If you're like us, the past year saw you indulging a bit more than usual in your favorite vices. Lockdown life and everything that came with it (working from home, homeschooling the kids, hunting for toilet paper all around town) made it all too easy to skip the workout and dive straight into a bag of potato chips and a bottle of Malbec.
Like you, we were really looking forward to a fresh start to everything this new year. ...Yeah, that didn't work out quite the way we hoped. But that made us doubly determined to build a healthy, happy 2021 in our own little corner of the world.
As Lao-Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
And we've found the perfect fuel for this journey: matcha green tea.
If you're not familiar with matcha, allow us to introduce you. This gorgeous green drink is a morning eye-opener and a superfood all in one.
Here are just a few of the reasons we've fallen head over heels for matcha this month:
1. Matcha puts a spring in our step.
If you're used to thinking of tea as a lower-octane cousin to coffee, think again. A teaspoon of matcha actually contains more caffeine than espresso. (Shocked? So were we.)
However, the caffeine in matcha is a little different. Its unique chemical composition gives it a more sustained release in your bloodstream. In other words, you'll feel the caffeine from matcha in a slow, steady drip, as opposed to a sudden jolt of energy and a crash two hours later.
2. Matcha is full of fresh-picked plant power.
Unlike traditional tea that is brewed by steeping dry leaves, matcha is made from fresh tea leaves that are ground to powder as soon as they are picked. This fresh processing keeps all the amazing phytonutrients intact, so that every sip delivers a powerful punch of plant-based nutrition along with the caffeine boost you crave.
3. Matcha is a genuine superfood.What does all this plant-based goodness actually do, you ask?
Matcha has been shown to significantly improve liver damage and other markers of liver disease.
- Matcha also contains a compound called L-theanine, which promotes both alertness and relaxation, so you can get it all done while feeling less stress!
- Matcha provides a gentle lift to your metabolism, helping you burn fat more efficiently.
- Matcha has the highest antioxidant rating of any superfood! These plant-based superpowers are shown to help fight off heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and several types of cancer, as well as dental problems like cavities, plaque, and even bad breath! Matcha antioxidants will also cleanse your blood, clear your arteries, help your hair grow, make your skin glow, improve your memory... Need we go on?
- Oh, and matcha also includes a special antioxidant known as EGCg that fortifies the immune system against viruses. We'll take two, please!
Health benefits are all well and good, but let's be real: nobody's going to come back for a second sip if the first one tastes like trash.
Fortunately, matcha has a wonderfully complex flavor that is easy to love. You'll notice a slightly grassy taste when it first hits the tip of your tongue (that's all the chlorophyll), followed by a light, buttery flavor with a hint of warm vanilla and a faint kiss of lemon peel. Like warm sunshine hitting your face on a cold winter morning, every sip feels like a smile from Mother Nature.
We love matcha in all its incarnations: frothed the traditional way with a bamboo whisk, mixed with our favorite milk in a latte, or souped up with some seasonal sweetness. (If you haven't tried our Peppermint White Chocolate Matcha Latte yet, you don't know what you're missing!)
But this weekend, we found yet another great way to use matcha: in a smoothie! Try one tomorrow morning and tell us what you think!
New Year Matcha Smoothie
- 1 cup banana slices, frozen
- 1 cup fresh spinach, packed
- 2 teaspoons flax seed
- 1 teaspoon organic matcha powder (we get ours from The Tea Spot)
- 1 teaspoon Nielsen Massey vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or plant-based milk of your choice)
- Chia seeds
Add banana, spinach and flax seeds to blender. Sprinkle in organic matcha powder, flax seed and add vanilla extract. Pour milk over all ingredients. (Use less if you want a thicker smoothie, more if you like it thinner. In general, milk should almost cover the ingredients in the blender.) Blend until smooth. Pour into glass and top with a few pinches of chia seeds. Sip, slurp or spoon until you feel revived.
We're just getting started on our matcha journey, and would love for you to join us as we explore this magical new ingredient during the month of January. Check back here next week for an interview with our amazing tea suppliers, who will share even more matcha love, and some recipes to inspire your new year.