Blog Reviews


Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

After sampling it a few dozen times as I walked by the store, I finally broke down and invested in Teavana’s most popular tea combination, Youthberry White Tea and Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea. And I have to say, I am happy with my purchase. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the store’s exchange policy, and returned the bit too sour Berry Kiwi Colada, for this sweet treat.

Youthberry White Tea and Wild Orange Blossom is a signature blend Teavana offers in stores. I purchased the two and tried it for myself. Photo/STEPHANIE SOKOL
Youthberry White Tea and Wild Orange Blossom is a signature blend Teavana offers in stores. I purchased the two and tried it for myself. Photo/STEPHANIE SOKOL

While the two teas are sold together as a blend, I purchased two ounces of each kind. Herbal teas usually taste best when mixed with a black, green, white or rooibos. Youthberry white tea is a great pick, and mixes well with the crisp orange flavors for a tropical treat. The tea blend is good both hot and cold, but when chilled takes on a sweeter flavor.

Orange is the main note flavor, and has the highest aroma in the tea.  The drink is very citrusy, which meshes well with the hint of berry in the white tea. Floral follows in taste. It’s not overpowering, but offers just the right amount of earthy flavor to create a great tasting beverage, that is also healthy and enjoyable.

To make Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom Tea blend at home, add one tablespoon of each tea to your basket, and about a half to one tablespoon of sugar  to desired taste. (I usually use Teavana’s German Rock sugar, which has a hint of honey, but any kind works)

Bring the water to 175 degrees, and steep for only two minutes. With flavorful teas, steeping too long can lead to a bitterness, so keep the process short. After following these steps, let the drink cool somewhat, and poor over ice into a tall glass, to enjoy the last few weeks of summer tastefully with this refreshing and energizing beverage.


GMOs: Consumers should be informed of food ingredients

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Post

Genetically modified organisms are used in many foods to preserve freshness and make them “better.” But controversy is arising about whether or not products made with these ingredients should be labeled, as the scientific community discusses the use of GMOs beyond plants.

The FDA defines GMO as a change in plant genotype, with modification having “a broad context that means the alteration in the composition of food that results from adding, deleting, or changing hereditary traits, irrespective of the method,” and states that “most, if not all, cultivated food crops have been genetically modified.”

The process of genetic modification involves taking DNA from different species to make healthier, stronger plants. GMOs are now part of about 80 percent of processed foods, including corn, soybeans, sugar beets and canola crops, My Fox Detroitreported.

Farmers and scientists like the process, because they say it has positives. It rids plants of insects and can create better tasting, larger produce.

“We harvest more high quality crops with less fertilizer and less pesticide and less water than we ever could before,” said corn farmer Mark Lauwers in an article with My Fox Detroit.

Despite praise by growers, some studies reveal the negative side of GMOs.

The process can lead to “higher risks of toxicity, allergies, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer” in humans, according to the Center for Food Safety.

Genetically modified foods can also pose environmental threats, with genetic engineering in agriculture leading to “uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and the potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material.”

Some manufacturers and stores are labeling GMO foods, but the government does not require it. The FDA feels that labeling products GMO “may be misleading on most foods, because most foods do not contain organisms (seeds and foods like yogurt that contain microorganisms are exceptions). It would likely be misleading to suggest that a food that ordinarily would not contain entire ‘organisms’ is ‘organism free.’”

The problem arises because the genetic modification process will soon be applied to animals for the first time, in attempt to create a quicker growing, larger salmon.

Most countries don’t consider these foods safe, with about 50 countries around the world putting restrictions or bans on the products. The NON GMO Project aims to provide foods that haven’t gone through this process, encouraging labeling on foods that do.

In partnership with the project, Whole Foods announced last Friday that it would label all foods with genetically altered ingredients by 2018 in North American and Canadian stores for people who do not want altered products. Other stores are doing similar actions.

In a nation promoting health and fitness, the government should inform people about what’s in their food, so the consumer can make an educated decision.

If these foods are allowed to enter grocery stores and markets, the government needs to require labeling of genetically modified organisms in food, rather than keeping it a secret. Why put a nutrition label on food products, when the real genetic makeup is being hidden?

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