“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Remember when tea was just something old ladies and English people drank? Well, no more, my friend. Now, it’s severely hip. Ever since Moby opened up his own shop. (Or maybe it was cool before that. I can’t tell.) And it's been fiercely cool for at least as long as Miley Cyrus has been in a bra. Give or take.
But Mark “Dr. Tea” Ukra, has been going all tea, all the time for much longer. In fact, his family has been involved in the tea biz for generations. And today, he runs a schwanky tea store and wrote about book called The Ultimate Tea Diet. And he swears that tea will “help us lose weight, reduce our cravings for sweets, suppress our appetite, increase our insulin’s effectiveness, lower our cholesterol, and stimulate thermogenesis, which helps the body burn fat for energy.” And stuff.
Big claims from someone whose name reminds me of a certain gold jewelry wearin’ 80s star. But. It turns out this guy is nothing like B.A. Baracus. Except they both live in LA.
I pity the fool who drinks coffee.
The good doctor starts off by making some pretty serious accusations that coffee is the devil. Like, it makes you trap body fat. It raises your blood sugar. It slows down your metabolism. It worsens your PMS. And it makes you kill kittens. Maybe.
But you get the gist. Coffee = bad. Tea = good. I’m a serious coffee drinker, so I already have one eyebrow raised.
He’s not a doctor, he just plays one on tea.
Mark “Dr. Tea” Ukra makes no claims to be a doctor. He’s just a guy who owns a cool tea shop and talks to people about tea all day everyday and has for years. (Oh and some little girls at a birthday party gave him the name and then his co-workers wouldn’t stop razzing him about it, so he embraced it. That’s the story.)
So, basically, you could call him the Pope of Tea or the Tea Czar, whatever. He’s just a guy that knows a lot about tea. And in this book he says that is has three main ingredients: caffeine to stimulate, L-theanine to neutralize the harmful side effects of caffeine and act as an appetite suppressant, and ECGC, which causes you to burn fat faster and more efficiently. In other words, tea reduces your appetite and stimulates your metabolism.
So there’s this book about tea.
The book starts off by going into the history of different kinds of teas...white tea, green tea, etc. but maintains they all come from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis) so all have essentially the same benefits. There's a lot of other stuff, but here are some interesting tidbits:
- Tea’s been around for almost 5,000 years.
- There are 12,500 to 20,000 types of green teas produced in China alone
- oolong is he Champagne of teas.
- White tea is the ‘tea of Royals’ and is the most delicate and least processed
- Black tea has the most caffeine but still only half the amount of coffee.
- 75% of tea produced is black tea...which is the type consumed by 87% of Americans
The research found in 2006 that EGCG could “modulate insulin secreation by inhibiting glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). Which seems to mean that this is good for weight loss. Actually, they go into two pages of detail about what consuming too much sugar and carbs do to your body and not much of it is good. It’s enough to make me want to eat bark for a year. And that’s saying something.
And then they talk about a study that showed drinking tea helped you burn 12% more fat than drinking water.
Lots of talk about flavonoids, free radicals and cancer prevention. The first two sound like people that hang out in my neighborhood, the third sounds like a cause I can get behind. So by page 53, I’m sold.
He puts the T in diet. (So it’s not just die.)
Okay then the diet part starts. A 14-day diet plan and a 35-day totally reasonable workout chart.
Then there are a lot of recipes. That incorporate tea. A lot of recipes. This chapter looked like skiing down the black slopes to me, so I basically skipped it. But it’s nice to know it’s there if I’m ever feeling adventurous.
It ends with tons of great tea store recommendations. With web addresses and phone numbers. This is brilliant. I would be a fan of this book if only for this list. Sure, his store is the first one; but he also includes his picks for other great tea stores (and remember, the dude knows tea) including 20 different cool tea finds online...including my fave, Mighty Leaf.
So here’s what I thought.
I liked The Ultimate Tea Diet a lot. It's smart. It’s a fast read, and it makes sense. I’m completely motivated to try it. So I am. Starting Feb. 4, after I finish this silly thing I'm doing with my co-workers, I'm taking tea to the next level. Of course, I'll keep you posted on the results.
In the meantime, I'm ordering some of the good doctor's peppermint patty tea (since I won't be eating the girl scout cookies.)
Want to win some?
Just leave a comment! I'll pick one lucky pal (on Wednesday @ midnight) to tea with me.