Wellness Challenge: Better Beverages

Could you be making better beverage choices? Turns out I could.

national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks

Right now on the blog we’ve been putting up content for little, impactful changes. We are not big fans of New Year’s resolutions but rather intentionally making changes to better your life (and allowing and accepting any kind of progress). So far this month’s recipe menus have been colorful and fiber dense and we’re looking forward to putting up more. Earlier this week I talked about making my digital life more positive. But today, since it’s National Hot Tea day (and this month is National Hot Tea Month), I thought I’d tell you a little bit about one of the subtle changes I’ve been making this winter in my beverage life and why. Let’s talk tea and make sure to stick around at the end of the post to learn how you could win $500 and a year's supply of tea from the Tea Council of the USA!

Since Chris and I work from home we have constant access to the kitchen. And let’s be real, we’re there a lot of the time working on recipes and photos anyway. Needless to say, it’s easy to whip up whatever treat you’re craving and make it an accidental habit. What we found is that in the cold months, we had been mocha obsessed. We mixed hot chocolate with mediocre coffee two or even sometimes three times a day. It was a habit that we didn’t mean to make. We were stressed and tired (caffeine and chocolate) and wanted something warm. The chocolate was to cover the crap coffee (convenient over quality is a mistake). But beyond quality we realized we were no longer fully present and enjoying it and it was really not doing us any favors for health. Since then we’ve significantly changed our morning coffee habit (espresso machine!), but I now know what I had been really hoping those mochas would achieve was flavorful, warm hydration. A mug of something warm is soothing and I need all the liquid I can get in an old house during winter. 

national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks

This one simple change took what had become a habit negative and turned it into a complete positive. It’s not like I didn’t know the mocha parade was an issue as a dietitian nutritionist, but isn’t it interesting how it can somehow take a moment of reflection to have an obvious ah-ha moment? On any given day, more than half of the American population is drinking tea. Across the world it’s actually the second most consumed beverage next to water. In fact, looking back to my childhood, my Dad constantly had the most massive container of black tea with him at all times. It just never stuck with me until rather recently and now my current tea ritual is a mug with lemon after my morning espresso and one after lunch. I actually look forward it!

national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks
national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks
national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks
national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks

Let’s get a little food nerdy for a second and talk about food process so you know what you’re buying.

While 84% of all tea consumed in the US is black tea, many teas you’re familiar with all come from the same plant. Black, green, oolong and dark and white teas all come from a warm-weather evergreen called Camellia sinensis. The difference comes down to processing and oxidation. Black and oolong teas are either fully or partially oxidized while green and white teas are not oxidized after the leaves are harvested. Regardless of which particular oxidation level of tea you choose, there are literally thousands of published studies that support the potential health benefits especially related to ‘flavonoids’. Flavonoids help fight free radicals which damage elements of the body.

From weight loss benefits (subjects consuming green tea and caffeine lost an average of 2.9 pounds within 12 weeks while adhering to their regular diet) to mood (study found drinking tea improved attention and allowed individuals to be more focused on the task at hand) and even ovarian health, the benefits of tea are undeniable. 

I hope you learned something fun today and maybe even consider taking a look at your own beverage choices. What I love about this blog is it’s not just recipes. It’s a place for you to find interesting health information that’s not dry and overly science term saturated. Hopefully, it’s a quick read and reminder to occasionally reflect on your health and see if you’re truly enjoying what you’re doing or if it’s doing your health any favors (or harm). 

national hot tea day: wellness challenge healthier drinks

Disclosure: Thank you to the Tea Council of the USA for partnering with me for this post. All opinions are my own.

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.