Matcha: One Amazing Tea

October 20, 2016

I bet you think I’ve forgotten about my Confessions of a Sugar Addict thread, but I promise I have not! I simply am working my way through a ton of research, theory, and practical personal application to find what methods work well (for myself, but hopefully also for you). Stick with me because I’m coming back to this thread next week.

 

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you one amazing little thing that I’m doing to help cut my sugar cravings: I drink matcha tea 1-2 times each day.

 

I know, your head just exploded.

 

It’s true, though. When I get up in the morning, I have a small cup of match tea that I whisk up and drink. It is the perfect way to start my morning without the jittery side effects that coffee can bring or the ups and downs of sugar consumption via sweet cereal, candy, a latte, etc.

 

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I am privileged to know a tea master, who is training to become a level two tea master (I cannot recall exactly the terminology, but this is a rare honor) and has been going to Japan to learn the art of the tea ceremony. This is an amazing feat because very few Westerners actually get to do this. The last time I talked to her, I think she said there were only a handful of tea masters in the States!

 

So why matcha? Well…….

 

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Almost every Westerner who has matcha for the first time doesn’t like it very well, including Yours Truly. There are two reasons for this. First, matcha has a naturally strong flavor due to the way it’s made. It’s actually a rather long, labor-intensive process that requires shading of the tea plants so that they produce as much of their green chlorophyll as possible; the drying process of the tea leaf but not the rolling; the removal of stems and twigs; and of course turning it into powder.

 

Second, most matcha available on the market is rather low grade. You will know it’s low grade because there’s a bitterness to it. High-grade and Ceremonial-grade matchas are much sweeter and subtler in flavor than many matchas found on the market, which means their medicinal properties also stay intact better. While this does not necessarily mean those products are bad, if you plan on drinking matcha plain on the regular you want to spend the money on good quality stuff.

 

There’s been a big trend on using matcha in food and drink lately, something I saw a lot while I lived in Japan. (The Japanese love the stuff. They even have this incredible matcha-flavored ice cream. I know…..sweets again!) If you’re not sure you want to drink matcha plain, no problem. You can add it to many things, such as these:

 

 

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The great thing is that high-quality matcha is becoming more readily available and more recognized for its benefits. If you are looking to try some, there are two excellent brands that I recommend you try. Please note: I am a tea lover and do not get compensated for sharing my opinions and favorite brands.

 

  • Steeped Tea: they have two grades of matcha, their “regular” and their Ceremonial. Both are excellent. Steeped Tea has such excellent tea, I pretty much buy from them whereas I used to be a fairly loyal Teavana customer.
  • Yesterday’s Cafe: the first place I tried the best grade of matcha. The proprietor is well-versed in tea knowledge (she’s the tea master I referred to above) and makes the best matcha lemonade ever! Plus, she’s got a ton more tea goodies too!

 

In closing, I personally drink matcha because of the sustained energy boost it gives me throughout the day: I drink a cup early in the morning on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes before I drink anything else so I have time to process the matcha well and receive its benefits. Usually I only have to drink one cup for a pick-me-up, and I’ve never had an issue going to bed even if I do have one in the afternoon. I also enjoy matcha because it helps curb my sugar cravings, which is why I’m sharing this with you in the first place! All of the other benefits are perks! So enjoy that next cuppa!

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I have completely fallen off the blogging bandwagon since January. Let me tell you, I’ve thought about you and this blog many times, but transitioning out of the military, being a mom, and finding work (and working my Jamberry Nails business) have really consumed my every waking moment. Regardless, I am extremely thrilled to be back at Hillsdale College. This little community has really welcomed hubby and I back with open arms. Indeed, I’m tutoring Greek with the Classics Department and I’m offering a few classes both on campus and in the local area.

 

If you live in Hillsdale, Jonesville, Allen, Litchfield, Moscow, Quincy, and Coldwater, Michigan, areas, please check out my Pilates and yoga classes at the Goodlife Yoga Center (the new term has begun, so don’t miss out on lengthening, strengthening, and de-stressing!) and Hillsdale College (contact the school for details). I’d love to see you!

 

I am working on ideas to revamp my blog, as I feel it’s time to switch things up, and would love input. What would you like to see? Share your thoughts and opinions!!!!

I haven’t been on hardly at all lately. I’ve been caught between three giants that are taking all of my time:

  1. My family, because that’s just where it’s at 🙂
  2. Getting ready to move to MI in December–this is fast approaching!
  3. National Novel Writing Month because it’s awesome!

