By A.C. Cargill

’Tis the season to be jolly. And stuff our faces with all sorts of goodies, washed down with a gallon or two of tea. It’s also that time of year when we hear things like “The dryer shrunk my pants!” and “That scale isn’t working right!” Sound familiar? We’ve all probably used these excuses when we’ve experienced a bit of weight gain, especially during the holiday season.

Jeans, Tea and a Scale

Those extra pounds can sneak up on us, no matter how we watch our intake of fatty and calorie-laden foods. Holidays, abounding with parties where these less-than-healthy “eats” and “drinks” are served, can be the most treacherous times for this. Who hasn’t approached the bathroom scale with trepidation after feasting on turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and other such tasty goodies? One option is to eat less — yeah, right! Another is to have a cup of tea — no, really!

Green and Oolong (Wu-long) teas, highly touted for their health benefits, are also seen by many as dieting aids. They can boost your metabolic rate, suppress your appetite, and regulate your blood sugar, among other things. I’m not sure that this is the answer for everyone (for me, small meals spaced out every two to three hours works best since it keeps my metabolism fueled up and burning the excess). However, the good news is that drinking these teas doesn’t hurt (unless you are caffeine-sensitive, so check with your doctor).

There is a lot of information available on the Internet and elsewhere about green tea and Oolong tea relating to your health, and I’ve spent some time reading through a lot of it. The gist is that tea is full of all sorts of beneficial things with long names: “Antioxidants,” “epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG),” and “catechin polyphenols” among others. Of course, it has a few things that aren’t quite so healthful (the jury is still out on caffeine and ephedra). Some of these are good for weight loss.

You can always just say “No” to that second helping of turkey and dressing or a scoop of ice cream and a huge dollop of whipped cream on your third slice of pie. But it’s the holiday season and your Aunt Minnie would be offended if you didn’t try her special recipe for yam casserole or vegetable surprise (the secret ingredient is okra). That cup of tea is sounding more and more like your best alternative.

There are also herbals, especially for those of you sensitive to caffeine. A tisane made with black peppercorns has been know to be effective. Diet teas containing Green Tea Extract, L-Carnitine, Bladderwrack (fucus vesiculosus), and Chromium are said to be the most effective.

Tummy all a-roil after all that overindulging? Soothe it with a cup of chai. Be sure it’s one that contains ginger and cardamom, both known to quell the wild surf in your innermost regions.

Another benefit of some teas and herbals: a calming effect. When the relatives get too noisy and the sounds of the football game blaring through the TV speakers is jangling your nerves (either because your team is behind or you’re not a football fan), try a soothing cup of Chamomile (unless you suffer from hayfever), or maybe try a bit of the catnip you keep on hand for “Fluffy” (steep in water that has not reached a boil). Maybe a floral tisane made from gardenia would suit your needs.

As you can see, tea is essential for the holidays, to help you when you overindulge. Or maybe the dryer really did shrink your pants. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill. It’s a great place to learn more about living the tea life!

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