brand tea bags) originate from the same plant as loose leaf teas from Teavana, but the way they are packaged affects the quality, taste and longevity of the tea. Loose teas are made from hand-picked buds, whole leaves or large pieces of leaves. Tea in prepackaged bags contain smaller pieces of these tea leaves but lack the full flavor of the loose leaves. When I drink loose leaf tea, I can taste every ingredient in the blend. It is rich and full-bodied and most times, I don't even have to add any sugar. Tea bags, on the other hand, taste watered down and bland. I usually add a teaspoon or more of sweetener to this type of tea.

After debriefing myself on the history of tea, I learned that tea is the most popular beverage in the world (second to water) and is also one of the healthiest. Tea plants are native to East and South Asian and are said to have originated in India and China. For several hundred years, people drank tea because of its herbal medicinal qualities. Consumption of tea, especially green, is beneficial to health and longevity because it contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Throughout the years, tea was used as a religious offering, a high rank of status, a healing agency and as a social aspect. All tea comes from a plant called Camellia sinensis and is produced in thousands of different varieties.
  • White Teas - The purest and least processed of all teas. It contains very little caffeine and has a light flavor. Healthy antioxidants included in this tea are best for skin and complexion.
  • Green Teas - The most popular type of tea. It can be mixed with fruits or scented with flowers. It only has 5-10% of the caffeine found in a cup of coffee. The antioxidants in green tea help maintain cholesterol and are good for skin and teeth. It also helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level and overall, a strong immune system.
  • Oolong Teas - A flavorful tea with a sweet aroma. This is a healthy tea to incorporate into a weight loss plan.
  • Black Teas - The tea most people know. It is fully fermented and has 20% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee.  Black teas help maintain cardiovascular functions, cholesterol levels, and improve the circulatory system. 
  • Herbal Teas - Do not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family and consist of pure herbs, flowers and fruits. Typically caffeine-free and rich in vitamin C. 
  • Roobios Teas - Red tea that is a healthy source of vitamins and minerals. It can help promote digestion, support the immune system and contribute to healthy skin, teeth and bones. '
  • Mate Teas - The coffee lover's favorite. It tastes very similar to coffee because it contains nuts and coca leaves. It contains the same amount of caffeine without the jitters. Mate tea can also curb an appetite.
Overall, I feel more relaxed and balanced when I replace my morning coffee with a cup of tea. I am still new to this tea drinking thing, but already I found that I enjoy the process rather than needing it - like I did with my coffee. With the right type of fuel , I have come to realize that my whole body works better. This is just one more step toward healthy living. I can't wait to take more.


<3 oohv

8 comments:

  1. I'm drinking a delicious detox tea as I read this! Tea always seems to make a person feel better. Great post
    x

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    1. Thank you :) I am now understanding why people are so into their tea.

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  2. Tea is my favorite drink. I could drink it every single day. I own a lot of tea bags. I've never tried tea without tea bags so, I'll have to try this kind soon! :) Tea keeps me feeling good all day long. I'm happy whenever I drink it.

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    1. I used to drink it only in the tea bags and I think that's why I was having trouble switching from coffee to tea. The loose leaf tea is such a treat! It's a little pricy, but it is so worth it. Try it sometime :)

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  3. “Now you understand the Oriental passion for tea," said Japhy. "Remember that book I told you about the first sip is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy.”
    -Jack Kerouac

    One of my favorite things! I have a teacup tattoo with waves rolling out of it, to symbolize my love for tea, the different feelings it procures, and because it can be relaxing, fun, social or private.

    Teavanna is a great store, I bought a $40 giant tin and it's lasted me over 2 years and still taste incredible. If you're ever up at End of the Commons general store, they have a locally made maple tea that's very light and delicious!

    Loved the post, lots of wonderful information in it :]!!

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    1. Thank you, I really can't believe I have been missing out on tea for the last 21 years of my life. I feel like I have been exposed to a whole new world! I'm excited to try all these different flavors and blends. The maple tea sounds amazing. When I post my "Tattoo Tuesday - Friends Edition Part 2" I would loveee to include your teacup tattoo :)

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  4. Teavana just popped up in our local mall and I have yet to go in and actually try anything! Which is totally weird because I'm a huge tea fan, especially now that I am pregnant and try my best to limit my coffee intake...to almost nothing lol. Now I will definitely be stopping in for a little test tasting. :)

    jenn
    jennifermartinphotographyblog.com
    instagram: jennifmartin

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    1. Yes, YES! You definitely need to stop by that store. Congrats and I can assure you that the tea from Teavana will keep you away from coffee :)

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