Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shake What Yo Matcha Gave Ya !

“Matcha matcha man. I want to be a Matcha man…” Well, a Matcha WOman for that matter. And I am! Matcha: It does a body good. Got Matcha? I do. I’ve been a Matcha (wo)man for awhile now, but just discovered a new brand called Got Matcha and I’m loving it. Matcha is a green tea from Japan that has been called “the elixir of the immortals.” One sip of this stuff (bet you can’t sip just one!) and you will understand why. Matcha can indeed make you feel immortal. (Note: I said feel. You do not have nine lives nor can you fly, even if your body thinks it can due to the energy provided by Matcha powder. So please don’t Matcha and drive.)
Matcha tea is 10x stronger than “regular” green tea, it’s packed with antioxidants, beta carotene,  l-theanine (an amino acid known to reduce stress and anxiety and heighten mental clarity), catechins (for beautiful skin) and, yes, caffeine, but not caffeine that causes a jittery-shaky sensation à la coffee. In fact, Matcha has actually been known to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Matcha also contains fiber and vitamins and minerals and boosts metabolism so it can work both for those looking to lose weight or for those with no appetites hoping to put on some pounds.
So, ready to dance the Matcha-rena? Just make sure your Matcha is of the highest quality. Yes, like any luxury item, this means it may be a bit more expensive than your average green tea, but remember, you’re paying for quality, not quantity. Plus, a little bit goes a long way with Matcha so that big bag or container you just bought will last for a long time. Just ½ - 1 teaspoon per serving is all you need to reap Matcha’s benefits. 

I searched far and wide for a good quality, organic Matcha brand before discovering Got Matcha. (OK, that sounds like I hiked through the mountains of Japan with an old man with a beard for days with a backpack filled with nori sheets and no material possessions. To be honest, by “far and wide,” I really meant from the comfort of my own home perusing the web and visiting pretty much every organic market in the tri-state area. Though a little old Japanese man and a remote mountain do sound like fun.)
Matcha is perfect as a hot winter tea, whisked in traditional Japanese fashion. Or, you can give it a modern twist by adding it to your favorite smoothies, juices or desserts. Unlike most brewed teas, Matcha contains the whole leaf.

Here is my new favorite morning green smoothie recipe using Got Matcha’s amazing Matcha powder for the perfect energy kick to start the day whether you’re entering a sumo wrestling competition, taking the kids to school or heading off to work.

Matcha Morning Momentum Milkshake
½ - 1 teaspoon of Matcha powder
1 banana
1/2 avocado
1 apple, chopped 
1 pear, chopped
2 heaping cups of leafy greens (your choice: kale, romaine, chard, spinach, etc.)
¼ teaspoon of vanilla powder
½ teaspoon of fresh ginger (or to taste, I usually like a bit more for an extra spicy anti-inflammatory kick)
The juice of 1 lemon
½ cup of coconut water
Mix all ingredients together in a blender (preferably a Vitamix) until creamy. If you like your smoothies a bit less thick, just add more liquid.

Got Matcha also makes several Matcha powder blends sweetened only with Stevia and coconut nectar including Matcha caramel-apple, Matcha Chai, Matcha Mint, Matcha Pumpkin Spice and Matcha Cacao. I haven’t tried all of the flavors yet, but as for the ones I have, so far, so delicious! (Special mention to the Matcha Chai – literally it’s to chai for. And the caramel apple really does taste like a caramel apple!) It’s great that they use natural sweeteners and don’t drown the delicious taste of Matcha and spices with horrors like agave nectar like many other “organic” companies. They even sell a bamboo whisk set for a more traditional Matcha tea experience.
Here’s a great recipe for a cold winter day for an untraditional, yet delicious, take on Matcha as the ancient Japanese warriors consumed it.

Matcha Smoothie on ice - it's snow delicious!

Hot Matcha Milkshake
1 teaspoon of Matcha Chai powder
1 teaspoon of Matcha powder
¼ teaspoon of vanilla powder
1 cup of almond milk (made with almonds, coconut water and rained through a nut milk bag)
1 Medjool date
A pinch of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a blender (Vitamix!) until frothy, then add to a saucepan and warm slowly over low heat. Drink, by the fire, with your favorite old Japanese man.

You can also add some Matcha powder to a green juice for an extra kick!
Try this:
Japan-inspired Juice

1 teaspoon of Matcha powder
1 large cucumber
The juice of 1 lemon
1 piece of fresh ginger (to taste)
1 bulb of fennel
3 large carrots
2 heaping cups of Romaine
2 stalks of celery
Juice all vegetables then add the Matcha powder and whisk together.