Thursday, January 28, 2010

Teavana Teas

Tea has been around for thousands of years.  The earliest record of tea consumption dates back to the Chinese.  People swear by its magical powers and health benefits.  So, I am going to write on the new teas I bought and see if they help amplify my already healthy lifestyle! Well, my "working my way to a healthier lifestyle." It's not perfected yet!

PINA COLADA HERBAL TEA:

INGREDIENTS: The tea is a combination of coconut bits, hibiscus, rose hips, apple bits, and pineapple pieces.

HEALTH BENEFITS: The tea is full of vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants. It is naturally caffeine free.

STEEPING: I boiled water and let the tea steep for 5-8 mins. I also added a pinch (1 tsp) of organic coconut flakes to up the coconut flavor while the tea was steeping. After I strained the tea I added a little agave nectar.

The tea smells amazing in the bag and brewing!  It reminds you of the yummy summer pina coladas you drink by the pool, but then you get a whiff of the rose hips and it turns your thoughts to a rose garden instead of a pool side pina colada.  The mixture of ingredients are so delightful.  The fruit adds a tiny bit of natural sweetness and fruity flavor (so if you like to drink your tea plain--like I do then this tea would be fantastic plain because of the natural sweetness).  My husband and I would definitely recommend this tea to anyone interested in trying some NEW teavana teas! 

PRICE: $4.50 for 2 oz.(20-30 cups of tea)

ROOIBOS ROSE GARDEN TEA

The Rooibos plant has been consumed in South Africa for hundreds of years.  It is brownish-red in color and in the legume family. 

INGREDIENTS: The tea is a combination of green rooibos, rhubarb pieces, red currants and pink rose petals.

HEALTH BENEFITS: The tea is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and flavanols.  It is caffeine free, helps relieve allergies, strengthen teeth, and improve hair, teeth, skin, and bones.
STEEPING: Boil water and steep the tea for 5-6 mins.

The tea has an amazing aroma that fills your nose the moment you open the bag.  Once I brewed the tea the smell reminded me of caramel. I know that is an odd description coming from a rose tea, but that is what I smelled. The taste is naturally sweet.  I did not add any extra sugar and the tea tasted naturally sweeter than the pina colada tea.  The tea is extremely smooth and not overpowering with flavor.  The fruity, floral combination is very appealing to the nose and tongue.  I definitely recommend this tea!

PRICE: $2.40 for 2 oz.


MY MORNING MATE TEA

 INGREDIENTS: Mate, Yunnan black tea, chocolate, nuts, and a touch of spice. CONTAINS 100% of the caffeine that is in coffee. 

HEALTH BENEFITS: This tea may help lower cholesterol, suppress hunger, regulate blood sugar levels, fight colds and allergies, and aid in weight loss.  This tea contains 21 vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants.  

STEEPING: Boil water and steep 1.5 tsp. for 5-6mins


This tea is nothing special when you drink it plain.  No flavors or spices jumped out at me when I opened the bag or steeped the tea, however, when you add agave nectar to it it is extremely flavorful.  It does have a lot of vitamins and minerals that coffee does not have, so if you are looking for a coffee replacement, without the coffee taste, then you have found it right here.  I love the taste of coffee, so by drinking this tea I am really missing out on the coffee flavor, but for the health benefits I would recommend you replace a few cups of coffee a week with this tea! I would recommend this tea, but out of the three I have tasted so far it is definitely last on the list!


PRICE: $6.80 for 2 oz.

KAMIYA PAPAYA OOLONG TEA

INGREDIENTS: Oolong tea, candied papaya, candied pineapple, apple bits, orange peel, cinnamon, and rose bud.
HEALTH BENEFITS: This tea helps lower the fat intake from a high cholesterol meal, speeds up your metabolism, reduces cholesterol and is good for your skin. This tea has 10-15% of the caffeine that is in a cup of coffee. This tea is also known as the "dieter's tea."
 
STEEPING: Boil 8 oz. of water and steep for 4-5 mins.

I absolutely love this tea.  The sweet smell of the candied pineapples and papaya take your mind to the beaches of Hawaii.  This tea is fantastic with a little agave nectar.  If you are in need of a tiny, but healthy caffeine kick this tea would be my suggestion.  I usually drink this tea plain because of the natural sweetness from the fruits. I definitely recommend this tea if you are a fruit lover!  
PRICE: $8.00 for 2 oz.

Coming Soon: 

Rooibos Chai

Friday, January 22, 2010

Splenda & Aspartame: Splendid or Stupid?


