Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Mac Nut Hawaii 2

Mac Nut Trees Typically Drop Nuts From May Through December

What’s a girl to do when the guy at the farmer’s market has a couple bunches of basil left that he practically wants to give to you (sometimes it pays to arrive late). Well, if you’re a girl in Hawai’i with a mac nut tree that just won’t quit, you rush home to make a batch of Mac Nut Pesto.

Here’s our quick un-recipe (measuring cups be damned):

  • 2 bunches o’ basil
  • 2 cloves garlic. (Heck, I’d add even more if it was just for me. What, I’m obsessed!)
  • 20 mac nuts
  • Organic Oils

So in a nut shell, the hardest part of this recipe is the nut shell.

If you don’t have a mac nut tree, it’s good to buy your nuts in the shell. They last longer and are less likely to be rancid. Order online from Monika’s Mac Nuts in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawai’i – they send them to you ready to crack. But cracking takes some finesse – we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hawaii Mac Nuts MK Wares Pottery

If you have tree access, don’t pick the nuts directly off of it. Instead, wait ’til they fall in their soft green husk. And though it’s recommended that you harvest the nut within a day or two after it has fallen, we often don’t get to it ’til the nut is part way or completely out of the husk. Cons: Potential mold, heat respiration, creatures nibbling on your nuts. Pros: less work, the unused nuts becoming natural compost for the tree. On the side of the tree that gets more shade, the nuts are sometimes moldy, but otherwise they’re typically fine.

Once you have the nuts de-husked, you want them to dry out a bit inside the shell. That allows it to lose some moisture content and shrink; making space between the nut and the shell. After that it’s easier to crack and separate.

Typically I put them in a flat bowl and for a month keep them in the window sill that gets some afternoon sun (it’s difficult to get things to dry in high humidity, especially if you live in areas with less sun and wind exposure). You can also use a food dehydrator over the course of a few days.

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

This time though I grabbed them right off the ground and wanted to use them as soon as I could. Solution? Stick them in the oven at a very low temp for a few hours. The idea is to try to keep it as “raw” as possible and not heat the oils. Sure, it’s not enough time to really dry and shrink the nut much but it sure makes the shell easier to crack. And though you’ll still have to nudge the meat out, in this case, keeping it whole isn’t a priority anyway.

Though hammers work, I splurged on a $20 Australian Crack-A-Mac from Monika’s. Tip: Crack it on the little dot that appears on the shell.

Once you de-husk and de-shell it’s pretty simple: throw it all in the food processor.

It got a little ADD when it came to choosing the oil and I ended up including a splash of: Dr. Bronner’s* Coconut, Epicurean Organics Olive, Udos, and Nutiva’s* Hemp (sign up for Nutiva’s newsletters – they have amazing Tuesday sales).

Mac Nut Pesto

Use whatever oil you have – even more Mac Nut – but you gotta have some olive oil for that Mediterranean flavor. Look for organic, cold pressing, extra virgin, and for the light sensitive oils always get them in a darker glass. Also because the mac nuts have a good amount of Omega 3, you’ll maintain a decent balance even if you are adding oils that are high in Omega 6.

Our mac nut pesto came out yummy – ate it on pasta, sprouted breads, crackers, added to more oil to make a salad dressing. Eventually got reconstructed into a cream cheese salmon spread for a few wayward poppyseed spelt bagels.

Mac Nut Pesto Toast

Cheap, yummy and healthy – what’s not to luv

* support companies who don’t use GMOs and helped fight for GMO labeling!

Note: If you want to grow your own mac nuts, they do prefer a decent amount of rainfall. Check out this video.

Quick plug, the cute lavender / blue / green stoneware in two of the above photos is from MK Wares who makes the most beautiful pottery. Check them out.


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There’s certainly a plus to fertile soil, constant rain and amped-up grow seasons. Within fifty yards of my front door, for example, I can scrounge up avos, papayas, grapefruits, lemons, limes, coconuts, guavas, mac nuts and ginger. A lil’ walk around the ‘hood adds noni, mangos, aloe, apple bananas, mountain apples, tangerines, breadfruit, ‘shrooms (yeah, da kine), Hawaiian peppers, lemongrass, taro, sugarcane and pineapples. For a longer hike, I grab the backpack for coffee beans, cacao pods, sapote, soursop, jackfruit, dragonfruit, warabi, lychee, rambutan, starfruit… And that’s not even mentioning what’s planted in the garden or the amazing array of tropical flowers available to decorate a feast.

One machete, telescoping saw, fruit picker, spear and a dash of ingenuity (plus a little trespassing) and you can certainly survive off the land. The ability to climb a coconut tree doesn’t hurt either.

A locale with such a variety of fruits ripening at different times makes for fun foraging for cocktail beverage ingredients. A huge plus if corn syrup, artificial flavors and sodium benzoate make you wanna hurl (and let’s face it, most margarita mixes are disgusting).

Now for the tequila. Foraging on the cheap in Hawai’i stores can be difficult, so I opt for Costco’s Kirkland Añejo. Though most connoisseurs will say añejo and extra añejo are best sipped as they’re too expensive for mixing and don’t mix well with citrus, this one is different. It’s inexpensive and comes in a nice huge bottle, is decently smooth and masks well in large quantities. And I think the fact that it’s not as good as most quality añejos actually works to its advantage in this case. Other agave tequilas in this price range just don’t compete (and I don’t like clear tequila). Plus if the mixers are mostly free, and the alcohol is relatively inexpensive, you can afford to invite more friends over to share.

Right now, it’s lilikoi (aka passionfruit) season. Typically, lilikoi is sweet and sour with some grounding bitterness in the seeds. It’s quite refreshing but the most common varieties can be a little too tart. Then there are Jamaican lilikois – a whole other ball game. A perfectly well-rounded blend of all those flavors without the sharp edges. They grow on vines and cover certain landscapes, usually hanging  just out of reach on trees. This is where a fruit picker comes in handy. Often, you will find pinhole bug pricks but unlike guava, the skin is thick and the fruit acidic, so the insides are typically clean – but definitely keep your eye on soft fruit.

The amounts I’m giving aren’t precise. I’m leaving room for people to feel it out and create to taste. You may want less alcohol on a full moon, more alcohol after a stressful day ;P. Depending on the mood, I make it different every time and usually serve it on the rocks. If you like your margaritas blended, you should pre-freeze some lime juice.

One shaker’s worth of The Lilikoi Margarita:

  • 3 Jamaican lilikoi. Cut and squeeze out contents: juice and seeds. You can also in a cheese cloth to get the most juice out of it but I don’t bother. I like to freeze these in ice cube trays for the off-season; also works well for the blended version.
  • 3-4 Key limes, depending on size and juiciness; best if you can pick fresh and let them sit a few days. Those cheap mesh bags full of key limes at the grocery store, usually from Mexico, picked too green, coated in carnauba wax, that you can barely squeeze a drop of juice out of? Yeah, skip those.
  • 1 orange (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut syrup or 1-3 tbsp simple syrup* made with raw coconut sugar (optional; if you add the orange you probably don’t need any; note that raw coconut sweeteners are less glycemic than agave syrup)
  • 3 shots tequila (Kirkland’s Agave or a nice reposado)
  • 1/2 shot Cointreau
  • 1/2 shot Maui Okolehao Liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  • Alaea salt (pink Hawaiian) or Li Hing Mui (ume/dried plum; OnoPops makes a natural variety as most are chock full o’ red dye and aspartame.)
* Simple sugar: On a stove top, low heat, equal parts sugar and water. Stir. No need to overdo it; only heat just enough for the sugar to dissolve.

