Guest Post: Wake Up and Smell the Matcha
Guest Post by Montreal’s own Julie Mondor…aka. DJ Ruby Jane.
I love green tea. I love drinking it. I love cooking with it. When Stark showed me that I could also put it on my face, it was a done deal. Using the Green Tea Detox Mask before bed not only revitalizes my skin, it also calms me, helping me sleep better. When I sleep better, my mornings are better. And man, I really hate mornings.
I start my day with the best intentions. Those intentions are usually out the window within the first 10 minutes of dragging my sorry ass out of bed. I am groggy and cranky and will not carry a conversation with you. It’s because I really don’t get much sleep. I have trouble calming my mind and I rarely get to a deep sleep, often hovering in a dream-wake state most of the night. Bad sleep means an unrested mind. As a result, I am forgetful, scattered-brained and sometimes have trouble focusing. Moreover, I am not an organized person. I tease my boyfriend for his extreme organizational skills and I’m annoyed by his fastidious insistence on having fridge items placed in their designated spots. But I secretly envy his discipline. The only place for ritual in my life is the morning. I try to make sure I drink a big glass of water as soon as I wake up, but it’s usually followed by a guilty cup of coffee.
Now, a coffee a day is not bad for you. I’m just not so sure it’s the ideal thing to put in your body the instant you wake up. However, the process of setting up my moka pot, the smell of the coffee brewing and the bittersweet taste of a perfectly executed café au lait is the key to taming my morning beast. So I have found something that equates that experience in the form of matcha. I’ve tried to switch up my coffee fix with various steeped teas, but nothing could replace it quite like matcha, particularly because it tastes divine with warm, frothy milk.
The beauty of matcha is that it is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the rest of the body. Its vibrant green hue is a clue in itself to how good it is for you. Because you’re ingesting the whole tea leaf, matcha has more catechins, chlorophyll and antioxidants than steeped green tea. It’s also said to boost metabolism and help reduce cholesterol levels. I like adding it to smoothies and yogurt, and my boyfriend and I are planning on blending some in pasta dough to make springtime-inspired matcha linguine with fresh green pea pesto.
Perfectly prepared matcha paired with a sweet
Photo by Shabbar Sagarwala
While green tea does contain some caffeine, it doesn’t have nearly as much as coffee, so its stimulating effect brings alertness without the nervousness and agitation that coffee does. It’s no surprise that matcha was originally consumed by Buddhist monks to stay alert during long hours of meditation. To this day, matcha is associated with ritual and ceremony and is the predominant type of tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony or The Way of Tea. I have yet to attend such a ceremony, but that is sorely lacking in my hectic city life. The Way of Tea is an art form that teaches you to strive for simplicity and refinement, and it gracefully leads you to realize the uniqueness of the moment.
Appropriate placement and order of objects for tea ceremony
Photo by Shabbar Sagarwala
I’ve started meditating before bed to help me fall asleep faster, and I’ve paired this with a more worldly ritual, the evening Beauty Ritual. At least once a week, after washing the day off my face, I’ll apply Stark’s Green Tea Detox Mask and sit in a quiet place to try to clear my mind for the 10-15 minutes that the mask is doing its magic. I focus on the lovely scent of the mask to draw my busy mind away from all my racing thoughts. I like mixing the TE mask with a little lemon juice, sometimes honey. Those smell amazing. It’s wonderful to use yummy hazelnut oil to work it off after. Green tea to bed, green tea to rise. The circularity of that ritual lends a little calm and order to my messy nature.
When Julie Mondor isn’t sitting at a computer all day making a living, she’s either at her kitchen counter preparing an ambitious meal, or standing at a set of turntables mixing as Ruby Jane. You can catch her live in Montreal at the Wefunk monthly jam at Le Bleury or you can listen to recordings of her frequent appearances on wefunkradio.com