Kiss The Ground - Watch It On Netflix!

Teeccino was excited to sponsor the premiere opening night of the new film, Kiss The Ground, at our local drive-in theater here in Santa Barbara. Now you too can watch this film in the comfort of your own home on Netflix!

Made locally here in Ojai, CA by a husband and wife film team and financially supported by the natural foods industry, Kiss The Ground brings hope in the midst of the worst fire season in recorded history in the Western USA, devastating hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes in the Midwest and Southern states, and other natural disasters in many parts of the planet.

Learn how your family’s food buying can help motivate farmers and ranchers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices that sequester carbon in the soil. Watch examples of, for instance, how the power of human cooperation with nature can restore a once thriving landscape that had been lost to desertification to become a flourishing agricultural area again. We can reverse the trend of lost topsoil and draw down carbon in 10 years. Let’s get going! This is a great film to educate the whole family!

Drawing down carbon in rainforets

By Caroline MacDougall
September 30, 2020
The dream that inspired me to create Teeccino came while I was working on rainforest preservation projects in Central America in the mid 90’s. In fact, the first Teeccino blend I ever made used vanilla harvested by a community of smallholder families in Mexico who were learning to ‘cure’ vanilla beans just like their ancestors had discovered hundreds of years before. My goal at the time was to give economic value to the standing forests that were rapidly being cut down for timber even though it was illegal.
My work then was dedicated to the same values that Teeccino supports now. We hope that our efforts to create new trade with ramón seeds from The Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala and by using other tree crops like carob pods from Spain and Morocco or cinnamon bark from Vietnam helps preserve wild trees in their native habitats while supplying income to rural communities.
But we’d like to do more!


On the inside lid of our tea boxes, you’ll find short descriptions of non-profit organizations (NGOs) whose missions and good work inspire us. We hope that sharing them with you will inspire you too. This year, we’ve been featuring one of them every month with our You Save, We Give program so you can learn more about the impact they’re having on the common good – a term I particularly like because it expresses what benefits all of us together.

One of these foundations is Cool Effect, an NGO whose mission is critical to our life on this planet: reducing CO2 emissions to reverse climate change. They select carbon offset projects that have been verified to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. One of their projects caught my attention because it took me back to those days in the ‘90’s when I was working with Mexican communities on forest preservation.

Here’s how Cool Effect describes their project in Puebla Mexico:

Mexico’s 65 million hectares of forest are disappearing at the rate of 1 million hectares a year. This project aims to mitigate environmental impacts caused by forest exploitation; restore areas with severe erosion or those affected by disease, fire, and pests; and to protect and prevent damage caused by fires, grazing, and illegal use of forest resources. Under Mexico’s complex system of rural land ownership, community members made a decision to restore and sustainably manage the forest.
Photo Source: www.cooleffect.org
Benefits


  • Protection of 300 species of birds, orchids and other rare flowers, wild boars, white-tailed deer, and the puma—all dangerously threatened by deforestation.
  • Model for urgently needed forest conservation throughout Mexico and South America.
  • Rewards for those living closest to the forest for their management and restorative efforts while preserving the natural capital of the area.
  • Sustainable management of forests with a minimal impact on the ecosystem but an extensive contribution to social and economic development.

You can join us this month in supporting this project by donating when you purchase Teeccino in your check out cart. Teeccino matches all donations so whatever you give is doubled!

Here’s a short video made about the work of women in 2 communities in Mexico, one of which involves legally harvested forest crops and the other involves our beloved ramón seed trees! Although we don’t work directly with this community, we’re proud that the work Teeccino did pioneering ramón seeds as a crop has spread to other communities in Central America. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we have!

Prebiotic SuperBoost For Super Gut Health

By Caroline MacDougall

July 30, 2020

One of my oldest friends called me from the hospital where she had been taken on emergency for a bleeding ulcer. She required 2 blood transfusions and narrowly avoided an operation. She felt extremely weak and was thoroughly shocked. She’d always been so healthy; what could have gone wrong?

Well, she had done a 30 day “cleanse” using a group of products from a network marketing company that restricts your diet to their highly processed, high protein shakes and bars. When I read the ingredients of this company’s products, it was no surprise to me that the community of bacteria, also called the microbiome, in her gut had become so unbalanced. The diet deprived her friendly gut microbes of what they need to thrive while it allowed a bacteria called H. pylori, which can be present in our gut without causing harm, to go out-of-control. Without enough good probiotics to keep the peace, an overgrowth of H. pylori will attack the stomach lining and the small intestines. The result causes ulcers.

