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

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

How Adaptogens Relieve Stress

By Caroline MacDougall

April 30, 2020

I’ve been thinking about stress a lot lately ~ and experiencing way more of it like everyone else on the planet. With a pandemic in full swing, we’re all having to change our lives around dramatically. That in itself is stressful but on top of this, we’ve got lots more on our plates to make life chaotic and thus even more stressful.

Parents are coping with working from home while also being full-time homeschool teachers. Family members may have moved in, crowding the living space. Extra work for cooking and cleaning has been created by so much at-home-ness. The list just goes on and on. Plenty to stress about without even getting started on our health!

The state of stress can sneak up on you. It’s not like anxiety, which makes itself well known as it gnaws in your gut. Although you can be both anxious and stressed at the same time, you probably pay a lot more attention to the anxious feelings than you do to the more subtle overall sense of being under stress.

People around you may perceive that you’re stressed before you realize it. They see the shortness of your temper, the irritability, the tenseness of your face. I personally found myself realizing I was much more stressed than I fully comprehended and I began tracking the symptoms. Tense shoulders, tired eyes from staring at screens, uptight reactions, panic around taking care of everything, and maybe worst of all, an inability to really think clearly.

If you can’t change the things that are causing you stress on a day-to day-basis, what can you do to reduce it?

The answer is, you can rely on adaptogens, the herbs and mushrooms that support the body in adapting to stress, to help you stay calm and keep out of the high stress zone. Let’s look at what adaptogens do in your body to reset your stress levels.

First things first ~ what are adaptogens?

It all started with Russian scientists in the 1950’s researching what herbs would help their Olympic athletes and their cosmonauts adapt to stress under extreme conditions while producing health benefits like increasing their endurance and enhancing their immune systems.

Here’s the definition of “adaptogen” that has evolved since those days for the term they created:

Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that increase resistance to stress, whether the cause is physical, chemical or biological.  They have a non-specific normalizing effect on the body’s physical systems by strengthening the immune system, the nervous system and the glandular system. Adaptogens also enhance the body’s ability to recover after exercise, to reduce fatigue and increase cognitive function. They may be taken on a continuous basis without causing any harm.

The three stages of stress

When you’re first succumbing to stress, your body enters the “fight or flight” response. Your adrenal glands pump out cortisol and other stress hormones to heighten the feeling of being energized by increased mental alertness while your liver floods your blood with glucose for quick energy. If you’ve read my newsletter for awhile, you’ll know that caffeine stimulates this stress response too. At the same time, your body pulls energy away from your digestion and immune system so you can prepare to fight off an enemy or run from danger.

Hans Seyle, a Canadian researcher and medical doctor, identified three stages of stress he called the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). The first stage is the alarm stage when you initially react to stress and are in the fight-or-flight response. The second stage is the resistance stage when you body tries to adapt to the stressful state. Cortisol will stay elevated in your blood stream, increasing the duration of stress, which begins to affect your mood and your body. Your blood pressure may remain elevated, you may be irritable and have poor concentration. You are quickly frustrated and various muscles remains tense.

If you remain in the resistance stage too long, you enter the third stage of stress, which is the exhaustion stage. This is when you feel burnt-out, exhausted all the time and your mood may be anxious or depressed. Your immune system is depressed too which puts you at risk for developing an illness or chronic health condition.  Prolonged stress may cause heart disease, strokes, digestive problems, insomnia  and weight gain.

Adaptogens and cortisol, the stress hormone

One of the standard tests for evaluating an herb or mushroom to determine if it qualifies to be an adaptogen is to test whether or not its continuous use will normalize the adrenal gland’s production of cortisol. The battle to maintain optimal cortisol levels is the key to relieving stress.

Although the mechanism that adaptogens use to support the body in relieving stress isn’t well understood, they seem to normalize the balance between the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight-or-flight response, and the parasympathetic nervous system which stimulates the body to “rest-and-digest”. Thus if you have too little cortisol, adaptogens will support the adrenals in producing more whereas if your adrenals are producing too much cortisol, they will help its production come back into balance.

Studies also look at the ability to perform better on cognitive tests when under stressful conditions in order to determine the ability of an herb or mushroom to support a better response to stress.

