Evy Tea: Local, Luxurious, and Undeniably Healthy

My tried an true shopping spots are the bulk bins in Whole Foods Market, so needless to say, packaged goods aren’t really my thing. It is a rare treat to find bottled beverages that are delicious, natural and healthy… much less ones that are “Kelly-approved”. Most flavored teas have sugar, or (possibly worse) artificial sweeteners. But not Evy Tea. Evy Tea is simply cold brewed tea layered with various complimentary flavors. No sweetener necessary.

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I was recently introduced to Evy Tea in the Fall 2013 issue of Edible Boston. Then, upon my good fortune, I got to sample all 3 flavors (Amber Oolong with Rosemary and Orange Zest, Moonlight White Tea with Apricot and Jasmine, and Decaf Green Tea with Fig and Pomegranate) at the pop up Farmers Market at the Harvard Square Anthropologie. The Rosemary flavor in the Oolong tea was unexpected in the best way possible, so that’s the bottle I came home with. This flavor also placed first in the 2013 North American Tea Championship. I knew I had good taste!

Anyone that knows me knows that I love tea. But this isn’t your average 4 o’clock brew. This tea is thoughtfully crafted, healthy, and, dare I say it, sexy.

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The slender, chic bottle is reminiscent of a fine bottle of liquor or wine. But unlike liquor or wine, Evy Tea is calorie free and loaded with nutrients! I have a soft spot for companies that make health foods desirable and fun, so of course, this is right up my alley. And I can’t say I’m not a sucker for the gorgeous bottle. Just look at it!

DSC01507Evy Tea (“The World’s First Premium Cold Brewed Tea”) is available at fine food purveyors in the Boston area, and is also available online. To learn more about Evy Tea, pick up the current issue of Edible Boston!
– Kelly

Which beverages are worth the buy

A colleague of mine recently told me that one of her clients spends hundreds of dollars a month on beverages. Just beverages! This is absolutely absurd to me, because the most important beverage to our health is practically free. Do you spend lots of money on beverages? Read on to find out where your dollars are best spent.

Soda and “fruit drinks”

We all know that soda is bad for our health, so this is the first and most obvious place to cut back. Soda is simply empty calories. Liquid candy that provides absolutely no health benefit. The same goes for “fruit drinks” such as fruit punch, lemondade, or Sunny Delight. While there may be some real fruit in these beverages (although oftentimes, not) the main ingredients are sugar and water.

glass water bottle

Water

For anyone that argues that soda is cheaper than water, why are you paying for water in the first place? At home, invest in a water purifier or drink from the tap. When dining out, ask for tap water or a cup of water (not a bottle). When out and about, bring your own refillable water bottle and fill up at water fountains. We are lucky that public water is neither expensive nor largely dangerous in this country. In What to Eat, author Marion Nestle explains that “under current federal regulations, bottled waters do not have to be tested as rigorously as tap waters or disinfected to the same extent,” and that tap water and bottled water often comes from the same place anyway.

Juice

When cutting back on soda, some people use juice as a “healthier” way to satisfy their cravings for sweet beverages. While orange juice is a natural source of many vitamins and minerals, and definitely a step up from soda, it is still unnecessary. As trendy as they may be, even 100% juice, or “superfood” fruit and vegetable juice blends are not a necessary part of a healthy diet, and in fact, are less healthy than eating the fruits and vegetables themselves. By discarding the pulp and solids (the difference between juicing and making a smoothie), you are missing out on the fiber and some of the micronutrients. This is one reason that I am not a huge proponent of “juice fasts”. If you are looking to consume a diet high in fiber and antioxidants, don’t just sip nature’s sugar water; eat the whole fruit! Additionally, do not be fooled into thinking that juice is a low calorie or no calorie beverage. Many juices pack just as much sugar and calories per cup as soda.

Sports drinks

Many people buy sports drinks thinking that they are more hydrating than water and a necessary component of an athletic lifestyle. While sports drinks can definitely provide an advantage for long duration exercise, do not be fooled into thinking that sports drinks are necessary for the everyday fitness enthusiast. If you are exercising for 1 ½ to 3 hours, sports drinks can help improve endurance. After the first hour of exercise, aim for 100-250 calories per hour to keep your body going, mainly from carbohydrates (such as from sports drinks, but could also come from crackers, pretzels, or nutrition bars). Your body won’t rely on the sports drink until the end of your workout, so it is best to stick with water for the first 30-60 minutes. Sports drinks will also help to replenish any electrolytes lost in sweat (as will salty snacks, such as crackers). That being said, for most workouts less than 1 ½ hours, water is your best bet.

