Tea has always been a large part of my life. My love of tea was instilled by my Mom and Dad, who created an amalgamation of Indian and English tea time rituals to America. Tea time was always looked forward too at the house as it allowed me to forget about the stress of living in a new country and remember my roots as an Indian and Englishwoman. To this day I will always make time in the morning and in the evening for a nice warm cup of tea.
Chai – the drink India can’t live without
In India, chai is more than just a cup of tea to start the day – the thick sweet drink is an integral part of the rhythm of life. Zach Marks and Resham Gellatly have been documenting the culture of Indian chai and the people who sell it – known as chai wallahs.
Tea is India’s most popular drink – the country consumes 837,000 tonnes of it every year. The ritual of drinking chai transcends all boundaries, and roadsides are dotted with chai wallahs who serve it boiled up with spices, sugar and milk.
Santosh strains a vat of boiling chai at his shop in Mumbai. Since he began selling tea 15 years ago, the area has changed dramatically. Many of the small businesses where Santosh once delivered chai have been replaced by large office buildings which he can’t enter. But many people working in the new developments have become regular customers, preferring Santosh’s chai made with thick milk and fresh ginger to the tea bags available in their offices.
A popular ingredient in north Indian chai, ginger is believed to have numerous health benefits and is thought to keep your body warm in winter. The spicy root has been used in hot, milk-based beverages in India for hundreds of years, so when the British popularised tea in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, adding ginger to the mix was a natural thing to do.
Shobhan Barwa’s stand is in the heart of Alipore, a posh neighbourhood in Calcutta. During the annual Hindu festival of Durga Puja, crowds flock here to see the elaborate pandals – temporary structures housing Hindu deities. He usually closes shop by 22:00, but for the week of Durga Puja, he stays open until 05:00 serving chai, eggs and French toast to visitors who need a caffeine kick to keep them going through the night.
On the final day of the festival, thousands join a procession to the Hooghly River where giant statues of Hindu gods and goddesses are immersed in the water. Last year, though, celebration turned to tragedy – a young man drowned when a statue fell on him at Baghbazaar. People gathered at a nearby chai stand to mourn his death.
Several decades ago, chai was served in small clay pots, known as kulhar in Hindi or bhar in Bengali. While the bowls are still popular in Calcutta, plastic cups, tiny glasses and steel tumblers have become the vessels of choice across most of India.
Born on a tea estate in Kotagiri in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Rukmani has been plucking tea leaves all her life. As the eldest member of her group of female workers, she is called Amma, or mother. At lunchtime Amma prepares black chai over a fire of twigs with tea dust provided by a nearby factory.
Ganesh, a chai wallah at the railway station in Patna in Bihar state, brews one of his last pots of the night. Many Indians associate rail travel with the cries of “chai, chai,” from tea sellers carrying kettles along trains and platforms. Ganesh has memorised the local timetable and often gives travellers directions as well as a cup of chai.
Chai stands are often family businesses spanning many generations. The owner of this tea stall in Varanasi, one of India’s oldest and holiest cities, took over the business when his father passed away and keeps his memory alive by hanging a fresh garland of marigolds every morning.
Lalu Yadav has seen hundreds of thousands of cremations – his chai stand is next to Manikarnika Ghat, a cremation ground by the sacred Ganges river in Varanasi. Many Hindus believe it is an auspicious place to die and the people who come here to wait out their last days ensure the fires of Manikarnika burn bright day and night. Lalu’s father started the tea stand 40 years ago, offering mourning families a place to sit and sip chai during cremations. For him, constant proximity to death has become part of life. “There is no sadness here. We are used to seeing this 24 hours a day. These are only bodies.”
Photographs by Resham Gellatly and Zach Marks – you can see more pictures and read their blog at chaiwallahsofindia.com.
High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevenses: English Tea Times For Dummies
Afternoon Tea, 1886. Chromolithograph after Kate Greenaway. If you’re looking for finger sandwiches, dainty desserts and formality, afternoon tea is your cup.
