Why Choose Loose Leaf Tea vs. Processed

I didn’t start drinking coffee religiously until 2 years ago; up until then it was tea–while I now drink both, depending on the occasion and application, sometimes I get rather picky with my tea.

My Nana tells the story frequently of when I was younger; maybe 4–6 years old, she would get me all dressed up, white gloves, frilled socks and all–and we would visit the local teahouse with her friends. The waitstaff would get a kick out of me apparently with my fancy white gloves eating tea sandwiches, crumpets, and shortbread cookies. Not to mention, one time they even had a photographer there to take photos of the facility and apparently I was used as a model in a few of the photos (I don’t recall this, I wish I had the photo to share with you all!) The moral of the story is; tea is a social activity, quality time to share with friends and family.

DO YOU DRINK TEA?

teacollage

The reason behind choosing loose leaf over processed is simply the “leaves” used in most bags are actually the dust and fannings from broken tea leaves. Finely broken tea leaves have lost most of their essential oils and aroma. When steeped, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea and less antioxidants are prominent. Now this isn’t to say that now companies make tea bags with loose leaf tea inside; they do, which makes the brewing process less time consuming and user friendly–but the process is half the fun of tea drinking!

We tend to call many things that we infuse in hot water a tea. But technically, it’s only tea if it’s made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis (originated in Southeast Asia), an evergreen plant indigenous to China and India. It wasn’t until the 17th century drinking tea became popular in Britain.

Tea is the world’s second most popular beverage, after water; and while Thomas Lipton invented the now-popular tea bag in 1952–tea in it’s traditional sense has been around dating back to the 3rd Century AD recorded for medicinal purposes.

Did you know:

  • WHITE TEAS ARE THE LEAST PROCESSED. THEY RELEASE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE AS WEL
  • GREEN TEA, HIGH IN VITAMIN C, CHLOROPHYLL AND MINERALS
  • OOLONG TEAS ARE SEMI–OXIDIZED, WHICH PLACES THEM MID–WAY BETWEEN GREEN AND BLACK TEAS
  • BLACK TEAS ARE FULLY OXIDIZED AND MOST POPULAR TYPE IN THE WESTERN WORLD
  • PU’ERH TEAS ARE AGED AND FERMENTED MEDICINAL BENEFITS RANGE FROM CURING HANGOVERS TO REDUCING CHOLESTEROL
  • YERBA MATÉ HIGH IN CAFFEINE VITAMIN C, POTASSIUM, AND MAGNESIUM
  • HERBAL “TEAS” WIDE RANGE OF HEALTH BENEFITS DEPENDING ON THE HERB
  • ROOIBOS IS A NATURALLY CAFFEINE-FREE HIGH IN IRON, ZINC, COPPER

Most of these photos in the post were actually taken at a teahouse in Portland, Oregon; in the midst of a month long road trip with a friend of mine Anna, we stopped in to enjoy the Lan Su gardens, a cup of tea, and some Bao Zi (vegetable steamed buns.) Sure you can visit a place, and maybe you will remember it; but the act of experiencing a cultural tradition while doing so–engraves that experience in my memory.

Have you ever looked at a tea bag and tried to guess what’s actually in there? Very hard to decipher and see each individual ingredient. Unless it’s a very basic tea blend, you might not know what you’re putting in your body with processed bags of tea. If you look at the featured photo at the top of the post; you see many colors of green, fuchsia, and tan. You can pick out and hold each ingredient and identify it separately in loose leaf tea.

Health Benefits of Loose Leaf Tea:

  • High in Antioxidants
  • Lower Chloresterol
  • Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
  • Possibly Helps Prevent Cancer
  • Calming and Mental Clarity

 

I boosted my tea consumption in 2016; when I started training for my first fitness bikini competition, and was drinking a gallon of water a day. Some people claim they actually hate water, you know the stuff that 60–75% of our bodies are made up of; I however love it. But, brewing my four 32oz containers with different flavors made the consumption new and exciting every time. Not to mention the added health benefits tea offers rather than just water alone. As I sit and write this; I am sipping on a steaming cup of Teavana Maharaja Chai Oolong / Samurai Chai Mate Blend Tea on this frigid 65 degree day at the end of June!

