the virtues of coconut water

Stacy S., organizer of my San Diego event last week (I will blog about it this week, just waiting for photos), that I should write more about coconut oil. How about the liquid, or water, of the coconut? Thanks for the help on this, Jenny Cook:

It’s an amazing alternative to water – low in calories, zero fat, and lots of naturally occurring nutrition including potassium, magnesium and calcium, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It rehydrates you 3 times faster than water itself.

It’s a natural sports drink that stands apart from the blue-dye, chemical-sweetener-added competition. It is isotonic and contains more potassium than a banana and the perfect balance of electrolytes.

It has the same osmotic pressure as that of blood plasma, which means it can be safely administered as an intravenous fluid. In fact, it was used during WWII in emergency transfusions to replace blood plasma and save the lives of many wounded soldiers in the Pacific. Coconut water has also been used to treat cholera because of its electrolyte properties. Think of it as your own natural blood transfusion.

Secondly, it’s a very clever, wholly natural sports drink that knocks spots off the factory-created competition. It is isotonic and with more potassium than a banana and the perfect balance of electrolytes. Its just a natural and far more healthy alternative to mainstream sports drinks.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Coconut water is a natural diuretic that helps to dissolve kidney stones. It has oodles of potassium, which helps the body to fight water retention, muscle cramps and heart irregularities.

The calcium in coconut water is an important mineral for bones and teeth. It also plays a role as an electrical conductor in nerves and muscles.

Sodium is also needed in the body to maintain life. This vital electrolyte plays a number of roles to support health and wellness. Potassium and sodium interact electrically within the cells and outside the cells in the blood plasma and this is required for cardiac contractions, skeletal muscle movement and nerve impulses.

Coconut water helps dissolve kidney stones. It’s a natural diuretic, with lots of potassium, which helps the body fight water retention, muscle cramps, and heart irregularities.

It’s calcium rich, supporting strong bones and teeth. The highly bioavailable calcium plays an important role as an electrical conductor in nerves and muscles.

Sodium is an important electrolyte supporting wellness. Potassium and sodium interact electrically within and without cells in the blood plasma, aiding cardiac contractions, skeletal muscle movement and nerve impulses.

Coconut water also has fiber, protein, antioxidants and dozens of other nutrients. It takes 9 months to draw the water up from the earth through the trunk, into the nut and develop. We should appreciate the miracle that is the young coconut.

As more is known in the mainstream about coconut water, it will become harder to obtain. I am already having a hard time buying young coconuts–which are sold as a drink all over Asia, the Pacific, and many other places in the world I have been in the past several years.

I recommend buying cases of canned coconut water and keeping it in your long-term storage for emergencies. It’s a power food. And it has the benefit of tasting lovely. Coconut water is in my Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie every morning (Ch. 10 of 12 Steps), which may be part of why I suffer from no chronic health conditions at age 44.

tennis and brain tumors and green smoothies

If I’d had my camera with me, I’d have taken a photo of one of my fiercest tennis opponents, whose name is Kristy. I haven’t played her in a long time; she plays for a club in North Salt Lake that we sometimes lose to (whereas we beat everyone else). She’s my age with 4 kids, so we bonded.

The last match I remember with her, we were playing singles and were tied in the second set after I’d won the first one. The rest of our teammates had finished their matches, and we were still going because we’re both baseline players and our rallies were interminable. It began to pour rain, so we had to drive to indoor courts, where our whole teams watched us finish it off. I won, but she is really good and I told her I’d love to play with her, for fun, sometime.

Today she was at my club for a match and she said, “I’ve been looking for you!” She told me that she’d had surgery for a brain tumor just two months ago. A neighbor friend of hers said, “I am bringing you a green smoothie every day for two weeks before and after your surgery.” She did so, and Kristy is playing competitive tennis now less than two months later! She looks healthy and beautiful.

Kristy didn’t know what a GS was, but she’s a convert now. The neighbor sent her to my site, where Kristy said, “Hey! I play tennis with that girl!” She got my course and now has Hot Pink Smoothie for breakfast every morning. (Beets. Carrots. Dates and more. Perfect electrolytes, perfect fat/carbs/protein ratio, all raw, and now I REALLY AM SCARED IF I HAVE TO PLAY HER AGAIN! Might just be the competitive edge she needed.)

Kristi’s neighbor, if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU. I love love love to hear stories of people helping each other in crisis—rescuing folks we care about with good nutrition. We can’t prop people up forever if they don’t want to own responsibility for their own care. But we can get them started, get them addicted to the way they feel when they get 15 servings of raw vegetables and fruit in their diet every day.

As I’ve written about on this blog before, it’s a great way to serve someone who is facing a scary diagnosis or a surgery: tell them you’re bringing green smoothies every day for the foreseeable future. Last year I did that with my friend Lisa after her shoulder surgery, and with my neighbor Kris after she had brain surgery. My teammate Laura has taken GS to her wheelchair-bound neighbor who has a debilitating disease her sisters and mother have all died of, for a few years now, and she’s far outlived anyone’s expectations and believes that’s why.

Love you all who serve others. Share here if you have an experience with that!

that ubiquitous blue, sugary sports drink

That blue drink. It’s everywhere. I’ve never tried it, but it’s in the photo with my son in the dugout from last week.

One of my kids reported to me not long ago, “My soccer coach says I HAVE to drink Gatorade, because it’s good for us and she doesn’t want us passing out.” I told her, “I’ve never tasted Gatorade in my life, and I’ve run 10 miles at a time, or played tennis for 3 hours and haven’t passed out yet. There was no Gatorade until 20 years ago or less. [Thanks, University of Florida! Not.] What do you think all the distance runners in Africa are doing? All you need is what I already give you–good ol’ water. Mom trumps the coach in this case–I am not buying Gatorade.”

Chemical food dyes, chemical sweeteners, chemical electrolytes, no thanks. Good water and fresh fruits and vegetables, plus some nuts or seeds for good fats, are the best thing to fuel a workout before or after. I also love Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie–what I make every morning–for a perfect electrolyte and fat/carb/protein ratio for athletics, 400 calories. It’s in the Breakfast recipe collection or Ch. 11 of 12 Steps.

back from Costa Rica: can you eat well there?

I am back from Costa Rica.   It was supposed to be a 7-day trip, using Delta buddy passes given to me (very inexpensively) by a friend.   Unfortunately at the end of our trip, we spent THREE DAYS in the airport trying unsuccessfully to get out of Costa Rica until I finally bought both of us full-price tickets home, the last seats on the plane.   (My friend is a tennis coach without the means to pay for hers.)   Turns out her mother and sister had felt strongly (independent of each other) to PRAY her home right before I produced a credit card at the Delta counter, even though I hadn’t planned to do that.   It’s a good thing, because flights have been booked through today, so we’d still be there . . . and you may have seen on the news that the airport city, San Jose,  got rocked by a 6.4 earthquake this morning and the whole city is in chaos with thousands in the streets.

So, I’m glad to be home!   I feel  blessed to not still be there.   Pray for the Costa Ricans!

Can you avert the normal travelers’ diet  eat plant food in Central America?   (You know I’ve been globe trotting this past year–that’s my 16th country–and am a little obsessed with that question.)

Well, Central America is the place for FRUIT!   It’s so beautiful–watermelon and pineapple and papaya and this most amazing thing called GUANABANA.   We made a smoothie of guanabana pulp we got a quart of in a grocery store, plus ice and Greens to Go from Costco . . . the most unbelievable smoothie of my life.   YUM!   (Unfortunately, I am unaware of anywhere you can get this fruit in the U.S.   Anybody?)

Greens to Go is nowhere near the nutrition of VitaMineral Green that I offer on the site and in local group buys.   But it comes in little packets you can rip the top off and add to a bottle of water.   That stuff saved me in the airport, and it tastes really good!

If I can’t figure out how to post photos here (a problem I have  had lately), I’ll have Ritesh do it for tomorrow: see me with some of the local stuff I pulled right out of the trees!   Okay, I was holding my friend’s 7-year old daughter up under a coconut tree, and she was banging on the coconut with a big glass Coke bottle we found on the ground (dumb, I know, but it’s all we had) . . . and a local felt sorry for us and pulled over and gave me that giant coconut in the photo from the trunk of his car.   Then I found another guy with a machete, and voila!   Fabulous electrolyte- and mineral-rich coconut liquid!   And a photo of what the white-faced monkeys eat–we should take a page from them!


Eating right while traveling internationally . . . last part

We visited a coastal area of China where the average age is 79 years old!   People very routinely live to be over 100 and the area has become known as the “longevity region.”   I asked the tour guide what they eat, and he said, local vegetables and fruit, and seafood.   I saw not one overweight person.   (I felt like I was visiting the China Study!)


Everywhere we went in Asia, the people eat YOUNG COCONUTS, like I advocate for in 12 Steps and recipes.   Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam.   They are plentiful and inexpensive, sold in snack stands at every tourist spot.   Purveyors just whack the top off with a machete (see photo below) and pour the liquid into a container to drink.   Or they’d just poke a hole and stick a straw in for you.   What incredible nutrition.  


Unfortunately, Coca Cola is also everywhere on the globe as you’ll see in the photo, competing with natural snacks like electrolyte-rich coconut liquid.   The sons of the ladies serving the coconut liquid were running around underfoot drinking not coconut liquid, but Cokes!   They were only 7 or 8 years old, but their teeth were black and rotted.   (After I saw them, I wish I’d taken a photo.   I taught them some Americanisms, though, like how to say, “Get OUT!” from Seinfeld and do “knuckles”).   I’m sure these people think, Coca Cola is from America, so it must be good, because Americans are rich and happy!   (Their exposure is limited to the mass media of glamorous celebrities, and tourists with pockets full of cash.)


What a terrible thinking error THAT is!