Swanky restaurant (read: menu I can’t afford to look at much less order from), all gussied up (read: hair, makeup and heels!) and in good company (read: my hot husband and some of our friends): the stage was perfectly set for a romantic (read: child-free) Valentine’s dinner. So when one of our friends leaned back in his chair and sighed contentedly I did not expect him to say, “You know what I think about every time I order a delicious drink? Charlotte and how she wrote that post about never drinking her calories!”
“That’s what I live for, to guilt my friends via my own neuroses!” And we all toasted to that.
You’ll be relieved to know that the talk quickly turned to enemas so the ambiance was saved.
Sarcastic as he may be, my friend has a point. I don’t like drinking much of anything other than herbal tea and water. Soda, for whatever reason, has never tasted good to me and being LDS I obviously steer clear of anything alcoholic. But this quirk (it’s not a bug, it’s a feature!) also extends to the wide wonderful world of sports drinks. I don’t like them. But lots of other people do and so when two separate readers e-mailed me about all the new-fangled sports drinks coming out I figured, hey, two makes a trend, right? So for installment three of this week’s Help a Reader Out series, we’re talking libations.
Water’s great for us. We’re all clear (both in mind and in pee) on this point. But what has nature provided for those occasions where you do need a drink with some calories and carbs? Enter coconut water, so beloved for its medicinal properties that a whole song was written about it. I mean, that’s what “Coconut Woman” is all about right??
Writes Reader Julie, “coconut water! augh! its absolutely ubiquitous right now. i finally caved to the peer pressure, and find myself a (surprised) fan. i feel like its relatively filling (like, waaaaay more filling than special k protein shakes and slim fast, e.g.), relatively low cal, and it has some minerals (more potassium than a banana!). ive been using it as a breakfast replacement or a snack (and intend to use it in lieu of low-cal vitamin waters/gatorades after long/intense workouts (um, when i get back in the swing of things with those …. ahem …. :)). so …. am i being placeboed? is this just empty calories and cognitive dissonance has set in and ive justified it with the whole ‘mineral’ argument combined with the fact that i live in the middle of a big city and have little access to fresh produce so a food item that provides vitamin-ish benefits that mimic actual food (and fits conveniently in your purse without bruising!) appeals to me like you wouldnt believe?”
In short, no Julie, I don’t think you are being “placeboed” (best new word ever!!). While research has failed to support some of the more outrageous claims made about coconut water, there is a reason island cultures call it “the water of life.” Thanks to it’s high mineral content (especially potassium and iron) it can replenish better than plain water. It possesses a large amount of cytokinins which are proving very promising in early research. It has even been used as a saline solution in blood transfusions in people in an emergency. It’s also relatively low-cal and low in sugar. Although in my mind its biggest benefit is that plain coconut water is a whole, natural food.
There are some downsides however. Most of us don’t live in a place where we can shimmy up a coconut tree (which I’ve heard is waaay harder than it looks?) and crack open a cold one after a nice workout. Which would probably be warm being near the equator. ANYHOW. It’s expensive. And, forgive me, but I think the plain stuff tastes icky. It’s not horrible but I wouldn’t call it delicious. But if you buy the flavored varieties then you are losing the unprocessed nature of it and gaining artificial flavors and sugars.
Do you guys have any advice for Julie? Is coconut water overhyped? Have you tried it?