Add ingredients and ice to shaker; shake well; strain over ice. I allow some lilikoi seeds and lime pulp to pour into my drinks. If you like salted rims, rub lime on the rim and dip in the finely ground Hawai’i Alaea or Li Hing Mui. If starfruit is in season, cut a star-shaped slice and use as garnish.

P.S. If you are visiting Kauai and would rather snorkel than forage, the best margaritas on the North Shore can be found at the St. Regis (they make a nice one with ginger) and The Tavern (get the Lychee-Rita; if you don’t like yours too tart, ask for a little extra lychee puree). By the way, I often add ginger to my margaritas (fresh or I use a few teaspoons of my fermented ginger “bug”), but I make those with grapefruit and lychee. I’ll do that recipe when I’m drunk during lychee season. 😛

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Though I appreciate Google, when it becomes your main reference library, no matter how efficient a “surfer” you are, you can’t deny your researching deficiencies. I remember when my good friend used to let me sneak into Reason Magazine and use their Lexis/Nexis search engine while fact-checking our book “Retro Hell” (we didn’t care so much about our information being factual, as for us it was more of a psychological reminiscence, but stuffy Little, Brown & Co. – our publishers – had a figurative stick up their you-know-what about the whole thing).

Anyway, it’s a personal goal I have, that someday I’ll be rich enough to subscribe. Of course, you never know for sure how things might go, and on the off chance I someday find myself on the other end of the spectrum, say per chance in an Hawai’i jail, I have learned (via Google) that there are some positive perks.

A company whose extensive database… is used mostly by legal offices, schools and libraries has attracted a new type of subscriber: prisons. The service from LexisNexis enables prisons to provide required access to legal information while banishing law books, which are more expensive, quickly outdated and easily damaged…. LexisNexis…has installed computer kiosks resistant to damage in four prisons and jails in Hawaii and five in California. The kiosk consists of a touch-screen computer monitor covered in shatterproof glass inside a steel box bolted to a wall.

girl juggling fruitSo, I’m not sure whether to blame it on growing up on sugar cereals, watching TV while doing homework, using drugs while trying to think, or some undiagnosed ADD-like syndrome succumbed to on a daily basis, but it has proven difficult to not let thoughts meander to all potentially relatable subheadings and tangents. This is just the beginning of the article, and gotta make our way back to the original idea: salt and lemons, and the finalé being a delicious nutritious lemonade recipe… of the sort you can not find on Lexis/Nexis!

But before we go there (or while we’re on our way), I must give in to one more interruption in continuity, the unnerving realization that perchance my parents had it right when they said I should marry a doctor. Yes, every Jewish mom and dad tells their daughter (if she’s not going to be a doctor) to marry one. But it’s not for the potentially secure lifestyle ($) that now makes me reconsider the idea. And in actuality it is more the idea of a “doctor”; the omnipotent philosopher who would know the answer to my every question. A kind of doctor / nutritionist / intellectual / researcher / scientist. Someone I could crawl into bed with, kiss on the neck, and whisper into his ear, “Hey honey, why do surfers need to supplement with salt and citrus?” And I don’t expect common-sense conclusions that I can imagine myself, about electrolytes and exercise, but specifics and studies and theories that take me a little beyond… beyond pseudo-research on a free search engine.

But that’s not the world I live in, and with not so many Mensa members in my midst, I can only pose the question to myself, and conclude with my erratic simpleton logic, rich life experience, erratic schooling in biology and nutrition, combined with hours of determined Google-ing… all to share with you, my dear readers (you’re so kind).

Unless sweat losses are replaced during exercise, an athlete will become dehydrated. Most of us know that severe levels of dehydration have a dramatic effect on exercise performance. But even small fluid losses reduce performance and increase your feeling of effort. Of course the effects at lower levels of dehydration are more subtle… however, well before the effects seem obvious, your output has dropped and your skills and concentration have deteriorated. In an ideal world an athlete would drink enough fluid to cover all sweat losses during their event. However in the real world of sport this is not usually practical or possible. At best, most athletes only replace 50 per cent of their fluid losses during the event so there is plenty of room for improvement. [Ocean to Outback]

surfer girl sofiaSurfers sweat more than they realize. Similar to swimmers, being in the water there’s little awareness as to the extent to which we sweat. Though you can use accurate scale weigh-ins pre and post session to get an idea (surfers just aren’t as fanatical about that kind of info as other athletes are; maybe when surfing becomes an Olympic sport perhaps?). But if indeed you are unsure, a simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is if your pee is dark yellow/orange; that shows your body is releasing the wastes but retaining the water because it can’t afford to lose any more. In addition, often we’re exposed to the sun – surfing occurring outdoors during daylight hours. Guaranteed even winter overcast there’s some sweating going on in those new fangled rubber wet suits.

And unlike most who exercise for extended periods, we often do not do the obvious: drink enough water! Just think, a bicyclist may be riding for a few hours, but he’s squirting water and energy drinks in his mouth all along the way; while we may be out in the water for hours with no access to fluids besides the accidental salty/gunky gulp we inhaled as we got pounded on the inside.

Those who do compensate with fluids might not be replacing their salt as well; and athletes need increased salt intake to properly hydrate the cells and reduce the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia. Most studies on this subject seem to focus on marathon runners though, not surfers.

How many of us end up with cramps while out in the water? Aches in our back? Pain in our joints? Jelly arms? Burns from the sun? Even end-of-the-session injuries because we are spent? Many of these symptoms (in combination with nutritional issues and a lack of adequate warm-up and post-session stretch) can often be attributed in part to our water and salt deficiencies and imbalances.

Salt Waiting to be picked up

Science and medicine have tried to define the precise roles of salt in the healthy and diseased human organism. Blood, sweat, and tears all contain salt, and both the skin and the eyes are protected from infectious germs by the anti-bacterial effect of salt. When salt is added to a liquid, particles with opposite charges are formed: a positively charged sodium ion and a negatively charged chloride ion. This is the basis of osmosis which regulates fluid pressure within living cells and protects the body against excessive water loss. Sodium and chloride ions, as well as potassium ions, create a measurable difference in potential across cell membranes. This ensures that the fluid inside living cells remains separate from that outside. Thus, although the human body consists mainly of water, our “inner ocean” does not flow away or evaporate. Sodium ions create a high pressure of liquid in the kidneys and thus regulate their metabolic function. [Shirley’s Wellness Cafe]

Water and saltMore of salt’s endless list of therapeutic properties, as comprised in Dr. Barbara Hendel’s book “Water and Salt – The Essence of Life”, include: stabilizing irregular heartbeats; regulation of blood pressure; extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body; generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body; absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract; clearance of the lungs of mucus, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis; clearing up congestion of the sinuses (a strong natural antihistamine); essential for the prevention of muscle cramps; making the structure of bones firm; sleep regulation; a needed element in the treatment of diabetics; vital for maintaining sexuality and libido; vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs; vital to the communication and information processing of nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death (oh, is that all…). Actually, drinking Sole (a mix of water and crystal salt) is also said to help dissolve and eliminate impurities and built up toxins which lead to kidney and gall stones.components of seawater

To truly understand the function of salt, we need to look to the sea, witness the high level of health of its creatures and compare its composition to that of human body fluids.

