There’s nothing more satisfying for a cebador than serving yerba mate to friends. So you can imagine we had a pretty exciting three days during the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. This year, the annual convention saw a record 63,000 attendees in the natural products industry — and it feels like we served all of them!
Our handmade cedar booth welcomed faces new and familiar as we shared the mate in a myriad of ways: as a direct warm brew, with coconut cream and agave to make mate lattes, or cold out of a sparkling can (or the Classic Gold mate keg). Each cup brought the intention of good energy and rejuvenating vibrations, invigorating many long exploratory journeys on the showroom floor.
See all of our Expo pics up on Pinterest.
Besides being a great place to learn about everything going on in the natural products world, Expo is also a chance for Guayakians to reunite and reconnect. Many of us work at the Guayaki mission from our home base in Sebastopol, while some of us work to bring Guayaki to different parts of the country from as far away as Colorado, Indiana, and New York. It’s tough to keep a crew like ours apart for long.
We were also excited to see so many initiatives on the labeling GMO front. Many organizations in the natural food and products industry are aligned with the notion of bringing label transparency to the things we put into and on our bodies. We were happy to hear the news that Whole Foods will require all products on its shelves containing GMOs to carry a label by 2018. With many voices speaking up and out for a change, we’re even more energized to continue pushing forward in a positive activist spirit.
Here’s to another year making an even bigger positive impact on our planet and moving the world towards better health, conscious choices, and sustainable living!
I had never heard of mate 13 years ago. I also didn’t know anyone from Paraguay. That is, until I met a guy named Alfredo at a punk rock party in the San Fernando Valley. My life has been full of surprises ever since then. We have had many adventures together, from touring the country in a van with his band, to traveling to Paraguay to visit Alfredo’s family.
Alfredo told me about mate and how it’s part of his culture and upbringing. I had it with his mom and dad and siblings here in America from time to time when we hung out, but I really was able to experience how much it was a part of his life when we visited his extended relatives in Paraguay. They drank it in the morning, and the afternoon and at night. They drank it at parties, at the park and in the car. It was every where and there was always a reason to drink it!
When Alfredo and I met, we were very different people. I was a vegetarian who didn’t drink or do anything too wild. Alfredo was a meat eater who lived his life in excess. He was always going from one extreme to another. We co-existed very well though, and over time we’ve grown so much.
A couple of years ago, we decided it was time to go vegan for our health and the planet. We went from eating non-organic vegan food with a lot of processed fake meats, etc. to now being organic vegans who primarily eat whole foods. We try to buy locally too and be as sustainable as possible.
This is why organic mate is the way to go for us. Supporting communities in Third World countries, like Paraguay where Alfredo was born, and putting something chemical-free and healthy into our bodies just makes sense to us.
We feel so great when we drink it too! We are very athletic now and have found it works far better than coffee for us when it comes to long-lasting energy. I also love the fact that drinking from our gourd together is a bonding experience. Instead of doing something separate, it has a way of bring friends and family together. It’s an old tradition that I see lasting for a very long time! Mate will always have a place in our hearts.
As a company with quality, sustainability and food justice sewn into our DNA, we feel the pull to join advocates for the right of all people to cultivate and enjoy their own food. We brought our vision to a gathering at the state capital in Hawaii to help protest GMOs, attend events and listen to the words of Dr. Vandana Shiva, a dear environmental activist, author, and powerful speaker.
Guayakians David Karr, Alex Pryor, and Patrick Lee traveled to greet the crowds at the capital building for three days of talks by Dr. Shiva. Beyond the joy of hearing great words by Shiva, the team came loaded, sharing about 500 cans and bottles of our organic, non-GMO yerba mate to a crowd hungry for quality non-GMO food and drink. Beautiful energy to add to the voices of the day.
For those who were unable to attend, it’s worth reading the transcript of Dr. Shiva’s speech at the capital. The moving way she weaves her words presents a powerful message for the way we produce our food worldwide, and the natural right we have as members of Earth to plant and harvest seeds to nourish ourselves and our global community. A big takeaway point: We are an interconnected species.