My first thought was to overnight her all 3 packages of Teeccino’s newest wellness blends, my Prebiotic SuperBoost Herbal Coffee & Teas, so she could add a couple of daily cups of Teeccino to her healing regime. After years of studying prebiotics and watching the science about them evolve, my excitement triggered by studies about their effects on gut health convinced me that it was the time to create some new Teeccino blends with enhanced prebiotic effects.

So many people now have problematic digestion. Like my friend, many of us have restricted our diets and inadvertently affected our gut health. We may also have taken antibiotics which can unbalance our microbiome and reduce the population of the probiotics we need most. Daily stress, exposure to chemicals in our food, air and water as well as prescription drugs can all disturb the balance and reduce the variety of microbiota in our microbiome.

The two prebiotic concentrates I have blended together to make Prebiotic SuperBoost, XOS and GOS, have been studied intensively for their effect on various species of probiotics as well as the overgrowth of both pathogens and other bad organisms that can inhabit our gut. Rebalancing our gut microbiota by supporting our probiotics with prebiotics can have the following beneficial health benefits.

Dark Chocolate Prebiotic SuperBoost Tea

The importance of Bifidobacteria in the gut

Our digestion breaks down plant fibers to pass undigested from our small intestines to our large intestines. Some of these fibers are classified as prebiotics because once they reach the colon, they are fermented by our probiotics. Oligosaccharides are one type of these prebiotic soluble fibers and both XOS and GOS are types of oligosaccharides. Both have been shown to increase the population of our Bifidobacteria in dosages of 1g a day. The fermentation of XOS and GOS produces beneficial Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). Butyrate is the primary SCFA produced by Bifidobacteria that has multiple functions in our health.

Here’s what so important about Bifidobacteria and butyrate:

1. Helps Prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome

Butyrate is necessary to keep our colonocytes, which are the type of cells that line our intestines, in good health. Unlike other cells, colonocytes don’t use glucose for nutrition but they thrive on butyrate.

Unfortunately, when our microbiota don’t have enough to eat, they start to digest the mucus lining that protects the interior of our bodies from the food we digest. Leaky Gut Syndrome has become a recognized condition involving cracks or holes in our gut lining that can allow partially digested food, toxins and bacteria to enter our bodies causing inflammation, allergies, and perhaps auto-immune conditions.

With happy Bifidobacteria producing lots of butyrate, your gut lining is strengthened and the links between the colonocytes are tight which prevents your gut from leaking. Our intestines should allow vitamins and minerals to pass through the gut lining and enter the bloodstream, but toxins and food compounds should be kept in the gut. A healthy gut is where optimal health begins!

2. Helps Reduce Inflammation

Healthy colonocytes munching away on butyrate not only keep our gut lining in top shape but they also reduce inflammation. They create an oxygen-free, slightly acidic atmosphere, which is what the Bifidobacteria need to thrive. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement!

High butyrate levels influence the production of glutathione, a very important antioxidant that fights free radicals. Since the colon stores our waste products including toxins the body is excreting, it is at risk for various inflammatory bowel conditions. Having more glutathione helps keep inflammation in check and enhances our immune system.

Butyrate has also been shown to increase the activity of certain immune cells called regulatory T cells. They help keep the immune system from being too hyper-active and overreacting.

Low dietary fiber intake is a risk factor for colon cancer. This may be due to insufficient levels of butyrate since it’s likely the population of bifidobacteria would be low without its favorite prebiotics in plentiful supply. Butyrate has been shown to inhibit an enzyme that is produced by cancerous cell. Butyrate assists the process of apoptosis, or cell death, that stops cancer from developing. Eating a high fiber, plant-based diet with plenty of prebiotics to fuel the bifidobacteria to produce butyrate is super important for keeping your colon healthy.

3. Helps Keep Blood Sugar Balanced

There is exciting research going on now to explore which probiotic species are associated with healthy weight versus those that are more prevalent in obesity. Although most of the weight control studies have been done on animals, in humans it has been found that bifidobacteria species are more abundant in the microbiome of people with healthy weight while other species are more abundant in pre-diabetic and obese people. It may even be possible that the wrong ratio of microbes in our gut can trigger increased desire for sweets and refined carbohydrates. Now we know who we can blame for those cravings!

