I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tea With Rae: Fighting Depression with Tea

The winter months are tough on people: late mornings, early nightfalls, maneuvering through the snow and the cold. Sequestered in the house with no sunlight takes it's toll. And with this economy, everyone seems to be struggling. EVERYONE. Being depressed and sad is one thing and having depression is another. Sometimes depression is clinical, bi-polar, manic and schizophrenia, to name a few.

Like yesterday, a friend of a friend's brother killed himself. He had been battling clinical depression for some time. Oh God, that's the ultimate and my heart was heavy for this family. That is the extreme end of depression. He needed clinical help but said no. And yes, each of us have the right to make a bad decision about themselves, even if it effects others negatively, but man, that's messed up all the way around. But I hope that the family members get the help they need to process the pain.

And sometimes life hits you so hard that being depressed and sad turns into a physical depression. Yes, I said physical depression. Your body is then impacted. It renders headaches, sleepless nights, too much sleep, a hard time getting jump started, loss of appetite, and the list goes on. I have battled with this type of depression. Shit, 27 years with HIV, 19 years with AIDS, and  let's not even begin to talk about the demons of my childhood. So I will admit that yes, I struggle with depression. Not being depressed but DEPRESSION!

Over the years I have learned to recognize the signs and I don't stay in denial about shit. I go get help because I don't want a damn thing to take me out of here before my time. Yes, God is in control of life and death, but you can hurry things along with how you use your free will. So back in the fall I was on over load. After four rounds of IV medication and my tummy issues, life was getting way to hard. I started back on antidepressants. I take Zoloft. I take an antidepressant because that brings back into balance that which the depression had knocked out of whack. And yes, it gives me a pick me up and slowly you see the physical side of depressing leaving.

But for me, I need more then antidepressants, like therapy, a neutral place were I can process my pain and losses without someone telling me to pray about it or that everything is gonna be alright. Sometimes things are never right and you have to learn to live with what it is. That's a fact! Also, in the summer I take long walks and let the sun beam down on my face. I know it may sound silly, but it feels like God talking to me. But anyway, the sun is also great for depression as is exercise. I've been trying so hard to get back to a gym routine. They both increase serotonin and dopamine and I need all the help I can get. #ForReal. The best use of the free will God has given you is to do all that you can to be the best that you can. 

So I seek out everything I can to help me live better. And on my tea journey, I have learned that tea can also help with depression. Honestly! Remember my first installment, The Power of White. Well, I'm gonna give you some more options today. I'm not saying that they will "cure" you of your sadness or clinical depression. You need to get the professional help you need. But I am saying that it can.

It's like this, white tea contains a compound called L-theanine. It's an amino acid that enters the brain and has shown to reduce different types of stress. It's a natural compound that works much like antidepressants by increasing the serotonin, dopamine, and gamma aminobutyric acid levels in the brain. And guess what, you can drink as much as you want, it's harmless. And white tea has a lower amount of caffeine.
First up is a wonderful tea, Nirvana. While speaking in Charlotte I discovered this wonderful Tea Lounge, Urbana City Spa and Tea Bar, I will be blogging about them soon. But this one particular tea I gotta tell you about now. Nirvana Tea is a perfect blend of white and green tea leaves, which give you even more anti-oxidants. It is blended with mango, pineapple, orange zest, apricot, strawberry, current and cherry. It's a wonderful exotic taste with no single fruit over shadowing the next. I find myself reaching for this tea quite often. You can also check out their other white tea blends.

I've already blogged about Amore  by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company in a peppermint tea blog. But let me say this, this tea is a wonderful blend of white tea, peppermint, rose and bontanicals. I love this blend and typically reach for Amore when I still want the power of peppermint for my tummy but with a milder taste. The botanicals balance the peppermint rendering a soft floral taste with peppermint overtones. With Amore tea, I have the power of white and peppermint rendering a lot of goodness to match the taste of the wonderful blend. Check out their other white tea blends. Their tea is fresh and I have never been disappointed.

Esp Emporium has not disappointed me yet either. This White Grape tea they sent me is simply divine. What Steve didn't know when he sent this tea to me to try was that I'm a big big fan of white grape juice and I was way skeptical that this tea would not meet my standards for the taste of white grape. But boy was I pleasantly surprised!

When I opened the bag the smell of grapes jumped out at me. I had to take a double look at the ingredients to see if grape pieces were included. For Real! The rose hip peel, blackcurrents, mallow and cornflower blossoms help to create the perfect taste of White Grape. For about a week I found myself reaching for this White Grape blend for my afternoon tea. This is another winner!! I love ESP because they never just send one tea, they send 3 or 4. Along with White Grape came Macabeo and Sunny Passion, both teas are white/green tea blends which doubles the health benefits. You can take a look at ESP Emporium's other white teas. And remember they will give you a 10% discount, your coupon code is TeaWithRae.

No, I'm not saying that white tea will "cure" your depression. What I am saying is that there are powerful anti-oxidents that can help increase the serotonin and help to make you feel better overall.

But if you can't shake the blues, move beyond denial and shame and get the help that you need. I said last night that life was worth the living. Yes, life is hard and sometimes it's even harder... But keep holding on. And like one of my twitter followers told me one day when I was at the end of my rope, "Tie a knot and the end of that rope and hang on to the Bitch with dear life."

You never know what tomorrow holds! But I do know who holds tomorrow! God! And God's plan is always bigger than your plan. Think about it. If I had killed myself when I found out I had HIV, or when I was at my lowest point with AIDS, I wouldn't be here to write this blog.

No, there are no quick fixes. But don't deny yourself the things that will help you live better and be a better you!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Clicky Web Analytics