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Tea and Raw Food–Legal?

Recently I’ve come to love tea! Hot tea. Tea that is probably heated above 115/118 degrees, which means it’s not a raw food, technically…Oooohhhhh….

When I started drinking tea, at first it felt quite odd consuming something hot, but now I’m loving it! Although there are many health benefits associated with various teas, it’s more of a comfort thing for me, and just kind of, well, nice. I’m anticipating especially appreciating it when the weather chills towards fall. I don’t typically consume caffeine as it causes me to feel like I just did a line of coke (FYI: no idea what that feels like, actually). So my tea comes decaffeinated (while decaf tea still contains a very small amount of caffeine, it usually doesn’t negatively affect most people). 

Tea seems to be something I don’t hear a lot about in the raw community, so I checked in on it. What are some respected folks saying about drinking hot tea and why? Let’s hear from a few:

Victoria Boutenko (rawfamily.com) writes: 

"I’d like to say that hot tea is okay because it doesn’t trigger your appetite for cooked foods or any food addictions, but you wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it because you only want to consume highly nutritious substances. We’ve been malnourished for generations and we don’t want to waste any energy on our digestive tracts. We only want high quality nutritious food in there. Teas are usually not of high quality. They have bleach in them and outdated herbs, although you could collect the herbs yourself. When you make tea, you boil out the nutrition. They are okay, but not the most nutritious. What Ann Wigmore did was make “Sun Teas,” where she would collect herbs herself, and put them in cold water or outside in the sunshine for five or six hours. It makes for nice, flavored water."

Tonya Zavasta (beautifulonraw.com) discourages drinking coffee and tea, but really only addresses the hazards of caffeine. I’m drinking decaf, and not a ton of it, so this doesn’t bother me too much.

Livestrong, in the following article by Berit Brogaard (livestrong.com/article/402462-the-raw-diet-and-tea/), offered some thought-provoking ideas–I’m definitely trying that tomato tea!

"Sun tea is a truly raw tea. It is made by heating water containing herbs in the sun for five to six hours. Use a glass jar with a tight lid. Pour water into it. Then add your favorite herbs, fruit or peel. Use the peel from fresh organic oranges, lemons or limes to make citrus tea. Add natural honey to sweeten it. Or add mint leaves and strawberries to make a delicious mint-strawberry tea. After the herbs, peel or fruits have soaked in the sun for five to six hours, strain the tea. Drink the warm liquid as it is or store it in the refrigerator for easily accessible raw ice tea.

100 Percent Raw and Tea Drinkers

There are people who consider themselves 100 percent raw dieters who nonetheless drink tea. Since unsweetened tea has no calories, drinking it does not make you consume smaller quantifies of raw nutritious foods. Or so the reasoning goes. In reply, it could be pointed out that if you had had sun tea instead of regular tea, you would have received even more nutrients, thus optimizing the total nutritional value of your diet, which is just what the raw diet states that you should do.

Tomato Tea

There is a way to get all the benefits of the raw diet and still drink hot tea. According to a study published in the April 2002 issue of “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry,” cooked tomatoes significantly raises the levels of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. So, despite the loss of vitamin C when tomatoes are cooked, a cup or two of cooked tomatoes a day can make your diet more nutritious than a 100 percent no-cheating raw diet. Tomato tea is a delicious way of getting your phytochemicals. To make the tea, process two cups of sliced tomatoes, one teaspoon of fresh minced Garlic, half a lemon or lime cut into small pieces, minced red hot chili pepper and a dash of sea salt in your blender. Strain the mixture to remove skin and seed. Heat the tomato liquid and drink it hot."

Markus Rothkranz (beautifylife.com) suggests making your own tea from pine needles, rosemary and licorice root to address a really astonishing variety of ills.

Oh, and I love this from Rob at Loose Leaf Daily (looseleafdaily.com): here’s how to decaffeinate your own tea (what??!! I KNOW! I just learned this too!!):

"Because the majority of caffeine is released in the first 30-40 seconds of steeping, you can decaffeinate, or at least partially decaffeinate, your tea at home by steeping your leaves briefly, tossing the water and then steeping the tea."

I’m loving tea! It doesn’t fog me out (cause brain cloudiness), and is suprisingly comforting. After considering the evidence, for me, for now, I say, "tea it up!!!" Cheerio!


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