Week 13: The Matcha Challenge (No Tea/Coffee)

Week 13 of My Comfort Zone Challenge, and for 10 days, I replaced all Teas and Coffees with Matcha.

First things first, what on earth is Matcha? Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either, until we received a staff presentation on it. Matcha is a green tea that originates in Japan, and has been used by Zen Buddist monks as a meditational drink for hundreds of years. It’s only recently that the western world have decided to tap into the ‘superfood’, that some people have described as Japan’s best kept secret.

In doing the research before the challenge, the advertised benefits of this powder are actually crazy. Matcha is very high on anti-oxidants, particularly EGCg, which I’m told is recognised for it’s cancer fighting properties. Matcha increases the metabolism and helps burns calories. Match detoxifies the body due to it’s chlorophyll content. Matcha calms the mind and improves concentration due the to L-Theanine, which boosts the alpha waves in your brain that aid relaxation. Matcha improves the levels of serotonine that the brain has, and therefore improves your mood. Matcha does pretty much everything but turn bread into wine. Read them all for yourself here.

That’s all the science stuff behind it, I’m not sure about you, but none of that means anything to me. Will it make me feel better at work in my day to day working life? That’s all I really care about.

So to give this a fair crack, I decided to do the challenge for 10 days rather than 7. I also decided to remove all other tea and coffee from my daily routine, to make the challenge a bit harder. Seeing as I have roughly 7-8 teas a day mixed in with a couple of coffees, this would certainly make my life tough.

Half a teaspoon of Matcha powder, a squeeze of lemon and hot water were the orders from my Matcha expert Katherine. It’s important that the water isn’t boiled as this kills the nutrients, and the lemon not only helps the taste, it boosts the positive effects. I’d have this twice a day, one first thing in the morning, and one just after lunch. The tough part is getting the little bits out of the bottom, so an electric frother became useful to mixing it all in.

I wasn’t too worried about the taste of Matcha, as I used to hate coffee, and nowadays it seems to be nectar down my throat, despite the taste not changing over the years. For what it’s worth, I actually didn’t mind the taste of Matcha at all.

Matcha

I have to admit, the first 3 days were hard. Whether it was a continued hangover from Berlin mixed with less caffeine in my diet, I did have a couple of headaches. After this little 3 day period, like magic almost, I started to feel good. I had one of the most energetic Mondays I’ve ever had, actually concentrating on work, rather than my usual Monday meltdown, where I plan on packing everything in and moving to the Caribbean.

This stuff works, there’s no two ways about it. I’ve gone in with a completely unbaised opinion of this stuff, and it certainly does give you a feel good factor. I’m a big believer in the placebo effect, so I have no doubt perhaps my mind wanted me to feel good, but if I feel good I don’t really care if it’s placebo or science.

What I have really learnt from this task…. Is I BLOODY LOVE TEA. Nothing can replace the taste of a good cup of tea. Waking up hungover on a Sunday and not having a cup of tea to warm away all my woes was tough. I didn’t think I had an addictive personality, but it’s fair to say I’ve learnt I’m addicted to tea. In fact, I’m drinking a tea as I write this.

Which one is the mug?
I’ll be making sure I drink my Matcha on Thursday, as I’ll be heading on the radio, so I’ll need my mind firing on all cylinders. I’ll be appearing on Juice 107.2 Brighton radio station on Thursday afternoon (3.30pm)… You can tune in via http://www.juicebrighton.com/, I’ll attempt to video it for those who can’t tune in live.

If you want to try Matcha, I would recommend giving it a go. I used OMG TEA from www.naturem.co.uk, you don’t need to give up tea/coffee like I did. Just incorporate it in your daily routine, I’ll be mixing the two from now on.

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