I was going through recent followers on Twitter
to see if they would be good to follow back (I generally do follow back, but some accounts don’t really warrant it, like those who follow me to pitch making me the top person on Twitter and getting my site millions of hits a second). I saw an account called @EatGreenTea
that intrigued me. I have green tea extract in a supplement I take, and have long been aware of the benefits of the high antioxidants content of green tea. There’s a great breakdown of the benefits of green tea on this page.
The premise of EatGreenTea’s products is that you can get far more benefit by eating green tea leaves than by drinking water that steeped in it. In fact, they claim you get 30x the antioxidants in a serving of their product vs a cup of green tea.
I was intrigued, and decided I’d try both of their products out as I could see different uses for them.
What it is & How it Works
They offer two ways to get your green tea fix – a powder and loose leaves. To me, the powder was ideal to add to my morning protein shake, or to mix into my omelet (along with my greens
, mushrooms, spinach, onions and spices/seasonings). The loose leaves sounded perfect to add into dinner dishes, and I put it right into the vegan chili I made
It’s easy to use this stuff – just add it to whatever, and you’re done. A daily dose of the powder is ideally a teaspoon, and ideally a tablespoon for the leaves. My chili made 10 servings, so I added about 10 tablespoons (or would have if I didn’t plan to get a teaspoon a day in my protein shake…I ended up adding 5-6). For the chili (or I’d imagine for a pasta sauce, stir fry, etc), it basically vanished into the mix of veggies and spices. For my protein shake (which is white), it instantly colored things green.
Do I feel better? Well, it hasn’t been that long, and I’ve had other things going on that wouldn’t help me feel better (very little sleep lately, for example – though that’s unrelated to the green tea, which can be a stimulant), so I wasn’t necessarily expecting this to suddenly be a cure-all. It is very easy to use, relatively cheap per serving (eat product is only $25, and I’d imagine there are 20-30 full servings of each in the bag), and there’s no debate that green tea is good for you, so I’m sure it’s beneficial. Whether it’s markedly better than drinking tea is where the debate would be, and would probably center around whether your body can use the higher dose of antioxidants. I’m in no position to debate that point. I do know I don’t feel worse, and not having issues (digestive, sleep, etc), so I doubt there’s anything wrong with eating green tea, but do consider it relative to your medical situation rather than just going by what a blog says.
Update: Anthony, the founder of EatGreenTea followed up with some information on the issue of absorption of all the additional antioxidants:
Much of the research that you see around the documented benefits of green tea involves subjects who consume the equivalent of several cups of green tea per day. The reason is because the amount of antioxidants consumed in a single cup of brewed tea typically isn’t enough to make a measurable difference in the body. The body really needs the additional antioxidants found from eating the green tea leaves.
We don’t question if the body can handle all the nutrients from eating a spinach salad, or if there are too many antioxidants in blueberries. While agreed that too much of any one food is not a good thing – people are not in danger of getting too many antioxidants from eating a tablespoon of EatGreenTea. They are however, at risk of not getting enough antioxidants from just drinking a cup of brewed tea.
I can’t see adding the powder to the chocolate version of my protein shake as I think the tastes would go to war and leave me as a casualty. For me, while I feel better about the powder (like I’m getting more of the good stuff), I think the leaves make more sense in terms of innocuously getting the benefits of this product into my day.
I also want point out that I firmly believe that the company and how it’s run value-wise is as important as the product being sold. I had a couple of back and forth emails with Eat Green Tea’s founder, Anthony Codispoti, and was really impressed with the responsiveness – both speed and quality of response, and speed of shipping (I got the green tea a day or two before my most optimistic estimate). The company also went the extra mile and wrote some really clear guidance on daily dose targets on my invoice to be sure I knew what to do when. I found the packaging to be clear enough (and nice looking overall), but it’s touches like these that imply a general approach to doing business that mean something to me. It’s what makes me choose one company over another, and why I’d stick with a product despite potential price differences.
Honestly, my only issue is how strong the powder is flavor-wise. I don’t dislike green tea, but I don’t love its flavor. My protein shake is pretty strong flavored, too, and this totally overpowers it. I don’t really care, but it’s definitely worth knowing. As a result of my experience with the powder, I was nervous that it would totally change my chili or my omelet to add the leaves, but they are totally indiscernible in either. It’s not really a problem, but something to be mindful of in your use cases.
Update: Anthony followed up on this point, too:
The powder does impart a lot more of its flavor (and color) into food items. I personally prefer to use the whole leaves in my smoothies (and most other things) because I’m not a big fan of the flavor either. Powder works well for baking (where even color distribution is desired), and mixed drinks (in my opinion).
Also, the packaging could be better. There’s a little resealable inner bag within a foil bag, and I can’t for the life of me get the powder’s inner bag to reseal without losing a bunch of powder as smoke or on my fingers. Big deal – I just rolled both bags’ tops together and rubber banded the whole thing. Yes, I am essentially McGyver.
Update: Anthony is a step ahead of me on this, which just shows my point on his customer service ethic. This is a company focused on quality and a quality experience for customers.
We acknowledge that the packaging for the powder in particular needs to be improved. We’ve been working with our farm to find a solution but haven’t yet settled on one.
There’s also the question of the stimulant effect of green tea. I don’t feel jittery or any more or less awake, and, as I mentioned above, my sleep issues aren’t the product’s fault (I am getting woken up by outside, powerful yet adorable 4 year old forces and kept awake later than I’d ideally prefer). It’s worth a look at the issue of green tea and stimulants, especially if you have issues with caffeine. A quick Google search can help, but here are a couple of links I found: Natural News: Green Tea and Caffeine
, Wikipedia Green Tea Article
I emailed the company about this, and got back a really helpful response that I wanted to share (another great example of their customer service):
I get that question a lot Bryan. While there is an increase in the amount of antioxidants you’re ingesting – there is not an increase in caffeine. Caffeine is very water soluble so when you brew a cup of tea you’re getting all the caffeine from it. Antioxidants are not as water soluble – so when you brew a cup of tea most of the antioxidants remain inside the leaves / tea bag.
When it comes to caffeine, the benefit of ingesting the whole leaves is that the caffeine is absorbed more slowly into the body (as opposed to ingesting a cup of brewed tea). So you don’t get that energy peak and crash. Instead its more of a sustained energy lift throughout the day.
I’m not really qualified to evaluate this statement, but it sounds reasonable to me, and my experience would suggest that it’s true.
To buy or not to buy?
This isn’t a clear situation. I think there’s no harm in using this stuff, but that’s my view and coming from my body. You need to understand how your body reacts to green tea and its active components before deciding that for yourself. Millions of people drink it, and it’s largely regarded as a healthful thing, so the odds are in your favor. As for the benefits of this product over drinking green tea, I can’t say whether they’re material or hypothetical. I do know I don’t drink green tea, so this was a great way to get its benefits into my life quickly and easily. For me, that’s a win, and means I’ll at least be buying the leaves again to add into my dinner dishes. If that sounds appealing to you, then you should consider giving it a try.
In the end, the fact that I’m still using them, and plan to keep using them should stand as my overall view and recommendation. I just ask that you think about your health situation and your diet before blindly following my actions (or not).
Antioxidants are great, and learning more about their benefits and then incorporating them into your life is a great way to enlighten.your.body.