Tea Lifestyle

Video Art Meditations

Colorful Lights

DAY 17 of Tea and Meditation:

It got to be rather late in the evening before I sat myself down for a little tea and meditation time today.

In fact, it was getting to be so late, that I was really debating whether or not to skip my meditation commitment and just go to bed. Plus, the neighbors were having a vulgar get together next door involving liquor of some sorts. Subsequently, being able to concentrate on the moment would have been a bit difficult.

But, just as I was about to toss in the towel for the evening, I came across several video art meditations on YouTube. I was absolutely mesmerized by the kaleidoscope like digital images moving in harmony with ambient music.

Before settling in to watch one of the videos and attempt to be in the moment, I made a cup of tea to help me stay alert.

Then I turned off all the lights. I wanted to be able to fully appreciate the artistic mastery of the moving images, without any other visual distraction. I put on my headphones, and voilà, I was transported to a serene and captivating space.

After taking a few minutes to focus on the video and my cup of tea, I turned the lights back on and found myself feeling quite refreshed.

I am delighted that I stayed true to my original goal of five minutes of tea and meditation; otherwise, I would have gone to bed feeling guilty and demotivated. Now, I can wake up tomorrow morning feeling ready for another day!

If you’d like to look into the video meditations for yourself just click here. There are several videos available for your viewing pleasure. I personally watched Origins

I also found that the artist has a Facebook page, under the name Liquid Vistas, which you may want to check out as well.

Enjoy!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: xposurecreative – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] I’d love to hear what you think of the artistic meditation videos! [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Meditating Budda

DAY 16 of Tea and Meditation:

Last night I did a little research about meditation online and came across a wonderful video by Deepak Chopra.

In his video, Meditation Techniques for Beginners, he defines the real purpose of meditation and how it actually works. Then he walks you through two meditations, one for healing and the other for the law of attraction.

I thought I’d share a few pieces of information from the video that I found of great interest.

The Real Purpose of Meditation:

Chopra explains that the real purpose of meditation is to tune in, not to tune out.

He further explains that many beginners believe that meditation is about trying to get away from it all and de-stress.  Although this can be a worthy goal, it is only part of the big picture.

To gain the optimal benefit from meditation, Chopra suggests that the key is to “get in touch with it all” and find peace from within.

How Meditation Works:

I love Chopra’s description of meditation. He states that: “Meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts.” This space is a window to the infinite mind, our core consciousness, or spirit.

He explains that there are four things that are true about this space, or gap, between our thoughts.

  1. It is a field of infinite possibilities or pure potentiality
  2. Everything is connected to everything else
  3. It is a space of infinite creativity and imagination
  4. It is a place where intention is very powerful and it can orchestrate its own fulfillment

I don’t know about you, but this description blew my mind. It’s as if we have the power of the universe within our reach when we take time to meditate.

Chopra then walks you through the healing and law of attraction meditations, which I haven’t done yet myself, but plan to try in the near future.

Falling Into the Gap:

During the last couple minutes of the video, there was one more tidbit that I found quite fascinating.

Chopra suggests that we use a mantra such as, “I am” to help us find the space, or gap between our thoughts.

When we mentally say, “I am” during meditation, this interferes with any other thoughts we are having. As our thoughts and the mantra interfere with one another, they eventually cancel each other out. That is the moment when we “fall into the gap” or space known as core consciousness.

I’ve already started to put this last suggestion into practice and it has significantly improved my ability to focus on the moment and silence my monkey brain. As a result, I am feeling as if my goal to experience more alert peacefulness in my life has really moved to the next level.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: randomidea – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] If you watched this video, what did you think about Chopra’s suggestions for meditation? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Learning to Meditate: Not As Easy As it Looks

need for speed

DAY 15 of Tea and Meditation:

As I sit here listening to some relaxing music, sipping a cup of tea, and reflecting on my alert peacefulness journey, I realize something.  I know absolutely nothing about meditation, other than my own unsophisticated attempts to sit quietly over a cup of tea.

I’ve never studied under some spiritual guru, read a book, listened to a CD, or even watched a video about meditation.

