Study: A cup of tea can reduce stress up to 25%

A study by Dr Malcolm Cross confirms what tea-lovers have long espoused: if you are upset or anxious, it’s a good idea to brew a cup of tea.

The study, as reported by the British Telegraph, said that a stress-inducing test caused a reported 25% increase in stress levels by those who did not receiving tea following their stress test. Those who did receive tea reported a 4%  decrease in stress. (click here to read more about this study).

Keep in mind this is a British study, and the Brits have had a longstanding cultural relationship with tea. Even though Americans do not engage in teas to the extent of our British cousins, the image and experience of making a cup of tea can induce similar ideas of unwinding; this idea permeates our culture mostly in advertising and movies instead of occurring in the home.

Give it a try and see what happens! Below is my favorite way to prepare tea:


Aimee’s Cuppa

I never liked tea, nor drank it in the British style, until I met my friend Nefratiri. I would go over to Nef’s house when I was about 18 to talk about religion and government and all sorts of juicy topics.  She would make me tea using soymilk and maple syrup and I became HOOKED on the stuff.  It has since become a very soothing staple on cold days or whenever I need a little extra love.

  • 1 teabag or loose-leaf tea in a teaball (some of my faves: Celestial Seasoning’s Tension Tamer or Gingerbread tea; Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage, Morning Glory Chai or a redbush chai)
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy milk, almond milk, or hemp milk (rice milk is too watery)
  • boiling water

Bring water to a boil in a kettle or pot. Remove from heat. Add the teabag to your favorite mug and top with water, leaving room for “milk”. Add milk and maple syrup and stir.

Sit back, inhale deeply, and enjoy.

Celebrate Summer – Without Gaining Weight!

There’s always a big push to lose weight for the summer, and then we engage in all sorts of activities which encourage weight to come back on — heavy BBQ’s, travel to new and exciting places, summer parties and celebrations all centered around lots and lots of food.

The unscheduled nature of summer interferes with routines which keep weight more easily managed, and often people notice a couple of extra pounds in preparation for the winter months.

Given that we don’t opt to hibernate, this extra weight isn’t necessary! Here are some of my top tips to avoid gaining weight when traveling and enjoying summer festivities:

1) Grill It! Use your grill for good, not evil. Instead of ribs and hot dogs, grill a variety of vegetables, chicken kabobs and use a cedar plank to grill fresh fish. Use exotic spice blends for flavor and BBQ sauce on the side to dip your chicken in if you are sensitive to sugars.

2) Bring a healthy dish to potlucks so you can ensure a healthy option is available. Others will appreciate it as well!

3) Crowd out caloric drinks with water: Summer slushies, cocktails, and blended coffee drinks can have as many calories as your main meal. Keep caloric drinks to a minimum, and when you do have one, have a tall glass of water (with lime for flavor) before and after you have your high-calorie beverage.

4) Plan you vacations to include healthy options and physical activity: If it’s very hot, exercise in the morning or evening – stroll the beach at sunset, play in water parks with the kids, hike in the shaded woods. Pack picnic lunches, utilize grocery stores for healthy snack options, and plan ahead whenever possible. I often research restaurants in locations I am visiting to get an idea of options available to me. For road trips, this post may be useful to you.

5) Keep tabs on yourself! Don’t turn a blind eye. If you are prone to overdoing it on vacation or during the summer, keep tabs on your size with a specific pair of pants or measuring tape. Some clients find it helpful to keep a food log in high-risk situations to keep them honest and accountable. Do what you need to without sacrificing the joys of the summer months!

Awesomely Easy Pumpkin Butter

This pumpkin butter was really easy to make and resulted in a tasty spread that I am donating to a craft fair to benefit Shakti Rising. Who says you have to pay for gourmet?

Some uses for this fabulous spread:

  • On toast (with cream cheese – an  absolute favorite in my dairy days)
  • Swirl with cream cheese and serve with bread or crackers for a holiday party
  • As a topping on vanilla ice cream
  • Thin with water or apple juice and drizzle over waffles, french toast, or pancakes
  • As a sauce for baked apples
  • Stir it in yogurt for breakfast, top with chopped walnuts
  • Use instead of pumpkin in pumpkin muffins
  • And whatever else your imagination can create (reply below with your ideas!)

Behold — the pumpkin butter:

  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup organic applesauce
  • 1/3 cup sucanat
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of cloves (up to 1/8 tsp)
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Mixture will splatter – be careful! Upon boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally as mixture thickens.

When mixture is very thick, remove from heat and let cool.

While spread is cooling, bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil jars and their lids to sterilize.

Spoon into tight-sealing jars and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.