Shane Heath: Why I Started Mud
*This story was originally posted on September 13th, 2018 on Medium
I like coffee. The smell, the flavor and more importantly; I love the ritual. There’s something about a freshly brewed cup of coffee that makes me feel like I can take on more, and do it better.
The dream would normally stop there. I would finish that cup, have an anxious peak of sprinting alertness with a jittery and unproductive comedown. It would f*** up my sleep cycle, leaving me tired the next day. Unconsciously ordering up another cup to “bring me back to life.”
I noticed more and more people saying things like “I’m trying to quit coffee” or “I’m trying to keep it to one cup a day.”
“I’m working on getting more coffee into my life.”
- no one, ever.
Why is that? The drink that we use every day to fuel our success didn’t seem worthy of it’s promise. Long story short, I dropped coffee for the most part. I lost my ritual.
I was set on recreating it. So I began to explore.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
If I was going to consume something everyday before I did the things I’m passionate about, what would my dream drink be?
I wanted a drink that:
Induced alertness, not dependency
Improved my mental capacity and function
Improved my physical stamina and performance
Improved my immunity and overall health
Of course, it also had to taste good enough for me to drink it every day.
Big ask, but there I went.
First there was Mate´. Through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I was introduced to Yerba Mate. Loose leaves of the Mate tree are packed to the brim in a gourd. Hot water is poured over the tea and once steeped, you sip through a filtered straw called a bombilla. They say it has the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate — and they aren’t lying. My only issues were that it got really bitter and similar to coffee, the caffeine would become a dependency if you drank it every day. Becoming reliant on something for my vitality felt like a weakness which I wanted to avoid developing, but I loved the idea of re-steeping tea throughout the day.
When I lived in India I fell in love with Chai. On every street corner you find the bearded man covered in rags working the various pots and kettles of the golden brown brew. There’s no to go cups. No grande, venti, or talls. He pours the piping hot tea consisting of cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves and other spices into a small glass for you to enjoy in his presence. The tea typically has small amounts of caffeine (from the black tea leaf), just enough to induce alertness and the amalgam of spices have been proven to help with inflammation, digestion, and pain relief. I became a regular. Unfortunately in India the tea had a little too much sugar for my liking. Still, I wondered why this Chai experience wasn’t more popular in the States.
I came home and moved to Venice, California. With gucci health food stores on every corner and an obsession with podcasts; I was introduced to some new substances that I had to try.
Lionsmane (mental performance)
Cordyceps (physical performance)
Reishi (recovery and immunity)
Chaga (overall health)
Over the next year I began mixing various combinations of these elements with some unsweetened masala chai (thanks india) sea salt and vanilla. I would take a 32 ounce hydro flask and pour in hot water and what I felt like was a good blend. Inspired by my experience with Mate, I would drink it down to about half way and then top it off with hot water and would sip this all day while I worked, trained Jiu Jitsu, and painted.
After a couple bad batches and kitchen disasters, I nailed it. It became my ritual. I noticed benefits in my mental, physical, and emotional capacity. I was getting less sore after workouts. I could eat less and do more work — often times better and faster. I slept better and was more immune to illness. I felt like it was what coffee always aspired to be.
I created this drink for myself. It was my own exploration of finding the ingredients I believed in to solve my need. I called it MUD\WTR™ and now I’m sharing it with you.
Founder of Mud\Wtr