It's interesting that matcha was listed as an example because I've definitely been meaning to try matcha green tea powder for quite some time now. It's one of those things that I've been curious about, but just haven't quite gotten around to tracking down or ordering online. Thanks to Kathy of HappyHealthyLife.com for recommending Encha Organic Matcha products, which I bought a "starter bundle" from a few week ago.
The starter bundle pack came with 7 total single serve packets (1 tsp each) in three varieties: the "ceremonial grade," the "vegan latte grande," and the "culinary grade" matcha powders. It was a great option for someone like me, wanting to try out something new, without a huge price commitment.
Why Matcha ?
Matcha is "super" green tea in the whole powder form, which is thought to be a more effective form in boosting the mental energy and antioxidant benefit over regular teas. While I don't believe in "super foods," I do believe in emphasizing nutrient-dense foods in the diet and how we combine our food choices on a daily basis can have a large effect of our overall well-being and health. I'm not a huge hot tea drinker, but since Matcha comes in a powdered form it's a lot more versatile in how it can be used (i.e. in baked goods, a smoothie, etc). Health benefits of Matcha may include improved mental alertness and clarity, stronger immune defense and detoxification. Even better, Matcha is a source of vitamin A, vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, Vitamin E, vitamin K and other trace minerals while rich antioxidants including polyphenols, catechins and chlorophyll. It even contains the amino acids L-theanine (typically derived from tea leaves and mushrooms and has a naturally calming, soothing affect) and theophylline. For me personally, I just started a new semester of teaching two different college courses on top of the business and my training, so I figure I could use all the mental energy (and calming vibes!) I can get !!
When I first purchased my Matcha, I definitely had no idea how to best use it. Sure, the simplest form is to brew it with hot water, but I wasn't quite ready for that straight "commitment." Instead I decided to try it as an add in to my usual green smoothie. The result was fantastic, and I've since then made this a bit of a post-workout/morning wake-up ritual to start my day off on a strong note!
Here's the recipe so you can make yourself a Matcha Green Tea Smoothie as well:
1 c. milk
1/2 c. frozen mango chunks
2 handfuls fresh greens (kale or spinach)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder*
1 tsp green tea matcha powder*
*I specifically used Shaklee Life Vanilla Protein and Encha Vegan Latte-Grade Pure Organic Matcha.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
Note: When choosing a matcha powder, it's important to buy organic to eliminate exposure to pesticides and fertilizers, and ensure you are in fact purchasing "Matcha Powder" which is different than "Green Tea Powder."
So now you tell me:
What new ingredient or food are you looking to try in 2016 ?
Don't forget to browse through the other Recipe Redux posts below!
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for the products discussed in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
Another year has flown by, which means it's time to sit back and reflect on the past season. It has been a season of challenge in many regards, and most definitely not the season I had hoped or planned for. Thinking back to my coaching meeting in January, coach Jim and I had discussed taking things to the next level and I set some pretty high goals for myself. That remained the plan through June, until I through a complete 180 by dropping Chattanooga and deciding to focus on my health. I can vividly remember that day, sitting next to the pool after a short workout when coach asked if Chattanooga was still in the cards. I don't remember whether or not I actually responded, but I do remember the emptiness and defeat I felt in that moment knowing in my heart that the answer was no. I consider myself a "fighter"... being Italian makes me stubborn to the core and I am very loyal to the commitments that I make. However, in that moment God was calling me to let go of my own personal plans and trust in Him instead. As humbling and difficult as it was to walk away from Ironman training this past season, I'm incredibly glad that I did.Hearty Miso Soup
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