Mushroom Pecan Stuffing and Pâté

Posted on November 29, 2014 by Skratch Labs | 0 Comments

This is one of Chef Biju's all time favorite recipes during the holidays and colder months.  It's super versatile and can be made into a very quick "dressing" or blended into a brilliant all vegetarian pâté.

We're using potato peels as a major ingredient to add some extra nutrients and flavor. Keep about 1 cup of thick peels from sweet or regular potatoes, and cook them until tender in salted water, drain and set aside until you're ready to make this delicious recipe. 

None of the quantities need be to exact, this is the perfect recipe to just use whatever you have around.  Leftovers will also freeze well for a quick lunch.


Bring a large, deep pan to medium high heat, no oil!

Add to the pan:

  • 1lb sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 an onion, diced.

Saute until the mushroom edges begin to brown.

Next, add:

  • 6oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup cooked potato skins
  • 1 cup cubed bread (gluten free bread will work too!)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of herbs: Thyme, Sage, or Tarragon.

Saute thoroughly, then add a sprinkle each to your taste any combination of:

  • Celery salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Old bay seasoning
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • grated parmesan cheese

Remove from the pan at this point and use as a stuffing or dressing!

For a pâté fold in 1/4 cup of goat or cream cheese and cook on low heat until thoroughly incorporated.  Blend in a food processor until creamy, spread over grilled bread or serve with crackers.  It's also a great sandwich spread!  Yum!


Posted in Recipes

A Real Food Replacement for Energy Gels

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Skratch Labs | 0 Comments

Most athletes are used to eating gels, even if they provide a small dose of GI distress. A Sticky Bite uses everyday ingredients to deliver that sweet kick you crave, but in a more palatable way. Even more importantly, the higher moisture content in the sticky bite allows the body to more quickly absorb energy than a highly concentrated over-engineered sports nutrition product, which draws water away from the body to dilute the energy gel. For more information on this topic and why many athletes are switching to #RealFood we suggest reading the first 55 pages of the Feed Zone Portables book. 


Feed Zone Portables Chocolate & Sea Salt Sticky Bites


Try making these Chocolate & Sea Salt Sticky Bites! 

Chocolate and Sea Salt Sticky Bites are an athlete favorite for their one-bite combo of salty sweetness. In the video below, Chef Biju Thomas shows you a few tips and tricks in how to make them.


1 cup uncooked sticky rice

1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats

2 cups water

1 table spoon brown sugar 

2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate (chips or shaved)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt to taste


Mixing Instructions

1) Combine oats, rice and water with a dash of salt in a rice cooker and cook. Let cool to the touch

2) In a medium bowl, combine the cooked rice and oats with the remaining ingredients. Stir to incorporate the flavor throughout the sticky mixture

3) Press into an airtight storage container or shape as individual bites, Sprinkle with chocolate and salt (careful not to add too much salt here...a little goes a long way)

Storing / Wrapping:  Sticky bites can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container or individually wrapped.

Storage: Press the sticky mixture into a shallow airtight container and top with plastic wrap. Simply cut and wrap the bites as you need. 

Wrap: Place a heaping tablespoon of the sticky mixture on a small piece of plastic wrap. Press into a shape like an ice cube or spoon. Roll plastic wrap lengthwise and then twist the ends like a hard candy wrapper. 


Download a pdf of the Chocolate Sea Salt Sticky Bites recipe here



Posted in Recipes

Skiing and eating adventures in Chile!

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Skratch Labs | 0 Comments

Donny Roth is a Skratch Labs ambassador who believes in human-powered skiing (climbing to the top vs. using a chairlift). He believes there is more to skiing than simply going down hill. It's not all about the down, nor is it all about the up. Skiing and guiding for Donny is about the adventures, education and experiences. The following blog, written by Donny, sheds light on what a week of skiing and eating in Chile is like. 

