Thursday, June 11, 2015

Closing Chapters, With Love

I want to thank you all for your love and support over the years. 

The time has come for me to retire bodhi life so that I may focus on other things in my life. The Facebook page will no longer be available in the days to come. 

bodhi life has served an AMAZING purpose in my life and I will be forever grateful. 

Please keep in touch. My website will remain live at and my email address that is associated is 

Take care all you beautiful love muffins! xo 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Battle with Orthorexia: Finding Peace with Food, Eating Intuitively and the Truth about Bananas

"Your the healthiest sick person that I know."

This was said to me earlier this year by a very dear friend of mine. And, he was right. For the last 5 years I have been doing everything I can to regain my health after what I'll refer to as a "state of emotional and physical trauma" in which I've discussed in my previous posts on Orthorexia. There have been times that I felt that I was regaining my health, gaining strength, and becoming the healthy vibrant and radiant child of love that I am. Up until now, these times have been short lived only to come tumbling down along with feeling sick, tired and hopeless once again. All the while, trying to eat my way to better health, keep a smile on my face and my spirits high.

If you've been following me or have read past posts, you know that I have Orthorexia. This has been a very complex battle for me as I do believe whole heartily that food can either support your body in healing or inhibit healing and lead to illness and disease.

Years ago, I read on Grace Van Berkum’s 'About Me' page: 
"I haven’t always been healthy.  I have struggled with eating disorders, addictive behaviour, emotional pain, and physical pain.  I have explored many roads in an effort to heal my body and my heart.  It hasn’t been easy.  But where I find myself now is the happiest and healthiest place I have been in my entire life.  I am empowered, I am more free to express myself, and I know with utmost certainty that I am doing what I was put on this Earth to do.  Every day I continue to strive towards health and peace, while enjoying the journey the best way I know how, and trying to teach people what I have learned along the way.  Being healthy is fun and life has never been more enjoyable!  When you feel good and look good, you radiate good energy, and see life with different eyes.  The more self-aware I become, the better life gets." -Grace Van Berkum  
I thought, how can a way of eating that is seemingly so restrictive (Raw Vegan) – and extreme (eliminating all animal protein?!? NOTHING cooked?!?), help me overcome my eating disorder and find peace with food? How could I ever live this way and feel satisfied…whole… healthy? But I desperately wanted this peace in my life. I wanted to feel this health and vitality that Grace seemed to radiate (and still does). I wanted to have healthy foods in my life and feel well while eating them. And, I didn't want to give up on my belief that given the proper tools (nutrients) my body could heal on a mental, physical, and spiritual level. 

Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N., C.P.T.   Gracious Living
Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N., C.P.T., of Gracious Living is a well-known and respected contributor and ambassador in the health and wellness community. She is a beautiful soul with a zest for life and profound passion for health and helping others. You can see why I am a Grace Van Berkum fan. I have been ‘following’ Grace for many years and have had the opportunity to speak with her on several occasions-  but we have yet to meet in person. One day! Perhaps I will find myself at the place where she calls home in Nicaragua as a student in one of her retreats. <3 
"I am passionate about cultivating inner peace, increasing vitality, preventing disease, and living the life of your dreams through conscious eating, exercise, yoga, and connecting to nature. I am a girl working on becoming whole and discovering my truth while following the sun,  and guiding people towards their own wholeness and greatness along the way." -Grace Van Berkum  
I became increasingly curious about the lifestyle. Over the years the thought of eating animal protein became less and less appealing. Cooked foods and oils - yes even the magical coconut oil, began to make me feel bloated and lethargic. I was depressed and confused - having thought that I was doing everything right. Avoiding processed/packaged foods, moderate amounts of healthy fats, proteins and limiting carbohydrates and sugar. 

Along with my pre-existing condition with Systemic Candida (that come to find out most Western Doctor's do not believe exists), I started to develop a whole host of other health issues that effected my daily life. These included: 
  • Reoccurring Vaginal Yeast Infections 
  • Reoccurring Bacterial Vaginitis 
  • Kidney Stones
  • Puffy face
  • Swollen and sore eyes
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Headaches
  • Increased food allergies
  • Adult Acne 
  • Leaky gut 
  • Auto-immune type 'issues' such as joint pain 
  • Depression
Systemic Candida is a complex issue where the balance of candida albicans (found naturally in the human body) is off and the candida albicans "bloom" resulting in anywhere from annoying, to disastrous, and sometimes life threatening circumstances depending on the severity.

