Green Tea Challenge

I know, I know, it’s still PSL season, but hear me out on this one.

If you Google green tea, the first hit you get is “Health Benefits of Green Tea” from WebMD. The internet is pretty much riddled with reasons why green tea is great for you like the “fact” that it will lower stress levels and prevent cancer and help you lose weight and save starving goats in Africa (say what?). But jokes aside, there is a pretty solid base behind the benefits of green tea (if you’re looking for more reputable online resources, check out Medical News Today, Harvard Health Publications, University of Maryland Medical Center and this article that links out to a lot of medical journals). I don’t buy into the idea of green tea itself helping you lose weight, but coming in at a whopping 0 calories, it sure beats 200 calories of latte ridiculousness (now that I’m trying to track that sort of thing all official like… ugh).

Let’s be honest here. Green tea sucks.

[DISCLAIMER: I am really not a tea drinker. Some people (for example, every woman in my family except me) love the stuff, but I have never ever liked it. I am sorry if you already love tea. That is awesome. You can stop reading now. No! Wait! Come back! Maybe just skip down to the challenge part.]

I mean, come on, have you tasted that stuff? Just thinking about it makes my mouth pucker and dry out. Clearly you can go all rebellious and add honey or sugar or something to it, but then that defeats the purpose. But, I was fortunate enough to cross paths with my lovely Chinese co-worker (let’s call him Wu) who informed me that:

You can’t not like tea. There is a tea out there for everyone. We will find it.

This led us on a rather notable tea quest through local markets and chain retailers and even his very own secret stash of authentic Chinese tea and bricks. (Wu still says that the brick stuff is, in fact, tea, but I’m pretty skeptical.) I learned some pretty valuable lessons along the way, like the fact that white tea tastes like grass, and black tea tastes awful, and pretty much anything you can buy from the local grocery store that comes in a little bag is stale. And awful. And apparently adding things to tea like sugar or milk is blasphemy as per Wu.

Most importantly, though, I learned that jasmine green tea is “my tea”. I.e. I can drink a whole cup of it without gagging, or making faces, or yelling at Wu. Furthermore, I learned that not all jasmine tea is the same. There are some sneaky jasmine oolong teas that are NOT jasmine green teas (even if the sales person tries to convince you that you will like it), and I learned that Tetley (and Lipton and other) bagged jasmine green tea is a hoax (okay, not really, but that stuff is still pretty gnarly imo), that David’s Tea is passable in a pinch, and that Tevanna’s Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls Green Tea is actually quite good. Nothing beats the local market’s wonderfully fresh jasmine pearl green tea, but that place doesn’t have parking and since Tevanna is under the same banner as Starbucks it feels less like cheating. This whirlwind experience has left me tea happy and convinced that there is, in fact, a tea for everyone.

Which brings me back to green tea.

I have assembled a list of reasons in no particular order as to why (jasmine) green tea is a superhero awesome:

  • It is 0 calories
  • It smells really pretty
  • It is relaxing/stress relieving
  • It gives you an excuse to stand by the kettle in the coffee area at work for a 5 minute break away from your desk
  • Tea cups are totally adorable

Oh yeah, and

  • It’s totally healthy for you because:
    • It has antioxidants that help kill free radicals
    • It has EGCG

    (And both antioxidants and EGCG are linked to a bunch of great things like reducing the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, cholesterol build up, wrinkles, aardvarks (just making sure you’re paying attention…))

To encourage you to explore the benefits of this beautiful beverage, and the broad range of flavours it has to offer, I have devised the Green Tea Challenge.

Image courtesy of Google.

The Challenge: Drink a minimum of 3 cups of green tea (any type of green tea) a day for 30 days.

The Rules: No additives allowed in the tea (so no milk or honey or sugar). No substituting green tea for other types of tea. Take note of how you feel before and after 30 days of green tea.

The Point: Encourage us to integrate healthier options into our diets to feel better all round. Hopefully by the end of this challenge green tea drinking will become a healthy habit that we can continue.

[The Bonus: As a bonus challenge, replace all hot beverages with tea.]

I know these demands are pretty steep, but let’s get this partea started! I will be posting my personal thoughts on and results of this challenge come November, and will hopefully have found some serenitea and the abilitea to overcome the urge to make as many tea puns as I can. We shall just have to wait and tea. (Okay, I’m done now. Honest.)