I used to be stressed out a lot. Now, when I say a lot I mean 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week a lot. I would wake up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe. My shoulders would creep up to my ears making me look like Quasimodo. My body would be so inflamed that I couldn't even cross my legs. It even caused me to develop several food allergies that were detrimental to my health.

In other words, stress is one powerful mambajamba.

I tried to combat the stress in several ways; I would exercise until my eyeballs fell out, I would drink which always made me feel better (until I woke up), and I would sleep for over 10 hours a night and take a daily nap thinking I was sleep deprived. All of these "remedies" just made me more tired, and when I was tired there was only one thing I wanted.

Coffee.

Starbucks would be a daily stop in the mornings for me and my friends. We would order white chocolate Americanos with only half the flavoring (thinking that tweak made it healthy). By the time noon rolled around, I already had my second one, but this time a soy latte in order to get my "protein" during lunch (or lack thereof). If it happened to be a Tuesday through Saturday, we would stop by a shop for an iced vanilla latte before we went out for a night of partying.


All of it satisfied my mind, and not to mention my raging sweet tooth (courtesy of my mother). I soon became addicted.

To be honest, it didn't make me feel that good.


I was still tired, I was still stressed, but now I was anxious as hell. While in college, I developed some pretty gnarly anxiety issues. I would fear such simple everyday things like driving in town, walking through campus to class or grocery shopping because I feared every single person was looking at me and judging me. I was always anxious for the future.... whether that be in an hour or in 10 years. I never lived in the present. It got to be so bad that I thought I needed medication for my anxiety, but instead of medication, I was "trained" to go for the coffee.

I thought to myself "I'm a college student. This is what college students do. They go to coffee shops with their studies and they sit and drink their coffee......all while living happily ever after." With this notion pounded into my brain, I simply accepted this routine, even though I knew coffee only added to my anxiety.

When I moved back home to Montana, the nearest town was 30 miles away so coffee shops were obviously not an option. Being home and being comfortable, my anxiety started to naturally diminished, but it didn't disappear altogether. I needed to find a new vice.

When I had finally settled in, I noticed my parents started a new morning ritual while I was away at school. They started having green tea every single morning. When I told them about my headaches and cravings from not having my caffeine-loaded artisan coffees, they had recommended I try their tea.

"Tea? Tea isn't exciting. Tea isn't what people my age drink. And plus, tea tastes like shit."

Those were my initial thoughts towards my parent's new suggestion. I was hesitant at first and didn't think tea could cure my anxiety, stress and sweet tooth, but I gave it a shot anyway. It tasted different. It's delicate and earthy flavor was complete opposite of the robust and bold taste of coffee that I was used to, but it was the only thing I had to work with.

I started to mimic my parents' tea routine.....then, I slowly started to become a part of it. Every morning we would pour our tea into our specific cups and dress it the way we liked it. My dad would put cinnamon in his, my mom took hers plain, and I liked to add raw honey. Then, we would sit in the living room and watch Good Day LA until my dad left for Costco and my mom and I would go workout.

First off, don't ask me why we watched Good Day LA living in Montana. I think my dad liked to look at the hotties..... Second off, our morning routine started to become the best part of my day. I started to feel like I was a part of something again, the same feeling that sitting in those college coffee shops gave me. I also began to develop an even better relationship with my parents than I had before. It was the one time a day we would all be together and talk about anything and everything. I started to attribute our growing relationship and my calming demeanor to my new found love for tea.

In actuality, I know it wasn't the coffee that made me feel so blah. I love coffee; the flavor, the amazing benefits it has, the quick pick-me-up when you need it most....it all holds a special place in my heart. Although, I do know that my morning tea leaves me with so much more ambition than a cup o' joe ever did.

To this day, I have tea every single morning. I now handle my stress a million times better, my anxiety is almost nonexistent and I definitely think more clearly. There are so many amazing types, each having so many health benefits. I usually have green tea with cinnamon and raw honey. The cinnamon controls your blood sugar, reduces IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and relieves muscle pain among other benefits. Raw honey contains more vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants and provides more detoxifying effects than regular honey.  It's my morning detox that I can't live without, but no matter what kind of tea I'm having, it always makes me feel grounded.

It wasn't the coffee that made me sick and it's probably not even the tea that cured me....but one thing's for sure; tea holds a deeper meaning for me than just a healthy morning ritual.

Tea brings me back to earth. It brings me ease. It makes me feel rooted.
And, most of all, it reminds me of those effortless mornings with my mom and dad; just sitting there, watching the ladies of LA....talking, smiling and sipping our tea.

-XO, CASS

Here are a few of my FAVORITE teas you can try.
1. TAZO Green Ginger
Benefits: Increases blood circulation, fires up metabolism,
boosts immune system, relieves nausea and bloated stomach

2. STASH Chai Green
Benefits: Fights free radicals, promotes digestion, lowers blood sugar
and cholesterol, fires up metabolism

3. STASH Vanilla Nut Creme
Benefits: Fixes a sweet tooth (try adding a little milk), source of antioxidants,
helps reverse visible affects of aging, reduces cravings

4. YOGI Detox
Benefits: Cleanses liver and kidneys, increases immune function, easy on the
stomach (compared to other detox teas), stimulates circulation in the body

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