Tea, Anyone?

By | January 6, 2011

Every wild animal I am familiar with drinks when thirsty and gets right back to the affairs of life. We humans don’t have to be thirsty to drink, and we often do so as a leisure or recreational activity. We have come up with an endless array of flavorings for our water, along with quite a variety of rituals for drinking it. Even plain water has come under the spell of elaborate packaging and extravagant pricing to bring it into the fold of its upscale cousins.

As with some foods, we have come to consume liquid refreshments such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages habitually, even to the point of addiction. Whether innately harmful or not, liquids consumed in excess can tax the urinary tract, interfere with digestion by diluting stomach acids, and keep the digestive system from getting needed rest between meals. The stomach treats water with any additive as food and retains it to run it through the digestive process, where pure water passes quickly through to be assimilated.

I seldom drink anything but water, and I don’t drink while eating. Like Native people and other animals, I drink my fill and don’t carry water with me for sipping. Occasionally a friend will ask why I don’t drink tea or have a water bottle, as though those practices are normal. They may be customary, I point out, but on this issue I believe I am on the side of normal.

1 Comment

Drew Jacob on January 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm.

Great post Tamarack.

One use I have for tea is when I am fasting. Since, as you said, the body treats it as food, tea can offer a temporary feeling of satiety that doesn’t come from water. This can make minimize distraction from hunger pangs during the first 1-2 days of a fast when the body hasn’t adjusted yet, or at any point in the fast when others are cooking food and the scent rouses new hunger pangs. If one is not able to go into seclusion during a fast, it is a nice tool.

The same would apply during times of food shortage.

This is really more of a medicinal use however, taking tea for a specific helpful effect rather than as a pastime. Flavored beverages are one of the hardest addictions to shake when living wild and I appreciate your view on it.


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