Friday, June 3, 2011


I remember, as a teenager, many sweet summer vacations spent on the sunny island of Jamaica. In the midst of travels with the family, it was inevitable to run into a little street vendor selling sugar cane, gineps, mangos, and, of course, coconut water in a fresh coconut. This coconut water came straight from our mother nature's beautiful and unadulturated garden, maybe a few miles away. There was no moment better, at the time.

I now fast forward to about 2006: this is around the time I had tasted bottled coconut water for the first time. Someone let me taste it and told me it was good for me and it was better than any other drink after a physical workout. I tasted it, and proceeded to ask him, "Are you sure this is coconut water? I don't remember it tasting this way." And I was being honest. But of course there are some childhood attachments we all carry to some extent. So I decided to give it another try about 3 years ago. The sentiment remained the same. I just didn't like it and I haven't had it since.

Now we arrive here in 2011. I was having a conversation with someone from the islands and I asked this person how long coconut water can last. The answer was somewhat shocking: 3 to 5 days maximum. I proceeded to ask a slew of people from various cultures and countries where coconuts are native. They all gave a similar response. One person specifically told me that once the coconut water is exposed to oxygen, if it is not consumed that day, it is considered dead; this is because of the super small bacteria (smaller than the width of your hair) that the water attracts.So, I ask, if the typical fresh coconut water last no more than 5 days (say even 10 days for argument sake), what exactly are people drinking when they consume bottled coconut water?

It is very hard to believe that bottled coconut water is as pure as these major distributors and marketers are making them to be. One would be inclined to think that there must be a slew of "preservatives" in these beverages that they are not being 100% honest about. This leads me into the observation of the purported shelf-life of these drinks: some propose that they are good for up to one year and some propose even longer than that. Is the food of our Mother designed to be preserved and hoarded for such a long period of time?

Also, Coconuts are very sensitive. When picked, they should be lowered to the ground by rope and not dropped to avoid cracking and also to avoid disturbing the original nature of the water within. A small crack in the coconut makes it easily susceptible to bacteria and fast spoilage. The bottling of coconut water for international distribution is about 9 years old and it is said that it must be stored at a temperature in or around 40(f) degrees. Is every company selling the beverage and the retailer abiding by these "laws of nature"? I will say, that I have seen in many retailers the bottled coconut water just sitting in the packages that they arrived in on the floor for long periods of time (and we are not even factoring in the time of cultivation to bottling to packaging to shipping to distributing to selling and finally your consumption. Maybe a couple months have passed?). Is this how we treat our dear sensitve Coconut and its nutrients?

There is a lot of crafty and tactful marketing that is now going into this whole campaign. Many coconut water companies are using musicians, athletes and other celebrities of the sort to entice you to consume the beverage. Also, it is possible that these companies could be playing on the minds of people that have that childhood attachment (or even a vacation attachment) to the sweet and refreshing taste of the Coconut. And due to the recent high demand of bottled coconut water, scientists in the Phillipines and Vietnam have been commissioned to look into genetically modifying Coconuts in order to keep up with this demand.

As children of this Earth, we should all have an idea of what we are consuming. That said, the Earth has provided for us many things. Coconut water is not a must. It is something that is, ideally, enjoyed and relished straight from the coconut, in that moment: not from a bottle.

As a small aspect of this world and a dear servant of the Earth, please permit me to speak for our dear Mother Nature here: Coconut water in a bottle is not natural. There is too much risk of spoiling and bacteria contamination.

Bottled Coconut water is not Clean Food: and is not approved.
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