Very few people go all the way to Chile to ski for a day.  Most folks come down for a week or so.  The most common trip I guide is skiing several volcanoes over a week.  We spend a little time each day learning new skills or refreshing techniques from the past season.  Everyone gets a refresher on beacon use and skins, and most everyone uses ski crampons for the first time.  What most people don't expect is how much emphasis I put on food, nutrition and hydration.  

There is a huge difference between skiing for a week and skiing for a weekend.  People like going to the office on Monday feeling a little worked from the weekend's activity. The sore quads and core sort of adds a little value, like you got the most for your money.  Trying to ski everyday for a week is much more like a stage race then a crit. If you bonk early on, you spend the rest of the time trying to catch up.  This isn't the best way to get the most out of your week long skiing vacation.

There are numerous challenges to eating well in Chile, which makes it an adventure of its own!  The first is that there is nothing close to a Whole Foods or other markets that stock every type of pre-packaged or pre-prepared food imaginable. Simply running into a store and picking up things that look like portables is not an option.  The only things available ready-made will be cookies, candy bars, empanadas and sopapillas – which can be delightful, I must admit.  To eat well, one has to make their own portables.  This is where the adventure begins. First, ingredients can be limited and inconsistent.  What you find in Santiago will be much different than what is found in Puerto Montt in the south.  Looking for organic berries in the middle of winter?  Ha!  Forget it.  Your favorite hot sauce?  Hope you got it through customs.  The other hurdle is that kitchens can be very, very different from place to place.  Some places challenge your image of a kitchen entirely. It is for these reasons that I travel with a small kitchen kit – everything from knives and cutting boards to baking pans and muffin tins.  Sometimes I even have my camping stove as backup.  

These obstacles can be overcome, with a little planning,  When my clients are going to ski everyday, averaging between four and five thousand vertical feet of climbing each day, then we need to consume calories.  Consuming 2000 calories of candy bars and empanadas would be gross.  It’s for these reasons that we make portables from scratch. Its been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. To give you a better visual and idea of what it’s like skiing and living in Chile, here are some photos and descriptions that capture some of the adventures of cooking in Chile.  After eleven winters in Chile, I really look forward to the challenge of cooking real food. Each season I continue to be pushed to think outside the wrapper.



This is one of my favorite vegetable markets in the country. In the major cities there are big supermarkets, which look identical to big U.S. chains, but the produce tends to on the very commercial scale – local and organic hasn't caught on yet.  These veggies are at least local and fresh.


 This is a sampling of typical touring food. Far-left: Baked eggs with breadcrumbs, bacon and cheese. Top Pan: Rice cakes with peanuts, chocolate chips and a touch of manjar; Center Plate: Spinach frittatas. Far Right Pan: Bacon bread bars.  


These are some of the special moments. When the owners of the hotel let me share their kitchen, which meant I got to learn new recipes and partake in making these cookies, along with this little girl.


Cooking on a wood-fired stove is actually pretty fun and not as hard as I thought it would be.  But it's certainly not instant heat!


Empanadas! This is the national food of Chile. They are traditionally filled with beef, onions, half a hard-boiled egg and one olive. I don't find this to be the most palatable while touring, but the concept is the ultimate portable. I like them filled with a spiced pear filling. Awesome!


This isn't typical, but it is a possibility. Sometimes the kitchen is a tent. Freeze-dried food sucks, unlike the views. It takes a little prep and planning; but we still eat well up here.


 Breakfast while camped just below snow line.  Warm oatmeal and real coffee to start the day.


After cooking on camping stoves and wood stoves, I feel like a hero in even the simplest kitchen.  A morning feast means the clients have no excuses.  Eggs over quinoa and topped with cheese and veggies, fresh frittatas for the way out the door and chocolate for later.

Sweet Rice Porridge: A Delicious Feed Zone Breakfast

Posted on September 29, 2014 by Skratch Labs | 0 Comments

Sweet Rice Porridge is a clever recipe from The Feed Zone Cookbook that blends quick-absorbing carbs from white rice with the satisfying whole proteins found in eggs. Add bananas for some bonus carbs and potassium — or whatever fruit or nut you’d prefer, get creative and have some fun with the flavors— and you’ll enjoy a tasty, simple breakfast that will power-up your morning workout.