Since our inception, our fans have helped us save more and more rainforest each year. Last month, we tallied everyone’s total impact for all of 2012, and the numbers blew us away! It’s nothing short of wonderful to feel our momentum growing and know that this year, we’ll save even more. But besides drinking more mate, what else can we possibly do to top numbers like these? As Luke shows us here at our annual team meeting, we’re saving over 24 million trees and protecting over 1 BILLION square feet of rainforest!
Many of us with a connection to the yerba mate plant can’t help but hear the call to help the forest as much as possible, which is just one reason the Guayaki Foundation established a page on GlobalGiving.org. Through the help of our fans, we’ve managed to establish a permanent presence on the site. Our donation page allows you to see where funds will be redistributed, and how much goes into protecting the harvest, and how every last dollar counts.
Guayaki drinkers are active participants in our mission and community, and this year, we’ll see it more than ever — from the rainforest protection already built into our business to the opportunity to raise more for the cause. As always, we’ll also be out in the world, sharing yerba mate with you, enjoying this planet, and discovering the many deep ways we can connect with it. Onward, to the forest!
Visit our donation drive on GlobalGiving.org to contribute: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/guayaki/
Our teammate Bobbi sent this message out to our staff this morning, which resonates with many of us across the country. Donate to relief efforts like the American Red Cross, GlobalGiving, or other relief efforts on the ground working to help victims at this time.
Hurricane Sandy really did a number on the East Coast. Even though you don’t hear much on the news there are thousands and thousands of people whose homes have been completely destroyed…and many more thousands who are not able to stay in their homes until all the damage is cleaned up. They are dealing with muck and yuck and salt water that flooded their homes. Mold is developing and the smells in their homes is horrible. I understand there are even areas still without power.
These people will not be celebrating Christmas like you and I.
How do I know? Because the Red Cross has asked my husband if he would be willing to spend a few more weeks on the East coast. The Red Cross will not pull out until people are settled back in their homes.
If you are planning on making a charitable donation before the end of the year please keep the Red Cross in mind. They are doing good work.
We feel deep love and a close connection with the ocean, and we’re stoked on the sport of stand-up paddling. Trainer Jaime Donnelly from SUP drinks mate and prepares folks for the water intensely. Here’s her routine and her take on how the plant helps her navigate the waves:
Stand-Up Paddling is not only the fastest growing water sport in the world, but one of the most fun, exciting and physically challenging as well. For me, a handy snack of a few walnut stuffed dates (quick sugar with some fat) along with a can of Guayaki Revel Berry chilled yerba mate gets the job done pre-race or for intense training. As opposed to the caffeine in a cup of coffee, yerba mate keeps me balanced, focused, and energized not only through my workout but for the rest of the day. Best thing about mate – there is absolutely no crash. The plant/food based nutrition is actually beneficial to my health, versus depleting like the alternative (synthetic) options. Since I have started consuming mate, my body feels noticeably more hydrated and balanced; my stamina is consistent.
The Guayaki teams in North and South America both work tirelessly and passionately for the same rainforest mission, but we don’t often get to spend time together. Our recent trip to visit the Ache Guayaki in Paraguay was a very special experience for us: we got to participate in the yerba mate harvest, connect with the rainforest, and for many of us, it was a chance to meet the rest of our Guayaki family for the first time.
We asked our team members who went to South America to send a picture that stirred a memory of the trip and tell us a story. Each felt something different; everyone felt something magical.
The photo I picked was taken the morning after we arrived. We had a long day of travel and an amazing day at the Iguazu falls the day before. That night, we met all the other people (now friends) at the lodge and shared our stories and just hung out learning about who we all are. We knew by the end of the night we had a very strong connection and the energy was building. The picture is of Alex and Boy under a umbrella of light, energy, spirit (you tell me) waiting to start a trip down the Iguazu river.