Nope, I had naively set out on my tea and meditation quest without any information on what it truly means to meditate. I figured that I knew enough to at least get started.

I just have to sit here quietly and try to think about nothing, right? I mean, how hard can that be?

Perhaps I was wrong…

Meditation and Learning to Drive:

Considering my struggle with trying to find a state of alert peacefulness during meditation, I’ve come to understand that learning to meditate is kind of like trying to drive a car for the first time.

When we set our minds to getting behind the wheel, we tend to make the assumption that driving is easy. Over the years, as we watched people cruise down the road in their freedom-mobiles, we thought to ourselves: “Well, that looks pretty easy, I can do that!”

What we don’t realize is that driving a car requires a bit of practice in order for it to look easy.

I remember my first time behind the wheel after taking a drivers education course. I was petrified and I found out rather quickly that driving was not as easy as it looked.

In fact, I think I horrified the instructor when I headed straight for a light pole and was fumbling about trying to figure out what pedal to stomp on to stop the car. Luckily, he had his own set of pedals for emergency sitations such as this. He made me sit in the backseat after that.

I guess sometimes, you’ve got to have a near mishap before you realize you need a few more driving lessons.

Luckily, there isn’t any bodily harm associated with meditating…well, that I can think of anyway.

Although, I suppose you could accidently spill hot tea on yourself. Your legs could fall asleep making you fall over when trying to get up. You could burn up in a fire because you lit a candle to close to the drapes…

Sorry, I let my imagination run wild there for a moment. Where was I? Ah, yes. I was talking about knowing nothing about how to meditate.

Beginner’s Mind:

Being the intelligent creature that I am, I like to learn about things. So, I’ve decided to spend a little time each day not only meditating over tea, but also learning about meditation. I want to approach the process with a beginner’s mind and be totally open to absorbing all that I can.

Hopefully, by reading up on meditation, I’ll have a more enjoyable experience and won’t sit there listening to my monkey brain prattle on and on and on.

So, that’s the plan.

In my coming posts, I’ll share what I am learning about meditation as well as my own personal experience trying to find alert peacefulness in a cup of tea.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: © yellowj – Fotolia.com

[box] Have you ever studied meditation? Do you have any recommended resources? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Dealing with My Monkey Brain

White Monkey

DAY 11-14 of Tea and Meditation:

Another four days have flown by and here it is exactly two weeks from the start date of my tea and meditation journey.

Only fourteen short days ago, I had declared that I wanted to experience more alert peacefulness in my life by meditating over tea for at least five minutes each day.

Well, I’ve certainly made progress towards this end, but I still find myself struggling to stay in the moment; that moment when complete relaxation and focus merge to create an ideal state of being.

Finding it Difficult to Quiet My Mind:

When attempting to meditate, even for just five minutes, I’ve found it difficult to quiet my mind. Just when I find myself slip into that wonderful state of alert peacefulness my head starts thinking about stupid stuff I’ve got to do like organizing my Spirituality & Health magazines, looking to see what new movies are coming out, washing the cat bed, or dusting the bookshelf.

Next thing I know, I’m trying to silence my uncooperative mind again. I admonish my monkey brain with, “Shut up you! Can’t you see I’m trying to meditate here? Duh!”

After a minute or so of playing tug-of-war with my left and right brain, I am able to once again reach that beautiful place of alert peacefulness.

However, my visit is usually cut short by my inner voice screaming, “You’ve got stuff to do!”

This tends to jolt me right out of my blissful serenity and into action. I find myself repeating, as if it were a mantra, “I’ve got stuff to do, I’ve got stuff to do, I’ve got stuff to do.” Boom-boom-boom, it’s as if pots and pans being banged together.

Talking myself into this lie, of having important stuff to do right now, urges me to surrender  my meditative state and go searching for the feather duster.

Now or Never:

Despite the challenges of trying to quiet my one-track mind, I’m still committed to taking time each day to mediate. For years, I’ve wanted to experience meditation. I just never made the time; there was always something more important to do. Are you noticing a pattern here?

