Saturday, 22 June 2013
I have been getting back into my good old habits of healthy tea and infusion drinking. I was swapping coffee and black tea for the healthier options. I only had 3 cups of coffee and 2 cups of black tea this week (as opposed to 2 or 3 of each every day).
I have started each day with hot water and lemon. I use about half a lemon in a cup of hot water. I do this almost as soon as I wake up. What a difference to my stomach this has made already. I find hot water with lemon to be the best remedy for that balloon-like belly feeling. It is very refreshing, energizing and of course detoxifying. It helps the digestion as well. I then drink a small glass of water, just to rinse the lemon off of my teeth and go to prepare my breakfast.
We all know about the greatness of green or white tea. I have been having a few cups of those as well. I especially love the tenderness of Japanese Sencha tea. Clearspring makes an excellent one.
Brewing a cup of green tea with roasted rice - Genmaicha - is simply a fun experience. It smells delicious as well. I bought a huge bag in Chinatown in New York and it is lasting me a long time. When it comes to delicious smells, one tea stands out in the crowd - White Rose white tea by Rituals. It smells and tastes divine. You can make a whole tea pot from one bag. A perfect companion on a work overloaded day - it sits on the desk in front of you and smells simply lovely. So inviting!
I have a huge selection of teas from around the world. One that I can not forget to mention is lotus leaves tea I bought in Vietnam. It is very mild and refreshing. Perfect for the moments when you don't feel like having a strong cup. Plus it is great for your liver. It also helps with anxiety and stress. When I was buying mine in Vietnam I asked the lady in the shop what is the tea good for and she just folded her hands, rested her head on them and closed her eyes. I understood that it should be a good sleeping aid. Therefore I drink it in the late afternoon or after dinner. I visited Vietnam many times and one of the most amazing experiences was to see the lotus fields. Just take a look at the picture I took:
People eat or use every bit of the lotus for medicinal purposes.To see these fields we took a boat which our driver rowed with her feet! When we were exploring this breathtaking Vietnamese countryside and taking pictures, she went right in the middle of the field, legs deep in the water, just to get a lotus flower for my daughter. My girl was so happy! But then, as we were returning back to the boat after our second picture break, we saw our driver eating the lotus flower. She opened it and was eating the seeds. My daughter burst into tears and said, pointing at the driver: "The lady ate my flower!" And now, every time I drink lotus tea, I think of this funny (well, sad for my daughter) episode. It would not happen in London.
Now, talking about Vietnam, I realized that there was another drink I learned to drink over there - hot water with fresh ginger and honey. I came across this lovely drink in other places in South East Asia as well. I love spa treatments. And spa treatments in tropical places are a heavenly experience. I always choose a treatment that uses native ingredients. In South East Asia, after each treatment, I was brought to a relaxation area. It is always surrounded by nature so you can hear birds singing. Then they bring you ginger tea with honey and offer you some fresh or dried local fruit. You never want to leave! Living in London, the closest thing I have to relive my South East Asian experience is drinking home-prepared ginger tea. I alternate between ginger (always fresh) and honey, ginger lemon and honey, or ginger and lemon. Ginger in a hot drink acts like a chilli - it warms you up and cools you down at the same time.
The very last drink I will mention today is my substitute for coffee. There is a product in Slovakia that my grandmother used to prepare for me. She called it "coffee", even though it is not coffee as we usually know it. Every time I came to her after school she would give me either a freshly baked cake or buttered bread with homemade jam and serve it with my "coffee". The names of this drink vary. My favorite is Mleta by Kavoviny.Sk. Basically it is a roasted chicory and barley mix, coarsely grounded, which you cook in a pot like turkish coffee. I liked mine mixed with milk. I brought this product back to London with me. It gives me a whif of nostalgia and the rich creamy texture can fool you into thinking you are drinking real coffee. This drink is good for you as well, as it supports the digestion process. So it is a win-win for me.
I can talk about tea all night, but it is time to finish my rooibos tea (another of my favorite) and go to sleep.