Dehydrated sea water contains over 80 elements, most required for the maintenance of the human body. While all salt originates from the sea, refined table salt and almost all sea salts sold in health food stores have none of these elements left. Even in the “natural” salts, refining, washing, boiling or kiln drying has stripped away almost all traces of these minerals. That’s why it is white and dry.

Any untreated, natural, whole salt will stubbornly hold on to part of its original water unless kiln or vacuum-pan dried. Even by drying naturally in the sun, salt crystals will not give up all of their moisture. True “natural” sun dried salt ranges from light gray or beige to pale pink in color. [Alternative Medical Angel]

NaCl Sodium Chloride molecule structureFact is, table salt, or sodium chloride, is a refined, adulterated version of what was once considered “salt”, similar to the way natural sugar is refined into white sugar. Even most commercial “sea salt” has little resemblance to salt that has come from the sea. In the 1940s, major salt producers in the US began to dry salt at intense temperatures degrading the salt’s structure while removing all the complimentary minerals and nutrients, leaving us with foremostly sodium chloride.pure salt

Sodium chloride is an aggressive substance, which biochemically is perpetually seeking an equalizing counterpart so that the body’s pH can always remain neutral. Sodium chloride needs its natural counterpart in order for it to produce its effect. The natural counterparts, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and trace elements, demonstrate, from a biophysical standpoint, specific frequency patterns. These patterns ensure the geometric structures in our body. When these structures are missing, we are without energy and are lifeless. Salt should not be used just to add flavour to our food, but for its vibration pattern, which is similar to our body! … The body recognizes table salt as an aggressive cellular poison, an unnatural substance, and wants to eliminate it as quickly as possible in order to protect itself. This causes a constant overburden on our organs of excretion. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Since our salt craving didn’t change with the advancements of technology, we are left with a confused body which, no matter how much sodium it consumes, is still craving real salt. As we need a precarious balance of salts in our body, this may lead a person to consume even more sodium chloride, and in turn more food, as the body tries to satisfy its needs, hoping to garner the aforementioned therapeutic benefits, but unfortunately generating the opposite results.morton salt wacky pack

For example, even on Morton’s Salt site, they recommend NOT using their salt for aquariums because the salt does not include necessary trace minerals fish need. And, though they don’t mention it, commercial salts often include additives that fish – and people – don’t need including: free flowing agents, inorganic/ potassium iodide (added to the salt to avoid iodine deficiency disease of thyroid gland (I prefer getting mine from RealSalt™ and seaweed), dextrose, bleaching agents, sugar (added to stabilize iodine and as an anti-caking chemical), and our Alzheimer compatriot aluminum silicate. That whole concept of limiting salt intake to prevent high blood pressure… has been proven to be, by and large, hooey! And one eight year study even showed stressed out New Yorkers on a low-salt diet had four times as many heart attacks than those on a normal sodium diet. Okay, we all need to watch our excesses of anything, but in a typical diet, it’s more likely processed salt, especially found in processed foods, that you need to limit.

“Lemonade” by Chokebore

Chandra fucked my loneliness away, at least for a minute or two, lemonade. I just fucked my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade. I just beat my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade….

And why lemonade? First of all, unlike casual sex for the addict, the benefits last more than a minute or two – or the time it takes to drink a glass of lemonade. Though, for myself, these sweet and sour urges modify to include other fruit, EmergenC™ packets, even li hing mui lollipops (mmmm!). Other times, depending on what’s available, and how careful I am being about eating right, these desires can adulterate to junkier compensations.

french friesOur cravings, often mutated by the brain into veiled indulgences, express the needs of the body. Even when we bolt from the beach to buy some french fries, processed meat-something, and a soda to quench the urge, there are reasons for it: the salt in the french fries; the protein in the meat; the quickly available sugar and carbohydrates in the soda. We may not be paying attention to whether the salt is natural, or the sugar whole, or the protein digestible, etc. Depending upon our personal awareness, there is a realization that proper choices keep us feeling healthier (and proffer us the ability to surf longer sessions and more often – and not having to pass out after lunch). Eventually, through years of trial and error, conscious beings eventually wake up to the fact that there are natural solutions that better comply to our body’s intrinsic desires.

So it’s conceivable, when we have a tangy thirst after surfing, our bodies could be wanting of hydrating fluids – like that found via citrus drinks – and unknowingly yearning for the benefits of lemons. These benefits more specifically include: being a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants; supporting the immune system, neutralizing free radicals; helping to prevent inflammation / swelling in the body; offering worthy doses of B6, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients, phytonutrients, flavonoids (that have been proven to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines); limonins, which help fight cancers of skin and other organs and remain in the system much longer than the phenols in green tea and chocolate; and antiviral and antibiotic properties. Lemons have also been known to act as a blood purifier, improving the body’s ability to release toxins, and are an oft utilized ingredient in detox cleanses. They are also considered to tonify the kidneys.

Though there is some debate over whether lemonade should be consumed to hasten kidney stone development (they found orange juice to work better; and though I love OJ too, it’s kinda harsh on da belly and gets me into a diabetic coma quicker) it doesn’t negate lemon’s holistic support of kidney function, especially in the case of certain deficiencies. Lots of surfing can put a strain on the back: the muscles, the spine, draining the adrenals (hey, we’re goin’ for the dopa-high), and can weaken the kidneys. Kidney depletion is often found in those indulging in the water element; too much water puts out the fire. The sour/bitter flavor, like that of the lemon, is considered in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a remedy to correct that imbalance.

There is an interesting correlation between the lemons and the salts. As well the link between electrolytes and positively and negatively charged ions. Of course, being that I didn’t become nor marry a doctor / chemist / natropath / nutritionist, and never made batteries out of lemons or sodium chloride in science class, beyond logic and instinct I honestly have little specific knowledge about their connection. But I imagine there to be succinct science-based reasoning and potentially elaborate experimentation possibilities exposing the principles as to why sugar and salt and lemons and lots and lots of surfing mix so well together. And some smarter folk have contributed their two cents on the matter….

On page 19 of A.F. Beddoe’s book “Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition,” he states that:

“Man does not live off the food he eats but off of the energy that is produced from the food he eats. The energy you get from your food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food. A reaction takes place as cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters anionic digestive enzymes. To explain further, an ion is part of a molecule con-atom or a group of atoms that carry an electrical charge. Ions which carry negative charges are ‘anions’.

“Lemons are considered to be anionic, having more anions (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure. Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices are also anionic. Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure. When considering the electromagnetic properties of food…all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.” [EMR Labs]

This may be why we get a buzz off fresh lemons; a buzz that is not like, for example, the sugary high we get off most sweet and sour soft beverages, fruits or candy. And when we add lemon juice to water, with the balance of sugars and electrolytes, it creates a sum greater than its parts, especially when it comes down to hydrating a dehydrated surfer.