I suppose I should add Jamberry onto that list. It is taking my evenings and I’m having SO MUCH FUN doing it! I cannot get enough of this product or the company, and am so glad I signed up! Have questions? Ask me, please!

But on to the real reason I’m writing! I’m trying to play catch up this morning, so I’m going to leave you with all the links and articles I’ve collected over the past few months. I really need to share them with you and get them out of my mail box! Because I have so many, I’m going to share them in three installments. This is the first! Enjoy and please feel free to contact me! I’d love to connect.

Articles

Are You Wearing the Right Shoes?

What are the Benefits to Fasted-State Cardio?

Build Your Biceps Workout

Turkish Get Up

Improve Wrist Mobility

TRX Plank Variations for a Stronger Core

Pilates/PNF for Improved Balance?

15 Yoga Poses that Improve Balance

16 Poses for a Strong and Stable Core

A Yoga Practice that Won’t Bear Weight on Hands/Knees

5 Lessons Yoga Taught Me About Failure

But I Thought All Yoga Was Therapeutic

How to Incorporate Pumpkin Into Your Diet

Food Swaps for Increased Energy

The Encyclopedia of Chicken Stock

5 Ways Einkorn is Different From Wheat

Emerging Male Eating Disorder Tied to Supplement Use

Free Radicals: Antioxidants and Exercise

Using Essential Oils for Kids–What is Safe?

Choosing a Carrier Oil to Enhance EO Therapeutic Properties

Tisserand Institute Special Report: Undiluted Truth: Cinnamon Oil

Argan-Avocado Soap-free Face Wash

How Well Does Before School Exercise “Build Our Kids’ Success”?

Regular Exercise before Pregnancy Key to Minimizing Common Pregnancy Pains

Recipes

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

3 Vegetarian Recipes to Try

Chop Fall Salad

Paleo Chicken Tenders

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Maple Cookies

Autoimmune Protocol Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Wow! I totally forgot it was the last week of the month last week, and so forgot to post these! Here are some awesome articles and recipes! Enjoy and stay cool!

Articles

A Girl’s Guide to Weight Training

6 Benefits of Using Weightlifting Machines

The Science of Suspension Exercise

7 Squat Variations

Master the Push Up

Summer-inspired Core Circuit

3 Exercises to Do Instead of Burpees

3 Arm Balance Secrets

4 Ways to Avoid Yoga Injuries

Hip Anatomy: Build Stability

The Science of Breathing

Fuzzy Thinking?

Should You Go Grain-free?

Women, Alcohol, and the Snack Attack

35 Homemade Spice Mixes

Natural Sunburn Relief

Recipes

Coconut Raspberry Bread

Cucumber, Chickpea, and Pita Salad

Fried Rice Recipe (with Cauliflower option)

Grilled Steak Fajitas

Indian Street “Burger”

Zucchini Cake

Peach Almond Crisp

Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie (No Tofu)

No Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

5 Green Smoothie Recipes

Holy smokes! This month totally got away from me! Here’s to getting back into a routine come July! Until then, enjoy these fantastic articles and recipes (yes, there are more than two this time LOL)!

Articles

Mental Toughness Techniques for Peak Performance

Reciprocal Superset Training Burns More Calories (Study)

The Secrets to Behavioral Change: Principles & Practice

Pregnant Instructor FAQs

Tips for Group Fit Instructors

5 Exercises Every Runner Should Do

6 Exercises for a Stronger Core

5 x 5 Workout to Improve Strength

15-minute Drill to Rev Up Cardio

Strengthening Techniques to Alleviate Muscle/Joint Pain

Which Physical Activities = Better Sleep?

How to Tell if You’ve Reached a Plateau

5 Exercise Mistakes that Could Get You Hurt

Become a Healthy Road Warrior

Best Approach to Recovery: Passive vs. Active

Stretching for Men

Plank Pose

The Art of Falling on Your Face

Pilates Practice and Cholesterol Levels

Help for Pregnant Women with Depression

Meditation and Healthy Aging

Mindful Tips to Avoid Technology Addiction

America’s Top 5 Diets

Navigating the Summer BBQ (Podcast)

What You Need to Know about Coconut Water

Sugar Shock: Why It’s Time to Get Serious about Taming the Sweet Tooth

Mindfulness is the Best Sweetener

Make Natural Bug Repellent

About Beautycounter Products

Recipes

Berry Quinoa Salad

Lamb Tacos

Honey Sesame Chicken (Paleo)

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

Raw Fudge Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Matcha Chip Ice Cream

Best Iced Coffee You’ve Ever Had

I hope this year has been a terrific one already. January is drawing to a close (already?!) but not before I leave you with this month’s articles and recipes. Enjoy them, and may you find many ways to apply them to your new lifestyle habits!

