Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oprah May Be Onto Something Afterall

It's Friday here in Shanghai and the weekend is underway. Yesterday I hosted a Chinese tea tasting and educational event. I'm not sure what else to call it, but I had a group of people at my house, along with the tea expert I found for Phils birthday (see previous blogs if you have no clue what I'm talking about), and we spent the afternoon tasting and learning about various Chinese teas from a health perspective.

As always our "tea expert" Brenton met and exceeded our expectations with the amount of time he spent on the subject, his willingness to answer questions, and the high grade teas he shared for tasting. We all gathered around the nicely placed table adorned with multiple tea pots, special mats, cups, snifters, and a variety of bags containing the teas we would learn about and soon taste. Brenton started with an introduction to Chinese tea history- turns out, there are over 300 tea varieties in China alone! But since we only had so many hours in a day, and we wanted to focus on Chinese tea from a health perspective, we would only address a handful of those teas.

The main teas we focused on were green tea varieties, red oolong and pu'er. As many of you may have heard (or seen on Oprah), tea is all the rage for weight loss. First it was green tea, now it is red oolong and Pu'er. Apparently, Oprah's favorite is the red oolong. Starting with the green tea, we learned about its antioxidant properties and immune boosting power. Then after tasting a few varieties of those and learning how to buy a proper clay tea pot and season it, we moved onto the red oolong. Now I have to give you all a little side note/ Jen observation comment here, and tell you that green oolong is also credited for having some amount of weight loss properties. This is the tea I have been drinking since meeting with Brenton the first time, and in all honesty, I have noticed a big difference. The red oolong is basically the super boosted version of the green in terms of its weight loss effects. Red oolong is also phenomenal for high blood pressure, antioxidants, lowering cholestrol, and detoxifying. The only side effect can be agitation, and if you ask my husband, I don't need help in that department. :)

Now Pu'er tea is an entirely different beast. This is the only tea that Chinese people will drink in the evening, because unlike the oolong teas, you can get to sleep after drinking it. (I spent a few nights wide awake until 1am before I realized I needed to stop the oolong after 5pm.) Pu'er is a "fermented", more accurately "aged" tea commonly found in cake- like round flat disks. In my opinion Pu'er is not the tea you drink because you want to sit down and have a tasty cup of something warm. For me, it's more like the, "this has got to be healthy- or nobody should drink this" tea. Okay maybe I am being a little dramatic. But after Brenton shared some of his top grade Pu'er tea, my dislike for this tea was had changed.

Today I started drinking the red oolong and Pu'er I bought from Brenton last night, and if I can keep my hands off the food, (due to the insane munchies one gets from this tea), long enough to notice any weight loss effects- I will report back.


Will said...

Sure this all sounds like a great fad that will make us all healthier, but do they have pepermint tea? Because that w/ a couple cubes of sugar is my favorite in the winter, even if it doesn't improve my health...

Pamela (mom) said...

I wished I'd read this "before" my 35th class reunion. Just kidding!! It was interesting and I will head to my tea provider to hunt for the red oolong.