Some thoughts on detox teas

A few years ago, I had a nerdy tea blog (you can read it here.) It really was the start of my tea obsession- I mean, I reviewed sixteen types of Earl Grey as an experiment- and it’s really interesting to note how massive tea has become since I wrote it.

Every now and then, though, I find myself going back to it when I see the expensive detox teas doing giveaways. I did a detailed breakdown of what went into these teas and why they really aren’t worth the money; they are pretty much the modern equivalent of snake oil in some cases. The case I looked at back then was a spectacularly dodgy-looking outfit (there were accusations of fraud and over-charging) and, while I’m not accusing any of the newer brands of doing anything like that, I do think it’s important to research what goes into this often very expensive, highly marketed teas.

635731699245160765307987126_exercise-go-to-gym1.gifw6001

If you want to see my whole post, it’s here– but I’ve also cut and pasted the breakdown of ingredients in that particular tea, which are pretty common in the ‘detox regime’ teas. You could have similar effects with bog-standard (read: cheap) herbal teas. The teas promise fast results for a very expensive system (this one was offering a two-week course for £40); in fact they won’t do much.

BTW, I’m not a scientist. I Googled. Check with your doctor if you intend to do anything health-related, obviously. I’m just trying to save you some money.

Oolong tea: on its own, oolong is used as a weight loss aid. So you could pick up a decent packet of this for around four quid (you’d get more than thirty cups out of it too…)

Hawthorn: Again, another ingredient that is used in Eastern medicine for digestion. You can buy tablets from Holland and Barratt if you really want to try this (but fennel and peppermint are much cheaper and nicer as teas)

Lotus leaves: basically another digestive aid, with added roughage.

Alisma rhizome: stimulates the kidneys and makes you pee. So you’ll lose water weight. Which you would put back on really easily. You could just drink more liquids (including green tea and water) if you want to cut down on  bloating.

Cassia seeds- most commonly used in laxatives.

Gynostemma Pentaphyllum- this may lower cholesterol. But so do apples, brown rice and avocados. Still not seeing how this tea is worth eighty quid a month.

Poria- another pee-inducing ingredient

Anyway. Nothing will ‘detox’ you except your liver and kidneys. You could have these effects by eating better, upping your water intake and exercising. I get it that these are attractive (I would love to be able to not worry about my weight!), but please think before you give up your money for a silver bullet that just isn’t worth it.

Gardening is good for you (well, it is for me.)

11692778_10152910983087267_6360278224043925631_n

I’ve never been what you would consider ‘outdoorsy’. I don’t like horses, or camping, or sunburn. I don’t like sitting in sunshine (sunburn, again.) So why have I embraced spending endless hours outside in the garden?

Simply, it’s good for my mind.

I don’t know if it’s the fresh air, or the extra vitamin D, but I’m finding every opportunity to get out there are get my hands dirty. At the moment, I’m interested in growing vegetables. The picture above is of a pea plant. I’ve always had a soft spot for sweet peas- they were the first thing I ever grew successfully- and so I’m growing actual real peas this year. The variety I chose produces beautiful pink, white and purple flowers and dark purple pea pods- the peas themselves are incredibly sweet and it’s really hard to leave them on the plant:

11224528_10152883512437267_6247305620988536886_n

The garden has become a hive of activity- D has a sandpit out there and Toby Rabbit is being put to work keeping the small amount of grass down.

11391549_10152859312992267_2241597051142596987_n

The best bit, though, is eating the stuff I’ve produced (although the birds have got to the strawberries. Next year, I’m doing like Monty Don and getting a teeny polytunnel- if only to stop Bronte sitting on them.) I’ve even started a compost heap, which I’m embarrassingly excited about.

My favourite so far? My potatoes (which have been all over my Instagram like a RASH.) These Cheyenne potatoes were cooked up for a barbecue and tasted delicious.

