Teatime

Would you like to have a tea party?

My will power apparently decreased over the last few weeks and I gained 2 whole pounds. Now, that’s not much but it is in the wrong direction, so I am getting back on the wagon. The tea wagon.

When I am hungry, drinking water to fill my stomach doesn’t always work. Ok, it never works. It is always a suggestion for others however.  But tea does fill me up, I think it must be the flavor and heat.  If I drink tea and I am still hungry, then I am most likely legitimately hungry. I do have to be careful with caffeine vs. decaf. I seem to have developed a sensitivity to caffeine.

It could be all those years where I drank 2 liters of Diet Coke at a sitting followed by years of coffee swigging. I get what I term “coffee rot”–I know I got that term from somewhere, no idea where or when. After a certain amount of caffeine in my stomach it becomes ill, and putting food in it helps. Not a good plan for the weight loss management.

I can’t drink Diet Coke anymore, I get sick immediately. *sigh* I did love it. And I am limited to 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day, unless I go decaf. Which I will do because I love the flavor and smell of coffee. So if I have hit my limit in coffee, I tend to avoid caffeinated tea. Or I just need to eat with it. Which rather defeats the point of tea as weight management.

There is a lot of talk about the “weight loss properties” of tea. Green tea weight loss pills abound. Green tea added to weight loss foods. Does it work? I have my doubts. But tea does do a lot of good things for us, depending on the type, and mostly works better straight from the tea bag.  Certainly bottled teas have additives like sugar weighing them down, also defeating the purpose of health and weight control.

Antioxidants in tea can be a good reason  alone to swill some.  However, clinical studies have shown that tea can also be a defense against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and perhaps lower cholesterol.* Whatever your reason, tea is always an excellent break time drink. There are several different types with different effects.

1. White Tea: white tea is dried naturally in sunlight, making it one of the least processed. It retains more antioxidants because of this. An added benefit to white tea is that it is thought to  block new fat cells from forming (adipogenesis) and cause fat cell breakdown (lipolysis). I like that idea!

2. Red Tea: Rooibos tea is from a small region in South Africa, made from a “red bush” plant. While the other teas are rather mild in color, red tea is in fact a bright red. Just a few things that red tea can do for you is help prevent stress hormone imbalances linked to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. A flavonoid called Aspalathin is the main reason for these benefits.  One more thing: Rooibos tea can help regulate hunger signals, making it a perfect for an afternoon drink instead of a trip to the break room to scrounge for food.

3. Green Tea: Green tea may be the perfect drink before a workout–it can help burn more calories during your session. However, the study cited had participants drink 4-5 cups of the tea to increase the calorie burn. I don’t mind drinking that much, but it is good to know how much you need to make an effect.  The reason for the increased calorie burn is catechins in the green tea that “blast adipose tissue by revving metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly!)”* Yea! Even better, Green tea’s antioxidants help reduce effects of aging and damage, including damage by cancer– “oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect”**

4. Oolong Tea: face it, oolong is just fun to say. And there are more benefits? Oolong has the same catechins as green, but has  a lighter floral taste for those who don’t like the Green tea. A similar amount would need to be sipped for metabolism increase. It also could possibly be effective for prevention of ovarian cancer, women who drank 2 cups or more a day seemingly decreased the chance of ovarian cancer almost by half.*** Oolong is most often served in Asian restaurants, so there is a very good chance you have had some.

5. Mint Tea: this is actually one of my favorites, particularly at night. Apparently, the scent of peppermint can help suppress your appetite, warding off grazing. It can also be helpful if you have indigestion or nausea. Additionally, it helps produce bile, which breaks down fats in the system for better digestion.  And you get fresh breath too!

In my frenzy to make gifts last Christmas I produced a tea for my family, friends and me.

It was originally a 1-1-1 ratio****, but I played with it until I liked it better. It was a bit too flowery and not enough tea-y for me. This is what I came up with (feel free to play with it yourself):

1 cup loose green tea leaves, 1/2 cup food grade lavender, 1/3 cup chamomile. Mix it together and seal in an airtight container–I used bell jars.  I usually give the jar a good shake before making, just to ensure an even distribution of ingredients.  Steep 1 tbsp tea in 8 oz hot water, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes, take out strainer with leaves and enjoy!

