Tea for a Change

I sit down to write with a steamy mug of herbal tea feeling a bit chilly after coming home from a vacation in the south.  It warms my hands, it calms my stomach, it relaxes me, and I can feel the heat trickling down my throat.  More than those feelings, though, I think tea brings a mood of serious business, as I often get one when I sit down to work.

And that’s making me a little nervous.  I don’t feel professional enough to be writing a blog. I want to get some of these thoughts down. I want to share and educate. I want to approach people with a caring and understanding approach to plant-based eating, health, and planet sustainability. I don’t have all the facts, but just enough to make me challenge the status quo; and a thirst to learn more.  So this seriousness of putting words down is a little unnerving.

You can find facts to support just about anything you want.  Al Gore, former U.S. Vice-President, was one of the first people I can recall to sacrifice his political career by talking about global warming.  He started lecturing in 1989 with flip charts to small groups, and eventually in 2006 agreed to the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to be made raising the profile of the earth’s crisis. Unfortunately he made a few statements that were al-gorescientifically questionable. Maybe he began to think he was an expert instead of relying on scientific evidence around him, maybe he exaggerated a bit to make a stronger point. He didn’t lie.  But what I remember is it ruined his credibility, his campaign, his political career, and, even more unfortunate it gave a lot of power to those who were opposed to his campaign. It took many years, and his continued efforts to be taken seriously again.  This 2006 film, and subsequent documentaries he has been involved in since have continued to raise awareness of this critical issue.  But there are still those who would say ‘global warming’ is untrue based on their understanding of factual evidence against Gore’s statements, or just not wanting to hear it. In rebuttal to Gore’s documentary one politician made the statement that, ‘if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it’s true.’

So here I sit with facts I have uncovered through reading and researching that may dispute facts you may have.  But that’s the beauty of God making us all unique, capable of thought and opinion, and patience and passion.  And so I proceed, tea beside me, and butterflies inside me, to write about my view through my own shade of rose coloured glasses.

Back to my tea.  There comes a time when we have simply had enough.  We may want to quit smoking, quit a job, lose weight, take on a challenge.  Something just clicks. Such was the case with my tea.  I drank black tea with milk and sugar, sometimes 4 or more cups a day. That was 4 teaspoons of white sugar.  And often a tea needs a cookie, right? I was trying to eat healthier and had one of those moments of clarity where I realized how much sugar I was consuming in just my tea.  So I stopped. No, seriously, I wish it was that easy.  I found if it was weaker I didn’t need the milk, and the bitterness I was trying to cover with the sugar wasn’t as bad, so I could cut back on the sugar a bit.  Then I lessened the sugar even more.  Some days I just drank boiled water. (I remembered one of my aunts, Aunt Muriel, used to do that sometimes at coffee dates with my mom.) Finally I got to a point of drinking weak black tea with nothing in it. And then I learned that black tea had some health consequences I wasn’t so fond of, so I switched to green or herbal blends. Lots of little steps, and more and more information lead to a healthier outcome.  Recently I have been reading about raw food diets, and not cooking anything at high temperatures.  Maybe that will lead to no tea at all down the road. I can’t see that living through Canadian winters, but who knows?

What little things can we all do to become more healthy? There are lots of fads with pills and diets programs. There are 21-day or 30-day challenges with solid eating plans. There are nutritionists and dieticians who can provide expertise. Where do we start? My advice is to embark on a change that you can sustain for a long time (hopefully for life!) and take it in small steps so it’s not overwhelming.  For example if you eat toast for breakfast, a sandwich every day for lunch, and white pasta and a dinner roll every night taking a 30-day ‘no processed carbs’  or ‘gluten free’ challenge could be pretty overwhelming.  Try these alternatives:

  • Start with substituting just one meal a day with an alternative.
  • Try buying a healthier bread with whole grains.
  • Look at adding more protein and vegetables to you don’t have to fill up with bread.

pasta-329522_640Once you’ve made some adjustments you can handle and feel good about you can then add some more.  Try one day a week with no white bread. Switch out lunches to salads or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. Look at other nutrient rich carb substitutes like brown rice or quinoa for white rice, or sweet potato for white potato.  Do some reading and find some new recipes and build your confidence and your repertoire.

And why do you want to stop eating white bread anyways? Did someone else tell you to? Is it your one last ‘cheat’ because you’ve given up dessert, alcohol, and potato chips? Can you afford more expensive alternatives? The most important element to successful change is to have an emotional connection to why you’re doing it.  This changes everything.  Your ‘why’ will be the ‘willpower’ for your ‘want.’

My ‘why’ is education.  I want to keep learning and sharing, so here it is world!

Feature Image courtesy of www.dreamstime.com/imagefree82985648


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