Articles

Yoga-inspired Dynamic Warm-up

20-minute Calorie-burning HIIT Workout

Little Black Dress Workout

Boost Your Workout with Metabolic Drills

Top Exercises to Gain Thoracic Mobility

Does Exercise Order Really Matter?

Diabetes and Exercise: What Every Fitness Professional Should Know

The Physiology of Fat Loss

Cold Winter Temps Trigger Brown Fat Burning

Improving Chronic Neck Pain with Pilates

Pilates and Chronic Lower Back Pain

Pilates for Larger Bodies

Sun Salutations Solutions

Seniors and Self-myofascial Release

Stretching for Men

Sleep: Fueling Brain and Body

Laughter, Brain Fitness, and Older Adults

The Skinny on Happiness

The Mental Aspects of Chronic Pain

Bust Out of a Food Rut

Eating with the Seasons

Understanding Iron-deficiency Anemia and Sports Anemia

From Farm to Doorstep with a Click

From Heirloom Seeds to Heirloom Breeds

How to Handle a Whole Chicken

DIY Cayenne/St. John’s Wort Salve

Natural Herbal Foot Care

The Wonders of Bergamot

Recipes

Avocado Toast

Banana Blueberry Muffins

On-the-go Breakfast Oatmeal Trail Mix Cupcakes

Baked Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal

Meyer Lemon, Kale, and Goat Cheese Flatbread

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Power Salad with Lemon Chia Seed Dressing

3 Ingredient Split Pea Soup (vegan)

Spaghetti and Olive Rosemary Meatballs (grain-free)

Goat Cheese Chicken Alfredo (gluten-free)

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili (vegan)

Easy Chickpea Vegetable Stir Fry

Apple Berry Crumble (grain-free)

Mini-Carob Brownies (gluten-free)

Coconut Custard

I’ve decided to start posting monthly on essential oils, what they are, why I chose to become a doTERRA wellness advocate, and specifics on oils in addition to letting you all know the monthly specials doTERRA offers. My goal is primarily to educate, but should you choose to make a purchase through my website, I do earn a small commission, (and I thank you for choosing to go through me).

So, first off, a lot of people want to know what are essential oils?

According to Wikipedia, essential oils are concentrated hydrophobic (literally, “water-fearing”) liquids comprised of plant-based volatile aroma compounds. The “essential” part of the description comes about because each oil carries the “essence” of the plant’s characteristic fragrance. Most often, essential oils are harvested through the steam distillation process, though they are also obtained through expression and solvent extraction. Historically, these oils were often used for medicinal purposes. Today, essential oils have a wide application, and are often found in common day products like makeup and perfumes, foods, incense, household cleaners, etc. The branch of alternative medicine that mainly uses essential oils is known as aromatherapy.

There are a lot of brands of essential oils out there. Many can be found in stores. While they might be great on price, they are often cut with chemicals. When searching for a good essential oil, make sure that it is certified pure therapeutic-grade quality. For this reason, I generally advise that you research into the companies you buy or are considering on buying from in order to ensure that they, like doTERRA, are meeting the highest quality standards possible. (The FDA does not regulate the essential oils market as they are viewed as supplements.) Look for companies that quality-check each batch of product made, who work closely with the top names in the oils industry, and who meld traditional aromatherapy applications with modern scientific research. Just because essential oils have been used for hundreds and even thousands of years doesn’t mean that good scientific evidence isn’t necessary. It is, and thankfully more scientists are looking at essential oils for their therapeutic and medicinal benefits. (More on that later.)

I’m going to leave you with a rather long video on frankincense oil presented by one of the top names in the industry and doTERRA’s Dr. Hill. Considered the “King of Oils,” frankincense has long been prized for its fragrance and medicinal properties, and is now being looked at by the medical community for anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, among other things. For more information, check out PubMed.

DoTERRA’s January 2015 Specials:

Linked to more information

Linked to more information, extended till January 15th!

Linked to more information

Linked to more information

Linked to New Year, New You website

Linked to New Year, New You website

As a bonus, here are some recipes that promote a Slim & Sassy lifestyle! Remember, to be healthy requires more than using a product. It requires lifestyle changes! Pick one area to focus on at a time, make small goals to meet an overall larger one, be patient and persistent, and you’ll start seeing results! Good luck and best wishes this year!

