So you are craving something sweet but don’t want the calories, caffeine, dairy or carbs? You can make this delicious, creamy treat in less than five minutes:
Step 1: In a small saucepan, heat 6-8 ounces of almond milk and a large teaspoon of Liif Tea’s USA Tisane No.3: Chocolate Mint Rooibos over medium heat for approximately two minutes, or until hot.
Step 2: Strain the leaves over your favorite tea cup.
Step 3: Enjoy!
People often ask me what type of tea is the “healthiest,” and then they usually say they’d heard that green is the way to go. Many factors can affect the level of antioxidants and other healthful components of tea, such as its quality, age, preparation and yes – its classification. Green is featured in more studies than other classifications so it has a strong reputation. All teas have their advantages, however, so I usually recommend that people drink what they like the most. I, for example, have quite a selection of teas at my fingertips and have favored high-grown, single-estate blacks from Sri Lanka for years.
Blacks definitely hold their own on the health spectrum as well. They have high levels of polyphenols which are known to help protect against cardiovascular diseases. In one of may recent studies, a group of men and women drank three cups (200mL) of black tea daily (no additives) for 12 weeks and then drank the same amount of hot water daily for three weeks (the washout period). After the 12-week period of tea drinking, the mean fasting blood glucose level in men dropped 30.2% and in women 14.8%. After the washout period, blood glucose levels generally increased. In addition, at week 12, HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) levels increased by 17% for men and 24% for women. Interestingly, after the washout period the HDL levels in men increased by 15% for men and 29% for women.
While more research is always needed to confirm health-related claims for tea, the authors concluded that “tea […and let me add “black”…] may provide an important source of dietary antioxidants in many individuals.”
I’ve been gone a while and I’m sorry about that. Things happen. I’m back now and would love to hear your thoughts on – - yes, tea. Meanwhile, here’s some food for thought (literally).
A recent article in Health magazine (The New Way to Conquer Cravings, May 2012) talks about how to “rewire your brain to keep temptation at bay,” and how cues can so easily overtake even the best of willpower, particularly when repeatedly associated with fatty or sugary foods. We’ve all been there – the bakery we see on our way to work or those TV ads for fast food at about 6pm. To make things worse, these donuts and french fries have a much stronger effect on the brain than broccoli; they release a greater level of dopamine which gives us a “feel good” experience, and their varied flavors and textures make them more stimulating. To top it off, our crave programming may date back to days in the womb; if Mom found comfort in sweets, so might you.
So if triggers are so powerful, why not use them to our advantage? Rather than hanging around the vending machine at 3pm, consider creating a daily habit of tea and fruit or some low-fat cheese and wholegrain or rice crackers. Eventually 3pm could become your cue for something healthy.
Contact: Laura Moran FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tel: (312) 828-0954
Chicago Entrepreneurs Partner to Create the Perfect Tea Experience
Flower Design Studio Hosts First in a Series of Chicago Tea Tastings
CHICAGO, Illinois – January 25, 2011 – The innovative floral setting at one of Chicago’s leading flower design studios and retail stores, Stems (850 N. Ashland Avenue), will be the first stage for a new series of events, Chicago Tea Tastings, held on Thursday, February 17, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Local companies Liif Tea®, Kissel’s Spiced Jam®, and Great American Cheese CollectionTM will host these tastings throughout the year to help raise people’s familiarity with teas and how to pair them with cheeses, jams, and other specialty foods.
“Stems is the perfect setting to launch our Chicago Tea Tastings series,” states Laura Moran, the owner of Liif Tea LLC. “The atmosphere at Stems creates a visual and aromatic experience for guests the minute they walk in the door, and we will extend that experience into the world of taste and education. There will even be an intuitive on hand to provide readings between sips and conversation.”