This porridge recipe is also a great way to put leftover rice to good use.



Timing: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 2


1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg yolk

1 cup cooked rice

1 ripe banana, sliced

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

dash each of salt and ground cinnamon

fresh berries (optional)

Mixing / Serving

1. Whisk together milk and egg yolk in a medium pot, then heat gently

2. Add the cooked rice, banana, vanilla, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 5-10 minutes or until mixture comes to a gentle boil. 

3. Transfer to a bowl or plate and top with fresh berries/fruit, if desired. 

You can download this recipe for free...really for FREE...Here

Posted in Recipes

Sweet Goodness in Your Pocket: Fig and Honey Rice Cakes:

Posted on August 29, 2014 by Skratch Labs | 0 Comments

Allen and Biju have put a gluten-free spin on the classic fig cookies that many of us grew up eating. These rice cakes make a sweet portable snack, but because of the excellent fiber that is in the dried fruit, they work even better as a snack following a workout or between meals. If figs aren’t your favorite, try raisins, craisins or dates instead.



SERVINGS: About 10 rice cakes

Timing: 25-30 minutes

2 cups uncooked calrose rice or other medium-grain “sticky” rice

1 1/2 Cups Water

1 Cup toasted pecans

1 cup chopped dried figs

tablespoons honey 

Brown Sugar (optional)

Mixing Instructions

1. Combine rice and water in a rice cooker

2. To toast the nuts: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes. Stirring after 5 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, pecans and figs. Add the honey and stir thoroughly. Add more honey to taste, if desired

4. Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch square pan to about 1 1/2-inch thickness and sprinkle with brown sugar, if desired. 

Cut and wrap the individual cakes. Enjoy! 

Click here to download the complete recipe

Posted in Recipes

Mountain Bike Race Nutrition at the Breck Epic

Posted on August 26, 2014 by Skratch Labs | 0 Comments

From Vince Anderson

Mountain Bike Stage Race Nutrition: A Whole Different Kind of Animal! I just finished racing in the Breck Epic, a six-day mountain bike stage race held annually in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was my 5th time racing in this event. My weapon of choice this time as always was a single speed, bike. One gear. Each stage took 2 ½ - 4 hours to complete and were mostly (for me) full gas the entire time. Obviously, with any single event of that duration and intensity, one’s nutritional strategy is crucial; much more so when doing it for multiple days in a row. Over the five times I’ve raced it, I’ve learned a few things that seem to work for me in this department.

First and foremost, I have to say that racing a mountain bike is entirely different from racing a road bike: it is physically much more difficult to take your hands off your handle bars at almost any time, making eating and drinking a real challenge. Also, I’ve done a lot of multi-day alpine climbs and have learned a lot from that regarding nutrition and recovery, but that is WAY different from bike racing for just a few hours a day at much higher intensity. Alpine climbing involves quite a bit more long, slow endurance paced efforts, punctuated by the occasional brief, powerful moves needed to overcome climbing cruxes. My average heart rate for a bike race is right at or just below the red line for the entirety. It feels like I’m going all out for the entire time. The intensity needed to maintain speed and control on rocky, technical descents does not offer much in the way of respite, either. Additionally, on a single speed, the few flat sections encountered have to be done at ridiculously high rpm’s to stay with any of the geared riders if one wants to enjoy the windless protection from inside a peloton. Simply put, racing single speed mountain bike is physically more intense, but far less scary than doing an alpine climb. As a result, I’ve had to make some readjustments to my time tested nutritional strategies I’ve used on my numerous alpine adventures.

