All about MATCHA!

I received so many responses from last week's post on coffee alternatives, and have heard from many of you that this inspired you to skip your morning joe in favor of one of these new beverages. Hearing this makes my little health coach heart sing! Many of you had questions specifically on matcha tea - where you can get it, how you make it, etc - so today I figured I would answer those questions here.

To recap - Matcha tea powder is made from finely ground green tea leaves so you get all of the benefits of green tea, and clear, focused energy (and no jitters like some people experience with coffee). It has a grassy, earthy flavor. 

Does matcha contain caffeine? 
Yes - the caffeine level of matcha is about half the level of a black cup of coffee. However, matcha is also rich in the rare amino acid, L-Theanine, which promotes a state of relaxation and well-being; it creates alpha waves in the brain which leads to state of calm alertness. 

I've heard that green tea is good for weight loss. Is matcha?
Yes! A study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expenditure.


What are the other benefits of drinking matcha tea?
- Stronger immune system + better overall health - Matcha is high in antioxidants (the magical nutrients responsible for giving us younger-looking skin, fighting inflammation and preventing a number of serious chronic illnesses). Matcha contains one specific antioxidant, catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), which is widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties.
- Detox - Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier due to high levels of chlorophyll and is capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.
- Increased endurance - Like I've mentioned, matcha gives you a steady boost of energy (which can last for up to 6 hours!)
- Boost memory + concentration - Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration.

Where do you buy matcha tea?
I usually buy mine on Amazon - this is the brand I like. If you live in NYC, I also recommend checking out MatchaBar and Chalait - both of these spots sell delicious matcha plus all the supplies you need to start making matcha on your own. 

How do you make matcha tea? Do I need a fancy whisk?
Traditionally, a bamboo whisk is used to mix matcha with hot water for a naturally frothy drink [head over here for a full video how-to]. No bamboo whisk? No problem. You can use a regular whisk, OR make a delicious iced matcha variation with a blender or shaker.

Have you tried matcha? Do you like it? How does it make you feel? I'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and favorite recipes in the comments below!

Iced Mint Matcha Latte

Whenever I have clients that are looking to get off coffee, I recommend matcha tea. Matcha tea powder is made from finely ground green tea leaves - not only do you get all of the benefits of green tea, but you also get clear, focused energy (and no jitters like some people experience with coffee). Traditionally, you whisk matcha powder with boiling water to make a frothy, hot drink, but this recipe simplifies the process for all you busy folks on the go! You can double (or triple) the recipe and keep the mixture in the fridge to enjoy all week, just make sure to give it a quick mix each time as the matcha may naturally settle to the bottom of your jar or container.

Iced Mint Matcha Latte // vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, paleo

Ingredients:
- 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice (almond, coconut, soy)
- 2 tsp matcha powder
- 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (or 1 drop peppermint essential oil)**
- 1/2 - 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Instructions:
1. Add all ingredients to your high speed blender and blend until well combined. Adjust peppermint extract to taste (some brands will be much stronger than others). Pour over ice in a glass and enjoy!
 

**Note: If you use an essential oil for this recipe I recommend using doTERRA essential oils as they are certified therapeutic grade, which means they are of a high enough quality that is safe for internal consumption. Not all essential oils are meant to be taken internally so make sure you check the label before using (which should say 'essential oil supplement')

Coffee Alternatives

As you may or may not know, I've been taking a break from coffee this month. Today I'm sharing three alternatives to your typical cup of joe. Whether you are looking to ease yourself off caffeine, or just interested in exploring other energy-boosting beverages, read on for three alternative cups + my two cents on each.

- Matcha - Matcha tea powder is made from finely ground green tea leaves - not only do you get all of the benefits of green tea, but you also get clear, focused energy (and no jitters like some people experience with coffee). It has a grassy, earthy flavor. Traditionally, you whisk matcha with boiling water to make a frothy, hot drink, but you can also blend with non-dairy milk for an easy iced latte.

- Crio Bru - A friend recently introduced me to Crio Bru which I love because it's bitter like coffee! Crio Bru is made from cocoa beans that have been roasted and ground and brewed just like coffee. Unlike coffee, it's 99% caffeine free, yet high in antioxidants which give you a natural boost. Did I mention it's chocolate? ;) 

- Yerba Mate - Yerba Mate is a tea made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the South American holy tree. It's been said to have the "strength of coffee, health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate" all in one drink. It's got a slightly nutty, bitter flavor, which is definitely an acquired taste (honestly, I didn't like it the first few times I tried it). 

What's your morning drink of choice and why? Leave a comment below - I can't wait to hear from you!

Shortcut Matcha Latte

You all know I love my MATCHA! It's been my warm cup of choice in the mornings since I stopped drinking coffee in January.

Traditionally, matcha tea is made by whisking the matcha tea powder (finny ground green tea leaves) with hot water. You would then make this a latte by steaming milk and swirling the two together. While that makes for a pretty picture, I knew that I needed a shortcut, especially since I was pretty set on making my own almond milk to enjoy with the matcha.

First I hacked my homemade almond milk, cutting the process down to just two minutes. This trick definitely sped things up, but I was still making the almond milk a few times per week, and whisking the matcha up daily. I wondered if I could simplify the process even further, and the following recipe was born.

This delicious Shortcut Matcha Latte comes together in just a few minutes - no pre-made almond milk or whisk required! All the magic happens right in your high speed blender. 

IMG_0086.jpg

Shortcut Matcha Latte / vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, paleo

Ingredients:

- 2 cups hot water (almost boiling, but not quite)

- 1 tsp matcha powder

- 1 scant tablespoon coconut oil

- 1 scant tablespoon almond butter

- Optional add-ins: 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, dash cinnamon, ginger, or turmeric (my personal favorite), pinch sea salt, cacao powder

Instructions:

1. Heat your water - you want it almost boiling, but not quite. If it boils, let it cool for a minute or two (you don't want it to be so hot that it burns the matcha, and your mouth!)

2. Add to your blender: matcha, almond butter, coconut oil, and any add-ins. Top with hot water. Place the lid on your blender. I also put a dish towel over the top of the blender - I find that when I blend hot liquid, steam/water sometimes escapes. 

3. Blend it up! If possible, start on a low setting and then increase the speed. Let it run for a good 30 seconds to 1 minute (you want the coconut oil to melt and get super frothy). 

This recipe makes 2 cups - I usually drink the whole thing myself but you can definitely share it with someone special =)

 

Have you every made your own latte? Let me know your experience in the comments below!