WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?
WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS?
- Maca – A nutrient-dense root that boosts mood, energy, and fertility (5).
- Reishi – A medicinal mushroom used to improve mood, energy, and overall well-being (6, 7).
- Ashwagandha – A mood-enhancing herb that protects the body from stress and anxiety (8).
ARE ADAPTOGENS SAFE?
LEARN MORE ABOUT ADAPTOGENS
- The Beginner’s Guide to Ashwagandha by The Herbal Academy
- The Best Herbs to Support Active Bodies by The Herbal Academy
- Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by clinical herbalist and ethnobotanist David Winston and co-author Steven Maimes
- Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by clinical herbalist Maria Noël Groves
- Adaptogens: 75+ Herbal Recipes and Elixirs to Improve Your Skin, Mood, Energy, Focus, and More by herbalist Agatha Noveille
Blueberry Muffin Superfood & Adaptogen Smoothie
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, more as needed
- 1 serving vanilla plant-based protein powder
- 1 teaspoon Navitas Organic Superfood+ Adaptogen Blend
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon raw almond butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower rice
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- Unsweetened plant milk of choice for almond milk.
- 3 tablespoons hemp seeds + 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 tablespoon pure vanilla powder (optional) for vanilla plant-based protein powder.
- 1 serving of Moon Juice’s Spirit Dust Adaptogen Blend OR Four Sigmatic Adaptogen Blend for Navitas Organics Superfood+ Adaptogen Blend.
- Raw nut butter of choice or sun butter for almond butter.
- 1 cup organic leafy greens for cauliflower rice.
- Mixed berries for blueberries.
My favorite way to start each day is by sipping on a warm cup of matcha green tea. I first learned about this energizing, antioxidant-rich green tea when I worked as a research assistant at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions during grad school. My colleagues and professors would sip on their green tea and tout its health benefits. They were so convincing that I swapped my afternoon cup of coffee for green tea too. Then one day at a trendy coffee shop, I noticed a different type of green tea on their menu, matcha, and I had to give it a try. I’ve been hooked ever since!
WHAT IS MATCHA?
Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from finely ground green tea leaves. Known for its delicate, umami flavor and vibrant green color, this tea is a favorite in Japan and worldwide. While matcha was traditionally reserved for the Japanese tea ceremony, it’s an everyday drink today, thanks to its health benefits.
MATCHA GREEN TEA BENEFITS
Matcha is jam-packed with health-promoting compounds, including chlorophyll and catechins, a class of plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties. Catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), inhibits cellular oxidation, prevents free radical damage to cells, and is considered the most effective cancer-fighting polyphenol in green tea (1, 2).
Unlike loose-leaf tea, matcha contains the nutrients from the entire tea leaf, resulting in greater antioxidants than regular green tea. In fact, one study showed the concentration of EGCG available from drinking matcha to be 137 times greater than China Green Tips green tea and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas (3).
Frequently referred to as mood and brain food, matcha is also rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that improves mood, focus, and concentration (4). Matcha has also been shown to improve attention, reaction time, and memory (5, 6).
My personal fascination with matcha is how it makes me feel. There’s a level of calm, focused energy from drinking matcha that I don’t get from coffee. I also don’t get heartburn as I used to when I drank two cups of coffee every day. These are major benefits in my book!
WHERE TO BUY MATCHA GREEN TEA
Buying matcha for the first time can be a daunting task – there are so many brands to choose from, and they vary widely in quality. The first and most important thing to know is that matcha is customarily divided into two grades: ceremonial and culinary. The separation comes down to harvest times, impacting each grade’s color, flavor, and uses. Ceremonial matcha has a bright and vibrant green color, fresh and slightly sweet flavor, and is most suitable for drinking in teas and lattes. On the other hand, culinary grade matcha has a less vibrant green color, bitter and robust flavor, and is typically used to cook and bake.
To make the best tasting matcha green teas or lattes, look for an authentic (Japanese origin), organic, high-quality ceremonial matcha with no added sugar. My personal favorite is from DōMatcha, which you can get on Amazon or their website. DōMatcha is clean, additive-free, and tested by an independent lab for residual chemicals from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and radiation. I switch back and forth between their Ceremonial Organic Matcha and Summer Harvest Organic Matcha. Their Summer Harvest is higher in catechins and has an earthier flavor than their Ceremonial Organic Matcha, which has a sweet, clean flavor. Ippodo Tea and Pique Tea are two other reputable brands that carry authentic, high-quality matcha. Experiment and see what you like best.
