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Once in a while I like to discuss various ingredients that may benefit your exploration of tea. It just so happens that the most reoccurring question this week has been about mint. It’s an ingredient used in a lot of herbal teas and tisanes and is a popular choice for many when it comes to soothing the stomach or simply relaxing. Yet it seems many tea drinkers don’t quite know what mint is really all about. There’s nothing wrong with just liking things for the sake of liking them, but did you know for example, that peppermint is not advised to be consumed in the evening because of its unique, simultaneous, paradoxical relaxant and stimulant properties? Many peppermint consumers often assume that since it’s an herb, it does not contain caffeine and thus safe to consume before bed. Which is true, but there are many plants and herbs that act as stimulants even though they are caffeine free. Peppermint’s dual qualities are dependent on each and individual body and thus, some people can consume it before bed and some simply can’t (if your body doesn’t prefer peppermint at night, switch to spearmint).

Interesting fact is that peppermint is a type of hybrid, a cross between two mints: watermint and spearmint. The unique thing about this hybrid is its high content of menthol, present in the mint oils. Menthol has counter-irritant qualities and helps sooth internal discomfort by providing a cooling sensation. Mint oil is used for a variety of treatments, including stomach pain, headache and spasm relief. Peppermint in particular has been around for quite some time, used as far back as ten thousand years ago to treat stomach related irritation.

Spearmint on the other hand is a milder, sweeter type of mint due to its low content of menthol. Native to the European region, spearmint is mostly used in food preparation and flavouring. Spearmint is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron and many antioxidant vitamins, including Vitamin A. Spearmint is great for evening time consumption, helping relieve headaches, calm the nerves and improve respiratory system.

Overall, mint is an amazing ingredient when it comes to adding richness to tea’s taste and aroma. It is pleasant to smell and even more pleasant to consume. I highly recommend herbal mint blends during this cold season. Mint teas are the perfect choice when it comes to relaxing your tense muscles and soothing your organs.  And luckily, our store carries an amazing selection, all yours to explore!

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With the Winter Olympics 2014 on the way, it’s a perfect time to remember what we love so much about the games. Most of you will agree that the main reason for tuning in and following so closely is because they motivate us. And I’m not just talking about motivation to go to the gym and get fit. I am talking about motivation to persevere in all areas of our lives, to be successful, to always follow through and learn to accept defeat gracefully.

There is also a certain magical element that surrounds the celebration of the games, it is the element of tradition, a series of days that remind us of our childhood experience of watching athletes swiftly and gracefully carry out the most unbelievable of stunts. Or simply the first time we saw the Olympic Flame and couldn’t stop wondering how it was possible for the flame to keep waving. And quite possibly, at one point, we all dreamt of one day becoming one of them – being as strong and as determined as the young faces presented with awards on the pedestal before us. Olympics have always been a symbol of determination, pride, strength, fortitude and vigor. But it has also been a symbol of moving forward – the emblem of determination and a reminder that we all have something to achieve, whether in the near or distant future. We all have our own medals to win and even if we don’t win all the time, we sure try to.

With their long history of tradition, the Olympics remain a form of extraordinary entertainment and an example of how important it is to want to achieve our goals. But behind their engaging nature an important message always resurfaces – the gratifying nature of being a part of something that is bigger than us all. So on February 7th, get comfortable with your loved ones, make some tea and let’s cheer our athletes on together!

Don’t forget to tweet us with your guess of how many gold medals Canada will win. The closest answer will receive a Travel Mug!

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The three words that rule the real estate have always been “location, location, location”.  And there is a definite reason for that – location matters. I believe that location also matters when it comes to tea – location of where tea is kept and stored to be specific. The common misconception among even the most avid tea drinkers is that keeping tea in the fridge will keep it fresher. This is not true. Loose leaf tea should be kept at a room temperature, in a dark, dry place to avoid the condensation caused by change of temperature. The only teas that are advised to be kept in the fridge are those in a matcha form, to prolong the shelf life.  But when it comes to storing loose leaf teas, tea tins will always be the best option – keeping the tea fresh and aromatic. Just like cooking certain foods in a particular container or aging wine in barrels, tea is best stored in a tea tin – usually made out of metal, which helps preserve the tea’s properties and taste.  The great thing about tea tins is that they come in all shapes and sizes so you can enjoy storing your tea in the most unique and personalized ways. But perhaps the best part of owning a tin is that when you come to any of our locations for a refill, you will get 10% off any tea purchase with your LivegreenToronto card. So there it is – an environmentally conscious, simple and effective way to enjoy what you love most. So why not give your tea the home it deserves?

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The New Year’s resolutions can be a bit of a pain. Mostly because they end up being followed by unnecessary amounts of pressure and unrealistic goals. But resolutions are being made all year round, be it eating better or simply adding more days spent at the gym. So why is it that each New Year we start by focusing on what we didn’t achieve rather than reflecting on what we actually did? Positive reflections about already achieved goals can be the key in feeling better about setting new ones. So there it is. This is my New Years resolution – to reflect on all said and done, be it good or bad, positively. Because mistakes are part of our journey forward, so why should be keep regretting or blaming ourselves continuously? Everyone knows that holding on to all the missed opportunities can drag the spirit down. Yet we continue to hold on. Instead of holding on, we need to redirect our thought process into something positive that we can focus on, something that will help us bring us closer to our newly established goals. Instead of saying “I can’t believe I barely took care of my body last year, better hurry and get started before it’s too late!”, say “I’m looking forward to working on my body, I know I will try my best to do everything I set out to do”. Attitude is everything. So flip your switches on, change the channel to positive thinking and stop blaming yourself for things you haven’t done. Enjoy every moment, enjoy the fact that you are able to set goals, enjoy moving in the right direction – no matter how many set backs happen.

 

Happy new year and happy positive thinking!