 

*Much of the information used here came from the “Eat this, not that!” website. While they are more positive about the benefits, please note that I used ‘can’ and ‘may’: don’t think tea can fix all your health problems and stop using your medications!!

**authoritynutrition.com

***webmd.com

****food.com

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12 thoughts on “Teatime

  1. Great post…and you know a bit about tea! I am a big tea drinker, at this very moment I am sitting in my favorite Vietnamese cafe drinking green tea! Actually the green tea comes free with your coffee…yeah this place only serves drinks, so you can bring your own food, it’s all about the coffee which is great, but they give you a bottomless pot of hot or cold green tea with the coffee. I actually come for the atmosphere and the tea. At home I generally drink a litre or two of green tea a day and Oolong is my preference. My wife and I traveled around China and collected many great teas. Certainly a good post subject. Thanks again

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  2. Two pounds isn’t that much! Try not to obsess over the small swings because a swing so small could indicate that you ate something dense. The only time you really need to worry about weight is when you’re not within your proper BMI — like me.

    I have hypothyroidism and take synthetic hormones to try to keep my metabolism up (something that if I don’t do I sleep ALL day). I have been trying to loose weight for over a year and nothing really helps. I can’t sustain longer runs and workouts because I’m so low energy.

    I am in weight watchers now, so I can track if I’m eating ALL the calories I need to, to drop weight. Apparently my metabolism dipped because I wasn’t eating enough! I was eating so few calories that my metabolism slowed so that when I would eat something fatty or dense my body would hold onto it.

    My days used to look like this: Wake up, drink one liter of coffee, being smoking cigarettes (usually 2-3 in morning), lunch time drink diet coke or coke 0 one to two liters, smoke more cigarettes (usually 3-5 for lunch), if super hungry for lunch grab a sandwich or muffin from Starbucks. Dinner time drink more diet soda, whatever is left from lunch, eat a small pizza, smoke more cigarettes.

    I quit smoking two years ago, that was my first step to regaining my physical and mental health, and now my days look like this: Wake up, drink a large dark coffee, eat either oatmeal, or yogurt with bran/granola, or croissant; lunch eat grapes and cheese and meats, or a sandwich, sometimes have a diet soda but only up to 3 times a week, dinner must include veggies and something with iron.

    Now I’m not huge, but I’m unhealthy imo, and unhealthy for me is “I can’t swim for a mile straight”, I should be able to swim for at least a mile front crawl non-stop for a mile (I used to be a lifeguard). All that smoking a pizza eating I had done for a few years really made me go up and now loosing it has been a battle. Two pounds when you can run forever… girl don’t sweat the small stuff. You’re beautiful and fit!

    As for tea, drink it, lots of it!! But don’t drink it in replacement of meals!! If you don’t eat all the recommended calories in a day your body will want to hold onto fat. Eat and drink tea. 😉

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    • trust me, I eat!! biggest reason I am fitness fanatic is that I love to eat. I am actually above my BMI too, altho I have alot of muscle that can throw it off. Getting rid of one lb can take me a week or more, my body grabs onto it and just won’t let go! So when the scale starts to go the wrong way, I do pay attention. But I am still eating the occasional cookie 😉
      Sounds like you have really turned it around, that is awesome! Keep going for that mile swimming: I’d be lucky to swim a lap in a pool 🙂

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      • I’m surprised by hearing you are over your BMI too! You sound like you run sooo much. I wish I could run, I can run for about 60 seconds and then I double up with pain in my side, hahaha. Any tips for me?

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      • best way to start is alternating walk/run. So run those 60sec and then walk 60sec. Or 120sec if you need. Just try to extend the run/shorten the walk when you can. People who do a 5k can still use this method until they can run the whole distance. I don’t know where you live, I live in the country. When I started I used telephone poles, run one, walk one. Much easier than watching a clock! Plus, you have a destination: if I can just get to that pole, I can walk 🙂 I am over my BMI cuz I eat and don’t diet. Running is the first exercise that actually makes a difference in my weight. I am probably 8 or so pounds over my BMI.

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