We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

20 February 2008

The Ultimate Tea Diet

This is what it looks like outside today, on our road.. that's a wall where water tends to stream down, and its completely frozen. We've been in a deep freeze for about what, about a week now? The crokuses and other signs of spring have been frozen in their tracks.

And this down here was the wall in December as you might recognise from a photo Friday shot.. I think it is now colder than usual for this area.

Still though, its not as bad as Chicago wind chill factors. So why is this post title the Ultimate Tea Diet? Well, when its this cold outside what better than to sit inside with a nice hot cup of tea. That's a quintessential English thing to do anyway.
But this is not an English book I'm about to review here, its actually American, written by Mark (Dr. Tea) Ukra, a tea expert from California. Coffee is taking over here, so maybe tea will take over America... well maybe, maybe not. The premise of the book is about using tea as a means of losing weight, but it has other far reaching health benefits.
When we moved back to England from America, both my husband and I were carrying about 15 extra pounds that we didn't need. We drank mainly coffee in America, even my 'very much a tea drinker' husband. Now he's back to tea mainly, and I have recently given up the coffee, though I still enjoy a good cup now and again. In addition to more walking and some dietary changes, like not eating out hardly ever, we both lost those 15 pounds. Then I had my second child and they came back again. Now they are going again. I believe the tea does help, though its not doing my teeth any good. There is a suggestion in the book to rinse your mouth with water after every cup of black tea, to help prevent the staining. I'm incorporating more green and white teas to reduce the chance of staining, but hey, coffee stains as well!

The book is very informative and provides an entertaining history of tea, along with some scientific facts about the benefits of tea over coffee. Coffee for instance, contrary to popular belief, actually slows down your metabolism, traps body fat and raises blood sugars in your body. It has some benefits as well, but on the whole, you'd do better drinking more tea than coffee.

The cooking with tea section is enlightening with recipes for including tea in food, making tea rubs, and adding brewed tea into stocks and marinades or making things like a tea fruit smoothie. The weight loss can be attributed to tea's main ingredients that help with metabolism, Caffeine (though not as much as coffee, so less damaging), L-Theanine which comes from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant, and ECGC which is in all tea and is a chemical compound known for its antioxidant properties. It has to be real tea though, green, black or white, but not herbal or Rooibos as these do not contain the same compounds.

As an American, I like the tip on making tea ice cubes out of your favourite tea, so when you want Iced Tea, you get a full flavour tea instead of watered down teas when the cubes melt (pg.254). Though I can't even think about that right now!! There's alot to be gained from this book, even if you are not necessarily looking to lose weight. Its about a lifestyle, and making lifestyle changes to last rather than just to lose unwanted pounds. I tried the Quick and Easy Broccoli Tea Soup which was tasty, and enhanced by the Oolong Tea. You can find more info on the website http://ultimateteadiet.com/

In Britain, buy The Ultimate Tea Diet by Mark Ukra published by HarperCollins, 2008 here. In America, you can buy it from Amazon.com and most leading bookstores.

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