Though hydration with H20 before and after exercise is important, plain water can actually suppress one’s thirst and cause bloating – all athletes know that feeling! (And if you drink water after you’re already dehydrated you get cramps!) It has been shown that the body absorbs fluids better and retains them longer if there are some dissolved solids (approx. 6% carbs/electrolytes) in the mix; ergo the sports drink. These are recommended especially for those who are working out for over one hour; and definitely vital for those who are not refueling while working-out!!!sports drinks

And what is a sports drink actually? Usually it’s a mixture of water, fruit juice or sugar water. Cheap brands include corn syrups, additives and artificial colorings. Expensive brands typically include the same things as the cheap but add more polymers and chemicals that many who critique the sports supplement industry consider unnecessary, as well as the blockbuster ingredient: salt (the electrolyte portion of the drink for which you are paying the big bucks). What’s so special about salt, kidneys, and your electrolyte drink? On the web site Essential Wellness Hilde Bschorr explains:

Salt has a very unique property – its atomic structure is not molecular, it’s electrical. The benefit we receive from salt is it’s electrical charge, the salt itself actually still remains in its original form…. This electrical charge is essential to the life functions in our bodies. So basic is this electrical function, that salt is one of a group of elements called “electrolytes”. These are made up of ions, which are groups of atoms that carry a positive or negative electric charge.

Sodium is positively charged and chloride is negatively charged, so they attract each other and bond tightly. Our bodies also contain other electrolytes, including potassium (+), calcium (+), magnesium (+), bicarbonate (-), phosphate (-), and sulfate (-). Electrolytes are essential because our cells use them to transfer liquids, nutrients, and wastes across their membranes and to carry electrical impulses through nerves and muscles to communicate with other cells.

The kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant when your body changes. When your body perspires (from exercise or high temperature), for example, electrolytes are lost in the sweat and must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.

But salt in lemonade? Hey, I’m not chef but there are culinary (and sensual?) concepts as to why it works:pure salt lick

…True, we do consume a wide variety of other minerals: both the so-called “bulk” minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as “trace” minerals like iron, copper and zinc. Yet the human body take[s] those in via organic middlemen like fruits, vegetables and meats. Salt is the only inorganic substance we dig out of the ground and put straight into our mouths. It is critical to our health (and in fact the health of all living things), the greatest testament to which is the fact that our tongues have receptors specifically designed to detect it.

Yet if simple utility were all there were to our relationship with salt, we’d probably just carry salt licks around with us in our pockets…. Like so many life-critical human functions (sex springs to mind), our experience of salt has been inextricably bound up with pleasure. And it’s evolution we have to thank.

How else to explain the effect that salt has on the foods we eat? Yes, the conventional line states that salt “accents foods”, that it helps them taste “more like themselves” or “excites the taste buds”. But what is it that’s really going on here? The unfortunate answer is that nobody yet knows, though some very interesting recent science has provided us with a window into just what function the salt sense serves in the overall sensation of taste.

Studies conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania … have shown that in addition to stimulating our “salty” taste receptors themselves, salt also acts on other receptors in the mouth, notably the “bitter” receptors. Especially when administered in a triple-play with a sweet-tasting sample, it’s been found that salt actually suppresses bitter sensations — far more effectively than sweetness does by itself. … More than simply turning up the volume on flavors we do like, it also turns the volume down on flavors we don’t. [Joe Pastry]

Additional chemical magic includes the fact that both salt and fresh lemons contribute to creating a more alkaline state (lemons, like grapefruit, turn alkaline once they hit the digestive system) which might be useful when the body -especially that of a devout surfer- is pushed and there comes a need to balance the PH of the blood and tissues. Plus, we need a more alkaline state to keep microorganisms in check: that would include one well-known to Hawai’i surfers – the fun-lovin’ staph infection!

Active athletes also need to replace our glucose to keep our blood sugar levels up and reduce fatigue. Dr. Sears (AskDr.Sears.com), suggests “the best time for your sports drinks is during exercise, since the carbs in the drink do not cause high blood sugar fluctuations because insulin is not secreted during exercise. While drinking a high-sugar drink prior to exercise may trigger insulin and lead to hypoglycemia in the middle of the game.” Good thing salt and lemons also have the added benefit of regulating blood sugar!

So, if you’re going to drink something before exercise or immediately after, as us surfers need to do, my lemonade recipe should supply you with a healthy and balanced natural, homemade and certainly less expensive option (though I recommend for those who stay out in the water a long time and/or notice a dramatic drop in performance while surfing that they tie on their leash string or attach to a key pocket a fuel packet like the now 90% organic and all-natural CLIF Shot® clif shot(oooh, with Litter Leash packaging) and suck on it mid-session. Ingredients in their vanilla for example include: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide; with 40mg Sodium, 30mg Potassium, 25mg of Carbs and 8g of Sugar.

Carbohydrate is stored as glucose in the liver and muscles and is the most efficient source of energy as it requires less oxygen to be burnt than either protein or fat. The normal body stores of carbohydrate in a typical athlete are: • 70kg male athlete: liver glycogen 90g and muscle glycogen 400g • 60kg female athlete: liver glycogen 70g and muscle glycogen 300g. During hard exercise, carbohydrate can be depleted at a rate of 3-4 grams per minute. If this is sustained for 2 hours or more, a very large fraction of the total body carbohydrate stores will be exhausted and if not checked will result in reduced performance. Recovery of the muscle and liver glycogen stores after exercise will normally require 24-48 hours for complete recovery.

During exercise, there is in an increased uptake of blood glucose by the muscles and to prevent blood glucose levels falling the liver produces glucose from the liver stores. Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise will help prevent blood glucose levels falling too low and help maintain the body’s glycogen stores. Many athletes cannot consume food before or during exercise and therefore a formulated drink that will provide carbohydrate is required. [BrainMac Sports Coach]

If you’re avoiding sweets or got enough elsewhere, and basic hydration is what you’re after, try a more watered down version of the recipe, or simple Lemon Water (pure water, squeeze lemon into and add a few slices with a dash of salt). Penta, Essentia water, CellFood™, trace minerals, and coconut water are also great for hydrating.

The balance of our cells reflects the balance of our life. And as imbalanced as we may get, sometimes it’s those little things that get us back to center… like relaxing on the lanai swing chair, enjoying the trade breeze on a sweet summer day, sipping a nice tall glass of fresh squeezed electrolyte-laden lemonade.

For thousands of years salt has been known as a panacea. Alchemists called it “the fifth element”—besides water, earth, air and fire—because its qualities were comparable only to ether, the actual fifth element. Why are we so drawn to the ocean? Because our subconscious mind instinctively wants to return to the specific vibrational state of the ocean from which we once emerged. This is where we can return to recharge our batteries and regenerate. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Yup, something us surfers are doing all the time. So it makes sense, to try to accomplish it inside and out!

lemon tree

Coconut Girl’s Revitalizing Surfer Lemonade

Okay, sticking with my 15-min-or-less “cooking” method, this lemonade is quick and easy to prepare, and if you want to add the “boosters” it’ll only take a few more minutes. My recipe is infinitely easier when mom’s lemon tree is going off and I suggest that if you have a tree or a neighbor has one – take advantage (you can freeze excess juice for later use if you don’t want any to go to waste). And sure they’d luv it if you offered to bring them back a jar (always save your glass fruit juice containers). For this recipe we’re basically filling one 32oz jar so for larger batches adjust accordingly….

I pick 2-3 of the biggest, most yellow lemons off the tree. Roll them on the wood cutting board or counter top so they’re easier to juice. Throw in a lime if you have one too.

• In saucepan, with approximately one cup of purified water, medium heat, add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of raw coconut sugar (coconut syrup also works). Essentially you are heating at the lowest temp needed so the sugar dissolves while stirring.