“Pairing interesting combinations is just one of the many ways that Americans are broadening their appreciation for flavors and textures,” says Giles Schnierle, the founder of Great American Cheese Collection, “and these tea tastings will offer opportunities to explore the unexpected.” Adds Kissel’s Spiced Jam CEO, Ben Shelton, “The Kissel’s Spiced Jam product line itself began with pairing fruit and spice combinations found in wines and teas, so our pairing with cheeses and teas is a natural.”
The event at Stems is free and products will be on sale, cash only, for those who wish to purchase. Guests are encouraged to RSVP on the “Liif Tea LLC” group Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135738596489097) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Stems, Inc.
Stems began with a vision to open a small, stylish, innovative flower shop in Chicago’s up-and-coming West Town neighborhood. The result was the creative design studio for a thriving corporate and retail floral business. The creative atmosphere of the studio keeps Stems on the cutting edge of flower design in Chicago for weddings, special events, corporate accounts, and everyday, unforgettable floral designs. Media Contact: Allison Denny, (312) 243-4470, email@example.com.
About Liif Tea LLC
Liif Tea LLC is a Chicago-based importer, wholesaler and retailer of specialty loose leaf teas and accessories. Founded by Laura Moran in 2007, Liif offers premium products and destination tea events tailored to specific needs and preferences. Media Contact: Laura Moran, (312) 828-0954, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Great American Cheese Collection
Great American Cheese Collection brings together excellent quality and delicious, small-production cheeses from around the USA. The company aims to make these products more available to chefs in restaurants and food service and to the public via retail stores and farmers’ markets. Representing more than 65 family and co-op producers, The Great American Cheese Collection is the single largest source for America’s specialty cheeses. Media Contact: Giles Schnierle, (773) 779-5055, email@example.com.
About Kissel’s Spice Jam
Kissel’s Spiced Jam, Inc. manufactures the world’s first and only product line of its kind, pairing fruit and spice combinations that often occur together naturally in wines, teas, and other foods raised from the soil. Using all natural ingredients, the Kissel’s Spiced Jam product line consists of six original flavors (including Apricot Rosemary, Blueberry Lavender, Strawberry Basil, Peach Coriander, Cherry Fennel, and Plum Tarragon), all produced using the company’s exclusive “open-kettle” cooking technique at the plant in Wheeling, Illinois. Media Contact: Ben Shelton, (847) 537-3100 x208, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dark circles and puffy eyes can result from many factors such as a lack of sleep, smoking or genes. There are also many remedies on the market, but why not keep it simple? Steep two black tea bags (yes – I’m promoting tea bags today) for about five minutes, drain and chill in the refrigerator. Do what you like with the liquor – we just want the bags. When the tea bags are cool, lie down and place one on each closed eye for about 15 minutes. You may want to put a towel under your head for tea drips (or over your head, for drips of another sort).
When done, gently rinse your face to remove any possible stains from the tea and – voila! The dark circles and/or puffiness around your eyes should be less noticeable. Why? Tea contains tannin, a natural astringent, which may help pull the skin taut.
Here’s something for both tea and coffee drinkers (and those that like it all) – results from a recent study in the Netherlands suggest that people who drink tea and/or coffee are less likely to die from heart disease than those that do not consume either beverage. While not the first of its kind, this was certainly one of the largest and longest studies on the potential effects of tea and coffee in the world involving 37,000 subjects for 13 years. Researchers considered various lifestyle factors such as smoking and exercise and reported the following key findings:
- Subjects who drank 3 to 6 cups (let’s assume 8 ounces) of tea each day had a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease compared with those that drank less than 1 cup a day.
- Drinking more than 6 cups of tea a day resulted in a 36% lower risk of death from heart disease compared with those that drank less than 1 cup.
- Subjects who drank more than 2 and less than 4 cups of coffee each day had a 20% lower risk of death from heart disease than those that drank more or less coffee.
- Neither coffee nor tea consumption seemed to affect the risk of stroke.
