Last month, I wrote about tea + Jane. (Click here to revisit that post.) This month, I’m sharing an article I wrote for my local newspaper about tea + me. It’s from my collection-of-articles-book that’s not actually a book because, well, I’ve never compiled them into a book. But I sometimes think really hard about doing it, and that’s half the battle. Maybe a little less than half. Like a third. Whatever fraction zero rounds up to, that’s where I am. Enjoy!
I love a strong, hot cup of tea. Usually I fill my pot throughout the day and sip the warm goodness continually, but one day, after about 10 years of doing this, I had the dark thought that maybe I drink too much tea. A quick Google search revealed the recommended limit is 3-4 cups a day. I calculated what I drink, and it’s a touch more, at 12 cups.
So I put myself on a tea diet and cut back to six cups a day—a fifty percent reduction from what I was drinking! I was impressed with myself, until my husband Andy pointed out that a cup is an actual unit of measurement, not just whatever huge mug I pull out of the cupboard and fill to the brim. Rude.
I’d been slogging through my tea diet for several weeks when Andy asked why I’d cut back at all. Isn’t tea good for you? I should just go back to unrestrained drinking.
And I thought, I love Andy!
But then he pulled out his phone and looked it up. “Oh, too much tea reduces iron absorption,” he said. “It also causes insomnia. And anxiety. You were drinking 12 cups a day?! What were you thinking? That’s insane!”
I mean, I wasn’t thinking. And not thinking was blissful.
“How much are you drinking now?” Andy asked, suddenly a little too interested in my tea diet.
“Well!” I said. “That’s a funny story! I thought I was drinking six cups a day. But I switched tea pots, and I just measured again, and—this is crazy—but the new teapot actually holds 3 cups, not 2, and I refill it 3 times a day.”
“Yes,” I said, “but I thought I’d cut back to 6 cups, and that’s what’s important.”
“It’s not, though. You’re drinking too much.”
I saw we’d gotten off track, so I tried to gently steer the conversation back to that place where I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. But I was never able to find that place back.
Now I’m on back on the tea diet, but it’s worse this time because six cups is actually six cups.
“I’m so thirsty,” I said. “My throat is like the Sahara Desert.”
“So drink water,” Andy said.
Honestly. He’s like my grandma, telling me to swallow spit.
And what about when summer comes? Iced tea doesn’t count, right, because it’s iced? And those Tejava bottles are so obviously one serving.
“Why wouldn’t iced tea count?” Andy asked.
I carefully explained again that it’s iced, but that Berkeley engineering degree was clearly a waste because he just didn’t get it. He’s a bit of a trophy husband, but I love him anyway.
The thing is that life already has so many restrictions. I stay away from meat. I try not to eat too much sugar. I avoid preservatives. I don’t snort cocaine or kick small puppies or storm the Capitol in Viking garb. I just want to drink my tea. Twelve cups of it. That I say is six.
Your turn! What’s your favorite vice? Besides tea, I also like Swedish fish. Oh, red dye no. 40, you are my bestie! (Don’t tell Andy. He has some wild theory that chemical dyes are bad for you. So judgy.)