Friday, January 28, 2011

Tea Drinker Discrimination

I'm a hot tea drinker. I don't drink coffee and unlike many of my fellow coffee abstainer friends, I don't even like the smell. For some reason the fact that I don't like the smell seems to shock people more than the fact that I don't drink it. I'm not a snob, I'm just as addicted to my hot tea as coffee drinkers are to their brew. A morning without hot tea becomes a day with a major headache. Caffeine is addictive no matter how you swill it.

I'm a minimum two huge cups a morning type. I measured my cup recently, it holds two cups of fluid thus I'm getting four cups a day minimum of tea and caffeine.

My tea of choice is PG Tips, a British tea that is very strong. Pam, who's from Great Britain, at the Broadway Diner in Fayetteville turned me onto the tea. I thought initially I'd have to just stop in there to get a cup or two or ten, but turns out you can buy it at Kroger, at least you can buy it at "my" Kroger on the south end of Fayetteville, Hwy. 85. There are 40 bags to a box, it usually runs around $4 - $4.50 for a box. Not a bad price at all for a good cup of tea.

By now you're possibly wondering why I titled this blog "Tea Drinker Discrimination". If you're not, you should be given all the rambling prior to that statement...

One of my pet peeves is restaurants who give unlimited coffee (they pretty much all do) for one price but charge me for each and every cup of tea I drink. They charge the same for coffee as they do for tea usually, yet some, a few, restaurants charge me $2.25 or $1.75 or whatever for each and every cup of tea. I was actually told the other day at one Peachtree City restaurant that no, they didn't charge per cup. If I used the same tea bag over and over they would allow me to have three cups of hot water to go along with the one measly tea bag they were willing to allow me to have. Yep, I could re-use that puny thing they called a tea bag three times. I drink my tea with cream or milk -- reusing a tea bag that's been soaked with sweetener and milk isn't pretty, nor does it taste like anything other than weird water.

Once I discover a restaurant discriminates against tea drinkers I mark them off my list. I never return. I used to politely, nicely, try to let them know why but after a few blase responses (ala, we don't give a flying flip, there aren't enough of you tea drinkers to make a difference) I quit telling them why. I just don't go back.

There are two restaurants that I've marked off my list in Fayette County. One in Peachtree City and one in Fayetteville. I'm not naming names as they're fairly popular with my friends and I like the owner of the one in Peachtree City, would very much like her to succeed. I doubt my aggravation about her tea discrimination would hurt her business anyway. Now I think I may have hurt the business of the one in Fayetteville because they were positively snotty when I raised my eyebrow about being charged. I canceled my dessert order and left the restaurant they were so snippy about it. Since then I have taken enough business from them that I've cost them much more than it would have to just give refills on 10-15 cent cups of hot tea...

Think about it. How many people drink tea like I do? I may have two cups after dinner, maybe three if it's cold outside. It's going to cost them maybe 50 cents for those three cups of tea if I'm drinking the better selection. I'm going to buy dessert. I'm going to be a happy customer. I'm going to come back if the food was good and the service at least decent.

Given the small percentage of people who drink tea and the even smaller percentage who drink multiple cups, what's the big deal about free refills? The vast majority of restaurants don't charge for tea refills, from the nicest upscale places to the lowest end dive. Why do some restaurants try to grab a nickel on tea? What's the cost of a lost customer? What's the cost of having someone pull business meetings to other restaurants? I like to enjoy my meal. I don't enjoy some meals without my after meal, sometimes during meal, hot tea. And no, I don't always drink hot tea with a meal when I'm out. It's a mood thing, and sometimes a weather or time of day thing. I rarely have hot tea with lunch unless it's really cold.

I know all you coffee drinkers and caffeine abstainers are rolling your eyes at the idea of someone walking out of a restaurant, never to return, over being charged for a second cup of tea. It's the principle of the thing. It's part of the enjoyment of my meal. I pay pretty hefty prices for the privilege of eating at many restaurants. I don't mind, I know they need to cover their costs and hopefully make a profit. Tea isn't going to make or break them. But it can cost them if they charge for refills.

So there.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ditching Nexium...

A few years ago I started getting killer heartburn. I tried all the normal over-the-counter remedies, even tried Prilosec for 60 days straight. As soon as I stopped taking it, wham, the horrible keep-me-up-all-night heartburn was back. It was getting worse.

I finally decided it was time to talk with my doctor. She put me on Prilosec, prescription (not sure if there's a difference) for a month or so. Either they have to go through the 'try-this-first' hoops due to insurance or she didn't believe I'd already done it I suppose. Of course it didn't help. Just as soon as I stopped taking it the heartburn came back with a vengeance. Again, it seemed like it was worse than ever.

She sent me to a specialist who knocked me out and took a look. He said I had acid reflux, my little dooflotchy (lower esophogeal spincter (LES) muscle) that normally stopped acid from coming up the esophagus was weak, not doing its job. He told me I need to take Prilosec. Every day. Forever. Due to changes in my insurance he had to switch me to Nexium after a few months, but both did the job.

I did NOT like having to take a drug. Unlike my norm, I didn't go out and do any research, I just meekly filled my prescription and did away with the heartburn. Pain will do that to you... completely knock out the intelligent questioning part of the brain!

