Dave Lindenbaum is Director of Operations at AOT. Before working with Steve Schwartz, Dave was a Financial Analyst at an Investment Bank, a Program Director for University of Pennsylvania, and a West Coast America Tour Guide, amongst other things. He came to AOT to combine his love of helping and educating others in health and wellness and his enthusiasm for developing and contributing towards an already successful business.
Q: As a kid, you grew up eating pretty healthy. Why is that, and how has that affected where you are today?
A: I didn’t really have a choice. My mom was always into nutrition and eating healthy. But it came from the way she was raised from her parents as well. Healthy eating growing up was more of an intuitive process than it is today where people are counting calories and making sure they have enough blueberries or whatever is big in the media. Please note, that I love blueberries and they are in fact one of the best foods you could have for their antioxidants and fiber content but in my family it was more of my Mom would make sure we had one or two vegetables per meal and things like soda and cookies were few and far between oatmeal and carrots. My dad was the big potato chips and candy eater but fortunately through the years he has compromised with my mom… over 30 years of marriage will do that J
Q: Tell me a little about your involvement with music, dancing, where it came from, and where it has gone.
A: I began taking piano lessons when I was around 10 years old. I hated it initially because when all my other friends were out playing basketball, I was learning the C Major scale. It wasn’t until when I picked up the guitar that music had a powerful impact on my life. Since the age of 16 I have been playing in bands and writing my own songs, mostly comedy. One of the things I love about music is that it is truly the only universal language. I have seen people in a bad mood or shy and if a song connects with them, BHAM! they open up and start dancing. I love dancing as well, but for me dancing is just a way to express what I’m feeling when I’m listening to music. Definitely one of the perks at Art of Tea, is that we listen to a lot of music while blending teas. Sometimes we even dance. In fact Steve and I have been known to bust a move or two during an event! People see these two smiley guys dancing and having fun and they will come up to us and say, “I’ll have whatever you guys are drinkin”, then we show them our cup of our Plum Oolong or Citron Mate and they can’t get enough. This actually happens!
Q: Tell me a little about why you visit assisted living communities.
A: I remember going with my Dad to visit my grandma in her assisted living community when I was pretty young and not really sure what to make out of it. The general sence of the place was a little depressing when you walked in. But as soon as you made eye contact with one of the residents and said hello, they would light up! It was quite amazing. I didn’t realize what an impact it had on my life until recently when I moved out to LA and started going to Assisted Living Communities to lead an exercise entertainment class, Stretching and Kvetching. The residents tell me that they look forward to the class all week, but what they don’t realize is how great they make me feel when I see them and interact with them. We were told groweing up to respect your elders, but it should go deeper than that. We should learn from our elders. We should sing and dance with our elders. We should have fun and enjoy our elders. That is what should be taught. I am more alive after visiting an assisted living community than walking in. Plus all the Ninety year old woman think I’m cute and want to set me up with their grand daughters, so that’s nice for the self esteem J
Q: We hear that you like to make your own Kombucha. Tell me about that, and why you it.
A: Well it all started about 8 months ago when Steve and I went out to a restaurant that had Kombucha. He introduced it to me and thought I would like it. It was like nothing I have ever tasted before! I think for about two weeks I was buying at least one bottle a day. After those two weeks and witnessing first hand some dramatic benefits from the tea, (for me the main benefit was the control of my acid reflux and better digestion), I began researching like a mad man anything I could get my hands and eyes on. After reading several books on the topic I decided to start brewing my own. Initially I was a little weary, but my first batch came out pretty good. Soon I began sharing the kombucha tea with my friends who encouraged me to make more. Now after months of experimenting with different ingredients and conditions, I am very proud of my brewed Kombucha tea, and would encourage everyone to obtain a Kombucha Culture to begin brewing their own.
Q: What is your favorite wake-up tea? And weekend tea?
A: Wow, this is like a three pager. I will say what I am currently drinking every single morning. A full baked Puehr Tuo Cha. Puerh is a special fermented aged tea that has a slightly musty earth taste quality to it. Like all tea it is packed with healthy flavonoids, polyphenols and antioxidants, however Puerh also processes a special healthy bacteria property that has been scientifically proven to cut cholesterol, oxidize blood, and help metabolize fat. Any one of these characteristics are reason enough to drink this wonderful tea every morning. But the reason why I love it so much is because full baked puerh are very forgiving towards over steeping. In fact, a normal suggested steeping time is 5 to 7 minutes. This works great because as soon as I wake up I brew a cup and I can brush my teeth and shower while the tea’s steeping. Tuo-cha’s are individual bowl shaped pressed Puerhs and they are great because they come pre measured. Plus you can resteep Puerhs several times so I always re-steep with fresh hot water at least once or twice for the drive into work. Weekdays and weekends share the same current Puerh morning ritual .
Q: Why do you drink tea in 10 words or less?
A: Unlike other beverages, the more I drink = better I feel (I used an equal sign instead of the word “the” to adhere to the rules… “=” is a symbol)
Q: List one thing that you do everyday to speaks of who you are?
A: I make a complete stranger laugh. It might take sever attempts or several complete strangers, but everyday I make someone who I never met before and maybe never will meet again smile or laugh. I never really thought of how this speaks to who I am but I will say this: no matter what we pursue in life, we should enjoy it. Making someone smile or laugh reminds me of this everyday.