When you think of Gene Wilder in the timeless Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, most people simply remember how his iconic portrayal of Willy Wonka perfectly captured the spirit of the character and story in a way that could not be matched (looking at you Johnny Depp). What those people don’t realize is that the true story is much, much darker. In researching the role of Willy Wonka, Wilder became obsessed with alchemical processes that could be used to turn ordinary sugary confections into more potent treats. Indeed, these would be the kind of treats that a self-proclaimed candy king like Willy Wonka himself would sacrifice anything for (including a few those creepy oompa loompas). And so it was for Wilder.
As a tireless artisan and method actor, Wilder devoted himself fully to his craft and spent countless hours and sleepless nights conjuring various recipes and formulas that would make his turn as Wonka all that much more memorable. But even after the movie had finished shooting and Wilder moved on to other roles, his obsessive alchemy persisted. Rumors swirled that his greatest concoction was called out in the movie itself: the snozzberry. Not only were these snozzberries supposed to be the most delicious of the berries, they were also rumored to have special chemical compositions that would imbue anyone eating them with great health and longevity. But Wilder never shared the snozberry recipe and with his tragic death most feared that it would be forever lost.
However, where most saw tragedy, the good folks at Sportland Tea Company saw opportunity. It turns out, in addition to being experts in the ancient art of tea making, the founders of Sportland Tea are also highly adept in the dark arts of necromancy, including communicating with departed souls. (They have also successfully raised several skeleton armies to wage war against competing tea companies, but that’s a story for another day.)
After hearing of Wilder’s death, the Sportland founders wasted no time in constructing a summoning pentacle made of a proprietary cayenne tea blend (a favorite of mystical spirits everywhere). With candles and incense burning at each point of the pentacle, the founders began their chant to call forth the spirit of Wilder:
Round the world and home again
That's the sailor's way
Faster faster, faster faster
There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing
And with a blast of green flame the ghostly spectre of Wilder appeared in the pentacle. After exchanging pleasantries and expressing their gratitude for Wilder’s various cinematic contributions, they got down to business. The founders explained that they needed the snozberry recipe and that they were willing to give Wonka whatever he wished in exchange for the information. The spectre of Wilder briefly considered and then said, “In exchange for my snozberry recipe, I require you to make a pair of sunglasses for my oompa loompas. They love to run, but need eye protection, as the copious amounts of LSD they have consumed over the years have caused them to have extreme photosensitivity.” As makers of tea, and not sunglasses, Sportland knew just who to call. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Coming out of the winter gloom of the Pacific Northwest and into the welcome warmth of the summer sun, we have despairingly realized that our coping methods of beer and pizza over the last 8 months have made getting into our running shorts a little tricky. Luckily, we have a vast supply of weight-loss assisting tea blends at our fingertips to help the situation. Pretty much every blend we make contains some sort of metabolism boosting ingredient and a few cups a day to fuel our trail runs will get us right back to summer shape.
Here are the top 5 ingredients found in our tea blends that will help shed those winter pounds.
This is old news to anyone who is even semi-interested in metabolism boosting nutritional supplements. With green tea extract found in every type of weight loss pill, it should come as no surprise that matcha green tea also has incredible metabolism boosting properties. However, what you might not know is that matcha green tea can increase metabolism and fat burn in your body by as much as 40% more than regular green tea. You see the antioxidant catechins, EGCG’s, found in matcha green tea are thermogenic components that have been found to boost the metabolism and burn calories. For an added boost, drink matcha cold, as that requires your body to work harder and thus, burning even more calories. Our favorite summer pick-me-up is a cold brew of our Ginger Berry Performance Blend complete with matcha green tea.
We recently wrote an article about the awesome-ness of Yerba Mate and even though we consider ourselves as close to tea experts as they come, the incredible benefits of Yerba Mate still surprised us. Multiple studies have been conducted with the tea and each one found that Yerba Mate is perhaps the most beneficial beverage one can consume. One of these benefits has to do with a component called mateine, which is similar to caffeine in that it provides an increase in energy without the negative side effects of caffeine. It also aids in increasing metabolism for longer periods of time and delays gastric emptying, which creates the feeling of being full after eating. If you’re looking for a good, clean source of energy with metabolism boosting properties, Yerba Mate is the perfect choice and can be found in our Focus Blend.
