Interview With Distance Runner Polina Carlson


Ultra Runner & Hawaiian Ola Enthusiast

My goal is to inspire people to keep dreaming,” says Polina Carlson, Hawaii based elite runner.  “If I know that my actions inspire others to dream more, do more, and become more then I’ll be satisfied.” This sentiment is what fundamentally drives Polina to push through her rigorous daily training schedule and continue to take first place in Half Marathons and Marathons worldwide.

Along with her motivation to lead by example in chasing her own dreams, she attributes much of her success to a combination of her health conscious awareness  and nutrient dense diet and her hard work. Hawaiian Ola Noni Energy and Immunity shots have become a staple to support Polina’s early morning workouts as well as to aid her recovery.  

Most recently, the runner and Hawaiian Ola enthusiast dominated in the Tokyo Half-Marathon followed by another victory at the Colvis, CA Half Marathon several weeks later.  She is currently working toward her next race, a full marathon in Sacramento, CA in the beginning of December, where she hopes to continue her first place streak We got a chance to catch up with Polina in Kailua, HI to get some insight on her training and what keeps her mind, body and spirit balanced and strong!

Hawaiian Ola: First of all, we just want to congratulate you on your career thus far in your professional running career! When did you start running. What attracted you to running as opposed to other sports?

Polina Carlson: Oh, Thank you so much! Well, I actually competed for the University of West Alabama in tennis, and it was there that my tennis coach noticed that I outran everyone in running drills, including the members of the men’s tennis team. He encouraged me to work out with the cross-country team to simply “stay in shape” for tennis. Eventually I decided to give up tennis in order to focus solely on my running dreams. I am incredibly blessed to live my dream and train as a professional distance runner. This sport continues to introduce me to new places, new faces and new experiences. Also, to give my all in something that I love is very rewarding. I love this sport because it is not just about winning or losing, it is about the journey. My journey so far has been amazing and I am thankful for how God has provided so many opportunities and supportive family and friends.

HO: Wow! So you have come quite a long way from your tennis running drills! Talk a little bit about running in Hawaii? Why did you choose Hawaii and what makes it a unique place to run/live/train?

PC: I’ve been living in Oahu for over two years.  While here I finished my Master’s degree, competed in cross-country for Hawaii Pacific University, and got married. Living in Hawaii is great! The warm climate allows me to run anytime I want to. It’s perfect for athletes and people who enjoy outdoor activities so I feel like I’ve chosen a right place. There are so many beautiful routes and different terrains, which makes it more exciting. I love the Kailua gravel trail, Tantalus and Manoa routes for my training.

HO: Yes. I bet it makes it a bit easier to train when you have all this beauty around you! From your perspective, how is healthy food intake and running related?

PC: As a professional athlete I choose the food, which is healthy and high in nutrients, because I know that this is my health and it starts with food. I try to eat real food: meat, eggs and lots of fruits and vegetables to get vitamins from natural sources. My lifestyle supports healthy eating and being active; that’s what I promote as a professional athlete. I’m passionate about using organic and healthy ingredients, which helps my body to replenish and recover quicker. After my runs I get incredibly hungry and I always try to look for nutritious food. My breakfast usually consists of Special K with linseeds (a good source of omega-3), strawberries, bananas, a hard-boiled egg, and a sandwich containing salmon and avocado. I’ve learned that eating healthy is a big part of being a professional athlete and I also try to choose food that I really enjoy!

HO: What are your thoughts on the organic food movement?

PC: I was raised on organic foods and try to eat organic whenever possible.  It’s better because it has more nutrients, more vitamins, and no processed chemicals or stuff that is harmful to our bodies. I try to eat locally, as fresh as possible, simple, and low ingredient.

HO: And as an athlete, it is so important for you to get the highest nutrient content out of your intake. At Hawaiian Ola, we focus a lot on putting our values back into our food. What values do you like to see in the food companies (and other companies) you support?

PC: I love supporting local farmers and businesses, and promote healthy living within the local community. I teach other women how to put an end to unhealthy cravings and relationships with food, so it can change their lives for the better. Some of the values that I’d like to see in the food companies are producing food sustainably using organic methods that are good for the environment and making food from scratch.

