Whip up this antioxidant rich tea that boasts a healthy dose of brain-fueling oils in less than five minutes to kick start your September. One sip at a time, this super-food combination will help to clear brain fog, get rid of food cravings, and your enhance overall well-being.
For some time now I have been wishing that I drank coffee so that I could check out all the bulletproof coffee hype. It only recently occurred to me that I could simply add some of the same healthy oils to my daily matcha to create my own brain blasting drink!
I was introduced to matcha while I was living in Japan, however during most of my years there I only drank steeped green tea. It was not until I was leaving Japan to backpack around India that my best friend’s momma discretely tucked a bag into my back pack during our final good-byes. She thought it would be easier to make on the road, and would allow me to keep drinking the green tea that we had spent so many wonderful hours sipping as we chatted. Many times over the past decade I have sent thanks from afar to Okasan for introducing me to my now favorite daily drink. I suspect her kind and generous spirit is rivaled only by her Olympic level tolerance for my bad Japanese grammar! Arigato Okasan!
Matcha (or powdered green tea) is not steeped so the whole leaf is consumed. Given its recent popularity in coffee shops, you would be forgiven for considering it to be a fad food, however this powdered tea dates back more than 1000 years in Japan. Around this time Buddhist monks began growing the tea leaves in the shade, resulting in a large increase in antioxidant levels. If you have ever wondered why the oldest person in the world is so frequently Japanese maybe this is why. They do drink loads of the stuff!
Traditionally matcha and oil would never be combined as they are in this recipe, however there is a method to the madness. We now know that healthy fats (in moderation) are integral to the brains health and ability to perform; in fact our brain is almost 60 percent fat! Despite this, low fat food continues to be heavily promoted in our society, often without regard for nutritional content. Adding healthy oils to our diet is one way to ensure that we give our bodies the essential nutrition that it needs.
One of the oils in this recipe is MCT or medium chain triglycerides. I will leave it to you to look up all the hype and studies on MCT. They have become such a health food buzz word because MCTs are processed in a different way by the body than other fats. They go directly from the gut to the liver and are made available as an immediate source of energy. This makes them less likely to be stored as fat (the basis for the recently popular ketogenic diet). MCTs are also turned into ketones. These substances are created when the liver breaks down fat. They can be used by the brain for energy instead of sugars. A common source of MCTs is coconut oil, however if you are not a fan of that flavor you can buy the flavorless MCT oil in any health food shop.
The second oil on this ingredient list is ghee, or clarified butter. Ghee is a source of important omega 3 fats as well as a number of different vitamins. It is also an ancient Indian Ayurvedic health food. Many dairy intolerant drinkers like that the lactose is removed in the clarifying process that converts butter into ghee. This oil has a high smoke point for cooking, and is used in a myriad of traditional Indian remedies such as digestive and elimination aids, joint lubricants, skin and eye vitalizers, and much more. Click this link for my post on how to make your own ghee. It is so easy! If possible, choose grass-fed butter to make your ghee as it has increased levels of healthy oils.
Matcha, MCT and ghee are the three key ingredients of this boosting matcha recipe. I have added optional variations, but I personally just stick with the big three when I make my own. Use as a breakfast energizer, a fasting aid, or a grounding way to clear mind fog. If you have an interest in ayurveda (traditional Indian remedies), adding a moderate amount of healthy oil to your day may help you balance the over abundance of vata energy that comes with autumn. I find that a cup of this wipes out the crazy food cravings that I tend to get in late afternoons, also a high vata time of day.
Matcha Brain Booster Ingredients
1 teaspoon of matcha (or more if you like)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or MCT oil)
1 tablespoon of ghee (ideally made from grass fed butter)
1 cup hot water (or more)
*This basic recipe is my fave!
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup of coconut milk, almond milk, etc., or favorite dairy (You can replace the hot water with your choice of heated milk or dairy replacement)
Honey, agave, or liquid sweetener of choice to taste.
An upright blender or a hand mixer results in the best texture. Throw in the ingredients and mix until creamy and frothy. If no mixer/blender is available, add hot water to the matcha in a wide mug (or matcha bowl) and whisk in the other ingredients. It won’t be as frothy and creamy but will still be tasty!