Saturday, February 8, 2014

Weighty matters

     I am a fan of Zhena's gypsy tea. All evidence points to the fact that drinking green tea is beneficial to our health. Unfortunately for me, I don't particularly care for the flavor of green tea on it's own, largely due to it's lack of flavor! If something is going into my mouth and across my tongue, it really needs to taste like something! My own solution to this dilemma is to use a green tea bag along with a flavored tea bag...usually something cinnamon-y...and in that manner, receive the benefits of green tea along with a flavor bang. This actually works decently, and I don't really need to purchase Zhena's flavored green tea (they also carry other, white, red) but there is something very appealing about it...from the very name to the interesting flavor blends to the cute tins they come in. The downside is, of course, that this tea is quite a bit pricier than a cardboard box of tea bags from WalMart, and no place in my rinky dink town carries it, so I must order it and wait for it to arrive! A plus is that, once a favorite flavor is decided on, one can then purchase a "refill" quantity, which comes in a bag from which the tins can be refilled. I don't purchase this tea often, but thus far Coconut Chai and Mojito Mint are favorite flavors.
   Recently, this Slim Me tea (in below picture) has been on my radar, and when they were offered at a sale price, I couldn't resist giving them a try! These are comprised of green tea, and many of the "weight loss" kind of thing that have been advertised of late...Senna, Raspberry Ketone, African Mango Seed, Dandelion, Garcenia Cambogia, and Green Coffee Bean. After that, the ingredients vary by flavor. For example, the peach vanilla contains white tea, licorice root, burdock, milk thistle, ginger root, and juniper berry, while the raspberry mint contains hibiscus, peppermint, burdock, milk thistle, ginger root, juniper, and buckthorn bark. This tea is purported as "Helps with appetite supression, promotes fat burning, helps reduce water retention, helps with digestion and elimination, promotes increased energy, helps with liver cleansing."  I don't know about all of these herbs, but I know that hibiscus helps with blood pressure, milk thistle is used for liver health, ginger is good for all kinds of thing, dandelion helps with water anyway, I ordered two different flavors and am giving them a go! Incidentally, this tea can be consumed as a hot beverage, OR one can pop a tea bag into a water bottle, and sip it cold!

     Below is the cup that I opted to use for my first cuppa. Normally, I am a coffee mug kind of gal, but just recently I have felt a compulsion to add some beauty, femininity,  and refinement into my life.

The first one I tried was the Peach Vanilla, because...YUM! Peach Vanilla! I regret to announce that the flavor did not meet my expectations. Neither of those flavors was very prominent, having been overshadowed by one of the other herbs whose flavor i'm not crazy about. I don't know which one. The raspberry mint was better. Very minty, masking the flavor of the other ingredients. As far as whether or not these Slim Me teas perform as advertised, well, the jury is out, because I JUST received them! 

     This coconut butter is another recent purchase. A friend of mine highly praised this brand of coconut butter, and so when I became aware that I could order it from Amazon (Amazon is my favorite, and Amazon prime just rocks my face off) I had to try it as well. As you can see, I chose the chocolate hazelnut brownie flavor, anticipating that it would be rather like Nutella, without the "bad"! This 12 oz. jar was 14.99, free shipping thanks to Amazon Prime! (Whee haw!) I have recently heard about (from the lo-carb, Paleo crowd) putting butter (yes, BUTTER!) and coconut oil in coffee in place of creamer. Ew. That does not sound all that appealing to me. I think I prefer to just drink my coffee black, although I haven't actually tried it. When I received this coconut butter, I had the bright idea of putting some in my coffee. Nutella coffee!!!! OMGoodness!!! 
    Nope. I am deeply pained that this does not taste at all like Nutella. The chocolate and hazelnut are barely detectable and mostly it just tastes coconutty. That is not a BAD thing, I like coconut. But when one's expectation is Nutella, and instead one gets coconut, well, that's a pretty big let down. 
    I am not an especially picky eater. Only once in awhile do I come across a flavor that I just can't bear. Texture is another matter altogether. I am very picky about the texture of things, and in my opinion, coffee should not have any texture at all. Just smooth dark delicious liquid. I don't (even before I started avoiding such things) dunk cookies or biscotti or whatever in my coffee, because I cannot abide the crumbs left behind. The thing is, this coconut butter made my coffee lumpy, (there actual bits of coconut in it) and I just CANNOT drink lumpy coffee. Can. Not.
     I have had a huge struggle with weight/healthfulness for oh, about 17 years. Not that I have ever been what one would call thin...but for my height and bone structure 135 is the highest "recommended" weight. For the most part, I have stayed within 10 or 15 lbs of this weight for most of my adult life, with the exception of having to work after each of my 5 pregnancies. Hm, that's actually inaccurate. With the first two, I actually LOST weight, after which that was not the case anymore. I THOUGHT I was fat and hideous and struggled with weight. And then, during my pregnancy with baby duck#5, I developed gestational diabetes and packed on a TON of weight! I actually lost it all after the birth, but something shifted  and I gained it all back in a ridiculously short time, and have had a REAL struggle with weight from that time on! I am only 5'1 1/2, so every pound shows, and so when I reached my all time high of 230 lbs, it wasn't a pretty picture. Not only in appearance, but in how I felt, physically and emotionally! At one point, about 2 1/2 years ago, enough was enough, I buckled down and lost a bunch of pounds, and then I was stuck on a plateau for an entire YEAR!!!, which I finally busted through by relinquishing my stubborn-ness and trying the lo-carb thing. Now, I am no expert, and i'm sure lo-carb is not for everyone, but it is the answer for me...after two months on a certain plan, I was losing weight steadily, and more than that, I felt SO GOOD! Physically AND mentally!!! 
    And then my son Joey died, and that threw me for a big ole loop, and as an emotional eater, i have struggled to get back to that happy place for the ensuing 1 1/2 years. It's been very up and down, and while I managed to maintain, I have never gotten back to that "sweet spot" of feeling good and losing steadily. Then, after having lost 55 lbs, in the past few months, I gained back 20, and i'm back to feeling yucky and sluggish and certainly not on top of my game...not in my home life, not in class, not anywhere...and so I have now joined a 30 day Paleo challenge to get that ball rolling again...I am so ready to feel good again, to look better, and to get rid of the regained 20 plus another 30 or so. The age of 49 is looming closely on the horizon, and I by gum refuse to be old and sickly and decrepit, until it is absolutely out of my power to control! 
    The first week of the challenge did not go so well...I mean, I stuck to plan, and was feeling less foggy and less hungry, but I had NO weight loss, and so i'v had to go ALL the way back to no fruit and no starchy veggies for awhile. Experience has taught me that I have to do this to rebalance my systems, and then I can add these things a little at a time with no ill effect. The absolute best course for me would be to avoid any kind of refined carbs for the entire rest of my life, as they do a horrible number on my body. That seems kind of harsh, but consider this fact...last year, I had worked VERY hard, was feeling VERY good, and was at my lowest weight in 16 (at that time) years, and so I thought, HEY! It's my birthday! One piece of delicious Cherry Chip birthday cake (my absolute favorite since I was a kid) is not unreasonable! 
And now i'v been on a year long (intermittent) binge. 
So this year on my cake. NO! CAKE! I do not care who says "oh, come on! It's your birthday! You have to have a cake!" No, no I do not. It will be my 49th birthday, and what I have to have is health and well being and happiness not in the form of cake. 
     So here's to week two of the challenge, modified to meet my personal needs, and to seeing if this Slim Me tea is help or hype!