Low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol free, more potassium than four bananas, and super hydrating - these are just a few of the many benefits ascribed to The World’s latest health craze: coconut water.
Dubbed "Mother Nature’s sports drink" by marketers, the demand is skyrocketing, propelled by celebrity and athlete endorsements and promises to hydrate the body and help with a whole host of conditions, from hangovers to cancer and kidney stones.
But is coconut water capable of delivering on all the promises or is it hype?
What Is Coconut Water?Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.
It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink. Ounce per ounce, most unflavored coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 5.45 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which has 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 mg of potassium, and 13.75 mg of sodium.
Better Than Some Sugary DrinksCoconut water has less sugar than many sports drinks and much less sugar than sodas and some fruit juices. Plain coconut water could be a better choice for adults and kids looking for a beverage that is less sweet. But don’t overdo it, says Lillian Cheung, DSc, RD, of Harvard School of Public Health. “One 11-ounce container has 60 calories and if you drink several in one day, the calories can add up quickly," Cheung says.
Cheung, co-author of Savor Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, suggests being mindful about beverage choices and reading labels to choose plain coconut water and avoid those with added sugar or juices, which are no different from other sugary beverages.
Some Athletes Swear By ItProfessional tennis player John Isner credits coconut water with keeping him on his feet for his epic 11-hour marathon Wimbledon tennis win. “It is super hydrating and has kept me going in long matches and prevented me from cramping even in the hottest and most humid conditions,” Isner says.
He drinks a mixture of coconut water and water the night before a match in difficult heat conditions and routinely mixes a cocktail of coconut water and sea salt for on-court hydration and mixes it with protein powder for post-match recovery.
Coconut water may be better at replacing lost fluids than a sports drink or water -- as long as you enjoy the taste. A study recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that coconut water replenishes body fluids as well as a sports drink and better than water but the athletes preferred the taste of the sports drinks.
Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD and author of Nancy Clarks Sports NutritionGuidebook says coconut water won’t rehydrate the body unless you can drink plenty of it. If you enjoy the taste and can tolerate large amounts, it could help keep you hydrated.
A 2007 study shows coconut water enhanced with sodium was as good as drinking a commercial sports drink for post-exercise rehydration with better fluid tolerance. Another study reported that coconut water caused less nausea, fullness, and stomachupset and was easier to consume in large amounts during rehydration.
What Experts SayStaying hydrated is one of the most important things for recreational and professional athletes. And if the taste of coconut water helps you drink plenty of fluids, it is a fine choice for most people but may not be for those in prolonged physical activity.
Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and sodium and rich in potassium, which is not exactly what athletes need when exercising rigorously, says Clark.
“Whether you choose a sports drink, coconut water, or plain water, they all work to keep your body hydrated. The challenge is when you exercise strenuously for more than three hours in the heat and lose lots of body fluids, you need easily absorbed carbs for quick energy and to replace lost electrolytes like sodium and potassium,” Clark says.
Neither coconut water nor sports drinks contain enough sodium or carbs for the heavy perspirer. “Supplement with a quick source of energy like a banana or some raisins and a handful of pretzels to provide nutrients to replenish your stores,” Clark says.
Recovery starts before exercise begins. “Most people don’t need to worry about calories, potassium, or sodium. Eat a bagel with peanut butter to get food into your system before and drink plenty of water during exercise,” Clark says. If you exercise for prolonged periods, she suggests eating salty pretzels and raisins or other portable sources of energy.
Bottom LineThere are some health benefits to consuming coconut water. It’s an all-natural way to hydrate, reduce sodium, and add potassium to diets. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium in their diets because they don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, or dairy, so coconut water can help fill in the nutritional gaps.
Beyond that, the scientific literature does not support the hype that it will help with a laundry list of diseases. “There is a lot of hype about coconut water, yet the research is just not there to support many of the claims and much more research is needed,” says Cheung.
Coconut water is fine for recreational athletes -- but so are plain water or sports drinks. In general, most adults don’t exercise strenuously enough to need sports drinks or coconut water because good, old-fashioned water works just fine.
If you enjoy the taste and your budget allows it, coconut water is a nutritious and relatively low-calorie way to add potassium to your diet and keep you well-hydrated.
Island Life is Awesome!