HO: That is great that you have been able to convey your knowledge on nutrition to a larger population! So, what is your history with Noni? Were you a Noni fan before trying Hawaiian Ola?

PC: Actually, Hawaiian Ola was my introduction to Noni, and I was a huge fan of Ola shots before I became a sponsored athlete by you guys. One of my good friends, who is a competitive triathlete, introduced me to the product as a natural caffeine source. I did some research on the benefits of noni fruit and decided to try it myself and fell in love with the product. I have an active lifestyle with more than two training sessions a day. Hawaiian Ola energy shot is a constant choice for me before my hard morning runs. I also love drinking Ola shots mixed with water during my gym workouts. It helps me sustain my energy and Noni fruit helps my muscles to recover quicker. I love using the product, because Ola shots are a small, handy source of vitamins, which is easy to carry around.  

HO: Definitely! Have you noticed any significant changes in your performance since using Hawaiian Ola products as opposed to other products you’ve used in the past?  

PC: I’ve never tried using other energy drinks in a past because I know that they tend to give a sudden burst of energy followed by a crash. Most of the popular energy drinks are basically just sugary water with some artificial chemicals. Noni energy drink is a healthy option for athletes, because instead combinations of multiple energy-inducing ingredients they use green tea and yerba mate, which are natural energy sources with many other benefits. The Noni fruit helps to speed-up recovery and reduce post-workout soreness!

HO: Well, it’s great to hear that both the Energy and Immunity shots have aided in your training and recovery.  I know you work and train extremely hard to reach your personal goals as an elite runner.  What is your daily regimen, and how many hours/miles do you shoot for daily/weekly?

PC: I usually get up around 5-ish and, after some bread and honey and a drink, head out to start training. I run about 100 miles per week; sometimes I run a little less during the week, but usually only when I taper for a race.On my return home in the morning, I will have run about 10 to 15 miles. After aiding my recovery with compression boots, I have a big mid-morning breakfast. Training is such an integral part of my life that it rarely seems like a chore, and my husband usually runs with me and pushes me during the hard workouts. When my breakfast has gone down, I do a core workout and various exercises to develop strength. After the morning strength/core session, I have a meal. The final run of the day is an easy local one of an hour. The total workout comes to about three to four hours a day. I never eat dinner after 8pm and I’m usually in bed by 9 or half past. I have a rest every eighth day and I take two weeks off at the end of the summer and winter seasons. At first it feels fantastic to be able to relax and sleep in, but within a week I’m itching to get out and run again.

HO: That is a lot of work! I think you are on to something with the well rounded training approach. Any tips for novice runners?

PC: Just enjoy what you do! And don’t give up if you have a failure. Set reasonable goals and work towards them.

HO: Nice. What do you enjoy when you are not running?

PC: Photography is another passion of mine. I love taking photos of the stunning nature and the ocean. I’m also learning Japanese; I’m a huge fan of Japanese culture!

HO: Definitely important to keep those other creative outlets flowing. What inspires you most? What revitalizes you and renews you?

PC: I’m inspired when I hear other runner’s stories of struggle and success. I’m inspired to keep running when I hear the stories about people overcoming serious medical issues, or those with a desire to run but are not physically capable of running.  I feel very fortunate to live in Hawaii and to continuously see, touch, and breathe the many beauties this island has to offer. It makes me feel happy, in harmony with nature, and invigorates my body and soul.

HO: What do you live for/What makes you the happiest?

PC: I believe God made me for a purpose: to shine His light and to bring people closer to Him. And, I am incredibly lucky that I get to do that through running. It makes me extremely happy to be able to train, be coached, and encouraged by my husband, who is also a competitive runner. I’m happy that my husband and I share the same deep passion for running. Besides that simple things make me happy. I love the ocean and find solace in the mountains; I also love traveling and exploring new places.

HO: What impact do you want to leave on the world?

