Healthy Life Stylist: Caffeine Addiction

caffeineaddiction

Question

I drink tea and coffee all day, even at night. Are tea and coffee really healthy or unhealthy? What is the truth about how caffeine can help or hinder me from having a healthy life?Jamie, TN

Answer

Jamie,
This is an excellent question & certainly something that many people seem to struggle with these days. As a culture we’re overworked, under-rested and, as a result, highly caffeinated. Plus, because caffeine is an addictive substance that often causes withdrawal when you try to quit, it can be quite hard to shake the feeling of tired to wired and back again.

There are two sides to the argument about caffeine, on the one hand, moderate amounts of caffeine have been found to improve concentration, increase memory function, reduce muscle soreness and even possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, it also interferes with your absorption of vitamins & minerals, stimulates stress hormones, spikes your blood sugar and dehydrates your cells, causing premature aging.

From the sound of things, your personal caffeine consumption is certainly above average. Over time, consuming at your current rate could fatigue your adrenal glands, putting your body in a perpetual state of stress and exhaustion. Cutting back on your caffeine, especially from coffee, can bring things back into balance, help you sleep better, and allow your body to absorb important nutrients it could be missing out on.

If you were one of my clients, I would encourage you to choose tea over coffee for awhile. Yes, you’ll still be consuming caffeine, but the caffeine in tea is more bio-available to your body than the caffeine in coffee. Plus, since tea is super high in antioxidants, the healthy benefits far out way any damage done by the caffeine that accompanies it.

The other great thing about the caffeine in tea is that it varies from type to type. This is helpful when trying to reduce your stimulant consumption slowly to avoid withdrawal. You can start off by trading your cup of joe for a nice black tea, the most caffeinated variety of teas. Then switch to oolong, green & white teas, the next step down. Until finally you can switch things up entirely with some tasty herbal teas. With the exception of yerba mate, herbal teas contain no caffeine at all, but they do help to replace the ritual of waking up to a warm beverage. If you find that you miss the earthy taste of coffee after cutting back, you may want to check out Teeccino, an herbal tea brand that’s roasted to mimic that java taste without the harmful caffeine.

Happy Drinking,
Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

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Five Staples to a Domestic Artist’s Day

While relaxing after I did a speed clean of the beautiful and character-filled 4-story home I share with my partner (and our kiddies) and being brilliantly blinded by the fairy lights adorning our tree I’m impatiently waiting for my love to arrive home after a long day of work. I’ve been asked many times recently by friends and visitors alike how I manage all of my work, hobbies and activities while still remaining happy and seemingly on-top of everything. I’m not entirely sure I’m managing my time in the best way having just been through hell on earth not so long ago but I know I must be doing something right because the important things get done and I still have plenty of time to spend bonding with my love, myself and, most importantly, my daughter.

I was thinking recently… what what better way to stay motivated and inspired than to blog about what staples help me stay focused and chill throughout my day? What objects, products and regimens do I rely on to make my days a little more delightful? What can’t I seem to live without? What’s funny is I’ve recently realized I can literally live without ANYTHING (besides food, air and water) and there’s nothing like being stripped of everything you love to wake this inner strength in yourself. It’s extremely tough but the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than you could ever imagine and the positive life that follows is the icing on the cake. What are the sprinkles, carousel candles and strawberries on that same delicious cake? Well some of my daily must-haves are…

1. Lavender

One of my favorite colors of all time is lavender and it just so happens to be one of my favorite herbs as well. Although lavender is not to be ingested it can bring peace and relaxation through aromatherapy and nothing is better than the scent of lavender with a bit of warm sugar. One of my daily staples is a relaxing sitz bath sprinkled with lavender extract while my lavender macaron candle burns a soft glow throughout the bathroom. Lavender incense works well too and be sure to hide some lavender sachets in your lingerie drawer so you can carry a faint relaxing aroma with you throughout your day without overdoing it (which is very easy to do with such a strong scent).

2. Coffee and Tea

Where would I be without coffee and tea? Although my love despises my intake of caffeine I feel without it I would move quite a bit more sluggishly throughout my daily tasks. Not only do the flavors entice me to take another drink but the ritual of brewing coffee and steeping teas are rituals I look forward to. Nothing is better to me than waking up early to black iced coffee and winding down in the evening with a nice, hot cup of tea. We keep a box of assorted teas and numerous tea tins in our kitchen so it’s a real treat picking out which tea to try next.

3. Crystals

The energy and earthen decadence of a crystal is matched by few objects to me. Something about crystals has always attracted me like no other. Since being a young child and carefully selecting my own crystals from traveling new age shops and then proceeding to cleanse and charge them with positive energy I have been a self-proclaimed crystal queen. Crystals hold a natural beauty that is unlike any other stone, they are much more precious than diamonds in my opinion and they create rainbows of light when sunlight hits their prisms just right. If you’re looking for your own special crystal but still haven’t found one that calls to you be sure to check out our shop next year (January 2013) for a limited selection of cleansed and charged kitschy, natural crystal necklaces and spiritually enhancing house wares. Not feeling crystals quite yet? We have lots of other earthen goodness made whimsically colorful coming your way for more positive life-enhancing decadence! Stay tuned and keep the positive energy flowing.

