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AHA! Say it in your head or shout it out loud. Either way it inspires a sense of jubilation. I had one of these moments recently while on a camping trip in Yosemite. In late March, Yosemite got dumped on. For the outdoor enthusiast, this refers to a copious amount of snow in a short amount of time.

Did I have you thinking there for a moment that I am a professional outdoors-man, a camper, hiker or trekker? Cause I am so not. Actually, I spend all my free time at the beach. I play professional beach volleyball and am an avid health and wellness advocate.

Bio: Long story short, I ate like crap growing up, got sick all the time and had acne that followed me well into my twenties and I was fed up with my reality. I tried everything without success until I shelled out $50 for the “Acne Yoda” e-book. This was my first AHA! moment where I started to understand that my health was the result of what I put in my mouth.

7 years and dozens of AHA! moments later I found myself trying to warm up on a frosty Yosemite morning by the grill while cooking some oatmeal and boiling some water for Mate. Maybe it was the fresh air, the looming presence of half dome above me or the gourd holding instant warmth in my hands but here is what came to me:

Yerba Mate is like a skeleton key that doesn’t just open one lock but almost all of them. There are tens of thousands of functions going on in your body at any given time. All of these functions involve resources. Most people think that if they just get their protein, fat and carbs they’re fine. (Some people incorrectly think they should avoid carbs and/or fat.)

In reality, what runs our body are the tiny microscopic nutrients that we aren’t told about by our health professionals. Vitamins, minerals, trace-minerals, phyto-chemicals are what facilitate most of our bodily functions. The average American that eats a diet rich in animal foods, processed foods, fried foods and cooked foods is losing out on much of what nature has to offer. Between processing, packaging and cooking, most American’s food is devoid of the nutrients that our body needs.

Therefore, many of those 50,000 processes going on inside your body today can’t be completed as normal. We simply don’t have the right fuel in our engines to get the vehicle from point A to B. Yerba Mate provides 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals many of which haven’t even been discovered. In other words science hasn’t even discovered the exact benefits of how good this stuff is for you. Dr. Joel Furhman said that “science has discovered 10,000 phyto-chemicals and likely there are another 10,000 yet undiscovered.”

Instead of Yerba Mate being the skeleton key, it’s almost like the “question mark” key . The question mark is a key that unlocks even the locks we don’t yet know about.

As an athlete I love Yerba Mate because it gives me an energy boost without the crash . As a health nut I love Yerba Mate because it gives my body good nutrition that makes me feel great. As an aspiring outdoor enthusiast — about to go trekking through the snow — on an 8 mile hike — to the top of a mountain, I love Yerba Mate because it gives me the euphoric confidence to do it. AHA!

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About Russ

I am a 28 year old professional beach volleyball player. The only vegan pro player in the US. I have studied health and nutrition on my own for the past 8 years which inevitably brought me to the decision of becoming vegan. I love playing volleyball and competing with the best players in the world in hopes that I, one day, will be one of those elite players. In the meantime I am the youngest of the top 20 players in the US. My other passions include writing about health, nutrition and eco-responsibility. I am kind of a nerd when it comes to reading books, watching movies and digesting research studies about health. I try and break down what I learn into easy to understand and fun to read information for the average person. That way, learning about how to be healthier and a better steward to the planet is fun and accessible to everyone. I write and edit The Body Blog at and just opened an online store selling the best and most eco-friendly health products. Visit the World Health Club at Contact me anytime. I'm an open book!