Afternoon tea, by definition, means a little touch of something to tide one over between meals. This custom of taking afternoon tea in England began when the Duchess Anna of Bedford, during the eighteenth century needed some refreshment to help her wait for the late evening meal, generally served around 7:30 or 8pm.
Sitting down with a cup of tea and a little touch of something helps curb stress-relating eating and changes our perspective on satisfaction=high caloric intake, especially when shared with a friend.
In America, better is often defined by bigger. Chain restaurants and super-stores build reputations on offering the most bang for one’s buck, providing large quantities for the price. Unfortunately, many Americans, while not paying the price in their pocketbooks, pay with their health as now 2/3 of our population are medically classified as overweight.
However, taking time for afternoon tea provides Americans the opportunity to:
- retrain ourselves to savor each bite and slow down.
- enjoy the atmosphere, conversation and company over quantity of food.
- let go of daily stress and not eat unconsciously as a result.
In her best-selling book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano explains that the French always sit to eat, make sure they actually enjoy what they’re eating and take their time.
According to Bob Greene of Oprah fame, one of the most critical parts of losing weight involves not eating the two hours before bedtime. I, too practice this discipline. If I’m going to indulge in sweets, I partake during afternoon tea between the hours of 3-4 pm. This system works except when the cravings hit in the evenings. In the past, this involved different levels of white-knuckling and rare victories. However, since discovering dessert teas, my little touch of something satisfies and equals almost zero calories. (I do sometimes enjoy just a touch of milk).
Tea Party Girl heartily recommends discovering a favorite dessert tea and incorporating its satisfying ritual into daily life. Black teas can include flavors of caramel, almond, chocolate or apricots and even exotic blends like Key Lime Pie. The smell should transport the drinker. Sitting down for a moment of quiet with a cup of favorite flavor, I would suggest, can prove more satisfying than a piece of chocolate, caramel, or cake, simply because winning the calorie war is a reward in itself!
Concerned about drinking caffeine at night? Understandable. First its important to know that while a cup of coffee supplies 140 mg of caffeine, a cup of black tea supplies only one-third of that amount and a cup of green tea even less. Secondly, tea can be decaffeinated by soaking the tea leaves for 30 seconds, dumping the water out and brewing normally.
Lastly, the majority of my evening drinking involves the rooibos plant, sometimes called a red tea, produced only in South Africa and not from the camellia sinensis plant. Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) is widely available and comes in many different flavors. A favorite of my customers is a Lemon Sorbet, flavored with lemon grass, lemon, lime, and yogurt granulate.
Say good-bye to artificially flavored creamers, three-dollar calorie filled coffee or a bowl of ice cream before bed. Find a dessert tea you love and bring its ritual into every day life. Which tea will become your daily “little touch of something”?