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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Cup of Tea: 'Me' Time Simple Pleasures

How are you recovering from Spring Break? If you're anything like some of my in- laws, you're nursing a tan and readjusting to your regular routine. While holidays- and just family life in general- can be busy, even chaotic, it's SO important to remember to take care of ourselves too. A nice glass of wine or other adult bevvy are wonderful after 5pm (who made that a rule anyway???), but for those precious moments you grab throughout the day or after bedtime, sometimes a simple cup of tea can do the trick.

I have been slowly trying to find balance in my life and learning where I draw the line and say 'no more'. We can only push ourselves so much before we reach burnout- mental, physical, or both. Getting a handle on how you spend your time and managing stress are important in maintaining a healthy you and family. As I have taken this journey I have come across some great resources along the way. A little while back I met an amazing local Vancouver company at the Modern Family Expo, Tea Sparrow, that offers a monthly tea subscription. 

What better way to encourage yourself to relax a few minutes each day, than with a friendly monthly reminder in the mail? Studies have shown that just the act of making a cup of tea- and enjoying it- help to reduce stress (check out more about this here). For the past few weeks I have been sipping on a selection of teas sent courtesy of Tea Sparrow and have been enjoying the simple pleasure of a cup  in the evenings as I sit down to write. Wonderful. I've even been generous enough to share (*wink) this little treat with the hubby, so the positive effects are contagious!

In addition to what I mentioned above, different kinds of tea are associated with a variety of health benefits. Below I have included some of this info, followed by some information about the teas I've had the pleasure of trying & this amazing company that's helping to sooth the soul, one humble cup of tea at a time!

Associated Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

Black Tea
- High in antioxidants- linked to a variety of health benefits
- Decreasing risk of cardiovascular diseases & stroke
- Help manage diabetes by stabilizing blood sugars

Green Tea
- High in antioxidants & polyphenols- treat a variety of health concerns
- Aid in weight loss by increasing the metabolism
- Anti aging- anti- oxidants & anti- inflammatories help reduce the signs of aging

Roobios Tea
- High in antioxidants 
- High mineral content- including magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, & iron with a variety of health benefits
- Lower blood pressure & reduce cholesterol
- Insomnia- linked to improved sleep when consumed before bedtime

Herbal Teas
Because there are so many varieties available, it's hard to narrow down the list without discussing a specific tea. For a list of the ten most popular herbal teas & their health benefits, check out this article.

After all that, I think we not only deserve a good cup of tea, we owe it to our health to drink more! If you're not an avid tea drinker and/ or aren't sure what you'd like, it's a good idea to try a variety and narrow down your favourites. That's where Tea Sparrow is such a great option. Each month you receive a tea box of four unique loose leaf teas that have met their strict quality standards (no artificial ingredients), complete with brewing instructions and information about the tea blender (so if you like it enough, you can order more directly from the source!). Each box contains a black, green, roobios, and a herbal option to choose from; enough tea to make about 35 cups- so if you plan it right, you can enjoy an amazing cup of tea every day for the month, and still have some leftover!

I received the four teas for March: an organic masala chai (black tea), white tea champagne (green tea), roobios du hammam (roobios), and cacao tea (herbal). Each was delicious and flavourful in a unique way...

Organic Masala Chai- Caffeinated. A full -bodied tea with the delicious dynamic flavour of chai with hints of cinnamon, ginger, & clove. This was a delicious treat in the morning with a kick of caffeine; I enjoyed mine with coconut milk. Supplier: Samovar

White Tea Champagne- Caffeinated. This tea was breathtaking. I liken the scent & taste to a peach bellini- fruity & refreshing. Complimentary fruity flavours from currants and lemongrass made this a lovely alternative to regular green tea. Supplier: Tea Desire

Roobios Du Hammam- Herbal. A fruity take on the full- flavoured tea that is roobios. I have never had a roobios tea that had so many dynamic flavours- and they all worked well together. With berries, orange flower, and green date, this was a lovely tea to enjoy in the evening. Supplier: Le Palais Des Thes

Cacao Tea- Herbal. The name says it all; this is the tea version of hot chocolate. A fun & wonderful tea to enjoy throughout the day and evening. With only one ingredient- cocoa bean shell- this tea's strength is it's simplicity. If you've got a sweet tooth but want to avoid the calories of a hot cocoa I'd suggest this tea. Supplier: Tisano 

When I first met Michael Menashy and some of the other friendly faces from Tea Sparrow at The Modern Family Expo, I loved their enthusiasm and passion. They clearly care about what they do and the quality of the product they offer their customers. There are several options to subscribe, which include free shipping within Canada and the continental US: 

  • A One Time Tea Box - one Tea Box, one time ($25)
  • 3 Month Prepaid Subscription - three tea boxes over three months ($66)
  • 6 Month Prepaid Subscription - six tea boxes over six months ($120)
  • Ongoing subscription - here you can subscribe for ongoing tea boxes at $20 per month.  You can start/ pause/ stop this subscription at any time.

As an added incentive to try Tea Sparrow, they currently have an offer with ethicalDeal to try a one month trial subscription. If you're like me, you'll fall in love with this business as much as the delicious cups of goodness they deliver right to your door.

To learn more about this gem of a company click here.
You can also find Tea Sparrow on Facebook & Twitter.

A big hug & thank you to Michael Menashy & the Tea Sparrow family for offering me such a wonderful opportunity to work with and showcase such an amazing local Vancouver business.

Photos by Katherine Petrunia
Logo courtesy of Tea Sparrow

Information Links:
Black Tea:
Green Tea:
Roobios Tea:

April posts sponsored by Gary Gallant Travel