By now, most of you know about my weight loss journey, something that I am extremely proud of accomplishing. And I’ve talked about my diet and my relationship with food on this journey. One thing I have not talked about is my water intake, which is an important part of diet and weight loss, but of course good health as well. I started to incorporate hot tea as my drink of choice.
Let me first tell you I am not a water drinker. It just has never been a go-to for me. Sure, when I work out, but otherwise I want something flavored. And, generally, I like hot beverages over cold, especially in the morning. I am that person ordering hot coffee in the middle of August. But I knew I needed to up my water intake. Not only because it is good for weight loss, helping to keep you feeling fuller but also by keeping you hydrated with no additional calories. Plus, a recent blood test showed that I was actually dehydrated.
I really did try to drink pure water. Again, it just had no appeal to me. So, I did some research and realized one of my loves, hot tea, does not have any calories and is just considered flavored water. Yeah! Now, before we go any further, that is not to say every tea is zero calories, some tea makers add sugar or the like that can add calories, so always look.
Loving tea goes back to my childhood. My mom drank a black cup of tea every day. She wasn’t a coffee drinker until much later in life, probably around my high school years. I always remember having black tea as well as herbal teas in the house. The herbal teas we were allowed to have (due to them not having caffeine). We particularly wanted tea when we were sick. Having a sore throat meant some tea with a little honey or lemon.
We never had a wide variety of flavors to choose from, but I do remember mint and raspberry being my favorite. I’m not even sure I remember the brand, but we bought them at the local grocery store, and they came in a box with about 20 tea bags.
I quickly found out that the tea game has changed since my younger years. In those early years, I bought my tea in tea bags at the grocery store, boiled water, steeped it for a couple of minutes and enjoyed. Yep, total hot tea novice. And now some may think of me as a tea snob!
First, the right way to use tea is in the loose leaf form. And I found out why! Tea bags where actually created by accident. Tea merchants started to use small bags to package their loose leaf tea and people mistakenly thought they were packaged in that way to be used, and they started to keep and steep tea in the bags. Hence the tea bag was created. Tea leaves are not meant to be restricted while steeped. They need room to unfurl and expand, to allow their full flavor. So, yes, even higher end tea can come in a tea bag option, but usually the tea bags are constructed as pyramids to allow for better expansion of the tea leaf.
Second, there are whole stores devoted to the loose leaf tea. And, I happen to be very lucky to live in the Chicagoland area that has many of them. My favorite, however, is Adagio Teas. And lucky for me, they happen to have three stores located in the Chicagoland area, including one just a couple of miles from me in downtown Naperville.
I felt completely overwhelmed by all the choices. I had black and herbal tea previously, but never green or white tea that I could remember. But with the ability to buy inexpensive sample bags at the Adaigo Teas website, or actually to try the teas in person at the store made things very easy.
I tried all different teas, black, green, white and herbal of a variety of flavors, but also stuck with my favorite fruit, mint and jasmine flavors. And with the varieties I also learned that brewing tea is a science. Water temperature and brewing time have a big impact. I had been just using boiling water for all teas, but that actually is harmful to green and white teas.
I bought my first electric tea kettle so that I could get the water to the right temperature. Actually, I bought one for the office too, so I could enjoy tea all day long. Plus, with my Apple iWatch, I started timing my tea steeping, to make sure I was not over-steeping, and getting the flavor I wanted. These three things: loose leaf, temperature of water and steeping time were a game changer!
My hot tea was much more flavorful, and my options were endless.
I do add a teaspoon of honey to some of my teas, depends on the flavor. I also tend to drink black teas in the morning, green during the day, white in the late afternoon and herbal in the evenings. This is due to the caffeine level, black being highest and herbal having none. Other than the occasional 21 calorie teaspoon of honey, I did not incur additional calories and boosted my water intake up to 64 ounces or more per day.
You would barely find me without a cup of hot tea in my hand all day. Did not matter if it was summer or winter. Occasionally I will throw in a glass of iced tea (or just water) but generally speaking it is hot tea for me. And I quickly began to find flavors that I really liked and, of course, they tended to focus on fruits and include the following Adagio Teas flavors:
- Forest Berries
- Summer Rose
- Jasmine Phoenix Pearls
- White Pearls
- Fuzzy Navel
- White Strawberry
- Cha Cha
- Dewy Cherry
- Dragon Fruit Dream
- Lavender Lemon
- Raspberry Patch
- Thai Chai
- Wild Strawberry
Besides upping my water intake for health and weight loss reasons, drinking hot tea allows me to feel one my favorite things which is wrapping my hand around a warm cup of hot tea. Two hands around the mug, taking slow sips. Feels great. Slows me down. Let’s me focus on myself, my tea and clears my mind.
I also read that when holding a warm mug of any kind of liquid, can cause you to have warm feelings towards people that are around you. No surprise, there are some meetings I only attend with a fresh cup of tea in my favorite mug.
And finally, my love of tea has expanded into matcha, kombucha and actually creamed flavored honey as well. All things upcoming to the blog, so be sure to sign up to receive notification on new blog posts.