Do you Matcha?

When you make green tea, you grab a tea bag, a cup of hot water, and let the bag steep for a few minutes then toss it out and enjoy your tea, right?  Did you know that the rest of what you’re throwing away in that tea bag is the part of green tea that provides all of the health benefits that are really good for you?

Matcha TeaGreen tea can offer many health benefits including boosting your energy, supplying you with powerful antioxidants, possibly lowering your risk of cancer and weight loss.  While green tea is a great option for you, matcha tea may be even greater.  Matcha tea is green tea, essentially, but instead of putting the green tea leaves in individual bags, they are ground up in to a fine powder that you mix in with hot water.  By grinding up the tea leaves and consuming them instead of just letting them soak in your water, you get even more of the benefits!

More benefits of green and matcha tea include:

  • Antioxidants – TIP: Antioxidants neutralize the free radical molecules in our bloodstream and they are naturally produced by the body, but it’s likely that they are outnumbered by the free radicals in our system, so it’s always a good idea to consume foods and drinks that contain antioxidants!
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • It’s a natural detoxifier
  • Great for meditation!
  • It is rich in fiber and vitamins
  • It enhances your concentration
  • It may help prevent diseases or cancers
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugars
  • Matcha tea can also be used in cooking!

I know these health benefits sound too good to be true, but matcha truly is a great addition to your healthy nutrition habits!  Ask your local grocer where to find matcha at your favorite store. It’s Go Thyme!

It’s Go Thyme.

Have you ever talked about doing something for a long time, I mean like 5 years, and then finally taken the leap?  If so, you know how intimidating, nerve racking, stress invoking, and most of all, liberating, that process can be.

This year I finally did something that I had set a goal to do almost 6 years ago when I graduated from the University of Missouri’s dietetic program.  I committed to studying for and taking the certified specialist in sports dietetics exam (CSSD) offered through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.)

I know what you are probably thinking “blah, blah, blah…. What does this even mean and why is it important?”  The CSSD certification gives dietitians with extensive experience in sports dietetics the opportunity to be recognized as an expert in their specialty area.  A dietitian must practice for a minimum of two years before applying for the CSSD certification.  They also must complete 1500 hours of specialty sports nutrition consultation and pass the exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.  The CSSD is the first and only sports nutrition certification program to be accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

I made the commitment to taking the exam shortly after our wedding day at the end of September 2015.  Patrick and I had taken a short “honeymoon” to the Black Hills the weekend after our wedding and had plenty of time to discuss our personal and professional goals during the 20+ hour drive to and from western South Dakota.  (We had no idea it would take that long.  We also weren’t expecting it to rain the entire time we were there.)  Patrick had committed to beginning his journey to becoming a licensed architect (a series of 7 pretty intense exams), so I figured there was no better time to jump on the study train.

At first it was difficult to find the groove as a “self-guided student.”  Without self induced benchmarks and goals it would have been rather challenging to arrive on test day feeling any sort of confidence.  Ironically enough, study guides are practically non-existent once you enter the real world.  It was hard to wrap my head around the extensive content that would be covered on the exam.   After identifying a solid list of resources that would help prepare me for the exam, I made the first of many stops at Zanzibar for a pound of fresh roasted coffee beans and got to work.

I’ll spare you the boring details of the study period:: very consistent early mornings, numerous cups of Chemex brewed coffee, 4 holidays, a birthday, and a beautiful week spent on our “real honeymoon” … and skip to the part when I finally got to take the exam.   Then I waited 6 weeks to receive the results…

I started scouring every piece of daily mail we received entirely too soon and was disappointed day after day when the results did not come.  Finally, a short 6 weeks and 2 days after I took the exam, it finally arrived.  I was home for a quick “laundry switch” before I headed off to meet with an athlete I have been working with.   I opened it, searching frantically for some indication of whether or not the constant nagging in the back of my head for the past 6 weeks and 2 days had been worth it.

“Congratulations, you have PASSED” was all I needed.  At that moment my eyes filled with tears of joy, pride, and relief.  The rest of the words were blurry, which at that point did not matter.  At a time in my life when I was in need of a boost, it came, on a white 8 1/2 x 11” piece of paper.  Sometimes it is the simplest things that can make the most impact.

I wiped my tears, jumped in my car, called my husband, and then my mom (who had been asking me every time I talked to her, “Have you heard anything?!”)  I thought to myself, “It’s go time…time to dig in.”

Healthy Options at your Feet

Des Moines is a great community with numerous options for those who wish to lead a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.  There are multiple trails for walking, running and biking throughout the area, parks for recreation and relaxation, and markets!  If you’ve lived in Des Moines for more than 24 hours, you’ve heard of that amazing market that is offered every Saturday from 7:00am – 12:00 noon from May until October!  Take a walk or bike downtown to check out the variety of vendors located at the Des Moines Farmers Market that offer fresh foods you could benefit from adding to your diet.  By choosing to buy and consume fresh, wholesome foods, you are one step closer to a healthier you!Farmer's Market

When you make your way to the Des Moines Farmers Market or any other markets, I know it can be difficult to go in blind and steer clear of the things-on-a-stick, fried this and that and the abundance of baked goods, so here are a few things you should add to your list:

  • Fresh produce items like fruit and vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Select baked goods (don’t get too carried away!)
  • Fresh fruit smoothies

Fresh produce items are packed with nutrients and vitamins such as fiber, Vitamins B and C – which can be lost when they are frozen or canned – and a number of others!  When in season, there are no better tasting produce options than the ones that are offered and available at markets!  Fresh herbs that are available at these markets pair well with the produce, chicken, and fish that are available.

Tell us about your favorite things about the farmer’s market!