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9 Groovy Benefits Of Green Tea

9 Groovy Benefits Of Green Tea

In his 1906 essay The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura laid bare to Westerners the social, cultural, and spiritual essence of tea drinking. He dubbed the experience Teaism, and his work has become a minor classic. During an age when coffee consumption has become the cultural mainstay of society, Okakura’s writing is a vibrant reminder of the deeply ingrained history humans have with the other popular beverage – tea.

The health benefits of green tea have been repeated in many articles across the internet, but there is much more to this ancient drink than a significant health boost. The benefits of green tea have been exploited by humans for thousands of years, with a lengthy history in China and Japan standing testament to its incredible attributes. It remains a social and cultural exercise which can unite people, boost morale, promote inner harmony, and introduce fans to a new world of tastes and sensations. Read on to find out the wonderful world of green tea.

                              The Book of Tea

Book of Tea

    “Teasim is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”

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    The now rather legendary The Book of Tea details the extensive role of tea in Japanese culture, which can be considered as Teaism. Kakuzo Okakura essentially wrote it as an emphatic love letter to Western audiences, explaining the joys and intricacies of tea drinking. It was originally written in English to promote the values Okakura saw in tea consumption, but has since been translated into many languages.

    Along with tea, Okakura promoted Buddhist ideals which, when merged with Teaism, the author believed could teach practitioners the joy of simplicity. This is the predominant benefit of tea – it removes the complexities of life and replaces them with a moment of untroubled perfection. Reading The Book of Tea would offer an introduction to this frame of mind, along with purchasing a brand of your choice to join this ancient and intriguing tradition. Green tea is easily accessible, readily available, and provides a multitude of benefits which can be enjoyed by everyone. Below are 9 examples of its far reaching influence, and how you can take advantage of it.

    1. It provides a positive social experience

    Tea drinking isn’t a solitary practice, it can be the basis of social events and a reason to get together. It can be even taken to a grander scale, such as in Japan where tea ceremonies are social exercises. “Ritual, grace, and protocol infuse many actions in Japanese culture, and none are more poetic in in chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony,” explains TeaClass. They add, “Patience, a difficult virtue in the western world, is essential for the conducting of chanoyu and even for an appreciation, yet the reward is tranquillity achieved through shared community between host and guests.”

    Googling your local town or city will no doubt unearth some tea ceremonies, or you can hold one at your home. Invite friends around and catch up, making an unique change to the more popular western option of heading to a bar.

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    2. It can boost your health

    Green tea has been used as a health boost for thousands of years, and in the modern era its benefits have now been backed up by scientific research. As noted by New York Times Best Selling author Dr. Mercola, tea can be a valuable part of a healthy diet. “If you enjoy green tea, by all means add a few cups to your day. Just be sure to drink your green tea ‘straight’. Adding sugar, milk, or other ‘embellishments’ (one exception being some citrus juice), will counter many of the benefits of tea.” Keeping to these requirements can help tea boost your memory, lower your blood pressure, and alleviate stress.

    It’s worth noting it would be wise to choose organic varieties of tea from reputable brands, reducing the amount of preservatives and pollutants on your tea. Organic food and drink gets a bad reputation as expensive, but a box of organic tea will only set you back a few dollars.

    3. It provides inner harmony

    The consumption of tea makes for a relaxing experience. It contains amino acids which are part of an amine group and a carboxylic acid group. When the tea is brewed the water soluble amino acids, of which L-theanine is 60%, release the “umami” flavour (which attributes to the distinctive taste). L-theanine, other than adding green tea’s palatability, “increases alpha brain wave activity, which induces relaxation. By relaxing you are effectively able to reduce stress!” Added to this, “it combines caffeine in a matter that produces relaxed alertness. L-theanine lets you enjoy the increased-concentration effect from caffeine (also found in green tea) without the associated anxiety and restlessness.”

    Additionally, as described by Natural News, you can try other herbs such as valerian, chamomile, kava, lemon balm, oat flower, and lavender as natural alleviators of anxiety and stress.

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    4. Tea brands often promote green practices

    Many organic tea brands, such as Pukka (a particular favourite of mine), are environmentally conscious. As stated on Pukka’s official packaging, their designs are “printed with vegetable ink on card from renewable sources and is recyclable”. As for the tea bags, “the string on each bag is organic; and because we don’t staple our bags, they’re wildlife friendly to compost. Add to that 100% non-BM ingredients, and you have an incredibly tasting tea that’s good for you, as well as the planet”.

    Other brands, such as Clipper, use unbleached tea bags alongside their organic ingredient commitment. This does highlight the importance of choosing organic tea; this will limit pesticide intake and help protect the environment. Once the tea bag has been used you can also add it to your compost heap (if you have one!), or bin it in the knowledge it will biodegrade.

    5. It helps promote Fair Trade practices

    Many organic tea brands, such as Yogi Tea and Clipper, promote Fair Trade practices. As Clipper confirm, “We use only the highest-quality sources, add nothing artificial, and strive to improve the welfare of the workers.” There you have it, drinking tea is good for you and the economy.

    6. It has unusual household benefits

    Aylin Erman, in his article from Eco Salon, records many of the unusual benefits of tea. Once you’re finished with a bag, it would be wise not to bin it. You can use the tea bags to feed plants (adding the tea under the soil “infuses the roots with nutrients”), prevent odors (“tea bags are highly absorbent and will take in both liquids and odors”), clean pots and pans (adding green tea bags to messy pots/pans filled with water allows the tannins in the tea t remove grease), and flavor meat as a marinade.

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    7. It can be used for cosmetic beauty purposes

    Thanks to Eco Salon, it’s also apparent green tea can be used for cosmetic purposes. Due to its antioxidant properties, green tea can be used to treat acne and help alleviate eye puffiness. “The tannins found in green tea constrict blood vessels and tame under eye bags,” the site claims. Just be sure to use tea bags which have cooled, rather than one straight from boiling water.

    8. It can help you buy unique gifts

    Catering for tea fans is straight forward as there are a myriad of unique tea based gifts. The variety available is impressive and takes in the likes of unusual teapots, wine inspired tea, monkey picked tea, tea kits, and eco cups. You can find a full list for inspiration here and surprise your friends and family in the near future.

    9. It will introduce you to the fantastical world of tea

    The world of tea is far more varied than you can imagine. There are the familiar names you may have heard of already, such as green, white, black, Earl Grey, and assam. Herbal teas aren’t to be forgotten, however, as they provide a remarkable variety of flavours which can assist with overall health. The likes of mint, ginger, nettle, and jasmine are often even merged with green tea to provide new flavours. You can find a detailed selection here.

    For other information sources try sites such as Learn About Tea and Tea USA, or gain a tea education from award winning tea historian Jane Pettigrew!

    Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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    Alex Morris

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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