Five Of The Best-Studied Adaptogens For Reducing Stress

Eleuthero:  The first herb Russian scientists were studying when they developed the term ”adaptogen”. Originally known as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero is a member of the same botanical family as ginseng. Russian studies showed it to have many of the same health benefits as ginseng such as increased endurance, lowered stress response and support for the immune system.

Reishi: Asia’s Mushroom of Longevity has been renowned for 2000 years for its strengthening effects on health so much so that it was believed that consuming reishi mushrooms helped prolong life. Its antioxidants and polysaccharides are some of the active ingredients thought to support stress reduction.

Astragalus: considered a tonic herb in Asia, astragalus is often added to soups to help prevent illness and strengthen vitality. Animal studies show that astragalus improves cognitive performance such as memory and learning as well as reducing anxiety under stressful conditions.

Tulsi: Revered in India for over 5,000 years, Tulsi has been well studied for its effects on reducing stress whether from physical, psychological, metabolic or chemical stressors. Animal studies show that tulsi optimizes physical endurance, improves cognitive performance under stress, and human studies have shown results for mood improvement and reduction of stress scores.

Rhodiola: Growing in the northern most climate of Siberia where cold temperatures subject plants to stress, rhodiola has shown the ability to improve the response to stress. Human studies show rhodiola can reduce fatigue associated with burn-out, uplift mood and relieve anxiety while improving mental performance.

Chocolate Mint Maca Smoothie

Created by Jeanette Smith
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Smoothies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, creamy
Servings: 1 smoothie
Calories: 234kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 3 dates pitted
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder organic
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1-2 drops peppermint oil organic

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 867mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 6767IU | Vitamin C: 87mg | Calcium: 421mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!

Mocha Mint Milkshake

By Ceyley Mcintosh
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, creamy, ice cream
Servings: 2 milkshakes
Calories: 106kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas frozen
  • 8 oz brewed Teeccino Mocha Mint
  • 8oz almond milk unsweetened

Instructions

  • Cut up bananas into 1/2 inch slices, freeze until fully frozen (about an hour).
  • Remove sliced, frozen bananas from freezer. Blend in high power blender or food processor until you reach a consistency that resembles soft serve. If it is too thick, add a splash of non-dairy milk. This is your "nice-cream!"
  • Take nice-cream mixtures above and place in freezer for about an hour.
  • Brew Mocha Mint Teeccino per package instructions.
  • Place the brew in the refrigerator until the hour timer is up on the nice-cream.
  • Once the hour is up, blend together 2 cups of nice-cream, 8oz of brewed Teeccino, and 8oz almond milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!

Chocolate "Frosty" Smoothie

Creator: Peggy Smith
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, sweet
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 76kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz brewed Teeccino Peggy used Dandelion Dark Roast, but you can use any flavor!
  • 4 oz unsweetened almond milk or oat milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ice cubes
  • stevia to taste

Instructions

  • Brew desired Teeccino ahead of time. Or brew a strong pot of Teeccino and pour over ice to cool.
  • Add all ingredients to in a blender and mix until smooth.
  • Optional: Dust top with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Nutrition

Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!
Regenerative Agriculture: Soil & Trees Can Save The Planet
By Caroline MacDougall
April 21st, 2020

Celebrate Earth Day 2020 By Joining Teeccino In Supporting Tree Planting with Kiss The Ground & The Jungle Project

For Earth Day 2020, we’d like to share with you an exciting tree planting project that Teeccino supports. We’ve joined forces with Kiss the Ground, a non-profit foundation working to educate and support farmers in improving their soil through regenerative agriculture and to train leaders to promote policies that change how farmland is managed.

Planting trees in the tropics has been part of Teeccino’s mission since I founded the Company in 1994 while working in the rainforest in Central America. That’s why I’m pleased to team up with The Jungle Project in collaboration with Kiss The Ground, which oversees the planting of the breadfruit tree in Central America. Breadfruit is a starchy fruit like a potato that can be ground into a gluten-free flour that’s rich in protein and complex carbohydrates. One tree can feed a family of four for 70 years!

By supporting regenerative agriculture, each of us can help reverse this global warming trend in our lifetime while improving the health of the plants we eat and thus our own health as well. For Earth Day 2020, Teeccino is matching any funds donated by our customers during check out on our website.

