Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Cure for Tea Greed

Recently I began fasting on a weekly basis, giving my body a 20 hour rest with water and tea as my only sustenance.  In the last few years, the news has been awash with scientific studies touting the health benefits of intermittent fasting.  I had been curious but non-committal until the WHO rained on my bacon parade last October by unequivocally proclaiming processed meats were the short road to cancer.

Of course I was acutely aware of bacon's dark side but I'm gonna go to my grave with bacon breath. Cancer however is not to be taken lightly and to mitigate potentially harmful effects, I have decided on a compromise.  Fasting kicks the body into cleaning and repair mode called autophagy which breaks down potentially pre-cancerous old and abnormal cells.  I figured a day of fasting more than compensated for my two slices of weekly bacon.   But I was doubly motivated by the golden premise of enhanced brain function as an evolutionary adaptation to fasting- our hungry fore-bearers had to become mentally sharper to nab their next meal

Initially I had planned to drink teas and shop for more teas during my fasts.  But
this simple practice of weekly fasting has unexpectedly tamped down my tea hoarding instinct and I ended up not even looking at tea vendor sites.  I don't know how and why fasting would subconsciously upend a decade long condition that my husband's tireless efforts could not. Perhaps it was experiencing the positive effects of deprivation that is now effectively preventing more tea shipments out of China into our household.  Hoarding is mainly driven by a fear of scarcity.   Once I severed my system from a continuous feed and found I could easily stop eating for day,  I felt a strange sort of freedom by not having.  Cutting the mental shackles to food must have also weakened my pathological need for ever larger amounts of tea.  I now feel if I can have good tea of any kind a few times a year, I would be content.

I really thought this fasting was something onerous to be endured for the sake of my beloved bacon but it turned out to be something I look forward to. I am extremely productive and flowing with energy on my fast days.  Tea also tastes better on fast days.  When you're hungry,  your olfactory system becomes heightened so the teas taste more intense than when you are satiated.  Oolongs taste intensely floral.  Amplification works in all directions and rank basement aged sheng becomes even more unbearable.

Perhaps the most gratifying side effect to fasting is that food tastes most deliciously wonderful when you break your fast.  But so too is your last meal before starting the fast.  I am partial to the coconut pandan waffle with black sesame at this Hong Kong Snack House which was my last provision before fasting on Saturday.   How can happiness be bundled in such a chewy glutinous interior...


  1. Careful with the methods though. Drinking liquids with low pH such as tea and fasting at the same time can make your stomach acidic. You could even get ulcer if the imbalance grows.

  2. Dear Unknown,

    I was under the impression green teas were protective against ulcers:

    My stomach is on the sensitive side but green teas esp. oolongs feel fine when fasting. No young shegs of course...