Summer is a tempting time for cold, sweet treats. Tall, icy drinks that cool and caffeinate are sometimes the only fix for a day spent in the sun. My favorite way to honor the craving, without the punishment of a sugar-caffeine-cocktail crash, is with a frosty blend of sweet bananas, fresh mint, and a hint of matcha green tea.
Matcha is a shockingly green powder made from grinding whole green tea leaves. The health-promoting benefits are greater when consuming the entire leaf rather than steeping the leaves in hot water. Easier on your adrenal glands than coffee, matcha boosts metabolism and delivers an admirable potency of chlorophyll and antioxidants (more than blueberries, spinach, or goji berries by weight). The added benefit of L-theanine contributes to a calm but alert mental state. With all those health benefits why not try this frosty smoothie and toast to easy summer living!
Frosty Matcha-Mint Smoothie
1 banana, cut into slices and frozen (see Beginner’s Tips)
1 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons matcha powder
1 medjool date, pit removed
1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
Pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
- Frosty Matcha Mint Smoothie with Protein. To turn this into a complete breakfast, add a serving of natural protein powder such as hemp or sprouted brown rice.
- Frosty Fruity Matcha Mint Smoothie. Add 1/2 cup of summer fruit for variety, like strawberries or blueberries.
- Avocado Matcha Mint Smoothie To include healthy unsaturated fats (and continuation of the green theme), add a quarter of a small ripe avocado per serving.
The best way to freeze bananas is to start with very ripe ones that are dark yellow and speckled with brown spots. Cut them into quarters or eighths (depending on what your blender can handle) and place them in a freezer-safe plastic bag; this way, when one whole banana is called for, you can just count out four or eight pieces. Store as many bananas as you can at a time to have at the ready. Bananas need up to twenty-hour hours to completely freeze.
Consumption of green tea is strongly associated with many positive health benefits: reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension, regulating weight and hunger, providing protection from solar ultraviolet light, help increasing bone mineral density, and possible protection against some cancers.
What do tea and meditation have in common? Drinking tea may help you become a little more zen. Tea contains a compound called L-theanine, which is shown to induce a state of calm focus known as “alpha-wave dominant” in neurology. Devotees of meditation have been found to hover in that very same mental state when deep into their practice.