Is Your Tea “Real?”

This is a sponsored post written by our team member Kiran. To learn more about Kiran check out our team page!

I grew up drinking tea from a very young age. My father is Indian, and it’s custom to drink “Indian tea,” as we called it, or chai to others, a few times a day.

If you can believe it, my first sip of tea was around the young age of (gasp!) 3 or 4. And through the years, I’ve enjoyed so many different types of this warm beverage. I went through a decaf phase in college, enjoyed chamomile when I had issues de-stressing and falling asleep, and always enjoyed a good cup of black tea when I needed a pick-me-up. But not once did I ever think about what was in that little mesh bag. Until this past September, that is.

Traditional Medicinals tea on 100 Days of #RealFood

I was at a healthy living conference in California when Traditional Medicinals invited me to a private tasting event. It ended up being so informative and opened my eyes and mind to something I’d never thought of before. So we’re thrilled to be partnering with them today on this post!

What’s in the Bag?

Traditional Medicinals tea on 100 Days of #RealFoodAt the event, one of the Traditional Medicinals herbalists shared samples of their plants and herbs – all pharmacopoeial-grade, which is a quality standard for herbs, vitamins and drugs that ensures the right quality and correct effect for their intended purpose. I was amazed at the smells that were given off from the dried herbs, but also the knowledge of the herbalist in what each plant could provide to people (see uses below).

This tasting event opened my eyes to all the thought and formulations and knowledge and approvals that go into those teas – that likely didn’t go into many of the teas I’d ingested in the past. Especially the teas I relied on during and after pregnancy, a time when I was so conscious about what I was putting in and on my body.

It sounds silly, I’m sure, but obviously there are plants that went into the makings of so many other tea bags I’ve used. But there were also probably pesticides, chemicals and who knows what else inside that I was pouring my boiling water over. I just hadn’t thought about it until now. Boy, am I glad I did.

When shopping for “real” tea:

  • Look for USDA Organic Certified (or at least Non-GMO Project Certified)
  • Avoid ingredients like Natural Flavors and Artificial Flavors
  • If looking for teas with a specific health benefit, look for pharmacopoeial-grade herbs (usually on the side panel/supplement facts)

Uses for Tea

Though I realized there is a world of education out there that I can learn about when it comes to herbs, their uses, and how they are in teas (and other areas), right now I mostly drink tea for enjoyment. So I have personally been turned on to their herbal teas. But Traditional Medicinals also has so many other purposeful* teas, and some of their best sellers include:

  • Mother’s Milk – For use when nursing.
  • Ginger Aid – Helps to alleviate nausea (I used it during my first trimesters of pregnancy).
  • Peppermint - Soothing for your stomach and aids in digestion.
  • Throat Coat – Best loved for the TLC that it provides to, you guessed it, your throat.
  • Smooth Move – One of their best sellers, which relieves occasional constipation thanks to the senna herb, which we learned has effects, which, well, you get the picture.
  • Chamomile with Lavender – Calming and a great choice for sitting back and enjoying with good company.

While I’m curious to learn more about herbs and what different remedies/properties they bring, for now I’m glad to look twice before just dunking any ol’ bag into my tea cup.

Are you also a tea drinker? And did you ever think about what was in the tea bag? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Traditional Medicinals tea on 100 Days of #RealFood


*Traditional Medicinal teas are herbal supplements designed for common, self-care type conditions. They cannot be used to ‘restore,”correct,’ ‘prevent,’ ‘mitigate,’ cure,’ or ‘treat’ disease states.

Recipe: Shrimp and Grits (+ our holiday team dinner!)

If you’ve never had (or heard of) Shrimp and Grits, it’s one you’ve gotta try! It’s most definitely a southern dish that’s pretty common around here in the Carolinas, but what I’ve found is there are all different ways to make it. Some add flour and broth to the shrimp to make more of sauce, some add all sorts of accompianents like bell peppers and mushrooms, and some kick things up a notch by using sausage instead of bacon. Now I’m not sure I’ve ever met a Shrimp & Grits dish I didn’t like, but inspired by my friend Valerie’s recipe and after some trial and error I’ve settled on this simple – yet delicious – version below. And by the way, we do think of this dish as a special meal at our house – last year I served it on Christmas Eve, and Valerie often serves it on New Year’s Eve. So hopefully you can find a way to add this recipe to your holiday table as well.

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Real Food Tips: 10 Unique Hostess Gifts

As you hop from party to party this month I do think it’s nice to bring along a little something extra for the party host – entertaining is a lot of work after all! And you could always resort to that good o’l bottle of wine (or champagne – ooolala), but if you like to stand out and do things your own way here are some ideas for more creative hostess gifts. I know I’d love to be given any one of these (although I’ve certainly never turned away a bottle of wine either – ha)! :)

Hostess Gifts on - 100 Days of #RealFood

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Recipe: Whole-Wheat Snickerdoodles (and How I Handle Holiday Parties)

It’s that time of year with parties and cookies and treats galore! I shared a picture on Instagram of the crazy amount of cookies that ended up at my neighbor’s cookie exchange over the weekend, and one commenter asked how I handle parties this time of year. So here’s the answer: I often eat at least a little before I go so I don’t show up too hungry. And then I follow the same advice I give my girls all the time…

At Holiday Parties: Eat a lot of what you know is good and only a little of what you know is bad (or aren’t sure about).

Avoiding highly processed food doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun because, let’s face it, it is fun to sample all the goods at a cookie party! But when I say sample, I mean SAMPLE. I probably only ate half-inch sized pieces of two thirds of the cookies there. The hostess also had bags available for taking cookies home, and I carefully selected about 8 or 10 cookies (avoiding any that obviously had artificial dyes or didn’t look homemade). And when I got home, I cut more half-inch sized pieces for my girls to try. It was fun for all! And while sugar is not a regular part of our diets we do think it’s okay in TRUE moderation. As a family, we usually indulge in about one sugary treat a week so last weekend’s cookie party was a fun way to do that!

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Snickerdoodles (and How I Handle Holiday Parties) on 100 Days of #Real Food Continue Reading »

Cookbook Recipe Chart by Dietary Need

I have a little gift for you today. It’s all the recipes in my cookbook organized by dietary need in chart form. Most of this info is already listed in the back of the book, but it’s not in a chart, which I think makes things a little easier when it comes to families with more than one dietary need. PLUS I added a Peanut/Tree Nut Free column to this list, which is not already in the book. So all you have to do is click here (or on the chart below), select print, and voila – you now have a free tool to make navigating my book even easier.

Oh and a bonus – for those who haven’t already purchased my book you can now see every single recipe that’s included! Enjoy :)

Click image for free download:

Recipe Chart by Dietary Need on 100 Days of #RealFood

Giveaway: Gift Cards to Wild Mint for a Toxin Free Kitchen!

This contest is now closed.

It’s the holiday season, and most of us are officially in gift-giving (and buying!) mode. But before you head out with your shopping list, we’d love to touch on what can be lurking in some of today’s kitchen and toy products. Hannah Helsabeck of Wild Mint has partnered with us to share some of her knowledge of toxins and what to avoid. (And a special hint—read on down below for a great giveaway!)

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