Butyrate has been found to increase the production of 2 gut hormones that help regulate insulin production and the uptake of glucose by our muscles and fatty tissue for energy. When our cells are receptive to taking in more glucose, we can receive the nutrients that are present in our blood, thus making the best use of the food we eat.

Pre-diabetic and obese people may be overeating because their cells are insulin-resistant which leads to increased hunger. Prebiotics have been shown to help balance blood sugar and this mechanism may be the result of them nourishing the Bifidobacteria which then raise the levels of butyrate. See how it’s mutually dependent? More bifidobacteria, more butyrate, more balanced energy!

Mango Lemon Balm Prebiotic SuperBoost

Ever Evolving Microbiome Science

Science keeps evolving our understanding of the role of the microbiome and its over 1,000 species to our health. More human studies are being conducted to test if the results indicated by animal studies will hold true in humans. For instance, there are animal studies showing consuming prebiotics can result in improvement in learning, cognition and long term memory as well as new neuron growth in the brain, stress reduction and mood enhancement. All these effects are waiting for human studies to confirm.

In the meantime, high protein, high fat and low carbohydrate diets that induce ketosis, like the one my friend went on, can disrupt the balance in your microbiome. Even if you’re not on one of those diets, prebiotic concentrates like XOS and GOS will increase the population of your bifidobacteria bringing their beneficial effects to your health with higher butyrate levels. By drinking two or more cups a day of Teeccino Prebiotic SuperBoost blends, you’ll take in 1-2 grams of concentrated prebiotics as deliciously as possible!

Health benefits of cordyceps and schisandra

By Caroline MacDougall

June 30, 2020

When ethnobiologists (who study the use of plants in native cultures) find native people using the same mushrooms and herbs across many different regions and cultures, science gets interested. We can thank both Russian and Chinese scientists for taking a deep look at their historical records to discover and research many of the medicinal ingredients recommended from ages past that are still in use in traditional medicine today.

Cordyceps mushrooms and schisandra berries are both classified as adaptogens because studies have supported indications that consuming them reduces stress, positively balances the body’s metabolic functions and increases endurance. The stories behind their use and how they interact with our bodies is fascinating and I’d like to share them with you!

 

 

Cordyceps, the fungus that ate the caterpillar

I know, it sounds really weird. Cordyceps is a fungus, not really a true mushroom, though it is closely related and is typically referred to as a mushroom. It grows only in the high altitude meadows in the Himalayan mountains.  Cordyceps sinensis is a parasite that takes over and eats the larval body of a ghost moth and eventually grows its fruiting body out of the head of the dead caterpillar. If that sounds yucky to you, never fear, commercial cordyceps isn’t grown that way!

 

The problem for wild cordyceps came about when the world discovered that traditional healers recommend it for enhancing sexual desire and performance. The price for the wild fungus soared to over the price of gold. Sadly this is a common story in the wild harvest world where spikes in demand causes species to become endangered. Typically a commercial technique for growing the ingredient is then developed. However, cultivating a wild fungus like cordyceps is more challenging than usual.

 

Fortunately, Chinese scientists tested wild Cordyceps sinensis against a number of other species of corydceps fungi and they identified one, Cordyceps militaris, which has comparable effects and in some ways, is even more potent. It’s also able to be cultivated without using any insects – whew!

 

Aside from its reputation for boosting the libido, cordyceps also became famous during the mid-90’s when Chinese Olympic athletes broke a number of world records. When accused of using steroids, their coaches claimed they were taking cordyceps extract. Energy and libido are the holy grail and cordyceps sales show just how much people crave both those effects!

 

Although most studies for herbs and mushrooms are conducted on animals like mice (human studies are usually too expensive for companies to make big investments in unpatented natural ingredients), they have confirmed mechanisms showing cordyceps increases oxygen uptake, helps stabilize blood sugar, and increases endurance along with enabling a speedier recovery after exercise. All of which back up traditional uses of this unique fungus.

 

 

 

Schisandra, the five flavored berry

This bright red berry from China is considered extremely valuable in traditional Chinese medicine because it contains all 5 flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and pungent.  It is thought that these 5 flavors affect all 5 of the organ systems which relate to the 5 elements in the body.

 

Originally, The Treatise On The Nature of Medicinal Herbs, which was published during the Chinese Tang dynasty around 600-900 A.D., recommended schisandra berries which grew wild in the northern Manchurian mountain forests. Schisandra is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs of Chinese medicine.