jar and glass of milk

Milk

Milk is a beverage of considerable debate. It is the beverage with the highest amount of naturally occurring protein, and has a great combination of nutrients to help support growth and development. However, despite the importance of calcium and other minerals, one cannot ignore the fact that countries with the highest levels of dairy consumption also suffer from the highest levels of osteoporosis. Additionally, milk has been associated with increased risks of ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and acne. Much more research is needed on the effects of dairy foods, and until these connections get clearer, here is what I suggest. Two cups a day for children and three cups a day for adults is the most that we need, and that number goes down if you consume other calcium rich foods such as yogurt or cottage cheese. Nonfat milk is an excellent source of lean protein and can definitely be included in a healthy diet, but remember that you can still be perfectly healthy and osteoporosis free without consuming dairy foods; you will just need to make sure to obtain calcium and riboflavin from plant foods such as broccoli, almonds, and legumes. Nowadays, there are many different milk substitutes on the market. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, remember that none have as much protein as cows milk, and that not all nondairy milks are fortified with the micronutrients found in milk. So read the labels carefully.

Tea and Coffee

Many adults like to start their morning with a cup of tea or coffee; a ritual so engrained in routine and productivity that it is unlikely to be discarded. If coffee or tea is a part of your routine, save money by preparing it at home, rather than buying elaborate coffee drinks at cafes or coffeeshops. Oftentimes, many offices also have complimentary tea or coffee, so take advantage of that if your place of work offers such benefits.

Alcohol

This is one a no brainer, but it’s still worth a mention. If you are looking to cut back on your food budget, don’t forget to look at your alcohol spending. Not only is alcohol considerably more expensive than other beverages, but it is also unnecessary for health.

When trying to cut back on unnecessary spending at the grocery store, the easiest place to start is with beverages. Somewhere along the way, Americans got accustomed to drinking their calories. Getting back to the basics and enjoying water with most meals is healthier for both you and your wallet. Additionally, drinking water with meals is shown to encourage healthier food choices. Cheers!

Images: 1 // 2 (purchase bottle here!) // 3//  4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

-Kelly

 

 

Tea Time

Nothing says cozy like a cup of tea. Since making the snowy streets of Boston my new stomping grounds, I now enjoy more tea than ever before. Sure, I love tea… but you should love it too! Not only is unsweetened tea a fun alternative to water or coffee, but drinking tea is also associated with several health benefits, most notably, a decreased risk of cancer.

The Steeping Room, Austin, TX

Black, green, white, and oolong teas all derive from the leaves of the Camellia plant, and contain the same beneficial polyphenols (health promoting, antioxidant compounds). They differ only in the various levels of processing undertaken.  On the other hand, herbal teas and Red Rooibos teas are not derived from the Camilla plant, and so scientific studies touting the benefits of tea cannot be applied to these beverages. Also note that decaffeinated teas contain lower levels of flavonols, and therefore don’t offer the same antioxidant punch as their full strength counterparts. Because most teas contain less that half of the amount of caffeine than coffee, full strength tea is recommended. Nonetheless, decaffeinated, herbal and Rooibos teas are still healthy, plant-based beverages that contain varying levels of antioxidants and are a healthy alternative to sweetened beverages. To learn more about tea, I highly recommend this article.

Although I almost always have a large supply of no-frills green tea on hand, I also really enjoy flavored teas. Flavored teas are also a great way for non tea drinkers to ease their way into the wonderful world of tea, and are a tasty, calorie free alternative to other beverages. Here are my top picks:

Ginger Peach Black Tea (The Republic of Tea)

White Ayurvedic Chai Tea (Teavana)

Vanilla Rooibos (Tazo)

And for any tea lovers that find themselves in the Austin, Texas area, I highly recommend the following places:

Tea Embassy

The Tea Embassy

Enjoy a leisurely cup of tea in the charming Campbell-Miller house in downtown Austin. You can buy a variety of unique teas, as well as teapots and other tea accessories. Enjoy your tea at the bar, or on period furniture near the fireplace in this adorable, historic home. (P.S. Juliana- thanks for taking me here!)

Steeping Room

The Steeping Room

This restaurant and tea lounge has a brunch that can’t be missed, as well as an excellent variety of teas. The menu is pleasing to both omnivores and vegans alike, and also boasts a large selection of attractive gluten free options.

– Kelly