The main things I’ve identified as keys to nutritional success are what, when and how? The what. This is something that has not changed too much from my alpine climbing: I like real food. Though, I’ve had my share of gels, and nutritional drinks, I’ve found that nothing works as well for me as eating real food. In other words, I eat for calories and drink for hydration and try not to mix the two into one seemingly convenient, easy to consume meal replacement drink. I’m a huge advocate of good micro nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino and fatty acids, but feel these are best found by getting them from the right food in your regular meals. I really don’t take much additional supplements save for some fish oil pills (to ensure enough Omega 3’s) since I just can’t get enough good fresh fish here in the Western Colorado desert. I try to have a well balanced, healthy diet every day. When I’m racing, I try to do the same, but, obviously, need foods that are easier to digest and get down. I’ve found that rice cakes and balls, simple sweet sandwiches and things like that give me the best fuel compared to energy bars or gels. Proper hydration is the other part of this equation. I don’t like to drink my calories. I like to eat them. That does not mean I’m into plain water. I want something that will keep me hydrated and maintain my electrolyte levels. I used to mess around with trying to make my own hydration mix. I used a combination of water, table salt, orange juice, honey and green tea. This was pretty good, but honestly, I just did not often take the time to mix it up and would find myself usually scooping out one of the powdered drink mixes available from the store. Most of them tasted too sugary for me and would make me feel bloated or even nauseous. I would do the calculations as to how much water I needed for a given event and bring the appropriate amount of liquid with me, but rarely found I was able to drink what I had planned, either because of physical difficult in doing so (more on that in a minute) or, more likely, because I did not want to drink it. A guide student of mine introduced me to Skratch drink mix several years ago and I was hooked instantly. I find the lightly sweetened taste much more palatable to me when riding hard. The electrolyte replacement and low calorie (relative to other drink mixes) composition also sets well with my stomach and keeps me thirsty for more. Most importantly, I LOVE that it is made from REAL food and not a lot of artificial ingredients and special additives that other drink mixes are. It is just real fruit, sugar, salts and stuff like that.

For the Breck Epic, I tried the new Matcha + Lemons flavor and thought it the best I’ve yet to try. Matcha is a kind of fine ground green tea that easily dissolves in water. It reminds me a bit of my own concoction using green tea that I used to make. There are naturally occurring anti-oxidants in green tea and some (not a lot) caffeine. I’ve had mixed luck with caffeine while racing or climbing. I do think it helps my endurance (for a variety of reasons), but too much of it has also made my stomach go bonkers and so I try to be careful with how much I ingest and when. So the Matcha + Lemons mix really hit the spot for me. All week at the Breck Epic I rarely, if ever finished with a still partially full water bottle. Given the opportunity to drink, I would easily get down all that I had planned on consuming, something I’ve not done in the past. This stuff tastes good, keeps me well hydrated and does not upset my stomach. Also, I really enjoyed the mild caffeination to help keep me going for the longer stages of the race.

The When. Okay, so that’s what I’ve found works well for me as far as what to eat and drink. That is the part that makes sense on paper. The other part I’ve found to be challenging is when to eat during a race. As I mentioned, going full gas up and down a mountain bike racecourse is not conducive to taking hands off the bars to feed and hydrate yourself. I’ve found it of utmost importance to plan, either by pre-riding or good map assessment, the race in terms of when eating and drinking opportunities will occur. Slower, non-technical ascents work well. The transition from up to down often gives a moment to feed. Flats work. Feed zones and aid stations are usually worth the short stop to get food and water on board (and refill). I take a lot of time looking over the course maps and profiles to figure out when I can get food on board. I’ve found that sometimes they are sooner than ideal, but it is better to take advantage of those spots than to go too far and run into and energy deficit from which you can not dig out. With a muti-day race like the Breck Epic, this is even more important, since what you eat today often aids recovery and provides energy for tomorrow. This is much like alpine climbing, where you have to eat and drink on the belay ledges or other stopping points to avoid bonking while your on lead or climbing.