I had no idea that I’d be away from this blog more than two weeks. It’s been a full month. Due to the need to prepare to move (we did a lot of packing the first week of October), taking a much needed vacation to Colorado (it snowed there!), moving, and trying to keep our tiny tot calm and happy throughout the turbulence, I’ve not had a spare moment to sit down at a computer.

 

Oh, I haven’t forgotten all of you, though. All the baby posts I’d planned on putting up this month (it’s been a full year since I had our sweet little one!) are pushed back to last month. I’m going to leave you with all the articles and recipes that have been collecting in my inbox, plus a few that I’ve found on Facebook or that I don’t have links to 🙂 Enjoy, and happy autumnal days to you! I’m so glad the weather is cooling off and the leaves are turning their happy shades.

 

Articles

Men’s Health Research Review

Pre- and Postnatal Training

Seniors and Self-Myofascial Release

6 Types of Metabolic Damage Caused by High-intensity Workouts

8 Exercises Every Woman Should Do

Fantasy Football Workout

Lower Body Fat-blasting Workout

IT Band Self-care

Tai Chi and Anti-aging

Restorative Yoga for Fitness Professionals

How to Eat and Train for Mesomorphs

Buy Ugly Produce, Reduce Food Waste

Hydrophilic Foods

5-a-day Keeps the Blues Away

My Summer as a Food Addict (Part One)

Jump Start Gut Health in 21 Days

The Skinny on Happiness

How to Render Tallow

3 Toxins to Kick Out of Your Beauty Routine

Essential Oil “Mythstakes” (Part One, Part Two)

 

Recipes

15 Paleo Fall Recipes

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Roasted Golden Beet Salad w/Bacon and Feta Crumbles

Root Veggie Loaf

Sandwich Bread (grain- and nut-free, Paleo)

Apple Bread with Brown Butter Glaze

Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie

Shredded Pork Tacos with Pear Salsa

Stuffing (GF/Vegan)

Italian Sausage Ragu w/Fettuccine (grain-free)

Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Shells

Spinach Artichoke Pesto Tortellini Soup

Non-dairy Ways to Make Creamy Soup

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

Fall Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

Fall-inspired Cheese Platter

Allergy-friendly, Paleo Spice Cookies

Vegan Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Streusel Cake

Lemon Curd Ice Cream

Blueberry Cacao Green Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Chia Green Smoothie

 

Pumpkin Cream with Prawns

(From Everyday Paleo Sept. 2014 e-Newsletter)

For the pumpkin cream:

1 small sugar pumpkin, peeled and cubed, yields approximately 6 cups (you can also use butternut squash or sweet potato)

2 tablespoons butter or ghee

2 cups leeks, finely diced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

Chicken broth, enough to just cover the cubed pumpkin

Sea salt to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the prawns:

12 large prawns, shells removed and deveined

3-4 tablespoons butter or ghee

1 tablespoon white wine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Sea salt to taste

Minced fresh oregano leaves or chives for garnish (optional)

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4-5

1.     In a large soup pot, heat butter of ghee over medium heat. Add the leaks and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
2.     Add the cubed pumpkin and enough chicken stock to cover the pumpkin.
3.     Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.
4.     Turn down the heat to low or medium low and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.
5.     Add the oregano leaves and let simmer another 3-5 minutes.
6.     Remove the pot from the heat and using either a handheld immersion b
lender or by transferring the contents into a food processor, blend the pumpkin mixture until completely smooth.
7.     Add the extra virgin olive oil and mix well.
8.     Season to taste with sea salt and set aside.
9.     Now, it’s time to prepare the prawns! In a large skillet, melt the butter or ghee over medium high heat.10.  Once the butter is nice and hot, add the cleaned prawns and the minced garlic and sauté quickly for about 1 minute, turning often.
11.  Add the wine to the hot pan with the prawns and garlic and stir. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the prawns are pink and firm.
12. Turn the heat off and add the extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of salt and toss the prawns in the oil to coat.
13. Serve the pumpkin cream in soup bowls topped with 2-3 prawns per person.
14. Drizzle each serving with the olive oil and juices from the pan that you cooked the prawns in and also some minced fresh oregano leaves or chives if desired.

Found on Facebook

Found on Facebook

Somehow last week ran away from me before I had a chance to even think about blogging! I got to Saturday and realized that everything I’d meant to do didn’t happen…except housework. So I suppose I did something productive.

 

Well, I’ll get to last week’s topic next week, but in the meantime, I hope that the temperatures are starting to dip for you. We’re expecting 100 F today, which I’m totally bummed about. Fall comes around to everywhere but us, and I really, really want some cool temperatures to help me feel less pregnant. Ah well. This weekend might find me a 80’s-degree day. Fingers crossed!

