Friday, January 24, 2014

It's tea time! Benefits of drinking tea!

As you might know, I can't drink coffee.  This makes me sad, because I used to LOVE coffee...the smell, the taste, the fact that it woke me up when I was tired!  But when my gastrolenterologist told me that it was contributing to my horrible pain caused by acid reflux, I quit drinking it.  I even cheated for a while and had a Starbucks latte or two, but after suffering even then, I quit drinking those as well.

We all like to drink hot beverages in the winter though, right?!  I had always been a fan of tea, but now I was forced to drink tea instead of coffee.  I love getting hot tea first thing in the morning when I get to work and often again in the evening at home, however, I hate drinking the same kind every time.  So I began sampling many different types of tea and discovered the kinds that I like.  I really like a good variety - here's a snapshot of my snack drawer at work:

Don't judge me for having the girl scout cookies!  Those Lemonades are to die for!  And yes, I drink Advocare Spark too.

Here is my tea collection at home:

Sorry it's not super organized!  We registered for a tea box during our wedding but didn't get it.  Maybe we should go ahead and get one anyway.

Black tea

There are so many different types of black tea.  Just to name a few: earl grey, english breakfast, chai, darjeeling.  To be honest, I drink these the least.  I just don't prefer the flavor and they have more caffeine than the other teas. 

My favorite black tea is Chai.  I steep a bag with only 4-6 oz of hot water for about 10 minutes so it's nice and strong.  Then I add almond or soy milk to the rest of the mug and add a little sweetener - I prefer Stevia in the Raw.  Celestial Seasonings has a great Chai, but there are so many choose from here.

Let's talk benefits:

1) It has antioxidants!
2) It helps reduce plaque formation on your teeth
3) Lower risk of diabetes
4) Boosts your immune system
5) Increased energy (hence the caffeine)

To read about these benefits in further depth, go here:

Green tea

Green tea is one of my favorites!  I like normal green tea or flavored green tea.  I'll be honest, if you don't like a real earthy taste, you may not like the normal green tea.  Try a flavored one!  And I prefer all of my green teas without sweetener.  This is my favorite green tea:

I love this tea because it has a little lemongrass and spearmint in it.  It helps clear my head (literally).  I have horrible allergies and the mint in it helps open up my breathing passages.  It has caffeine, but not as much as black tea.

I've bought various green teas from Japan and China that were wonderful too!  You can even buy a decaf green tea in case you want to drink it before going to bed.  I know caffeine really affects me so I need that in the evening.

Here are the benefits of green tea:

1) Increased metabolism
2) Lower risk of diabetes
3) Reduce risk of high blood pressure
4) Antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants!
5) Lower risk of heart disease

White tea

White tea is my next favorite tea!  There are so many different types!  Just to name a few: blueberry pomegranate white tea, mango peach white tea, berryblossom white tea, apricot vanilla white tea, ambrosia plum white tea, and my favorite....cucumber white tea.

Benefits of white tea:

1) Loaded with antioxidants!
2) Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
3) Lower risk of heart disease
4) No caffeine
5) Healthy teeth, gums and skin

To read more about these benefits in further depth, go here:

Red Tea

I've tried a few red teas and I've liked all of them.  They definitely have a unique taste!  Red tea is made from a South African red bush.  I was first given a box of red tea by a friend from Africa who said that it was good for allergies.  I'm not sure how much it's helped my allergies, but I also don't drink it every day.  Studies have shown that it helps fight respiratory diseases (see link below).  Here is the one I drink most often:

A great drink that Starbucks has and is not well-known is the vanilla rooibos tea latte.  It's red tea with steamed milk, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.  I order it with soy milk and only two pumps of syrup instead of the normal three.  Three pumps is a little too sweet for me.

[Starbucks photo]

Benefits of red tea:

1) Respiratory health
2) Digestive health
3) Lower risk of heart disease
4) High levels of antioxidants
5) Lower risk of arthritis

To read more about these benefits in further depth, go here:

Herbal Tea

There are many different types of herbal tea.  Herbal teas are actually not teas - they are an herbal infusion.  Red tea (above) is actually an herbal tea, but I wanted to list it separately.  Just to name a few others: apple cinnamon, chamomile, mandarin orange spice, ginger, lavender, peppermint.  See others here.  Chamomile is supposed to help you calm down so many people drink it before going to bed.  I enjoy it with a little honey, especially when I'm feeling under the weather.

