UNsweet Tea

by jenna on June 15, 2009

Hi!

I have had zero energy all day. So unlike me! Tomorrow I shall make a Green Monster in the morning and see how I feel…..I’m blaming it all on my large, hot bowl of oats this morning when it was 95 degrees outside.

This afternoon I finished all the cookies and because I was so proud of myself for not stuffing my face with dough, I ate one warm out of the oven :)

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SO GOOD! I made these with chunky peanut butter, dried cranberries and milk chocolate chips instead of almond butter, raisins and dark chocolate and I loved the new combo to mix things up!

Right after the last batch was coming out of the oven, I headed to Starbucks to meet Sarah. I brought her a cookie and she paid for my drink! I had an unsweetened iced passion tea

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LOVE Tazo Passion tea. Its amazing hot or cold!

I came home, packaged up all the cookies and then went to the gym to walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill while watching Oprah. She makes the time fly and my orthotics are getting more broken in and comfortable with every day that passes. :)

I didn’t want to eat so early when I got home, even though I knew Ryan had a meeting and wouldn’t be home. So….I busted out my new crackers!

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I’ve seen these on a bunch of blogs and then when Greenwise had them on sale for buy one get one free, I knew I had to try ‘em. The ingredient list is awesome!

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I munched on a few and loved them! They are very, very light and crunchy and would go really well with hummus me thinks. I love anything and everything caraway so these were perfect for me!

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Not long after, I started dinner. On the menu tonight was a whole wheat pasta bowl with tofu and spinach!

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I used:

  • 2 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 tsp-ish extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup organic fire roasted tomatoes
  • drizzle balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 serrano chili (!)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on microplane
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 serving tomato basil baked tofu
  • a big bunch of spinach
  • parmesan to top
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Basically I just sauteed the zucc + tofu pieces + garlic and chili in the olive oil for a few minutes then added the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Let it cook for about three-four minutes then tossed the hot pasta with it. Served the whole thing over a bed of spinach and really liked the “hot/cold combo”. I wasn’t sure serving pasta over raw spinach would work but it worked very well…..I just combined my salad and my entree into one! ;) When Ryan gets home later he will be eating leftover Fleming’s mac & cheese and fish from last night. Lucky man!

I’m just so TIRED but I still have work to do so I didn’t want to have a glass of red wine because I knew it would put me right to sleep! Instead, I picked the first time from my new tea box!!

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Ange raves about Stash tea but I’ve never tried it before! I picked the decaf creme caramel because it seemed like a good “desserty” drink. I was right—-very, very yummy!

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I’ve grown to appreciate coffee and tea without any added sweetener but its been a long road. I get a bunch of emails asking how I can enjoy my beverages “black” and the answer is that you slowly have to wean yourself into it. Sort of like plain yogurt…you know?

When I was 18 I went with my mom out to Miravel Life in Balance Spa in Arizona and attended a tea lecture there. The woman giving the lecture said that tea was NEVER meant to have sweetener in it. You are pretty much ruining the tea’s natural taste when you douse your mug with sugar, splenda, stevia or agave. The beauty of tea is that each type has such a different taste and one should learn to appreciate it in its “naked” state.

Of course when I was 18 I sort of said “yeah right” and continued to dump packets of equal (GASP) and splenda into my hot drinks. It was only a few years ago that I slowly started to wean myself off the artificial sweeteners and add real sugar into my tea. Then, I started reducing the amount of real sugar in my tea until I didn’t need it at all anymore. The same goes with coffee only I hardly drink coffee at all anymore. Coffee + splenda = major migraine waiting to happen.

For instance, now, as I sip on this creme caramel tea I am able to pick up on the soft caramel notes along with the rich tannins of the black tea. Tannins are those things that are in red wine also—-the stuff that makes your mouth sort of “pucker” after you drink it. To reduce the amount of tannins in your tea, remove the tea bag after about three minutes. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had a strange taste for black tea. I used to order it whenever my family went out to breakfast when I was as young as seven years old! I think it made me feel dignified or something. Anyways, its just one of those things—some people like it, some people don’t. If black tea isn’t your thang, try an herbal infusion instead. My favorites include chamomile, peppermint or raspberry. Celestial Seasonings makes a wonderful vanilla chamomile tea that I love!

And what goes perfectly with tea might you ask??

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A homemade cookie! What else??! I froze a few cookies for us and let me just tell you, freezing these Super Charge Me cookies might be even BETTER than eating them straight out of the oven. SOO good. This was pure bliss.
I am working on the e-cookbook for a little bit and then going to bed embarrassingly early!! Hopefully I will arise in the morn with energy galore and have a super productive day!
New Twirlit article—easy summer desserts!