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
Don't miss our Next Edition... Learn how we get Fresh & Delicious, Native Coconut Wine (a.k.a. Tuba)
The other day, Rose and I met up with 2 of our Tablas Island friends - Eddie and Edwin - for a tour of their coconut farm. Their coconut farm is on 70 acres of rolling and mountainous terrain. 'Are you ready for Adventure?' We nod, and off we go!
Eddie and Edwin lead Rose and I into the shade of the coconut trees. 'Before we explore the farm, we are going to meet up with the caretaker. His name is Noel. His family has been working on this farm since they were small children. He will be happy to have visitors.
Minutes later, we approach a simple native style home where Noel is enjoying the refreshing island breeze. 'Kamusta Ka?' greets Noel. 'Mabuti,' we all reply. After a some small talk - where I understand none of it - Noel begins walking up the steep side of the mountain. Rose informs me that we are going up the most difficult part of the terrain first so we can see what they must do when Noel and his family harvest the coconuts.
By the way, have you ever held a coconut? I mean a full coconut with the husk still on the nut.
I'm sure you'd like to get your hands on 1 of these... but getting back to coconuts. Each coconut can weigh from 5-10 pounds (2-4 kilograms). Considering each tree yields about 80 - 150 coconuts per year - that's a lot of weight. Then imagine getting the coconuts from the trees and then to the road! It's some hard, heavy work.
Nearing the top of the hill I ask Rose how many people carry these coconuts down the hill after they get them from the trees. Rose wisely corrects my ignorance, 'Don't be silly. They don't carry them down the hill. They roll them.'
Interesting Trivia -
How many people are killed by falling coconuts?
"Falling coconuts kill 150 people worldwide each year, 15 times the number of fatalities attributable to sharks," said George Burgess, Director of the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File and a noted shark researcher.
After reaching the top of the mountainside, we sit down to catch our breath - needless to say, we are not in the shape we thought we were. As we enjoy the shade, Noel with his machete in hand, climbs the neighboring coconut tree. When he reaches the top, he selects a few choice coconuts and proceeds to cut them from the branches.
PLOP, PLOP, PLOP, PLOP!
Rose smiles up to Noel, 'Salamat Kuya!' He is happy and returns to the earth.
Minutes later, Noel has trimmed our coconuts into easy to manage sizes and he encourages us to drink. (See my earlier post on The Benefits of Coconut Water).
Feeling thoroughly refreshed and invigorated, we thank Noel. Smiling he informs us that he wants to show us where he is making Tuba. Needless to say, I look confused - again. And we proceed to follow Noel to the mysterious Tuba.
Happy to be on the shady side of the mountain, Noel takes leads us through and open area that eventually leads to his special Tuba making facility - a single, tall coconut tree... and he proceeds to climb - does this guy ever run out of energy?
While we are waiting for Noel to return, I ask Edwin, 'How old is Noel?'
'He's not to old. I think he is 50 years old.'
'Wow, he is extremely fit from his daily exercise, from eating good food, drinking coconut water and drinking tuba. Tuba makes you live long and feel strong!'
'Tuba? I keep hearing about tuba. What is tuba?'
Everyone around me smiles - 'It's coconut wine!'
... and Noel proceeds to pour.
What does Tuba taste like? To me it tastes like the soft drink called 'Fresca' or 'Canei' wine, and its slightly effervescent.
Does it give you a buzz? Yes, I'm going to guess the alcohol content around 6%.
So How is Tuba Made?
First of all, Tuba is considered a rural drink, because it has a short shelf life. It is not sold in stores or in restaurants.
It is made from coconut tree sap. One tree can produce two to four quarts / liters of Tuba a day.
The sap is drawn from a bud on the coconut tree's inflorescence (its floral branches, called the "sawak.") The floral branch is wrapped in a material such as rattan, then tapped on the edges so as to bruise its insides, and then bent and tied pointing downward, a little more each day so as not to break it. Up to three of these buds can be milked at one time from a tree without harming the tree.
When a floral branch is bending halfway down, the tip of it is sliced open. In two to three days, sap will start dripping from the tip, about one drop per second. The sap is collected in vessels called "sogong", which are covered otherwise to keep rain and bugs out.
The vessels are checked in the mornings, and the cut re-done everyday so that it doesn't seal itself. After two months, the supply of sap will dry up permanently.
A person who gathers the sap - like Noel - is called a "manananggot."