Some things that can set off candida albicans:
  • Antibiotic use (killing off all good bacteria and disturbing the gut flora balance) 
  • Chronic Stress 
  • Processed foods 
  • Refined sugars (NOT natural sugars found in fruit this is common and devastating misconception)
  • Weak/compromised immunity 
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Environmental molds
Things like vaginal yeast infections, cystic acne, nail fungus, and oral thrush are often only symptoms of a deeper candida problem and likely mean that there is a problem in the gut. When this is the case, it is highly likely that the person would experience other symptoms (such as the ones I had listed above).

I am not going to attempt to further delve into the topic as I am not trained to speak in depth about such topics but that is a little glimpse into the great big bad land of Candida Albicans.

There were countless paths that I took before I finally made the full transition to Raw Vegan. All the while, working to overcome my battle with Orthorexia. This was not an easy journey. It wasn't until I took a step back, surrendered, and gave myself the space and time to do proper research that I was able to make the transition peacefully and intuitively

*Note: there are MANY different variations of Raw Veganism. I may reference Grace Van Berkum or others that live a Raw Vegan lifestyle but I do not know the specifics of their diet. The Raw Vegan I will discuss in detail is specific to my own diet and life. 

While I believe that Raw Vegan is the most optimal diet for human consumption, it isn’t for everyone and it certainly isn’t something that someone should jump into without doing research, seeking support and preparing themselves mentally – any transition, especially with food, need to be come from a place of peace.  Not fear. This was my critical error in fall of 2014.

I was coming from a place of desperation. My symptoms were off the charts - causing me pain emotionally and physically. I was uncomfortable and unhappy. At the time, I was not eating animal protein because it just did not appeal to me anymore and I was inching my way toward raw but I feared the sugars in fruit based on years of being misinformed by 'candida diet' experts. My diet was vegan but high fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut and olive oil) and still low carb. While I felt better without animal protein, I was suffering.

Though I feared the fruit, there was something inside of me that whispered "You need the fruit, you need the carbs. You need high nutrient enzyme rich foods! These hard to digest nuts are destroying your gut!" I knew that I had to listen. I had tried everything else. But, I was scared. I joined support groups. I researched fervently in the evenings after work. I dove into 'healing diets' head first and took herbs to help 'detox.'

I discovered Dr. Morse and Dr. Douglas Graham, Founder of Food and Sport and author of the 80/10/10 book; both of whom are active Low Fat Raw Vegan (High Carb/fruit) advocates. Though they suggest different approaches to the lifestyle.

I felt 100% dreadful. My adrenals and organs were taxed. What I came to realize, is that I was I was following OTHER peoples paths. Not my own. I was not listening to my body. I was not being gentle with myself. I was not allowing my body to communicate with me. Although I researched, I got caught up in specifics and prescriptive 'protocols.' In hindsight, I made a lot of critical mistakes like combining high carb/fruit with cooked high fat (vegan) meals and gourmet raw foods like things with coconut oil, cashew butter, avocado and other high fat items. I am not saying that these items are 'bad' but combined with a high fruit diet - it's a recipe for disaster that only feeds candida.

Over the holiday in 2014, I returned to meat while visiting family. My energy was  low from the improper food combining and high amounts of hard to digest nuts and seeds that were triggering inflammation, food sensitivities, bloating, and weight gain. Eating meat and going back to a more 'Paleo' way of eating seemed to be the only option. Especially given the food allergies that I have (grains, dairy, yeast, soy, sulfites etc). This was a very difficult decision for me - I felt as though I had no other choice. I felt sick inside and because of the imbalance in my gut, and candida flared, my cravings were out of control. I wanted brownies, salty chips, pork, pancakes, and wine. I had all of those things. My body reacted and then some. The brain fog was some of the worst that I had ever experienced - it was as if I was living inside of a cloud.

Returning to animal protein/fats and higher sodium made me feel even worse than I was before. I was tired, my yeast and Bacterial Vaginitis (BV) was in a constant state of flare, I was constantly on the verge of tears, my face and eyes were swollen and puffy and the kidney stones returned with vengeance.

Although this was an incredibly trying part of my life, it was also vitally eye-opening and it was a forcing function for me to check-in with myself on my Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, and compulsive behaviors. It was clear to me that I had fallen back into old patterns of punishing myself and my body and doing everything that I can do be 'clean' and 'pure.' My motivation was coming from a place of desperation and fear rather than calm with an intention of being healthy and balanced.

