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Health

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Making a perfect cup of tea
  • Water that is too soft and doesn't contain minerals can make the tea taste soapy. Too hard and contains too many minerals such as calcium and magnesium ions can cause scum to form on top of the tea and change the flavour.
  • Loose-leaf gives more flavour than tea bags because there is more space to move around and diffuse the flavour.
  • Tea should ideally be brewed for five minutes to allow more flavour and antioxidants. Brew for too long, and the tannin molecules can make the tea taste bitter.

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Health

Milk should be added at the last possible moment before drinking, so the tea stays as hot as possible. Also, ensure to use freshly boiled water as it helps the flavours spread through the liquid.

Non-diary milk such as oat milk tends to add a good flavour to teas.

Tea tastes best in cups from inert materials like ceramic or glass. Styrofoam cups are porous and will absorb some of the flavour compounds and affect the taste. Plastics can also absorb flavours.

There is also psychology involved in the way we perceive taste. Hot drinks taste sweeter in a red or orange mug, and drinking from a fine bone china cup will taste better because it feels more special.

Anxiety Is In What We Do

A new book by psychiatrist Judson Brewer, Unwinding Anxiety, proposes that anxiety exists in our daily habits, and is not something that simply goes away by breathing exercises.

Our brain is addicted to the habits due to the rewards attached to them, and we need to dismantle and decouple the rewards in order to break free from the habit and eventually the associated anxiety.

We are struggling with anxiety as our habits don’t let us part with it, with the pleasure and pain coming in a package. The habit loop of any habit cycle is:

  1. Trigger: A feeling of anxiety.
  2. Behaviour: Doing something (like eating a chocolate or lighting a smoke).
  3. Result: Temporary distraction from anxiety.

Review your daily actions and map out the habits that create such loops.

Anxiety triggers habit loops, but can also be the result of a habit loop (like reading the news online). Constant worrying is also a reinforcing pattern of habit loops.

The reward can be a eureka moment towards a potential solution (which is rare) or a feeling of productivity and passive action, providing us with a sense of control.

The brain labels our actions and behaviour as ‘rewarding’, usually in our formative years. We need to review our behaviour and habits and update the brain’s reward system.

Example: We may be having a habit of eating a lot of cake, since our childhood. Now as an adult, the habit is resulting in a high intake of sugar, without our realizing it.

If we use this method to review and update our reward system, the brain will naturally lose the urge to take the habitual action, something much more powerful than using willpower, which only suppresses the urge.

Creating healthy habits requires mindfulness, so that new habit loops can be inserted when a trigger surfaces in your mind.

  • Be curious and mindful at all times if possible, tuning into your breath whenever anxiety arises.
  • Practice RAIN: Recognize and relax into the NOW, accepting it in your life. Investigate the sensations arising in your body, noting down what is happening to you.
  • Label each experience and witness it from a distance, creating space between you and the sensation.
  • Practice kindness and love towards yourself and others.
  • Review and update the brain’s reward system in a positive way, inserting good behaviour and positive habit loops.
The First Thing To Drink In The Morning

Nutrition experts provide their insights on our morning hydration process:

  • Drink water, even if not thirsty, as the body needs to rehydrate.
  • Make the ritual of drinking something beautiful, an easy activity that does not feel hurried or like another task. Avoid adding stress to your drink.
  • Energy drinks with too much caffeine are not recommended early in the morning.
  • Hot or cold tea is an excellent choice with abundant health benefits, especially with lemon added.
  • Coffee is everyone’s drink of choice, and plenty of hydration before a cup helps the system. Make it healthier by adding cinnamon and brown sugar.
  • Do not start your day with diet or regular soda, ever.
What successful diets have in common
  • Low in added sugar. 
  • Eliminate refined carbs. 
  • Avoid vegetable oils high in Omega-6 Fat.
  • Eliminate artificial trans fats, linked to inflammation and conditions like heart disease.
  • Emphasize eating plenty of vegetables and in most cases, fruits.
  • Emphasize a lifestyle change that includes whole foods and let weight loss follow as a natural side effect.
Exercise Defined

Exercise is a  movement of the body to enhance physical fitness. 

Most people know that exercise is important for the physical development of the self, yet a majority of them are skipping exercise often.

Decrease in Human Strength

Historic evidence suggests that for many thousands of years, human beings were more active and stronger than today. 

The early humans had increased movement and activity, like going for long and tiring hunts, walking long distances that took weeks, making the prehistoric humans fitter than the best athletes today.

Technology as the Culprit

Technological breakthroughs have reduced our activity to a great extent ( vacuum cleaners, washer-dryers, self-cleaning ovens, and even cars).

The rise of the internet gave us a whole lot of technology, curbing our need to move even more.

Change in Work Profiles

While we aren't replacing our saved energy with a different activity, in the past 70 years, hard and manual labor, which required toil and sweat, has been replaced by desk jobs, leading to sedentary lifestyles.

Sedentary Lifestyle Death Toll

Sedentary lifestyle diseases like heart disease/strokes and diabetes are the leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

The Way Out

The way to change this sedentary epidemic:

  • Exercise and be active all day, not just for an hour a day.
  • Rethink your working style.
  • Limit the number of sitting hours.
  • Make it a habit to eat right.

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