4. Candles & Incense

To explain the benefit in lighting candles and incense is to explain the importance to me of the daily life aesthetic. Setting the scene or mise-en-scene to me is pertinent in living a life as art. The visual aesthetic of everyday life is nearly as important to me as it is in a scene I’ve styled for a specific photograph or shoot. This value of mine that I’ve always held so dear doesn’t always seem to translate well to those I share this world with. Why does everything have to be perfect? Why are you constantly shooting photos of nothing? With the introduction of cell phones having digital cameras this is much more understood but still I receive blank stares when I take photos of what some consider to be mundane settings. The artistic beauty of life is wonderfully misunderstood. The importance to me of living a life as a genius, yet mad, artistic creation is unmatched. Your life is a drama in which you are the actor and your higher power is the director. Enjoy the extensive beauty that can be found throughout it. Adding a soft glow to the room and a relaxing, refreshing or comforting scent is key to utilizing the whole scene of the moment. The smoke of incense brings back memories while calming me. The psychedelic swirls of smoke that flirt with the air are as relaxing as the soft flickr of candlelight softly setting the room aglow. The scent adds volumes to this experience and if you’re interested in learning about aromatherapy you can even utilize some techniques to inspire your mood or productivity. Below I’ve listed a few scents that can be used for aromatherapy. Remember you can also mix scents!

Aromatherapy Guide

  • Aphrodisiac: jasmine, patchouli
  • Energy, Refreshing: peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, tangerine, basil
  • Relax: lavender, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, myrrh, cardamom

5. Music & Podcasts

Nothing sets your mood quite like the perfect song. When I’m working, whether I’m writing or designing a print or website, music and podcasts are very important to my productivity. I’m even known to listen to ‘brain hacks’ or ‘brain waves’ when working so that I gain more inspiration or stress relief as needed. The podcasts I tend to listen to while working are those of the spiritual or inspirational nature. Any way that I can take in inspiring information while working, relaxing or enjoying a hobby is pleasurable to me. Music sets the scene almost instantly and I enjoy a large selection of music when creating artwork and it’s definitely something I don’t tend to work without.

Thankful for Monday: All You Need is Love

I’ve been working and writing like crazy. Audrey’s Tokyolux has recently relaunched (yay! cosmic kitties!) and I’ve also been asked to work on a writing project unrelated… Remember that book I’ve been talking about for so long? Well, it’s finally unfolding.. scary, huh? Actually it’s so scary that I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. To be that open about everything. I’m very seriously considering running in the opposite direction as I’ve already begun to do.

Thankfully my partner in crime asked me out to flea market yesterday so I could think about other things, kitschy-cute things. Retro fabric and kitten valentines all waiting for us to arrive. Vintage stacks of greeting cards and magazines just waiting for us to peek through them and squeal.

And with that my five favorite things this week are a little cheesy and cliche but they are my favorite things none the less. They keep me afloat when I want to drown in my own gloom.

Family

My very favorite thing. The light of my life is the little family my husband and I have created.

Friends

Friendship can unfold a colorful happiness in anyone’s life. You can never have too many friends and a best friend is a rare and fanciful treasure that will endlessly delight your days because they know just how to make you laugh.

Iced-Coffee

Oh how it puts me in the right state of mind..

Work

My hobby, passion and what I spend most of my time doing.

Balcony

I’ve always been obsessed with balconies. When I visited Paris how I loved to stare at the gorgeous apartments and their breathtaking little balconies. Whether yours is a place to relax, garden or share a meal; balconies are great little outside boxes overlooking the world.

What made this week magical for you?

Little Oven Bakery and the Magnificent Macarons

Little Oven Bakery in New York City surprised me with a little package filled with French confections recently. I was really excited because not only was it a chance to photograph and eat one of my favorite things: macarons; but I also had a little case of Sofia Minis chilled just for such an occasion.

I must say they were all delicious. Even after being mailed they were perfectly crispy, chewy and delicious. I felt like I’d just ran away from the bakery with an abundance of sugary love.

I heard they’ve been recently adding new flavors to their lineup like chai tea and peanut butter and jelly. Yum! I can’t wait for my next tasting session.

little oven macarons
little oven macarons
little oven macarons
little oven macarons
little oven macarons

Living in Love and Health

So it’s been awhile but we’re all pulling through! I had an emergency cesarian (my uterus wouldn’t stretch anymore!) and because of the early delivery my baby girl had to spend over a week in the children’s hospital. Seeing the amazing work that these doctors and nurses do was a very enlightening experience. Not only did I learn about caring for her from the best of the best, but these wonderful people were always making sure my Colette Fawn was getting healthier everyday. I am so thankful for absolutely every person involved in my delivery and in our recoveries. Without the amazing support we certainly wouldn’t have pulled through so bravely.

she's got me

.. and with that I’ve been assessing just how healthy (or unhealthy) my life has been in the past and making all sorts of changes (that’s right, I am a junk food addict).