I took a long step back and gave myself the space and time to get myself educated. I knew that the animal protein, fats and sodium were a problem. I knew that my body needed more fruit and vegetables (less acids and far more alkaline). These were the things that I knew. But I still wasn't sure how to get from A to B. I removed myself from all online food groups/forums and instead read books and contacted trusted advisers and wellness coaches in the Raw Vegan community.

During this time, I slowly took animal protein, grains, legumes and nuts back out of my diet and replaced them with fruits and vegetables. I started what I called 'A True Food Journal.' I wrote in my journal about how foods made me feel physically and emotionally and had a detailed list of the foods that truly effected my body.  It was a slow process but this time I didn't beat myself up. I didn't get angry with myself for trying something that didn't work. I practiced self-love and care, did affirmations, drank liters of lemon water and did copious amounts of yoga.

My affirmation board in my old apartment 
Although I wasn't where I wanted to be yet, I respected that I was on a journey - trusting the process and trusting that my body would tell me what it needed.

Slowly, I began to feel a calm that I had never known before.

It didn't take much effort after that work to make the transition to High Fruit (Carb) Raw Vegan (Low Fat). I transitioned easily, without reading articles online or getting involved with online forums/groups. In retrospect, my transition was actually unplanned. Unlike previous times, were I would aggressively put myself on a hard date and throw away all of my food, buy new foods/supplements and punish myself for weeks into some wildly uncomfortable detox diet.

I began to eat similar to Dr. Graham's 80/10/10 without even trying. Interestingly, I had tried last year and mentioned this in my last post on Orthorexia. In actuality, I wasn't properly preparing my foods (like eating bananas that were not ripe) and combining the method with high fat cooked foods which led to a flare in my symptoms. I thought the theory had failed me.

Seemingly overnight, after going HFRV, I saw the light - no FELT the light. I felt light! I felt vibrant. I felt energized! Was it possible that I could EAT my way to wellness and recovery? No restrictions? No dieting? Over 2,000 calories a day of raw whole foods? Was I dreaming?!?

My kitchen table <3
From the outside, it may look as though the way that I eat now is the most extreme, or to someone who doesn’t have all of the facts and information, the most unhealthy. or that I have fallen off of a fruit tree and deep into ED, but it's the exact opposite. Yet, here I am, the healthiest that I have been in my adult life, and on any given day, bouncing off the walls with energy. I feel myself again. I have more clarity and motivation. I feel like I am finally comfortable in my body. And with my body. My strength and vitality increases everyday, the dark circles around my eyes has improved, I am happy and cheery pretty much all of the time. My anxiety and depression has pretty much vanished. 

During this time, I have moved across states, been diagnosed with Lyme from being bit by tick (more on that in a future post), and began working a new job (to support me while I continue to build my dream). It doesn't take a psychologist to know, that's a lot of physical and emotional stress - but, I truly believe that this way of eating has kept me feeling amazing on even my worst days with Lyme and most exhausting days moving and traveling.

I really dislike labels, but I suppose the way that I eat is "High Fruit/Carb Raw Vegan" or simply, "Fruititarian." Here is a Fruititarian Food Pyramid that gives a nice overview.

So, what do I eat as a Fruity Lover?

I eat mainly (RIPE) fruit all day long in large quantities with added greens ( I have been loving spinach and romaine lately) either throughout the day or a LARGE vegetable salad at night. I eat A LOT of (spotty!) bananas. Sometimes up to 20 a day. I also include a small amount of plant-based fats/proteins such as hemp and chia seeds, sprouted/raw nuts like cashews or some avocado.

I drink LARGE smoothies (yes sometimes straight out of the blender!) with greens and several spotty bananas blended with fresh herbs like basil or mint. I do not eat anything with animal protein, cooked, or with oils. I eat A LOT. Sometimes over 2,500 calories in one day depending on what I am doing and they only reason that I know this is because someone wanted me to get on one of those fitness apps because they were curious what I eat. I do not typically keep track of calories - it was slightly humorous to see the amount LOL. I do not take any medications. I take a daily probiotic (VSL #3) and supplement vitamin D3 in liquid form.

It is unknown to me if this is how I will eat for the rest of my life. But, I do know that it works for me right now.