Print Collector/Getty Images
You’re an American in London. You’ve visited Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London, but there’s one more thing you want to check off your to-do list: tea.
No, not just any tea. We’re talking a good, old-fashioned English tea time, with finger sandwiches, dainty china cups and all the formality a Downton Abbey lover could wish for.
But wait, you know nothing about taking tea in Britain. Should you raise your pinky while sipping? And, more importantly, what time do the Brits take tea, anyway? Not to worry. The Salt is here to explain British social tea times.
First up is elevenses, which you might have heard of as a hobbit’s third meal of the day. Outside of Middle Earth, this late-morning work break involves a light snack — think muffins, scones or biscuits — and a hot tea or coffee. It occurs, as the name implies, at 11 in the morning.
The tradition of elevenses actually isn’t that old, says Bruce Richardson, a historian who specializes in British tea. He speculates that the custom popped up in the 20th century, because there’s no reference to the term in 1800s literature. Even so, elevenses is strongly engrained in today’s British culture — a 2009 article in The Telegraph called it a “vital element of our traditional way of life.”
“People always want to know about that genesis moment: when God said, ‘Let there be tea,’ ” Richardson says. “But the truth is that things came about slowly over time in Britain.”
As we’ve reported, Portugal’s Catherine of Braganza is credited with introducing tea to England after marrying King Charles II in 1662. That got people curious about this new brew, but it wasn’t until the 1800s, when tea prices dropped dramatically and it became affordable for everyone, that the culture of tea really took root.
Afternoon tea — the kind of fancy-schmancy affair where we might spot Lady Mary of Downton Abbey — emerged as a social event sometime around the 1830s or 1840s, Richardson writes in A Social History of Tea. And Anna Maria Russell, duchess of Bedford, led the pack.
Anna Russell, duchess of Bedford. According to the accepted legend, the duchess — and her hunger pangs — created the afternoon tea tradition.
Back then, lunch for the upper crust was generally a light repast served at noon, and dinner occurred no earlier than 7:30 p.m. As legend has it, during one long, food-less afternoon, the duchess felt hunger pangs and ordered tea and snacks to her bedroom chamber. The refreshments did the trick, and Russell soon made this tea break a habit.
The duchess’ well-heeled friends began joining her in this post-lunch tea ritual, the story goes, and the practice spread in aristocratic circles. Though some historical references call this ritual “low tea” — because the ladies would sit in low armchairs while sipping — afternoon tea was hardly a humble affair then. Nor is it today.
Here’s where you’ll find those crustless finger sandwiches and an array of dainty scones, cakes, macaroons and other tempting nibbles. Afternoon tea is generally served around 3 or 4 p.m. these days. Richardson says it’s a time to mind your manners. Place your napkin on your lap and stir gently. Splashing tea, clinking cups and spoons and finger licking will make you appear beastly.
And definitely don’t devour everything in front of you. Richardson recalls advice that international etiquette expert (and Liv Tyler’s grandmother) Dorothea Johnson once gave him: You don’t actually want to appear hungry at this meal — propriety calls for restraint.
If you think that’s rough, tea etiquette was stricter back in the day.
“Women could tell a lot about a man by how he handled a tea cup back then,” Richardson says. In the 1800s, he says, “a suitable mate could be easily dropped if you saw him mishandling how he put his spoon on his saucer after he stirred his cup.”
Fortunately, the pressure is off when it comes to high tea.
Despite its name, high tea actually originated with the lower classes. Dinner was served midday in the 1800s, but in practice, working stiffs didn’t have the luxury of an afternoon lunch break, so they took tea right after work with heartier fare — like pies, meats and cheeses — to sate their hunger.
Richardson says the name high tea probably evolved from the fact that this evening meal was served at proper dinner tables, rather than on couches or settees. Using the term “high tea” when you really mean “afternoon tea” is a dead giveaway you’re American.
