When it comes to nutrition, I am a huge advocate of going natural and organic whenever possible. I stay away from processed foods and ones that contain a bunch of added sugar or salt. So unless I know I’m getting into a wild Saturday night, and vodka will be involved, I cringe at the very thought of a Monster or Red Bull type energy drink. Sorry but chemicals, artificial flavors and colors just don’t appeal to me any more, especially when I train at the level and intensity that I do.
I preach and practice the paleo diet as much as possible. In fact, I am usually about 95% paleo on my non-cheat days (5-6 days a week). The other 1-2 days, that all goes out the window, but that’s to maintain a healthy social life, as well as my own sanity. Plus, what’s life without a few chocolate chip cookies every now and then? Anyway, the food part of paleo is pretty basic, but easy to follow: lots of vegetables, meat, eggs, some fruit and nuts. That about sums it up. When it comes to beverages, however, it can be a little blah to say the least. Water in the morning, water in the evening, and water at night. Sure, I throw black coffee into the mix, but I’m not a big tea drinker, so there’s not much else to flex with. However, I recently discovered the goodness of coconut water, and it’s like the gates of Heaven opened up from that point on.
What is coconut water?
You may or may not have been exposed to the recent hype coconut water has been bringing to the table. Supermodels, athletes, and regular Joe-Shmo’s are all feeling the results of this all-natural beverage. I’d personally been turned onto coconut and its benefits after reading about this miraculous fruit at Mark’s Daily Apple. I replaced olive oil with coconut oil for cooking, and who doesn’t like a little curry sauce? Also made with coconut. But it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I started incorporating coconut water into my diet.
Coconut water is the liquid found in young coconuts. It is not milky, not quite clear, and has a similar liquidity to that of regular H2O. As coconuts mature, this water is gradually replaced with actual coconut meat (the white flesh) that is also a nutritional powerhouse. I could go on about that as well, but today let’s stay focused on the liquids.
Energy/Recovery/Pre-workout Drink… Yep, all of the above
I usually drink a bottle of coconut water after my workouts for recovery, but they can be just as beneficial to get through a mid-day lull, or just perk up the senses whenever. As it’s 95% water, this stuff is hydrating, without the high amount of sugar that sports drinks or juiced up lattes will most likely contain. Moreover, most of the coconut water beverages out there are just that: 100% coconut water. No added sugar and nothing unnatural. PERFECT!
In fact, when compared to the average sports drink, coconut water triumphs:
WHY COCONUT WATER DOMINATES SPORTS DRINKS:
- 17x more potassium
- Less than half as much sodium
- More magnesium
- Less sugar, and from a better source
- Nothing processed or artificial
When it comes to brand of coconut water, they’re all pretty similar. I don’t remember the brand I drink, but it comes in a tall can and has coconut pulp ( I am a pulp fan). After an high-intensity workout, I swear these drinks make me recover faster and my body feels rejuvenated afterward. It’s low calorie, fairly low in sugar, and high in minerals. Plus, it takes the monotony out of drinking plain old water all the time, which is a perk in itself.
Far from fad
It’s not like the hundreds of artificial “miracle drinks” out there which claim to boost sex drive, metabolism and the myriad of other crap that’s usually, well, crap. Coconut water has been around for thousands of years and doesn’t need any gimmicks to stand out as an absolute all-star drink. Although the dozens of coconut water competitors are all marketing their products with fancy labels and clever looking bottles, what’s inside is going to all be about the same, no matter what brand you choose.
Coconut water is becoming increasingly popular in grocery stores and usually costs around 2 bucks a pop. Sports drinks cost about the same, so opt for the coconut juice and reap the benefits of this wonder drink.
You can also buy coconut water in the shell at high-end grocery stores, like Whole Foods, as seen below… it’s also much more fun to drink this way! If you have a big enough imagination, you can put yourself in her shoes and pretend you too, are on a beach on some exotic island. Until next time!