Remember that it’s never to late to change who you are. No matter where you’ve been or where you’re going — you can change. Don’t ever let anyone judge you or tell you what kind of person you are — only you can know that. Be happy with yourself and only then will you find true happiness. Those of you who are asking for advice on dealing with this sort of thing, I can only tell you to be sure of yourself and to trust yourself. When you are happy with the person you are, you will live a much more positive life.

How to Stop Worrying: Self-Help Strategies for Anxiety Relief If you’re an anxiety queen like myself, this resource should help put you at ease and move you in a new direction towards recovery!

Are Bloggers Getting Stressed? Now this is something to read and think about as written by Lauren of A Typical Atypical for Independent Fashion Bloggers.

You’re Cut Off! What really matters in life? If you’ve yet to discover I think this show is amazing for that very reason! I don’t like judging people at all and it’s a huge pet-peeve of mine.. but Gia with the (adorable) one year old daughter makes me quite sad — she really missed out on some amazing experiences raising her child due to her laziness!

Tea ‘healthier’ than water ala BBC news — now that’s my kind of news.

“Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it.” , says public health nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton.

Mew for Today: Where in the World?

It’s been quite a terrible week! What better reason than that to go shopping in Japan? Another department store no less, this one, tailored for us online shoppers! It’s a big stop for Japanese and Americans alike~

I’m a little speechless today because all I want to discuss is the features coming up soon and I’m trying to wait.. 😉 You’re probably not as silly as I am, but if you love toys, cuties, and more you’ll be happy!

Speaking of toys, cuties and more… let’s get a load of the goodies I found while searching high and low in the wonderland of Japanese whimsy splashed product. I’m certainly feeling the urge to go back to my heartland soon… Where do you feel you belong in the world? I’ve been questioning this a lot recently as we’ve been prepared to move for quite awhile and yet we find ourselves unable to make a move.. or should I say ME. Until very soon.

So to relieve my worries I’ve always found happiness in being surrounded in cute, lovely, well-designed items.. I’d love to hear your ways of coping with stress and anxiety as well! Feel free to leave them below — much appreciated~

Did I mention How Magazine added us as one of the Top 10 Sites for Designers this month? It’s funny because I *love* that magazine, always looking hot on the shelves begging me to dive into jumpstartworkmode.

How to Make and Enjoy Bubble (Boba) Tea

Bubble tea/boba tea, is usually a milk tea drink with tapioca pearls sitting on the bottom, waiting to be slurped up a large, colorful straw. Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, pearl milk tea is the direct translation from Chinese. Thanks to Taiwan, bubble tea is now available all over the world.

Know of a great bubble tea spot? Post it! There are three I know of in the Indy-area. Strange Brew, a cafe in Greenwood, serves bubble tea as well as a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Indy and a fast-food Chinese stand in the Washington Square Mall. If you know of any spots in your neighborhood you should list them, bubble tea is a fun, tasty drink that should be shared with friends.

bubble tea feature

Bubbles

The ratio should be about 7:1 (water to tapioca pearls).
Boil water in a large saucepan.
Add tapioca pearls to boiling water.
The pearls should float.
Continue boiling for about 25 minutes (depending on the tapioca pearl type) covered.
Turn off the heat and let the pearls cool.
Rinse the cooked tapioca pearls in warm water and drain out the water.
Cover with syrup and add some to your favorite drink.

Syrup

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water

Mix sugar and water in a large pot.
Cook at medium to high heat.
Once the mixture boils remove from stove immediately.
Let cool; to be used for bubble tea and similarly sweetened drinks.

Rainbowlicious Bubble Tea

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup rice milk
1/4 cup syrup
1 cup ice
2 cups of cooked tapioca pearls

Place all ingredients minus the tapioca pearls into a blender and blend well.
Blend it to desired consistency.
In the a glass, pour some cooled bubbles.
Pour your blended smoothie on top.
Cover the top of the smoothie with strawberry slices and pineapple chunks.

* I had this piled high like and covered in strawberries and pineapples at the E-Zone cafe in Toronto with my best friend. Too bad the cafe has since closed and I have never found anywhere even comparable!

Iced Bubble Coffee

1/4 cup non-dairy powder creamer
1/4 cup bubble tea sugar syrup
3/4 cup desired strength coffee (cool)
1 cup ice
2 cups of cooked tapioca pearls

Put coffee, creamer, and bubble tea sugar syrup in a shaker and mix well.
Add ice, cover shaker and shake until blended and frothy.
Add tapioca pearls into your desired glass, pour the coffee on top and enjoy!

➡ No bubbles? Try coconut meat or a thick-set flavored gelatin for substitutes!