“The Ritz-Carlton staff in London always can tell it’s an American when they call for high tea at 2 in the afternoon,” Richardson says.
Five O’Clock Tea, by the American painter Mary Cassatt: Pinkies down, ladies!
Mary Cassatt/via Wikimedia
But no matter what you request, Richardson stresses, “Keep those pinkies down!”
“Americans in the Ritz’s tea room stand out because they work so hard to keep their pinkies extended while holding their teacup,” he says while laughing. “It makes you look pretentious.”
Despite all these rules, don’t get too hung up on proper behavior and not making a fool of yourself. British tea time is meant to be relaxing.
Richardson explains, “If you pay attention to your manners, put the napkin in your lap and keep your feet off the table, you’ll probably be OK.”
Credit: Meredith Rizzo/NPR
Tea Tuesdays is an occasional series exploring the science, history, culture and economics of this ancient brewed beverage.
Jennifer Lopez’s 90-Calorie Breakfast & Veggie Diet That Keeps Her Slim At 46
by Dory Larrabee
J-Lo is revealing her exact diet secrets that keep her thin, as well as her workout routine (she has two trainers!), what she avoids (caffeine and alcohol) and how much sleep she gets below!
Jennifer Lopez, 46, looks absolutely flawless. Regardless of her age, the American Idol judge is leading a lean and healthy life thanks to a few important factors. Copy her exact lifestyle, diet and workout tips below.
Workout With J-Lo’s Trainer
Buy J-Lo’s Trainer’s DVD
Jennifer spilled her exact diet to Us Weekly‘s January 18 issue. Her breakfast is a 90-calorie chocolate Body Lab Shake. “I do it with quinoa milk or water.” She also drinks coffee — but it’s decaf. “I haven’t had caffeine in years.”
“By lunchtime, I’m starving,” J-Lo says. She mixes it up but a typical day is salmon and a veggie-packed salad. She loves broccoli, peppers and zucchini with a drizzle of vinaigrette on top. She usually has a protein with quinoa for dinner. “If feels like rice and beans, which I grew up with. And I like pork and chicken — especially Puerto Rican style!” Jennifer tries to have dinner with her family as often as possible. “I try to eat with the kids around 6:30.”
Jennifer Lopez’s Diet & Workout Routine
Of course, diet is not the only thing keeping J-Lo looking young. “I’m rarely in the sun, but if I am, I wear a lot of sunscreen. I’ve never been one to take a lot of sun, which is why my skin has maintained itself. And I don’t drink or smoke or have caffeine. That really wrecks your skin as you get older.”
Beauty sleep is important for Jennifer. “I love a good nine or 10 hours, but I can never get that. So seven or eight is mandatory. [If I don’t get it] I just don’t feel right. I start feeling crazy, I get emotional and I feel tired all the time.”
As far as exercise, she says she prefers to get it over with in the morning. “I don’t like doing it later; it’s harder to get there when I have my day going already. I work out three or four times a week. When I’m in New York, I work out with David Kirsch — he’s an amazing trainer. When I’m in L.A., I work withTracy Anderson. I like the balance that they both give me. They have two totally different approaches. I like switching it up with my body.”
Madonna’s Workout Routine Is Not Nearly As Insane As You’d Think
The rock goddess’ trainer opened up about how how he keeps her in shape. Here’s how to work out like Madonna—yes, you can actually do this.
Madonna’s personal trainer is opening up about how she looks that fit at age 57. And, according to Craig Smith, who has worked with the Material Girl for two years, she doesn’t work out as much as you’d think.
Madonna currently works out for at least 30 minutes, six days a week, Smith tells Daily Mail Australia. “I vary the workouts every single day,” he says. “She does a combination of circuit training, interval training, and resistance training. Dance is obviously a huge part of that.” Those workouts include barre training, yoga, martial arts, and boxing, and Smith says they cover everything from core strength to flexibility.
Madonna also uses light weights of 2.5 to 5 pounds for her barre training, with 20 to 30 reps each.