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Quisha June 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Jenna-
I love the blog. It’s great to see new recipes and ideas, especially for those of us who are trying new things!

It is quite the journey not to have to use any added sweetners, but it really makes you appreciate the true taste of the tea/coffee.

The cookies look amazing! That’ll be my next cookie recipe! :)

-
Quisha

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kerry June 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Those cookies look so good! :) What a clever recipe with those dried cranberries!

I like your dessert article, too! My favorite dessert is so simple and brainless- yogurt with berries! Perfect sweet treat!

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Nicole June 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I always see those crackers on blogs too and have been wanting to try them!
It’s funny because I never added sugar or sweetener to my tea. I always thought it was weird, even from a young age.
Hope you have more energy tomorrow!

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Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats June 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Ugh, I JUST wrote about how I have had zero energy today too!! Something must be in the air, hmmmm. Pasta looks great!

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Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) June 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm

The cookies look delicious!

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Rachel June 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm

It’s funny that you started writing about tannins, because just before that, I was thinking hmm, you could make a comparison with adding sweetener to wine and how that would mask/destroy its flavor! Nevertheless, I am still a sweetener-adder… though I definitely consider cutting it out.

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Phyllis June 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I take my tea unsweetened and can’t imagine drinking it any other way, however I do add a bit of sweetener to my coffee.

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Recipes for Creativity June 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I have a hard time drinking tea straight up, but I think I could learn to. Also, I went to bed last night at 9:00 pm, so don’t be embarrassed by early sleepy times!

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Shannon June 15, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Those cookies looks so grainy and textural… in a good way. I love sweets with a bit of body to them. Yum.

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Maria June 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm

The pasta looks sooo yummy and beautiful. I tried freezing my bake goods and eating them straight out and it is delicious–especially on a hot day. Thanks for that tip, Jenna!

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Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) June 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Mmmm cookies and tea and pasta…sounds like a good day in my book!

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Emily (Healthy Fit Mama) June 15, 2009 at 8:15 pm

I love the Mary’s Gone Crackers! And yes, they are fabulous with hummus!

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Help Meghan Run June 15, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Yum! Next time I try those cookies I’ll have to freeze them. Last time I made them I saved a little dough and mixed it with yogurt. I want to try it as an oatmeal topping, too. :) The dough is SO good!

HelpMeghanRun.com

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K June 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm

That tea is one of the few I’ll drink – it’s good!! I agree in that you definitely have to ease yourself into unsweetened territory!

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Becky@I Heart Running & Food June 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Yum those cookies look so good! I’m going to have to get the recipe. The pasta looked good too, I love fire-roasted tomatoes! I always get good ideas from your blog :) Have a good one!

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Run Sarah June 15, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Your cookies look awesome! I love my coffee & tea black and it’s definitely an acquired taste. I can’t stand sweetener in my coffee – I tried it the other day and couldn’t drink it.

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Meg June 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Your cookies and your dinner look amazing. I love STASH teas, especially their holiday flavors.

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Shannon (The Daily Balance) June 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm

dinner looks awesome! I have got to get my hands on some STASH teas – they look and sound delish!

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Megan (Runner's Kitchen) June 15, 2009 at 9:01 pm

I drink my coffee and tea with just a splash of milk, but it took a few years to get to this point. When I first started drinking coffee, the only things I liked were frappuccinos and mocha cappuccinos. Now they taste way too sweet! I had a funny experience at Dunkin’ Donuts the other day…the women behind the counter called me “flacka” which is Spanish for skinny/weak/puny because I ordered my coffee without sugar.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 15, 2009 at 9:05 pm

I totally did the same thing as you with my tea. I used to sump Splenda in it all the time. Once I stopped using artificial sweeteners I eventually started to appreciate the taste of herbal teas- just like you did. Now I find that some teas taste quite ‘sweet’ to me which is very shocking because I used to HATE them without sweetener. I had a ‘Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey’ tea today and it tasted SO sweet! I *think* I gave you one in your tea box…if you have one try it and let me know if you notice the hint of sweetness it in, I thought it was just lovely!

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Jess June 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I am slowly learning to love tea. I am obsessed with organic chai tea! Yum!
Hope you wake up tomorrow relaxed and rejuvenated :)
<3 jess

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liza June 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Thats too funny, I used to order black tea because it made me feel mature when I was little, too!

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Jennifer @ His N' Her Health June 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm

I have never sweetened my hot tea. My parents always gave it to me plain as a kid. My friends in high school always thought I was nuts when I would order unsweetened ice tea from Starbucks!

