Tea: it’s hot and steamy. It’s herbal and soothing. You sip it in the morning or to calm down during stressful times–at least they do in the movies. I also used to really, really hate tea. I just didn’t get it! It had such a strong, specific taste, and I wasn’t sure that that taste is one that I enjoyed. That’s why I was strictly a coffee person for most of my life.
That was then. That was before I was gallbladder-less. After my surgery there was a lot of stuff I couldn’t eat or drink anymore–namely dairy. This presented a problem since I always drink coffee with creamer. I probably hated tea as much as I hate black coffee. I’m a sweets person, and the bitterness in black coffee was too much for me. I needed the extra shot of sweetness (often literally) and especially the sweet flavored creamer. Now that dairy and I have gone our separate ways I couldn’t have coffee with cream anymore. So, I unwittingly ended up giving up coffee.
Living without any caffeine was HORRENDOUS. Here’s the thing: I’m not a morning person. I need that extra boost in the morning to a) make me feel like a person and b) make me a nicer person. So, I started to research tea. I’m one of those people that likes to read about things before I try them, which ultimately led me down a crazy rabbit hole of all things tea. I read a lot about what “real tea” (read: not herbal tea) is and learned the various types of tea out there–there are four to five but most agree on green, black, white and oolong as the basic categories. I also read a lot about how to brew tea. There’s a whole mess of information regarding loose leaf tea vs. tea bags or steeping tea in a pot or mug, etc.
Now that I knew a lot about tea, I actually had to try drinking it. I will admit. It’s hard at first to go from sweet, sweet coffee to slightly more bitter and herbal-tasting tea. I didn’t even finish the first few cups that I brewed. It wasn’t that it didn’t taste good; it just wasn’t a taste that I was used to. Eventually, I got into it. If you’re like me and you need to transition from super sweet coffee to not so sweet tea, I’d say drink chai first. It’s what I drink almost every day now and it’s got a nice spicy, slightly sweet taste to it. In case you’re wondering, I brew by the cup using bags because that’s what’s readily available in the grocery store. I hope to transition to loose leaf soon, however. I already have my filter and everything!
A few things you should not if you plan on transitioning like me. First, tea has far less caffeine that coffee. According to Today, it’s got about 50% less caffeine than coffee. A lot of things affect the caffeine content in tea: growing region, plant variety, age, soil nutrients, etc. It also matters how you prepare the tea, simple things like water temperature and brewing time will change the caffeine content. I don’t actually need that much in the morning, so it gets me through fine. And I don’t feel bad if I have more than one cup a day since it’s just half the caffeine I used to have each day. Also, bonus: it doesn’t affect your nervous system as much as coffee does. For more information on the differences between coffee and tea, click here.
It’s been a couple of months since transitioning now and I’m feeling great! I’m noticing that I’m craving tea more and more each day, nor do I have an issue finishing a large cup of it. I take mine with a little bit of almond milk. I actually don’t like too much because I find that I want to taste the tea! In general, I also don’t crave sweet drinks anymore. I don’t need them like I did when I had coffee.
Drinking tea also has a multitude of health and weight loss benefits. A cup of tea a day can help boost endurance and burn fat as fuel. It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke and other degenerative cardiovascular diseases. There’s also mixed research as to its effects on fighting against cancer, Parkinson’s, and degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Drinking tea can also boost your immune system, help protect your teeth and bones, and hydrates the body as effectively as a cup of water. [Sources: Time and Today]
For me, drinking it just makes me feel better. I don’t feel as jittery as I did when I drank coffee. It’s more soothing. There’s also a lot of research and posts out there about weight loss benefits for tea, especially black and green teas. For more on that start here. Let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with coffee. I actually could go back to drinking coffee with skim milk or almond milk, but I find that I actually prefer tea. There are a lot of things that changed after my surgery. But I’m actually pretty happy about this one. I’m a tea drinker now, and I love it.