The sap is sweet. Powdered mangrove tree bark (called "tungog") is dropped in to colour it red and to tarten the taste, then the sap is filtered to get the bark out. If no bark is added, the Tuba is called "lina", and is sweeter.
The sap can be drunk fresh, or fermented. The fermentation happens naturally within a matter of days, and carbonates the drink.
The sooner the Tuba is drunk, the better, and it should be refrigerated to extend its shelf life. It starts to sour after two to three days. For about two weeks after that, it is called "bahal", and is strongly alcoholic - not my personal favorite.
Past that, it is useful just as a vinegar called "such bisaya," (Rose loves this).
Tuba can also be used to make a stronger alcoholic drink called "lambanug." The Tuba is let ferment for five days, then distilled. Three-hundred gallons (1,135 litres) of sap are needed to make one gallon of lambanug.
Are You Interested in Trying 'Tuba'? or Fresh Coconut Juice?
It's easy. Come Join Us!
Hurray, Primo Cafe had their Grand Opening today in Looc.
What is Primo Cafe?
Do you like real coffee? Or a delicious cappuccino? Or an espresso shot for an instant pick-me up? If you said 'Yes', then you'll enjoy the quality food the inviting atmosphere & awesome music of Primo Cafe.
Today we enjoyed numerous items from the Primo Cafe menu:
My wife Rose is happy that Joy Glory has opened up this type of business in Looc because now she has a place to relax and hangout with her friends, in the mornings and evenings.
What are Cafe Primo's hours of operation?
Make this your regular Hang-Out
... or If you want to join us for coffee, then come to Primo Cafe. We'll be enjoying coffee and some of Joy's delicious specialty treats.
See you there!
We are unsure what we ate today to give us so much get-up-and-go, but we are energized. Maybe it’s something in the unripened food.
At 5:10 am and we are up to start the day. Why so early? Because our native roosters are telling us the sun is coming up. So up-and-at-‘em and we are off to the patio for breakfast.
Mayca has prepared us a nice breakfast. Breakfast consists of:
‘Bring it on sexy lady!’
… and off we go to the gym.
Music is pumping and Rose is jumping. I’m lifting weights while watching Rose bound about the room. I’m not sure if she is doing an aerobics routine or just dancing to the Latino beat. Nevertheless, I enjoy her demonstration and it motivates me to workout more.
Ninety minutes later, our bodies are drenched in sweat, but our minds and bodies are still revved.
‘Yaw-Yan?’ she challenges me. (Yaw-Yan is a Filipino mixed martial art - enjoy image below).
‘Getting my butt kicked by a beautiful lady like you will be worth the pain. Bring it!’
We don the gloves and I become the punching and kicking dummy. ‘You know we have a punching dummy for you to practice hitting.’
‘I know, but you’re much cuter,’ she teases.
Punches, strikes, round-house kicks, front kicks and the blows from my 4 foot 8 inch tall wife are beginning to take a toll on my much larger body. Lucky for me, Rose’s good friend, Jenny, shows up.
‘Yaw-Yan. Greg calls it Kick-Butt. Do you want to try it with me.’
Jenny agrees, dons the gloves and now I get to watch 2 lovely, sweaty ladies duke it out. Can you see me smiling?
Myca calls us for lunch and we are astonished that we have been in the gym for nearly 4 hours. Sitting down for lunch, we are overjoyed that Myca is an excellent cook. Today she has prepared us a Filipino National dish known as pork Adobo - cuts of pork, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and a few other ingredients prepared with care and love. Needless to say, it’s delicious.
‘Jenny, we’ve been invited to go hiking between Looc and Odiongan. Do you want to join us?’
‘Sorry, I can’t today. Can we go again later this week?’
Rose smiles, nods her head while teasing, ‘Yes… as long as you bring a pretty tuna fish so we can grill it on our next hike.’ Jenny agrees. Finishing our lunch, we clean the table, we thank Myca for the delicious mean, and we get liters of water our next event - mountain hiking.
We drive to Looc to collect a couple of Eds to join us (Eddie and Edwin). And because it’s hot in the afternoon sun, we suck down a few cool drinks. Since there is only 1 power-aid, I resolve to let Rose have it while I drink the old fashioned standby - Coca-Cola.
After gathering the Eds, we drive off to meet our guide. The road is twisty, but it’s in great condition. ‘Turn off the road here,’ Ed instructs us. Now the beautiful paved road becomes large chunks of gravel. ‘Go across that shallow river and turn right at the fallen tree. You should see our guide soon.’ And like Ed said, we saw our guide - Noel.