If I forgot to take it one day I knew it before the end of the day. I would end up taking two pills to be able to sleep,

I've been compliantly taking my medicine for almost three years now I guess. Off and on I've wondered how it works but have gotten sidetracked before I hit the computer and forgot to look it up. During that time frame I did a bone scan and discovered I had the beginnings of Osteoporosis, the you're-not-there-yet-but-if-you-don't-take-a-drug-you-will-be kind. I now take a weekly drug to help keep my bones in tip-top shape.

This morning I finally remembered to go look up Nexium. I wanted to bang my head on the desk. Guess what one of the side affects can be? Bone loss. Osteoporosis. Another is vitamin B12 deficiency which can lead to various brain problems. (Hah, now I have an excuse!).

I decided to get off the drug. All it's doing is wiping out 90% of the acid created in my stomach. I didn't go into any great depth as to what that could do to your digestion, but I did see a ton of comments from people who were having difficulties that stopped once they weaned themselves off Nexium (I'm assuming Prilosec is the same).

One of the things commonly noted was the rebound affect -- try to get off and your heartburn problems increase tremendously. All annecdotal, but I did see some links to studies that supposedly supported their assertions.

I'm going to list some suggestions to get off the drug in case you're interested.

  • low carb or no carb / no sugar diet. (I'm already doing that, started about 10 days ago so I suppose my timing in trying to get off Nexium is good.)
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day. Mix with water, take straight or mix with honey. (I tried that for weight loss, couldn't handle the taste so hopefully won't need to go that route. It is the most common 'cure' noted though... I guess I could put it on my salads, maybe that would work just as well.)
  • take Nexium for two days, Zantec for one - alternate like that for 2 - 3 weeks. Then go to every other day. Finally after about 2 weeks of that move to Zantec every day for 20 days. (I may try that one. I have no earthly idea why it should work, but it's one of the most common ways I found on the forums I read.)
  • papaya enzyme before ever meal, also one after if that doesn't help. Aids digestion, a good idea if you have any digestive problems in my opinion. (I keep a jar)
  • ginger - the kind you buy at the health food store. Good for digestion. (I'm going to try.)
  • DGL - a type of licorice (Info) (I'm going to pick up some & have just in case.)
  • chewing gum after every meal. Gets the juices going, helps digestion. I'd guess that peppermint would be more helpful than fruity gums, but that's a guess. (My mom always said my siblings and I looked like cows chewing cud when we chewed gum... I am scarred for life, can't chew it except on rare occasions!)
  • don't eat two hours before laying down. (Good idea to help prevent heartburn, acid reflux, something I'm already doing... a bit late in the game as I used to love a late-night snack, but sticking with it now that it hurts if I don't!)
  • eat apples (helps digestion)
  • avoid fried foods
  • loose weight
  • eat smaller portions, frequent meals rather than large meals
  • sleep with the head of your bed slightly raised. It helps to stop the acid from traveling up from your stomach to your esophagus.
  • take probiotics to help with digestion. (already doing sporadically, guess I'll make it a regular thing)
  • D3 supplement (I already take, supposed to help with so many different things, including wrinkle reduction... who knows about things like that, they say it will then years later say it really didn't. Can't hurt as long as I don't overdo it!)
  • cut back or eliminate caffeine. (Not giving up my hot tea, ever.)
  • stop smoking (not an issue for me)
  • baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon for symptoms or take it as a preventative twice a day. (Not me, no way.)
  • surgery if you have loose lower esophogeal spincter (LES) muscle, although some of the above remedies may still help per forums

I'm not a doctor (obviously...) and I can't tell you whether any of the above are good, bad or ugly, or whether they work. I'm getting off the stuff one way or the other. I have the kind that is due to a weak muscle so not sure that any of the above are going to do me any good. We'll see.

I'll try to pop on here off and on and let you know how I'm doing. I didn't take a pill this morning --- may end up taking one tonight to be able to sleep. I just figured I'd see if being on a low-carb, no sugar diet for a couple of weeks did the trick... I don't have my licorice, apples, ginger, Zantec, etc. yet so I don't have anything to allay symptoms. If I end up with bad heartburn tonight I'll wait until I can go to the store before beginning the weaning process!

A few links:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Butterbeer just SOUNDS like it has to be good...

The word just rolls off the tongue so nicely it makes you want to repeat it. And hearing the description in the press release below, it made my mouth water. If I ever make it back to Universal Orlando I'm going to have to try one!

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT CELEBRATES ONE-MILLIONTH BUTTERBEER SOLD AT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

Popular Beverage Hits Major Milestone: Universal Orlando Marks Moment with 1,000 Complimentary Butterbeers

In celebration of selling its millionth Butterbeer inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort shared 1,000 complimentary Butterbeers with guests on the streets of Hogsmeade.

Butterbeer appears as a favorite drink inside the Harry Potter books and films and is only available inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is a nonalcoholic, frothy drink reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch and is served cold or frozen.

Much has been written about Butterbeer since it made its debut on June 18, 2010, making it one of the most talked about beverages of 2010. There has been much speculation about its secret ingredients – but Universal Orlando will not share the closely guarded recipe. Universal has implemented special security procedures to protect the details.

Butterbeer quickly became a guest favorite. To help meet the strong demand, Universal Orlando added a fourth Butterbeer location within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

“You can see the excitement on our guests’ faces as they wait in line – and then the smile that comes with their first sip,” said Ric Florell, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Resort Revenue Operations for Universal Orlando. “Butterbeer is not just a beverage. It’s an experience.”

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the most spectacularly themed environment ever created. It is the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films come to life.