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Bigelow Tea Health News: Is Green Tea a Natural High Blood Pressure Remedy?

At Bigelow Tea we’ve taken Sustainabili-TEA to heart. We advocate the philosophy and practice of going green in every aspect of our lives, including the production of a splendid selection of flavorful, catechin-filled green tea!  Over the years, we’ve shared the findings of numerous research studies extolling the health benefits of green tea – from stress reductionweight controlcardiovascular health and diabetes prevention to eye and skin care.

We’ve also learned via numerous studies that moderate consumption of green tea may help to control high blood pressure!  Millions of Americans suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension.  It’s one of the leading causes of stroke and coronary artery disease.  Blood pressure is measured by two numbers: the top number is the systolic pressure (120 or less is considered normal; 140 or more is considered high) and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure (80 or less is considered normal; 90 or more is considered high).

Factors such as salt intake, obesity, stress, hormone imbalance and kidney disease may contribute to high blood pressure.  According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Centergreen tea may help reduce high blood pressure because it keeps the arteries from narrowing by repressing ACE, an enzyme secreted by the kidneys that reduces the elasticity of the arterial muscles, which would cause blood pressure to rise blocks the normal flow of blood.

Whether it’s for your health or just for its good taste, drink a cup of your favorite green tea today!

It’s important to check your blood pressure regularly!

Caution: although moderate consumption of green tea is generally safe for most adults, do consult your physician before embarking on any herbal regime.

Photos via Hubpages.com and Ayurvedic-herbal-cure.blogspot.com.

 

Bigelow Tea Looks at Wit, Whimsy and Tea, in Wallace & Gromit Films


It’s always fun to see tea references in popular films, especially when done with the kind of stylish wit and sense of humor found in Wallace & Gromit animated films! Inveterate movie-goers at Bigelow Tea can’t help but love the hapless Wallace and his knowing but ever-silent dog Gromit (who happens to be a whiz at making tea) in these claymation gems!

We just had to share a chuckle from this scene in A Matter of Loaf and Death, where Gromit fills Wallace’s cup with a gas pump, thereby yielding a brew with a “slightly diesel-y” aftertaste:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9SUx9beHmQ&NR=1[/youtube]

And check out this hilarious trailer from the same movie featuring Wallace’s latest love interest, Piella Bakewell, their tea time romance, and a takeoff on the pottery scene from the 1980’s film classic, Ghost:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaBLiad8RiY&NR=1[/youtube]

British filmmaker Nick Park and the clay animators at Aardman Productions have taken claymation to new heights. A Matter of Loaf and Death was nominated for best short film in 2010, and three previous Wallace & Gromit films won Academy Awards. No wonder the Wallace & Gromit films have won universal critical acclaim, and they have endeared themselves to British and American audiences alike.

We think Wallace and Gromit’s appreciation for tea is integral to the films’ appeal … can’t you just see Gromit introducing Wallace to Bigelow Tea’s English Breakfast or English Teatime? And we know then that Wallace, always looking to create a new invention, would get to work on a devilishly clever contraption to deliver his Bigelow Tea upon demand!

Brilliant!

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

Bigelow Tea Features Gluten-Free Cooking for Celiac Awareness Month

For the estimated 3 million Americans with celiac disease, the diagnosis is a gift that puts them on a path to renewed health and vigor – often after years of suffering with stomach pain, headaches, rashes and other unexplained symptoms. Since those with celiac cannot digest gluten, a protein in grains like wheat, barley and rye, switching to a completely gluten-free diet is essential. May is Celiac Awareness Month, and Bigelow Tea is proud to help spread the word about how to live and eat well without gluten!

Going gluten-free can be a real challenge, especially for those who eat out often or rely heavily on processed foods. After all, gluten-rich bread, pasta, baked goods and snacks pervade store shelves and restaurant menus. But the good news is that living gluten-free is getting easier, with numerous websites and blogs devoted to providing delicious recipes and cooking tips for those sensitive to gluten. Plus, there are plenty of gluten-free products on the market today. You can definitely have your gluten-free cake and eat it, too!

And, as we’ve noted before on our blog, most Bigelow Tea varieties are naturally gluten-free. So brew up a cup anytime, and enjoy the delicious taste and health benefits! You can also use our teas to spice up your cooking with selections from our Bigelow Tea Gluten-free recipes!*  Our delicious Orange Beef & Chinese Broccoli, for example, features our Bigelow® Orange & Spice Herb Tea,  which gives the marinade a delectable twist. Try it for dinner tonight!

