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

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

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

Trending on Vegetarian Times