The how. This may seem trivial, but how to eat has proven to be as important as anything else for me in mountain bike racing and, to a certain extent, has dictated what I eat. As I mentioned, it is so hard to take your hands off the bars to do anything, even scratch your nose or adjust your glasses, so eating has to be as simple as you can make it. Another complicating factor is that if you’re going at your max, you’re going to be breathing like a racehorse. Stuffing food into your biggest airway does not help the breathing. This is one reason why gels are so popular: they are very easy to get from package to stomach. I’ve gone for the simplest to unwrap and easiest to chew foods I can find. I’ve made my own rice porridge type gels and put them in gel flasks. I make simple sandwiches and rice balls, as well. Either way, getting them from jersey to mouth is just half the battle. The next challenge is chewing, something that is taken for granted. Your mouth my host its own competition between food and air for which is going to get through. I have to really focus on chewing and sometimes (this may sound gross) just leave food in the side of my mouth, chew a little, breath some more, chew a little more and so on until I can swallow it. It is not necessarily proper manners, but it works for me to get the food down the gullet, into the stomach and on it’s way to giving me more horsepower. Sometimes, I even find I have to let off the gas a little to get the food down. It is worth the few extra seconds of slowing down in a long race to ensure that you can maintain proper energy levels throughout the duration.

I used to finish races with partially full water bottles and lots of food in my jersey pockets. Between the upset stomach from too sugary drinks and the difficulty of eating, I just did not take good care of myself and would finish feeling completely wrecked. After several years of trying different strategies, I’m convinced that eating real food and drinking Skratch has helped me do far better in the nutritional department for mountain bike races, especially for The Breck Epic. 


Vince is a third generation native of Colorado who climbed his first mountain at age five, started skiing at eight, and has called the mountains home his entire life. When he is not out guiding, climbing, skiing, he can often be found on the bike with his wife and three sons in Grand Junction, Colorado. Check him out -

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What is Matcha Green Tea and Why is it in a Sports Drink?

Posted on August 19, 2014 by Allen Lim, PhD | 1 Comment

     At Skratch Labs, all of our hydration products are driven by science but crafted and sold as real food, not as supplements. While it’s a subtle distinction for some, it’s a fundamental difference that defines everything we do. For example, we are meticulous about the formula in our Exercise Hydration Mix, making sure that we have an electrolyte ratio that best matches what we lose in sweat and a blend of sugars that optimizes absorption in the small intestine to prevent gastrointestinal distress (i.e., gut rot). At the same time, none of our drink mixes contain flavoring agents or artificial ingredients. Instead, we use whole functional foods that have been dried and crushed like raspberries, oranges, lemons, mangos, and pineapples to flavor and enrich our line. This gives all of our drinks a simple and clean taste that hydrates us while also providing the nutritional benefits associated with the foods we use. Most recently, we took this a step further by developing a flavor using Matcha – a type of green tea that is consumed whole rather than brewed, making it convenient and incredibly nutrient dense compared to other teas.


     Like many plant-based foods, tea is a functional food. A functional food contains essential nutrients like carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals as well as biologically active compounds that affect one’s physiology and that can contribute to disease prevention (Hayat, 2013; Deldicque, 2008).  The natural compounds in foods that are not essential nutrients but that are important to our health are referred to as phytochemicals or phytonutrients. Phytochemicals in turn have a broad and complex classification system that has generated a litany of jargon in the marketing and science surrounding functional foods as well as an equivalent amount of confusion when it comes to understanding what we are actually consuming and whether it’s actually good for us. 


     For now, I’ll skip out on describing all of the classes of phytochemicals but mention the ones that are more common and relevant to tea. For example, one class of phytochemicals are alkaloids that include caffeine and caffeine-like compounds like theobromine and theophylline found in tea, coffee, and cocoa. Another class of phytochemicals are polyphenols which are further categorized into non-flavonoids and flavonoid compounds. Non-flavonoids include compounds like reseveratrol common to grapes and wine while flavonoids include compounds like anthocyanins, quercitin, and tanins, which can be further classified into catechins or flavan-3-ols. It’s these catechins that are specifically found in high quantities in tea and which can be further broken down into four major types of catechins in tea including epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC) that are the compounds that impart many of the health benefits associated with tea (Kim, 2014). 


