Alex Nee Strength and Salad wellness website.JPG

Hi.

I’m Alex, and here is where I share how you can heal your gut + balance your hormones through deliciously natural food, stress management and self care.

A guide to Matcha (+ bonus recipe)

A guide to Matcha (+ bonus recipe)

Health, wellness and nutritional benefits of matcha by Strength and Salad.JPG

Matcha has brought so much goodness to my life for a number of reasons; 

  1. This delicate green powder tastes amazing in a nut milk latte.

  2. It’s become a relaxing ritual that I perform to help manage stress.

  3. A cup of matcha gives me a gentle energy boost without a caffeine spike! 

What is matcha?

Matcha comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant (the same plant as green tea). The plant is purposely grown in the shade, which forces all of the nutrients and energy to the tops of the leaves. The leaves are then ground into an incredibly fine and vibrant green powder to create matcha tea.  

What does matcha taste like?

At first, matcha has a slight earthy/grassy aroma but when it’s used with certain spices like cinnamon or other ingredients it quickly becomes buttery and aromatic with a slightly sweet aftertaste. 

How to use matcha

  • In a dairy-free latte made with foamed nut milk (my personal favourite)

  • Added to a spinach + banana smoothie (matcha goes so well with banana!)

  • Matcha oats

  • Iced matcha lattes

  • Sprinkled into pancake batter to make the most instagrammable pancake stack ever!

  • Energy balls

Health + nutritional benefits of matcha

  • sustained energy and improved focus

  • provides a slow and steady release of energy

  • makes you feel clear, calm, focused

  • good source of antioxidants

  • neutralises harmful toxins and pollutants in the body which lead to brighter skin, better digestion, better mood, more energy

  • can reduce tension and mental stress

  • contains L-theanine, proven to help with relaxation

  • encourages productivity and gives a relaxed-alertness

Overall, if you’d like support with alertness, energy levels and support with detoxification then matcha might be beneficial to you. 

When should I have matcha?

Personally, I try to use matcha mindfully and only have it if;

a) I want more focus (usually for a project or studying)

b) I really fancy the taste and want a calming 5 minutes to myself

c) I’m run down and need an antioxidant boost

Good quality matcha is expensive and the harvesting of matcha is a long, detailed and time-consuming process. For example, it can take 1 hour to grind the matcha for one small tin + growing and picking time. So, I treat it as a luxury item to enjoy only in certain situations. 

Organic ceremonial graded matcha powder

Organic ceremonial graded matcha powder

Does matcha contain caffeine?

It does! But matcha acts differently in the body compared to coffee. 

Unlike coffee, matcha contains an amino acid called L-Theanine which helps break down caffeine slowly and steadily, meaning there’s no sudden spike or crash. 

Instead, matcha provides a gradual and sustained energy boost resulting in a calm yet alert feeling, rather than a jittery or anxious response.   

Are there any side effects to drinking matcha?

It’s worth being mindful that matcha is high in caffeine so too much could still lead to headaches, anxious feelings or poor sleep. 

So what’s too much? Well this depends on you but I’ve found that any more than 1 teaspoon a day starts to make me feel a little tight chested and I’m unable to switch off as easily (although I am quite sensitive to caffeine). 

The guidelines recommend having no more than 2 teaspoons a day, but as always listen to your body and you’ll be able to tell what’s right for you.

Are there are alternatives to matcha?

The price point of matcha can be a big commitment, especially if you’re just starting out on your health journey. So, if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, spirulina is an excellent (and cheaper) alternative to matcha. 

It tastes very similar and is still packed with tones of nutrients. In fact, spirulina is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. Just be sure to buy from a certified and organic source. I use Naturya Organic Spirulina Powder

Is there a certain matcha that I should buy?

When it comes to matcha, quality is the most important thing to consider. If you’re not buying from a reputable source, then you’re likely to be spending money on a product with little nutritional benefit.

When buying matcha you want it to consider these 3 things;

Location- look for producers from Japan (it’s even better if a specific location is mentioned).

Ceremonial graded– this is the stamp of approval to say that the matcha is of a premium grade, grown in a high-quality environment and therefore has more nutritional qualities.

Organic– as with most foods, organic will provide a ‘cleaner’ product as the plant will have been grown without any harsh chemicals or pesticides.

Colour– this is harder to ‘try before you buy’ but once you’ve opened your matcha you should be greeted with a vibrant deep green colour, rather than a washed-out lime green.

Where can I buy matcha?

I buy mine from Amazon, or you could go direct to a seller. To get you started, here are some certified and organic brands; 

Kineta

This is an organic ceremonial matcha sourced from an organic, family-run farm located just outside of Nishio, Japan.

Cost: £18.95 (I found this very reasonably priced compared to others!)

Size: 30g

https://www.ilovematchatea.co.uk/shop/matcha-green-tea-30g-tin/or https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/KINETA/KINETA/page/293DA216-9769-4A60-9AC2-FEBA9D0CCD1B

Ippodo Tea USA 

I’ve seen this used a lot by reputable bloggers and nutritionists within the online community – this is supposed to be one of the best.

Cost: £54.90

Size: 40g 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ippodo/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_9939492031?ie=UTF8&node=9939492031&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Ippodo

Kin Tea Australia

For my Aussie friends, I came across this brand recently. It’s only available in Australia so I haven’t tried it myself but their matcha is 100% organic, certified and grown in Kagoshima, Japan – plus their packaging is to die for!!

Cost: $38.00 AUD 

Size: 30g

https://www.kintea.com.au/shop/matcha

Key takeaways:

If you’re looking to create healthier habits that manage stress and anxiety, then introducing a daily ritual into your routine can be a fantastic way to decompress from the day, take a deep breath and have 10 minutes to yourself. 

For me, the real benefits come from the ritual and quiet time – and the matcha is an added extra!

If you are able (and want to) make the investment in making your own at-home matcha then go for it! But if not, focusing on introducing that 10-minute mental quiet will give you tones of benefits as well.

 

Bonus recipe:

Vegan coconut matcha latte recipe.JPG

Vegan Coconut + Matcha Latte

Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 tsp coconut oil 

  • 1 tsp matcha powder

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp spirulina (optional but adds additional health benefits and deeper colour)

  • ½ tsp maple syrup or agave

HOW TO MAKE:

  1. Add the milk and oil to a saucepan over a very low heat for 2-3 minutes until warmed through

  2. Add to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients

  3. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes (this creates an amazing foam!)

  4. Pour into your favourite mug, sit slowly and relax

Click here to Watch how I make it.


Easy Sweet Potato + Peanut Stew

Easy Sweet Potato + Peanut Stew

Cauliflower + coconut lentil dahl with fluffy quinoa

Cauliflower + coconut lentil dahl with fluffy quinoa