Improvements since High Fruit Raw Vegan: 
  • Clear skin (acne basically vanished) 
  • Whites in my eyes more clear (they were red/bloodshot and sometimes yellowish prior) 
  • Swelling in face/eyes has disappeared
  • Hair is softer and growing
  • Nails are growing and are not thin or brittle 
  • No Bacterial Vaginitis 
  • No Yeast Infections (except for flare on the antibiotics from Lyme) 
  • No kidney stones (except for a breakdown when I was going to town on high amounts of watermelon for a few days this was actually a good thing!) 
  • No more intense cravings (often followed by a binge) 
  • Little to no bloating in my tummy 
  • Increased energy and strength 
  • Improved mood 
  • Improved relationship with food 
  • Hunger is more intuitive 
  • Blood sugar has stabilized

I have energy all day long and my anxiety around eating has vanished. I feel good before I eat, during and after I eat. I am continuously learning and have found a group of amazing people that are finding similar results with this way of eating. Many have similar stories as mine. Feeling of unwell, systemic candida that flares with high fat/protein and mold/fungus and auto-immune type symptoms with no diagnosis. And many that have had Lyme, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia etc. all feeling amazing from HFRV - or well on their way. 

I don't have all the answers. I am not a doctor nor a scientist. I can't explain to you why exactly this works - or works for me. All I know, is that it does.

Is this way of eating the end-all-be-all? I don't know. But I trust that I will evolve and adapt to whatever my body needs. 

My heart is filled with gratitude for the great teachers and guides that I have in my life including Grace Van Berkum (her book '30 Days, 30 Ways to Gracious Living' coming soon!), Stacy Stowers, author of Eat Raw, Not Cooked, Ian Michael Meyers of IM Wellness, and Erin Luyendyk of The Nutritionista to name a few... Nameste my dear friends. 

It's all a journey my dear ones and we cannot travel through it alone.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kids on the Yoga Mat - Backyard Yoga with Bodhi Life

Kids are funny in the way that they become intrigued by just about everything that you do. While natural, it’s really very powerful. As adults and influencers in children’s lives, I believe that it’s crucial that we are careful about our actions, reactions and daily activities that they see as take part in – as it is inevitable that they are going to replicate the language and behaviors around them or at the very least - take note in what is acceptable or appropriate.

Me, being single and sans children, I was constantly reminded of this dynamic when I was visiting my brother, his wife and three children for a month this past April. Their ages are 6-months, 4-years and 6 -years-old. Obviously the 6-month-old wasn’t doing too much when it came to activities but he was watching – I assure you.

I love to do my yoga outside when the weather permits. There is something about being under the sun and practicing that makes me feel a bit more connected and free.

One afternoon while I was out practicing, the 4-year-old, Grant, came to see what I was doing out in the back yard.

“Aunt Ashley, what are you doing?”

“I am doing yoga.”


He stood there looking down at his feet and then my mat and then back at his feet.

“Would you like to join me?”


“Ok, there are some rules that I will explain but the first rule is that there is no shoes on the yoga mat. Or socks. Bare-feet only the yoga mat.”

He looked up at me and giggled and then proceeded to take his shoes and socks off and hopped on the mat.

“Great job Grant! Now you are ready for yoga!”

He seemed a bit surprised at how excited I was.

We started off with some breathing exercises. I talked a bit about some of the guiding principles that come into my yoga practice such as breath, calm, inner peace, manifestation, affirmations and reflection.

We went on to Half Moon and he seemed to really enjoy this pose. I talked to him about the importance of being able to find calm anywhere and to use yoga as a technique to releasing anything that causes anger or other feelings that are upsetting. This seemed to resonate with Grant. Grant is one of the sweetest boys I have ever known – but let’s just say, that he has inherited my brother’s temper.

To take the breathing to another level I introduced a ‘full body exhale.’ This was new to me and was a perfect way to add a light-hearted element into the practice. On the exhale we let out a shake through our whole body from head to our arms to our feet – accompanied by a loud release in our breath. He really liked this and while he giggled and I did to – he was right back to wanting to learn more. I explained that this breath can be used “when you REALLY need to just let something go that is bothering you.” He loved this. 

We went through a few more poses and then his older brother, Carter, became interested. Grant let him know what rule number one was (no shoes or socks) and he looked at me to confirm. Once Carter was on the mat, it was a full house. To let them feel the space of mat, I moved to the grass.