When it comes right down to it, if I don’t choose to make it a habit to meditate now, I’m not sure that I ever will.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on my deathbed feeling distraught because I never made time for those things that I really wanted to do. Instead, I want to be lying there thinking about the wonderful life I had led.

What’s Next?

If you’ve been reading along for the past two weeks, you’ll perhaps recall that my original intention was to write about my tea and meditation experience every day. And, you’ve likely noticed that after Day 2, every day became every three to four days.

I guess, I was a bit gung-ho when writing that first post about living a tea lifestyle.  I’m still quite enthusiastic about the whole endeavor, but I‘ve been wondering where do I go from here. Do I keep doing what I’ve been doing, writing a post every now and again, or do I scrap the whole idea and call it a done deal?

Or perhaps, there is an option number three, which would be to recommit to my original goal of writing a little something every day about my tea and meditation experience.

I’m leaning towards option three, for three reasons:

1. I just don’t feel as if I’ve truly given my heart and soul to the effort yet. Who knows what might happen if I really do this thing and commit to it with fierce determination—take on a “just do it” attitude.

2. I am new to blogging, and therefore, spend way too much time over-thinking each sentence. Maybe if I attempt to write a little something every day it will force me to be a bit less perfectionist. Hopefully, my writing ability will improve as well.

3. I have to wonder if there might be someone out there who is in a similar position; someone who has never meditated before, who wants to live a tea lifestyle, and who is struggling with getting started. Perhaps my experience could, in a small way, be encouraging.

I think I’ll go with option three and re-commit to posting everyday. Who knows what might happen!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: kevin j – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you ever had a goal you really wanted to achieve, but something kept getting in your way? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Starting the Day with Meditation

Piedra y Flor

DAY 8-10 of Tea and Meditation:

Over the last few days I’ve been taking about five minutes in the morning for a little tea and meditation. I’ve found that by taking this time right away, before the day starts, I feel a bit more relaxed and focused.

This has been a huge plus, for my modus operandi has usually been to feel anxious and overwhelmed, especially when it is work related.

It’s been quite amazing to see first-hand how taking a few minutes in the morning, to just be in the moment, can have a positive impact on my emotional responses throughout the day.

Not, that I didn’t have my moments, where I reacted based on habit. I am sure those self-trained reactions will always be there. But, hopefully, in the not too distant future I’ll be able to override those semi-conscious responses with more deliberate actions. Actions, that come from a place of “alert peacefulness” rather than worry and fear.

I am very pleased with the results thus far. So, I guess I’ll keep going and see what happens next.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: © Alex Bramwell – Fotolia.com

[box] Have you ever tried meditating in the morning? What was your experience? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

DAY 3 – 7 of Tea and Meditation:

I’ve been a very bad girl.

Here I was going to take five minutes each day to meditate over a cup of tea, then blog about my experience; but as you can see I haven’t posted anything since my mini-meltdown on Day 2.  Now it is Day 7.  So what happened?

Well, on Day 3 I actually did take five minutes to focus on the moment, but then Day 4 rolled round and I got caught-up in doing, rather than being. By the time I came up for air on Day 4, at 3:00AM in the morning, I was simply too exhausted to do anything except hit the hay. At least I fell asleep thinking about tea and meditation.

Days 5 and 6 were pretty much the same. I spent the day focusing on completing my never-ending “to-do” list. I kept telling myself that I would take time later to meditate with a cup of tea.

Predictably, the day ended without me taking five lousy minutes to be in the moment.

By Day 7 I had completely abandoned my goal in favor of stress and chaos. Same old, same old. Ugh!

A Realization:

While reflecting on the past week and utter lack of success in accomplishing my daily five-minute tea and meditation goal, I realized something.

I was so focused on not being able to achieve my tea and meditation objective, that I had lost sight of what I was going well: I had stopped buying Edy’s Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream. This was a pretty big deal, but let me explain.

All summer long I’ve had a carton of this delightful concoction in my freezer. Each day without fail, I would take a scoop (or more) and treat myself. It was becoming quite a bad habit and it wasn’t helping me to lose those extra pounds.

For some reason, I decided last week of all weeks, to break my habitI know better than to try and make two lifestyle changes at the same time, but I did it anyway.

