Thursday, May 22, 2014

Earth Day Straw Feedback

Can Earth Day Straws be a "Trigger" for Sippers?

by Cheryl Newcomb
and Yovana Mendoza
GlassDharma straws are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Over the years, the inventory has expanded slightly to include straws for different purposes. Different straw lengths and diameters with particular measurements meet requirements for certain beverages and glassware. There are even straws to replace those made of plastic that come in some reusable water bottles on our "underground" menu.

The goal at GlassDharma is to provide options for reusable, non-toxic drinking straws that are durable and elegant as an alternative to single-use plastic straws. Company policies include reducing the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping footprint as much as possible.

The majority of GlassDharma's fans and customer base consists of a community of health advocates: raw food chefs, vegans, vegetarians, juicing and cleanse advocates, and smoothie drinkers who love to use GlassDharma straws in their daily beverages. The creativity of this community is amazing as they show the many ways to use food as proper nutrition while their artful displays tempt the eye of the taster.

EarthDayStraw, Earth Day, glass straw, small straw, straw, straws
photo by Cheryl Newcomb
Every year, GlassDharma gives away free  glass straws for Earth Day!  The number one purpose of this campaign is to get these straws into the hands of those who have not yet tried them. In past years, GlassDharma gave away the standard 9.5mm by 8 inch straw to participants in the Earth Day Event. This year, the Earth Day Straw is a new length which designed for a 2 fold purpose; to use as much of our glass materials as possible, to reduce materials waste in our facility, and to provide a new length straw that properly fits certain cups, stemware, and glassware that our former designs are just too long for. 

Over the years since GlassDharma started production, a bit of online chatter was discovered making reference to how the glass straws are reminiscent of certain drug paraphernalia.
These comments have been few and far between as the momentum keeps building from those excited about GlassDharma products and the simple solution they provide towards a sustainable lifestyle.

Many letters and comments appear with thanks for the "Earth Day Straw" declaring how much participants from the GlassDharma Earth Day Trivia project love this straw for drinking beverages. As time went on, it was discovered that not everyone was happy with their Earth Day Straw.

One participant posted a comment on the GlassDharma Facebook wall regarding her surprise at receiving something from us similar to what she had used in her past as drug paraphernalia.  In response, we stated that we were not familiar with this type of use for our glass straws. Shorter glasses and stemware require a shorter straw so the function is in the design of the Earth Day Straw. We Congratulated her on her recovery and suggested that she might like to sip a smoothie or fresh juice in a fancy stemware glass like a martini glass to have a new association to healthy habits using our straws! Most of our thanks for these straws come from a huge community of health advocates and eco conscious consumers, so we also expressed hope that she might include herself in this kind of a community that has great love for herself, her health and our planet, where we all live together. We then wished her a Happy Earth Day!

The comment brought up a sensitive topic, but one that is important to address; the subject of "triggers" and how an object might be associated with a former lifestyle.  Triggers can be different for anyone affected by them.  Items that might be identified as "triggers" can be something like a shot glass for a recovering alcoholic, or an ashtray for a former smoker. The association of a "prop" from a former activity may bring certain feelings about a previous era for those who have since entered a new lifestyle.  Early stages of recovery from addiction include avoiding "triggers" that may become problematic for the success of an addiction recovery program.

With these ideas in mind, GlassDharma advocates that all of our straws to be used as drinking straws! Just as a good knife can be used to make wonderful and healthy food, it can also be used to cause damage; knives are still sold with the expectation that they be used safely. We are happy to see so many photos of our Earth Day Straws in drinkware that finally have the perfect glass straw to fit. The many notes expressing delight and thanks for a product that is functional and sustainable are still coming into our inboxes.  We have included this straw as a main menu item on our shopping cart.

GlassDharma advocates positive health practices and encourages straw users everywhere to consider real glassware and reusable straws as best choices for our environment and as chemical free, non-toxic options. A lifestyle change such as recovery from an addiction might eventually invite a former binge drinker to purposely choose the glassware that they once used for alcoholic beverages as a fancy new way to sip healthy juices and smoothies. This modification in their pattern of thought can create new and improved associations with objects once symbolizing an unhealthy lifestyle, and transforms them into feelings of self control and freedom.

We asked Yovana Mendoza from Rawvana on You Tube about triggers and how they play a part in a changed lifestyle toward healthy choices and healthy living.

rawvana, yovana mendoza, healthy lifestyle, smoothie, straw, glass straw
Yovana Mendoza - "Rawvana"
Here is what Yovana shares -

Over a year ago, I completely changed my lifestyle and left a very unhealthy habit of binge drinking. I turned to raw foods and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle filled with love, physical activity, productiveness, and connection with God. Living my previous lifestyle, I had completely forgotten about those missing aspects in my life, I tried to fill those voids with partying, and addictions like drinking and smoking cigarettes, even smoking marijuana. It was normal for me at the time, I was so caught up in that destructive world that it was impossible for me to see the light.

In one of those horrible hangovers I had, I decided I needed a DETOX from the partying and drinking. My mind was foggy; the moral hangovers were making me depressed, anxious, just being alone with myself brought up many negative feelings. I knew it was not normal for me to feel this way and I also knew that turning to anti depressants and anti anxiety pills was not going to fix it. I had tried that before and it did not work. After that, detox was when I turned to raw foods and made the decision to change and make the action steps needed in order to do it.

After more than a year without a sip of alcohol, I can now call myself a recovered addict. Was it easy? No. It took a lot of healing to get me where I am no, and I am still healing. Have I had triggers? YES! Many! I am now a health advocate and inspire others to lead a healthier lifestyle and leave behind addictions because they rob us from the purpose we were designed to have in this world.

I used to post pictures on my Instagram page of my champagne and wine glasses, now I post pictures of my healthy smoothies in champagne glasses, wine glasses, mason jars, and I often use Glass Dharma glass straws because they really add a lovely feel to drinking a smoothie or juice, it makes the experience much more enjoyable. I think they are unique and make people want to drink healthy beverages.

I am grateful for triggers because they are an indication I needed to do some inner work. I have learned that we cannot blame anyone for every negative feeling we have, we have to turn the camera around and point it to ourselves. When triggers come up for me, I take some time to relax, lay down, meditate, be in a calm space, maybe turn on some soothing music and just breathe deeply, slow down my mind and ask myself "what is really going on?". It also helps to talk to someone; I talk to my parents all the time about my anxious feelings. Letting it out helps because when you speak it aloud instead of just thinking it in your head, it becomes more powerful.

I am on a constant road of self-development, self-healing, and nourishment. The important thing is knowing how to cope with triggers and issues and work on them so we can become a better version of ourselves!

Yes, let us all be "a better version of ourselves"! Thank you, Yovana for sharing your experiences and insight.  Please visit Rawvana on YouTube where she demonstrates fabulous recipes. There is even a new Ravana's Raw Recipes App for recipes and shopping lists to make this healthy way of eating and drinking as easy as ever!  Watch for a new Rawvana revamped website - coming soon!

We invite your comments and opinions on this topic, and for general feedback on the Earth Day Straw.


  1. Replies
    1. You can buy GlassDharma glass straws (and accessories) on our website or through stores listed on our store locator.

  2. As a recovering addict myself, congrats. My two year anniversary is coming up Christmas day. I love your concept and your mission statement. Great job from straws to lunch boxes. Gonna have to try...��