Orange Beef and Chinese Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of hot water
  • Bigelow® Orange & Spice Herb Tea Bags
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh red chili pepper (medium)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 lb steak, cut crosswise into 1/8″ strips
  • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli (broccolini) approx. ½ lb – cut into 1″ pieces
  • 10 scallions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice

Yield: Serves 4

Instructions:

This twist on a Chinese restaurant classic uses Bigelow® Orange & SpiceTM Herb tea as the basis for a flavorful marinade and stir fry sauce. The addition of fresh, red chili peppers (sometimes referred to as Fresno peppers) not only give the dish a pop of color, but also a spicy kick. If you cannot find Fresno peppers in the produce section of your local grocery store, you will get the same amount of heat from a fresh, green jalapeno pepper.

  • Place the tea bags in the hot water and allow to steep for 5-7 minutes. Be sure to thoroughly squeeze out tea bags before removing them. Set aside and allow tea to cool slightly.
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the tea, vinegar, 1 tablespoon of canola oil, chili pepper, ginger, garlic and sugar. Whisk to combine.
  • Place the steak strips and tea mixture into a large ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.
  • In a large skillet or wok, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the Chinese broccoli and stir fry for one to two minutes, until just tender. Add the steak (reserve the marinade), and continue to cook for another two minutes.
  • Add scallions and reserved marinade to the pan and cook another minute, or until it is almost completely absorbed. Season with salt and pepper and serve over cooked rice.

Nutritional Information:

Per Serving: 1/4 of recipe (479g). Includes 1 cup brown rice per serving
Calories 522
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 58mg
Protein 40g
Carbohydrates 51g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sodium 646mg

Enjoy!

*The recipes designated Gluten free do not include the following ingredients: wheat, rye, barley, or oats; or ingredients that might contain these, but Bigelow Tea does not assume liability for information reported on our recipes.

However, anyone who needs or wants to follow a gluten free (GF) diet should check ingredients and products to ensure they are GF. (For example, sesame seeds are naturally GF, but it’s always wise to check with the manufacturer to make sure that gluten was not introduced to the product during processing.)

Bigelow Tea makes no guarantees that the recipes are appropriate for your diet. Individuals should consult with their physician or other medical professional.

Photo by, Whatsername? via flickr.com

 

Another Great Event for Bigelow Tea!

We had a great turnout for the Michael Quinlin Brain Tumor Foundation Walk in downtown Louisville, KY.  We had over 40 Bigelow Tea employees and their family members participate.  I was particularly blessed to see nearly all of our leadership team participate (minus those out of town).

Bigelow was prominently recognized for our sponsorship and participation. We were listed as a corporate sponsor on all of the walker’s shirts.  Dawn Gee, a popular local news lady, referred to our tea as “fabulous” in front of the crowd and encouraged everyone to get samples at our booth.  We were able to distribute many samples both teabags and brewed samples.  Another great event for Bigelow!

Steve Keys
Plant Manager
Bigelow Tea

 

For Special Occasions, Bigelow Tea Thinks Going Out For Tea is A Splendid Idea!

Brewing a cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea at home is always a delight, but going out for tea is also a wonderful way to enjoy one of life’s simplest pleasures. Whether it’s a special occasion tea at a fancy hotel, or a weekly afternoon visit to a local favorite tea house, going out for tea will make any day better!

In recent years, more and more people seem to be going out for tea. Tea shops and tea rooms are popping up all over, and even traditional “coffee” shops are all selling more tea! That’s great news for all of us tea lovers.

Moreover, many upscale resorts, hotels and restaurants offer afternoon tea services which Cindi Bigelow talks about here. These special events are not to be confused with the traditional “high tea” served in the United Kingdom as a working class family meal of meats and baked goods. Rather, tea lovers in America typically enjoy afternoon tea as a swanky affair that includes finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and an array of tasty desserts … and plenty of tea too of course! Can you think of a nicer way to spend an afternoon than sharing it all with friends or family and sipping tea?


The specialties of afternoon tea are great, whether you’re at home or elsewhere. So wherever and however you take your tea—at home, at the quaint corner tea shop or at an elegant hotel—we know that you’ll sit back and relax with friends and family, and enjoy every sip!