Looking like an elderly man, Noel is the same age as me… and he looks extremely fit. He’s clad in well worn shorts, tattered flip-flops and a machete - traditional local attire for a person living in the ‘boondocks’ (Filipino for Mountain). Rose explains that Noel looks older because he works in the sun everyday and he is probably malnourished. I nod and we begin our hike.
Our hike begins in the shade of the large coconut and big banana trees. The grade is slight and I’m thinking, ‘This is going to be a relaxing hike.’ Seconds later Noel asks if our hearts are strong. We nod. After we nod, Noel slowly smiles. He returns to leading us through the banana trees and into the sunshine. ‘Oh My Golly!’ Our simple hike has turned into an extreme challenge. Now the hill has a 60 to 70 degree incline, and we are in the direct sunlight in the middle of a tropical afternoon.
‘Let’s go,’ Noel smiles.
With each step, I can hear my heart pounding in my ears… but we do not stop for fear that we will fall backwards.
‘Son of a Gun this is hard! What was I thinking? This isn’t hiking. This is mountain climbing!’
‘Keep going!’ Noel cheers to us, ‘or do I need to come back there and push you?’
Rose looks back at me, sticks out her tongue - her silent message of encouragement. I just smile back as sweat flows across my face… and we continue to climb.
Struggling to put one foot in front of the other, Rose, Ed and I continue to climb while listening to Noel sing the disco song Im So Excited. His singing sounds good, the tempo is motivational and our climbing improves… and Noel reaches the summit.
‘You are almost here. I want to show you something when you get here.’ … and the singing continues, but now it’s the song It’s Raining Men.
Rose reaches the top and falls to the ground. I’m a few steps behind her and I join her. Panting and listening to our hearts beat, we look at each other. ‘We could have gotten this type of exercise in our bedroom.’ We laugh as we stand up.
‘Look behind you,’ Noel points. It’s a spectacular view of Looc Bay. ‘Now look further to your right,’ and it’s a road with a shallow grade leading from where we parked to our current location. ‘We didn’t take the road because The only easy day is Yesterday.’ He smiles and we agree. This was a hike. Something to challenge us. Something to make us realize that we can accomplish more than we thought we ever could accomplish. Noel had done what we asked. He took us hiking.
‘Now I have a surprise waiting for you when we get to the bottom of the hill. Follow me and don’t stray from the path. If you do, then you will get to the bottom much, much quicker than you want.’
Our rapid trot begins and we quickly see why Noel warned us. Venturing off the two to five foot wide path means a rapid drop to the bottom of a chasm.
Reaching the bottom of the mountain leads us into the farm land of Noel’s friend. Greetings are exchanged and we are given gifts of fresh vegetables - cinco mas (aka turnips). Why do the filipinos call turnips ‘cinco mas’? A story has it that when the Spanish inquired what the vegetables were, the local farmers thought the Spaniards were asking the price. So the farmers response was ‘cinco mas’ - five more. So the Spaniards began calling the turnips ‘cinco mas’.
‘Keep going, Noel encourages us. We offer the local farmer a few pesos, and he declines our offer. So we tell him ‘thank you’ and we continue out trek for another few minutes until we enter an orchard of banana trees… that soon become coconut trees… that leads us to a stone like altar that is surrounded by small stone columns.
‘Sit. This is my bar. Now it is time for my surprise.’
We wait wondering if he is going to be bringing beer or rum, but it’s… Tuba - Native coconut wine.
And the celebration begins and our bonding continues.
Are you interested in trying Tuba - the Filipino native coconut wine?
Let us know & Join Us!
On the weekend, we let our daughter watch TV and she likes the Disney cartoon 'Fineous and Ferb' - 2 young, suburban boys who create adventures in their backyard during their summer vacation. One of the episodes is about them building a backyard beach because ... Beaches are FUN! DuH!
Last night, Jeff invited us to his new home on the beach for dinner, friendship and laughs.
As you can see from the photo above, there is no surf, but there is plenty of Vitamin Sea.
As the sun begins to sink behind the sea, Jeff hands me a Captain Morgan & Coke and asks, 'What do you think our ladies are getting into over there? They've already had a long day and it's nearly sunset.'
Can you see Yourself below?
'I think they are seizing the moment'.