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

If you tune in to conversations about state-of-the-art organic agriculture these days, you’re sure to hear the use of the term, “regenerative.” Every mission-driven natural foods company is scrambling to make sure its organic ingredients are grown with regenerative agricultural practices in place. At Teeccino, we’re taking this movement just as seriously as we take the organic certification of our herbal ingredients. Here’s why:

Rich, fertile topsoil with deep humus has the ability to store millions of tons of carbon right under our feet. Plants pull carbon out of the atmosphere via photosynthesis and sink it into the ground. Humus, the organic matter in healthy soil, acts like a sponge, absorbing both water and carbon while supporting the life of plants and the trillions of microorganisms that live in the soil.

It’s called the carbon cycle. If we humans rebuild and regenerate our topsoil, it can save life as we know it from the disastrous warming trend that is accelerating extinction of so many species, from mammals to insects. And it can be done relatively quickly. Farmers using regenerative practices to build topsoil are finding they can build multiple inches of topsoil in a season.

Here’s an interesting fact that surprised me: Agriculture since the mid-1800’s has been responsible for releasing twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as burning fossil fuels! Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Since the 1970’s, modern agricultural practices have lost carbon at a greatly accelerated rate. At the same time, farmers are losing topsoil at alarming volumes. No topsoil, no plants to eat!

Regenerative agriculture and Teeccino’s herbal ingredients:

The majority of Teeccino’s ingredients come from tree crops: Carob, Ramón, Almond, Date and Fig. This is fortuitous because trees are permanent plants that continuously draw down carbon from the atmosphere year after year without disturbing the soil. When soil is tilled, a tremendous amount of carbon gets released into the atmosphere.

One of our main ingredients, carob, is a leguminous tree that farmers plant in their organic fields to help nourish the crops they grow. Wild carob trees that grow in the mountains surrounding the Mediterranean are also a significant source of organic carob pods. In the wild, trees like carob and the Ramón tree in Guatemala are part of a permanent forest cover that regenerates the soil as part of nature’s carbon cycle. Growing to over 130 ft tall, the Ramón tree is an essential part of the upper canopy throughout forests in Central America.

In orchards, many farmers leave the soil bare between trees so that weeds don’t compete with the trees for nutrients. Cover crops such as legumes are a foundation of both organic and regenerative agricultural because they improve soil health by sinking nitrogen into the soil, an essential nutrient for the trees. When the plants are tilled into the soil, they become “green manure” that builds the humus content, enabling the soil to act like a sponge and absorb much more water during heavy rainfall.

Two of our main ingredients are organic crops planted annually: barley and chicory roots. We’re lucky that barley is used as a cover crop as it has thick roots, crowds out weeds, and recycles more nitrogen back into the soil when its remains are turned into the fields after harvest. Barley can be a “no-till” crop.

Our organic chicory, grown in India by smallholder family farmers, is weeded by hand rather than sprayed with herbicides that are used in conventional agriculture. We work with a team of organic agricultural specialists in India to advise and teach best organic practices to the farmers in order to increase their yields and enhance the health of their soil.

Here's What You Can Do:

  1. Support The Jungle Project and Kiss the Ground by donating when shopping on Teeccino’s website during our Earth Day Sale between April 22-24, 2020. Use the coupon code “Earth2020” to get 25% off. Donate when checking out - Teeccino will match all donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000!
  1. Buy food from organic farmers who care for their soil. How do you know if they do? If you frequent your local Farmer’s Market, you’ll find organic family farmers who build their topsoil as part of their farm’s regime. Organic agriculture is designed to grow healthy plants by building healthy soil. However, big business has entered the organic market too. Although we welcome more farmland being converted to organic practices, it’s the small family farms that are at the vanguard of the regenerative agricultural movement.
  2. Read about regenerative agriculture and spread the word. I highly recommend this informative and interesting book, Cows Save The Planet by the investigative journalist, Judith Schwartz. The book should have been entitled "Soil Can Save The Planet," but I guess the publishers thought cows were more appealing. You’ll be amazed reading her tales of scientists, ranchers and farmers all over the planet who are working to regenerate our soil. Don’t have time to read the book? Here’s an article by Judith in a Yale University publication that sums up the latest soil science.
  3. Do you have some land? Practicing regenerative agriculture even on a small plot can help save the planet. Grow trees that give food. Sacrifice your lawn for herbs, flowers, and any perennial plants with deep roots. Grow legumes. Keep your soil covered with mulch. As one organic farmer advised me twenty years ago regarding my heavy clay soil with thin topsoil: “Just keep covering the ground with more and more mulch every year. Eventually you’ll have good topsoil.” I took his advice and I can say now that my land has many inches of topsoil!

