Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Feb 03

Things I’m Loving: David’s Tea and Morningstar Farms

Some maintainers tell me that keeping at a steady weight in the summertime is harder than in winter.  For me, it’s the opposite.  Winter months leave me shivering most all the time, which makes me want to stay indoors with a cup of hot cocoa wrapped around my hands every moment of the day.  I regularly wear three layers: Smartwool, fleece, then a down vest – and I am still cold.  Freakish, I know. 

I’m finding though, that here in the coldest month of the year, maintenance has been a bit easier than I thought it would be.  At first I was worried, what with all of the Internet chatter about post-menopausal women ‘packing on the pounds’ after their hysterectomy.  I’m only 42 years old, but my body is acting like its somewhere between fifty and sixty.  I was really concerned that it would change faster than I could adapt and I’d end up 20 or 30 pounds heavier.  Before surgery I mentioned this fear to my surgeon and he simply said, ‘I wouldn’t worry about it.  Because of what you’ve already gone through to lose and maintain the weight, you’ll be even more careful.’ 

More careful?!

I was dismayed by that answer.  Frustrated – no, perturbed by that answer, actually.  I thought to myself, How on earth could I be more diligent than I already am?  If it gets more difficult than this to maintain, I’m in serious trouble, Mr. I’ve-Never-Owned-a-Uterus!

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed being hyper diligent since my surgery, but it is what it is. I mentally count the calories of most everything that I eat.  Having done Weight Watchers for as long as I have, I can easily keep track of my calories and add them up in my head without the need for a calculator or even a guide to tell me the amount in a serving.  Don’t get too excited – it’s the only Math trick I can do. 

I have found a couple of things I wanted to share that have made maintaining easier for me this winter.  I make certain that these two items are always in my kitchen, no matter what:


My winters have an automatic curse attached to them: the cold weather makes me want to bake – as in, banana bread, pumpkin muffins, cookies, cakes – you name it. I love the way the house smells when something is baking in the oven. The problem is, someone’s got to eat all of those goodies once they’re done, right? Yeah, that’s where I get into trouble. Luckily, my teas have got my back. You all know how I love tea, as in ‘Oh, Tea – I cannot live without you. Be mine forever….’ and have regularly mentioned how it curbs my never ending desire for something sweet to eat.

Always on the hunt for better teas, I recently hit the Mother Load when Craig and I were in Chicago right before Christmas. We were at Southport and I saw this shop named David’s Tea.  Hmm.  Never heard of them.  This means we MUST GO RIGHT NOW.    When I stepped inside and saw the flavors they had (Toasted Marshmallow….Red Velvet Cake…Banana Dream Pie, anyone?) it was like being in a calorie-free bakery! I chose Stormy Night as my first official introduction to David’s Tea. Here’s what the description says about it:

Black tea, Chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, vanilla – this drink is a real piece of work, alright. Hotter than an inferno and smoother than silk, it’s good. Almost too good.

I’m here to tell you, people – these folks from Canada don’t lie. It is that good.

I think Craig and I were in there for almost 45 minute chatting it up with staff and getting a whiff of nearly every tea they had in stock.  I left with sample sizes of over 7 different flavors and couldn’t wait to get home and try them.  The verdict?  These teas literally put all others I’d ever tried to shame.  I’m sorry other tea guys, but David’s Tea seriously knows what they’re doing. 

My favorite is the Red Velvet Cake.  With a bit of sweetener and a splash of almond milk, it tastes like, well – cake!  I wanted to show you some but I’m already out of that flavor, so I snapped a pic of one of my other favorites, which happens to be an herbal concoction.  Great for those times when I get the snack-attack happening in the evening while I’m in my studio painting; I can drink this and it won’t keep me up at night.  Ready?   Behold – Banana Nut Bread:


As you can see, I’m almost out of this one, too.  And yes, it does taste and smell exactly like hot banana nut bread. 

I’ve never been one to drink my calories.  I’d rather skip a before dinner drink or cocktail at the bar and use those calories for dessert.  Here, I can literally have both. 

The question I wanted answered before I went off raving about the glory of David’s Tea is probably the same question some of you are thinking:  With all of those bits of goodies in their teas, how many calories and sugar are in a cup? 

This quote comes straight from the David’s Tea website: 

With all the fun sprinkles, candies and caramel bits that find their way into some of our teas, some skeptics wonder whether these blends are still a healthy beverage choice. The truth is that we routinely test the blends that contain sugary ingredients for their sugar and caloric content. So far, the caloric content in the liquor of these teas is below the limit that must be declared on food labels. They are not all at zero, but none are more than 5 calories per cup of tea.
And what about public enemy number one – sugar? Not to worry, our teas have all tested below 1 g of sugar per cup of tea (according to our steeping instructions).

