Except for when I’m sick or in a celebratory mood, I break my fast every morning with a warm bowl of maple and brown sugar oatmeal and a cold cup of sweet lemon tea.
Depending on which study you read, oatmeal is either a heart-healthy, fiber- and protein-rich super food or a saboteur of diets. I’d hazard a guess that it’s healthier than an ice cream sandwich or a cupcake, though, so I guess I could do worse.
No matter how hard I look, however, I doubt I’ll find a study that describes sugar-laden tea as healthy. Indeed, all the sweet stuff probably cancels out whatever nutritional value the tea leaves once contained.
Still, I’ve grown accustomed – some might say addicted – to starting my days with a generous shot of caffeine and sugar. And since I scoop a little extra mix into the water, I’d say it’s more generous than not.
But in my constant effort at self-improvement, I bought a bottle of unsweetened tea. I had tried the brand’s sweetened product during a tea emergency and enjoyed the experience, so I expected tasty results.
In hindsight, the words “zero calories,” which appeared on the bottle’s label, should have alerted me to the fact that the bottle’s contents contained zero taste.
Well, that’s not entirely fair because it certainly had a taste. A really bad taste, that is. I am not here to judge, but I don’t understand how anybody can drink tea that hasn’t been heavily altered by sugar and/or flavor. In fact, after taking one sip of the unsweetened and unflavored tea, I remembered that I’m not into self-punishment and immediately returned it to the refrigerator.
I had bought a bottle, though. And if you’ve learned nothing else about me, dear readers, it’s that I don’t like to waste. Yet, in my enthusiasm, I had taken a sip from the bottle, so I could forget about unloading it on a taste-deficient tea drinker.
Luckily, I had actually paid attention one day during a college science class. I’m not sure why I chose that day to listen to the lecture, but I am sure the professor told us that adding sugar to unsweetened iced tea was futile because the sugar won’t properly dissolve. (What did this have to do with geoscience? Beats me.)
After the flashback to a younger and bigger-haired version of myself, I heated the tea. Then, I added a generous amount of sugar to the hot tea and gave it a good stir.
The result was more than satisfactory, but I suspect it contained more than zero calories.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.
I grew up drinking my mother’s sweet tea, which was then enthusiastically requested by my daughter in my own kitchen. After my diabetes diagnosis, I, of course, had to make necessary changes to my diet. Alternative sweeteners never sufficed as a sugar substitute in Mom’s sweet tea. After many trials, I did finally learn to enjoy iced tea unsweetened. It’s now my beverage of choice in restaurants. I even drink hot Earl Grey tea unaltered on chilly evenings when I’m just not craving a coffee. Necessity is the mother of tea appreciation, or something like that.
I’m not there, yet, but I have resolved to try different flavors and varieties. Baby steps.