Thursday, April 05, 2007

Green Tea the Wonder Drug

Slate has an incredibly snarky article on how green tea is being marketed as the health flavor-extract-product you can add to anything to cleanse your soul, extract fat from your milkshake, and blackheads from your pores. Personally I think Jacob Weisberg is about a year too late with this observation. (This just in: Ugg boots are quite popular amongst the Hollywood set!) It’s pomegranate that is the up-and-comer wonder flavor/extract/product, and even that is about to peak soon.

He also makes the really dated (albeit still accurate) note that Starbucks is actually selling milkshakes and not coffee.

Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a cosmetologist and diet-book author, made a mint after he told Oprah she would lose 10 pounds in six weeks if she switched from coffee to green tea. (This might actually happen to some people, but from cutting out the cream and sugar, not the coffee.)
Ten pounds is a lot, and it does make me wonder what “kind” of coffee someone is drinking. However losing 10 pounds over the course of a year doesn’t sound unreasonable or even unlikely if someone was a heavy coffee drinker and didn’t take their coffee black. And I am one of those people. Just this morning I just shelled out $4 for a medium vanilla non-fat latte. It’s not something I have every morning, or even every week, but I probably drink a mocha or a latte semi-frequently. (My reasoning, if I can shell out $4.50 for a cider and buy 2-3 a night why is buying a $4 latte a less rational choice?)

Weisberg has a point about green tea being marketed as Orientalism in consumerist form. (“Hey Asians are skinny and live long, so you can to!”) but he is pretty dismissive about drinking green tea itself. However I have noticed that, for myself at least, its an all-around different kind of drink. Everything else I drink, aside from water, is sweet. I don’t even drink beer (did I mention the cider?) My coffee is even extra, extra-sweet. (I blend a mixture of Sweet’n’low and real sugar).

What’s odd is that while I drink juice, milk, sodas, diet sodas, sweetened iced tea and incredibly sweet cocktails, I actually like it when my (hot) green tea is straight up. No sugar. I don’t even like the green teas that are blended or “fruity.” Give me a nice grassy tasting kind.

For whatever reason, green tea is calming and I do think makes me think sharper. If I have two cups of coffee I can start feeling wired in a wound-up way (which could be the sugar). If I have two cups of green tea I start feeling philosophical. (I used to order it in coffee shops if I wanted to study for a while). Plus, while green tea goes cold, it reheats well, unlike coffee. I can make a pot, drink half, and an hour later pour a cup and reheat it. It’s fine.

So thinking about this here’s my plan. For a month, I’m only going to allow myself one day a week to drink coffee (usually this’ll be Sunday). Let’s see in four weeks (May 6) if there’s any day-to-day difference I can notice.

UPDATE: 4/16/07
Who am I kidding??? I have been "cheating" on this plan already. I've been drinking coffee all weekend and today, due to extreme tiredness at work, I'm allowing myself my first "weekday" cup.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You feel calmer with green tea because it contains Theanine which works as a neuro sedative and counters the 'jittery' effects that caffeine alone produces.