I don't know about you, but I personally have had horrible side effects from Splenda.  I used to believe that a fat free-sugar free diet was the best way to stay healthy and lose weight; however, I was constantly bloated, got severe headaches,  gained weight, and I was hungry all of the time.

After years of research and actually putting what I read into play, I realized that living a healthy, active life isn't as hard as people think!  I now am living proof that eating things in their most NATURAL state will get you the results you have always wanted!  All natural products that contain more fat keep you fuller longer.  They are digested very easily in your body; however, products with artificial, and chemically enhanced ingredients will take longer to digest and will almost always cause a side effect. The WORST part about chemically enhanced products is that they change molecular structures while being digested in your body.  Let's take a look at two things that are running rampant in the food industry.

What is Splenda & Aspartame?

Splenda
is a sugar molecule that is manipulated into three chlorine atoms instead of the normal three hydrogen-oxygen atom.  Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon, but when turned into Splenda it is a man-made chlorocarbon. A chlorocarbon is a compound that contains at least one chlorine atom. The carbon-chlorine atom adversly affects a humans metabolism because our molecular structure is made to digest and metabolize organic, all-natural molecules like oxygen, hydrogen, etc...

Aspartame
is the methyl ester of a phenylalanine/aspartic acid dipeptide.  A methyl ester increases a compounds ability to dissolve in fats, oils, and lipids and reduces its solubility in water.  When aspartame is metabolized into the body it creates multiple by-products, one being phenylalanine.  "Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into natural residual components, including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and further breakdown products including formaldehyde, formic acid, and a diketopiperazine" (Wikipedia). Aspartame is broken down into methanol in your small intestine, then 40% of the methanol is converted into formaldehyde then formic acid in your body.  These same chemicals are also used to make plastics, explosives, paints and textiles.
Methanol has a HIGH TOXICITY in humans if ingested!!!!

Studies: 
There have not been any long term studies done on Splenda.  Duke did a study on Splenda and discovered a direct link between weight gain and consuming Splenda (Duke Study on Splenda).

The study "Splenda Alters Gut Microflora and Increases Intestinal P-Glycoprotein and Cytochrome P-450 in Male Rats"  determined that digesting Splenda caused the following: 1) good bacteria in your body to SIGNIFICANTLY decrease, 2) fecal pH to increase, and 3) limits the bio-availability of orally administered drugs.  The bio-availability of prescription drugs is when a pill administered orally will have some incomplete absorption in your body; however, Splenda causes prescription drugs bio-availability to be LIMITED meaning that MORE of the drug is being absorbed in your body than is suppose to.  Bio-availability is "one of the essential tools in pharmacokinetics, as bioavailability must be considered when calculating dosages for non-intravenous routes of administration" (Wikipedia).


Some studies show that if you are healthier and have a good digestive tract, then you are MORE prone to absorbing MORE of the aspartame and Splenda chemicals into your system, thus potentially causing more side affects! 

 Side Effects:

There are MANY different side effects from Splenda and/or Aspartame.  Some side effects occur immediately, while others take there time to show up.  Here are just a few that most people experience:
  1.  Gastrointestinal problems (nausea, abdominal pain, bloating)
  2. Skin allergies (hives, itchy rashes, asthma)
  3. Headaches
  4. Insomina
  5. Dizziness
  6. Numbness 
  7. Possibly Cancer
  8. List of Symptoms sent to FDA 
  9. Additional Health Risk Articles

Are there any healthy Sugar substitutes?

Yes, I recommend the following sugars and sugar substitutes:

  1. All Natural (Raw), Un-heated, Un-filtered Honey
  2. Stevia (no calorie sweetener found in NATURE)--I prefer liquid stevia
  3. All natural Sugar Cane 
  4. Agave Nectar


So, should I limit my Splenda/Aspartame Consumption?

I don't think that you should just limit your consumption, I think you should completely eliminate both products from your diet; however, if you feel you do not have any side effects from either product I would suggest you at LEAST MINIMIZE your usage.  

Although Splenda claims to be "from nature," it is nothing even remotely close to being all natural sugar.  Splenda DOES come from sugar, but after scientists chemically enhance the sugar molecule you get nothing more than man-made cholorcarbons.  

After doing my research, I have concluded that FDA is definitely the one to blame for the above products being on the market.  Along with false advertising and FDA approval, these companies have been able to market products that might be "okay" in small yellow and blue packet doses, but overtime will ultimately cause cancer and health issues.  So, if I were you I would completely eliminate ALL ARTIFICIAL SUGARS from your diet and start living a life that God intended, a life where we eat things FROM NATURE, in there All-natural, non-man-made form!