Looking back, now I know why I kept craving dessert teas all last week and felt on edge each day! It must have been ice cream withdrawal!

The good news is that I did break my nasty ice cream habit. Consequently, I’ve felt a bit calmer this week.

Next Steps:

Once I recognized what had gotten me off track with my five-minute tea and meditation goal, I was able to think more clearly and focus on moving forward.

I truly thought it was a lack of commitment that was my undoing. When in reality, my dedication was strong but the timing was wrong.

So, what next?

I think I’ll try again.

Now, that my ice cream habit has been taken care of, I think it is time to move on to tea and meditation. I am quite hopeful that this week holds incredible promise. Hopefully, I will find a little alert peacefulness.

I’ll keep you updated.

Oh, and if you run across any cherry and chocolate flavored tea you’ll let me know, right? 😉

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: adria.richards – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you ever failed at something you really wanted to achieve? What do you think may have been the cause? Could it have been something you hadn’t even yet considered? What are you doing that’s right?[/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball: Make Tea

Computer Problems

DAY 2 of Tea and Meditation:

You know how you start out with the best intentions, and then life throws you a curve ball? Yep, you know what I’m talking about!

Today was to be my first day of taking five minutes and meditating over a cup of tea, which sounds easy enough to do, right? I mean, who doesn’t have time to take five minutes out of their day?

Well, apparently I don’t. Because here it is after 2:00 AM in the morning and I still haven’t taken the time to relax and just be in the moment.

I had good intentions though; I planned to come home from work, have a little something to eat, check my email, and then unwind with a cup of tea.

However, that was not to be.

When I came home and turned on my laptop to get on the web, I discovered that the internet connection was down. For some twisted reason this drives me bonkers every single time.

I like to fix things, so I spent the next hour trying to figure out what was wrong, only to conclude that there was nothing I could do but wait.

By the time I was done with my mini-meltdown, I had built-up enough anxious energy to light up the Libby’s corn cob water tower.

To rid myself of this pent-up energy, I did what I normally do; I worked.

I started writing a tea review, took some pictures with my new camera, and did a little reading for a post I wanted to write. Essentially, I was trying to do anything that would keep my mind off the internet not cooperating.

In all this busy work, I totally lost sight of the promise I had made to myself to take five minutes to enjoy the moment.

Okay, so this was not the vision I had yesterday for my life. In fact, it’s a great example of how I don’t want to live my life, reacting to stupid things out of my control.

Lesson Learned: When internet goes down. Make a pot of tea and just relax.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: mandyxclear – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] What to you do when life throws you a curve ball?[/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day At A Time

Tea Being Poured

DAY 1 of Tea and Meditation:

I’ve often thought that someday I’d like to live a more natural and holistic lifestyle.

Someday when I had enough money in the bank…

Someday when I didn’t feel so stressed…

Someday when I had more time and energy…

Someday when I could maintain a regular schedule…

Someday when I felt deeply motivated from within…

I have to admit that I’ve been quite fortunate, for there have been several times in my life when all the above came into alignment and I was able to focus on living the lifestyle that I desperately craved.

However, these blissful times where short-lived because something would inevitably happen to throw my perfect little world into a tailspin, such as an unexpected bill, lay-off, sick cat, fender-bender or computer crash.

Once the worry, panic and fear subsided and the world seemed right again, I’d find myself back to square one, right were I had started, with little or no motivation to start all over again.

If I had cut out sugar, I began eating it again. If I started doing yoga each day, I stopped. If I had lost five pounds, I gained it back. And so on and so forth.

This pattern is pretty much my life in a nutshell, always trying to improve, yet never mastering the art of maintaining a joyful state of serenity and focus. A way of being that has kept me from living a more purposeful life.

This is where tea comes in to play; it is the one healthy habit I’ve never quit.

Expanding Upon Micro-Moments:

I’ve been drinking tea, both hot and iced, for years now and in those micro-moments of taking a sip and being completely present I’ve experienced what can be best described as alert peacefulness.

It’s a state-of-being I wish to expand into all areas of my life, even when…

I need to pay an unexpected medical bill.