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jenna June 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm

yum your super charge me cookies look great! I used to use sweeteners as well until I realized they were causing my migraines!! yuck=splenda/equal.

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Victoria June 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Peppermint tea is one of the few teas I love without any added sweetener. I’ve been able to really reduce the amount of sugar I use in other varieties though.

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Katrina (gluten free gidget) June 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Those crackers are the bomb diggity! I don’t buy them often because of the price. That’s awesome you found them on sale! Quick microplane question: How do you clean your microplane? Whenever I try to scrub mine it ends up “eating” the sponge! Any tips?

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jenna June 15, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Katrina,

I just stick it in the dishwasher!

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Bec June 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I agree unsweetened tea is the way to go!

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megan June 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

I had to transition to unsweetened tea when i went to China for a summer. Lots of green tea and chamomile tea without sugar – but i drank it because it was the safest thing! (boiled water). Of course when i came back I went right back to sweetening my tea… :)

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FitFoodie June 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm

The cookies and pasta look amazing :)

I had a bunch of low energy days last week too. It happens to all of us once in a while I guess…but I wish it didn’t have to!

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Liesl June 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Jenna,
I have seen these cookies too many times now and must have the recipe…can you email it to me?

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jenna June 15, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Liesl,

The recipe can be found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Eat Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton—I highly recommend it! :)

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Matt June 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Cookie porn!

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RunToFinish June 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm

i don’t know why but i have always preferred unsweetened tea…this is strange because I’m such a sugar freak in every other area!

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april June 15, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I actually started drinking my tea black cold turkey! I don’t even know how it happened exactly..

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Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now June 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm

The pasta dinner looked so good!

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Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope June 15, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I’ve never seen the Caraway flavor before! I really liked Mary’s herb flavor, so I’ll have to look around for these.

What a great dinner! So simple and delicious. YUM on the tofu!

And I love your idea of freezing the cookie. That seriously is my FAVORITE way to eat cookies. And perfect for summer! :)

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rachel June 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm

hey jenna–are those vegan cookies? where did you get the recipe? Thanks!

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emily June 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm

I’m glad you liked the crackers, Marys is my favorite brand. Have you ever had Doctor Krackers? They have a similar fan base I think.

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Joelle (Chasing Pavements) June 15, 2009 at 10:58 pm

That pasta looks great! Did you buy the tofu basil-baked, or did you prepare it yourself that way?

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Sally June 15, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I don’t put sugar in my coffee or tea but sometimes I add a little milk to make it creamy. I guess that’s probably not appropriate for tea, either?

I have a yoga question that I was hoping you could answer. Traditionally, are you supposed to do a push-up each time you make the upward-dog/downward-dog transition or is that something that only some instructors have you do during certain types of classes?

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MarathonVal June 15, 2009 at 11:22 pm

I always wonder how you stay so fat despite all the yummy looking sweets you eat! I made some “healthful” cookies myself (stole carrotsncake’s recipe!) and could NOT help myself and ate about half the batter. You must have great willpower to only allow yourself one cookie at a time! :)

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Shannon, The Healthy Beach Bum June 15, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Tazo Passion is def my favorite. My sister stole 2 packets out of the new box I got about a week ago and I had to give her a little talkin to lol. Those tea packets are just sooo darn good! <3 those cookies look amazing girly

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mariah June 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm

love the splenda encouragement… i have a huge bag of splenda like freaking costco size at my house in dc and honestly it’s like habit to reach right in and add a scoop. i did read how by cutting back on just splenda you will eat less in a day!

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Jocelyn June 15, 2009 at 11:56 pm

mmmmm good choice! I LOVE stash tea <3

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Caroline June 16, 2009 at 12:25 am

That iced tea is one of my fave things from Starbucks!
Your dinner looks amazing–I would gobble that right up.

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Ali June 16, 2009 at 1:08 am

Isn’t Oprah amazing?! I watch her every time I work out.. she never fails to pass the time :) Oh, and I TOTALLY agree with the unsweetened thang–it’s better for you, too!

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Tasha June 16, 2009 at 1:45 am

The crackers look amazing! Thanks for the review!

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Laura June 16, 2009 at 2:07 am

Just a heads up that the recipe for Super-Charge Me cookies can be found online here: http://viveleveganrecipes.blogspot.com/2009/04/super-charge-me-cookies.html

Your batch looks great, Jenna! :)

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Lola June 16, 2009 at 3:18 am

Oddly enough I went in the reverse order. I used to always drink it straight up, even as a kid, and only recently have started to add a splash of milk and maybe a bit of sugar. I would have to say it depends on the type of tea. To me, bed-time teas like Chamomile just call for some milk – puts me to sleep every time.