• Cut lemons in half. Using a citrus juicer (cheap electric ones work fine, though if you’re rich go use your fancy industrial strength citrus press), juice all 4-6 halves (if your lemons are small add one more and/or one small lime for flavor). Should take all of two minutes!

• As for the sugar mixture, add a few ice cubes, preferably made from filtered water to cool it down. Pour it into a glass measuring cup. Then mix in a healthy pinch of Real Salt™, Himalayan Crystal Salt or pure sea salt (Hawaiian Salt also works). Once it’s blended add a handful more ice cubes to cool it to approximately room temp.

• It’s important to not heat the lemon juice! So, pour the juice into an empty glass jar or pitcher. Add some cold or room temp purified water, then add the sugar water / syrup water you made. Then fill the rest of the jar with more water to taste. Chill.

lemonade and salt

• The Extras: Add a bit of ginger. Most recipes for ginger lemonade call for adding sliced ginger pieces into the cooking sugar water, but ginger’s got a more killa kick if you avoid heating it, and the body will benefit more from its healing properties. So I suggest, grating about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger (with a ginger grater, if can, small sized grater otherwise) and simply adding it to the jar. Shake/stir well! * Be your own barhand…add a little zest! (of course we’re using organic lemons so all good there…) * If you read my noni article and/or have some noni juice prepared and are in need of its benefits, add a tablespoon or two to a cup of lemonade for your morning elixir… or if drained in the middle of the day and you really want to get another surf session in… talk about energizing! * You can add a splash of coconut water (as in the Big Island favorite found in the local health food stores “Tahitian Limeade” yum!) or some aloe (which also supports digestion, kidneys, and skin). * Party option is cutting some lemon, orange and/or lime slices and adding them into the pitcher, then filling with ice and serving.

That’s it! Obvious but never forget it: coffee, soda, sun, surf, alcohol… all dehydrating. Try to respond to your body’s cravings in ways that make you stronger. Spend a little bit more time helping your body stay happy and balanced so you can surf longer: that is, longer sessions and for decades to come… xo


…and hey, since pure salt is good for brain function perhaps if I start using only the right salts I will get my IQ back up enough to where I won’t feel I need a brainiac scientist husband to explain this chit to me…

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noniIt is assumed that Noni (“Aspirin of the Ancients”) originated in Southeast Asia (Indonesia) and was brought, approximately 2000 years ago, by ancient peoples of French Polynesia to the islands of the South Pacific. Captain Cook recorded it’s use in Tahiti (Nono) in the 1700s, and later documents show its use in Fiji (Kura), Samoa, Roratonga, Australia (Cheesefruit), Guam (Lada), Caribbean Islands (Painkiller Tree), Africa (Bumbo), India (Indian Mulberry)…. Its hardy seeds have the ability to float which has also contributed to its distribution throughout seacoasts in the South Pacific region. In Hawai’i (Noni – Morinda citrifolia) it is a common medicine. Depending upon latitude, it grows 0-2600ft, though Hawai’ian noni seems to thrive in rainforest lava rock nearest to the ocean. But while some here utilize it for any ailment, and noni producers sometimes swipe up (too) much of the fresh fruit off public trees, there are still many who live here who don’t seem to take advantage of its availability. At the same time, across the mainland and around the world, people are spending upwards of $40 a bottle, as it’s being packaged for consumption, from health food stores to Costco, as yet another “miracle cure”…perhaps the only popular miracle cure that is concurrently being debated as “the foulest liquid ever tasted.”noni and bee mandala

It is pretty stank, though bees like it, and the smell grows on you, as you become recipient of its benefits. Yet, I can imagine if one is taking these noni tonics and not noticing immediate results, they might easily write it off as another supplement marketing rip-off. Personally, most of the “manufactured” noni I’ve tried didn’t seem to do much. But there’s always something that happens from the fresh fruit to the processed product, and surely quality varies depending upon each company’s methods and their ability to best capture the medicinal qualities. All I can tell ya is this, drinking the fresh juice or pureé or soaking in the fruit is a whole different story, and you can’t deny its effects, because you feel them immediately.

Noni is likely one of the most powerful natural medicines I have ever tried. Part of being able to experience it properly is having easy access to the plant, as it grows in abundance in many areas of Hawai’i. Secondly, that Hawai’i is a breeding ground for so many ailments in which the noni can have obvious beneficial results; things like staph and skin infections, diabetes, a slew of surf injuries 🙂 ….

Some use noni in a casual manner, but to others it is a powerful plant that is not intended for daily use. Similar to people who take kava to sleep, for many kava involves a ceremony and spiritual relationship with the plant. There are traditional beliefs regarding plants considered “sacred” by native peoples who have utilized them for generations. For those attuned to or interested in the knowledge, that is a righteous endeavor, because we often look too simply at the gifts of the earth. But personally, I don’t believe those who have a limited comprehension of the spiritual aspects disavow themselves from attaining positive results (its use alone might inevitably bring about an understanding leading one on that journey of awareness).

Noni has various chemical constituents. First, it has an impressive array of terpene compounds, three of which—L. Asperuloside, aucubin, and glucose—have been identified by their actyl derivatives. Both caproic and caprylic acids have been isolated. Second, bushfruits, a category of which noni fruit is a member, are also considered a good source of vitamin C. Third, Hawaiin noni has been linked to the synthesis of xeronine in the body which has significant and widespread health implications. Last, the alkaloid content of the noni fruit is thought to be responsible for its therapeutic actions. Alkaloids exhibit a wide range of pharmacological and biological activities in the human body. They are nitrogen-containing organic compounds which can react with acids to form salts and which are the basis of many medicines.

noni fermentingThe traditional method (though there are many variations) seems to be picking yellow fruit (as opposed to the too young green), allowing the fruit to ferment by placing it in a bottle and letting it stew for a week, a month, some let it go for a year in the sun (though many agree at least two days is needed). The fruit is then squeezed/filtered. Since gases build up during the fermentation process, many do not use airtight lids but those with anoni process fermenting fermentation lock or some other homemade device. Most producers of noni agree glass is preferred over plastic as some plastics can leach into the finished product and affect its quality. Though it’ll smell rotten to anyone unfamiliar with the scent, there is a particular odor of good fermented noni and bad (kinda like making fine wine). If you’re going to get technical, you can test the juice’s PH with a cheap PH test strip kit; noni should read at 3.5 or less (anything higher may be contaminated or have undesirable organisms). Aged, fermented noni juice (dark in color) can be stored at room temperature indefinitely, while the fresh (light in color) needs to be refrigerated.

My favorite way to drink noni is fresh super ripe fruit (kinda fermenting in the skin) squeezed through a cheese cloth into a homemade lemon or limeade (two cups of purified water, add 2-3 heaping tablespoons raw sugar, heat ’til crystals dissolve, cool some, add 1 tablespoon of raw coconut syrup or crystals, stir, add ice to cool more, mix in juice of 2-3 lemons, add juice of one very ripe noni, add water to taste, stirring well – should make a small pitcher). And the effects, dependent on your condition beforehand: warmth through the veins, clear head, energy, vitality. Usually I find it preferable to drink on an empty stomach for the best results, like a morning elixir or when I’m crashing in the afternoon, and wait half hour before consuming food, coffee or medications, etc.noni processing

I imagine the more fermented the noni the more potent its effects, especially good for use for more chronic, debilitating medical conditions. While the lighter and more sweet fresh fruit can benefit as a daily elixir for those with general constitution building or specific short-term ailments, such as a cold, infections, tiredness, headache, etc. The list of claimed benefits of noni (via the leaf, the flower, the bark, the root, the fruit) seems to be never ending: laxative, inflammation of joints, astringent, emollient, emmenagogue, sedative, hypotension (lowers blood pressure), blood purifier, tonic, immune system modulator, pesticide poisoning, parasitic, delayed menstruation, arthritis, boils, aphrodisiac, eye inflamation (flowers), malaria (bark), E. Coli, Asthma, Diarrhea, Colic, Autism….

