Tuesday Tea Tip

Due to my many years working for T2Tea I have built up quite a well of knowledge and tid bits about tea.

I am definitely not an expert, or a health/medical practitioner or a nutritionist, but I do have a lot of experience brewing, tasting and testing tea and I love it.
So I thought I could share a few tid bits every now and then.
I will endeavour to do a weekly (or atleast very regularly) post about tea and tea associated things.
So here’s my first one!!

Yesterday I was speaking with my Aunty who had decided to stop drinking coffee a few days ago. That is fantastic as coffee is very high in caffeine, which is great for some reasons (like if your a parent and can’t remember what a full nights sleep is like, or, like me, you move to the Australian home of coffee and there is a cafe every few metres everywhere you go). But can be harsh on your system.
At the same time she decided to stop drinking coffee, cold turkey, as they say, she also started to have a few stressors in her life over the next few days.
When you stop drinking coffee your body goes through withdrawals from the lack of caffeine it’s become accustomed to, and goes through some stress of its own.
With external life stressors added on top, my Aunty started to get heart palpitations and racing heartbeat, mild anxiety attacks.
Over the course of the weekend she had three of these and ended up at A&E late one night.
She is all fine now and is learning to breathe through her stress, but I also gave her a TEA TIP I used to give to a lot of my customers and friends:

When giving up anything that is a habit, especially when its a habit or dependency within your body, going “cold turkey” doesnt work for most people and their bodies. It is often too much of a change for your body.
The best and healthiest way that I think to give up coffee is to cut down over time.

Replace a cup of coffee with a cup of tea similar to the way you make your coffee.
Pop into a tea shop and test and trial different flavours and strengths to find one that you like and will drink.

Tea has around half the amount of caffeine as coffee.

So your body will be getting a hit of caffeine, like its used to, just not as much.

If you want to completely get off caffeine all together, you can slowly change from black tea to green and white teas (they only have very small amounts of caffeine), then to herbal and rooibos teas which contain now caffeine at all (rooibos still contains antioxidants though).

By cutting down slowly over time, you won’t be shocking your body into change and it will be easier to cope with. You may also find you sleep a little better too.

Good luck if you are trying to cut down on caffeine and keep sipping!

Liz x TJC x

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Coughs, Colds and Comfort – Hydration

For the last two weeks our little house hold has been consecutively struck down by a nasty little cold.
First DinoGirl, then Husband now myself, then still Husband.
True to form DinoGirl gets a little fever, runny nose, a few sneezes, doesn’t want to eat and then the next day its almost all over except she is left with a cough and phlegm in her system for about another week after. Around this time Husband gets it, after feeling like he’s been fighting it off for a week already.
And because of his shocking sinus issues already, it compounds the symptoms and makes his cold a thousand times worse and goes on for double the length. A true Man Flu.

Then while DinoGirl is almost over hers and Husband is towards the end of his, that’s when I get it, usually after one of us has jinxed us and said something like “oh well it’s good you haven’t got it yet”.
Almost immediately my nose starts to run. Every time.

I have had it on and off for the last two weeks.
Yuck. I don’t get the sinus-y stuff like Hubs but I get the body aches and headaches and sore throat.
Husband is a dripping tap and is literally blowing his nose for the entirety of winter, and then also spring.

So I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help out at these woeful times and to help comfort us all.
Over the next few posts I will give ideas, recipes and tips on my Winter Flu Fighting methods!
They don’t always keep the colds away but they certainly help in minimising and containing them and help in getting through them.

My first post is about HYDRATION.

Obviously, drink lots of water, as it helps to flush your system. I like to think of water as the oil or WD40 for our organs, keeps them well lubricated and helps keep them working at their best.

It’s a great thing to drink a glass of room temperate or warm water with fresh lemon juice in it first thing in the morning before you do anything else.
It helps to wake your organs up after their little rest (cause while we sleep, while our body keeps working, our organs do have their own version of ‘rest’ too and slow down a little, so you gotta think about waking them up too!).
Having the water warm or room temperature means it won’t be such a shock on your system as cold water. Imagine having a cup of cold water thrown on you while your still resting in the morning… That would be a shock! You would tense up and get cranky- think of your organs like that too. They would act the same.
I’d probably punch someone.

But I digress.

Tricks to help you drink more are keep a bottle of water with you as much as you can, a glass or bottle of water on you desk at work. I find of its there, you’ve drink it. Choose water over pre bottled juices or sugar drinks.

Teas can be wonderfully comforting, hydrating and certain herbal blends can help certain ailments. Good quality herbal and white teas can really help fix your wagon.
White tea- but isn’t that just black tea with milk in it, I hear you ask?
No, it’s is actually its own category of tea and leaves.
White tea is very young green tea leaves, picked very early off the tea bush. There is very little processing, they are left to wither in natural sunlight and then lightly processed to prevent oxidation. They are the ‘purest’ form of tea leaves.
Their name – white tea – comes from the silvery grey/white fur still on the leaves due to them being very young and often some of the leaves haven’t even unfurled yet into a leaf shape.
And isn’t everything that is a baby fury and soft? Puppies, kittens, ducklings, even freshly born babies often have a soft down still on them.
The benefits of white tea are wonderful.
It is full of antioxidants and has the highest amount of antioxidants of any tea leaf. It also has the lowest amount of caffeine, only containing around 1% caffeine.

(NB:Contrary to what some people believe, green tea DOES have caffeine in it, it is just a much lower amount than black tea or coffee.)

Antioxidants are the soldiers of our body that fight off free radicals in our body to help keep us healthy and help prevent a lot of age related diseases. Also, antioxidants have anti aging properties and are great for your skin.