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Eating for Energy

The best way to lose weight FAST is to jump on a fad diet.

…True. but it is not sustainable; you will be miserable and constantly feel deprived like you are missing out, eventually you will gain back if not all, sometime more weight than you started with making the experience temporary– and not a healthy lifestyle.

The unhealthy cycle:

  • Your initial motivation then wears off
  • Rebel, Revert, Binge
  • Gain even more weight
  • Depression and unhappiness

    eatingout

    So what can you do about this?

    Don’t fall into the trap! The understanding of the elimination of either carb or fat; comes down to the process of elimination. As long as your calories IN, are less than the calories out (being burned through exercise and daily energy) you will start to see change in your overall body composition and loss of body fat.

    This is why it is important to be aware of what you are putting into your mouth; common thinking patterns are; “I can’t go out to dinner with friends because everything at a restaurants is unhealthy.” While these days; this statement is more correct than not, it certainly is not true.

    Choosing lean protein options in restaurants such as chicken, fish, eggs, quality lean beef/bison is possible! Don’t be ashamed to request your meal to be to be cooked in olive oil over vegetable oils or butter. Every restaurant has a vegetable or salad option (the key is to how it is prepared, again asking to be cooked in olive oil or steamed. Dressings are the other calorie dense, highly processed additives to be mindful of.)

    Unprocessed foods take longer to digest which means a steady flow of energy (glucose) through the day. Ever wonder why “everyone is so tired” these days?
    What you put in; doubles what you get out! Food for thought, literally: It takes your stomach at least 15 minutes to tell your brain that it’s full. In a Western world; especially America, where faster is better and meals are eaten on the go, in the car, and as fast as humanly possible– it’s no wonder we can’t listen to our bodies when they tell us we are content to stop eating.

    A few of my favorite types of cuisines are Asian, South American, and Mediterranean. The options are endless with ingredients like fresh vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats like avocados and olives! Truly food of the Gods; I feel amazing picking on a little of this, and a little of that, as opposed to stuffing my face to the feeling of discontent. Fruit pairings with cheese are one of my favorite snacks! I will be the first to admit; I love indulgence, I love food, and hate how my body feels after.

    A perfect example of this would be last weekend when I went to the local Greek Festival; I had an amazing day with family, you can see it vlogged here: The Announcement You’ve Been Waiting For but to say that I overate is an understatement. The food was AMAZING; I had everything from spanakopita, grilled octopus, gyro, and more…to baklava, cookies, and Greek Coffee which is the same as Turkish Coffee (much like our espresso here in the states.) The coffee is served with the grounds. I opted to have mine unsweetened, or sketos (pronounced SKEH-tohss.)

    The moral of the story is; on the car ride home the food coma was induced, and my consciousness began to dissipate. To the point of when I got home, at around 7:00pm I took a nap! My body just couldn’t handle all of the sodium and sugar intake and it went into recovery mode. Now I understand why siestas (an afternoon rest, or nap) are so common!

    I realize in my photos above; flour tortillas are pictured, and while recently I have made the effort to eliminate almost all processed food– I am still at the stage of occasionally making an exception. For the reason stated earlier of balance. I am stubborn; I want what I can’t have, and if I tell my body I can’t have chocolate–suddenly I am dreaming of swimming in a chocolate fountain. Likewise; with any other ingredients–if I quickly claim “I no longer eat refined white flour” I will be the first one in line for a cupcake. However; through reputable Netflix documentaries, reading nutrition based articles, and really meditating on the idea of what these processed foods have begun negatively effecting our minds and bodies– I see myself slowly, naturally, making these changes.

Plant the seed; and watch it grow, with anything in your life–Knowledge and understanding is the first step towards change. Don’t jump into anything health related; make small changes daily until you are closer to the place you want to be.