I don't go to spas; can't afford them. I don't get manicures; I prefer short, unadorned nails. I don't get pedicures; see "I don't get manicures." I'm not a clotheshorse. I go to a cheap place to get my hair cut, and sometimes I don't get around to doing that until my hair has grown unrecognizably out of its simple wash-and-go style.
Good teas—I mean whole-leaf imported teas—are my one indulgence, a way that I take care of myself. I favor Japanese and Chinese green teas and white teas, as they carry more of the agents than black teas do that appear to help prevent colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and other cancers (see this, this, this, and this, for starters). But mostly I like them because they have such lovely subtle tastes, give me a caffeine dose without making me feel jittery the way coffee does (and so I haven't drunk coffee regularly in years), and put me in mind of Asian meditation methods, which relaxes me.
I don't drink soft drinks; they're loaded with sugar and other unnecessary junk and have too many calories. I don't generally drink cow's milk; when I want something milklike with my cold breakfast cereal, I drink unflavored soy milk. I often drink plain old water throughout the day. But mainly, I drink a lot—a lot—of tea, all of it unsweetened.
And here is where I store most of it before I brew it:
My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm made this tea wheel, which is based on an idea I had. Ever notice those metal wheels with clips on them in diners, where the wait staff clip orders for the cooks to see and fill? I wanted some kind of rotating wheel onto which I could clip my bags of tea leaves from SpecialTeas. (Sometime after I wrote this post, that company was bought out by Teavana, a company I don't patronize. I now get most of my teas from Adagio Teas and TeaSource.) I'd stored them in the cabinet above and to the left of where the wheel now is, and they'd often fall out onto the countertop when I opened the cabinet door. Or I'd be lazy and tend to just use the bags at the front of the cabinet, and then get bored with drinking the same few teas over and over again. The tea wheel lets me see what I have "in stock" and cleared out some space in that cabinet ... for the teas that I order that don't come in convenient zip-close bags: tulsi ginger tea from India, olive-leaf tea from Olivus, and jiaogulan-leaf tea from Immortalitea. And of course, there are the boxes of pedestrian herbal teas that everyone else in my family drinks. Yes, I am a tea snob.
That blinding white light that you see in the photo to the right and in the one above is the sun coming through an extremely long but very short window in my kitchen that takes the place of the backsplash (like the tile one shown here) in most American kitchens. That window is currently the only thing that Ed (My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm) and I like about our outdated kitchen, and that's because he installed the window—it wasn't original to our 45-plus-year-old house. One day when we can afford to do so, we will redo the kitchen and replace the ugly 1970s aqua swirls of the Formica-covered countertops and reface the horrid cabinets that are currently covered merely with rub-on stain and wax. To Ed, the kitchen is a professional embarrassment, because he builds top-end kitchens that you see in magazines, and ours looks like ... well, like ugh. We can't afford his services, and we can't afford to pay for someone else's services (which he'd nitpick) so that he can keep working. ;-) So he begged me to tell you here that our kitchen is in no way a reflection on his talent as a cabinetmaker.
That disclaimer out of the way, I ask this: What do you do to take care of yourself? What refreshes you?
ovarian cancer colon cancer green tea black tea white tea tea leaves anticancer EditorMom