There are 3 ingredients in tea that add to a dieter's tea. They help stabilize blood sugar, decrease appetite and increase metabolism. Those tea benefits for tea drinkers are actually tea for weight loss. Cooking with tea is becoming more common in the Western world, as is cooking with tisanes (pronounced tee-sahn). Real tea or true tea comes from one plant, Camellia sinensis. It includes white, green, black and oolong teas. Everything else is a tisane. They don't have weight loss properties however they do have other helpful benefits. Herbal teas are tisanes, and Rooibos is a good one (often called a red tea). It is actually part of the legume family and originates in South Africa.

Special-tea Notes
The differences in the black, oolong, green and white teas are the amount of time the leaves are left to oxidize or ferment. The kind of tea is not as important as just drinking true tea. There are no harmful side effects known - folks have been drinking tea (with health benefits) for 5,000 years.

One misconception about tea is that it is dehydrating. Not really, tea replaces fluid plus it contains antioxidants so it offers more than water. This brings up the caffeine mis-tea-ry. Yes, caffeine is one of the three ingredients in tea. So is L-theanine. According to wikipedia, "Theanine has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress, and improves cognition and mood in a synergistic manner with caffeine." This is a unique mix only found in tea. The amino acid promotes relaxation through increased alpha brain wave activity and moderates the effects of caffeine by decreasing serotonin levels that have been heightened by the caffeine. The two ingredients can:

  • increase performance under stress and decrease anxiety
  • promote a relaxed state of mind
  • reduce fatigue from tasks
  • increase perception speed and multi task skills.

Think of all the meditating monks in the past thousand years who drink tea and maintain a state of mindful alertness. This is why!

TeapotCredit: footloose

How to Cook With Tea
To begin, one should first develop the mindset of eating only when hungry. If bad eating habits are part of your story, then replace the foods that trigger bingeing with tea. Drink 8 8oz cups a day. When using tea in cooking remember that tea can be added to any diet meal plans already being used (South beach, The Zone, etc.).

Typically a richer flavor comes from loose leaf tea but bag or loose leaf both promote weight loss benefits, so either is good for cooking. The main point is to find the teas you love and drink them!

Here are some easy recipes to get started.

Rice with Tea
This is quite easy.
1 cup brown rice
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp any dry tea you love, or 2 bags tea ( I use my favorite black tea bags, but I have heard that dry oolong is good)

Rinse the rice. Brew the tea in the boiling water for 10 minutes. The leaves (if used) can be reused. Strain the tea (if leaves) into a saucepan, or remove tea bags. Bring to a boil  and add rice. Lower heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 40 minutes or so until tea has been absorbed. Fluff, and serve!

Make a Tea Rub
Rubs can be used in a rubbing fashion on meats, or sprinkled on egg dishes, salads, and vegetables.

Fish or Veggie Rub
Makes 8 teaspoons
4 tsps ground white pepper
2 tsps favorite ground dry tea
2 tsps salt
Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle generously.

Meat BBQ Tea Rub
Makes 6 tablespoons
4 tsp chili powder
4 tsp black pepper (ground)
4 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground dry black tea
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
Mix all ingredients together. Rub some olive oil on the meat first, then rub in the rub. You can let it stand for 30 minutes or place in refrigerator overnight to further permeate the flavor.
Store any leftover rub in a tightly lidded jar.

Twice Baked Potato Filling
4 servings (for 4 baked potatoes)
3 tablespoons brewed tea
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chives
1 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper (ground)
â…” cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cool the baked potatoes. Cut off the top, scoop out the potato, and place in a bowl. In another bowl blend the tea and sour cream. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine all. Spoon back into the potato shells. Rebake uncovered at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tea-DayTea and CupCredit: footloose
It is really easy to get started cooking with tea. You can brew it and bring it hot when you travel, or even make tea cubes instead of ice water cubes and add that to brewed tea for a cooler drink. Most restaurants offer tea but you may want to carry your favorites with you. Tea bags make that quite easy. You can even travel with loose leaf tea in a strainer so it is ready for hot water to be added, the hot water is free most of the time. Do give it a go tea-day!

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company. ~ Author Unknown.

Tea Stains
Some tea drinkers worry about tea stained teeth. Hot tea does penetrate enamel easier than cold tea. Rinsing the mouth with water frequently helps the situation. Also, drinking iced tea helps, too. Funny, tea is also a rich source of fluoride (like the human pineal gland), so tea drinkers may want to discontinue using toothpaste with fluoride. A brewed tea bag that is still warm (or not) is a home remedy for an infected tooth. Place it on the affected tooth until the pain subsides. Also, used tea bags applied over closed eyelids have been tried by many for relief of puffiness. It doesn't stain the eyelids.

Tea stains on mugs or tea pots can be removed by soaking the items with vinegar and baking soda. I usually let the mix brew in the mug or pot for at least a half hour. Then I dump the liquid out and if there is still a stain I scrub it. It usually always comes out without having to re-do.