Friday, March 9, 2012

What in the world is...Yerba Mate

Welcome to another "What in the world is..." post. These Friday posts have become my favorite, because they're a real learning experience for this veganmama!

Have you heard of/seen Yerba Mate at the store? The first time I had it was in a groovy little granola bar that was a mix of yerba mate, peanut butter and carob chips. It was one of those foods you eat and think, "this is sort of weird" and then you realize you're loving it and have eaten the whole thing. Can you relate? So what in the heck is yerbe mate anyway? And why did my caffeine-free body go nuts when I ate that groovy bar?

From the site, "What is Yerba Mate"

Guayakí Yerba Mate
has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate" all in one beverage.
Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world: yerba mate, coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa and guarana, yerba mate triumphs as the most balanced, delivering both energy and nutrition.
Guayakí Yerba Mate  has the ââ,¬Å“strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate" all in one beverage.
Yerba mate contains caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, well-known stimulants also found in tea, coffee and chocolate. The caffeine content varies between that of green tea and coffee. Unlike tea, yerba mate has a low tannin content so it can be strong like coffee with out becoming extremely bitter. Unlike coffee, yerba mate is not oily and acid forming, so it is less likely to cause stomach acid and jitters.
Yerba mate is very versitile and can be prepared a variety of ways, from a tea infuser or French press to a coffee machine, even an espresso maker. It can be consumed hot, or cold, and served with with milk and honey or iced with lemon and mint, the combinations are endless.
Yerba mate (yer-bah mah-tay) is made from the naturally caffeinated and nourishing leaves of the celebrated South American rainforest holly tree (Ilex paraguariensis). For centuries, South America’s Aché Guayakí tribe have sipped yerba mate from a traditional mate gourd for its rejuvenative effects. These rainforest people find tremendous invigoration, focus, and nourishment in yerba mate. The leaves of the rainforest mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants. In fact, The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded "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."

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