According to Smith, a “typical” daily workout for his client includes a dance-based warm-up to get her heart rate up. Then, she shifts to upper body work, like 20 reps of push-ups, planking for up to 80 seconds, and core work. She’ll finish by focusing on her thighs and legs with some isolated core training, stretching, and meditation.
Madonna’s workouts seem surprisingly doable, and they are, says Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University. Pivarnik tells SELF that Madonna’s tactic of mixing it up is “outstanding,” adding “the more you can mix it up, the more you can prevent overuse injuries.” However, Pivarnik points out that Madonna is still using most of her muscles on any given workout, she’s just emphasizing different muscle groups on one day over another.
Mixing is up is also great for keeping yourself from getting bored of your workout. But you want to still target some of the same muscle groups, he says, because that’s how you work them enough to really make an impact. “Your body doesn’t know the difference, whether you’re punching a bag or using a weight machine.” Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City-based fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, tells SELF, “Some variety is important, but repetition is essential to allow your body to adapt to the training and then make progress.”
In order to strike a balance—mentally and physically—Pivarnik recommends aiming for five days of cardio with two days of resistance training (on cardio days or “off” days).
Want to mix it up, but can’t reach Madonna-like levels of variety? Sklar suggests doing a different workout at least once a week to strike a good balance between condition-building repetition and mental fatigue. And, if you need more variety than that, he suggests doing small daily variations, like running a different route, doing your workout in a different order, or trying out a new dance class.
As for the light weights Madonna uses (which are typical in barre workouts), Pivarnik says they’re good for creating lean muscles without bulking you up. However, feel free to grab a heavier set, too. Lifting heavy (and moving between sets quickly) can count as cardio, too. A good rule of thumb, per Sklar: If you can’t perform eight reps, the weight is too heavy. If you can perform more than 12 reps, the weight is too light.
While Madonna can get her workout done in just 30 minutes, Pivarnik points out that she also gets an additional cardio workout from her onstage performances. “You’ve got to consider the whole day,” he says. Plus, Madge’s trainer himself admits that “80 percent” of her fitness is attributable to her regimented diet. (And that’s not even mentioning what must be rockstar genes.) So, it’s good to keep in mind that while adopting Madonna’s workout routine might make you more toned, it probably won’t make you actually look like Madonna.
PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS MAKE WEIGHT LOSS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE, BUT WEIGHT GAIN A SNAP
By Rachel Gray
Who here has trouble losing weight? Why I could not lose the weight baffled me. Well, it’s actually more complex than I thought. First, a lack of self-control is usually the knee-jerk assumption as to why you gain weight. This is based on the belief that weight loss is a simple matter of thermodynamics: one takes in more calories than one “burns”. That is true – but only to a point. I take a combination of psychiatric medications; the resulting weight gain is what the scientific literature calls “antipsychotic induced weight gain” (AIWG) (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242). Knowing mine is AIWG is frustrating: It is why my 900 calorie diet and exercise regimen do not work.
Proof that most psychiatric medications cause weight gain is well-established (Allsion et al., 1999). ‘Antipsychotic medications’ (interchangable here with the phrase ‘psychiatric medications’) cause “…substantial weight gain, and weight gain is a leading factor in patient noncompliance and poses significant risk of diabetes, lipid abnormalities (that is, metabolic syndrome), and cardiovascular events including sudden death (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242).” The specific medications I’m talking about (and their corresponding illnesses) include the categories of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. The illnesses these work on are schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. What I am not going to address here include the anxiety and attention deficit disorders, and their corresponding medications (which often overlap, but not always).
Weight gain is THE inevitable side effect of specific psychiatric medications and/or combinations of medications. The comprehensive lay website CrazyMeds (highly recommended: well-researched and consumer-driven) devotes a section about weight gain from psychiatric medications:
There are three known reasons as to why some meds make you fat.