We discussed the importance of “centering thoughts” and affirmations such as “I am kind.” For this practice, I helped them choose their centering thought and it was “I am kind.”

I was impressed by Carter’s naturally ability to move into Warrior II with ease. And I was also impressed by the amount of time that they stayed on the mat with me. Some other 'rules' I put into place was no shouting at one another or pushing and respect everyone else's space. This worked out very well - as if the yoga mat was a special bubble. 

Virabhadrasana II | Warrior II 
Eventually, they decided that they wanted to put their shoes on and go play.

Throughout my stay, Grant really took hold of Half Moon and the concept of breath. When he would get upset and was given options on how to handle his emotions, a few of his first choices would be “breathe” or “do yoga” or “go outside.”

This made me a proud Aunt and Yogi <3

In another yoga session of just Grant and I, we talked about the concept of Zen. Zen is not an easy concept to articulate to anyone – but it was especially challenging for me to describe the concept to a 4-year-old. But, let me tell you, Grant is a special boy and he seems to really be able to understand the concept of peace (my inner hippie is very happy at this ;)). “Zen, is a state of being where you feel at peace and calm no matter what is going on around you. So, Carter could be doing something that would normally really upset you but because you are ‘zen,’ whatever he is doing isn’t disrupting you or making you angry. It’s kind of like you are in an imaginary bubble.”

“Like a Zen bubble?”

“Yes, exactly. A Zen bubble where you simply feel at peace and breathe easy.”

He smiled and seemed to really like that. 

We also discussed 'Namaste' at the end of our practice. I explained this to him as "the spirit in me honors the spirit in you. Meaning that we are all one. I respect and honor you." And to practice love and compassion to all things living. 

In this practice, I had Grant come up with his own centering thought. I shared mine with him which was "I am graceful as I transition in life." After a moment of pondering, he said "I help others." 

My heart melted. 

Later, when his Dad came home, he couldn’t wait to tell him about the new words. (He needed a bit of help recalling what them and their meanings but once he did – he was all excited about Zen and Namaste all over again!)

To keep things interesting and fun, I came up with a new pose for just Grant and I. It kind of happened on accident  - as I was in Ardha Sarvangasana (Half-Shoulder Stand), he thought it would be fun to climb on and let me be his lever so I asked him to be careful of my knees and hold on. He did. I slowly lifted him up until he was vertical, holding gently on his shoulders so that he didn’t fall incase he let go – he laughed and so did I – a big belly laugh. He loved that! “I like when I make you laugh Aunt Ashley!” Haha… “So do I Grant!”

So this was pose was named, “The Laughing Grant.”

My brother and sister-in-law have done an amazing job at giving their children tools to handle their emotions and feelings. We talked in great detail about this and I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to bring more tools and concepts like breathe, centering thoughts and yoga to the table.

I have found that yoga isn’t just for the 20's, 30's, 40s or 50 something’s. It’s not just for retired folks kicking around in the sand. Yoga is for all ages. Yoga is a grounding practice for all. Yoga is not just for the lean and thin or fit and muscular – yoga is for all shapes and sizes. Yoga, is for all. 



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Staying Healthy on Road Trips Continued - Bodhi Life Style

Hi Love Muffins! 

So, this is just a short little follow-on to the post I wrote a few weeks ago, "Staying Healthy on Road Trips - Bodhi Life Style."

Last week I had a short (7 hour) drive and of course, I made sure I stayed hydrated and carb'ed up with fruit ;)

Yes, when your use to 12 hour drives, 7 is easy breezy.

I started my day with some lemon water and pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt before I left the house. And then I made a large banana smoothie to get me going on my drive.

Spotty Bananas, spinach, ice and water - creamy heaven
Blueberry and raspberry infused lemon water

Hydration! And yes, I do stop to pee A LOT.

Spotty banana and romaine for lunch 
Be sure that your bananas are nice and ripe (but not OVER ripe / black as it starts to ferment) and spotty. Especially if you are high carb/fruit and eating several bananas a day otherwise they will be mostly starch (vs fruit sugar goodness) and constipate you.

Like this

They should peel effortlessly :)

For a snack I had my SunWarrior mixed with Aloe Juice and coconut water. (If you are ordering some SunWarrior be sure to go through my page there is a 10% discount code! ;))


I stayed extra fueled by a variety of tunes like Buddha Bar, Playing for Change, Xavier Rudd, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Ray, Lorde, Blake Shelton, Easton Corbin, Josh Turner, Willie Nelson , Janis Joplin, and of course, Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills & Nash. 