In addition, a compound found in the fruit called damnacanthol is believed to help inhibit certain viruses and cellular mutations involved in cancer. [Phase One of a cancer study has already taken place]… Recent surveys have suggested that noni fruit exerts antioxidant [and] antibiotic action. In fact, a variety of compounds which have antibacterial properties (such as aucubin) have been identified in the fruit. Constituents found in the fruit portion have exhibited antimicrobial action amino acids…. Because proteins and enzymes have so many varied roles within cell processes, the normalization of these proteins with noni supplementation could initiate a very wide variety of body responses and treat many disease conditions.

noni plantI have enjoyed playing with it, feeling it out, and utilizing the plant when it seems to call to me. Because of that, I’ve had a few unique experiences with noni. One that I never read about is that it is the ultimate sunburn cure. It sounds unappealing, to put a strong fruit on one’s skin after it’s been burned. Aloe is typically the more obvious plant to use in such instances, and it seems a more soothing solution. But one day, when on antibiotics, I got severely burned while surfing in the strong Kona sun. It was actually an antibiotic eye drop I was taking because I had had Lasik surgery, and they kinda drained into the sinus cavity leaving me more photosensitive. Of course, I wasn’t thinking eyedrops would get into my system enough to affect my ability to handle the sun, but I ended up with small blisters all over my upper back and chest; hundreds of them. Aloe wasn’t working; nothing was. Being that I only burn on rare occasion I didn’t know what to do, besides the aloe and drinking lots of water. By the second day I was so frustrated I was willing to try anything. I had some noni which I’d found on one of the few noni trees located in the lava rock/desert ecosystem of Kailua-Kona’s Pine Trees (before it was surely uprooted as the family-oriented surf spot was churning into yet another high-end golf course and fulfilling the important fifth home market for the rich and oblivious mainlanders). For some reason I decided to rub it all over the blistered area. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking, but within one hour it was as if the blisters got sucked into my body. They literally disappeared before my very eyes.

Of course, noni on its own can burn too. I learned that because I used to soak in the rotten fruit my aunty would bring me. I’d make a bed: plastic garbage bag with towel over it and then a sort of old person diaper/pee pad that you can find at Longs atop that and mush about 3-5 super ripe noni atop it and lie in it for hours and hours to help heal some broken bones, relax muscles, sooth sore hips. It was the only thing, besides hideous pain killers, that allowed me to exist, even walk around, pain-free. When you break a bone here, that’s the first thing your auntie will bring over; noni juice, noni fruit, noni leaves. And how does it work? Fug if I know, we’ll leave some things a mystery, but the fruit will create a heat that deeply penetrates the body and brings healing to the area. Anyway, my auntie usually uses a sarong on the skin and the noni above or wrapped within the sarong, covered with noni leaves, so the fruit isn’t actually touching the skin. Then she recommends lying in the sun, to allow the sun to add more heat and generate more potent affect of the noni. All I have to say is don’t use plastic wrap as I did one day out of convenience; it surely would have been fine for the intended hour, but I fell asleep with it on and ended up with some serious degree burn.

Since it’s so easy to end up with Staph here, as the moist climate seems to breed it in the body and on the land, it’s important to have solutions that don’t lead to antibiotic use. One reef cut and a slightly off PH/sugary environment and you’ll easily find the infection spreading. You have to stay on top of it here, as many who’ve let it go untreated realized the hard way: in the hospital getting chunks of their body cut out. The most simple and immediate cure? Wash boo-boo with hot water, grab a piece of the fresh ripe noni fruit and simply place a chunk on the cut. If you smooth it in place it will actually stay there and create a seal and if it does fall off just apply again. This will help the cut disinfect and protect it as well. Then you take a more concentrate shot of noni juice at least once a day for up to two weeks.

The leaves are usually used for swelling, inflammation, arthritis, cuts, bruises rashes and boils. Heat/steam the leaves to soften them up for use, then place the side of the leaf that faces the sun on the body. You can place young leaves directly on the body as they are softer and have a more sticky quality. Some even throw leaves in a warm bath to release the healing oils.

As far as usage, everyone is different. But like any strong medicine, which has an effect of cleansing/detoxing one’s body, you should take a break between dosages. It’s strong, and overuse can be draining, and deplete organs instead of building them. Of course, it’s always best to confer with a physician and adequately trained herbalist or Hawaiian healer.noni fruit leather

So if you’re not in Hawai’i but you want to try noni, there are many companies out there that want to supply it to you. Yet, because of all the variables, I can not recommend any – you need to search out your own and see what works best for you. Though I’ve tried a few, from juice to tinctures, none have had any of same effects as my own processing of the fresh fruit off the tree. Though out of those I did try, strangely enough, it wasn’t the juice but the noni fruit leather that seemed the most potent. And if you’re a Hawai’i Island local and don’t have time to pick and prepare your own, Abundant Life makes their own Noni Puree which is nice. Otherwise, all I can say is this: look for non-pasteurized unadulterated juice packaged preferably noni bookin dark glass bottles. And call and ask to talk with the owner; usually you’ll get a vibe of where they’re coming from. If they’re too big to talk or email with individual customers, maybe they’re too big to pay much attention to quality. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to experience the beneficial effects of quality noni and decide for yourself whether it’s a stinky “miracle cure” or not.

* * * * *

Sites to check out:

The Noni Website/University of Hawai’i

Truth Be Known: Noni

Noni: Prize Herb of Hawai’i and the South Pacific


Noni by Diana Fairechild (a stewardess with pesticide poisoning and her journey of healing through noni)


Noni Shows Cancer Promise

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surfer girl hairWith search engines leading people who are trying to get “Surfer Girl Hair” to my article essentially detailing how to avoid it (“Secret Hair Tips for the Surfer Girl”), I decided I might as well publish my own recipe for the look. Likely a “How To” appeared on some trendy web site inflicting fads on experimental youth. Surfer girls whose hair turns dry and brittle from the daily effects of salt and sun may not understand those who want to purposefully put their hair through such abuse. And similarly, like the new tanning salon that opened up in our little Hawai’i town, I would find it absurd for anyone who has sun/ocean access to try to capitalize on one piece of the puzzle, going for “the look” instead of the experience and the multitude of benefits one can enjoys from surfing, swimming, etc. But I do have sympathy for those who simply can’t get the look the natural way – because of location, finances, etc. – and I’d do anything to help you avoid harsh bleaches and chemical hair products!

