Yaupon, a North American Tea gets Revived

steaming mug

There’s nothing quite like a good cup of tea. Thanks to the efforts of tea fans in North America we all may soon have another tea option available to us. The only known native caffeine producing plant, yaupon, is a holly bush indigenous to the south east of the USA. Yaupon tea was lost to history due to colonization in North America, which has made a challenge to relearn how to harvest and use the plant. People who are reviving the use of yaupon are studying history to understand how best to prepare the plant. And yes, in North American tradition, it is already for sale.

As I began to learn more about yaupon, I was floored,” said White, “I just couldn’t believe that nobody knew about it.”

Though White quickly became fascinated with the holly’s history, he also realised that trying to brew an actual drink from it would be difficult, as there was no-one left to learn from. Guided by instructions he found in colonial diaries compiled in Dr Hudson’s volume about yaupon, White began picking the leaves and experimenting with roasting techniques. In a similar fashion, Falla tried roasting her first batch of yaupon in the family kitchen, discovering that she had a natural talent for creating a delicious nutty and buttery flavour.

Guided by a curiosity for botany and an interest in history, Falla and White unexpectedly found themselves on parallel journeys to revive the ancient beverage, with Falla starting Catspring Yaupon outside Austin, Texas, in 2013, and White founding Yaupon Brothers in Edgewater, Florida, in 2015. Today, yaupon continues to grow in popularity as additional startups have begun selling and promoting the historical beverage.

Read more.

Enjoy Beer Thanks To Hops

Beer is delicious and has been a part of healthy living for years, but why is it good for us? Beer can provide mental benefits because it helps people relax and can bring temporary moments of joy. It also works on a physical level, which is what researchers have been looking into. The hops are one key ingredient that makes beer a healthy choice. Hops have been used in teas to improve physical health of individuals and are used in beer.

So drink it up! Just not too much.

In one study, appearing in the Journal of Natural Products, a team of Italian researchers identified three previously unknown chemicals from Cascade hops—which are used in many American brews, but perhaps notably as a finishing hop in Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. One of the chemicals has clear anti-inflammatory properties.

In a second study, presented this week at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference in San Diego, researchers from the University of Idaho report figuring out a streamlined procedure for making synthetic versions of two key hop chemicals, humulone and lupulone, which are known to have antimicrobial and anticancer activity. With their artificial versions, the researchers plan to make an assortment of chemical tweaks to optimize the compounds for disease-busting drugs.

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Men: Drink With Your Friends to Stay Healthy

Now there’s the perfect excuse to go watch the game with your friends or just chillax in a bar! It turns out that males really benefit when they engage in face to face activities with their friends twice a week regardless of what they actually do.

So go out tonight with your friends and have a round to your health 😉

Professor Robin Dunbar, a leading psychologist at Oxford University, published the report, which shows that whilst speaking to mates is valuable, it is not enough for men.

He said to experience the real benefits of friendship, men must meet up in the flesh at least twice a week and actually ‘do stuff’.

It also demonstrates men who keep strong and well-maintained social groups are healthier, recover from illness more quickly and tend to be more generous.

No word on if going out every night for beers with friends is even more beneficial.

Read more.

Thanks to Shea!

Solar-Powered Wineries

Wine is good for you and can improve many aspects of your health. The wine-making process can be very intense on local ecologies due to the farming methods and shipping involved. Some wineries are looking to sustainable and responsible ways to create their wines.

Here’s one of a few wineries using solar power, catch four more at the link below:

Gracia de Chile Winery

This change towards using solar energy expands far beyond California. Gracia de Chile Winery in Santiago, Chile, uses solar paneling to provide energy for their cellars, reducing their yearly gas consumption by 46%. And as of this year, Gracia de Chile is also Carbon Neutral certified.

See the full list here.

Thanks to Jesse (from Snooth.com).

Earth Friendly Beers

Beer is good and here at Things Are Good we do drink a lot of it. We also know that beer can be pretty intensive in water consumption and other resoruces, so I’m happy to share the news of eco-friendly brewers.

New Belgium
Located in Fort Collins, CO, right up the road from me, New Belgium may just be the pinnacle of eco-friendly beer brewing. In 1999, New Belgium became the largest private consumer of wind-powered electricity, and is an employee-owned business that prides itself on its environmental stewardship, adhering to the following creeds:

1. Lovingly care for the planet that sustains us.
2. Honor natural resources by closing the loops between waste and input.
3. Minimize the environmental impact of shipping our beer.
4. Reduce our dependence on coal-fired electricity.
5. Protect our precious Rocky Mountain water resources.
6. Focus our efforts on conservation and efficiency.
7. Support innovative technology.
8. Model joyful environmentalism through our commitment to relationships, continuous improvement, and the camaraderie and cheer of beer

They take full advantage of the more than 360 days of sunshine in Fort Collins by using UV blocking windows, sun-tubes, and light shelves; they use evaporative coolers, which condition their 55,000 square foot packaging hall with no compressors; and at their public events like their philanthropic bike festival, Tour de Fat, New Belgium celebrates bicycling as a viable form of alternative transport while a solar-powered stage provides sound for the day

We’ve looked at one of these breweries, Steam Whistle, before.

To see the rest of the brewers check out The Good Human.

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