PC: My goal is to inspire people to keep dreaming. If I know that my actions inspire others to dream more, do more, and become more then I’ll be satisfied.

HO: Polina, thank you so much for taking this time to talk with us. It’s been really great to get some insight into your daily life and flourishing running career. One last question. If you had the opportunity to give a piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?

PC: Be grateful in life no matter what. Live in the moment. The more appreciative you are in life, the more present you become.  

Visit Polina on the web and follow her on twitter!

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The Debate Over Pasteurizing Noni Juice

Understanding The Pros & Cons Of Pasteurizing Noni Juice

Noni fruit or Morinda Citrifolia is grown for many applications, including health & wellbeing

Noni fruit or Morinda Citrifolia is grown for many applications, including health & wellbeing

At Hawaiian Ola, we feel honored to share the many healing benefits of Hawaiian noni with the world and will always do our best to ensure that it is prepared thoughtfully and with good intention. Noni is our flagship fruit, the first and main ingredient in both of our products, and is, in many ways, the fruit that originally inspired us to launch Hawaiian Ola. Throughout our journey to fulfill our mission (to expand the demand for organically grown, GMO-free Hawaiian crops) and share noni with the world, we have had to make many difficult decisions along the way, such as whether or not to pasteurize our noni juice.

Why We Pasteurize

Putting Health And Safety First

When making products to share with our ohana, two of our highest considerations will always be health and safety, which is why we take every possible measure to ensure nothing harmful ever ends up in our products. We only source organic because we know pesticides in conventional foods are unsafe. We source GMO-free because we don’t believe untested GMOs belong in our food. And we heed the FDA’s strong recommendation to pasteurize our noni, because it is the best way to ensure Hawaiian Ola is made free of any harmful bacteria or pathogens(1,2).

Sharing Noni With More People

Aside from removing any unwanted bacteria from our noni, two additional benefits to pasteurization are an extended shelf life and the ability ship and store our Noni at room temperature without risk of spoiling. This is important to many consumers for whom the added costs of shipping refrigerated, raw noni are often too much to afford buying it on a regular basis. For these drinkers, pasteurization has made Hawaiian Ola noni easy to enjoy everyday without worry of spoilage or expensive shipping prices.

The Effects Of Pasteurization

Organic Noni Trees On The Big Island Farm

Noni trees thrive in Hawaii’s warm fields of mineral rich lava rock

Noni’s Beneficial Constituents

One of the things that makes noni (Morinda Citrifolia) such an amazing fruit is that it contains an unusually wide variety of beneficial compounds, some of which are known to offer anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and cleansing effects. While some of these compounds may be disturbed by pasteurization, fortunately, most of noni’s beneficial constituents are not. In order to understand why, it helps to think of all of noni’s constituents in two categories: stable, which are less likely to degrade in the presence of air, light, and heat, and unstable or volatile constituents, which are more likely to degrade from the same exposure.

Stable & Volatile Compounds

In the stable category, noni contains an abundance of antioxidants such as aucubin, as well as nutritive constituents like iron, fat, protein, riboflavin, thiamin, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Also stable are compounds such as damnacanthal, a novel anthraquinone that is likely responsible for noni’s cleansing or purgative effects, as well as NoniPPT, which has been shown to play a role in noni’s immunomodulatory effects. In the unstable category, compounds such as Eugenol, Scopoletin, and asperuloside are known antiinflammatories that can be categorized as volatile and are more likely to be impacted by the pasteurization process to some degree(3).

Measuring Positive Effects

While the extent to which both stable and unstable constituents in noni are impacted by pasteurization have never been specifically studied, we know that most of noni’s nutritional constituents are stable and that several studies have shown noni, in its pasteurized form, to be potent and effective in several areas related to human wellbeing. Two examples include a 2006 study that showed a protective effect on hepatic injury (protecting the liver from harmful carcinogens) and also a study where pasteurized noni showed positive results for current smokers by protecting those individuals from oxidative damage induced by cigarette smoke(4,5).