SophiaNaturally, my hair is so dark brown it’s almost black, but as a surfer it lightens up with highlights that go all the way to bright blonde (as opposed to lemon juice natural sun and sea coloring seems to skip the icky orangy phase). It’s the combination of the salt and sun that creates the look. Ocean water is on average 3.5% salt – though salinity is effected by evaporation, precipitation, and ground water or river water entering into it. I know the more salty and sunny the surf spot, the quicker my hair fries. On the East sides of the Hawai’i islands, with its abundance of river mouth breaks and more rain and clouds to block the sun, the condition of my hair doesn’t get quite so affected. On the West side though, with less fresh water and more desert-style environment, I can get “Surfer Girl Hair” in just a few sessions.ocean water salinity map

Ingredients (approximate):

* Sea Salt – 2 heaping tablespoons

* Water – 2 cups

* Oil (olive or coconut or whatever you have lying around) – 1 tablespoon

Heat water on the stove; pour in the salt and stir. Turn off heat, let cool to warm. Shampoo your hair (do not use conditioner) and it dry. Pour solution over hair (if you have long hair, saturate it as much as possible by first dunking hair into a bowl of the solution). Do not rinse; towel dry. If you have curly or slightly thick or dry hair that can handle some oil, put roughly one tablespoon of the oil into your palm, rub hands together, then cover outer layer of hair (avoid bangs or you’ll get zit-faced). Oil attracts sun rays and holds in heat and helps cook it better.

blue crush hairIf you don’t have access to a xenon lamp (ehem), simply go out in the sun (do not put hair in a rubber band if you can avoid it). Even if it’s overcast, some rays that provide general light are coming through. The closer to the equator the better. but the goal is to try to get as much sun as you can. Though it may take longer than your average Hawai’i surfer girl, you should see the effects. If you are going to be lying out in the sun at all (wear natural zinc sunscreen), then splay your hair out as much as possible. The hair that dries fastest and gets the most exposure seems to be the hair that bleaches out the most. And after it dries, wet hair again with a spray bottle that contains some salt water mix. Stop once you get the streaks/highlights you want and invest in some good conditioners. Also, as this is all designed to destroy the hair 😉 we recommend adding some omega/flax oils to your diet, which seems to help keep hair flaxen!

There are also a bunch of products that have come on the market recently, which can add to the look: goops and sprays designed to give you that “sexy, salty, wind-styled texture”. No dough for new product? Use a little of your conditioner or gel mixed with a touch of jojoba, argan, coconut or other oil you happen to have in the kitchen. If you simply don’t wash your locks too often and let it get a little gunky,Chelsea Charges Surf throw in a dash of sand, stick your head out the car window – be creative – you can achieve your own carefree surfer look. (Disclaimer: once it crosses the line into rastafari dreds we can’t helpya.)

So, that’s it. But hey, if you ever decide to cruise Hawai’i to charge some waves and go for the natural surfer girl style… give us a buzz!

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mocha kittyYou or your loved one enjoy a mocha in the morning? Ready to score some points while saving some of the excess cash you’re spending for your “specialty” coffee at the local coffeehouse? Instead, maybe it’s time to use that money towards creating your own quality coffeehouse right in your kitchen. Here’s a recipe to get you started; a Hawai’i-style gourmet brew without too much hassle (don’t be scared off by the amount of type; it’s simple but I’m certifiably long-winded).


* Dark Organic Coffee Beans – Even if you could care less if you get some concentrated chemicals in your coffee mug every morning, buy organic because it improves the ecosystems of farms, increases biodiversity, and preserves water quality. And any surfer knows how much it sucks surfing in agricultural residues after a nice rain. Why dark? Those who like mochas usually appreciate the rich flavor found in dark “French” roasts. Despite what most people think, dark coffee is less acidic. Try to avoid the over-cooked Starbucks brand coffee beans that are roasted to bitter. If you can’t find good beans locally (Kona purchased anywhere but in Kona can be quite expensive, yes?), there are many organic coffee growers/roasters online (look for Certified Fair Trade -meaning no slave labor- and Shade Grown). Purchasing whole beans direct from a reputable roaster means you will get it fresh with the most flavor. Better yet get green beans and roast yourself. Of course never buy pre-ground coffee –organic coffee bag coffee grinders are cheap but can demolish and heat the beans. Splurge on a burr grinder if you can, or if you’re broke-ass just grind as needed at your local store. I think the old hand grinders are cute and sometimes way more efficient.

nativas cacao* Raw CacaoNavitas Naturals organic cacao is delicious and processed at low temperatures to maintain nutrients and vitamins. Cacao is high in magnesium, vitamin C, and higher in anti-oxidants than red wine and green tea. This company is committed to social and environmental business practices, working directly with farming communities and supporting native organic farmers and farming methods. (Sure, you can also get some Ghiradelli.)

* Raw Sugar – Look for sugars, like Coconut Secret, that are not heat processed.

* Coconut Milk – Available at most grocery stores. Check the Asian Foods section for unsweetened, premium, first pressing, organic. Avoid the low-fat version. If you’re in Hawai’i or have some spare coconuts lying around, you can make your own fresh coconut milk.

coconut fresh* Rice Milk – (I like vanilla; organic will keep you GMO-free). Only problem is isn’t doesn’t froth well. The new Hemp milks are yummy and nutritious, but shake well – they have a tendency to separate and bead up and don’t look as appealing in the mug. Probably the most rich option is almond milk. They spray almonds with LOTS of pesticides, so definitely look for organic!

* “Pumpkin Pie” spices. 

* Filtered water for coffee brewing is best

Make two shots of espresso or a strong coffee. Though the process of making coffee is ultimately important, that’s another recipe for another time. Many “Mr. Coffee”-kine coffee makers suck and with the advent of much better machines for a decent price it’s silly to not spend more on something you use every day. Many swear by the tried and true cowboy coffee. Others love the French Press. Still others prefer vacuum or cold brew for a no-acid coffee that’s kind to the belly. I like the stove-top percolators or espresso machines. But one thing’s for certain, if your coffee sucks, you’re going to end up back at the coffeehouse.

Mocha CreamWhichever you decide, while the coffee is brewing, fill a saucepan with approximately 1 cup rice/hemp milk, couple tablespoons whipping cream or half and half, couple tablespoons of coconut milk (per mug) – I’m firmly opposed to measuring; just eyeball it. A big mug is important. Put approximately one full teaspoon of raw sugar (sweeten to taste), and a full teaspoon of cacao in your mug. Add a small amount of hot coffee into the mug while stirring; mix well! Then add the remaining espresso or coffee to 1/2 to 3/4 full, and fill the rest of the mug with the hot milk mixture. Top it off with whipped cream. Dash with pumpkin pie spice, or better yet grate some nutmeg and cinnamon yourself. The spices have a warming quality that are great pre-surf – and compensate a little for coffee’s tendency to deplete one’s Protective Qi, which can cause one to get cold more easily (just don’t use cinnamon every day as too much can irritate the stomach). You can also top off with some shredded coconut, chocolate syrup or shaved cacao.

