Daniella Hunter is a holistic food innovator, hotelier, and entrepreneur. Her conscious living brands, The Real Coconut and Sanara Tulum Hotel have received an assortment of impressive accolades. The Real Coconut is expanding into the US with the promise of opening future restaurants, and will also be launching a retail product line that will be available in Whole Foods from January 2017.
Having suffered severe asthma as a child, Daniella was following along a path destined for a lifetime of poor health. Seeking answers for a more vital life, she dove into many different diet and cleansing programs. Left a little less than satisfied, she formulated her own ideology, and The Real Coconut was birthed.
Daniella lives in Tulum with her partner Charlie, two sons, and their dog, Milky. She dedicates her free time to wild bird rehabilitation and the development of the Tulum International School, which provides a passion and inquiry-based curriculum with a foundational philosophy of global awareness and care for the planet.
We caught up with Daniella to ask her what the seven things are that are making her life better right now. This is what she said:
1 | Tulum– We travel a great deal and spend much time in Los Angeles, but Tulum is our home base. Whenever I arrive back, I breathe a sigh of relief. There’s an incredible energy here and the climate and environment is so nurturing for me and my health. Today at Sanara, the beach was a picture-perfect image of paradise with water as flat as a lake, and even though I had a very busy day at the hotel and restaurant, I kept looking out in awe. I even managed to fit a swim in!
2 | Marine Phytoplankton– This is my absolute number one recommendation to anyone who is looking to improve their health. Coined as ‘the basis of all life’, marine phytoplankton is a single cell organism which contains almost every known mineral and vitamin. It’s 100% bio available, which means that it’s directly absorbed into your cells. Phytoplankton is also responsible for up to 50% of the world’s oxygen supply, which makes it pretty significant! I have never been keen on capsule or tablet supplements, favoring a whole food nutrition approach, so phytoplankton fits this criteria perfectly. I take half a teaspoon of powder once or twice a day mixed in cold water with lime juice and a few drops of probiotics which makes it quite palatable. It’s like taking a shot of espresso! I can feel the effects immediately and I’ve found that I have so much more energy, mental clarity, and even wake up earlier without feeling like I need to sleep more. Marine phytoplankton has had limited exposure and is currently very expensive. We are now serving it in The Real Coconut as a shot and will be selling it soon. My aim is to get the pricing lower to make it more accessible to a wider audience.
3 | Plantains– My brand is called The Real Coconut, but it could very well have been called The Real Plantain… although that doesn’t sound quite so appealing! Very few people understand the versatility and health benefits of plantain, as well as the sustainability of the plant as a food source. But we are changing that with a wide variety of recipes and products utilizing plantain. No one believes me when I serve them bread and cookies made exclusively from plantain flour! We also love that we can help to support and uplift a country by releasing our plantain products for retail. Our neighboring country in Mexico is Belize and we are committed to utilizing plantains from the small farmers there, and later on to implement the setup of a processing plant which will supply us with all our plantain flour needs.
4 | Skindiving– I would say freediving, as that sounds cooler and seems to be all the rage now! I used to freedive more back in my scuba diving instructor days in Egypt, but now I just love being underwater with a mask and fins– hanging out with our marine friends without trying to prove anything to anyone! We pop down to Belize from Tulum at least once a month, and the water is just ridiculous. You can be surrounded by friendly nurse sharks one minute, then dolphins, turtles, rays, manatees, and so much more! It’s my happy place.
5 | Writing lists– I think my head would burst if I didn’t write lists! I have tried to go digital with apps like Evernote and Mac’s Notes but always end up back with my trusty notebook! I have a very specific personalized system for how I lay out pages of To Do Items/To Contact/To Meet, etc., sectioned out of my notebook relating to work, home, personal thoughts, and ideas. I’m also really picky about linewidth (I like narrow lines) and margins! I recently purchased a leather notebook holder from Graphic Image with my initials, and now I can just order replacements to slot inside when I move from one to another. It’s relieved my ‘notebook’ panic when I needed to switch from one style to another, or worry about where I would find the next perfect notebook. I also carry a small blank notebook so that I can freeform sketch and lay ideas out visually.
6 | Dirt– I recently read Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe and his philosophy resonated clearly with my own. We should not fear dirt, we should embrace it, in both the literal, and nonliteral interpretations. One of the reasons I love living in Tulum is because how connected with nature my family and I are. I walk barefoot on the beach, touch the sand, swim in the ocean, and appreciate the fact that daily, we are exposed to zillions of beneficial microorganisms just through our lifestyle choices. I try to add as many ‘dirty’ additions to my daily diet as possible, from medicinal mushrooms, to superfoods such as ashwagandha, shilajit, bee pollen, and local raw honey.
7 | Ascended Health Probiotics– Continuing with my love of microbes, Ascended Health’s ProAlive probiotic drops are one of my go-to supplement choices. I met Ascended Health’s creator, the microbiologist Compton Bada Rom around eight years ago and ever since, have been captivated by his passion for sourcing and developing some of the coolest and most innovative products I have ever come across. Compton travels all over the world sourcing microbes and strains of ancient probiotics as well as other super ingredients. Not only do I love his probiotics, but also his incredible OraLive probiotic toothpaste. Basically I can’t get enough of anything he makes!