Understanding Heat & Health

The positive results we see in the clinical trials using pasteurized noni could have much to do with noni’s high concentration of stable beneficials, however, the results may also have something to do with a health boosting change that takes place in certain fruits and vegetables when they are heated. Cooking breaks down cell walls and in turn increases the abundance and bio-availability of certain compounds, most notably antioxidants.

Cooked tomatoes, for example, release more lycopene, an antioxidant linked to improved mood, heart protection, and even cancer prevention. Similarly, the antioxidants known to protect your eyes against disease, such as lutein found in corn and spinach, also respond to heat during cooking. A 2003 study that compared the carotenoid content — mainly lutein and zeaxanthin — of corn found that when processed with heat, contained more lutein than the raw form. Legumes appear to respond to heat, too. Boiling peanuts has been shown to boost antioxidant concentration by up to 400% that of raw(6).

Health, Happiness, & Noni Juice

Whether you prefer noni pasteurized or raw, always source your juice from a grower you trust.

Whether you prefer noni pasteurized or raw, always source your juice from a grower you trust.

For many consumers the question of ideal noni preparation is one of ongoing consideration. In the end, our choice to pasteurize was about health, safety, and making Hawaiian Ola noni affordable and accessible to our ohana everywhere. Along the way we learned that noni is packed with an abundance of stable beneficials, which are not likely to be affected by pasteurization. We also learned that pasteurized noni has been shown to positively support liver and lung health in clinical trials and that the heat from pasteurization may even draw out certain nutritional compounds such as antioxidants by breaking down rigid cell walls.

In the end, the consumer choice of what kind of noni to drink is a personal one. Whether you choose to drink noni raw or pasteurized, our advice is to be safe (source your noni from a provider you trust), support growers who cultivate noni organically (pesticides are bad for everyone), and above all enjoy your juice! The way we see it, noni is a pretty special gift from nature and no matter how you prefer it to be prepared, health and happiness are two things you should always get from your noni.

Mahalo for reading. Post your questions and comments below and if you would like to try a free sample of Hawaiian Ola noni, click here to order.

Additional Resources

1. (FDA Regulation)
Pasteurization In the United States, the FDA strongly recommends that all fruit juices be pasteurized. Currently 98% of all juices in the U.S. are pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria that may have grown during the harvesting and bottling process.
2. (FDA Regulation)
Noni: The Complete Guide for Consumers and Growers By Scot C. Nelson, Craig R. Elevitch
Non-pasteurized, bottled noni juice that is sold in the U.S. must be labeled “for external use only” or “for pet use only.”
3. (Constituents Of Noni)
A thorough list of stable and volatile constituents in Noni, including a reference to many of their known effects on the body.
4. (Noni Effects For Smokers)
“The Effects of Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Fruit Juice on Serum Cholesterol and Triglyceride in Current Smokers.” Circulation 113, 301-381 (2006).
5. (Noni Protects The Liver)
Article: Noni juice protects the liver.
Claude J Jensen, Johannes Westendorf, Mian-Ying Wang, David P Wadsworth European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Impact Factor: 1.92). 06/2006 – Source: PubMed
6. (Nutritional Value Of Cooked Foods)
Turn Up the Slow Cooking Heat for Health – Hot Antioxidants

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Essential Vitamins for Energy & Immunity Drinks

Noni Energy And Noni Immunity Shots

The vitamins in your favorite energy & immunity drinks play a big part in how well they work.

These days there are beverages to help you relax, to help you focus, and even to help you digest food better. And for people looking for beverages to provide a little extra energy or a boost to their immune system, the vitamins contained in your beverages of choice might have a significant impact on how well they work. In this post we’ll look at a few vitamins you should look for when choosing the right energy or immune boosting beverage for you. Specifically, we’ll look at B12, one of the best vitamins for energy, we’ll also look at a few immune boosting vitamins such as Zinc and Folate.

Immune Boosting Vitamins – Zinc and Folate

For many nutritionists, zinc is thought of as the most important mineral supplement, as it is so commonly deficient in the average persons diet. Zink is essential to human growth and is a key nutrient in supporting a healthy immune system. Zinc is needed for proper lymphocyte activity, natural killer cell function, and to proper T cell function. Zinc also has an important relationship with the body’s enzyme systems, which contribute to a healthy immune system. The latest research indicates that zinc may even play a role in the production of antibodies, which help defend against unwanted infection.

