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Tired? Junk the Java; Drink Tea - Bay Area Business Woman

Thank you readers, for your responses to my column. In reading your letters, I find that your most frequently mentioned health concern is fatigue. Actually, questions about fatigue seem to come to me from everywhere. My clients, my publishers, and the media ask me: "What shall I do to prevent fatigue?" and "What shall I do to heal fatigue?"

Blocked energy causes fatigue. How is energy blocked? Poor food choices, food combinations, lack of sleep, lack of stimulating activities that exercise the mind and body, all cause fatigue.

There are other factors. Both the mind and body react to food sensitivities. People can become toxic through excess or inappropriate supplements, leaking teeth fillings and exposure to harmful environmental factors.

Food therapy heals and prevents diseases and other negative physical conditions and is based on the unique needs of each person. Happily, there is one solution: tea.

If you are tired, start drinking tea with combinations of culinary herbs, fruits, and spices, and take the tea-drinking ritual seriously (see tea recipe below). Teas will benefit the whole body, not just alleviate a symptom. Rituals for serving tea are used in some cultures to bring about a mind/body healing connection.

Katy came to me because, at age 35, she was feeling tired every day. She was experiencing restlessness, insomnia, night sweats, low energy and fatigue. "For the first time in my life, I regularly felt depressed. I used caffeine and chocolate several times a day to boost my moods and energy. I craved sweets and fat and these cravings became worse every time I indulged in fatty treats."

Katy had a history of food sensitivities, PMS and candida. She was taking too many vitamin and mineral supplements, especially iron (over 200 percent of RDA) which causes tiredness and exhaustion. Excess iron releases free radicals that damage the body's natural hormonal and chemical balance and may cause serious kidney or liver damage.

I immediately started her on daily tea, healthy snacking and breathing techniques. We began a program of cleansing her system and of encouraging healthy digestive tract bacteria with specific whole foods to balance her sensitivities. She stopped taking the iron supplement and started eating one to two servings of leafy greens daily and organic chicken liver (2 oz. two to three times weekly) and tomatoes, cantaloupe or oranges daily to increase absorption of iron.

She also ate a therapeutic yogurt soup made with a tea blend with mint, garlic, black sesame and flax seeds, with cucumbers. I learned this recipe from women in Russia and Tibet-both areas renowned for long, healthy lives, high energy, and very little weight gain. Women in America can add shitake mushrooms and seaweed.

In four months, Katy changed dramatically. "I gained energy. I feel fresh and my mind is clear. Although my work has always involved advocating for peace in my community I've never been at peace with my own body until now," she said.

If you get one message from my therapeutic healing program, it is to use tea combinations. Make tea a regular part of your diet. A diversity of colorful, flavorful and bacteria-fighting spice, seeds, fruits, and other disease-prevention phytohormonal and antioxidant ingredients can be easily added to your tea recipe.

According to one recent survey, people who drink tea were 25 percent faster and make 25 percent fewer mistakes in math calculations. So drink tea during or before examinations, meetings, or when working with other sharp professionals!

Another vital way to strengthen your body's self-defense against fatigue is proper breathing. If there is not enough oxygen-based energy circulating in the body to the brain, your body will be very acidic and chi energy will be lacking.

Tea is revered in many cultures, in part because they believe spices release chemicals and smells that detoxify the air (although the process is still mysterious). Inhaling deeply the fragrance of teas may bring health components from the air, from the aromas of herbs, flowers and spices in the tea blends into your body.

Fatigue? No one wants it, everyone has it sometimes. Use my recipes to help prepare yourself for that new energy you can expect when you use tea, sipped all day mindfully, to cleanse, hydrate and nourish yourself.

Sonia Gaemi, Ed.D., R.D., holds advanced science degrees in food science, nutrition and nutritional psychology. E-mail, or telephone (510) 466-5022.

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Dr. Sonia celebrating Persian New Year

Sonia in front of her WCW mural

Dr. Sonia with her grandchildren

Christine Jones
Created: 2004