Yoga & Health


I have been exploring the six classes of tea lately, and I recently discovered yellow tea.  

Yellow Tea is often miscategorized as green tea, but, unlike green tea that is unfermented, yellow tea is lightly fermented or oxidized.  Harvested leaves are either basket-fired or pan-fired, smothered, and then finish-fired.  “The smothering step, known as men huan, or ‘sealing yellow,’ is how yellow tea leaf develops its special flavor characteristics.”

This information was taken from Mary Lou and Robert Heiss’ book, The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook–a must for all tea enthusiasts.  Ditch the tea bags and give the six classes (green, white, yellow, oolong, black, and pu-er) of loose-leaf tea a try!  You can purchase good quality tea online from www.teatrekker.com.

Most of us have heard about the health benefits of drinking tea, but did you know you can also “eat your tea”?  Robert and Mary Lou Heiss, the authors of two fabulous books about tea–The Story of Tea and The Tea Enthisiast’s Handbook–provide several enticing recipes for cooking with tea in this article from Delicious Living Magazine.  Bon appetit!

shrimp and corn assam soup

There’s a great deal of nutritional information written about the health benefits of Omega-3 fats in our diets.  A recent article from Eating Well Magazine adds to the growing literature.  Do you like sardines?  If so, you’re in luck as they are “the #1 food you should eat (and probably don’t)” according to health and environmental experts.  “These nutritional powerhouses are one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, with a whopping 1,950 mg/per 3 oz. (that’s more per serving than salmon, tuna or just about any other food) and they’re packed with vitamin D. And because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they don’t harbor lots of toxins like bigger fish can.”  Because more and more people are consuming fish oil pills to receive the health benefits of Omega-3 fats, there is a growing concern about the sustainabilty of this practice.  Sustainabilty is not a major concern with sardines, however, because “they’re . . .one of the most sustainable fish around. Quick to reproduce, Pacific sardines have rebounded from both overfishing and a natural collapse in the 1940s, so much so that they are one of Seafood Watch’s ‘Super Green’ sustainable choices.”

If you simply can’t bear the thought of consuming sardines, try these recipes  (scroll down to find the “Healthy Sardine Recipes”) to make them more palatable.

I went for my six month dental cleaning the other day and was informed that I have four cavities!  I floss every evening, brush meticuously twice a day, and avoid junk food so “how in the world do I keep getting cavities” I asked the dentist.  He didn’t have a good answer for me, so I decided to do some research and I came across Dr. Ellie Phillips’ blog

I then emailed her with several questions and she was happy to answer any and all of my pesky questions!  Dr. Phillips has been a dentist for 35 years and educates people that “tooth decay and gum disease are preventable disesases.” She is “a member of the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. A graduate of Eastman Dental Center, Rochester, NY, with qualifications in pediatric and general dentistry, and an honorary member of the Eastman Academy, University of London, England.”

I would highly recommend reading her book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.  Or if you don’t have time to read the book, simply start following her recommended oral health routine.  Eating xylitol mints or chewing xylitol gum is a huge part of this routine.  Xylitol is NOT a synthetic substance.  Click here to find out exactly what xylitol is.  If you don’t want to order xylitol mints or gum from Dr. Phillips’ website, you can find them in health food stores–just make sure that you buy mints or gum with 100% xylitol, not sorbitol.  Follow this routine, and soon you will be saying:  “Look ma, no cavities!”

There are only two kinds of tea:  Red Rose and Lipton.  Right?  Wrong!  I have recently discovered that there are thousands of varieties of wonderful loose leaf teas, and they taste nothing like Red Rose and Lipton bagged teas.  You simply have to try a good, quality loose leaf tea to discover just how incredible a good cup of tea tastes.  According to Tomislav Podreka, a tea expert and author of the book, Serendipitea, there are four main types of tea:  black, green, oolong, and white.  Tisanes or herbal “teas” are not actually teas because they do not originate from Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, but rather from herbs such as chamomile, and rosehips.

So give one of the many varieties of loose leaf tea a try.  You can purchase good, quality tea online at Dobra Tea or Serendipitea.  Here are some articles on the health benefits of tea.  Who knows–you just might replace your beloved cup of coffee for a newly discovered cup of tea.  Pay close attention to recommended steeping times and water temperature.

I recently discovered matcha green tea from reading Dr. Weil’s blog.  I have loved green tea for years, but I was intrigued by his blog posting on matcha tea, so I went out and bought (it costs $15 for a canister) some at the Dobra Tea Room in Burlington, Vermont.  Matcha is the green tea used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.  Matcha green tea is unique in that it has the consistency of a fine powder as it is made by grinding up the tea leaves into a silky powder.  So rather than steeping the tea in a bag or tea ball, you dissolve it in water and therefore consume the entire tea leaf!  This, of course, means that you consume all of the benefits of green tea leaves.  According to Dr. Weil, “thousands of scientific studies confirm what the ancient Chinese knew through simple observation – green tea is perhaps the most healthful beverage human beings can consume. Studies either strongly suggest or confirm that the antioxidants in green tea can reduce LDL cholesterol, promote fat burning, reduce the risk of several forms of cancer, and alleviate depression.”  Matcha green tea definitely tastes more grassy and earthy than steeped green tea, but it has superior health benefits.

Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary. 
~Chinese Proverb

Check out this video of Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, making matcha tea.

The holidays are over, and the new year has arrived.  The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to develop an exercise routine.  My advice:  keep it simple, or you simply will not stick with it.  I suggest doing a form of exercise that you enjoy and will be able to maintain throughout your life–no matter how old you are.  Brisk walking is my favorite exercise, but you might also try biking or swimming–all forms of exercise that are highly effective and gentle on your joints.

Develop a regular time and place for your exercise, and this way you will be more apt to stick with it.  A regular 30 minute daily routine is much more effective than only exercising when you have lots of time.

What’s my routine?  I get up early and start my day with about 30 minutes of gentle yoga followed by alternating abdominal strengthening exercises every other day and a few free weight exercises (including push-ups) on the other days.  And I try to get out for a brisk 30-45 minute walk at least 5 days a week.  This is a fairly simple routine that I will be able to maintain throughout my life.  Yoga is great for the mind, body, and spirit.  Addominal exercises help to protect your back.  Strength training exercises with free weights keep your muscles strong.  And walking briskly keeps your heart fit.  Develop a routine that will maintain your whole body–inside and out.

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