So white tea helps with your health and fighting of nasties in our system – win! It tastes very mild and delicate in flavour and needs to be brewed delicately too. Fill a ratio of 3/4’s boiling water and a 1/4 cold water in your cup first, THEN add your infuser with your white tea leaves and leave for about 2-5mins.
This is also a perfect way to brew green tea to stop it from burning and going bitter, bit just let the leaves steep for around 2 minutes.

Herbal teas can be wonderful too!
Some of my favourites for battling a cold are Lemongrass and Ginger (I love the T2 blend), which is dried lemongrass and ginger pieces – not to be confused with ‘lemon and ginger’ flavored tea. Serve hot with a little dash of honey and maybe a little squeeze of lemon juice to help soothe a sore throat, break up phlegm and mucus and warm you up.

Hibiscus is also wonderful for sore throats as it is rich in antioxidants and personally I have found the fact I am drinking something rich in antioxidants that goes straight onto my throat always seems to ease and help a sore throat.
It’s is very tart, almost like a grapefruit and a rich, dark pinky, red colour.
It is also beautiful as a base for iced teas on hot days. Hibiscus tea is also believed to be very beneficial in lowering blood pressure.

Rooibos is my next favourite for fighting colds and flu’s.
Again, Rooibos is jam packed with antioxidants! But is naturally free of caffeine. It’s needle like leaves are a burnt orangey red colour and require a very fine mesh infuser so the leaves don’t leak into your cup.
It has a similar taste to black tea, just not as strong and a little sweeter.
It also can be drunk with milk, like black tea, or on its own as a herbal tea.
(NB: once you add milk to any tea or coffee, it immediately cancels out/kills off the antioxidants present in that tea. So If you are really wanting the health benefits from your tea drink it ‘black’, on it’s own. Also, green tea or white tea is to never be served with milk, it’s a big no no, it is not processed or ‘designed’ to be drunk with milk. The flavours don’t match and it would be like eating your cereal with a nice dash of tomato sauce…. Just no.)

There are some beautiful flavour blends of all of these mentioned teas.
Drop into your local tea store or jump online as search for some tea companies.

As many of you know I have worked for Australian tea company, T2, on and off (before and after baby) for around three years in total. Working for them I have developed a life long love and passion for tea (and tea cups and teapots), and I genuinely love educating people about the amazingly delicious and healthy variations of teas that are out there.

Another little, well known, favourite is Chai tea.
And not to be confused with a chai latte that is usually made with an artificial powder or syrup.
You want actual black tea leaves chai.
The real, chunky spices are beautifully warming on your system and all of the spices have health benefits, like cinnamon- its great for lowering blood sugar levels. I add extra ginger and cinnamon pieces to my chai, as I like it stronger and more zingy.
Again, beautiful with honey, served with or without milk.

Generally when you have a cold, you need a good rest to help fight it off.
There are many teas that can help you relax and promote sleep.
Try herbal blends after your meal and when your getting ready or bed like chamomile, lavender, peppermint and some beautiful blends that contain a selection of herbs perfect for drifting off to sleep.
My personal faves are Chamomile and two blends from T2, Relax and Sleep Tight.

Hope this has helped in anyway and look out for my next post on more things to help get you through the winter months.

Happy Sipping,

Liz x TJC x

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A lovely little surprise

Whilst still in my pyjamas a few mornings ago (the ugly pygama’s too, when its just some ratty old greyish white singlet with a pair of house trackpants, and by ‘house’ trackpants I mean the kind that should only ever be worn inside your house, not the cool kind you wear outside and look hip.) there was a swift knock at the door. I hurried to find a bra to whack on underneath the grayish white singlet but with two more hurried knocks it appeared that whoever was at the door wasn’t going to hang around long enough to notice I had no bra on.
So I open the door (hugging myself so as to not offend or shock anyone with a possible sighting of my boobs) and there’s a huge box sitting in front of me and a smiley delivery driver. I quickly signed the electronic device and relinquished the guy back to the other million deliveries he probably had that day.

Well hat do we have here.
I see the senders name on the box, it’s from my Sister In Law.

I yank the box inside and DinoGirl and I get to work on ripping it open.
I thought it would be a gift for DG as it was her birthday about two weeks earlier.

But to my SAHM delight, it was a brand spankin’ new Sunbeam Slow Cooker .
Score!!

We already had a slow cooker, but it was a very cheap one, that was fine, but not great, I always had to use the High setting and it would still take a good 4 hours if not longer. After one attempt using the Low setting which was meant to be the all day setting, after a couple of hours the pot and contents was luke warm, so who knows, dinner probably would have been ready next week.

I was pretty stunned to receive something as big and as heavy as a slow cooker in the post, it would have cost a fortune in postage!
My SIL said it was a house warming present to help keep us warm throughout the cold Melbourne winter and ofcourse I was pretty happy to have a shiny new slow cooker, which works a treat. Ive obviously been slow cooking it up quite a lot lately and thought I’d share my fave recipes.

We love using the MasterFoods Beef and Red Wine casserole recipe base to make a hearty, tomato-ey stew.

Also the Master Foods Lamb Shank slow cooker base is a fave too, which we serve on a bed of creamy mash potato. A glass of red first go astray either.

We have also tried a rough, slap up, throw together chicken drumstick stew too, served over rice, that was delicious, if I do say so yourself.
We also do a Tuscan meatballs in there too. The sauce and meatballs get so much more flavour from slow cooking.

What are your favourite recipes?
I’m on the hunt for new and interesting ones, so if you have any, please share!!

Liz x TJC x