This is the tea base found in our Recovery Blend. GABA Oolong is a type of Oolong tea where the tea leaves have been exposed to nitrogen. GABA stands for Gamma Amino Butyric Acid and is one of the main neurotransmitters for the CNS (Central Nervous System). Included in the various health benefits of GABA Oolong tea is the high antioxidant content of the tea which help increase metabolism. The tea also has fat blocking and blood sugar regulating properties, which can aid weight loss if consumed regularly.
This new comer to the weight loss, performance enhancing scene has caused quite the stir. Found primarily in coconut oil, as well as a few other fats, MCT Oil has been shown to serve as an excellent energy source that burns rapidly while sparing glycogen stores. You can find MCT Oil in our delicious Matcha Spice Power Blend.
In our Love Letter to Cinnamon, we counted the ways in which Cinnamon is one of the most powerful and beneficial spices on the planet. One of those ways is the fact that cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar and reduces cravings for sugar. You’ll find this flavor enhancing and delicious, without being sweet, spice in our Matcha Spice Power, Ginger Berry Performance, and Early Riser Adventure Club Blends.
With a little help of our various tea blends, we see a little light at the end of this chubby tunnel.
We recently caught up with Lisa Boomer, one of our Sportland Athletes, about her first Crossfit Competition and Open. She happily provided a candid view of what it's like to be a first time competitor in these intimidating events. Here is her story.
The event was a 4 person team comp. The 3 other members of my team are competition veterans, so they guided me through the entire day. I now know, your team is only as strong as your "weakest" member and only as fast as your "slowest." These poor folks were stuck at my pace ALL DAY. We ended up in dead last place. But, you know what? WE DID IT. I DID IT. What a sense of accomplishment! Not sure I ever want to do it again... It was tough. But, I am so dang proud of it, because it means I showed up and did the work required. I certainly gave it my best and I now know I am capable of throwing a sand filled fire hose over my head for no good reason other than #fitness.
The Focus Blend was my go-to beverage before my Crossfit Open workouts. The Open was different for me... My regular mindset when headed into the gym is one of curious play — I expect to do my best, nothing less, and pair this with a lot of self compassion and understand that this output will vary day-to-day. I am always looking for the FUN in the SUCK. The Crossfit Open is a 5 week long world-wide workout competition. Walking into the gym once a week with the hype of competing against others was really challenging on my mind and spirit. It was a great way to beat myself up or trip into the negative head space of leader-boarding. Fortunately, my fave of all morning rituals is my cup of tea on the patio — rain or shine.
THANK YOU to Sportland for helping me find my Focus every morning, even when I was anxious about what the day was to hold and even if I tripped into negative head space, I was able to start each and every day grounded in ritual and focus.
You may not know this about us, but we like living on the edge. Not in the Aerosmith way or the jumping off cliffs way or in the Vin Diesel tries for a Triple X sequel way, but in the let’s-get-crazy-and-add-cayenne-to-a-tea-blend way. That’s right, we took one of the spiciest spices out there and said fuck it, let’s put this shit in that there Endurance Blend. Then we flipped the double bird and fell backwards onto our ergonomic office chair.
You are correct. That’s not how it happened. But we do like to get a little crazy with our ingredients, but only for the right reasons. Cayenne just happens to have some incredibly beneficial properties, including joint and muscle pain relief. So, while we can fist-bump each other for our hardcore tea mastery, we must also disclose how responsible we are with every ingredient selection that helps you perform better and recover faster.
Relieves Achy Joints and Muscles
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, is the base for many over-the-counter treatments for arthritis and muscle pain. It short-circuits pain by depleting nerve cells of a chemical called substance P, which helps transfer pain signals along nerve endings to the brain. That’s a lot of science to say that cayenne helps you run longer, lift heavy, and do more with less pain.
Boosts Calorie Burning Potential
In a six-week study of 25 non-overweight adults, two Purdue researchers found that cayenne helped increase study participants’ body temperatures and the amount of calories they burned. Just a half of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with a meal can help suppress appetite and burn calories. Don’t feel too badly about that post run beer, as your pre-run Endurance Blend will still be working hard for you.
Capsaicin stimulates the release of mucus from respiratory passages and opens your airways. We’re helping you breath better, one sprinkle of cayenne at a time.
Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with diabetes who ate a meal containing liberal amounts of chile pepper required less insulin to reduce their blood sugar afterward.
