15 Sep Kristin’s Matcha Energy Balls
The Obligatory Background: An Exceptionally Brief History Lesson
Matcha isn’t the newest kid on the nutrition block. Like many hot items, it’s actually doing the work for a long time. How long? Matcha dates back nearly a thousand years to a time when Shogun clans ruled Japan.
Made in the Shade. Literally.
Matcha is made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves. For 3-4 weeks before harvest, the green tea plants for matcha are shaded. During the time they are shaded, the growing leaves produce more l-theanine and caffeine. The stems and veins are removed during processing and the leaves are ground into a fine powder. This powder is typically served mixed into water as a tea, with milk added to make a latte, or as an ingredient that can be mixed into baked goods for additional nutritional bang.
Matcha has a distinctly herbaceous, often acquired taste, which is why it’s often served as a latte rather than “black.” Before you turn your nose on it, you may be interested to know that just one cup of matcha tea offers three times the antioxidants as regular green tea.
Remember the l-theanine that comes from the shaded growth? L-theanine is an amino acid that has been shown to boost the brain’s alpha waves, resulting in calm mood. When paired with caffeine in the amount naturally occurring in matcha, the result is a focussed calm and mental alertness.
Getting in on the Gig
Matcha lattes are widely available, however they often come with a generous portion of sweetener. This isn’t uncommon in the beverage world, and considering the grassy taste isn’t completely unreasonable if you are taking baby steps into the world of matcha. However, it’s important to recognize that sugar itself is inflammatory. Sucking down sugary drinks is also linked with weight gain and may negatively impact mood. If you are going to regularly consume matcha, I recommend you make your own matcha teas or lattes at home, where you can control the sugar content. As a bonus to all of you who read this far, here’s a link for a dairy-free matcha latte you can make at home.
Here’s a Printable Recipe
Are you looking for a healthy snack that travels well, is easy to make, contains whole-food ingredients that support performance? Let me guess: you also want it to taste good. These matcha balls tick all those blocks and give you an easy entry point to matcha. Click the link for the recipe and shopping list for Kristin’s Matcha Energy Balls.
If you’d like to get recipes and updates in your inbox, sign up for my newsletter.