Matcha Mojo: I’ll Have What She’s Having
Matcha might be all the rage right now, but don’t miss out just to resist a fad. Do you need your coffee fix in the morning? Or rely on coffee to get you through the day? I used to enjoy a super-sized latte every morning until I started having problems with adrenal fatigue. My wonderful integrative doctor pointed out that drinking coffee is like kicking yourself in the adrenals.
Kicking Your Adrenals
Though not as sensitive as private parts, your adrenals are responsible for producing hormones – such as cortisol and adrenaline – which play a crucial role in how your body responds to stress. Drinking coffee triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol, the same stress hormone your body produces under the “fight-or-flight” stress response. Over time, your adrenals start to burn out from over-drive. Sure, a few people seem to be able to drink coffee their whole lives and do fine, but the rest of us don’t need any extra stressors.
Enter my friend matcha. When I stopped drinking coffee, I wanted to find a morning ritual that was just as satisfying. A frothy and delicious matcha latte was the answer. It gives you a sustained boost of energy without the jitters.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a special green tea best known as the feature of Japanese tea ceremonies. Rather than steeping the tea leaves, matcha is made by blending powdered whole tea leaves in hot water to make a vibrant, antioxidant rich beverage. The tea leaves are shaded from the sun for three weeks before harvest, boosting their chlorophyll content for that incredible color. Then they are ground to produce a fine powder. That means you’re eating the whole leaf, which is why it’s so potent. While the ritual preparation uses a special bowl and bamboo whisk, you can make it just as easily with a little battery-operated milk frother – or in the blender.
5 Benefits of Matcha:
A cup of matcha offers a decent dose of caffeine (40 to 70 mg per serving), and the energy it imparts lasts longer than a coffee buzz. Matcha will give you a sustained lift without the jitters or irritability a regular cup of coffee can induce.
Matcha balances the energy jolt of caffeine with calming properties. Due to the process of shading the tea plants before harvest, matcha is rich in the amino acid L-Theanine, which is known for inducing a feeling of calm alertness. Couldn’t we all use that?
This green powder contains the EGCG antioxidant, which helps prevent cell degeneration and premature aging. In fact, matcha contains more than 60 times the antioxidants of spinach.
The polyphenol EGCG, which is found in high concentrations in matcha, also helps increase the body’s burn rate of stored fat. Other studies have found that regular consumption of matcha increased the body’s daily calorie burning rate and helped burn additional fat during exercise.
Green tea consumption can lower blood pressure and decrease risk of stroke. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that green tea catechins had a significant effect on lowering overall and LDL cholesterol.
You might be attached to your coffee, but a little change-up can’t hurt. Enjoy going green!
How to Make a Matcha Green Tea Latte
1 teaspoon Matcha Powder (I like this one but there are several quality brands)
1 cup near-boiling water
½ cup coconut, almond, or whole milk
(Sometimes I add a scoop of this “superfood” coconut creamer, or a teaspoon of coconut oil for extra creaminess and nutrition)
1 teaspoon honey or a bit of stevia, to taste
In your favorite mug, pour hot water over the matcha powder and whisk to dissolve. Heat and froth the milk – a battery operated milk frother like this works well. Pour milk into tea and stir in sweetener if you like. (Putting all the ingredients into a blender is also effective.)
For a chai-type twist, I like to experiment with a few dashes of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and / or powdered ginger or vanilla. You can’t go wrong!
Do you use matcha? I’d love to know about your own experiments.