Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yerba Mate.. what and why

So I'm in a Flickr group and the question was posed. What am I drinking from and why do I do it? I was invited to write about Yerba Mate. So I wrote up a little something.. something that I shall share here as well.. cause I did all that typing anyways :)

So.. you'd like to know a thing or two about Yerba Mate? Then you've come to the right place my friend. You could peruse what I'm about to write here, or.. you could go to here , or you could do both. Your call.

Yerba Mate is a tea. A tea that comes from a variety of holly plant, first used in the region of what is called Paraguay. (hence the name Ilex paraguariensis , Ilex = holly family, paraguariensis = having something to do with paraguay? Odds are yes.)

I'll bust out the reasons I think it's so kick ace for ya now, in a rudimentary approximation of the order that I appreciate the most.

Accredited to first being drank by the Guarani natives of South America (Have you seen the movie "The Mission" with Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, and Liam Neeson?) and , there's a sweet legend of the plant being given to a farmer and his wife by the moon in appreciation for the kindness they showed to her when she was walking the earth. The drinking of the Yerba infusion was then picked up by Jesuit Priests who, I believe, were the first Europeans to really rock out the green goodness. It is now drank through out South America, primarily in (in alphabetical order to avoid acusations of favoritism) Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (which also happen to be the regions it grows in). It has spread beyond South America and is also enjoyed in populations in several Arab countires, as well as North America. And I start with speaking of tradition for it merges with, and leads to, what is most likely one of my most favorite aspects of drinking Yerba Mate.... (excited yet?)

Oh yes, oh yes indeed. For me, Yerba Mate is a reminder and connection to my friends. My brothers and sisters who have shared of my guampa (cup) and shared theirs with me. This is part of the tradtion of Yerba Mate. In most places and cultures there is a fairly ritualized system of verbal cues, and non-verbal rules, that are followed when participating in a yerba mate circle. It is this inclusion and sharing that create something that is much more than just a drink. It is a connection to friends, to relationship, to the land. Though you can also drink it by yourself, and many do, for it is said to have some rather great....

Health Benefits
First off, contrary to what you may hear, Yerba Mate does have caffeine, though some people may erroneously say that it contains mateine instead.. but a chemical break down has shown it to be caffeine. The amount of which is around half that of coffee. It also has 2 other stimulants of the Xanthene family. So why drink Yerba? It can help you stay awake, or energized, without keeping you awake when you want to go to sleep (unless you hit a whole lot of the stuff.. then you can get a tad buzzed). It is purported to be full of anti-oxidants (like most green teas) that fight the evil free radicals!! Mwa ha ha ha ha. I also have a thought that if you drink mate in the traditional way (ie through the multiple infusion process of drinking much water repeatedly through the same container) you would encounter less caffeine then in the coffee method.. since each new cup of coffee ='s the same amount of caffeine as the last cup. Plus it's alot better for you than drinking alot of other beverages like pop, or warm beverages full of milk and sugar. (Note: I drink my yerba mate without milk or sugar, but it is common in certain culture's traditions to drink mate with milk and/or sugar)

When you break down the price of buying the equipment (be it gourd, horn, or wooden mate) and bombillia (straw) and the cost of a kilo of yerba, you're saving mad cash over buying a coffee or tea every day. As a student I think this is a great option when compared with coffee or other such beverage (like how much would it cost if I drank Red Bull instead? Yowza!)

The last time I went in to my local coffee shop I was blown away at how many disposable cups are filled with hot beverage every day and then thrown away. Sure they're made from recycled product (hopefully) and sometimes recycled (possibly) but a great number still end up heading to the landfill, or on the side of the road. Whereas I've been drinking from the same guampa (my beautiful and wonderful horn) for the better part of 5 years? And I'm on only my second bombilia (straw). I think I prefer impacting the environment in a positive way.

Ok so those are a few reasons for why I drink Yerba Mate. Now as to the question of how to enjoy it? Well.. there are numerous products out there that actually have yerba mate in them. From carbonated beverages to actual brewed tea in some stores. But for me? The traditional way is the best; with your own container of water and set up to drink it from. If you drink it with hot water (but never boiling!) it is called yerba mate (mah-thay) (that's a hard "th" as in the spanish T) , or if you drink it with ice water (lemon or mint being a nice additive) then it is called Terere (tere-e-ray). You could also instead just buy a little tea ball and soak it yourself, or get it in tea bags or instant "just add water" style, though I'd feel that was missing out on the other sweet aspects.