Minutes later they create a magnificent memory. They seized the moment and captured life. It reminds me of YOLO - You Only Live Once. It's your Life. It's now or never. So don't wait. Enjoy today instead of waiting for tomorrow. Because sometimes 'tomorrow' never comes. So what do we recommend? I think we recommend taking that leap of faith. Then you can join us and... Sail off into the sunset... or paddle off into the sunset.
The choice is yours. Choose wisely, and let the Adventures begin.
note: we could have chosen any beach for this - Waikiki, Boracay, Pataya - but we chose Here...
Instead, we have:
What makes Fridays so special in the Market?
It's the day that all the farmers with their prettiest and freshest produce and meats are put on display for people like my lovely wife Rose, and for others who want to find the freshest foods at bargain prices. Today Rose is looking for items on her 'See Food Diet' - if she 'sees' it, then it's going to be a part of her diet.
Growing up in the jungles of Leyte, Rose has become fond of vegetables, so she knows several secret spots to get things she doesn't grow at home. Several are easy for me to find - carrots, red onions, garlic, and... 'cinco was'?
'Cinco mas' when the Spanish colonials asked a lady in the market what the name of a certain root food was, the lady thought they were asking her the price for the root food. So the lady answered, 'cinco mas' or 'five more' as in '5 more pesos'. So what is 'cinco mas'? We know it as the turnip. Now you know.
The other week - instead of watching TV - we searched YouTube for recipes and April discovered a recipe for meatballs using ground chicken and pork. As a good Mommy, Rose finds the best choices of carne - meat - for our little girl's meal.
note: During the school week, none of us watch TV so that it doesn't become a bad habit. Instead we use other means of media to find topics 'WE' want to see.
So what are the prices for the ground chicken and pork? 185 pesos & 195 pesos. Rose could bargain the price to a lower amount, but she feels this price is reasonable and the people take very good care of her.
Enjoy a few more photos...
as Rose negotiates here what through the market.
Learn the real reason why I am not standing closer to Rose while she shops in the market
Watch TV or a family walk - Hmmm?
As a kid growing up in Columbus, Ohio, I would have chosen watching TV - especially with the typical freezing temperatures of early March in the mid-west. But Pili Nut Farms is not located in the mid-west. We are located on a tropical island in the Philippines. So with our mild tropical temperatures on Tablas Island, we get to enjoy wonderful weather to walk or hike almost everyday. Before we go, April grabs a small snack for the adventure, and off we go to explore.
Today April wants to show us where she has been playing recently with her friends, Princess and Jonelle. It's where our summer waterfalls feed the fresh fish pond - just below our coconuts and banana trees. Can you see the girls in the picture?
I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes...
We always have people asking us if we have any snakes or spiders. Here is what I tell them:
'The bigger spiders live in the trees - so I don't climb in the trees. They also do a great job of catching the mosquitos and flies... just like the lizards and frogs. So yes we have spiders.'
'As for the snakes - they also known to eat harmful critters, but Rose says that we don't have any snakes here (or around most of the island). Why? It's because we like to eat fresh, organic eggs for breakfast. Since we have so many chickens here at Pili Nut Farms, the chickens - and roosters - eat any thing that moves on the ground (ants, worms, small spiders, and ... snakes). So don't mess with our chickens.'
Upon reaching the bottom of the dry waterfall, we find April's little fish pond. Not only is the pond small, but so are the fish. April tries counting them as they swim about, but the fish are naughty and playfully swim about. Apparently they were schooled on proper behavior for being counted, because the little fish swim everywhere.
'I know how to get them to swim in one place. I'll feed them my snack. I brought crackers.'
Crumbling and sprinkling her crackers, the little fish swim in front of April. She counts nearly 2 dozen before we hear our housekeeper's whistle. This means t's time to head home. Dinner is ready and we are getting hungry.
Monkey See... Monkey Do!
On the way to the house, April shows us what the monkeys are doing in our neighbors' trees. Obviously she is a fast learner and Mommy wants to try it too.
'Mom... Dad... after we eat dinner, can we do this again?'
'Does this mean you don't want to watch cartoons?'
'I want to spend more time playing with you. It's better than cartoons.'
Rose and I smile... because we love that our daughter has chosen hiking waterfalls, counting fish, and swinging like a monkey over watching TV... and we are glad that she is happy to be doing so with us.
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Enjoy the Hilarious Adventures of my Move to the Philippines
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