Some more interesting & disturbing facts:

  • There are 2500 billion tons of carbon stored in the planet’s soil whereas plants and animals only store 560 billion tons. That’s why there is more carbon in the soil than there is in forests!
  • Carbon rich soil stores water like a sponge and then releases it down into ground water storage, thereby protecting land from floods and replenishing our clean water supply. Too much fresh water now runs off of our asphalt-covered cities and conventional farmland, taking with it toxins and topsoil and polluting our rivers and oceans.
  • World Wildlife Fund estimates that we are losing 30-37 million acres of forest every year. Think 36 football fields every minute! Loss of forest cover is creating drought as forest respiration produces vapor that later becomes rain.
  • Desertification is growing rapidly as rain cycles are disturbed through loss of forests and as land is increasingly covered by asphalt or left bare. A single tree can transmit 26 gallons of water on a sunny day which adds to the cooling of the atmosphere and contributes to the rain cycle.

Teeccino French Onion Soup

My absolute favorite vegetarian soup is the soup the French made famous: Soupe à L’Oignon with slowly caramelized onions producing its famous sweet brothy flavor, not beef stock. Most everywhere you go now, chefs take the short cut by adding beef stock to make the soup brown. Back in the‘70’s when I was a twenty-year-old vegetarian traveling in France, Soupe à L’Oignon was the menu choice I relied upon because French chefs always took the time to properly caramelize their onions and never put in beef.
 
Fast forward to now and watching onions brown for hours may not be possible in your lifestyle. How to get that deep brown color and a flavor that compliments the caramelized onions? Add Teeccino French Vanilla, the perfect flavor accompaniment to create a “Je ne sais quoi” response (an indescribable, special distinguishing flavor) for those lucky enough to eat your soup!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Entrees & Sides
Cuisine: French
Keyword: warm
Servings: 6 bowls
Calories: 480kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs yellow onion or 4 large, thinly sliced.
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour white or wheat
  • 2 quarts water
  • 6 tea bags Teeccino French Vanilla or 3 rounded tbsp
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp sherry, cognac or brandy

For the Gratinée (cheese topping)

  • 2+ cups grated Gruyere cheese or swiss mixed with Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 French baguette sour dough preferred

Instructions

  • In a heavy Dutch oven or thick bottom pot, meltthe butter and oil together/
  • Add the onions and toss in the melted butter/ oil
  • Cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low and let them sauté for 15 minutes.
  • Uncover the pot and add salt and sugar to the onions.
  • Cook uncovered for 35 to 45 more minutes, stirring every few minutes until the onions turn a golden brown. Adjust the temperature of the heat to keep them slowly sautéing but not burning or cooking too fast.
  • In a separate pot or kettle, boil 2 quarts of water and add the Teeccino tea bags or grounds. Let steep for 5 minutes. If using Teeccino’s all purpose grind, you’ll need to strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove it from the liquid. You can also make this in your drip coffee maker or French press pot. If they don’t hold 2 quarts, simply add more boiling water to dilute after brewing to make the required 2 quarts.
  • Add the flour to the sautéed onions and stir for 3 minutes to allow the onions to be completely coated by the flour.
  • Slowly add the 2 quarts of brewed Teeccino and the white wine.
  • Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes more.
  • Turn off heat and cover completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Toast 6 x 1" thick slices of the baguette bread.
  • Grate the cheese.
  • Pour the soup into 6 soup bowls place on a baking sheet.
  • Place a slice of toast onto the top of the soup.
  • Cover the toast in each bowl with 1/4 - 1/3 cup grated cheese. The bigger the mound, the more delicious the soup!
  • Bake the soup bowls on the tray for 20 minutes. Finish for a minute or two under the preheated broiler to create a toasted, bubbly, brown crust.
  • Server the bowls on plates with more toasted and buttered French bread on the side. Careful of the hot bowls - use potholders to transfer them to the plates.
  • Server with a lovely bottle of wine or sparkling mineral water.

Notes

Adapted from Mastering The Art of French Cooking

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 832mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 525mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @teeccino or tag #makeboldchoices!

Stay calm, carry on, and put the kettle on!