I’m told that my services are no longer required.

The cat pukes on my bed.

Someone rear-ends my car.

My computer crashes and I lose a day’s worth of work.

Even when a mini-crisis shakes up my life, I want to be able to go to that place of alert peacefulness, without my monkey brain taking over and running the show.

I want to deal with problems straight on and let my emotions serve a better purpose than plundering my tranquility.

By choosing to live in a state of alert peacefulness, I believe that I can be in the world more intentionally and live a holistic lifestyle, unfettered by daily distractions.

This brings me back to those micro-moments, when I am sipping my tea and being totally in the moment.

If I can take that moment and expand it into minutes, hours and eventually days, I will be living the life I want to live.

It is simply a matter of deciding that someday is today.

Taking the First Step:

Of course, living in a state of alert peacefulness is easier said than done. That is why I want to start small.

This week, my plan is to take five minutes each day and simply enjoy my tea without distraction—no computer work, no reading, no TV and no thinking—just me, my tea and the moment.

My hope is that by taking this time each day, I will start to develop my alert peacefulness “muscle.” As I become more acquainted with this state of being, I hope to be able to recapture the feeling at other times of the day until it becomes second nature to live with more ease.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: Like The Grand Canyon – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you struggled with making changes in your life? What is one thing you’d love to stick with long-term?[/box]

A New Love Affair (Losing My Loose Tea Virginity)

Black Tea in White Teacup

I lost my virginity the other day…

My loose leaf tea virginity that is, and my “first time” was near perfection.

There was a bit of bumbling about trying to get the right amount of tea in my “t-sac” paper filter. I tried to jam too much in there, a half tablespoon instead of a teaspoon on the first try.

But, when all was said and done, it was a wonderful experience that I plan to do again, and again, and again. I’m hooked.

If you’re curious as to what tea I chose for my “first time” it was a loose leaf Assam tea. I chose this particular tea for three reasons.

One, Assam is a black tea. And I do love my black tea.

Two, I had read that Assam tea has a malty flavor which I was most interested in tasting.

Three, I could get the tea in a one ounce sample size. So, just in case I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have a lot of it sitting around the house going stale as I moved on and started dating other teas.

There you have it, my new love affair with loose leaf tea.

Goodness, I hope the tea bags don’t get jealous when I write my very first loose leaf tea review!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

[box] What was your first experience with loose tea like? [/box]

Healthy Tea Challenge: The Bottle vs. The Brew

Boxing Gloves

The newswires have been all a flutter this week, reporting that you may not be getting healthy tea if your tea consumption comes in bottled form.

Last Monday, when the details of the research study were released, I watched the stream of tweets on my Twitter account fly by as tweeters warned their followers to be cautious of the troubles lurking in their bottled brew.

In all honesty, I really didn’t pay much attention to all the hubbub because I’ve never been one to drink tea with the expectation of receiving health benefits. I drink tea simply because I like it.

But, as the week progressed, I got curious.

I started by reading several online articles that detailed some of the major findings of the research study, but I wanted to view the research for myself.

So, I headed over to the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) web site where I found the original report by typing “tea” into the search bar.

Here are my thoughts about the results the scientists presented at the national ACS meeting, plus some of the original data from the report.

Let the battle of “The Bottle” and “The Brew” begin!

Healthy Tea Challenge Round 1:

Fancy Footwork

The Bottle: The researchers found evidence, that half of the bottled teas they sampled had extremely low levels of antioxidants or polyphenols. So low in fact, that they stated one would need to drink 20 bottles of the stuff to achieve the same health benefit as a single cup of home brewed tea.

But, hang on. There’s more.

I do want to point out that the researchers only sampled six bottles of tea. That means that three of those bottles had small amounts of polyphenols, or little to no health benefit. The other three had a healthy amount of antioxidants.

Here are the actual results: The six teas analyzed contained 81, 43, 40, 13, 4, and 3 milligrams (mg) of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle.

The Brew: The average cup of home-brewed green or black tea contains about 50 to 150 mg of polyphenols.

