Tea Time for the Garden

I love tea. (No news there).

I also love to garden organically, started a compost pile a few years back, and have an on going love affair with not only my camellia bushes (the cousins to the tea bush camellia sinensis) but with my roses as well.

2 weeks ago (with the help of a friend/geologist) we planted 29 Double knockout rose bushes along the perimeter of my yard to make a natural barrier/fence. Next year it should be a spectacular display of fushia-red.  I also have 2 climbing rose bushes up against the house making their way up an iron trellis that leans against the fireplace. They will be relocated in the spring to the back garden to (hopefully) grow up my new deck/pergola. I can’t contain my delight at the idea of tea on the deck, under my pergola with roses and grape vines (and anything else I can get to grow and climb) hovering overhead like a green and red umbrella.

Double Knockout Rose

I haven’t had too much trouble with my roses and I believe it is in part due to the enormous amount of tea they drink. That’s right, I’m not the only tea drinker in the house. My roses bushes enjoy tea time as well and must be benefiting from the polyphenols and antioxidants in the tea leaves. Actually, what they are receiving is a boost of nitrogen. I sprinkle my mass amount of dry and wet tea leaves around the base of my acid loving plants, including tomatoes and watch them grow and bloom joyfully. Did you know that roses and tea had a natural affinity for each other? It’s true.

I have been known to secretly feed my neighbors roses with tea leaves and left over brewed tea from my farmers markets. Needless to say, he’s got some of the most amazing blooms on the block as well. I fancy myself the pied piper of tea and secret midnight rose feeder. I’m like a tea/rose super hero… by day sipping cups and cups of tea… by night tea-watering and sprinkling used tea leaves wherever I find a rose bush. Maybe I could parlay that into some kind of Halloween costume? But what would it look like? Ideas welcome.

Anyway… we can all do our part with sustainability and recycling so don’t throw those hard working used tea leaves in the trash or down the sink! Step outside and feed your garden. Even nature deserves a tea break.

Sip tea. Tip toe through the rose bushes. Feel happy!

Tea Time for the Garden

The Skinny on Green Tea and Weight Loss

I’m asked all the time: “Will drinking Green tea or Oolong tea help me lose weight?” My answer has been: “There is some evidence that they can assist in the metabolism of fat in the body. I can say with certainty that if you stop eating and only drink tea, you will lose weight.”

Here is the more scientific version recently published by the British Journal of Nutrition, FirstView Articles. Copyright © The Authors 2011. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114511003849 (About DOI) Published online: 2011

“Tea has been consumed across the globe for centuries, comprising a significant proportion of the habitual diet of many far eastern countries. While its origins have been traced to China, it is now thought to be the second most consumed beverage in the world(1,2). It is manufactured from the leaf and bud of the plant Camellia sinensis, with the manufacturing process determining the type of tea produced, ranging from ‘fermented’ black and red teas, through ‘semi-fermented’ Oolong, to ‘non-fermented’ Green tea.

The black colour and bitter taste in black tea results from the oxidation of a group of chemicals termed ‘polyphenols’ (also known as catechins) by the enzyme polyphenol oxidase. This oxidative reaction is avoided in green tea where the drying and steaming processes employed inactivate this enzyme(1). Sparing these polyphenols is thought crucial to the many health benefits attributed to green tea over the centuries. A growing body of literature has emerged in the last three decades on an apparent plethora of benefits supposedly hidden in this relatively widespread and inexpensive beverage, included among which are anti-obesogenic(3), anti-diabetic(4), anti-carcinogenic(5), anti-bacterial(6) and anti-viral properties(7). In the present review I will concentrate on the first of these: the effects of green tea ingestion on energy expenditure (EE) and fat metabolism. In 1999, a paper was released demonstrating an apparent increase in EE in human subjects over 24 h, resulting from green tea administration(8). Publications such as this have since led pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturers to rush to incorporate green tea extract (GTE) into ‘fat-stripping’ weight management pills and protein shakes aimed at gym goers, athletes and the general public. The value of such a discovery was immediately apparent, both medically and within the domain of sports nutrition and gym use, with sports and fitness magazines such as Men’s Health relaying this information to their readers(9). Were this property of a very cheap commodity verified, it would imply a lucrative market in weight management supplements.

In the present review I aim to evaluate the validity of the evidence which seeks to corroborate these ‘fat burning’ and anti-obesogenic properties of green tea, considering its potential applications, along with a synthesis of putative modes of action…”

Sip green tea. Feel happy… and skinny?

The Skinny on Green Tea and Weight Loss

pro·cras·TEA ·nate

procrasTEAnating with a cup of rooibos

Procrastinate: (verb)
to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.
2. to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

ProcrasTEAnate: (verb)
1. to defer action; delay; put off till another day or time; defer; in order to enjoy and spend time with tea.

I’ve coined a new word. And I’m going to use it every chance I get to explain why I am behind or delayed: I am merely spending time with tea… a rather lovely noun whos company I prefer to other things. Even the important things.
I realized today that I had never looked up the word “tea” in the dictionary. Below is what I found out. (notice numbers 6 and 9).

tea (noun)

1. the dried and prepared leaves of a shrub, Camellia Sinensis,  from which a somewhat bitter, aromatic beverage is prepared by infusion in hot water.
2. the shrub itself, extensively cultivated in China, Japan, India, etc., and having fragrant white flowers.  Compare tea family.
3. the beverage so prepared, served hot or iced.
4. any kind of leaves, flowers, etc., so used, or any plant yielding them.
5. any of various infusions prepared from the leaves, flowers, etc., of other plants, and used as beverages or medicines.
6. beef bouillon.
7. British. any meal, whether a light snack or one consisting of several courses, eaten in the late afternoon or in the evening; any meal other than dinner, eaten after the middle of the afternoon.
8. an afternoon reception at which tea is served.
9. Slang. marijuana.

It’s important to know that I have procrasTEAnated with my blog posts lately, but managed to finish this today. However, I am now procrasTEAnating with a cup of Rooibos (which is not tea) as I review the growing pile of things on my desk that need to be completed today and not put off until tomorrow… What do you think I’ll do?

… sip… sip… sip….

pro·cras·TEA ·nate