I can live with that.  Check out David’s Tea here for a listing of some of their other wonderful concoctions and for a list of when they’re coming to your neighborhood. 


MORNINGSTAR BURGERS ‘Mediterranean Chickpea’


This is a new flavor from Morningstar.  Fixed the right way, it is completely satisfying and has a great flavor. Right now, it’s my new favorite veggie burger.  I purchase Morningstar on a regular basis anyway since I generally don’t care for the taste of meat but still loves me a good burger once in a while.   I received a coupon from a company named BzzAgent to try a package for free, and since Mediterranean food is my favorite right now I was really excited to see this added to Morningstar Farms already great lineup of flavors. 

What I do with mine is take low carb Lavash bread (I love the ones made by Joseph’s and American Bakery) which are 80 calories and 100 calories each, respectively.  I simply fix my Mediterranean Chickpea burger on the stove (110 calories), fill the lavash bread with greens and a bit of Holy Land cucumber sauce or Bolthouse Farms Yogurt dressing and I end up with this:


Very filling, and under 240 calories for the entire sandwich.  Mix that with a salad or fresh vegetables and I have a whole meal for under 300 calories.  Not too shabby, huh? 

Anything in particular that you’ve found which has helped you stay on track this winter?  I’d love to hear about it!

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  1. Mrs. Swan says:

    Wow I wish I liked hot tea as that looks awesome!

  2. Roxie says:

    hmm – I think it may be tea time again. Those sound great!

    I’ll have to give the lavash a try – your sammy looks yummy!

  3. I’m with you. Winter’s more difficult to manage. I just want to stay inside wrapped in my layers all day. Thanks for the tea rec. I’m not much of a hot tea drinker, but these sound interesting.

    • Ellen says:

      I’d bet this would change your mind, Cammy. When you add milk it’s kind of like drinking cocoa or creamy coffee in a way. I never used to add anything to my tea and this totally changes the flavor of it.
      …and yes, I’m ready for spring, too. Not digging the single digits around here! lol

  4. NewMe says:

    I thought I recognized the name. Don’t hate me, but there’s a David’s Tea about 20 minutes walk from my house. The next time I get to do a fun walk (I try to get my 10k steps a day, even on the days I’m working, bit the steps come from “active transit”, rather than a fun walk around the neighbourhood), I’ll make a point of stopping by and taking one or more of their teas for a test drive! Thanks for the tip.

    • Ellen says:

      Too late. I’m entirely jealous and want to march right over there and go for a walk with you to their store where we can chat for hours!! What a great reason to go for a walk!
      There aren’t too many stores in the US yet. I may be waiting a while before I get to walk to one. (Oh, and btw – they have loads of lighter, fruitier teas that are just as good!)

  5. I’m a big fan of flavored teas right now too:)

  6. vickie says:

    From what you wrote, the dessert type tea does not sound like it is sending you wanting to eat sweet based food – ?

    I have been using (spice) tea in the evening as a means of curbing night time eating (wants) this winter. It really helps and does not set off an eating fest (for me, but I think this is something each person has to consider with the type of tea).

    My girls eat morning star veggie burgers (too much sodium for me) and really like them.

    • Ellen says:

      The dessert teas definitely take the edge off of any cravings I have. Another plus is that generally speaking, by the time I’m finished nursing a cup of tea (usually 10-12 oz does it) that gives the craving enough time to subside – and it’s filling.

  7. Laura N says:

    I love hot tea. I drink hot green tea during the day and usu a cup or two of decaf Constant Comment at night. I have never used loose leaf tea. I think I’ve been missing out. Thanks for the info on David’s Tea.

    • Ellen says:

      Loose teas used to intimidate me, and I hear that from a lot of people. It’s really, really easy and fun to steep your own. The added benefit is creating your own concoctions from different flavors. Thanks for reading, and for your comment, Laura :)

  8. Oh, Ellen, you have no idea what you just did to my bank account! Your tea recommendations have been fantastic so far, and now I’m dying to try these! I’m so glad that you can order online (or not, because I’m completely broke right now…)

    • Ellen says:

      I couldn’t contain myself when I found this tea, Katie. It’s like nothing I’ve ever had before. All the other teas I’ve written about? I don’t drink anymore. They just need to expand in the Midwest!!
      ….and I’ve got your back – if there’s ever a special going on, I’ll send you the link 😉

  9. tree peters says:

    now that finally looks like I tea I can get into!! I’ve tried and tried to like tea. I don’t drink coffee and have no warm, social drink! Hot chocolate is just too many calories. Oh, but I did drink the starbucks hot chocolate when I had a real job and it was seriously “stimulating”. I was high on that stuff for hours. Anyway… I can’t believe that’s what david’s teas look like. I love it. I’m so envious of coffee drinkers because they are SO happy when they get their coffee and I’ve always wanted to feel that. You may have helped me live the life I want to live with this one post!! thanks!