So, according to this study, tea drinkers win the race but coffee drinkers are still benefiting from their morning brew. In addition – in case you’re curious – most of the tea-drinking subjects drank black tea.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 3,390 million sisters around the world (in 2010) and – not only is this number expected to grow – but the number of women over 65 is expected to increase by an incredible 81% from 254 million in 2010 to 532 million in 2030. Many of us will still be here 20 years from now, and I recently heard someone say that the first person to live to be 200 has already been born. Can we all imagine for a minute what we will look like at 200?
Until that magic pill of the century appears on store shelves everywhere, maintaining healthy lifestyles will continue to grow in importance for preventing unwanted hospital visits, ensuring the optimal health of our offspring and warding off those 200-year-old wrinkles. With age, the essential nutrient needs of women are fairly similar to those of men except for women’s higher propensity towards deficiencies in iron, calcium, vitamin D and various antioxidants. What does this mean? Healthy diets and lifestyles – which includes ensuring we get the vital nutrients and antioxidants we need on a regular basis – can help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, digestive problems, colon cancer, gallbladder disease and other ailments that frequently occur in older women.
Where does tea fit in this picture? Antioxidants, of course.
If you’re craving the rich creaminess of a latte and want all the healthful benefits of tea’s free polyphenols, you’ll love this simple recipe below:
- 12 ounces vanilla almond milk
- 2 teaspoons of Liif’s Ceylon Black No.7 tea leaves
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Heat all ingredients except the cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes or until it starts to boil. Strain into a large mug, sprinkle the cinnamon on top and indulge!
The tea bag was an early 1900s accidental invention that grew in popularity almost overnight because of its convenience and lower cost relative to tins. It was “born” when Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant in New York, sent his clients tea samples in hand-sewn silk muslin bags rather than in the usual, more expensive tins, and these clients assumed the samples were tea bags as we know them today. Tea bags started showing up commercially around 1904 and currently account for approximately 65% of tea prepared in the U.S.
The accidental invention part is great. The rest? A few considerations:
1. The squeeze: Go big with your bags. Smaller tea bags (particularly older versions) constrict the tea’s unfurling process. This means the leaves can’t expand and open when wet and release all their chemicals and flavor into the water.
2. The leaf: Avoid dust or fannings; different sizes of leaves or particles; leaves from less reputable estates and plants (and lower levels on the plant); and lots of flavorings. Many bags have these, but you might find some good ones out there.
3. The air: Air, light and moisture are tea’s enemies, and tea bags expose tea to more air because of how they are packaged. You can’t avoid air contact entirely, but look for containers like airtight tins and that protect against the elements.
4. The little extra something: If you try hard enough (or not so hard), you might notice the flavor of the actual tea bag, especially with older varieties. If you like this, great! If not, the newer silken bags add less of their own style to the brew.
The tea bag has come a long way in recent years. Newer versions are larger, come in different shapes and sizes, and/or are made of nylon rather than paper for a cleaner taste. In addition, some have lost their strings and staples for greater eco-friendliness. There are certainly times when a tea bag is more convenient and it’s usually a better alternative to other more sugary or more caffeinated beverages. When it comes to pure quality or taste, however, I’m willing to bet most tea connoisseurs have yet to stray from loose leaf.
Thousands of studies from reputable research organizations around the world suggest tea can help prevent and/or treat everything from the common cold to cancer. The FDA has not yet approved any of these claims so we can’t really be sure. Still, it is interesting to consider the potential health benefits – all for pennies per serving. A few examples:
- Prevention and treatment of numerous cancers
- Reduced cholesterol
- Reduced risk of heart disease and cardiac events
- Prevention against and slower spread of HIV
- Prevention of diabetes
- Strengthened immune system
- Prevention of cognitive impairments (cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Duchenne’s dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral ischemia, glioblastoma multiforme, acute stress response)
- Reduced risk of kidney stones
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Increased metabolism, fat oxidation, calorie expenditure
- Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
- Prevention of bad breath and damage to tooth enamel
- Treatment of iron overload disorders
- Decreased stress hormone
What do you think?