When I started running 7 years ago, I noticed a few changes in my life. And more than a few, on my body. It took me up to a few months to notice those changes, as the distances I ran increased, and the workouts I did became more intensive. But there were many in my running group who had been running forlonger and running longer distances than I was, that didn’t see those changes in their body, and came to me for weight loss tips.
For most serious runners, running is not about weight loss. It is a lifestyle that sustains your physical andmental health. Weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight is simply a by-product of all the hardwork that running is. Of course, one is thankful for it. But one is also startled when there is no apparent change in weight despite the unearthly hours of waking up, the miles of road being pounded, and the huge amounts of calories (and money) spent on this endurance sport. And this was the big question for many of my fellow runners. ‘How to lose weight, in spite of running so much?’
When I tried to analyse this, the only variable that stood out was, what they were putting into their body as compared to what I was. I was not eating more to balance the calories I lost unlike some of them, and I was on a fairly healthy, vegetarian diet. And the last clue, I was drinking Green Tea.
It was beautiful, cloudy day in the massive city of Beijing and I was being pulled by a lovely rickshaw fellow inside a traditional and touristy hutong (a slum that looked nowhere near one). I was piqued when he stopped at a tiny shop that sold tea. ‘Of course!’, I thought. This touristy trip of mine had to benefit the Chinese economy in more ways than I expected. And now I had to buy teas that I didn’t want. With this somewhat cynical approach, I stepped into the tiny, quaint room where a smiling, Chinese lady had an elaborate tea ceremony spread out for a bunch of us. She brought out various jars filled with dried flowers, leaves and other condiments that I most certainly did not associate with tea. As she cleaned the tiny cups with hot water and brewed one ‘tea’ after another and poured them for us to drink, I was drawn into the ceremony like Alice into the rabbit hole. Maybe it was the experience of it, or the delicious aromas and flavours and tastes that ravaged my taste buds, but I was hooked. And in a moment of epiphany, I also realized that this was probably the magic trick behind the largely fit and stylish south-east Asians that I saw in every country I had visited! And no matter how much red meat went down their gullets, it was followed by cups of green tea that washed it all down to a happy metabolism.
That, my friends, is how my romantic journey with tea began. And on the way I realized that Green Tea was a friend like no other. Because it comes with its own posse of anti-oxidants. So the benefits of green tea are not just experienced by my taste buds, metabolic system, andfitness levels, but also my mind.