By Caroline MacDougall

March 20, 2020

Dear Teeccino family,

We hope that all of you are safe wherever you are riding out this crisis, staying healthy by limiting exposure, and keeping connected despite the social distancing that is required at this time.

There are so many things to be grateful for. We give thanks for our cherished loved ones and pray for their safety. We are also so grateful that the internet plus our cell phones keep us in contact with one another and bring us inspiration from people around the world.

Let’s take the advice of the British during World War ll. They survived unbelievable bombardment and endured terrible deprivation but they managed to keep their equanimity. As the top tea drinking culture in the western world, they taught us that a hot cup of tea brings comfort in times of great challenges. Put the kettle on and make yourselves a satisfying cup to sip and enjoy!

Teeccino is still producing and shipping:

As a food and beverage company, we are recognized as an essential business to carry on working. Fortunately we’re well stocked on ingredients and our production is running to keep the grocery shelves, our etailers and the Teeccino website fully supplied.  We always follow all good food manufacturing practices (GMPs) including gloves worn by our production team while complying with strict hygiene protocol and not being allowed to work if they are sick. We already offer paid sick leave and have expanded it so none of our employees will be deprived of income if they fall ill during these trying times.  We also have most of our office staff members working remotely.

Exciting news!

New package design:

To celebrate 25 years of marketing Teeccino, we’re excited to announce a new brand image to better convey the health promoting values we hold dear. We look forward to sharing an all-new package design from a very talented woman whose background includes designing for national brands like Starbucks® and Teavana®.

We hope you’ll love our new color palate highlighting each of Teeccino’s family of blends with their unique mandala designs and botanical illustrations. With a cleaner presentation of product information, the goal is to make it easier to understand all the health giving properties and delicious flavor in a cup of Teeccino. Have fun checking out the beautiful images on our Mediterranean, Maya and Dandelion packages!

Two new Teeccino lines:

Nothing like celebrating your 25th anniversary by creating 9 new flavors for Teeccino! I’ve been inspired by the growing interest in adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms which I’ve been consuming myself for decades. Teeccino has always been ahead of its time, and now the time is compelling us to expand our wellness offerings.

Mushroom Adaptogen Blends

I’ve paired renowned wellness mushrooms with adaptogenic herbs to bring you 6 new Teeccino blends that help you reduce stress and stay healthy.

Adaptogens are those plants and mushrooms that help the body adapt to stress, whether external or internal, while normalizing physiological functions, increasing energy and endurance, and strengthening the immune system.

Soon you’ll be able to drink a cup of Reishi Eleuthero featuring a dark roast flavor for coffee lovers, Coryceps Schisandra featuring cinnamon berry flavor for a spicy finish, and Turkey Tail Astragulus featuring toasted maple flavor for a sweet treat without added sugar. Have fun reading about these mushrooms and herbs on the internet and stay tuned to our email announcement for when our new blends are ready to ship.

Prebiotic SuperBoost™ Blends

As you know, every cup of Teeccino has prebiotic inulin that extracts naturally from chicory and dandelion roots during brewing. Prebiotics are what your probiotics need to flourish and thrive.

From the early days of Teeccino, our customers have claimed that Teeccino has made a difference to their digestion and elimination. In the last five years, new scientific studies about the microorganisms that live in our gut have revealed many revolutionary findings about what these critters do for our health. Now we know that about 70% of the immune system and over 80% of cells that produce immunoglobulin A actually reside in the gut!

I have been following this prebiotic research eagerly and just recently, I found two concentrated prebiotics that could be added to a cup of Teeccino to enhance its prebiotic properties. I’m excited to announce that two new Prebiotic Superboost blends of Teeccino will be available soon. Mango Lemon Balm featuring one of my favorite herbs to drink before bedtime and Macadamia Nut with all the rich, bold flavor that Teeccino is famous for will be shipping in the next few weeks.

Available only to our teeccino.com customers!

Although we are waiting for our new packaging for our new blends to arrive along with some of the organic adaptogenic herbs coming from India, we are able to roll out 3 of these blends in the all-purpose-grind before then. It seems so crucial at this time to deliver them to your cup to support your health. We hope you don’t mind if we sticker over some of our existing packages to get them out right away.

Today is the first day of spring so please join us in taking a moment to enjoy it by strolling through nature. It will refresh you and lessen your stress. We so look forward to hearing your feedback and thank you for your continued support!