 

Now the berries are cultivated in the north of China and Russia on trellises similar to grape vines. However, there are two different species that are harvested and sold as schisandra. Teeccino only buys the superior bright red berries that are Schisandra chinensis, not the cheaper, rust colored berries that are Schisandra sphenanthera. Many other companies sell the sphenanthera variety due to the lower price although its health benefits are different and inferior to the true schisandra chinensis species.

 

Schisandra is an important tonic herb in Chinese medicine for its revitalizing and harmonizing properties. The berries contain lignans, plant polyphenols that are antioxidants.  Its lignans, schisandrin and gomesin, have been shown to protect the liver from damage due to toxins and inflammation. They improve liver function by stimulating detoxification enzymes and promoting cell growth. Schisandra berries are considered to have anti-aging properties which is probably due to its potent antioxidants that prevent free radical damage. As an adaptogen, it is know for reducing the effects of stress, supporting a healthy endocrine system, and helping to balance blood sugar while also stimulating the immune system.

the pairing of cordyceps with schisandra

I pondered long about which adaptogenic herbs pair well with which health mushrooms. The reality is, they all complement each other but they can have some particularly pronounced effects that when combined can reinforce each other. Additionally, I decided that I should only pair one of each herb and mushroom together in a Teeccino blend in order to get a significant amount of each one in a single cup.

Other companies put a number of adaptogens together in one tea, but then the effective dose is reduced to only a very small number of milligrams. Luckily, Teeccino’s tea bags hold 6 grams as opposed to standard tea bags that only hold 1.5-2 grams. That allows me to include delicious roasted herbs and spices along with the adaptogens to provide more health benefits plus rich, bold flavor to make the experience of drinking these wellness ingredients pleasurable.

Both cordyceps and schisandra are known to increase energy and fight fatigue. Both nourish the endocrine system including the adrenal glands that are essential to feeling energized and having a strong libido. Each has its own unique benefits that have synergistic and reinforcing effects when combined together.

 

The exciting, stimulating spicy-sweet taste of Vietnamese cinnamon immediately suggested itself to me to complement the unusually pungent berry notes in schisandra. Along with some non-caloric sweetness from sweet blackberry leaves, a special variety of blackberry that actually brings sweetness to the brew, this blend is warming to the senses when drunk hot and tastes like a creamy root beer soda when enjoyed iced with a little maple syrup and vanilla.

the path of discovery

If you want to learn more about the health benefits of cordyceps and schisandra, we recommend doing some internet browsing on authoritative websites. Look for scientific studies and reviews of studies that examine their results. Due to the fact that we sell beverages with wellness ingredients in them, we have to be sure we aren’t making any claims about our products. We hope you understand that Teeccino is a healthy herbal beverage that can assist your goal of achieving optimal health along with a well-balanced, whole foods diet and exercise program. It is not however, meant to treat any disease.

 

Herbs and mushrooms bring unique wellness compounds into your diet that you can’t find in any food commonly eaten or available in North America. By infusing your water with herbs like those in Teeccino, you can benefit from consuming a much wider variety of unique antioxidants, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and other such natural compounds found in these ingredients that are not found in anything else!

By Caroline MacDougall
June 5th, 2020

Like all of you, we at Teeccino are deeply troubled by the terrible injustice and ensuing conflict that has roiled our country in recent days. Finding our way forward to discover solutions that will prevent police brutality and heal racist division is a process that we as a company, as well as each of us as individuals, are fully committed to.

After much discussion at our company meetings, we’ve realized that right action for Teeccino to address these wrongs starts with what we know best: creating health and supporting a clean environment. Too often, communities of color are defenseless against corporate polluters and they become victims of environmental crimes. It could be toxic waste dumped in their neighborhoods or new pipelines that destroy their homes, or any number of other environmental injustices.

To begin, we’d like to bring awareness and support to a national law that is the foundation of our right to protect ourselves and the environment. 50 years ago, Congress enacted The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which has given all of us, including communities of color, a voice on what contracts and project the federal government approves and funds. NEPA mandates Environmental Impact Statements on projects by both the government and industry. It gives communities the right to defend themselves against harmful actions.

We can support communities of color and their fight to keep their environment healthy by supporting those organizations that help them defend themselves. Earthjustice is a group of lawyers that defends environmental cases in court to hold industry and the government accountable. Greenaction is a grassroots group of urban, rural and indigenous leaders who work with community partners in the fight for environmental, social, economic and climate justice. These are just two of many groups, both local and national, that work tirelessly to bring the full bearing of laws like NEPA to protect the environment and prevent social injustice and racial discrimination.