Photo 1 by Schatz via flickr.com,  photo 2 by Paul Jerry via flickr.com

Celebrate National Smile Month with Bigelow Tea

It’s National Smile Month, and we at Bigelow Tea want to remind you that in addition to the great taste, drinking tea can be a wonderful and natural way to protect one of your greatest assets: your smile! That’s right. Research shows that Green and black teas are natural sources of fluoride, one of the key ingredients in toothpaste, which helps ward off decay and inhibits the growth of plaque.

Keeping our teeth clean and our smile beautiful can be challenging. Try as we might, brushing throughout the day sometimes isn’t always practical —it’s a little bit awkward to bring a toothbrush into the bathroom at the office! Drinking tea, however, is ultra easy!

So, even though drinking our beloved tea is already beneficial for so many reasons, we’ll gladly add another cup for the sake of oral hygiene! Bigelow Tea encourages you to do the same…after all, it’s National Smile Month. A beautiful smile, like a delicious cup of tea, is best shared with family, friends and loved ones!

Image by Pierre-Etienne Bergeron via flickr.com

Enjoy a Medley of Mint with Bigelow Tea!

At Bigelow Tea, we love our mint! We’ve created a variety of refreshing mint teas to quench your thirst as well as some wonderfully savory (and sweet) mint-infused recipes to delight your palate. Two minty dinner selections in particular really hit the spot:  our simply awesome Medley Tabouleh Salad with Feta, Cucumber and Olives and our Lamb Chops with Plantation Mint Gravy. Delicious, and oh-so-minty!

Medley® Tabouleh Salad with Feta, Cucumber and Olives


Ingredients:

o   6 Bigelow Mint Medley Herb Tea Bags*

o   ¾ cups bulgur wheat (tabouleh)

o   1¼ cups boiling water

o   1 large tomato, split and cut into ¼” dice

o   ½ cucumber, peeled, and cut into ¼” dice

o   ¾ – 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, about 4 ounces

o   ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

o   ¼ cup chopped pitted Greek olives

o   1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

o   1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

o   ½  teaspoon salt/to taste

o   Freshly ground black pepper

Yield: Serves 4

Instructions:

o   Pour bulgur wheat into a bowl.  In a glass measuring cup, pour one cup boiling water over tea bags; steep 4-5 minutes.  Remove tea bags to a small strainer; using the back of the spoon, press as much liquid as possible back into the cup. If needed, add additional boiling water to measure 1 cup, then pour over the bulgur wheat.  Let stand until all the liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put finished bulgur wheat in a salad bowl. Add tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, scallions, mint and olives, turning to mix well. Pour in the olive oil; add salt/pepper; toss again. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over bed of lettuce leaves.

Lamb Chops with Plantation Mint® Gravy


Ingredients:

1 cup canned beef broth
Bigelow Plantation Mint® Tea Bags
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted, at room temperature
6 bone-in lamb chops (about 3 lbs)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Dijon mustard

Yield: Serves 6

Instructions:

These lamb chops make an elegant meal, but are even better when served with this delicious minted gravy. The flavor comes from Bigelow Plantation Mint®, tea and a touch of honey gives it a hint of sweetness.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Using a brush, coat both sides of each chop with mustard, and press breadcrumb mixture onto chops.

Place chops on a rack on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until medium-doneness is achieved.

While the chops are baking, bring beef stock to a boil in a small saucepan, turn off the heat. Add the teabags and steep for 10 minutes, making sure they are all submerged. Remove the teabags to a small strainer and using the back of a spoon, press as much liquid as possible back into the pan.

Stir in the honey and return to a boil, stirring until the honey is incorporated. In a small bowl, combine the flour and butter into a smooth paste, using a fork. Turn off heat, add the butter/flour mixture to the gravy, bit by bit, and whisk until it is incorporated and the sauce thickened.

Remove lamb chops from the oven, let stand for 3-4 minutes. Place on a serving platter and serve hot gravy on the side.

*Recipe serves 6 people—

12 loin chops = about 3 lbs (2 per person)

18 rib chops = about 3 lbs (3 per person)

6 shoulder chops = about 3 lbs (1 per person)

Nutritional Information:

Serving size: 1 chop (about ½ lb total)
Calories 502
Total fat 20g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 195mg
Sodium 537mg
Carbohydrates 13g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 6g
Protein 64g

Photo (top) via Swktalk.com

 

Bigelow Tea Remembers The Way You Sip Your Tea!