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Maya June 16, 2009 at 3:46 am

I’ll have to try super charge me cookies!
And I’m jealous of all the tea selections, I am a HUGE tea fan, and the caramel flavor looks delicious.

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Stacey June 16, 2009 at 6:36 am

Having a hot breakfast on a hot day weighs me down for the rest of the day!! I get that yucky full feeling that won’t go away, then I just wanna nap :)

That Starbucks tea looks really refreshing, I am weird about tea but I am liking the color of it so maybe I’ll keep that in mind next time I am in there!

Yay for homemade cookies!

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Heather June 16, 2009 at 7:57 am

I love that you drink everything black! Sometimes, I feel like a crazy person trying to explain myself to people. I.E. “Trust me – it makes you appreciate the drink’s natural flavor and helps you to relish in that state.” Haha. [;

But it’s so true! How many spas have you been to? I’m up in MA so it’s a bit more difficult to find a good one to get away to. That tea lecture must have been amazing!

Love,
Heather

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bobbi June 16, 2009 at 8:39 am

random question dear:) What kind of camera do you have?

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jenna June 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

Bobbi,

I use a Canon SD780 powershot…I LOVE it! Highly recommend it! :)

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Sarah June 16, 2009 at 8:48 am

I had to slowly wean myself too but now I can do both coffee and tea black and actually prefer them that way!

I love Stash!! The black chai is good and I also enjoy the chocolate hazelnut. Yum :) I will have to try that caramel for sure!

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Ada June 16, 2009 at 8:50 am

Wowzers, those cookies look divine! I agree with you- baked goods totally taste better frozen :)

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Danielle June 16, 2009 at 9:21 am

What a yummy dinner! it looks so good!

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Rebeca June 16, 2009 at 9:27 am

That’s one of my favorite teas… I totally agree on going unsweetened… The natural flavor of tea is so fabulous why mess with it?

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Leila June 16, 2009 at 9:37 am

it’s so true, it’s a slow adaptation of your taste buds. I used to have to have sugar in my coffee and then one day I had a cup and just couldn’t stand the sweetness of the sugar. I haven’t put sugar in my coffee since. I got some really cool advice from a tea researcher this past weekend. He is Chinese and did a research study on herbal tea and told me that if you get loose leaf tea (like from teavana) get the darkest one of oolong, green tea, what have you. After you’ve brewed your cup of tea, chew on the leaves just a bit and then spit them out. By doing so you release and get all the nutrients still in the tea leaves. I thought this was an amazing trip. I haven’t tried it yet, but will definitely do it soon!

Have a great day, hope the AC is fixed soon!

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Fitzalan June 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

I am slowly weening myself off sweetening my tea. Some days I’m good about it, some days agave or stevia enters the cup. Coffee is a whole different story though. I only have 1 cup a day and I have to add a packet of stevia and some soy creamer…I just can’t do it black.

I am with you though—tea in its natural form is the best kind. I am a major tea drinker (multiple cups a day) so I really do need to completely ween myself off the sweetener!

Happiness Awaits

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gina (fitnessista) June 16, 2009 at 10:13 am

ahhhh mary’s crack. those crackers are AMAZING!
have a great day!

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Kaye June 16, 2009 at 10:47 am

Jenna–that was so interesting about the teas meant to be enjoyed without sugar. I’m usually not too much into teas, but I’m trying to change my taste buds by testing some different ones out. Currently I am trying to “wean” myself off of my sweetened creamer :) I think it will take a little bit of time, but worth it in the end. Thanks for sharing your story :)

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Annie-Rose June 16, 2009 at 11:17 am

I’ve also been weening myself off of sugar/splenda/stevia. It’s actually not as hard as I thought it was going to be! That’s awesome you’ve been to Miraval–I’ve gone with my mom 3 times now, and really can’t get enough. I love that place :)

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Shirley June 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm

hi! i’ve been reading your blog a lot lately and i’m liking all the tea :) i’m a huge fan of tea, though i’m still trying to learn to like some of the more fruity herbal kinds.
i’ve never added sugar or milk or anything to my tea before my freshman year of college. my friend loves honey and milk in her tea, so i thought i would try it. actually, i just used a bit of vanilla soymilk in my cinnamon tea and it wasn’t bad, but i generally drink my tea black (unless it’s in latte form ;D).

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Jennifer June 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

Jessica and I (over at keepitsimplefoods.com) also love those Mary’s crackers! We will be doing a review of cracker samples in the near future. The post will def be positive!

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