Health Benefits Of Tea

Tea comes from the leaves of a flowering evergreen plant called Camelia Sinensis. There are four principal types of tea – black, green, white and oolong. All are from the same plant but the leaves are processed differently.

Tea contains enzymes that interact with the oxygen in the air when a leaf is broken or crushed. This reaction is called oxidation or fermentation, and it causes the leaf to darken and increases its caffeine level. Once the leaf is heated and dried the oxidation process stops.

BLACK TEA – is fully oxidized and dried and has a smooth taste. Most of the teas on the market use black tea such as Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, English Breakfast etc. Generally you would add milk or lemon and a sweetener (sugar/honey) to black tea.

GREEN TEA – is unfermented tea. The leaves are quickly dried then heated and rolled, so it is not as processed as black tea. There is a great variety of green teas – some are light and mild tasting while others are grassy and vegetable tasting. You would not add milk to green tea. Green teas generally come from China or Japan.

OOLONG TEA – is a hybrid between black and green tea and is popular in China. The leaves are partly oxidized and some Oolongs are less fermented and more closely resemble green tea; other Oolongs are more fully oxidized and come closer to black tea. Generally you would not drink Oolong with milk or sugar – it has a strong flavour that holds its own.

WHITE TEA – has only recently become widely available and it is possibly the healthiest of all teas because it is the least processed. It’s picked before the leaf buds fully open, then it’s air dried or gently dried by steaming and that’s it. The buds are covered with fine white hair which gives the tea it’s white look. Like green tea, it is not fermented. White tea often has such a gentle flavour that it’s like drinking water. Now it is often blended with vanilla, spices and fruit flavours.

Herbals are a whole other ball game and some examples of herbal tea benefits are:

PEPPERMINT TEA is great for soothing an upset stomach and helping digestion. It is also good for killing mouth bacteria and giving you good breath.

GINGER TEA is great for aiding with nausea, motion-sickness, as well as digestion.

DANDELION TEA  is a great diuretic and also detoxifies the liver.

LICORICE TEA  contains valuable iron salts and is a good laxative. It is also said to fight stress and fatigue. It may not be good for people with high blood pressure.

CHAMOMILE TEA is supposed to help with insomnia. The natural mineral phosphates in chamomile tea help calm nervous energy. People also bathe in chamomile tea if they have a sunburn or rinse their hair with it if they are blonde…it’s supposed to give blonde hair a shine.

White Tea Boosts Stimulating Brain Waves
Even though white tea has the lowest level of caffeine of all the teas, it has the highest amount of L-theanine, an amino acid that perks you up naturally. L-theanine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves that makes you more focused and mentally alert.

Green Tea Protects Your Eyes
A study in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” says that Green Tea Protects your eyes. The Antioxidants in tea are absorbed by eye tissue helping to protect against glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases. Since green tea has been proven to protect your heart and help prevent cancer, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is now testing green tea’s ability to fight Parkinson’s disease.

Black Tea Absorbs Heavy Metals
Fish is healthy and full of important omega – 3 fatty acids which help with everything from arthritis, to heart disease, to dementia. Were advised to eat fish twice a week but the problem is fish is also a source of mercury and other unhealthy heavy metals which are bad for the heart and blood vessels. Researchers at Perdue University did studies on tea and its ability to bind heavy metals like iron, lead and mercury. They found that the best inhibitor of mercury absorption in the stomach was BLACK TEA. Drinking Black Tea while you’re eating the fish  will help prevent up to 92% of mercury from entering your bloodstream.

Tea Tips 
The University of Iowa says that you can double the concentration of antioxidants if you dunk the tea bag up and down a few times instead fo letting it steep slowly. By the way, tea bags usually release more antioxidants than loose tea because the leaves are chopped up and there is more surface exposed to the water.

Never put milk in green tea. Green tea contains an antioxidant, EGCG and the casein protein in milk will bind with that and make it less effective. You can use soy or almond milk in tea which does not have casein.

The best thing to add to all teas is citrus. Squeezing lemon, lime or orange into tea increases the absorption of catechins by up to 80 %. Catechins are antioxidants that have lots of health benefits like shrinking belly-fat cells. The vitamin C in citrus stabilizes these antioxidants until they’re properly absorbed.

Join us for our traditional afternoon tea and enjoy a cup of your favourite tea!

Reiki Spiritual Healing


Reiki Spiritual Healing (A spiritual Practice)

An Energy Therapy using the palms of the hands

Reiki (pronounced Ray Key) is a combination of two Japanese words rei and ki meaning universal life energy. Reiki Healing Energy provides means to balance the human energy fields (Auras) and energy centers (Chakras) to create conditions needed for the bodies healing system to function.

