SEEN AND HOOTED: THE OWL AT GRACIOUS HOME!

Hello everyone!   I follow this wonderful blog called The Teaologist, who posts all this useful information about tea and different places to grab a good cuppa.   Recently, she posted an item called, “SEEN AND HOOTED: THE OWL AT GRACIOUS HOME!” that I felt was worthy of a re-blog.

She talks about the different teas and their different health benefits.   If you ask me, that’s always handy information you should know in case you want to try some holistic remedies before going to the doctor if sick.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND – This blog is NOT meant to substitute the advice of a doctor.   If you are sick, please seek medical attention.   Use your own discretion regarding this matter.

Tea Versus Cofee, Part Two

I have written blogs about tea versus coffee in the past, citing their origin, their caffeine dosage and the different health benefits.

Someone has picked up on my blog about that and posted an awesome Infograph, explaining all about tea versus coffee in a great picture that I had to share!

Make sure to go visit Coffee Grounds to Ground and like the page!   Sure, it’s coffee, but you know, they did also talk about tea 🙂

Enjoy!

Isn't This Infograph Awesome?

Isn’t This Infograph Awesome?

Original Infograph can be found at :

http://tiny99.com/288992

Tea – Wonderful For The Fashionable

Hello everyone!

So, the results of the great tea versus coffee debate was sadly in favor of coffee.   However, people said that, while they use coffee to stay awake, they use tea to relax.   Maybe we were comparing apples to oranges?

Anyway, while commenting on Lorna’s Tearoom Delights blog (which I do highly recommend, a lovely woman with a lovely blog), she asked how the tea bag earrings were coming along from my blog on re-using your tea.   Honestly, it’s been quite a whirlwind of a few weeks and I plumb forgot about it.   So, with her motivation behind me, I decided to make my first ever tea bag earrings!

Make sure to view the slideshow!   I might make myself a necklace next.   But, that will be a project for another day.

Happy sipping!

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The Great Tea And Coffee Debate

I must admit, as much as it pains me to say this, I do drink coffee.   It feels like a betrayal, cheating on my love of tea but there are times when simply, I cannot wake up.   At this moment, I have a cup of coffee by my side to stay awake and meet with friends later.   Coffee is my pick-me-up.   Tea is my meditation.

Now, there are plenty of benefits for both drinks.   But who honestly is the true winner?   If you ask The Color of Tea, neither.   Both have separate benefits.   But let’s compare the two drinks and I will let you decide in the comments!

Where does it come from?

Coffee: Coffee comes from the coffee seed (not the bean, which is a misnomer), originated in Yemen.

Tea: Tea, as we well know from my blog on the history of tea, comes from a plant called the Camellia sinensis from China.

What’s the origin story?

Coffee: Coffee, like tea, does not have a concrete origin story.   One legend believes that Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin saw some very energetic birds flying about.   Upon sampling the berries that the birds were feasting on, he found the coffee seed.

Another story states that Sheik Abou’l Hasan Schadheli’s disciple, Omar, found the beans and tried to eat them.   When he found them to be bitter, he roasted them.   That did not help so he boiled them.   When he boiled them, he saw that it created a brown liquid and sampled some and discovered coffee.

Yet another account says that young goat herder Kaldi saw his hyper flock chewing on the berries.   Naturally curious, he chewed on a few himself and, upon finding himself energized, brought it to the Muslim holy man.   The holy man disapproved and threw them into the fire, causing a pleasing aroma.   The other holy men followed the smell, raked the berries from the embers and boiled them to produce the first cup of coffee.

Tea: When Emperor Shen Nong, who was well-known for his knowledge of both agriculture and medicine, was resting and boiling water one day, he saw a leaf fall into his drink.   Rather than toss out that water and boil a new batch, he decided to try this gold liquid, producing the first cup of tea.

How are they made?

Coffee: Coffee berries are picked and roasted depending on what the manufacturer wants to produce.   From there, they can be ground and boiled for your enjoyment.   You can also eat some delicious chocolate-covered coffee berries, if you so choose.

Tea: Tea will vary depending on what the manufacturer would like but typically, the leaves are picked, wilted, oxidized, bruised and packaged.

How much caffeine is there in each drink?

*Note* Caffeine is an important topic.   If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, please look up caffeine content of all drinks.

Coffee: Coffee is well-known for its caffeine content and, if you are like me, you more drink it to stay awake more than anything else.   Coffee, depending on the cup, can range anywhere from 0 mg (when drinking decaf) up to 200 mg for a generic brew.

Tea: Tea also varies for caffeine content.   While a “pure” tea (that with the camellia sinensis plant), will always have caffeine, you can opt for an herbal tea that does not have any caffeine.   However, a cup of tea can go up to 61 mg for a black tea brew.

What are the health benefits?

Coffee: Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, gallstones and type 2 diabetes!   However, keep in mind that too much can raise blood pressure and cause the case of the jitters, so drink in moderation.

Tea: Tea has many health benefits depending on the tea.   They can help with everything from weight loss to pregnancy.   However, it is not firmly proven that tea does perform all these benefits, so please bear that in mind.