That’s it. So now, get on it – surprise your loved one with a mug of this yumminess in the morning. Just make sure to go surf… or whatever you do… to burn off that crazy buzz! xo

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wahine hairThere’s one thing every girl who surfs has in common. I mean, besides our love for the ocean and the requisite health and physical benefits. One of the downsides is, we all have hair problems. Just think of putting a fine strand of silk in salt water and then letting it bake in the sun, dry out, then wetting it again, then letting it dry… and repeating this for hours at a time, sometimes weeks in a row (ah, if we’re lucky). After collecting tips from hairdressers and other surfin’ wahines, I have compiled a list of the best-kept secret hair tips for the girl in the curl

1) Wet your hair before you go out into the water. (This tip was gifted to us by Gwen at Paul Marie Salon in Hilo – check ’em out, they give good head…of hair…) Hair, when dry, acts like a sponge, absorbing water into it. Having it absorb regular water first will prevent it from absorbing the salt. And you may question the ability of hair to absorb large amounts of anything. But any long-haired girl who surfs can attest to the weight that is added to her head as her neck is being annoyingly tugged back. Just to emphasize its absorbency, NASA studies have indicated that hair may be a very useful tool in cleaning up oil spills. Future fem scientist Marguerite Blignaut, at the Kentucky Junior Academy of Science, followed it up with her own study and concluded: “Hair absorbs the oil which means the oil collects under the surfaces of the hair fibers. I used human hair in mesh bags and floated them on 10w40 oil-water mixtures. After two days I removed the bags and let them dry. An increase of mass indicated the amount of oil absorbed. I found that human hair does remove oil from the water surface and that straight dark brown hair seemed to be the most efficient.” Thanks Marge, good to know.women surf classic

Does this mean they’re using hair to clean up oil spills? Nah, they prefer to douse the ocean with toxic chemicals from companies that they own shares in (hello BP disaster). It more likely explains why it’s so hard to get the oil off of the poor birds. And it becomes clear that, whatever your hair absorbs while it’s out in the ocean, likes to hang out in the fibers, so why not have it already absorbing at maximum capacity before you enter the salt water.

2) Apply some conditioner onto your hair as well. You apply sunscreen to keep your skin protected (preferably eco-safe, reef-safe, water-resistant options), why not something to protect your hair? This works best on damaged, coarse, and thicker hair. Apply when dry (with water) to coat the hair strands and keeps them extra-protected and prohibit them from absorbing the salt water. Even in the surf, my thick hair holds it in (particularly if I do Step 3).

Some surfer girls like to use the cheapest products on their hair pre-surf because “it’s just going to come off anyway”. Problem is, it’s coming off in the water! Keep in mind, as with chemical sunscreens, many of the ingredients in hair conditioners are toxic to corals. Avoid parabens, oxybenzone (benzophenone derivatives), propylene glycol… to name a few. Even products from health food stores can contain questionable preservatives as well as natural and essential oils (from jojoba to eucalyptus) that are harmful to corals.

awapuhiThe only manufactured conditioner I like these days is Acure Organics. Otherwise I find it easier, less expensive, and much more natural to grab ingredients straight from the environment here Hawai’i. If the awapuhi is going off (which it does a few times a year), you gently take the flower head, tilt it over and squeeze it just enough for a watery fragrant gel to emerge, and apply it straight to your hair (it’s lovely on the skin as well). This I use as a daily leave in – pre-surf and post surf.When the plant is not flowering, I rely on fresh coconut milk as my hair rinse or leave in conditioner. Not coconut water, not coconut oil, and not coconut milk from a can, but blended and nut-bag filter milk from the fresh coconut meat (since I make it for my morning coffee anyway, it’s easy – I’ll include a link to my recipe when I post it). This can be made with dried coconut shavings as well – though if there’s a fresh option that’s always the way to go. In Hawai’i if you can’t climb a tree and grab one for free, you can usually find coconuts for a buck from fruit and veggie stands in front of local homes of farms. On the very ends of my hair if it’s particularly dry, or extra frizzy, I add a dab of argan, kukui nut oil, or a tiny bit of cocoa butter. My hair prefers when I change it up a bit, despite scientific claims to the contrary. Oh well, these same scientists still don’t believe women “bloat” before their period. ;P

3) Braid your hair. If your hair is long enough, braid it! This will protect the hair from drying out and getting too much exposure. The braids will also hold that conditioner in. And hey, maybe even keep it out of your face while you’re going for that huge airdrop take-off. The best bet is using a hair tie at the top of the braid, and one at the bottom, so you’re not losing the hair ties in the water. Not sure if turtles are able to digest those things but I’m guessing the less lost hair rubber bands the better.

4) Rinse your hair out immediately after surfing! Very often us surfers pour a jug of water over our heads or a quick rinse at the showers and leave it at that. Well… there’s likely still some salt in your hair and is still drying your hair out (especially if it dries whilst exposed to the sun). Best to give it a quality rinsing when you get home.

5) Eat Right for Healthy Hair! Veggies are essential but vegetarians/vegans should make sure to supplement with some healthy fats / oils. Get your Vitamin B’s and B-12 sublingually – highly advised for everything from stress to breakdown of carbs to glucose. Minerals are also good for your hair, and magnesium oil, applied topically, will not only help for all the post-surf aches, but as a bonus keeps the gray at bay. Gaia Hair, Skin, & Nail Support is rich in minerals, like silica, that promote healthy hair (best to use it daily to see positive results). Chemical exposure, medications, alcohol consumption, smoking, caffeine, stress and lack of sleep can affect the look and appearance of your hair (including hair loss). Basic theory: do whatever keeps you healthy, happy, strong. Lucky most of us surfer chicks do just that!

6) Be careful of over-shampooing the locks. Many water girls use conditioner as their “shampoo” – myself included. But you should still shampoo once a weak to clean build-up and start anew. Try to avoid the overly harsh toxic WalMart-kine hair care. You can make your own with Skikakai, hibiscus, Amla (here’s an example of a recipe – I think for thick / curly hair it’s better to strain in cheese cloth before applying). As far as manufactured products, again, I like Acure Organics. John Masters Zinc & Sage Shampoo is pretty gentle on surfer grrl abused hair (but can you guys take out the sodium benzoate please, thanks). We’ve heard good things about Yarok Feed Your Moisture Masque – looks relatively clean (albeit pricey), we’ll have to test it out.

7) Don’t brush your hair while it’s wet. Flash back to a Museum of Science and Industry (Los Angeles) back in the ’90s. One part of the exhibit had a huge display showing before and after microscopic images of the human hair brushed when wet vs. brushed when dry. Suffice to say…don’t brush your hair while it’s wet. Coconut Girl Wireless contributor and my very big-haired surfing cohort Ms. ReefRash sez she won’t be able to get the knots out otherwise. Copy that! If that’s the case with you, use a quality thick-toothed comb or a very gentle natural bristle brush; get the hair lightly damp and apply a dollop of  leave-in conditioner first before workin’ on it. Then do so gently and hold the hair so it doesn’t stretch and snap.

8) Wear a hat! Protect the hair while protecting your face. Reefrash wears a hat when surfing because she is about as white as a haole girl can get (nah, they can get a little mo’ white).

*  *  *

Hawaiian women were known (are still known) for their lovely long brown hair. Was it the coconut treatments they did after swims? Was it their rich diet that included poi, banana, papaya, lilikoi, coconut, sweet potato, breadfruit, laulau, fish and seafood? Maybe drawing from a gene pool (including those of the Asian races that have mixed here) that is renowned for their beautiful skin and luscious hair doesn’t hurt.

Even if we aren’t blessed with perfect DNA, there are things we can do to have our optimum healthy hair. Some of these tricks should help balance out the abuse us surfer grrls put our hair through.

If you have any thoughts on the matter or product tips they’re always welcomed. Have a great hair day!

Hey, by the way, this is very important – disclaimer!: No health or medical or dietary advice should ever be considered without the approval of your omnipotent physician. Make sure on your next visit you ask what hair care products he/she uses! LOL. All seemingly knowing advice that appears within this article are simply humble opinions to be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, same grain of salt we are protecting your hair from…. meowxo

[article last updated 1/5/2016]

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