The Reiki practitioner assists the client to heal themselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically by a simple lay on of hands. Reiki’s ki-energies flow out of the practitioner’s body through the palms of the hands while they are touching the recipient’s body. By the use of ancient healing symbols the practitioner channels the “Universal Life Force Energy” allowing it to flow where is needed to bring the energy centers into alignment.

The Reiki Practitioner must be a clear vessel through which the healing energy flows. Some Reiki practitioners will follow a predetermined sequence of hand placements, allowing their hands to rest on each body placement for 2 to 5 minutes before moving on to the next. Empathic practitioners will freely move their hands in no particular order to the areas where they “feel” Reiki is most needed. Some Reiki practitioners do not actually touch their clients. Instead, they will hover their lifted palms a few inches above the reclined body. Either way, Reiki energies flow where they are suppose to playing an instrumental part in the healing process, and ultimately it is up to the healer to manifest harmony and balance in their own life.

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

Healing health benefits is stress reduction and relaxation, which triggers the body’s natural healing abilities, improves and maintains a balanced good health. Reiki healing is a natural therapy that gently balances life energies and brings health and well-being to the recipient.

Reiki therapy works remarkably in harmony with other alternative therapies and is an excellent stress reliever.

Handmade Herb Gnocchi

This Dining Room Special melts in your mouth! Executive Chef Martin Buehner shares the Old Mill Toronto’s Handmade Gnocchi recipe for you to enjoy at home.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1 Kg Russet Potatoes
250 g (approx 2 cups lightly packed) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 a Bunch each of Herb Thyme and Fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
3 Large Grade A Eggs 
1/4 a Bunch Curly Parsley, chopped fine
100 g (approx 2/3 cup) Parmesan Cheese (Grana Padano or Reggiano)
2 tbsp Kosher Salt  
1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper 


1. Bake Potatoes with Skin-on in oven @ 375F for approx 20-30 minutes, or until soft on the outside but slightly hard on the inside.
2. Weigh all ingredients. Set aside.
3. Cut Potatoes in half and remove Potato from the inside.
4. Pass through a food mill or fine chinois.
5. Add all ingredients and mix by hand until mixture is thoroughly combined.
6. Roll out about 1/4 of the mixture into a long thin snake-like tube, ensuring even all the way throughout.
7. Cut approx. 1 inch apart using bench scraper or knife. Pinch the middle of each side with fingers.
8. Blanch in hot boiling water, until Gnocchi begins to float.
9. Place on Baking sheet with parchmant paper and oil, Let cool. 

Pan-fry in butter until light-golden brown and serve au natural with a pinch of salt and pepper and chopped fine herbs or with your favourite sauce topped with good quality shredded parmesan cheese.




A hands-on treatment to promote vitality and well-being

The ancient Chinese practice of Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving a focused pressure technique to specific points/zones over the feet, hands, ears or face. Reflexology manipulates the body’s reflexes to signal a response in the nervous system which is related to to every organ, part and gland in the body. 

Reflexology works on a similar principle to acupuncture where the body is divided into twelve pairs of energy zones (meridians). Chinese Practitioners believe that when these energy channels become blocked a person feels unwell. Reflexology dissolves these blockages causing ill health and encourages the free-flow of energy through the body.

To reset the body’s equilibrium, the easiest way to interrupt the stress signal in the body is either through the hands or feet, thus these areas are the most popular to be treated as the feeling is said to be most relaxing.  Ancient tradition depicts massaging the feet as sacred, the soul to one’s good health.

The reflexologist applies pressure to specific areas in the hands, feet, and ears that affect certain reflex areas of the body. Imagine that there is a connection between zones of your feet and hands that represent certain areas of your body that can be adjusted or managed through these zones. These areas form a map that approximate to the body’s anatomy, some reflex areas overlap.  A professional Reflexologist applies the techniques systematically and thoroughly, to each area, providing further treatment to areas they consider to deem more attention. The degree of pressure used during the session is entirely up to the discretion of the patient.    

Unlike other types of manipulation or massage, no oils or creams are used, however if feet are a little damp, a light application of talcum powder assists.

Reflexology can help anyone at any age to relax and alleviate symptoms of certain disorders whilst improve the quality of life.  Anyone can benefit enormously from a session of this safe, non-evasive, yet powerful healing hands on therapy.  Although much of the research on reflexology has been criticized or cited as unprovable, thousands of years of tradition and reports of success speak rather loudly. That being said, reflexology should be considered as a complement treatment to formal medical care and not be construed as medical advice or a replacement for medical help or replacement of any medication.

One of the most well-known and verified benefits of reflexology is an improvement in circulation throughout the body, which means that blood and oxygen are being cycled through the body more effectively. This means more oxygen reaches vital organ systems, thereby optimizing their functioning and further increasing the metabolism. This also results in faster healing and re-growth of damaged cells.