Because cayenne improves blood flow, it is also helpful in conjunction with other medications or supplements if you have circulation issues. Research in the U.S. National Library of Medicine also shows that capsaicin helps to lower blood pressure. We all know how important blood flow is for any activity. So, you know, you’re welcome.
While we won’t be jumping out of planes any time soon, we will always be taking big risks with tea ingredients that may seem crazy, but crazy in the best possible way.
Occasionally, in the middle of mixing a bowl of dried tea leaves, herbs, spices, and roots during the development of another tea recipe, we realize that we are are basically modern-day witches. Luckily, we’re in a time that isn’t going to test whether we sink or float when tossed into the river for our conjuring of performance enhancing teas, so we’re stoked to share when we’ve discovered some unique ingredient that adds additional benefits to our blends. Add another layer of suspicion to our black magic inclinations when we tell you that one of these special ingredients found in our Recovery Blend is called Devil’s Claw.
Now, before you start erecting that stake in the town square, let us explain exactly what Devil’s Claw is and how it can help you recover faster with less inflammation. Devil’s Claw is an herb that is native to Africa and it’s roots and tubers have been harvested for centuries for use in treating inflammation and chronic pain. It was named for the appearance of its fruit, which have hooks, that attach themselves to animals in order to spread its seeds. You see, not quite as ominous as the name suggests.
In 1997, and again in 2001, experiments demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of Devil's Claw, suggesting that Devil's Claw extract might have anti-inflammatory properties on the skeletal system. Devil's Claw exerts anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects by suppressing cyclooxygenase-2 and iNOS expressions. Nowadays, it is believed that Devil's Claw Extract may offer benefits on inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, acne, skin allergies, and ulcers.
In several studies, Devil's Claw extract offers benefits of anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in dose-dependent fashions. The main irridoid glycoside of Devil's Claw appear to play an important role in the peripheral analgesic activites. Devil's Claw extract with at least 50 mg harpagoside in the daily dosage may help pain management. Researchers believes that Devil's Claw extract treatment may have less side effects compared to the treatment with synthetic analgesics. In a nutshell, Devil’s Claw can help relieve pain with less side-effects than your standard pain relieving medicine.
Treatment of Musculoskeletal Degenerative Diseases
Harpagoside of Devil's Claw is able to interfere with the mechanisms that regulate the influx of calcium in the smooth muscle cells. It is recommended to use Devil's Claw as a supportive treatment for degenerative painful rheumatism, as Devil's Claw has benefits of analgesic, antiphlogistic and anti-inflammatory actions. A 4-week randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study of patients with muscular tension at back, shoulder and neck shows the beneficial effects of Devil's Claw extract on sensory, motor and vascular mechanisms of muscle pain. We realize that unless you’re in that stage in life where you’re reviewing Retirement Home pamphlets, you may not give a rat’s ass about musculoskeletal degeneration. But you’ll be thanking us when you do get there and you’ve had your cup of Recovery Tea every day for the last few decades and you can still survival shuffle your way through a half marathon.
By now you should know how much we are committed to creating tea blends with only the most healthy and most flavorful ingredients possible. Today we are introducing an ingredient that many will believe is included for the latter of that promise. Well, you would be wrong my friend. For orange peel is so much more than a citrus-y flavor addition to our Recovery, Power, Performance, Snozberries, and Early Riser Adventure Club Tea Blends, it is also incredibly beneficial in more ways than Vitamin C. Just trying to make our tea as a-peeling as possible. (We groan. Our owner loves 'Dad jokes' and puns and requests at least two per article. Check and check. Our apologies.)
Orange peels most certainly add the great taste of orange and contribute the following health benefits as a bonus. So, enjoy our tea blends and feel good about the fact that the tasty beverage you’re consuming is helping you in so many ways.
Almost all the anti-cholesterol compounds in oranges are found in the peels. These compounds help combat the LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in our bodies that form clots and plaque culminating in clogged heart arteries. What we’re saying is you can have your bacon and eat it too. As long as it’s served with a side of orange peel.
Apart from repelling oxygen free radicals that steal oxygen from healthy cells, the chemical compounds in orange peels also help inhibit the growth and division of cancerous cells. Once again, we can assert that we are aiding in the fight against cancer. One orange peel at a time.
Prevents and Relieves Heartburn
Research shows that an active chemical in orange peels helps relieve heartburn. Which may help with your morning run after a night of pizza and beer while watching the play-offs.