And now, I pose the question to you.   Which is better, tea or coffee?

Organic Tea Versus Regular Tea

Organic certification

Organic certification (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I wish to issue an apology to all my readers.   The past few days have been a hectic, cold blur.   In fact, I am still fighting off this darn cold that is trying to take over!   But, no matter.   With plenty of matcha tea and water by my side, I’ll muscle my way through.

And now, for the reason that you came to this blog in the first place – tea.

At work last week, my employer came into the office raving about these wonderful organic almonds that she bought and the delicious organic green tea she was sipping on.   Now, I am sure that, just like me, you hear the phrase “organic” being thrown around constantly.   I have personally seen organic toothpaste, organic band-aids and even organic dirt.

I am not knocking organic anything.   However, I am curious – what’s the difference between organic tea and regular tea?

Turns out, organic tea is better for health benefits.   It does not have the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which means that less of that gunk and junk goes into your body.   For those that are earth-conscious, it also allows a friendlier farming strategy as well, allowing us to also be a bit kinder to the earth.   Rather than rely on ineffective solutions, organic farming allows for farmers to do green methods, such as using “green” manure to fertilize crops.

Either way, Tea Gschwendner, a tea store started in Trier, Germany, states that, “tea, whether grown organically or conventionally, is one of the cleanest foods on earth.”

With the miracles that tea provide, I don’t doubt this.   Though, to help Mother Nature every once in a while, it can’t hurt to imbibe a bit of organic tea.

Green Tea Bobas { Homemade }

I love Le Zoe Musings’ posts and photos but this one, I think I adore!

Boba tea (popularly known as bubble tea is delightfully tasty, gives you a bit of a pleasant surprise when you slurp up a tapioca ball (found at your local Asian food market) and is chock full of health benefits if you make it using matcha like Le Zoe Musings recommends.

Matcha green tea uses the entire tea leaf.   It is ground into a fine powder and is used for Japanese tea ceremonies.   It is also believed to have that many more health benefits since you do use the whole leaf.

Read more about Le Zoe Musings’ great blog here:

Green Tea Bobas { Homemade }

Re-Using Your Tea

Hello fellow tea sippers!   While reading my daily Google Alerts on tea, I came across an article detailing how the organic tea company, Honest Tea, is launching an initiative called “The Great Recycle” on Monday, April 30th, in Time Square, New York, to get people to recycle more.   People can recycle products and receive points towards Broadway plays, tee-shirts and, of course, tea.   All products will be turned into gardening supplies that will then be donated to an urban garden for PS 102, an elementary school in Harlem.   Good for them!

Such A Charming Array!

Such A Charming Array!

This got me thinking, though.   This initiative focuses on how to recycle bottles.   How does one go about recycling tea and tea bags?   That’s why I decided to list a variety of different ways to recycle and repurpose this amazing drink!   Some are silly, some are made up from the top of my head and others are taken from various sources.   Comment and let me know other ways that you can use your spent tea bags and tea!

– The website Apartment Therapy recommends using unused tea bags as air fresheners (shown above).   This is perfect for any stale tea that you might have lying around the house.

– Make a pair of earrings.   I will be trying to do this now by varnishing some tea bags, hanging them on thin chains and connecting them to an earring hook ^_^   If this does work, I will post pictures!

– Composting!   Tea leaves are great for that.   Make sure you check the pH balance of the tea in accordance with the plant, though.   Some teas are more acidic and thus would not be good for certain plants.

–  To treat bags under the eyes.   This is a pretty popular one.   According to eHow, chamomile might be the best tea to use for this method.

– Tie two tea bags together and make yourself a pair of organic nunchucks.

– Reader’s Digest published an article on 22 ways to use tea for the home, beauty and gardening!   Everything from cooling sunburns to reducing razor burn to even getting rid of gray hair.

– Reader’s Digest is not alone – Fox News published an article about 49 ways to re-use tea!   The uses are endless, including cleaning carpets and polishing furniture.

– I referred back in a previous blog about making bath tea.   Why not give this delightful mixture a shot?

– On Facebook, I posted an article that I found on how to make sugar cookies in the shape of tea bags.   So cute!   Maybe take some of those old tea bags and use them as a template to cut your cookies out?

– How does a green tea marinated steak sound?   Get cookin’! (If you have a recipe to share, feel free to do so!)

– Sprinkle the leaves around for a brand new decor in your home that also smells amazing.

– Use it as a perfume.   After all, tea smells great.   Why can’t you smell like tea?

– Some internet sources are saying that tea would be good for dying anything ranging from wood to fabrics.   After all, tea does stain.   Why not?

Do you have any good uses for tea?

חג פסח שמח! (Happy Passover!)

With Passover coming up this Friday, those who celebrate can be found running around, preparing for Seder, a time with family, food and maybe even a tea pot boiling in the kitchen.

However, is tea allowed?   For those that observe Passover, this is an important question.   The house needs to be cleansed of anything that is chametz, or leavened.   Some sects of Judaism are stricter and will restrict certain items that are not chametz.   Does this mean that tea is out the window?   (For all my Jewish friends, please don’t throw your tea out the window, if this is the case.   Mail it to me!)   Is tea even kosher?

