VT CHALLENGE: Green Tea (5 Cups a Day!) - Vegetarian Times

VT CHALLENGE: Green Tea (5 Cups a Day!)

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March 2, 2009

I’m an avid tea drinker.  While I may sneak in the occasional soy latte, I have no problem going months without coffee.  Upon seeing the green tea article in the March 2009 issue of VT, I decided to challenge myself to follow the recommendation of Judith Stanton, MD, to try drinking five cups of green tea a day.  I bought Rishi Organic Fair Trade Tea in Ancient Emerald Lily.  While it is a tad bit pricey, the tea is worth every penny.  I’m used to prepackaged teas.  This loose-leaf variety expands to reveal vibrant whole green tea leaves and emits a sweet flowery aroma.  Here is my day-by-day account of my weeklong experiment.

Day 1: I must say, I might be a convert to this Rishi tea.  I’ve steeped the same teaspoon of leaves three times already!  I feel more energetic, but I’m feeling a little jittery.  I need to drink more water to offset the effects of the caffeine. I’ve noticed my appetite is curbed.  Although I’m not dieting, I understand why people drink green tea to control hunger.

Day 2: I woke up this morning with a stomachache.  I was reluctant to drink green tea and wanted my ginger herbal tea instead.  I forced myself to drink it, and it actually made me feel a lot better.

Day 3: Even though I have been exercising regularly, sleeping 8 hours a night, and eating healthily, my energy level has been fluctuating severely.  I feel alert and then anxious and jittery.  After a few hours, I become completely run down.  After doing some research, I think I’ve the problem.  I am using over twice the suggested amount when brewing my tea.  I have noticed the tea is strong, but I enjoy it.  I’ll try using the directed amount and see if that helps.

Day 4: Today I am following the directions explicitly. I realized I was brewing my tea too long as well.  Instead of removing the tea bag from the beverage, I left it in the entire time I drank the beverage.  While more antioxidants are released with a longer seepage, it also releases more acidity and caffeine, which can cause stomachaches.  This morning, I am drinking my tea with a vanilla soymilk creamer and a touch of agave to offset those acids.  I am also removing the tea bag after 5 minutes of steeping.

Day 5: I feel a lot better today than yesterday after making those switches. I feel alert yet calm.  I am not experiencing stomach problems or any fluctuations in my energy level.

Day 6: All of my roommates have a terrible cough and fever.  I woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather, but I have continued with my green tea regimen.  After the first few cups, my throat feels better.

Day 7:
I feel completely better today.  While there is no scientific evidence that my green tea regimen helped me head off a cold, I am convinced it played a part.

I have really enjoyed this week.  I hope to continue drinking at least 3-5 cups of green tea a day in the future. Please join me in this healthy habit, and post your comments below to share your own green tea insights.

—Anna Monette Roberts, Editorial Intern