Reflexology can increase metabolism and energy creation processes within the body. If you need a boost in energy or are always feeling sluggish, perhaps a reflexology session can help put some pep back in your step!

Spring Thyme Recipe

Once again Executive Chef Martin Buehner shares one of his favourite recipes with us. Hoisin Rack of Lamb with Five Spiced Whipped Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Sesame Ginger Garlic Baby Bok Choy, Snow Peas and Candy Cane beets. Chef Martin also shares his secret on the best Plate Presentation to serve this Spring Thyme Recipe to your guests.


1 rack of Ontario spring lamb
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
½ tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp sambal olek sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground Szechwan pepper corns to taste.


Season lamb with kosher salt and ground Szechwan pepper corns. Sear the rack of lamb in vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a pan until browned. Roast in a pre-heated 425-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. In the meantime, to prepare the glaze blend all remaining ingredients together thoroughly. Set aside.

Pull lamb from the oven after 15 minutes and allow cooling briefly so that the glaze does not run off the rack. Brush the semi-cooled lamb rack with the hoisin glaze and return to the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes or until desired internal temperature has been achieved. Pull the lamb rack from the oven and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing to give the juices a chance to re-absorb into the meat.

Whipped Five Spice Sweet Potatoes 

¾ pound peeled sweet potatoes
1½ Chinese Five Spice blend (found in most grocery stores)
½ tsp ground fresh ginger
2 tbsp salted butter
1 ounce whipping cream
Kosher salt to taste.
1 tbsp table salt for boiling.


Cut peeled sweet potatoes into 1½ inch squares and boil in salted water until just tender (will slide off of a fork easily if pierced). Stain away water, add butter, and mash using a hand mixer on low speed. Add Chinese five-spice blend and all other ingredients and whip on medium speed until light and fluffy. Season to taste with kosher salt.

Steamed Sesame Ginger Garlic Baby Bok Choy (and Snow Pea) 

2 medium sized baby bok choy
¾ tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
¾ tsp finely chopped fresh garlic
½ tbsp sesame oil
Kosher salt to taste


Cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise. Wash very thoroughly in a bowl under cold running water making sure you get all of the sand out. Be careful not to damage the leaves. Allow to dry thoroughly. Toss with ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Place cut side down in a bamboo (or whatever is handy in your kitchen) steamer and steam over boiling water for about 7 minutes covered with the steamer lid. At the 5-minute mark add 2 ounces weight of tipped and tailed snow peas to the steamer. This can be done over the boiling sweet potatoes if timed correctly. Pull from the steamer and season lightly with kosher salt.

Candy Cane Beets  

1 medium sized candy cane beet (not peeled)
1 tsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt to taste


Toss beet in vegetable oil and place in an oven-safe ceramic dish and place in the 400-degree oven at the same time as the lamb. Pull from the oven after 25 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two. Peel the beet scraping with a paring knife and cut into approximately 6 wedges. 

Plate Presentation

Building on two 12-inch dinner plate first place a portion of the whipped five-spice potatoes just off centre. Lean a piece of baby bok choy on either side of the potatoes, leaves pointing upwards. Fan out equal pieces of snow peas in front of the potatoes. Decorate the top of the potatoes with candy cane beet wedges. Cut the hoisin glazed lamb rack into four pieces with two bones in each piece. For one portion take two pieces and interlock the bones together and place directly over the snow peas just in front of the potatoes meat side of rack facing outward and bones pointing straight up. Drizzle plate with chilli oil, extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, or anything to your preference. Enjoy with a nice glass of Beaujolais or for the white wine lover an oaky Chardonnay would also be lovely.


Portrait of a Canadian Jazz Artist


Join the celebration with Joe Sealy on Wednesday May 6th @ 7:30 p.m. as we unveil the International Award Winning Portrait of a Canadian Jazz Artist in The Home Smith Bar at the Old Mill Toronto.

After reading about our city’s program Community Hotspots, featuring Etobicoke 2015, and Mayor John Tory’s objective to create a destination for live music in Toronto, Photographer Marie Byers was inspired to create a Community Event on Wednesday May 6th, 2015 at the historical Old Mill Toronto, a community hotspot for live entertainment.

Marie Byers was honoured this year to receive a Bronze Metal for Canada from the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) for her portrait of Jazz artist, Joe Sealy, 1997 Juno award winner for CD “Africville Suite” and 2010 Member of the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian Music. This portrait competed against 58 countries.

Joe Sealy’s creative and peaceful approach to bringing awareness to Canadian black history, and his lifetime dedication to music are what inspired Marie to enter this particular portrait titled “ Living Jazz” (aka Contemplation) into the 121st Toronto International Salon of Photography Competition.