Now after the trip I see the light as a bond taking place that we all became part of throughout the remaining days and time with our Ache Guayaki family.
Amongst all the photos that I took along the way, this one stands out to me as encapsulating the unity of our group with the Guayaki children. Luke had the idea of walking around the village and looking for the church. As we set out, the kids took us by the hand and led us along the way. Through their village amongst the trees, we encountered pigs, chickens, and a big ol’ black cow grazing in the futbol field. We saw a few men hard at work on their new school house, with a termo and guampa nearby for requisite breaktime. Next to the schoolhouse, we saw the organic garden that had been planted in which the children took great pride. The photo was taken as we had made a half lap around the village seeing the day to day goings on of the Guayaki people in their little piece of paradise in Paraguay.
I’m not sure who took this photo but I love it. It’s a beautiful moment when you find yourself coexisting with nature. Harvesting alongside the Ache makes you so keenly aware that you are part of something unique and how lucky you are to be embraced by this amazing community. It was the most gratifying work I’ve ever done and it gives my daily work an additional layer of personal meaning.
That third and final morning was sublime as I had finally unwound and grounded into the experience. It was a gestalt. There was the peacefulness of the rainforest and the bounty if offered in the newly harvested, aromatic mate. The feeling of shared purpose and connection with the Ache community and those of us who came to participate. There was curiosity in the air. Even though we were from different parts of the globe with very different lifestyles, we knew our lives were intimately connected. That was really cool to experience.
This is one of my favorite photos, because of what it going on. This is a photo of the 1st milling/culling of the mate which is done by hand in the forest by the whole community; men, women and children (perhaps 6 and older). The leaves are stripped from the branches and whole small stems with leaves are broken into 4 to 5 inch pieces in preparation for the flash drying. I loved participating!Us adults worked mostly quietly and repetitively. The children laughed and played, feeling proud to be old enough to participate, and the teens poked fun with each other. I think I will always remember that crack, crack, cracking of the stems being snapped, the sounds of the forest and that pervasive feeling of connection. The sharing of a tasty mate gourd at break gave much needed energy to carry on with the labor and brought it full circle!
This is one of my favorite pics because it captures Margarite and Alex, who is such a powerful visionary for the Next Economy and how we can live in balance and harmony with nature on this planet. And Margarite struck all of us as such a powerful leader. She was able to very succinctly summarize the Aché’s struggle: To protect the forest and to rise out of poverty while maintaining their indigenous traditions and way of life. It is a pleasure to be working at the side of these two in working to support the Aché’s struggle, and the struggle we all face to save our planet from collapse and learn to live in a balanced way with all life on earth.
See more awesome pictures from our trip on Pinterest.
We follow the lives of many who drink Guayaki or share our passion for nature. Is there someone we should meet? Email us!
When competitive surfer Pedro Berasaluce David goes to the water, he leaves the world behind him. “I forget everything,” he says in his native Portugese, which is translated to us in English. “From the Earth, from the land. I’m completely connected with the ocean.”
[At left: Pedro, 19, rides high waves with his Guayaki-wreathed board]
Pedro, 19, is training to be the best in the world. He’s already building a record in pro junior competitions, where he pairs the stress-free elation he feels in the water with sharper focus. Engaged in his sport, his mind works a bit more mechanically as he watches competitors and assesses what marks he must reach.
Pedro began surfing at the age of 2, having grown up in a surfer family: everyone in his family surfs except for his mother, Nina (and his father and three brothers are still trying to get her out there). Wave enthusiasts from everywhere flock to the surfing school his father, “El Capitan David,” founded 18 years ago on Praia do Rosa beach in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Beyond technique, the 400 or so students who visit the school each year from around the world are infused with fathoms-deep lessons on the water, the human connection with nature, and a sense of respect and community. Some call it a “school of life.”
