When I was six years old, I made a bet with my Mom that I could stop consuming all forms of soft drinks.
No sugary sodas of any kind. And, other than the very occasional cup of coke at a sporting event or wedding, I've by and large remained entirely free of the scourge of the soft drink.
I have no idea why I decided I didn't want to drink soft drinks when I was so young. I'd like to think I was self-possessed enough to recognize how bad I felt after drinking a can of bubbly sugar water. And, really, what other explanation is there? I somehow knew soft drinks were bad for me.
Unfortunately, a massive number of people all over the world drink large quantities of soft drinks every single day. I know them, you know them, and you may even be one of them.
And there's nothing inherently wrong with drinking a soda every now and again. The problem is when soda becomes your go-to beverage of choice. When the taste of water repulses you. When you get a headache because you haven't had your soda and it's 11 in the morning.
Now, I'm under no illusions that humanity as a whole is ever going to change and stop drinking soft drinks. They seem to be here to stay even though 150 years ago nobody had ever even heard of them. Soft drinks, like the automobile, the microwave and the computer, are a product of the modern age.
However, if you are concerned about the effect these sugary drinks are having on your health (as you well should be), then I would like to propose a fantastic solution for how you can get your caffeine fix in a much healthier way: iced Matcha green tea.
What is Matcha? Matcha is green tea powder, which has been traditionally used in the famous Japanese tea ceremony.
Iced Matcha is basically fresh brewed Matcha into which you pour ice cubes until the water has cooled and you're left with a cup full of green tea and ice.
I'd been drinking green tea for years before I ever realized I could combine make iced tea with Matcha. And while you may have had iced green tea from Starbucks or something, I promise you when you make it yourself, those other versions simply don't compare.
First off, the secret is in the Matcha. Matcha contains more bang per ounce than loose leaf tea because you use the entire tea leaf. The powder is pulverized green tea leaves, and it contains more of all the fantastic nutrients that give green tea its good name.
Matcha is the highest quality green tea you can buy. Its flavor is exquisitely smooth and very fresh. When you make it fresh, the flavor is very clean and energizing.
Additionally, though, Matcha is completely easy to make. I find it even easier to make than using tea out of a tea bag. You just heat up your water, fill a small bowl or cup with a little amount of the powder and then add in the water when it's hot. Stir gently but firmly until the tea is completely dissolved. If you want to get very traditional, you can use a bamboo whisk and stir the tea until it's frothy.
There are many kinds of Matcha, so each kind will taste and act a bit different.
However, the overall idea is that you can brew up a cup of hot tea and then add ice until it's ready to go.
Now, if you start out trying to substitute iced Matcha tea for the soft drinks you're used to, you may find that you need some sweetness in the tea. Otherwise, it's possible the tea will taste bland or even a little bitter to your tastes.
That's okay--simply add your favorite sweetener before you add the ice cubes. Make sure you stir up the sweetener until it's completely dissolved into the hot tea.
The best part of this approach is the fact that you can use any sweetener you desire. Healthier sweeteners like honey or agave syrup work great. And, of course, you can use sugar or sugar substitutes as well.
Over time, though, I bet you'll find that you like your iced green tea without much sweetener. Because it has its own delicious flavor that you'll come to appreciate.
Another amazing bonus to incorporating more iced green tea into your diet as you jettison your old soda habit is the fact that a little Matcha powder goes a long way. This is a very affordable drink. Where a soda can cost you over a dollar, your iced green tea will cost pennies on the dollar. If you look around, you'll find incredible deals on the web for Matcha. I bought a bag of Matcha for $20 that lasted me for over a year, and I was drinking plenty of Matcha during that time.
So let's recap: soft drinks are bad for your health, bad for your teeth and bad for your wallet. Green tea is fantastic for your health, has been shown in many scientific studies to be very healthy and is also unbelievably affordable if you're smart about how you source your Matcha.
This is a no-brainer. If you've been looking for a substitute for your daily soft drink habit, then you've met your Matcha.