Marie how did you originally get started in photography?

It started over 25 years ago, 1988 when my late husband handed me a catologue that had various gift items.  The magazine featured elegant crystal, china, silverware but also a Nikon 401 camera. He said choose whatever you like. Instinctually without hesitation or thought,  I chose the camera and although considered an antique today compared to Nikon FULL FRAME digital camera which I use … I still have it. Becoming a photographer and developing an eye, took many years of shooting as I travelled the world as a flight attendant. I’m basically self taught.

 What is your connection with the Old Mill Toronto?

My photo work caught the attention of Michael Kalmar, the owner of the Old Mill Toronto, and he asked me if I would be interested in hanging my travel works of art  in the hotel reception area. Subsequently I hung 4 pieces. After a period of time I recognized that a big part of the Old Mill Toronto was the Jazz entertainment in the Home Smith Bar — so I approached Mr. Kalmar, saying that an important part of  Old Mill Hotel was not about travel, but about the jazz community. I said ” You need to get their portraits up on your walls.” He responded ” OK, will  you do it. “  That then grew from hanging 4 travel photos to 18 jazz instrumentalists.

Up to this day I have gratuitously done the  portraits of 55 jazz instrumentalists which are rotated in the Home Smith Bar. Each musician also receives a complimentary copy of the hanging image for their website to help promote their music.

What do you like to shoot?

Besides jazz artists because they’re such s joyful and passionate group of people , I like to shoot just about anybody. Often I see very interesting people on the streets of Toronto that I would love to bring into my studio. Of coarse I dare not ask. However, if I do a street shoot involving people –  I’ll ask, and always send them a copy.

I do not usually shoot live jazz performances because I can’t keep the camera still and tap my foot at the same time.

What can you tell us about the Joe Sealy Portrait?

Joe Sealy was one of my earliest instrumentalists to sit for me. I was totally excited, for this man was not only a great jazz pianist but also was honoured with the Order of Canada for his album Africville. I admired how he brought so much light on the injustice  in the black community outside Halifax in a small town named Africville.

 After shooting for a while I noticed Joe getting tired. He was finally letting his guard down and slowly his head started to nod , relaxed, calm, his lips parted, his eye lids lowered. Excited with the naturalness of the image and hoping not to disturb him, I quickly started to shoot, realizing that ” THIS”  moment is intimate, personal and very real. Perhaps it’s when the subject let’s go of the self image they wish to project and trusts the photographer, it’s when something sincere and real emerges to touch our hearts.

The reason I really like the image is because I recognize that same relaxed state when he plays a beautiful love ballad –  eyes down, lips softly parted. Perhaps as he’s playing, he’s contemplating the jazz conversation?  Hence it was titled ” Contemplation” Some may ask why I didn’t title it ” Joe Sealy” or ” Living Jazz” for the competition. Reason being is that I didn’t want my  portrait work to influence the judges decision based on who the person was or what he stood for. However, after the competition it felt right for me to title it “Living Jazz” because that’s what Joe Sealy does. It says much more.

What the story behind FIAP International Federation of Photographic Art ?

I entered my first International competition in 2013 and received “acceptance”. I was told by fellow photographers to receive ACCEPTANCE is not so easy so I was pleased.   In  2014 I entered a second time and received a Bronze for Canada in the category of Free Digital from over 4000 photo entries from 58 countries.

How did you find out that you won?

I found out sometime around 2 AM on Dec 12 last year. I was watching the news about social unrest in the American black communities  when my thoughts wandered to Joe Sealy thinking “…whatever ever happened to that photo competition I entered.” Since I hadn’t heard anything I assumed I didn’t even get accepted to compete. But I decided to check the results on line in case there were any names I might recognize. I DID recognize a name– MY name– but it didn’t say ACCEPTED– it said BRONZE for Canada. What an honour! India got the Gold, Singapore got Silver and I got Bronze!  

The next morning when I woke up and checked my emails,  I received a general email addressed to All Participants, listing the results of the  Toronto camera club 121st international salon competition. Then, I called my family and closest friends.

What drives you as an artist?

I’m not totally sure what drives me as an artist. I do know that I can get lost in the creative process forgetting that I need to sleep and eat. But when I’m finished a portrait I feel a great sense of satisfaction that I have captured something that is real and genuine about my subject. I love being told by those who know the subject well “That’s WHO they are” .

When I do a portrait I seek transparency, an honesty, a truth that we share as human beings. Photographic art is meant to move us emotionally, connecting us as human beings, — making us think  – helping us to understand ourselves, our world– whether it’s positive or negative, making us laugh or cry — THAT’s what actually makes us FEEL  alive. We NEED to feel connected in that way. It’s exactly what you do in an interview, except the dominate sense is hearing, not seeing.