1. H1 Antihistamines. This is most common way a drug can fatten you up like a veal calf. Most APs, especially Zyprexa are strong-to-potent antihistamines and, as I wrote above, antihistamines make you hungry and encourage you to keep the weight on. Being a potent antihistamine is also why you take these meds as they help you sleep and help fight anxiety. TCAs, especially Remeron, are also strong-to-potent antihistamines and notorious for weight gain.
2. Serotonin 5HT2C Antagonists. Drugs that interfere with serotonin at this specific receptor at going to make you gain weight. As with antihistamines these meds will make you hungry and keep the weight on. This is the primary reason why second-generation APs, especially Zyprexa and Seroquel, will cause you to pack on the pounds. Additionally they will mess with your insulin resistance, which is why your risk for diabetes increases if you take Geodon or Abilify and don’t gain any weight. And just like antihistamines you take these meds because they are 5HT2C antagonists, as that helps regulate dopamine. Other 5HT2C antagonists include Remeron and Prozac.
The typical reaction is to blame excess body fat on the person carrying it. Health professionals I deal with proselytize self-restraint and regular exercise. These are ‘health behaviors’ – control over eating is the biggie to be faced off in this essay because self-control is not as simple as “put down the fork and walk away”. While the exact mechanisms of action for antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are relatively unknown, the results of Karen Davison’s (2013) study suggested that certain combinations impact weight gain as well as eating habits (more on eating behaviors later) (Davison, 2013, P. 189). Davison’s study (2013) found that there were “significant interactions among antidepressants, …antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers with BMI (P. 188).” Another study found that psychiatric medications, in certain combinations, affect the andrenergic system (having to do with adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), although the role of adrenergic receptors in AIWG is unclear (Lett 2012, P. 255). This all has to do with eating behaviors.
Why so hungry all the time?
Psychiatric drugs stimulate one’s appetite so one is hungry all the time (hyperphagia), and therefore one eats more (Davison, 2013, P. 187). Treatment with antipsychotics leads to weight gain and alterations in carbohydrate and lipid metabolisms through increased appetite; leptin and ghrelin play an important role in the regulation of food intake. Body weight is regulated by a complex system, including both peripheral and central factors. Two of the hormones that play an important role in the regulation of food intake, energy metabolism, and body weight are leptin and ghrelin. Both originate in the periphery (peripheral nerves connect the spinal cord with your limbs) and signal through different pathways to the brain, particularly to the hypothalamus (Esen-Danaci et al., 2008, P. 1434). This is important because leptin is a protein that plays a major role in the regulation of appetite (‘health behavior’ territory), adiposity (body fat), and body weight. Psychiatric medications stimulate production of leptin and ghrelin.
After leptin is released by the adipose tissue into the bloodstream, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to the hypothalamic leptin receptors, in the arcuate nucleus, giving information about the body energy stores. Administration of leptin into the arcuate nucleus results in decreased food consumption while leptin deficiency leads to increased food intake (Haupt et al., 2005). Leptin plays a significant role in long-term regulation of energy balance. It also plays a role in short-term regulation of food intake and body weight. Leptin is produced not only by adipose tissue, but also a small amount in the stomach. It plays a role in the control of meal size in cooperation with other satiety peptides (Pico et al., 2003, P. 735).
Ghrelin is a gastrointestinal peptide hormone that is found in the stomach, the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, ovary, and adrenal cortex. In the brain, ghrelin-producing neurones have been identified in the pituitary and the hypothalamus (Jin et al., 2007, P. 70). Ghrelin plays a role in regulating feeding behavior and energy metabolism in the central nervous system; it is the first hormone found to stimulate appetite and food intake (Esen-Danaci et al., 2008, P. 1435).
“The concentration of circulating ghrelin is increased under conditions of negative energy balance such as starvation and anorexia nervosa while decreased under those of positive energy balance such as feeding and obesity in other words circulating ghrelin levels correlate inversely with BMI and body fat percentage (Esen-Danasi et al., 2008, P. 1435).”