 

Check out these amazing articles and recipes below. We’re heading into cold and flu season, so make sure you check out the very last recipe on Fire Cider. It sounds like a real cold-kicker. If you’re looking for another way to fight colds in your family, consider doTERRA’s OnGuard essential oil blend, found here. I gave it to my hubby to fight off a head cold and he felt better in 24 hours!

 

Articles

Warm Up By Rolling Out

6 Lower Body Exercises Besides Squats

Build Strong Glutes and Pain-free Lower Back

Kettlebell Training Kicks Butt (study)

Posterior Chain Workout

Improve Stability and Mobility (Functional Training Exercises)

Improving Chronic Neck Pain w/Pilates

Yoga on the Ball

Have We Gotten Carried Away with HIIT?

6 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Workout

Sorting Out Supplements

A Happy Spouse is Good for Your Health

Vegetarian Diets are Also Good for the Planet

Food Safety Tips

Buy Ugly Produce, Reduce Food Waste

How to Train Your Brain to Like Healthier Foods

Fire Up Your Metabolism

5 Habits that Increase Longevity

Your Thoughts are Key to Your Health

 

Recipes

Roasted Figs and Plums

Pumpkin Granola Bars w/Chocolate Chunks and Apricots (nut-free)

Loaded Morning Museli

Raspberry Cacao Nib Breakfast Bundt Cakes (grain-free)

Honey Peach Muffins w/Oat Streusel Topping

Sandwich Bread (Paleo, grain- and nut-free)

Pesto Cheese Bread

Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Caprese Pizza

Mini Pizza Frittata Bites (Paleo)

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cookies

Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream (refined sugar and dairy-free)

Homemade Granulated Garlic

Fire Cider

Whew! I hope you are beating the heat and dodging the crazy weather that some parts of the country are experiencing. In my neck of the woods, it’s hot–though I feel like it’s cooler than last year–and threatening with monsoons (’tis the season for them). We’ve had a few major flash floods already this month alone. 

 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and be active, however. There are plenty of ways to do exercise at home. Body weight exercises that incorporate functional training are excellent ways to stay in shape and prevent injury from common, everyday movements. There are also plenty of at-home workout websites with relatively decent monthly fees for those looking to mix things up without a whole lot of equipment.

 

If you do work out at home, keep in mind the common hazards of doing so. Carpet is a major tripping hazard, as are shoelaces, toys, pets, and even kids. If your household is anything like mine, my daughter wants to be at the center of the action. This is why I do my workout during nap time! Did I mention, nap times are wonderful? You can get things finished (like blog posts, for instance ;))

 

Below are listed the articles and recipes that I’ve been squirreling away for you. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful in mixing up your regular regimen. 

 

Articles

Natural Dental Care

How to Make Soap

One Spice vs. 14 Drugs

Dark Chocolate and Good Gut Health

7 Reasons to Eat More Fat

Chakra Nutrition

Is Obesity Contagious?

The Real Reason People are Overweight

Habits Preventing Weight Loss

Why You Should Take Time to Meditate

The Mind-body Man

Best Biceps Exercises

Can You Train Upper and Lower Abs Separately?

The Problem with Lifting Too Little

Has HIIT Gotten Out of Hand?

Understanding/Preventing Common Running Injuries

Summer Boot Camp: Core, Legs, and Arms

5 Core Exercises without the Crunch

10 Moves for Men

TRX Full-body Blast Workout

Soccer-inspired Workout

6 Great Post-run Yoga Moves

Breast Cancer Survivors and Yoga

Benefits of Pilates

Teens and Stress

Stress and Exercise Habits

 

Recipes

Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal

Date-sweetened Granola

Garlic Scape Chickpea Omelette with Potato Salad

Celery, Fennel, and Green Apple Salad

Cancer-fighting Red Cabbage Salad

Baby Bok Choy Stoup

Asian-style Cancer-fighting Veggie Soup

Spicy Mushroom and Bok Choy Stir-fry

Toasted Beef Ravioli (Paleo)

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos

Paleo/Vegan Pizza Crust

Fail-proof Fruit Custard

Paleo Tiramasu, Brownies, and Condiments

Chocolate Zucchini Coconut Cake

6 Things You Didn’t Know about Watermelons (plus a recipe)

6 Great Pre-workout Snacks

5 Great Post-workout Snacks

Homemade Spinach Dip

How to Make Lemon Extract