Vitamin C and Circulation
Orange peels contain high doses of Vitamin C which is known to ward off the common cold, as well as increase blood circulation throughout the body. Yes, those little bits of dried-up orange in your tea is fighting for you on the daily.
The anti-oxidants in oranges, especially vitamin C, may help avert numerous respiratory problems such as bronchitis, colds, flu, asthma, and lung cancer. Pop-quiz time! What aids in running, cycling, workouts, etc. the most? Yes, your lungs! Anything to help those guys out is really going to change the game for you.
So, you see, a Sportland Tea a day… You get the idea.
Oh Cinnamon, how we love thee, let us count the ways. From mexican hot chocolate to bear claws and cinnamon-sugar toast, you just make life better. And you make our Matcha Spice Power, Ginger Berry Performance, and Wake Yo' Self Blends taste awesome.
But Cinnamon isn’t just a playful stripper name, it is also an incredibly beneficial spice. In fact, in recent studies of the most popular herbs and spices, cinnamon ranked first for its antioxidant properties and is considered one of the most powerful medicinal spices on the planet. The list of its benefits is as long as mile 22 in a marathon and it also provides a natural sweetening effect without any sugar.
While we could spend the rest of our lives waxing poetic about the amazing properties of Cinnamon, we’ll offer at least a taste of why we think cinnamon is our spicey-soulmate.
Controls Blood Sugar
Certain compounds in Cinnamon stimulate insulin receptors and inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them, improving the cells’ ability to use glucose. Regularly consuming less than one-half teaspoon per day reduces blood sugar levels in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes. So, sprinkle that shit on everything.
Boosts Brain Function
Cinnamon has been shown to greatly improve mental alertness. The fragrance can enhance cognitive processing and greatly improve brain functioning related to attention, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed.
Protects Against Heart Disease
Due to its various anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is very effective in safeguarding the heart and surrounding arteries from damage and infection. Cinnamon helps fight the ‘bad’ cholesterol, significantly lowering total cholesterol levels. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help heal inflammation in internal tissues and reduce the risk of heart attacks and disease. This is one of the many reasons we heart you, Cinnamon.
Improves Blood Circulation
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin that has blood thinning properties. This helps improve blood circulation throughout the body, which can certainly help those early morning runs in the Northwest winter.
Let us introduce you to the “Drink of the Gods.” No really, we’re not evening kidding. We never kid when it comes to tea. Yerba Mate is made from the leaves of the holly tree in the subtropical rainforests of South America and legend says that the forest people were believed to survive years of famine and drought on Yerba Mate alone. The story of Yerba Mate can be found in any online search and, to summarize, involves a moon goddess, a jaguar, a paranoid father, and a gift of Yerba Mate. This beverage is basically the half-caff, no whip, soy, extra caramel latte-ccino equivalent for our neighbors in the south and is only a thousand times better for you. Here, let us explain.
First of all, it is tough to find any beverage that is a nutritional match to Yerba Mate. In a 1964 study done by The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society, it concluded that "it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value" and that Yerba Mate contains "practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.” The tea provides 24 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as 15 amino acids, and a ton of antioxidants, In fact, Yerba Mate has more antioxidants than ANY other tea or non-tea beverage in the known universe.
Now, it’s one thing to just give you the facts on what Yerba Mate contains, but the real gold is in how it affects your body. These nutritional components can provide:
But beyond its health benefits, it is also a great source of energy! The caffeine content found in Yerba Mate tea averages somewhere between the caffeine levels in tea and the levels in coffee. And because it is low in acid, it provides good, clean energy without the side-effects of stomach irritation or jitters. It also increases the supply of oxygen to the heart, especially during periods of stress or exercise. The metabolic effects appear to include the ability to maintain aerobic glycolysis (breakdown of carbohydrates) during exercise for longer periods of time. This results in burning more calories, increasing cardiac efficiency, and delaying anaerobic glycolysis and the resulting buildup of lactic acid during exercise. Remember this the next time you decide that a shot of espresso seems like a good idea before a long run and that breakfast bagel you ate is making an unwanted re-appearance.Yerba Mate is one of those things that when you learn how amazing it is, you want procure all of it, so you can hoard it away in case of the apocalypse. With the energizing effects of coffee, the euphoric effects of chocolate, and the nutritional benefits of gummy vitamins, it really is the stuff of legend. However, it also quite literally grows on trees, so we can calm the Scrooge McDuck in us and just be happy knowing we can get some whenever we need. The easiest method we know of is to make a cup of Sportland’s Focus Blend or track down some of the collab blend we did with Deadstock Coffee, the Wake Yo’ Self Blend.