What all this means is that psychiatric medications stimulate your appetite all the time. Regulating your “health behaviors” around eating takes phenomenal willpower and self-control because you are always feeling hunger pangs. It is a real battle to not give in to feeling hungry, something not to be taken lightly.
I’ve been on a 900 calorie, fresh veggie diet for five weeks, and do 45 minutes of aerobics daily. My weight has stabilized at 165# for five weeks. I should be losing weight, right? Well, that’s what’s so frustrating: If I eat less and exercise more, I SHOULD lose weight. This belief I refer to as “thermodynamics”, whereby one “burns” more calories than one ingests. (I refuse to eat any less, because I detest feeling hungry all the time and my body would probably go into starvation mode…) My weight gain is not thermodynamics: take fewer calories in, and simply ‘burn’ the fat off with exercise, nope! The weight gain started when my doctor prescribed a combination of medications (Effexor, Abilify, and Lamictal).
The hated side effect of this medication combination is weight gain, and there’s not a blessed thing I can do except go off the medications (which is not an option). So what all this means is that when you take certain combinations of psychiatric medications, the gods of good health behaviors – Diet and Exercise – mock you. Well, they mock me, anyway…
Why Diet and Exercise are Perhaps Futile
First of all, some of us (me) come from hearty peasant stock and our ancestors were broad, plump, and fertile as the women Peter Paul Rubens depicted.
Pharmacogenetic studies are finding that genetics also play a part in moderating the degree of weight gain from psychiatric medications (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). With no medications, it is a chore and a daily conscientious effort to stay slim and at an optimal doctor’s-health-chart weight (at least, it is for me). The majority of atypical antipsychotics are metabolized by phase I cytochrome P450 (CYP450) isoenzymes (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). (Isoenzymes are enzymes that differ in amino acid sequence but catalyze the same chemical reaction) (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/isoenzyme). Pharmacokinetic studies found that poor CYP450 activity is associated with increased serum levels of antipsychotics that lead to increased weight gain (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). Genetics plus psychiatric medications will lead to certain weight gain. That weight stays on, no matter how hard you exercise and deny yourself pizza.
AIWG goes hand in hand with metabolic changes – the kind that makes you unhappy because you out-grew your favorite pants. “Altered energy homeostasis” and “endocrine disturbances (Davison, 2013, P. 187)” are fancy terms for the physiological side effect of weight gain. Additionally, weight gain is a predictor of metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure which puts you at risk for stroke, among other things. The mechanisms linking psychiatric medications with the metabolic syndrome include “dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system (ANS) via such pathways as an accumulation of “visceral adiposity” or body fat, and impaired insulin sensitivity, as well as serotonergic (serotonin) activity (Davison, 2013, P. 188).” To sum up the science, your metabolism comes to a screeching halt. No amount of dieting or exercise will help fend off that fat.
What I would recommend instead
First, stay on the medications. My own mental illness is severe and my doctor prescribed a combination of medications that work well. If I quit my medications, I would be slim, sexy, and suicidally depressed.
Second, self-acceptance of the new, bigger body is key. At this point in psychopharmacology, there are no viable options: The medications cause weight gain. So what is there outside of self-acceptance? It is unrealistic to give hope that we MIGHT one day have drugs that both work and do not make us fat. The medical community has certainly accepted it – they have known for ages that such drugs make patients gain inordinate amounts of weight. It is more realistic to just get used to the additional weight and accept the body as it is. If you need a new wardrobe, go for it!
Third, eat healthy and do the exercise routines you enjoy. Do it for health and for peace of mind. Just because you probably will not lose the weight, does not mean you should neglect healthy living. Also, what’s wrong with having extra weight if your blood pressure is fine and you show no signs of diabetes or other aspects of metabolic syndrome? This goes to the thought process of stigmatization, and how much we stigmatize ourselves and our bodies to start with.
Overweight is stigmatized, there’s no doubt about that. But then again, so is mental illness. And that’s a whole other article…
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