Wellness Mama actually wrote a great post on herbal teas here.

Herbal tea benefits:

1) Calming effect
2) Digestive health
3) Antioxidants!
4) Strengthen the immune system
5) Supports heart health

To read more about these benefits in further depth, go here:

As you probably saw, most all teas are loaded with antioxidants.  Antioxidants have been proven to reduce the risk of cancer so I think this is a big plus!  Read the technicalities and research here.

I do have to mention Teavana.  Teavana is a tea store that has TONS of different loose leaf teas.  It's a little pricey, but I make mine last a long time.  Check it out!

Leave me a comment below!  Let me know your favorite tea!  I'm always looking for new ones to try!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Here's to 2014!

I know I'm a little late on this post but hey, better late than never, right?!

Honestly, I don't make new years resolutions because I usually fail at them.  After hearing my pastor's sermon a couple Sundays ago, I was motivated to make some goals.  You can listen to Pastor Andy's sermon here.  I also like what Jodie, our pastor to women, said about it here.

My goal in 2014 is to be more like my master, Jesus Christ.  While this is a daunting task, it is a realistic one if I break it down into smaller tasks...perhaps, more tangible tasks. 

I've also made some health-related goals that are unique for me. 

So I share my more specific goals with you, asking you to help keep me accountable:

1) Wake up earlier - I am a huge fan of sleep!  I think that getting 8 hours of sleep a night is healthy and just puts me in a better mood.  But I also am very productive when I wake up early and get things done in the morning.  It also will help me achieve #2 and #3!  So I'm attempting to get to bed early so I can wake up early every day.  Plus...Jesus did it and I'm striving to be more like Him!


2) Spend time with God daily - Even if it's just a short amount of time, I want to make a habit of this.  Sometimes I get down on myself for not doing it, but even 10 minutes is better than nothing!  Baby steps, Kelli, baby steps.  What a perfect way to enrich my relationship with my Best Friend and Father!  Shouldn't we want to spend time with our best friend to deepen our relationship?!  I'm finding this book to be an awesome way to do this!  Each day is short and full of wisdom.  Thank you for this book, IBC women's ministry!
3) Work out 2-3 times a week - I used to work out more often and probably should now, but I need to start with something realistic.  Even as a woman with no kids, I am SO busy and it's hard to find time to work out.  You know how most girls exercise like crazy before their wedding??  Yeah, I was the opposite.  I worked out much less because I was so busy!  Then we had the holidays!  Thankfully, my building at work just put in a new gym that I can use for free!  And I can watch Heroes on Netflix on their awesome iPhone hookup on each monitor!  That's motivation! Ha!  I also do my Advocare workout DVD at home when I can't make it to the gym.

Ok, let's pretend that this is me now, not my freshman year in high school...

4)  Eat "out" less often - Eating out costs so much money and you don't know what they put in your "healthy" meal, should you choose one.  We're aiming to eat at home more often - plus, I love cooking!  However, meeting friends for dinner is a huge part of our social life.  Relationships with others is a high priority for me so I'll still do this every now and then.  I'll just find a healthy balance!

5) Eat fewer tomatoes and fried food - fun fact about Kelli: I have acid reflux. Not so fun, right?!  It's actually pretty difficult to manage seeing as how I LOVE tomatoes.  The following foods are highly acidic and are bad for my stomach: tomatoes, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, red wine, coffee, spicy food, garlic, onion, vinegar, grapefruit, etc.  The following flares it up for other reasons: fried food (french fries!), alcohol, fatty foods.  Many of my favorite things to eat are on that list!  My obsession with tomatoes and french fries is probably what caused it.  Try to find a crockpot meal that doesn't include one of's hard!  I'd like to get off of my medicine though so I'm aiming to be good.

6) Pray for my husband intentionally - there is nothing more powerful than prayer.  I want to be more intentional about praying for every aspect of Kevin's life.  It'll also help me to see him as God does.  I'm praying through this book currently:

7) Learn how to say "no" (and not feel bad about it) - I really struggle with this.  I'm working on not saying "yes" to all things and all people and I think I'm making progress.  Now that I have a husband, he's a priority, but I still value friendships very much so I'm learning how to balance that.  I've also limited my weekly commitments to only two things - where I volunteer as a budget counselor (New Friends New Life) and our young-marrieds small group at church (starting this Sunday!)  Here is a great post from Mix and Match Mama this week on this topic:

Don't be afraid to ask me how I'm doing on all of these!  I need accountability!