Here’s the thing about green tea, while the health benefits are incredible and beyond dispute, the taste can sometimes leave something to be desired. In fact, in certain cases, a single origin maté or matcha can have the flavor profile of pond water. If pond water is your thing, cool, no judgement. At Sportland Tea Company, we wanted to make sure that we created not only highly effective performance tea, but also blends that are delicious. Because everything should taste good. Unless you really do like pond water, then we can’t help you.
However, the good news about these flavor enhancing ingredients is that they provide additional benefits. Ginger, in particular, is a proven immune booster and has anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is a also a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, iron, zinc, calcium and beta-carotene.
You see, we wouldn’t just add a random herb to your tea and call it a day. We do a lot of research and testing to seek out the most healthful flavor enhancer. Our goal is to have you drink our blends and actually think “Holy shit, this tea is like a magic elixir”. You would be correct.
Settles Upset Stomach
The carminative properties present in ginger can be used to calm an upset stomach. It also helps relax the gastrointestinal muscles, hence preventing gas and bloating. If runner’s stomach is a problem for you, then ginger is your answer. You’ll thank us after your next 200 mile relay race and you’ve skipped some of those lines at the porta-potties that have been in a field for 24 hours and used by thousands of runners…. Sorry, traumatic flashback.
Prevents Cold and Flu
Ginger boosts the immune system and contains antiviral, antitoxic and antifungal properties. By inducing sweating and expelling heat, it also relieves mild fever. Now, you have zero reasons not to run in the snow. Except for maybe that running in the snow is really cold.
Ginger works like vitamin B6 in the treatment of nausea.Vitamin B6 is known to be effective in getting rid of morning sickness, motion sickness, or nausea. Or pre-race nerves. Because those are for real.
Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. According to a 2001 study, ginger extract was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Drink more of our tea and be cured of knee injuries! Okay, we can’t make that claim. But we can say that you will probably have less pain, possibly because of the ginger. You’re welcome.
You may have noticed that we add ginger to just about every blend we make. Yeah, we're those kinds of ginger fans. Not to be confused with adoration of Lindsey Lohan, because that kind of ginger is just cray. It's the ginger flavor we crave.
We have a confession to make. We’re geeks. Like total pocket protector owning, protractor utilizing, D&D playing, let’s-memorize-the-periodic-table-because-it’s-fun geeks when it comes to tea. We love researching science-y new ways we can dial up our blends and make each a total A-list afterparty of crazy beneficial ingredients. So, when we set out to create our Power Blend, we knew we had to bring the geek on and joined the club of ‘body hackers’ who recognize the awesome benefits of MCT oil.
Now, all of the green tea bases we use in our blends have a ton of proven benefits for increasing brain function and cognition, as well as providing good, clean energy. But we needed more. Something really special, something closer to that little clear pill in the movie Limitless that allows Bradley Cooper to access a larger percentage of his brain capacity. That’s where MCT oil comes in.
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which are largely missing from typical diets and are saturated fats easier to digest than the more common LCTs (long-chain triglycerides). You will find trace amounts of MCT’s in butter, but the richest source is coconut, and to a lesser extent, palm kernel oil. Your body sends them straight to your liver, where they raise your metabolism and are burned as fuel instead of being stored as fat. MCT oil helps create ketones in the body, which means you can achieve the brain-boosting effects of ketosis while consuming a higher carbohydrate level than a ketogenic diet. Basically, MCT creates quick energy that is natural, long sustaining, and very good for your brain health.
Another benefit of MCT oil is that you can take in a sports drink (or tea!) during prolonged exercise and immediately recognize the results during your workout. Studies have shown that MCT oils serve as an effective energy source while potentially sparing glycogen stores, because the MCT’s are rapidly metabolized and converted to energy by your body. There we go, we used that word - metabolize. Yes, yes, this ingredient does help speed up the metabolism, so we will once again make a special appeal to the Kardashian family in hopes of adding them to our fan base.
But enough pandering to your vanity. In addition to better brain function and a faster metabolism, MCT oil does the following good things for your body: