“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
I read this quote not too long ago and I can’t agree with it more.
Last month, we were fortunate enough to abandon our not-so-nice Spring weather and drive nearly 3,000 kilometers to the sunny state of Florida. I have an aunt that lives in a heavenly nook on the ocean in the Florida Keys. Knowing we are avid travelers, my aunt has asked us several times to visit her – all the while enticing us with tales of iguanas, alligators, dolphins and some fabulous kayaking. My husband and I finally decided earlier this Spring that June was the right time to pack up the family and pay my aunt a visit.
One of the first things we noticed when we finally pulled up to my aunt’s home was that she was surrounded by a splendid crop of palms and they were all lush with coconuts – beautiful, green coconuts!
Fresh, young, green coconuts are a true gem. If you were to crack one open, you would find a nearly clear liquid that is mildly sweet, refreshing and fat-free. This liquid is called coconut water. Chock-full of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, coconut water is known in the tropics as a “natural sports drink” due to its ability to combat dehydration and heat stroke. According to Bruce Fife, N.D., in his book Coconut Water for Health and Healing, coconut water has also gained popularity for its amazing “anti-cancer” and “anti-aging” properties.
With temperatures reaching the high 30s (Celsius), you can imagine our excitement at having so many green coconuts right there within arms’ reach.
With some fruit smoothies and a kayak through the mangroves in mind, my husband, Dan, set out to harvest some coconuts. This became a ritual each morning we were in the Keys.
Once cut from the tree, Dan would carefully cut off the top of each coconut.
He would then puncture a hole at the top.
The coconut water was finally poured into a large glass. We received nearly 2 cups from every coconut.
You may want to consider adding coconut water to your water bottle before your next outdoor adventure or workout. Compared to commercial sport drinks and fruit juices, coconut water has far less sugar and contains more electrolytes and nutrients.
However, like most food products, when choosing a brand of coconut water, it is very important to read the label of the product carefully. Some brands do contain added sugar, artificial flavourings, and preservatives which make it no better than a flavoured drink. Look for a brand that is “not from concentrate”. You should find one in your local health food store and in the natural foods section of your grocery store. It may cost a little more, but so worth it!
Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman Triathlete and formulator of Vega products, uses coconut water as the base ingredient in many of his sport drinks recipes. One of our personal favourites is Brazier’s Classic Lemon Lime Sport Drink (from his book, Thrive Fitness). Along with a full water bottle, my daughter likes to take this drink with her to the ice rink for training. It’s super easy to make – just blend all ingredients together in a blender. If you enjoy a sweeter drink, try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup. 😉
- 2 large Medjool dates
- 2 cups coconut water
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- juice from 1/4 lime
- sea salt to taste
Kayaking through the mangroves in the Florida Keys