On our blog we’ve featured famous people who drink tea and celebrities who rave about their tea, but today we’re writing about two incredible musicians who wrote music about tea! Brothers George and Ira Gershwin are two of the most famous songwriters in history. George was the composer whose melodies included “Rhapsody in Blue” and “I Got Rhythm,” and his brother Ira was the lyricist who wrote the words to songs like “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Bigelow Tea’s favorite song by the Gershwin brothers, however, has to be “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” Not only was it their one song to be nominated for an Academy Award, but its opening lines talk about drinking tea! “The way you sip your tea” is noted as a characteristics that the singer appreciates and will always remember about the object of his love.

The song was originally performed by Fred Astaire in the 1937 movie Shall We Dance, but has been sung by countless other well-known singers over the years, including Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Armstrong and Billie Holliday. More recent versions were recorded by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Rod Stewart with Michael Bublé.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PObUpTsLMEw[/youtube]

As tea lovers have long known, tea and love go hand in hand. This song always makes us smile, and we hope you’ll give it a listen soon … maybe while sipping a cup of traditional English Breakfast tea!

Images via Fotopedia.com and Christinesvoice.blogspot.com

The International Language of Tea

“It’s about the global connective tissue that links us all in ritual and conversation.”
Scott Chamberlin Hoyt discussing his documentary The Meaning of Tea

Tea is perhaps the most multicultural drink, brewed for 5,000 years and consumed more than any other beverage on earth except water. As dedicated global tea explorers, we at Bigelow Tea were fascinated to learn how to say “tea” in more than 60 different languages! Whether you call it “harbatu” (Belarusian), “der Tee (German) or “ocha” (Japanese), tea itself is a universal language that speaks to humans’ enduring need to preserve ritual and tradition in their lives. In some places, understanding the rhythm of tea culture and customs can transcend mere words.

Tibetan monk preparing tea

It’s amazing how central tea is can be to communication in many cultures. Tibetans, who call tea “cha” or “ja,” prefer their brew blended with salt, butter and milk. Guests invited to tea follow a unique ritual before any tea is served. First the host serves barley wine; the guest dips his finger into the cup and flicks it three times, showing honor to Buddha, Darma and Sangha. The host fills the cup twice more, and the guest drinks completely to show respect to the host.

In China, where tea originated, “cha” is viewed as a sign of purity. Previously on our Bigelow Tea blog we’ve looked at the important role tea plays in courtship and marriage rituals throughout China. Depending on the stage of romance, a tea ceremony has many possible meanings, including “I love you,” “will you marry me?” or “may I have your daughter’s hand?”

And you know, when Bigelow Tea drinkers cozy up to a cup of chamomile on a cool day, we’re all speaking the same language! Whatever sentiment you’re trying to express, Bigelow Tea has a way

to say it with tea!

Image by Antoine Taveneaux via Wikimedia Commons

Family Wellness Month Means Togetherness and Bigelow Tea!

Spending more time with your family and appreciating those closest to you … those are the simple and sweet goals of Family Wellness Month, taking place during May. Bigelow Tea is a family business, so in honor ofFamily Wellness, we offer are a few suggestions to bring your family closer this month:

Plan a visit with grandparents. Spending time with multi-generations is beneficial to children and senior citizens alike, and it can be fun! Gardening together, having afternoon tea or taking a trip to a local museum are just a few ways to share the day. And if Grandma and Grandpa are far away, schedule a regular Sunday night call or video chat with them. This will mean so much to the grandparents, and will make everyone feel warm and fuzzy!

Organize a family-only night. With families heading in all different directions, a simple “night in” with food, special beverages—like a Constant Comment Soda Twist—and a nice video can be both relaxing and memorable. Old-fashioned board games or interactive games such as charades can also add laughter and enjoyment to the night.

Strive for more family dinners. Not only are family dinners a way to get the whole gang together, but they’ve also been shown to improve health. It’s a great time to talk and share, and to eat a healthy meal. If you’re rushed or stuck on what to make for the meal, our Orange Beef and Chinese Broccoli is easy, fast and a real crowd pleaser!

Finally, don’t forget the little things, like tucking a note into a family member’s lunch or texting an “I love you” message, which can really make a difference. So take a few minutes this month and strengthen your family’s bonds. Bigelow Tea wishes you a happy month of springtime togetherness!

Photo by downing.amanda via Flickr.com