     While all of these names are confusing all by themselves, the confusion is often confounded because when people describe a particular phytochemical, it’s common to use the different names within a particular class as synonyms for one another. For example, EGCG can be described as a catechin. A catechin can be described as a tannin. A tannin can be described as a flavonoid. A flavonoid can be described as a polyphenol. And finally, a polyphenol can be described as a phytochemical.  To keep things easy and coming full circle, we’ll just describe good things in food that aren’t essential nutrients as phytonutrients and only talk about specific compound like the caffeine or EGCG in tea when appropriate.


     With that in mind, the reason that phytonutrients in tea, specifically, catechins like EGCG have physiological significance and a number of health benefits is because they have an incredible array of unique attributes that include anti-oxidative (Jowko, 2011; Panza, 2008), anti-inflammatory (Hagiwara, 2014; Haramizu, 2013; Nicod, 2014), anti-carcinogenic (Sato, 1999; Siddiqui, 2014), anti-hypertensive (Khalesi, 2014; Mousavi, 2013; Onakypoya, 2014), anti-microbial (Hagiwara, 2014; Lin, 2014; Pang, 2014), neuro-protective (Noguchi-Shinohara, 2014), DNA protective (Ho, 2014), cholesterol lowering (Eichenberger, 2009; Kono 1996; Onakypoya, 2014; Yousaf, 2014), and thermogenic or metabolism increasing properties (Hodgson, 2013; Jeukendrup, 2011). And ultimately, all of these things are good things, especially when reviewing the wide array of research studies describing health benefits for specific diseases like cardiovascular disease (Ghanbari, 2014; Santesso, 2014), cancer (Butt, 2013; Green, 2014; Greenberg, 2013; Huang, 2014; Inoue, 1998; Wang, 2014), urinary tract infections (Katz, 2014), type II diabetes (Pham, 2014; Venables, 2008), arthritis (Byun, 2014; Yang, 2014; Riegsecker, 2013), stroke (Nabavi, 2014), obesity (Byun, 2014), dental diseases (Gaur, 2014), neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s (Qi, 2014; Gao, 2013; Albarracin, 2012; Tanaka, 2011), and dermatological issues (Scheinfeld, 2013; Pazyar, 2012). 


     Beyond these disease preventing properties, tea also can act as a stimulant due to naturally occurring caffeine as well as an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been show to be a mood stabilizer, working synergistically with caffeine to improve focus (Yoto, 2014; Camfield, 2014; Ross. 2014; Giesbrecht, 2010).  And while much has been made about caffeine as a performance enhancer due to its ability to mobilize free fatty acids (Jeukendrup, 2011), improve alertness (Beaven, 2013), and enhance glycogen re-synthesis (Beelen, 2012; Taylor, 2011) it’s also clear that those effects only come at high doses of caffeine (3-6 mg per kg of body weight) and are better if you are unaccustomed to caffeine (Burke, 2008; Ganio, 2009; Deldicque, 2008). In addition, it’s also clear that at very high doses, caffeine can have negative affects ranging from sleep disturbance to anxiety to cardiovascular complications (Youngstedt, 1998, 2000; Rogers, 2013; Chrysant, 2014).


     From an exercise standpoint, there’s less evidence that phytonutrients beyond caffeine like catechins in tea are beneficial to actual performance. That said, some studies in mice have shown improved endurance capacity in mice associated with EGCG supplementation resulting from an increase in fat use (Murase, 2005) as well as less of an age related decline in endurance performance (Murase, 2008). Interestingly, one in vitro (outside of the body) study has shown that EGCG can help prevent muscle wasting (Mirza, 2014) which may have implications for humans during exercise or in recovery from exercise, though those implications may be a bit of a stretch, especially since actual benefits in exercising humans are unclear. For example, a single 640 mg dose of EGCG in soccer players showed no reduction in oxidative stress or muscle damage (Jowko, 2012). An acute dose of green tea catechins (22 mg per kg of body weight), however, immediately after exercise in Tae Kwon did show improvements in immune function (Lin, 2014). Finally, in one human study, short term consumption (945 mg over 48 hours) of EGCG has been shown to increase maximal oxygen consumption without changes in cardiac output, hinting a greater ability of muscle to extract oxygen (Richards, 2010). Unfortunately, much more research is needed to bear out any real world performance benefits.