HOW TO MAKE MATCHA GREEN TEA
Traditionally, matcha green tea is made using a sieve, bamboo whisk, hot water, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon matcha. You can also add your favorite plant milk, such as almond milk, and adjust quantities for thick or thin matcha as you prefer.
- Sift matcha: Sift 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder in a large mug or drinking bowl. The amount varies depending on how thin or thick you like your matcha (1 teaspoon is a great place to start).
- Add hot water: Add a small amount of hot water (2-3 fl oz). The ideal water temperature for matcha is 80°C or 176°F (below boiling).
- Whisk: Whisk in a light, zig-zag motion until a layer of green froth appears.
- Add more hot water or milk: Add more hot water to make a tea or warm milk (3 to 5 fl oz) to make a latte.
- Sweeten it: Sweeten it to taste using organic liquid stevia or raw honey if desired.
- Supercharge it: Give your matcha green tea latte a boost by adding 1 teaspoon maca powder and/or 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha powder. Maca and ashwagandha are powerful adaptogens, helping your body better adapt to stress and fatigue (15).
Don’t have a bamboo whisk? Don’t stress! Add your chosen ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 15 seconds until frothy and smooth. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS
If you see matcha on the menu at your favorite coffee shop, ask if it’s premixed with sugar before ordering it. I was shocked when I found out how much sugar was in Starbucks’ matcha green tea. A 16 fl oz grande contains 32 g of sugar, while a 20 fl oz venti contains 43 g of sugar (16). That’s more sugar than a Snickers bar! Avoid the potential sugar crash and save money by making your own matcha green tea lattes at home.
MY GO-TO DAIRY-FREE MATCHA GREEN TEA LATTE RECIPE
- Bamboo whisk
- Large tea cup or drinking bowl
- 1 teaspoon matcha green tea
- 2 ounces hot water
- 6 ounces warm unsweetened almond milk
- Sift matcha in a large tea cup or matcha bowl.
- Add a small amount of hot water (2-3 fl oz). The ideal water temperature for matcha is 80°C or 176°F (below boiling).
- Whisk the matcha and water in a light, zig-zag motion until a layer of green froth appears.
- Add warm almond milk.
- Sweeten it to taste using organic liquid stevia if desired. Stir and enjoy!
Use organic ingredients when possible.
- Unsweetened coconut milk or other nut milk for almond milk
- Raw local honey for organic liquid stevia
Don’t have a bamboo whisk? Don’t stress! Add the ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 15 seconds until frothy and smooth. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
Have you ever tried matcha? If so, what’s your favorite way to make it? Do you supercharge it with any other ingredients? I’m always looking for new ways to pump up my matcha, so please share. I’d love to hear from you!
Pineapple Coconut Green Smoothie
- High-Speed Blender
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, more as needed
- 1 serving vanilla plant-based protein powder
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 1 to 2 cups frozen baby spinach
- 1/4 cup frozen cauliflower rice
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more coconut milk as needed (1/4 cup at a time) to achieve desired consistency. Enjoy!
- Unsweetened plant milk of choice for coconut milk.
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds + 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder (optional) for vanilla plant-based protein powder.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cashew butter for avocado.
- Any organic leafy greens for baby spinach.
Before I share this super simple and inexpensive recipe, let’s highlight a few health benefits... shall we?!
The essential oils selected for this recipe also help support the circulatory system, lymphatic and immune system, and appearance of healthy skin. Blended, they create the most uplifting and energizing aroma. You have to experience it for yourself!
PINK GRAPEFRUIT SALT SCRUB
- 1 cup extra fine grain pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1/3 cup fractionated coconut oil (or any carrier oil)
- 8 drops Grapefruit essential oil
- 6 drops Lemon essential oil
- 4 drops Bay Laurel essential oil
- In a small glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, combine the sea salt and coconut oil.
- Add the essential oils. Mix well to combine. Add more coconut oil, if needed, to achieve desired consistency.
- Transfer the scrub to an 8 oz glass or PET plastic BPA-free container with an air-tight lid. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Wet the skin. Gently massage salt scrub all over your body in circular motions. Once you’ve massaged your whole body (avoiding the face & neck), rinse your body with warm water.
- Avoid using salt scrubs on the face as the skin is too delicate and prone to scratching.
- Be sure to moisturize your body with a natural body oil or lotion to feed and replenish the newly exfoliated skin.
- Use 2-3 times per week for best results. If you have sensitive skin, reduce to 1-2 times per week.
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
Alcohol acts as a preservative. If you prefer to make this recipe without alcohol; use unscented witch hazel instead.