11206134_10152904851092267_5305377492581293539_n

I think that’s why I like it so much. I have a reason to enjoy outside and I can have something focus to think about- I’m already planning next year. Also, D is very into the irritating fake northern charms of Mr Bloom, so he’s super eager to help out (which is not actually terribly helpful. I may or may not be directing my son to water a small patch of weeds, rather than proper veggies. Next year I may have to give him his own little growbag.)

I honestly think, with running and gardening, I’ve made a positive change that’s helping me keep my depression under control and making me healthy all round. That’s never a bad thing, is it?

The importance of being alone

grand-hotel2

I like being on my own, something which is a rare luxury in a 24/7 society and with a two-year-old in tow. I like having my own space and doing whatever I want without worrying about someone else. My current favourite daydream is to have a plush hotel suite in a big city, a huge stack of books, enough money to do whatever I want and at least three museums within walking distance. I’d do all this by myself for a couple of days before returning home. It’s selfish, yes, but that’s the point of a daydream, isn’t it?

The thing is, with the rise of lifestyle blogs (of which this is probably one, albeit a grannyfied one that only interests you if you like not leaving the house very often) and the thing that glossy magazines insist on labelling as ‘fear of missing out’ or ‘FOMO’, we’re all in a constant state of being busy or wanting to be seen to be busy, documenting everything for our followers. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. But I love, relish and appreciate being utterly alone.

tumblr_ljh5wpVbMC1qctn6so1_500

When I first left uni, I lived on my own for six months and never really appreciated the space it gave me. I do, however, have fond memories of lying in bed on Sundays, reading magazines and not caring if I got crumbs everywhere. The quiet of my own place- essentially a tiny room in a huge converted Gothic mansion in Leeds- when contrasted with the hellish noise of shared student accommodation was wonderful.

Now I’m more likely to relish having D in bed, Benn out somewhere and a House marathon on Netflix, but the effect is the same. It’s even better if it’s a weekend or the holidays. The not having to be somewhere, or having to force myself to interact with people is blissful.

tumblr_nausq3DpWy1tts3f4o1_500

Of course, there’s a world of difference between being alone and being lonely. I’m very rarely alone and can choose not to be if I want. An important part of keeping my depression at bay is to make sure I see people on a regular basis and I’m lucky enough to have friends nearby (also: Twitter.) I know that some people don’t have that luxury and, at certain times in my life, it’s felt like I didn’t have that either. Hopefully this means that I appreciate my friends all the more.

Being alone is good for the soul, I think. It gives us time to think, to be selfish in a self-contained way and to process things without interruption (even if that is episode 4, season 3 of House.) If we don’t allow ourselves to have proper, unstructured time alone, we’re going to go mad.

This Girl Can- and so can you.

I am rubbish at sport. I hated it in school, but now I’m older I try, I’m keen- at the moment I manage to get out for a run once a week and I do yoga 3-4 times a week (still plodding with that), but I’m not ‘sporty’. I’ve been told before that I’m ‘not built for running’. I’ve had catcalls and insults thrown at me while I run. In short, it’s easy to lose hope and confidence in my ability to exercise.

That’s where This Girl Can comes in.

The campaign came about after a study by Sport England found that women were more likely to be inactive than men, but that most would like be more active. One of the main things holding them back was self-consciousness about being judged.

this-girl-can-1

To anyone thinking about starting running or another form of exercise, let me encourage you. I’m a size 16, I’m a slow runner and a hopeless yogi, but I like how I feel once I’ve done something. Once the weather gets better, I’ll do more, even if it does mean I’ll get sweaty and go the colour of a strawberry/tomato hybrid.

gracevspace

It’s better that I do something- I feel better mentally as well as physically after a run, even if I spend a lot of the run feeling like I’d quite like to die (this happens quite a lot. I’m not Paula Radcliffe.) There’s a sense of achievement. I’ll keep going. I’m even looking into getting new trainers.

Also, I’d like to highlight a list on BuzzFeed- proof that yogis come in all shapes and sizes. I found it really inspiring.

What I want to say is- if I can do it, anyone can.