Matcha green tea has been a revelation. How or why hadn't I been introduced to it before is beyond me. Already I have a plethora of green tea in my kitchen, and well with all my research on health and nutrition matcha somehow escaped my field of recognition. How did this happen? At any rate I owe this all to the world of social media. Flipping through my Instagram feed I became inspired by one of the various healthy food gurus I follow. They were using it in their smoothies praising a long list of it's health benefits and also highlighting how it makes for an excellent replacement for coffee. The timing couldn't have been better because over the past month, finally with some resignation, I have come to the conclusion that coffee is simply not good for me.
I know, I know, the famous ashtangi saying, "no coffee, no prana," has been touted with pride around the community. But seriously, for me longterm coffee consumption meant a big time depletion of prana. Through other research I have also found this to be true from other resources in regards to yoga practice. Not only does coffee deplete our adrenal glands but it is dehydrating as well as depleting for the body of valuable minerals and taxing on the nervous system. Now, I'm not saying every once in a while having a cup of joe is a bad thing I just came to the conclusion that for myself drinking it daily was doing more harm than good overall. And let's face it, it's a drug! One that once you quit will leave you with withdrawal headaches lasting for a number of days. Now, I don't mean to badger coffee because sure it gives a nice kick in the morning. The smell. Well, that is what always got me. Oh that smell! There is nothing quite like it. But let's look at an alternative that garners even more benefits and brings a state of alert and calm centered wellbeing at the same time. No jitters.
My new found favorite beverage of choice. It adds to, instead of takes away. One important note in regards to what we choose to consume daily. Does it add to our overall long term health and well being? Or does it simply give the illusion that it's what is needed to get through the day. Remember, if there is one thing yoga practice teaches is what we do today will affect our tomorrow.
A Background ...
Match has been consumed for over a millennium in the Far East starting with Japanese Zen Buddhist monks and Chinese Daoist who recognized the benefit of matcha supporting a calm energy in the body while remaining alert for meditation practice. This comes from the compound L-Theanine which promotes the production of alpha waves which in turn induces relaxation without drowsiness. Also, L-Theanine activates concentration, memory and boosts one's energy and endurance. Samuri warriors would also drink matcha before their battles.
Matcha gives a high does. Topping the ORAC scale you can rest assure along with a healthy diet that making room for more antioxidants is a good thing while also containing a few components that play a key role in cancer prevention. It fortifies the immune system providing abundant quantities of Vitamin A and C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium.
Is that all?
NO! Not only does matcha give a high dose of antioxidants, improves concentration and endurance it boosts metabolism and detoxifies as well. High in chlorophyll drinking matcha plays a hand in removing heavy metals and chemicals from the body. Because the tea leaves are stone ground and you are essentially drinking the ground tea leaves themselves you receive a more effective bang for the buck when it comes to obtaining these essential nutrients versus steeping the tea leaves.
Give it a try!
One of these days I'll make a video on how to make it. That's a promise. However, in the meantime if you are curious, the below video with give some insight on how to prepare it. There are also other creative ways to consume matcha by making lattes as well as adding it to smoothies. I'm sure the possibilities are endless. However, the best way to drink it is straight up!
I haven't been feeling physically well lately. I'd like to blame the weather here in Tennessee though, since at the moment it's beautiful and warm and just last week we had 5-6 inches of snow. It's crazy. I haven't truly experienced winter in 7 years! Sedona's perfect weather was such a blessing. You Sedona people that are reading this, go outside right now and smile at that moon/sun and those mountains and that clear sky. It's truly beautiful and such a wonder. Anyways, I believe this weather change, combined with a few other stress inducing things keep causing me to cough, feel a little tired, sick, etc. So.... I dipped into my handy Ayurveda mental treasure chest and I remembered that turmeric root can help strengthen my immune system and ease my sore throat.
A while back I posted a recipe for the highly popular golden turmeric milk. Nonetheless, dare I say, I'd like to introduce you to something that just might top it. Homemade turmeric tea! I am in love, love, love with this drink! It is currently becoming my favorite hot drink of all time - move over coffee. Bold statement, I know.
I've already posted the long list of turmeric's benefits and making it as part of one's regular routine will no doubt do the body good. Here is a quick reminder of those benefits though:
One benefit I noticed right away was the cleansing of my throat. The anti-bacterial properties of this root, combined with the heat needed to make the tea, was so soothing. Also, I am going to a hot yoga practice on Tuesday, and since I have extra turmeric root, I intend on making more tea when my muscles begin to feel sore after the class. For those that are experiencing joint pain or minor muscle aches, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help in the healing process, naturally. Trust me, it's amazing how well this root works.
The good thing is this recipe is simple and easy. Two words I undoubtedly like to hear. Here are the quick and dirty details adapted from two of my favorite healthy Ayurvedic Chefs, Mira Murphy and Shruthi Bajaj, both of 7 Centers Yoga Arts Academy in Sedona, AZ.
