A Refreshing Way to Start the Day

Fr. Joel Life on Planet Earth

I’ve been a coffee drinker since my student days in Italy. The yummy cappuccini and perky espressi opened my eyes to the joys of coffee. For years daily coffee was a staple in my life. Then one day I decided to try the “Blood Type Diet.” I was feeling sluggish and often had headaches. I would get so sleepy in the afternoons I had to stop for a siesta. People with my blood type weren’t supposed to drink coffee. I thought this would kill me.

The alternative was green tea. Green tea by itself is quite bland. But I discovered that a spoonful of honey and half a fresh-squeezed lemon transforms it into a sweet-and-sour wakeup call. The resulting drink is refreshingly warm on a cold Wisconsin morning. 

The sluggish feeling is gone. What caused it? Probably dehydration. I get dehydrated after a night’s sleep and morning coffee only made things worse. The more tired I felt, the more coffee I drank. I should have been drinking water. In fact, if I feel sleepy in the afternoon a glass of water perks me up better than a cup of coffee. The green tea starts me off on a better path. Perhaps I am part plant.

I no longer keep up with the blood type diet, but I did hang on to the green tea. It’s funny twist of fate. Back in the early days of the blog, my brother wrote a post entitled, “Can men drink tea?” with a picture of a frilly teacup. I made a snarky comment that touched off a comment war. Now I’m the one drinking tea. In my defense I drink it from a manly stainless-steel travel mug.

The switch to green tea accompanied another change in my life. I am praying more. I have always been a praying person but it was kind of a chore. Over the last couple years I have become more open to prayer as part of a real relationship with God. I actually look forward to my morning prayer. I have a regular prayer spot in the old convent chapel. My travel mug accompanies me and makes for pleasant pauses in prayer. It’s eye-opening in more ways than one.

  1. Boil water, preferably in an electric kettle.
  2. Pour 8 ounces (250ml) into a pyrex measuring cup.
  3. Wait 15-30 seconds for the cup to heat up (water for green tea should be about 90 C. As the measuring cup warms up, it also cools the water).
  4. Steep a bag of green tea for three minutes (more than 3 minutes and the tannins leak out and give the green tea a bitter flavor). I always use a timer or I’ll forget.
  5. Remove the tea bag and squeeze half a lemon into the pyrex cup.
  6. Pour the hot liquid into a manly (or girly) travel mug.
  7. Add a teaspoon or two of local honey and stir with gusto.
  8. Sip mindfully.