As for how I came to partake and participate in this fine tradition? Well that's the tale of another day. Which happens to have already come.. so you can read that story by going here
which happens to be the blog of some Yerba Mate enthusiast and coastal lover.

So if you're interested in Yerba Mate then check it out. If you've any questions then feel free to ask. If you already drink then may you drink well, and if you'd like to drink, may you find a sweet mate circle near by.

~ The Author of this article is biased by the fact that his introduction to mate was had with a group of great and wonderful people who still inspire and support him to this day.. results may vary :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Written shortly before today's test

Getting ready for the test
T minus 20 minutes
Heart beat accelerating
read, remember, recall
don't choke don't choke

Muscles nerves veins
Innervations and palpations
A practical test with hands on demonstration
Verbalize actions as you poke and prod landmarks

Nerves Arteries Veins
run their subterranean terrains
through the tunnels of muscles and maze
the images building in our neural database
to chart the course once again, in actuality
beneath my hands, the pressure builds.

but as I write the focus comes
my brain still flighty like that giant flock of flamingoes
we saw on Nature the other night. Or the sparrows,
swirling, soaring, plunging, perching
it goes around and through and in
The anxiety trickles away.
Leaving excited, nervous, challenging fear.
The thrill.
I have prepared to the level I have.
Soon it will be time to see how I can apply and present my knowledge.

People come in and talk about their tough spots. Stress rises.
I think I should leave this room now. Walk to the ready room.
T minus 10 minutes.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Flickr Goodness

mate 4
Originally uploaded by CheloUY
One of the things I like about Flickr is the wordly diversity available on there. Like this lovely photo I found in one (yes one of the 3-4 I'm a member of) yerba mate groups.. so good.

I'm reminded now of my buddy Theo Epp, doing a Will Ferrell impression as Frank the Tank from Old School. It's so good. It's so good when it touches your lips.

You did good Big Dog, you did good.

My Favorite Book Ever?

I need to read it again, as it has been awhile, and who knows how I've changed. But my suspicion is that it will most likely retain it's position at (or at least very near) the top of my favorite book list. The book I speak of? Here's a quote by the author in reference to his book..

“How can they (i.e. the gods) meet us face to face till we have faces? The idea was that a human being must become real before it can expect to receive any message from the superhuman; that is, it must be speaking with its own voice (not one of its borrowed voices), expressing its actual desires (not what it imagines that it desires), being for good or ill itself, not any mask, veil, or persona.”

So the book in question? Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis (of Narnia and the Space Trilogy fame) The Myth Retold? Cupid and Psyche
Now I suppose I should get back to my school work :)

Incidentally, if you're wishing to enjoy some of the health benefits of the Ice Swimming tradition (found in Nordic countries, Russia, China, Canada, USA, Belgium.. ok it's fairly popular) but don't have a frozen over body of water with a hole hacked in it, you could still stimulate your bodies circulation and what not, by concluding your morning shower with a session of cold water spray.

Interesting that the stuff that's good for us often isn't the most comfortable.. :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Groovy Goodness :)

Groovy Goodness :)
Originally uploaded by maplemusketeer
The fantabulous artwork of Davyd Oram. From "The Last Wave" (or The Lask Wave according to a newspaper typo) series now at the Campbell River art gallery. Check out his website at or some more pics of his stuff on my flickr account at the moment.

So yeah.. I had a great weekend! Went up to my bro's art show in Campbell then a sweet after party in the bush on Quadra Island. DJ and good times deep in the coastal temperate rainforest. You know I had to enjoy that ;)

May y'all have a great week, and see the amazing that is all around amidst the trying.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Where's Waldo? The Naked Version

What a wonderful long weekend. I think it's probably my best weekend since I've moved to Victoria. On saturday night I got to hang out with my old roomate, his wife and their daughter, as well as some of their other friends and associates, around a fire on the ocean playing my guitar. Now that was most enjoyable! Then on sunday my papa and I went to the Fifa U-20 World Cup that is currently taking place. We watched 2 games, Japan vs Scotland and Nigeria vs Costa Rica. It was a great amount of fun.

And for those back home who watched on TV.. here's something that you probably missed out on. The Streaker.

Yep.. it was a fun weekend.