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Elizabeth Reninger

Yummy Green Things

By October 9, 2011

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Chlorella

Wonderful in countless ways, this single-cell super-food is easily number one on my physical-body-supplement list (with Tonic Gold taking highest honors in the subtle-body category). Chlorella both detoxes and nourishes the body, is a fantastic plant-based form of protein, and is packed with chlorophyll and myriad other nutrients.

Unlike many other super-green algaes, chlorella is a "food" in the sense that it's nearly impossible to cause harm by ingesting too much of it. Also unlike many of the other algaes, chlorella has a neutral temperature -- in terms of how it affects the body -- making it much easier to digest than many other of the super-green algaes, which tend in general to be very cold and, as a result, potentially damaging to the Spleen.

So .... eat chlorella! My educated guess is that 95 out of 100 people could benefit greatly from adding this single-cell creature to their dietary regimen.

A couple things to keep in mind, for chlorella newbies: (1) be sure to go for a split-cell variety; (2) powder is best (easiest to assimilate) or else tablets/capsules with as few extra ingredients as possible; (3) start with one-half teaspoon, once a day -- working your way up to one or two teaspoons, once or twice a day.

Prime Chlorella is one company that I can personally vouch for, and would recommend using, if you're going to mail-order. More recently I've been going with NOW chlorella, in powder form, since it's readily available in Boulder's health-food stores. Both are excellent.

Matcha

Though I love Darjeeling and Oolong tea -- and find the process of steeping leaves to be a lovely ritual -- I've recently become a devotee, also, of matcha: the powdered leaves of a particular kind of green-tea plant, which is used in the Japanese tea ceremony, and for centuries has been a staple of Japanese Buddhist monks and other meditation practitioners.

The tea-bushes used in the creation of matcha are shade-grown, which increases their chlorophyll content, and increases also their level of L-Theanine -- an amino acid that stimulates the production of alpha waves in the brain. Because of the unique chemical composition of matcha, its caffeine is assimilated into the human body in a way that provides sustained energy for three to four hours (rather than the "spike & crash" typical of coffee or, to a lesser degree, black tea).

The combination of "time-released" caffeine with the alpha-wave-producing L-Theanine creates a state of relaxed and calm mental alertness -- exactly the state of mind that meditators seek to cultivate. As such, matcha is a fantastic support for meditation practice, or any other activity that requires us to be awake and energized, while at the same time calmly focused.

A high-quality matcha will be a bright, almost neon, green. There are various grades: "ceremonial" tends to be the highest, and will offer the best-tasting matcha; while "food grade" typically is more bitter in flavor, but still excellent for including in smoothies or baked goods.

It's important to discern authentic matcha from what is often labeled simply as "green tea powder." Matcha is created from the buds and top leaves of shade-grown tea-bushes, with the stems and veins of the leaves removed, and ground in a way that preserves fully their rich nutrient profile -- a process which is responsible for its uniquely wonderful qualities. Green tea powder, on the other hand, is simply the dried, powdered leaves and stems of typical green tea -- a substance which tends to be much more bitter than matcha, and not nearly as rich in nutrients.

DoMatcha is my current favorite brand, though ZenMatcha is also excellent. I've also discovered several local tea-houses which sell matcha by the ounce, which -- assuming the quality is equally high -- can be a more economical option.

Enjoy!

Comments
October 13, 2011 at 9:45 am
(1) Steven says:

Thanks for the information, i have heard of the chlorella before. This kind of gives it away that i have not been to Asia.

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