I’ve started drinking matcha green tea every day and it has become the perfect fit for a shizen style. If you are new to the channel, Shizen means nature or natural in Japanese and a Shizen Style is about appreciating the Human creativity and nature connection.
For me, I was under the impression that I lead a fairly healthy life, exercising a few times a week and eating well. But then I had my yearly checkup and the blood tests came back with high triglycerides, basically the bad cholesterol. I was taking Omega-3 fish oil but the doctor also put me on a Statin, but this statin started giving me nightmares and muscle cramps. I needed to find a more natural way of getting healthier so I did more research and ended up adding in matcha to my daily diet.
So I have to say, I’m not a medical doctor and I’m not your doctor, this is just my story I’m sharing with you. But the benefits of matcha have been well documented.
It really wasn’t that hard to switch from coffee to matcha either, I did it little by little and started with matcha lattes using different kinds of milk. Dairy milk does have health negating effects on the green tea so I often use an oat milk.
Matcha has been used in the Japanese tea ceremony since the 12th century. Like many other cultural lifestyle things, drinking tea became a tradition and ritualized. Tea houses were built and beautiful Japanese tea gardens were made all in order to bring you into this atmosphere where you can slow down and appreciate life and nature. I encourage you to create this kind of space in your own home where you can sit and reflect with a good cup of tea from time to time. It becomes part of your Shizen Style when you are able to borrow from tradition and fit it into your modern lifestyle.
OK, So why Matcha green tea as opposed to some other type of tea?
It differs from other teas because it’s shade grown, which raises the chlorophyl level and which produces more L-theanine. L-theanine in part, is what causes the unique combination of feeling calm yet focused.
It’s precisely why it has been used in tea ceremony and Zen meditation practices for so long, it creates a calm awareness. With my morning or afternoon coffee I would get a jolt but it didn’t last and there was nothing calming about it.
With matcha, they take all the stems out, devein it and grind it into its fine powder making it the purest way to consume the tea leaf.
Let’s get into some of the benefits of drinking matcha green tea regularly:
#1 weight loss. For me, this is part of the reason it was recommended for lowering my cholesterol too, as lowering your overall weight can lower your triglyceride levels. Matcha improves your blood flow and provides extended energy which also benefits a workout.
But matcha has EGCg antioxidants that when combined with caffeine, they work together to naturally boost your metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis. Matcha uses fat as an energy source.
#2 Energy without the Jitters. As I mentioned before, the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine provide a boost but with an overall smooth finish without a crash. There are no nervous shakes so it keeps you in rhythm throughout the day without the ups and downs.
#3 Immune Booster. Matcha has an antioxidant in it called EGCg which boosts the immune system by effectively fighting and protecting your body against various bacterial and viral infections.
Matcha Green tea also has the highest antioxidant rating of all major superfoods, and the ORAC test proves it.
#4 Calm Awareness. Your concentration, focus and clarity are enhanced with the combination of caffeine and l-theanine. L-theanine increases the production of alpha waves in the brain and alpha waves encourage relaxation and a profound feeling of mental clarity. Your awareness is boosted and you are in an alert state of mind – similar to a state of meditation or yoga practice. In Japanese they call it Zanshin, a calm awareness.
#5 A Healthy Heart. Matcha green tea in particular, even over other types of green tea, has shown to protect you from a heart attack or stroke. Of course there are other steps to take in keeping your heart healthy and lowering your risk of heart disease, but for me watching my sugar intake has been huge. There is so much added sugars in our foods these days, and when talking about matcha lattes I always lean toward an oat milk with lower calories and sugar.
#6 Brain Performance. Studies have shown that matcha causes improvements in attention, reaction time and memory. These cognitive tests were assessing attention, information processing, and a variety of types of memory and recall.
Really, these are only a few of the many benefits that matcha green tea provides. They far outweigh the negative that you may have kicking around in your head, the bitterness or vegetal taste.
In the beginning I also thought that it was too bitter, but I realized that I was making it too strong. I also started to enjoy it more when making oat milk lattes with it and also experimenting with it in my protein shakes and other smoothies. In essence, slowly I got used to it and learned to love the taste and appreciate the subtle differences in the different grades of matcha and the different flavors produced in the 3 main tea growing areas in Japan: Uji, Shizuoka, and Kyushu.
I have found that matcha complements my Shizen Style very well and keeps me in a pleasant state of calm awareness. With more regular exercise and daily matcha drinking my cholesterol is down and I feel great. I encourage you to experiment with this natural elixir and if you’d like to go deeper on the meaning of Shizen check out my video here.