For One Cup of Personal Turmeric Tea
1/3 Cup Raw Honey
2 1/2 - 3 Teaspoons of Turmeric Powder
A dash of Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper
Fresh Ginger ---> Which I love
Mix the honey and turmeric together forming a thick paste. It will make enough for multiple uses so whatever is extra can be stored in the refrigerator.
For each serving place a heaping teaspoon (sometimes I go for a little extra) in a cup. Pour hot water (not boiling hot) into the cup and stir, dissolving all of the turmeric paste. Then, squeeze half a lemon into the cup adding a few dashes of black pepper, or my personal favorite, cayenne pepper. The turmeric and spices have a tendency to settle to the bottom so it is a good idea to have a spoon on hand to stir the tea occasionally. For added benefit, I like to add grated fresh ginger to my tea or you could also add cardamom or even cinnamon depending on your taste.
So that is what I do for a simple cup... You can also make a whole pot of tea and save the rest for later if you like. Simply increase the ingredients to taste, but use the whole herb instead of the powder. For example: turmeric root instead of powder. Whole peppercorns instead of ground. Cardamom pods instead of powder. Cinnamon sticks instead of powder. Remember though to put the cardamom pods in the boiling water last to merely steep, otherwise it can taste bitter... leave the lid on, don't let the steam out.
FYI. Just a little side note in regards to the effectiveness of turmeric: It's a good idea to add black pepper because it increases it's potency, making the compound curcumin found in turmeric more bioavailable. It actually compliments the tea quite well. I even put it in my homemade chai.
K, I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think! ~ Ashley
If you've been following me on Facebook this past year then you know of my recent losses and heartaches. I won't use this blog for those details however I will use it as a source of inspiration :)
K... *sigh*** What better way to get over heartache and loss then to take delicious care of yourself!!! I'm going to juice these yummy fruits and veggies for my breakfast! Day one of eight of my Blessed Herbs Cleanse. MMM
Quote of the Morning
This turned out to be absolutely delicious. Sometimes my juice can turn out a little bitter, but this time it was just right. If you'd like to make it yourself then follow the ingredients list below. It makes about 2 1/2 glasses. You will need a juicer. Make sure to scrub your produce before juicing. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Organic if possible)
Ghee is used widely in Indian cooking. Not only is it deeply flavorful, ghee also has a higher smoke point, so its great for sauteing or frying. Indian herbal medicine (Ayurveda) uses ghee as a base for many of its medications. I spent some time at an Ayurvedic retreat last summer and my detox concoction was ghee based – I’ve never had a tastier medicine!
Making ghee at home is easier than you think. Here is a step by step recipe and tis for home made ghee.
Should you use salted or unsalted butter for ghee?
I’ve used both salted and unsalted butter successfully but I prefer unsalted.
Salted butter will foam more when boiling. So if you are using salted butter to make ghee, make sure you use a pan that’s large enough to accommodate the foaming, and be very careful when the ghee begins to boil. When it foams, gently stirring it with a wooden spoon will help it subside. If the butter foams and spills over, it can be hazardous, be very careful.
The milk solids from salted butter will be very salty. If you are making any of the ‘by product’ recipes, you wont need to add any extra salt.
How to Make this Yummy Ghee
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
Use a medium sized, heavy bottom sauce pan. Make sure it is dry and clean. If water gets into your ghee at any point, it could contaminate it and ruin it. Place the butter in the pan, and cook uncovered on medium heat till all the butter melts.
Continue cooking while stirring occasionally till the butter starts to foam and boil. You will hear crackling, this means the butter is boiling.
Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer the butter until it clarifies – when you part the foam on top, you should see the melted butter getting clear.
Continue to simmer the butter till the crackling subsides, about 10 minutes. How soon the ghee is done will vary depending on the quantity of butter you are using. So use the indicators below.
The ghee is done when
- The crackling subsides. This means most of the moisture has been cooked away.
- The ghee becomes a clear golden yellow liquid (part the foam with a spoon to see the ghee). This means the butter is clarified.
- The milk solids separate and settle in the bottom of the pan and are light brown in color.
Be careful not to over cook the ghee and burn the solids. If the milk solids are dark brown, or if the liquid ghee turns dark brown, you’ve over cooked it.
Let the ghee cool for about 20 minutes. Then strain it though a very fine strainer or 2 layers of muslin cloth. Make sure all the milk solids are strained out; strain the ghee twice if needed.
Store ghee in a clean, dry bottle, but don’t put the lid on until the ghee is fully cooled. Putting the lid on the jar too soon could create condensation = water = contamination.
Ghee can be kept at room temperature for 2 months or more. I've kept it for up to a year... the length of time varies based on who you are speaking to. Refrigerating it wont hurt either
What to do with the milk solids?
Love is the essence of our life. I have written this blog with love, and I offer it to you, dear reader, with the hope that the suggestions offered here will become a vital part of your self-healing and continued well-being. ~ Ashley