The mission for the school is we are who we are, we all have equal rights and opportunities,” Pedro says. “To break with barriers, cultural barriers, the color of your skin, eyes, we’re all equal for the ocean, waves gonna break and it’s gonna break the same no matter who’s surfing it.”
Besides inspiration from the school’s surf community and his natural love for the water, Pedro has also been motivated to succeed in his sport watching the London Olympics. “It’s real inspiring to see other people get so far and reach a gold medal, or silver medal, coming from places like, from nothing,” he says. “To see them succeed or surpass their expectations.”
Naturally, this level of achievement takes work. Pedro prepares for competitions with full days in the water, aerobic training, and hydration (he has enjoyed Guayaki shots, which make him very animated; mostly he drinks water).
His passion and training have taken him all over the world, with some of his favorites to surf the beaches of Spain and France — though there’s more to loving where you are than getting to experience huge waves. “When you’re with friends,” Pedro says, “any place is a favorite place.”
Donn Felker is CTO of tech company Qonqr and author of the books Android Tablet Dev for Dummies and Android App Dev for Dummies. Struggling with his coffee addiction, he made a Facebook post asking his friends for ideas. One of them suggested yerba mate, leading Donn on this journey:
I never liked coffee until about my mid twenties. I found some sugary sweet drink that was some thing called a “latte”. I ended up liking it and ordered one whenever I met my friends at a coffee shop. Over time I noticed that these things also carried quite the “zing” (and jitters among other things) after I drank it. Before I knew it, a couple years later I was having a coffee every other day. Then I got married and my wife loves coffee. She brewed it all the time at home so I started having a cup here and there and made my own version of latte’s and such. Fast forward five years later and I’m a two cup of coffee drinker per day. If it was a late night it could be 3-4 cups of coffee to get the engine going.
As time progressed over the last year or so I noticed a change in the color of my teeth (as do all coffee drinkers usually). I brush my teeth so its not a hygiene issue. My dentist told me “you have very porous teeth, and if you drink coffee it will be absorbed into your teeth. Sure you can brush, but thats why your teeth are looking a shade or two darker.” That literally grossed me out. I was also growing very tired of the jitters and was beginning to have problems sleeping at night because I had so much coffee flowing through my system. I wanted to quit, I was done. I wanted brighter teeth (and better smelling breath, who likes coffee breath anyway?). So I tried to quit, cold turkey … oops.
Second day into quitting the massive headaches hit. I was grumpy, blah, not feeling good. Long story short, I started drinking coffee again. I tried cutting back, didn’t work. I tried slowly removing myself off of coffee, nope, didn’t work. I eventually didn’t even like the taste of it anymore, but I needed it. I couldn’t believe it… I was hooked on coffee. What the hell! How could I let this happen!? Almost amused at the fact that I was hooked I posted on Facebook about how I was hooked on coffee and wanted to get off but wasn’t sure how. I mentioned I liked Yerba Mate and was going to give it a try but it seemed that the tea packets didn’t pack enough punch to help me get past NOT drinking coffee. That’s when my old friend Mateo commented and said I needed to try the loose leaf yerba mate instead.
After some conversation with Mateo about the loose leaf I was able to finally get my hands on some loose leaf Guayaki Yerba Mate as well as a Mate Gourd (a gourd is a cup that is made from a Gourd plant and is used in traditional drinking of the mate). Mateo informed me that drinking the mate that was loose leaf allowed the mate to be brewed as strong as coffee. Using the gourd took some getting used to, but I enjoyed it. It was a different experience and I’m glad to have one. However, I’m a klutz and I work at the computer a good part of the day so I could possibly spill it over a few thousand dollars worth of equipment – not good. To combat this and still have the great effects of the loose leaf tea but to also be safe around my electronics I picked up a French Press Travel Mug I can now bring Mate with me while I travel.