     That all said, we weren’t just thinking about the potential health or performance benefits of tea when we developed our newest Exercise Hydration Mix that contains Matcha – a type of green tea. For what it’s worth, like many people, we just like tea. We like the way it tastes and how it makes us feel. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the time or resources to brew it. This is where Matcha comes in. Like all other teas, Matcha comes from the plant Camillia Sinensis. There are three basic types of tea – green, oolong, and black tea. They’re distinguished by whether the plants are allowed to ferment before drying. Green tea is unfermented, oolong is partially fermented and black tea is fermented. The fermentation process changes the amount of phytonutrients available. For example, black tea is higher in caffeine than green or oolong, but green tea is higher in catechins like EGCG than either oolong or black tea. Unlike other teas, Matcha is unique because it’s grown in the shade, significantly increasing its chlorophyll content—the component in plants that make them green and that may also add to the positive health benefits of tea (Jiang, 2013). In addition, Matcha is not brewed. Instead, the entire leaf is ground into a powder and consumed whole. Because the entire leaf is consumed, this increases the amount of phytonutrients that can be consumed and concentrated into a drink, compared to brewed tea. But most importantly, because Matcha is a powder it’s actually possible to blend it into a drink mix making it a convenient and highly functional ingredient.


     A single 16 oz serving of our Exercise Hydration Mix with Matcha + Lemons contains about 500 mg of whole ground Matcha. Traditionally, if someone were making a 16 oz serving of Matcha tea, they might use about 2000 mg or a teaspoon of whole Matcha powder. So per serving we’re about a quarter of a typical serving of Matcha that someone might traditionally consume. The reason we did this is that our assumption is that during prolonged exercise someone might consume multiple servings of our Exercise Hydration Mix and we wanted to make sure that people didn’t over-consume Matcha relative to what’s traditionally consumed. In addition, this helps to keep the overall flavor profile light and prevents the overly tannic taste profile that is common when drinking Matcha and other teas. This also means that the amount of caffeine per serving is lower at approximately 16 mg per 16 oz serving. As a point of reference an 8 oz cup of coffee might have anywhere from 70-100 mg of caffeine whereas a typical 8 oz cup of Matcha tea might have about 30-40 mg of caffeine. While the amount of caffeine in our Exercise Hydration Mix with Matcha + Lemons is not high, it is there and it is natural with 5 servings equaling a cup of coffee. Over the course of a long day, this small amount can add up if someone is consuming enough to keep hydrated, which is the ultimate purpose of our line of Exercise Hydration mixes.


     Although it’s nice to know that teas, in particular, green teas like Matcha have a host of potential health benefits (Hayat, 2013), it’s unlikely that a single drink of anything is likely to improve performance or health (Jowko, 2012; Randell, 2013). The reality is that we never intended nor do we think that our Exercise Hydration Mix with Matcha + Lemons is, by itself, a panacea for poor health or performance. Like all things in life, it’s important to always look at the big picture when thinking about one’s well being. That picture includes one’s overall diet, physical activity, stress level, social support, sleep and innumerable other factors spread over a lifetime. Ultimately, what we believe is that using whole food ingredients with known functional benefits is just better than the common practice of using artificial ingredients like coloring agents, emulsifiers, and synthetic sweeteners that may actually be harmful to our health (Simmons, 2014). By using Matcha we don’t just get a functional food, we get an incredible and refreshing taste that helps to encourage drinking and that keeps us hydrated with all of the potential upsides of real tea.



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