My apartment in San Francisco, tucked into the rolling hills that are Pacific Heights, is the ultimate oasis from a busy schedule and demanding career. Not to mention my favorite person in the world Brian is always there to greet me with open arms after a long week of work in another city!
Saturday mornings do not start off with aggressive alarms (unless I'm meeting a girlfriend or dragging Brian to an early workout class with me and it's the only time to fit it in). Brian and I like to wake up naturally more and more. I'm an early bird so if I'm up when the sun is just rising, I usually practice photography and create new content for you while the lighting is just right! Then we both prepare and enjoy our favorite morning beverages on the couch or balcony. While Brian's is rather simple (espresso + splash of milk), mine is, well, more complex. I put a little extra time and effort into my morning beverage routine on the weekends because, well, I deserve that TLC and draw great joy from the end result.
You've probably seen this beautiful green bubbling drink I call a bulletproof adaptogenic matcha latte on my Insta stories every weekend. I drink it every weekend because it helps me relax, focus, and get into my creative zone. Today I'm going to share that special elixir with you.
I used to drink coffee every day. Despite feeling awakened shortly after drinking coffee, I actually felt scatterbrained for the bulk of the day after that. Even small and controlled amounts of coffee for several days in a row can drive my anxiety up exponentially and even contribute to restless nights (think lucid work nightmares). But I had a hard time kicking the habit, mainly because coffee is so enjoyable. It's nice to have a warm drink full of substance and flavor early in the morning. A tea bag in a cup of hot water just wasn't a fun substitute for coffee which can be spruced up with mylks and adaptogens (think chaga or reishi mushroom powder).
I fell in love with matcha when I first visited Japan, mainly because they have matcha-flavored everything. I couldn't stay away from that vibrant green and happened to love the earthy flavor which was new to my palette. We tasted matcha everywhere we went in Japan, but as we approached Kyoto, it could not be avoided. Kyoto is the mecca for matcha, and we were sure to sample it in many forms while enjoying the culture, food, and scenery there. By the end of the trip, the flavor was familiar to me. When I got back to the states, I did a little more research - was it more than a new trendy drink?
Matcha is a type of green tea which is very concentrated in antioxidants. It's also pretty high in caffeine. But the caffeine from matcha produces less of a jittery buzz, at least for me. It doesn't bring along the zombie-like buzz that's hard to shake after a little too much coffee. It's also a canvas for enjoyable drinking experiences, similar to coffee. It can easily be turned into thick and scrumptious tonics and lattes.
Matcha takes a little more work since it's newer to the western world and we don't have our kitchen appliances optimized around it like we do coffee, but that makes it just that much more special! Preparing and drinking matcha is a form of self care to me. It's a way to show myself that I'm willing to spend 5 minutes making something by hand just for me to enjoy.
I make my matcha lattes bulletproof by adding brain octane MCT oil. I've been using brain octane oil for a while. I find it lives up to its reputation – it increases my energy levels, improves my cognitive performance, keeps me full for longer, seems to speed up my metabolism, regulates my digestion, and reduces my cravings. Placebo effect or not, I'm happy with it. It's an intense ingredient so I suggest you start with 1 tsp and slowly increase to the 1 Tbsp I have in my recipe. I also strongly suggest you use Bulletproof brain octane oil, because they are picky af about the type of MCTs they use in their oil, and share tons of great info about it here. I've never used anything else. Finally, with all these health trends, it's important to do your own research and note whether it's scientific research from a veritable source. I've found this article to be a great starting point for finding scientific research on MCT oil and ketosis.
Adaptogens are substances known to help the body adapt to stress and normalize bodily processes. They've been a big deal in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic health practices for centuries, but have just started trending in the western world in the past 1-2 years. They're like the new superfoods, except for they're super herbs – instead of old school superfoods like acai and spinach, we're talking medicinal mushrooms like chaga, reishi, and cordyceps, and super herbs like astralagus and ashwaganda. The list honestly goes on and on forever. To be honest, I'm still trying to find good scientific research on each ingredient. From what I can tell, some are more heavily research backed than others, but people have anecdotally sworn by their effects for centuries. So I'd definitely do your own research and if you feel comfortable, just try them for yourself and see how you feel after using each one for a while! I suggest you just stick with 1-2 for a while then try others. If you try them all at once it might make it hard to tell what your body responds to if anything! I've personally noticed an improvement in ability to focus, energy, and digestion after using ashwagandha, maca, and chaga over time.
Morning Matcha Recipe
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. Bulletproof brain octane oil
1 tsp. Encha matcha (latte grade, 1st harvest) – use code E15Amber for 15% off!
1 tsp. ashwagandha
1/4 tsp. maca
2 scoops or 1 packet of Vital Proteins collagen powder