    • Ellen says:

      I can’t say enough good things about it, and seriously – tea shops are catching up with coffee shops! People are recognizing the benefits of tea and swapping their coffee mugs for tea mugs all over the place. I used to drink coffee regularly but now don’t miss it at all.

  10. Norma says:

    I don’t find any difficulty staying on track no matter the season; all the days are the same to me now. :) But I will commiserate with you on being cold, something that’s become quite an issue for me these past four winters since I lost my extra 65 lbs. If I so much as run to the end of the driveway (it’s not a long driveway) to get the mail, it will take me a good 45 minutes to stop shivering and for feeling to return to my toes. I can be in the house on a not-that-cold day (say 35 degrees, pretty normal for winter in New England), with the heat on 66 degrees, the fireplace going, wearing leggings, socks, sneakers, a thermal shirt, a fleece hoodie (with the hood up), wrapped in a comforter near the fire, drinking hot tea or coffee, and STILL feel a chill inside. It sucks. But not as much as being fat sucks. So I’ll deal. Shivering burns calories. 😉

  11. Caron says:

    In just the past few months, I’ve also discovered that a cup of hot tea at night will usually help me avoid going into the kitchen aimlessly searching for something to eat. For now, I’m enjoying both decaf green tea and Earl Grey decaf. :)

  12. didi says:

    I just visited Davidstea, and guess what? Right on the home page is a picture of red velvet cake, because it is their tea of the month. Looking at all the teas was making me dizzy (I am having a cup of Darjeeling right now, but it’s nothing fancy). I used to have a serious tea collection. No joke. I collected teas like some people collect wine. However, I moved a few times, and started getting busier and busier, a bit more in debt with school, and everything else, and slowly stopped buying multitudes of tea. I once had one huge cabinet (three shelves) stuffed full of teas, but now I’m down to four or five types and that’s it. I drank my collection all up, and now am living bag to bag and box to box.
    The first time I went into a Teavana I wanted to ask if I could spend the night. Good tea is an art!
    Soon I intend to let loose my desire to stock fifty teas at one time again. There were at least a dozen that caught my eye right away at the Davids website… I could probably blow a whole paycheck… 😉

    • Ellen says:

      You and I are a LOT alike, Didi. I am a tea addict, too. If someone came to my house and asked if they could have a cup of tea, it would take me 15 minutes to explain to them all of their choices! I’m warning you – if you EVER see a David’s Tea, you’d best run in the opposite direction if you want to keep your money. That place is so good it’s sinful!! lol

  13. debby says:

    Hi Ellen, You’ve got me all excited about tea again! I already ordered a special chocolate tea gift box for a surprise for my sister, and I am putting together an order for myself! Thanks for the recommendation. I checked their locations, and it says there is one in the Bay Area. If my sister likes this as well as I think she will, I see a trip to David’s Teas in my near future.

    • Ellen says:

      Debby, that’s GREAT!! You are going to be labeled the ‘BEST’ sister of all time with a gift like that – I saw that exact gift box offered on their site and practically drooled over it! lol I’d love to know how she likes it – and especially if you make it to one of their stores. I like knowing what people are drinking – I’m weird that way 😉

  14. Beth says:

    Okay Ellen…I like to drink my REGULAR flavored coffee black, and my Lipton Tea bag with 5 teaspoons of sugar!! Drinking hot tea with no sugar to me is like drinking hot water…ewe! Are you SURE it tastes sweet enough for me without putting any extra sugar in it?? And, how do I make it…it’s not in a handy little bag for me to dunk in hot water! I would have no idea what to do with that! But, I trust you, and I am going to visit that website!! What is a couple of, sweet enough without adding sugar to it, flavors I should try?? And…do I need to order something from them to make it in?? I am putting my future endeavors in hot tea in your hands!
    I also wanted to let you know that I head up a wellness program at work in the winter. We earn points every day for eating healthy, exercising, drinking water, etc… After 9 weeks we have 2 winners…the one who loses the most percentage of their weight, and the one who has the most accumulated points. I have never won, but I sure know how to motivate my collegues!! I try to write supportive messages to them every week with cool and inspirational posters attached. The last couple of weeks have been hard on me…I was sick with Mark out of town for a week, and then we got some pretty bad news last week…not really motivated to be healthy when your sick and you get devastating news! But I am back on track this week! Helps that Mark is trying to…exercising, not so much the eating healthy part :) He likes his Mountain Dew and junk food too much!

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