Dr. Tea isn’t a doctor—as he himself freely admits. Mark Ukra is, in fact, a tea merchant and historian, with a tea garden in Beverly Hills. Thus it seems fitting that his Ultimate Tea Diet is as much an “inspirational” plan as a strict nutritional regimen.
Ukra advocates the basic healthy diet that we’re all so well-aware of, full of veggies, fruits, grains and high-quality proteins, supplemented by exercise and meditation. Tea is presented as a kind of engine that keeps the whole process going: charging and refreshing the metabolism, strengthening the immune system—even preventing disease. It is recommended that you drink tea throughout the day and incorporate it into your food: as a rub for meat or veggies, an infusion, or even as a replacement snack. Creative recipes range from Oven-Roasted Tea Asparagus and Turkey Tea Meatloaf to Baked Tea Pears and Tea Popsicles. There’s even a menu for a multi-course dinner party with tea parings for each course.
Though rather dully laid out, with a sad dearth of photos, the book is written in a very friendly, encouraging way, and crammed with success stories—people who not only lost weight, but bettered their lives. This kind of thing occasionally raises one’s natural skepticism, but Ukra is pretty good at bringing things back down to earth with bursts information about different types of tea, interactive elements like a “Tea Quiz” to help you find your personal favorite, and a guide to matching types of teas to various food cravings.
At times, the book’s “all tea, all the time” agenda seems a bit much—tea is a natural diuretic, after all, which makes us imagine some rather embarrassing consequences to over-indulging. However, the nuts and bolts (or leaves and stems?) of Ukra’s plan are certainly based on healthy, helpful advice—advice which is, like all things, probably best followed in moderation.