Honestly, it depends on the tea.

Most varieties of scented teas, such as Earl Grey, jasmine or rose teas, are considered kosher.   Some classes of Earl Grey are not labeled as kosher but, according to star-k.org, you are still safe.

Some flavored teas can cause some problems, though.   It is not that oils and equipment used in the process are kosher.   In fact, those are fine.   Sometimes, though, companies may use non-kosher flavors and use non-certified teas on the same equipment.   Imagine that you have a severe peanut allergy and a friend, with all good intentions, cooks up a great Thai peanut recipe and, without cleaning the cooking utensils, then cook your meal.   Not good!   However, if the company cleans the equipment, then it is fine.

There are certain dairy teas that can also create an issue.   Dairy and meat are not allowed to mix so if you do drink a dairy tea and then eat a meat, then you are not abiding by kosher rules.

Herbal and medicinal teas are OK as long as they are not flavored.   Dried herbs do not pose a problem until flavors are added.   Celestial Seasonings provides a line of some great herbal teas that are also kosher.   Star-K has certified them as such since the mid-1980s.

The tea bags themselves are fine for unflavored tea.   For the issues regarding flavored tea, make sure you see above.

All in all, a very blessed Passover to my Jewish friends and readers!

Tea And Pregnancy – What Is Safe?

I have a friend who is trying to get pregnant at the moment.   She has been trying for a few months and so far, nothing.   My mind being on tea, I was curious how my favorite beverage could help her.   For this blog, you’ll need to think outside the realm of the camellia sinensis plant and include herbal tea as well.   After all, we do not want my friend to have a jumping bean in her belly due to the caffeine from a cup of green tea when she does have a child growing!

First and foremost, she needs to consult her doctor before doing anything even related to starting a regimen.   Tea regimens are not right for everyone so she could, in fact, hinder the baby if she were to start drinking tea without a doctor’s approval.

A Young Pregnant Woman (Not My Friend) Drinking Tea

A Young Pregnant Woman (Not My Friend) Drinking Tea

With that being said, Livestrong.com, dedicated to promote healthy living, states that red raspberry leaf tea is likely safe during pregnancy.   It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium.   The drink also has alkaloids from the leaf, which helps to tighten and relax the uterine muscles.   She will then have a strong, toned uterus that will make it that much easier to push a baby out!   (She does plan on doing a natural birth, last time that we talked).   The tea can also reduce the need for a C-section.

The tea has also been shown to increase milk production and decrease nausea.   As popular culture has shown, those are extremely important factors.   While it might not be safe for the first trimester, she should be able to use it for the second and third trimester without any problems.   All she would need to do is drink two cups daily.

The Livestrong website says that nettles, or stinging nettles, are also used in many pregnancy teas.   They are high in vitamin C, A and K and are also rich in calcium, potassium and iron.   Their history in the medical field is just as rich as tea is!

However, the University of Maryland Medical Center website states that they alter menstrual cycles and might cause miscarriages.   The conflicting data might be because it might depend on which part of the nettle is used for the tea.   I would suggest to her that, since there are two widely conflicting pieces of advice, to steer clear of nettles.

AmericanPregnancy.org gives a few more teas that she might want to sample when she is pregnant.   Peppermint tea would be good to help get rid of any morning sickness that might hit her.   It will also decrease any flatulence, so I am sure that her husband would appreciate that.

Lemon balm is a calming tea as one can experience by drinking it right now!   It can also relieve insomnia and anxiety, which is perfect for those nights when the baby is kicking and she just can’t rest.

Ginger root is a tea she has to be wary about.   It is said to help relieve nausea and vomiting, but the jury isn’t out if it’s safe or not.   Again, I recommend that, when in doubt, leave it out.   God forbid she drinks something and lose the baby simply because it was a questionable tea.

Dandelion tea also falls under this category.   While it is rich in a variety of different vitamins and minerals and might even help nourish the liver and relieve edema, it is not known if it is safe just yet.   She can get the nutrients somewhere else.

Chamomile is on the list for AmericanPregnancy.org as, “Insufficient Reliable Information Available,” which really surprised me.   This is perfect for the insomiac-riddled expecting mother.   But chamomile can also induce contractions, which is not good if your baby is not ready to come out yet.   She is going to need to talk to her doctor first.

Rose hip tea is also on shaky ground.   While it is great for vitamin C, it is not entirely clear how good it is and she should avoid it or, at the very least, drink it in small amounts.

She needs to steer clear of alfalfa and yellow dock tea.   While they both have their respective health benefits, it is not known if they are safe yet.

Some teas are on the market called pregnancy teas which are believed to promote health in different aspects of tea.   They are a blend of different herbs that are believed to promote a healthy pregnancy.   She should be fine drinking this tea, though the jury is not out on how much it helps.   She does need to be wary and read the packaging though.   Some of them do contain nettles.

All in all, I wish the best to her in her pregnancy endeavors and, if any of you are trying to conceive or are already carrying a young one, I wish you all the best!