Thursday, November 13, 2014

Green Tea 101- Soo.. What is Matcha?

Green tea ice cream, green tea lattes, green tea cakes, cookies, and kit kats. All use the same secret ingredient- matcha, the tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. And while green tea baked goods are always appreciated- matcha is pretty darn good on its own too..

Despite its increasing presence in various tasty treats, smoothies, and supplements- our friends, families, and many of those we talk tea with, still don’t seem to have a clear picture of what matcha is.

So..then, what exactly is it? Well, matcha is the only tea in which the entire leaf is consumed; meaning this vegetal and vibrant powdered tea packs in way more nutrients than its traditionally infused counterparts.

Matcha begins with leaves lovingly grown in the shade, beneath screens and straw shades, which reduces the rate of photosynthesis. Due to lack of access to the sun, the tea leaves are forced to work extra hard, catching whatever glimmer of the sun they can- resulting in a bright green, nutrient rich tea, known as tencha.

The tencha leaves are picked late in the harvest, after spending about 2-4 weeks in the shade, and are subsequently air-dried, de-stemmed, and ground into a fine powder using a stone mill. Tencha is now matcha; tea transformed.

Just a few of the countless benefits you'll enjoy by embracing the “shadier side” of green tea:

Calming, Crash-Free Energy Boost- Like coffee and brewed teas, matcha does contain some caffeine. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid responsible for a savory, umami flavor, that has an anti-stress effect. The caffeine and L-theanine combine to create a calm, alertness. Japanese monks have used matcha for over a thousand years; helping them stay focused while meditating for hours on end.

Some Nutritional Basics- Potassium, Iron, Vitamins A, C, E, & K- who knew you could get so many vitamins and minerals just from sipping on tea?!

Antioxidants- Matcha is jam packed full of antioxidants that do everything from naturally freshening breath, potentially aiding in fighting some cancers and HIV, protecting skin against damage from the sun and potentially, from age induced wrinkles and sagging.

Detox- Another way to get our essential fill of greens; chlorophyll is the stored solar energy that gives matcha its green color. Its high chlorophyll content has a cleansing effect on the body, helping eliminate chemicals and heavy metals, restore pH balance, and support the immune system.

Metabolism Booster- Matcha can raise your metabolic rate, while increasing fat oxidation- especially if consumed right before hitting the gym. It also has thermogenic properties- which means it helps the body burn calories while digesting food.

It's Super Convenient- Not exactly a health benefit, but a killer benefit nonetheless, matcha’s powdery, “just add water” nature makes it essentially the perfect instant drink mix; effortless, but with no sugar or mystery ingredients that tend to be the price of convenience.

Around these parts, we use matcha anywhere we can; green tea mints and immune support, and our newest addition, green tea lattes! Next time, skip the juice cleanse- and whip yourself up a frothy batch of ceremonial grade deliciousness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Green Tea (+C) 101- Better for You Immune Support

Sneezing, coughing, and exhausted? Fructose, glycine, and cysteine hydrochloride to the rescue! Wait...What..?! Your typical, run of the mill immune support drink is loaded with sugar, synthetic vitamins, and ingredients that can be a little tricky to pronounce; not exactly a recipe for daily wellness success. We think we can do better. Green Tea +C is whole-food based immune support drink made from organic green tea, acerola cherry, and a blend of ginger, orange peel, and turmeric that work together to help you stay well. Naturally...
Here's a thing or two worth knowing about natural immune support. 

Green Tea Immunity
Antioxidants, we’ve all been told, are seriously good for you. Their inherent super powers come from the ability to fight free radicals, which set off these chain reactions that actually damage the body’s cells. With its anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, green tea protects against illnesses that enter through the nose and mouth, with a type of antioxidants, known as polyphenols. Polyphenols help fend off viruses like the common cold, strep throat, and influenza- just skip the milk if you feel your defenses are low, dairy proteins bind to polyphenols, making them inactive.
Another immune boosting fact- green tea has also been shown to have a positive impact on brain and mood functions; a happy, healthy mind means a happy, healthy body.

Vitamin C: Natural > Synthetic
Certain fizzy drinks might talk a big vitamin C game, boasting something like 2600% of your daily value, but in reality, your body can’t absorb anywhere near that amount. It’s simply too much of a so-called “good” thing. Ascorbic acid is listed as vitamin C in a sizable chunk of your favorite supermarket staples, its purpose being, to replace vitamin C lost in the pasteurization process(the heat destroys naturally occurring vitamin C). Ascorbic acid is essentially only the outer layer of a vitamin, it is extracted and isolated from a sugar molecule found in corn, and is therefore missing the co-factors and micronutrients that work together for maximum absorption.Green Tea +C gets its “C” from the Acerola cherry, a tiny fruit hailing from the Amazon that contains more vitamin C by weight than an orange.