I used the gourd for about two weeks and noticed a great improvement in my quality of life. The first major benefit I noticed was that I slept like a rock at night. Apparently yerba mate helps you sleep at night when you drink it during the day. Very cool. The second was that I did not have any caffeine/coffee withdrawals – I had plenty of energy. Third, I didn’t experience the jitters or crash that you can get with coffee or even black or green tea. I also felt VERY CLEAN when I drank it. Sometimes coffee (even with rice milk or almond milk) still sat very heavy in my stomach at times (this was only my experience so your mileage may vary). I did not have the brown staining effects of coffee as well as nasty coffee breath. Finally, I was able to finally kick the coffee habit. The one super nice thing about this? I’m able to enjoy an occasional coffee again. I still love the smell and the occasional taste of it. So every couple of weeks or maybe once a month I’ll have a cup of coffee, iced coffee or something that has coffee in it, simply because I want to… not because I have to. I’ve been able to go days without drinking tea and not have cravings or withdrawls of the sort. Overall its been a great experience.
Tips on kicking the coffee habit with mate: I’ve tried a few brands of mate and the kind that worked best for me (and the kind I liked the best) was the Guayaki Yerba Mate. You can find it at health stores like Whole Foods and the like. Make sure you buy the loose leaf kind and make sure you have a tea infuser, coffee maker for French press. Quitting coffee is like quitting any other drug – you have to be emotionally invested in quitting. Spend a few bucks, get a good infuser (get used to the occasional leaf in your tea, it won’t kill you) and/or a gourd. Drink it early in the morning when you wake up or when you normally drink coffee (I know many folks who only drink coffee after lunch). Basically… replace it with your coffee routine. I now take a bag of mate with me when I travel and I bring my travel press. Hot water is usually easily found at a hotel and then you’re off to a good morning with some good tea.
Have fun and enjoy!
– Donn Felker
If you drink yerba mate at work, you know its productive magic. Alex Lawson is definitely no stranger to its energy; he has two jobs and a can of Enlighten Mint always ready.
“I blame 20% of my effectiveness on my mate consumption,” he says as he juggles phone calls, sets up meetings and goes through the motions of a Washington lobbyist’s typical day.
Alex is Executive Director at Social Security Works, where he connects people with press to tell stories of Social Security helping those in need. From his office on K Street, he spends the day piling over spreadsheets of data and working with his team on strategies to get information to the public.
More than spending his time calculating, Alex strives to bring facts and figures to life. “We just bring real people into Washington, DC, and we walk them around, and we have them meet their members of Congress, and make it real apparent to everyone that behind these numbers are real people.”
When not here, he’s producing shows and running tape at We Act Radio, his talk station, or addressing the media on TV or at a press conference.
Days can begin at 7 a.m. and end late at night when a story is being prepared. “You have to go to studio either obscenely early in the morning or after a full day, regardless if it’s 104 out, and then if you have to be super energetic and peppy and likable and strong at the same time,” he says.
“I have always found that, it’s almost like cheating,” he explains, “but you have some mate before you go onstage, before you have to do any presentation — anything where you have to really make sure that you’re focused, projecting, positive, and you have to connect with an audience — it’s really incredibly useful.”
Alex’s mother hails from Brazil, and he has always been a mate fan. Falling into a decision to switch off of coffee for good, he and and his wife Laila, a staff attorney at Legal Aid Maryland domestic violence, both turn to its energy in their work. While they both drink loose leaf at home, Alex prefers Enlighten Mint cans. “In our schedules, being able to actually very expeditiously drink one of these in the morning is very useful,” he says. “And as you know,
the weather here is TERRIBLE in the summer. And then you have to wear suits.”
Whether toggling the mic or sorting through paperwork, you can feel Alex’s passion for bringing deep, inspiring stories to the ears, eyes and hearts of Washington.
“In Washington, DC, you’re fighting against the fact that it’s not the majority of people that have their voices heard,” he says. “But organized people can beat organized money. It just takes a lot of effort.”
Does mate fuel your work or passion? Email us (email@example.com) and share your story — we may feature it here!