On the lid of every Teeccino tea box, we print information about groups whose work has inspired us by their commitment and the impact of their mission.  We encourage you to read the lids when you sip a cup of Teeccino. Watch for more groups that we plan to feature on our lids in the coming months. Just knowing what one another is doing helps us all become more aware and thus, better citizens. If you have worthy organizations that you think everyone should know about, please share them with us for consideration. We can all keep informing each other of the good works being done by many to right the wrongs of the past and brings us together for a better future!

In peace,

Caroline

Teeccino Caramel Nut Cake

Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel, dandelion
Servings: 9 people
Calories: 315kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tea bags Teeccino Dandelion Caramel Nut Herbal Tea
  • 2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F and grease a 8x8 cake pan
  • Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast for 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Place aside.
  • In a small sauce pan, bring the non-dairy milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let steep for at least 10 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients.
  • Add the coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract and mix. Then remove the tea bags from milk and add to batter. Lastly mix in the walnuts.
  • Pour batter into the greased pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack before removing cake from pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!

Prebiotics on the frontier of good health

By Caroline MacDougall

May 28, 2020

I’ve been excited about the health benefits of prebiotics for years ever since I first started researching why Teeccino was helping people with digestive and elimination problems. It started with an older woman who called our customer service and said, “What’s in that stuff? I’m regular for the first time in my life!”. Then we heard from her doctor. He said the same thing, “What’s in that stuff? I’ve been treating my patient for 25 years and she’s never been regular before!”.

 

My research led me to discovering inulin, the soluble fiber in chicory root that is a prebiotic. I learned that its function is to nourish the probiotics in our digestive tract where it plays an essential role in gut health. I also discovered that it is in short supply in our modern diet compared to the quantity eaten by our hunting and gathering ancestors. We eat around 2 grams a day whereas they ate over 15g daily coming from all kinds of tubers and wild foods that are high in inulin.

 

My first exposure to prebiotics was back in the mid-90’s. Fast forward 20 some years and the science for prebiotics has increased exponentially aided by the ability to decode the DNA of the microbes, also called microbiota, living in our digestive tract. Now scientists can study the effects of what we eat on the thousand or more species of microbiota that inhabit our colon. Collectively, this colony is known as the microbiome.

 

Scientists can analyze the difference between the microbiome in a healthy person’s colon compared to the microbiome in people with various health conditions like pre-diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, compromised immunity and mood disorders. Although the science is still young and the interactions between all the microbiota are complex, exciting discoveries are developing fast. The study of the microbiome has become the new frontier in human health.

 

In honor of International Digestive Health Day, I’d like to share this wonderfully animated video from National Public Radio about the microbiome. Take 5 minutes and enjoy it! Over the next month, watch for my blog posts about prebiotics including Teeccino’s own Prebiotic SuperBoost™ blend and how you can improve your health by supporting your microbiome!

chicory herbal coffee tea

Dandelion Caramel Nut Bullet "Coffee"

Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Hot Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy
Servings: 1 glass
Calories: 61kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 bags Dandelion Caramel Nut tea bag grounds
  • 1/2 cup warm Almond milk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 scoop collagen
  • 4 drops monk fruit or stevia
  • 1 dash cinnamon

Instructions

  • Blend and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 164mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 150mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!

Teeccino Bulletproof "Coffee"

Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Hot Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy
Servings: 1 glass
Calories: 68kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Your favorite medium/dark roast Teeccino blend or one tea bag
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/8 tsp raw cacao
  • 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • Combine Teeccino, cacao and boiling water and let sit in French press for 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour in blender and add vegan butter and coconut oil.
  • Blend, then add your favorite sweetener (Agave, honey, etc) and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 32mg | Vitamin A: 188IU
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!

Maca Chocolaté Banana Smoothie

Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Smoothies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy
Servings: 1 smoothie
Calories: 375kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup brewed Teeccino Maca Chocolaté
  • 1 banana frozen, cut into slices
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey or sweetener, to taste
  • handful of ice cubes

Instructions

  • Blend together almond milk, brewed Teeccino, frozen banana slices, peanut butter, and honey/sweetener with a handful of ice cubes.
  • Dust with cocoa or cinnamon and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 311mg | Potassium: 630mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!