Packing lunch for my kids is ritualistic in the sense that I have to do it everyday, but it is not ritualistic in the traditional sense – it doesn’t spark joy, nor do I look forward to it. Often I’ve thought if only I could find an additional morning ritual to make time slow, even if it is just for 2.5 minutes, it would be a wonderful start to a new day. My days are booked by the minute, between working, running a household, and raising a tween and toddler and, frankly, I don’t have the time to seek out a morning ritual but, as things always seem to happen, it found me.
My toddler just started preschool and I did not have the energy or time to make friends with any of the parents. A chance encounter with one preschool parent at a noisy trampoline place for kids was the setup for me to find my new ritual (and an additional friend). I don’t even know how the topic came up, but she started telling me about the magic of Matcha. She had me at the words, “You’ll live forever and never age.” Time stopped, “Wait, what?” I said and that was the beginning. Of course, I won’t live forever and my age is peeking out, but this sparked my attention.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Matcha is a form of green tea that is specially grown and finely ground into a green powder. Matcha is really a step above ordinary green or black tea, in many ways. First of all, in Japanese and Chinese cultures, Matcha is “the” tea used in tea ceremonies. The preparation of Matcha powder is tedious. Plants are grown in the shade, for slow growth stimulates increased chlorophyll levels which causes the production of amino acids including theanine (that is touted for improving mood and concentration and decreasing anxiety and stress), and only the finest tea buds are picked for harvested. Translation, this stuff is not cheap. There is Matcha that is “cut” with other products or tea, but refined Matcha is not going to come in a box for $4.99.
As I did my own research on Matcha, I became really excited about it. My friend recommended a place to order from that prides itself on excellent Matcha and I received my stash in the mail a few days later. The fact sheet that it came with really blew me away. Here are just some of the health benefits of Matcha:
- Contains a large amount of chlorophyll, a powerful blood cleanser, that helps cleanse and detoxify the body
- High polyphenol content lowers blood pressure
- High EGCg helps neutralize bacterial toxins, inhibits growth and metastasis of cancer cells
- Helps stabilize blood sugar levels
- Enhances brain function by bolstering blood vessel integrity
- Reduces stress through the L-theanine amino acid that is known for its calming effects
- Can increase thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) to between 35% to 43% of daily energy expenditure (normal rate is between 8-10%)
- Rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- One cup is roughly equivalent to 10 or more cups of regular steeped green tea and contains 20 times more antioxidant power than blueberries, gojiberries, or pomegranates
The most surprising part of Matcha for me was the prep – which has become my morning ritual that I look forward to the most.
I gently sift the Matcha into hot (not boiling) water to free any clumps. There is no quick way to get this done but it is soothing to watch those tiny powder specks turn the water into a rich, swirly green. Next I use a small whisk to thoroughly blend it until it is frothy. I pour the Matcha into one of my most beautiful fine china teacups (that I never use otherwise) and admire the rich, green color. My 2-ounce Matcha tea is consumed in a few sips and I’m ready to face the day.
Maybe it’s the magic of the Matcha, or maybe it’s my belief in the benefits of Matcha, but I feel more energized, more even-keeled, and more “okay” with whatever the day will bring. Whatever it is, this newfound ritual feels good for my body and mind – and that sparks joy for me.