For dinner that night  I stayed fruity with some strawberries, cucumber and green apple that I had already cut up.  


- Ashley 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Crackin' Coconuts with Bodhi Life

Have you ever noticed that kids get excited when you're excited? They often absorb the emotions that are in the room. When their brother or sister is upset, they feel upset - and when they are happy and excited - the other one is generally happy and excited also. This goes for the parents and adults in the children's lives too. Kids rely so much on their adult influences for their likes, dislikes, habits and interests.

What I have noticed is that when kids give that scrunched up 'ew' looking face, it is often before they have tried something AND it is usually because of the way in which the food is being presented.

"Ok, Johnny, now you need to eat this spinach because you need to eat something green and it's good for you. I really need you to AT LEAST try it. Just give it a taste."

Seems harmless right?

Well, they are now looking at that spinach like it's different. Like it's not as tasty. Like it's a chore.

Why not include them in the preparation so that they know all about all the ingredients that they are eating?

Bring up the nutritional facts on your iPad and let them read and learn about the different foods as your making them from the vegetables and herbs to the more desirable fruits and nut butters- allow them to become excited about healthy ingredients all on their own. Soon they will learn that spinach is a powerful antioxidant that includes vitamins C, E, A, manganese and minerals such as zinc and selenium. They'll learn that it also contains vitamin K, calcium and protein - all bone strengthening and muscle building properties. Ya'll remember 'Popeye the Sailor' right? The iconic energetic and muscular sailor dating back to the 1920s was often seen getting the benefits of spinach through his pipe and sometimes eating spinach from a can - well I wouldn't recommend either of those methods - the message was clear even then - eat your spinach to grow big a strong.

Why are we hiding the healthy ingredients? Real whole food IS the source of ingredients. Real whole food is what makes the meals that you and your family consumes. Giving children the opportunity to experience the texture, flavors and benefits of individual ingredients will instill a lasting appreciation for the food whether they acquire a taste for it or not.

Sure there are still going to be foods that they don't like as there are foods that adults aren't too fond of either (like I'm not a HUGE fan of celery by itself) but without a preconditioned judgement - they are free to make that determination after learning about and trying the food.

When we learn - about anything - we generally grow an appreciation for it. Whatever it is. Judgement often comes from ignorance. The same applies to food.

Also know that you can pair healthy ingredients together strategically to make it even more desirable. Spinach and other tender greens go amazing with fruits such as strawberries and spinach or fruit salsas in boats of butter or romaine lettuce. And more dense options like celery and almond butter or dates and dark chocolate. Or simply blend into smoothies. The options are endless.

So, I spent some time at out my brother's house with his beautiful wife and three boys ages 4, 6 and 6 months old. While the 6-month-old didn't partake in the tasting festivities (although he was watching and smiling)- the other two thoroughly enjoyed.

While I was there, there was smoothies with kale (YES!), spinach, avocado and all sorts of fantastic fruits! There was also vegetable saut├ęs, salads and protein additions like sprouted seeds and nuts. One of my favorite nights was when they discovered their love of coconuts and coconut water.

This was an Organic Mature Brown Coconut
To select the coconut, shake it and be sure that you can hear some water and that there is no mold or mildew by the hole/indents. 

If you have drill handy - this is the easiest way to get into the coconut. 

You'll drill into the indent that is darkest in color. In this case, it's the upper right spot.

Gettin' pumped!

You'll want to have a container ready to capture the fresh coconut water.

They were quite excited ;) 
Once the water is drained, you can open the coconut using a very sharp knife, ax or machete. You can also simply crack open the coconut using something like a hammer by first cracking by the first hole and then continue to crack all along the coconut until it cracks apart - there is a natural line that you will be able to see eventually and it will crack along it.


You can watch our intro here

Yes, kids can LOVE coconut water AND they'll tell you about it! (Watch here) ;) 

The coconut meat can be saved and shredded and used in all sorts of things, eaten on its own, strained into milk, or blended into coconut butter or oil.

The possibilities are vast in the world of fresh whole real foods - all found in nature.

So, next time you see a coconut at the store, go ahead and crack it on open with the kid and enjoy some of nature's most hydrating beverage.