Friday, October 04, 2013

Craving chocolate?

The major health benefit of tea, for me, has been the education of my palate to natural tastes and aromas. I used to love coca-cola when I was young, but not anymore. The artifical flavors taste too artificial for me now. As for chocolate, I must confess that I still crave some from time to time. Or do I crave something else that is combined with chocolate?

A simple experiment enlightened me. I purchased top grade black chocolates in a gourmet shop in Paris. They ranged from 70% to 100% cocoa. I am still savoring them piece by piece. However, whenever I buy a more regular chocolate, it 'disappears' within a day or two! This has confirmed that my craving isn't for chocolate, but for sugar! I have also realized that not all high cacao content chocolates taste the same. Some feel more natural, unadulterated than others. This is the pleasure I'm seeking more and more.
This leads me to industrial foods. It's obvious that I'm not finding any pleasure in them. Processed food contains so many additives for taste, flavors, preservation, color... that they taste unlike anything natural. High salt and/or sugar contents in those food make them also addictive and lead to over consumption.

Thanks to my 'good tea educated' taste buds, I don't want to eat this convenient junk. As a general rule, fresh fruits have replaced sweets in our home.

I already mentioned that I'm preparing my own soy milk for breakfast. Now I'm also baking my own bread! I'm using a bread machine. It's a great help to reduce the time needed to make the bread. In Taiwan, bakeries mostly sell soft and fragrant breads. Guess what they contain? Artificial flavors, preservatives, fat... But when I'm making my own bread, I know exactly what I put inside (flour, water, salt and yeast). And it tastes so good when it just comes out that I have to be careful not to eat too much. Even natural bread can be a little bit addictive and make you fat!

Tea helps me to live a healthy and happy life. But tea and natural foods are not the only reason why I have never felt as good in my body. My other health ingredient is regular exercise: I swim 3 times a week. This kind of exercise is a good balance to the long hours I spend in front of my computer. The lack of visits to the doctor since I have incrementally adopted this lifestyle has convinced me that I am on a good path.
And I love to drink tea before my swims, so that I still have the taste of tea in my mouth while I'm swimming!


ji bo's blog said...

Just finished a François Pralus %100 Criolla bar. No sugar. Very big mojo!

Miss Tea Delight said...

It just dawned on me how much processed foods have also made their way into the spiritual world during zhong yuan festivities!

Still in the 80s actual tea leaves or brewed tea were prepared as part of prayer offerings. These days, a screw cap bottle of sweet jasmine flavoured tea seems to be the norm.

MOM said...

great blog
re baking bread: You should try and go into the World of 'sour dough bread baking' its dark bread as we make and eat it in e.g. Denmark/scandinavia. And on top of that try to grind your own flour which is uncomparable to all other bread. freshly made bread with own grinded flour.its like schincha / freshly picked leaves

TeaMasters said...

Ji bo,
François Pralus is the brand of chocolate I bought in Paris! And the 100% is indeed the Criollo (that I'm still enjoying!)

Miss TDlight,
Thanks for your remark concerning the second picture. You are correct to notice that it is a picture of offerings for the zhong yuan festival. I thought all these packaged foods were a good fit for my article.

Thanks for your advice. I have 1 pack of sour dough yeast. I'm saving it for a cold winter day! It was purchased in Europe and not so easy to buy here...

Yes, grinding my own wheat would be the next step. But I take it slow: I try to use whole wheat more often and get my kids to like it. On the other hand, it's already such an improvement to be able to control the ingredients you put inside your bread!

The other healthy alternative in Asia is to eat more brown rice and/or adding a mix of cereals to the rice.