Sunday, May 31, 2009

June is National Iced Tea Month

June is National Iced Tea Month!

There are numerous stories about various food and drink products being introduced at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Such lists typically include iced tea as being "invented" at the 1904 Fair. Iced tea is often attributed to tea merchant Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner. The story goes that he had planned to give away free samples of his hot tea to fair visitors. However, the St. Louis summer was so hot that few fair visitors seemed interested. It is said that Blechynden dumped some ice into his tea creating a drink that was a "hit" at the fair.
Great story ... however ... fourteen years earlier ...

On September 20 and 21, 1890, the Missouri State Reunion of Ex-Confederate Veterans was held in Nevada, Missouri. Fifteen thousand veterans converged on the city of Nevada including several hundred from St. Louis. This event was held at the Artesian Park where an encampment was set up with rows upon rows of tents. The encampment was called Camp Jackson.

On the first day, a huge meal was served. The magnitude of this large barbecue is absolutely amazing even by today's standards -- over 11,000 pounds of beef was cooked. The biggest surprise however, is that the meal included iced tea - 880 gallons of it. Below is a clipping about that meal that appeared as a part of the write-up about the Confederate reunion that appeared in the September 28, 1890 issue of the Nevada Noticer newspaper.

This article was published fourteen years before the World's Fair. It also seems notable that the article is written in a style that infers that the newspaper assumed its readers knew what iced tea was. There can be no doubt that this clipping proves that iced tea was not "invented" at the St. Louis World's Fair and it inference is that iced tea had been around prior to 1890. This causes one to wonder if one of the St. Louis delegates remembered this drink and "re-invented" it at the fair. Or maybe the 1904 iced tea invention was just one of the many myths surrounding the World's Fair.

Pat Villmer of the St. Louis World's Fair Society wrote that tea, " wasn't 'invented' at the World's Fair. The good people of the South were serving iced tea in their homes long before the 1904 World's Fair. It was just popularized at the World's Fair. It was called sweet tea served cool not hot in the summer in the South. Ice, when available, was used. Remember, ice was the premium in the early days before refrigeration, not tea."

Even though it appears that not everyone believes that Iced Tea was "invented" at the fair, there are still numerous web sites and World's Fair references which declare that that is exactly what happened. It may have been popularized there, but this clipping definitely proves that Iced Tea was not a new drink in 1904.

Reference: Nevada Noticer, September 28, 1890. Nevada, MO.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Skip the Latte!

In the past few weeks, I guess as bathing suit season approaches more aggressively, the shop has been inundated with requests to help folks lose weight. Sure, there are tea's that can help boost your metabolism, help increase your energy level, curb your craving for sweets ... but do you know how many folks are telling me they stop by Starbucks for their morning latte? Maybe it's not just what you start drinking ... but also what you stop drinking!

Did you know that

...most of Starbucks' lattes pack more sugar than a two-scoop ice cream sundae? The Starbucks nutrition website boasts that one Grande Latte provides half of your recommended calcium intake for an entire day. What it doesn’t say is that some of those calcium-packed beverages also provides almost your entire day’s worth of sugars. Check it out: a no-whip Grande Gingersnap Latte packs 34 grams of the sweet stuff, a no-whip Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte offers 37 grams. And the healthy-sounding Grande Black Tea Latte includes 31 grams. Add whipped cream, add sugar. And cutting back from 2 percent milk to skim doesn’t help, either—in fact, the fat-free versions are even sweeter.

If the RDA for sugar intake is 40g, how nice is the menu for the rest of your day really going to be? Let me suggest that you replace the daily latte with a cup of something TASTY AND GOOD FOR YOU that you can create in your own home? Save yourself the fat, the sugars, the calories, the gasoline and the money!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Tea Expo Award Winners

We are pleased to announced that we have some of the 2009 Tea Expo Award Winners in stock!

In the Breakfast Blend category: 1st place! Chinese Breakfast
In the Ceylon category: 2nd place! Ceylon Vithanakande FBOPF EX
In the Darjeeling category: 2nd place! Darjeeling Risheehat Summer
In the Yunnan category: 2nd place! Golden Monkey
In the Black tea category: 3rd place! Ceylon Vithanakande
In the Iced Tea category: 2nd place! Citron Green Iced Tea Blend
3rd place! Blueberry Rooibos

Woohoo! Nice to have these winners on our shelves!