Don’t Compromise Your Immune System with Sugar
It might taste sweet, but sugar is truly up to no good when it comes to your immune health. Excessive sugar curbs the immune system’s ability to fend off bacteria and viruses that invade the body. Normally, white blood cells engulf, then absorb incoming foreign organisms, basically cleaning out anything that doesn't belong in the body. Sugar vastly slows this process, leaving the immune system wide open for attack from incoming germs.

It’s time to adopt a “less is more” mentality when it comes to vitamins. If you find your nose getting progressively harder to use, throat scratchy, or maybe just the onset of flu season panic; take a timeout, drink some tea, and try eating real, wholesome foods.

Shop Green Tea +C, and get 15% in the month of November:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Green Tea 101- Well, Just Tea 101...

Did you know all teas are grown from the same plant? Matcha, Oolong, Earl Grey- all begin with the leaves of the Camelia sinensis. But its the way those leaves are treated; be it fried, dried, steamed, toasted, or withered that give each tea a distinctive personality.

A quick rundown on how tea is categorized:

Black and Oolong (sometimes called wulong) teas are made by leaving picked leaves out to dry in the sun, where they go through their “withering stage,” meaning a chemical reaction takes place when the leaves interact with the sun, causing them to oxidize. Black teas soak up the rays until turning a brownish black, while oolongs only stay out long enough to ferment partially.

Green teas are not left in the sun to oxidize like black or oolong. Freshly picked leaves are subsequently steamed or fried in a pan- keeping them from fermenting. The subtle differences in the way the leaves are rolled, flattened, and dried gives way to many different varieties(including our faves- matcha and sencha). Green tea is the only type of tea containing the antioxidant EGCG- which is said to do all kinds of things from preventing cancer and heart disease, to helping with weight loss, and freshening breath.

White tea, the rarest and least processed type of tea, has a very delicate flavor and aroma. This subtle tea is made from young leaves, picked very early in the season while the buds and still closed and covered in teeny, tiny silvery white hairs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Don’t know Matcha ‘Bout… Breath Mints

Aspartame, phenylketonurics, blue 1, soy lecithin. The sweet taste of freshness, or science experiment gone awry?

Most of us don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the nutritional content of those ubiquitous ice-themed breath fresheners, but many mints come equipped with warning labels that would be equally at home on something you use to scrub clean your kitchen, and are not likely to include many natural ingredients.

Like a lot of us, your first instinct is likely to hose down your mouth with the strongest menthol flavor you can find to effectively wipe out a case of dragon breath. This simply doesn't work; menthol and mint flavors might taste like they’re doing something, but they don’t have any antibacterial properties, and just temporarily cover up any unsavory flavors. Rather than throw a minty mask over the problem, avoid sugar or artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame. Here’s a gross factoid to tell your friends: sugar actually provides food for bacteria, (they enjoy eating protein and sucrose, BTW) which releases sulfides when digested, creating a sticky breeding ground for germs, and contributing to tooth decay and gingivitis- yuck! Just something to consider next time the impulse mints near the checkout start calling your name...

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Los Angeles Tea Festival Returns!

Mark your calendars! The LA International Tea Festival returns next weekend, and we'll be there with free samples! Get 50% off admission when you buy your ticket online, with promo code SENCHANATURAL.
The festival runs the weekend of August 16 & 17th, from 11 am - 5 pm, at the Japanese American Museum near downtown Los Angeles. Click here for tickets & directions, and we'll see you there!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Free Green Tea +C!

This August, get a FREE box of Green Tea +C! We're promoting daily wellness to support your immune system, and what better way than an easy effervescent mix of green tea with Vitamin C?

Add a box to your cart, and it becomes free with a $50 retail purchase (or $100 wholesale order).
Did you also know the box folds open like this for easy access? Super handy for your countertop, so that you never forget your daily dose of the good stuff!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July is Dragonfruit Month!

We declare July to be Dragonfruit Month, and we're offering 20% off all Dragonfruit products!

Also known as "pitaya," this night-blooming cactus fruit originated in Mexico but made its way to the tropics of Southeast Asia, where it is now cultivated.

Named for its bright pink skin that resembles dragon scales (as well as for its climbing vine that "slithers" its way upwards), the flesh is actually a mild aromatic flavor similar to kiwi fruit.

Our Dragonfruit Mints & Green Tea +C are the perfect combo of sweet & tart... Try them today!!