Round One Results: As you can see from these results, more research is needed in order to firmly state that bottled teas contain little to no antioxidants. In fact, some bottled teas may well be just as healthy as a cup of steeped tea.

I think the title of the ACS article sums up the study rather nicely: Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols than brewed tea. Note my emphasis on the word “may” because that is really the keyword here.

In my opinion, round one was just a lot of fancy footwork that is great for oohing and aahing the crowd, but leaves us wanting more.

Healthy Tea Challenge Round 2:

The Bottle Takes a Bruising

The Bottle: Another interesting piece of information that the scientists presented, was that some manufactures do mention the level of polyphenols on the bottle label.

However, this can be deceiving for there are no industry standards or governmental guidelines for calculating and listing the polyphenol content on the label. Therefore, the amount listed may possibly be incorrect.

In addition, the polyphenol level may be influenced by slight changes in the manufacturing process, such as the amount of tea used, the quality of the tea, as well as the brewing time and temperature.

The Brew: Similar to bottled tea, the processing of the leaf itself, take for example green tea verses black tea, can result in varying degrees of polyphenol content.

For instance, using boiling water and a longer steeping time tends to increase the amount of polyphenols in your teacup.

Round Two Results: Based on the labeling information alone, I would be most wary of any polyphenol claims on all processed consumable products, not only tea. That is until there are some stringent guidelines put in place for quantifying and labeling the amount of antioxidants in consumable products.

With that being said, The Bottle and The Brew have similar challenges when it comes to nailing down exact numbers for polyphenol content. In fact, it can’t be done. There are simply too many factors that can influence the final polyphenol count; from tea quality to water temperature.

This round goes to the The Brew for not using clever marketing gimmicks to trick its opponent.

Healthy Tea Challenge Round 3:

The Bottle Takes a Hit Right to the Kisser

The Bottle: In their presentation, the researchers also made a statement that bottled teas might contain substances other than tea. Substances, like sugar that health-conscious consumers would ideally want to avoid.

This begs the question whether bottled tea has any redeeming qualities other than taste and convenience for the average shopper.

Adding fuel to the fire, I do have to say that I’ve personally tasted some of these off-the-shelf teas from my local grocery store and they barely resemble tea in my opinion. They tend to taste like sugared water with flavoring. Although, there are some brands that do resemble “real tea.” However, they are usually not mainstream brands.

Overall, I would have to say that not all bottled teas are created equal.

While we’re on the topic of sugar and artificial sweeteners. As you may know from previous posts, I try to steer clear of artificial sweeteners, which this study didn’t touch on.

But, one does have to wonder if even a high polyphenol content can outweigh the potential harm we do by ingesting sugar substitutes, or even a high doses of sugar for that matter.

Both of this types of sweeteners, tend to be key ingredients in typical bottled teas.

The Brew: Unless we add it ourselves (e.g., sweetner) tea is tea. Enough said.

Round Three Results: The Bottle really takes a beating here, especially those bottles filled with potions with potentially harmful ingredients.

And The Winner Is…

I think it is fair to say that the surefire winner of the Healthy Tea Challenge is The Brew. Of course, with 5,000 years training, this contender has staying power.

However, I wouldn’t be too quick to underestimate The Bottle.

The Bottle may have a few bruises, but isn’t out for the count. And of course, with billions of dollars at stake, this challenger is likely to come back swinging.

Final Thoughts:

I think we are all looking for that magic something that will guarantee us a long and healthy life.

Ever since scientists discovered that antioxidants, including polyphenol, have potential health benefits, we’ve been running after the latest and greatest “antioxidant rich” product.

Yet, right under our noses lays a bounty of antioxidants. In our gardens, farmer’s markets and supermarket produce isles we can find all the antioxidants we need. And yes, they can be found in other plant-based products too like coco, olive oil, wine, and tea.

Tea can certainly be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, but we’ve got to make good decisions as consumers.

A bottled brew now and again can be a special treat. But if we are really serious about wanting “healthy tea” then perhaps we should stick with the good ‘ole home-brewed stuff and save our money.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: arriba – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] What are your thoughts about bottled tea?[/box]