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If exercise is not the answer to weight loss, what is it?

Exercise is not the answer to weight loss?

weight loss and lifestyleIf exercise is not the answer to weight loss, what is it? Weight management is a matter of concern for many in our society, 63% precisely according to Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/fitness/why-is-exercise-useless-for-weight-loss-20170223-gujmzc.html). At the same time, the article claimed that ‘exercise is useless for weight loss’. Surprise to anyone? Well, we have seen so many who have lost it and put back more after.

So if this simple primary school math, we burn more than we eat, doesn’t work, anything else does? It does not take much to come up with a list of ‘quick fixes’ that have marketed as cure (including exercise), but rarely work: diet, supplements, and many more peculiar ones.

Obesity is a lifestyle condition

Obesity is classified as a ‘lifestyle condition’ in public health, together with many other conditions such as cancers, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and arthritis just to name a few. If the conditions are caused by our modern lifestyle, it is not hard to imagine that the answers should lay at fixing the cause - lifestyle.

The solution

Fortunately we do not need to look too far. Our ancestors a couple of generations ahead of us had a significantly different lifestyle: no cars, everything was by foot, or bikes or horses if lucky; No fridges. All foods were from the markets or own fields straight to the kitchen (Walked to the market too!); Meat was only consumed on only limited and special occasions; Their diet was mainly freshly produced foods – raw and unprocessed. Ice cream or chips were certainly not part of the daily menu; Water, tea, maybe coffee were the beverages, no coca cola or red bull. The end results? They were actually healthier, both physically and mentally. (The main killers of their time were infections, but not the contemporary men made lifestyle conditions.)

Don’t get me wrong though, I am not here to suggest that we should all get rid of our cars and fridges and bring back the old farmers’ markets so that we can lose weight. I am simply suggesting there is a lot we can learn from our ancestors with regard to a healthy lifestyle: outdoor, active, diet, mentality, habits and so on. With some reflection and discipline, maybe we can use the modern facilities to our advantage when dealing with this seemly impossible chellanges of our era.

Remember, obesity is a lifestyle related condition. Unless we make some effort to change our lifestyle, it is here to stay.

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Various aspects of teas being seasonal

When talk about seasonal tea, people immediately associate it with the teas harvested during the last harvest season.

Seasonal production of the teas

In China, the Qing-Ming ( 清明) season which is normally around the early April is the main season for tea harvesting. The pre-Qing-Ming teas are of higher value as the tea leaves grow in colder weather conditions, taking longer to grow, storing more nutrients with richer flavour. The harvest season can last through May. The later the leaves are harvested, the warmer the weather conditions are and the faster the leaves grow. The teas made of the later leaves are however not as rich and delicate in flavour as the early flushes. Apart from the spring harvest (Qing-Ming harvest), many tea farms also harvest a crop in Autumn. The teas made of the autumn leaves are often not as delicate and refreshing, but may suite certain tea production, such as scented teas, or Oolong teas made of mature leaves.

Seasonal consumption of the teas

There is also another aspect of teas being seasonal that is not talked about as much, which is its consumption. Tea consumption in China is very geographical. The art and history of tea making is finely turned to suite the local diets and climate conditions. The non-fermented green teas and lightly fermented white teas are light and refreshing, much favoured in areas where the weather conditions are warm and humid. The more fermented teas such as black and ripened pu-erh teas on the other hand, are more appreciated in cooler areas where heavier diets are consumed. The fermented teas are smoother in texture and known to aid digestion.

If you however have the luxury to have a collection of teas (like we all do these days), soon you will find that different teas have different best uses: summer teas vs winter teas, morning tea vs afternoon teas, teas to drink after meals vs teas drink between meals, teas to drink with snacks vs teas to drink on their own and many more combinations and occasions.

One thing to remember, teas are to be enjoyed and premium teas are highly enjoyable.

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Optimal tea accessories for pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea has recently gained some rather favourable attention among tea lovers due to the reputation of weight reduction and many other health benefits.

Standing as a class of its own among the premium teas, pu-erh tea has many unique natures including its preparation.

Unique natures of Pu-erh tea:

  1. Pu-erh teas are made of tea tree leaves (big) instead of tea bush leaves (small)
  2. the more a Pu-erh tea is aged, the better its quality. As a result, most of the Pu-erh teas would have been stored for at least a couple years and often require a sensible ‘brew’, in comparison to teas made of young and tender leaves and consumed seasonally, such as green teas and white teas.
  3. Pu-erh teas are much longer lasting – some leaves can still produce quality flavour after 20 infusions, while the teas made of young tip eaves can only be used for up to 4 times normally.

Brewing Pu-erh tea:

Chinese tea setPu-erh tea is one of my favourite teas, a right type can have green tea’s refreshing nature, Oolong or black teas’ mellow texture, and Taiwan High mountain Oolong commending refreshing aftertaste. A careful selection of the tea accessories to use would in no doubt enhance the quality of Pu-erh tea brew.

Home brewing Pu-erh tea

A premium YiXing ZiSha tea set is a good choice. YiXing ZiSha teapots are traditionally made small (See YiXing ZiSha teapot for more info). They therefore require frequent top up of hot water and serving – producing many small infusions of freshly brewed and served tea which is the best quality tea.

  1. For single person consumption: use a small ZiSha teapot to make up 5-10 infusions of tea and serve into a cup or mug
  2. To sever a number of drinkers, use as many kung-fu tea cups as the number of people at presence, brew and sever accordingly. For example, there are four members in our family. I use a tea set as shown in the image after dinner. A pot of hot water and a serve of Pu-erh leaves is all is required for a few good cups and a chat after dinner.

Brewing pu-erh tea at office

tea infuserWhen the space is limited and time is tight in the office to get some work done, a tea infuser like this one is ideal:

  1. It is a pot, cup and strainer all built into one.
  2. The brewing chamber is where the tea is brewed.
  3. Once the tea is brewed to the optimal time, a value is released by pressing a side button and the tea is filtered through a very fine filter to the lower chamber.
  4. The lower chamber then can be used as a cup to drink from, while using the up facing lid as a saucer to sit the brewing chamber on.
  5. This process can be repeated many times by topping up with hot water.

 More information on Pu-erh tea preparation and storage guide: https://www.valleygreentea.com.au/preparation/pu-erh-tea-preparation-and-storage-guide.html

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