German Researchers: White Tea Can Affect Fat Life Cycle

Friday, 15 May 2009

Concern over increases in obesity-related diseases prompted research into the effects of white tea on the human body.
Researchers in Germany conducted in-vitro studies to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying fat metabolism, more specifically the effect of white tea on cultured human subcutaneous preadipocytes and adiopocytes (fat cells).

The findings, published this month in Nutrition & Metabolism, found that white tea effectively inhibits adipogenesis (the production of fat) and stimulates lipolysis activity (the destruction of fats). According to the abstract, this means white tea “can be utilized to modulate different levels of the adipocyte life cycle.”

If you'd like to see the full study and abstract please let me know and I'll provide that info to you!

Monday, May 04, 2009

World Asthma Day -- May 4

World Asthma Day reminds us of the plight that millions of sufferers of this lung disease face on an ongoing basis. An attack can be caused by allergy, infection or even stress, and can cause shortness of breath and struggling for air. If you want to keep the onset of an attack at bay by using holistic means, then visit a green grocer and grab some carrots and fresh ginger root. Grate and strain the ginger until you get about a tablespoon of juice. Add this to approximately six ounces of fresh carrot juice and drink each morning or anytime you feel congested. Helping to ease or prevent the next attack is the goal of this drink.

It's also been reported by customers of SensibiliTeas who are asthma sufferers, that the addition of African Outback (lemon myrtle and rooibos) in their daily routine (2-3 cups daily) has significantly reduced asthma symptoms in child and adult alike.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu

Though news reports can seem really scary, I’m trying to keep this all in perspective. There are plenty of other illnesses out there that are responsible for far more deaths than swine flu. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but the regular flu kills over 10,000 people annually. Most of the folks hardest hit by influenza are older adults, very young children, and those who already tend to be sickly. Did you know that those are also the people who show the greatest vitamin D deficiencies?

Keep your Vitamin D levels up!
We’re all taught that vitamin D is necessary for the development of healthy bones and teeth. But did you know that vitamin D is also great for your immune system? Sure, we all know milk is a great source of vitamin D, but remember that vitamin D can also be found in fish, eggs or fortified cereals. Vitamin D supplements are advised for those not getting enough vitamin D in their diet. Exposure to the sun is also important to keeping your vitamin D levels up. As contrary as it seems, this means exposure to the sun WITHOUT sunscreen. Sunscreens that block UV rays prevent the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. No one is saying go out and lay in the sun unprotected for hours on end, but a few minutes a couple of times a day could be enough to help keep your vitamin D levels in check.

Hydrate! Our bodies are 80% water. It's important to stay hydrated and to allow the body to flush toxins from the blood and the liver.

Avoid stress. Every time we allow ourselves to become overcome with stress (often things we cannot control or change) we weaken our immune systems. Learn to cope with stress more effectively. Write down everything that worries you. Put that paper away. Read it again 2 months from now. How many of those fears were valid?

Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. This is a good rule even outside the times of a swine flu outbreak.

Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Perhaps some of our relaxation teas could help if you have a problem getting enough rest.

Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.

Take a good source of animal based omega-3 fats like Krill Oil. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans-fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.

Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, as the flu is spread through a virus, not bacteria. A chemical free soap is the safest option for your family.

Avoid Hospitals and Vaccines. Personally, I opt for avoiding hospitals and vaccines unless there is some kind of emergency. Hospitals are breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to this virus. Vaccines cannot be available for at least six months and may be completely ineffective or even dangerous when they do become available.

Boost your immune system with teas. Of course, I will recommend boosting your immune system with teas. Rooibos is a tremendous aid in boosting your immune system, and a completely delicious way of doing so.

Introduce antiviral teas into your life. Herbal teas like Tulsi, Lemon Myrtle and Olive Leaf have antiviral properties to which I personally attribute my well-being. (In the shop we have a popular blend selling called Holy Detox ... it is Tulsi, Lemon Myrtle and Olive Leaf ... the perfect trio! Tulsi and Olive Leaf are not listed on the website at this time) I haven’t had a flu or even much of a cold in over 9 years. While my husband and others around me seem to be under the weather quite often, I continue to go on unaffected, even though I work with the public (at the tea shop) and with 900+ co-workers at my other job. (I’m a quality control technician for a medical device manufacturer). I attribute this success to a couple of factors. I drink lemon myrtle and tulsi on a regular basis. (African Outback is a longtime favorite!)

I try not to worry about the things I cannot control. Do you remember the horrible commercials they showed on TV when the swine flu threatened us in 1976?
1976 swine flu commercials

I wish each and every one of you the very best of health, and sincerely hope this flu does not impact your family.