Getting an adequate amount of zinc from the foods you eat can be difficult, even for people with the healthiest diets. As a nutrient, zinc is just as valuable to the healthy development of growing plants as it is for humans. Like other minerals zinc needs to be abundant in the soil that your food is grown in if the nutrition is going to be passed onto you in the proper amounts. One of the reasons that zinc is so rare has to do with its origins. Fun fact: zinc has never been produced on earth or in even in our solar system; the only known cosmic event powerful enough to produce zinc is a supernova! Next time you’re getting your daily serving of this mineral remember you’re eating the billion year old bits from one of the biggest fireworks shows in the Universe.

Green Curly Kale

Green Curly Kale can be a great source of folate.

Folate, also known as B9 or Folic Acid (as it is called in it’s synthesized form) is a water soluble vitamin found in a variety of foods including: dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, seeds and legumes such as black beans, lentils and edamame (aka: soy beans). Foods that have been fortified with vitamin B9 have been shown to provide positive support for: proper immune response, cognitive health and for nervous system function.

While folate is an important vitamin, our bodies are not able to produce it in any form on our own. Therefor B9 must be replenished on a daily basis through the foods we eat and from healthy supplements. Not feeding the body enough folate can lead to folate deficiency, which can result in the following symptoms: mental confusion, weakness, depressed mood, fatigue and overall tiredness.

The Vitamin for Energy – B12

Person Swinging From A Rope Into The Ocean

High-energy activities are much more fun when you support your body with the right vitamins.

If you’re like so many Americans who have tried everything to increase your energy levels, but still feel depleted, you may be in need of more B12 in your diet. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in your body’s ability to form normal red blood cells, make DNA for new cells, and to convert the food we eat into useful energy. Current research suggests that B12 levels for 15-40% of Americans are less than adequate for optimal health. Not having the proper amount of B12 in your diet is often over looked by people who are seeking ways to boost their energy levels.

So aside from energy levels, why should you be concerned about getting enough B12? The short-term effects of B12 deficiency can lead to: Mood changes, deep fatigue, and dementia-like qualities, which can get in the way of you feeling energized and performing your best. In the long term, a vitamin B12 deficiency that is left unchecked can lead to irreversible nerve damage, which is why it is important to identify as early as possible.

If you think you might not be getting enough B12 here are a few general tell tale symptoms that can result from a deficiency:

• Overall low energy
• Difficulty with concentration
• Mood changes that are unusual
• Trouble with memory
• Numbness or tingling or in feet or hands
• Red, Inflamed, cracked tongue

While the complications related to B12 deficiency can be very serious, increasing your levels can be easy. B12 is naturally found in high concentrations in a variety of foods including, most meats, cheeses, and eggs. If you’re vegan, I’m sorry to say, there aren’t many fruit or vegetable sources with high concentrations of B12. But alas, there are plenty of vegan supplements that are fortified with the all the B12 you’ll need to stay healthy.

Next time you’re shopping for a perfect beverage to increase energy levels or to support for your immune system, remember that the vitamins in your drink of choice might have a big impact in how well it works. If it’s immune boosting vitamins you’re after, look for zinc and folate (B9 or Folic Acid.) and if it’s energy you’re after, you’ll definitely want to see vitamin B12 on the ingredients list. Hawaiian Hawaiian Ola’s Noni Energy shot contains all of your DRV (daily recommended value) for B12. And Hawaiian Ola’s Noni Immunity Shot is fortified with 5mg of zinc and 100% of your DRV for folate. These vitamin fortifications combined with the many benefits of organic Hawaiian noni make Hawaiian Ola noni shots a perfect option for health conscious drinkers looking for healthy ways to stay energized and support the immune system.

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The Modern Supplement Drink

The Modern Supplement Drinker

The modern supplement drinker is looking for less sugar and more plant-based ingredients.

We drink beverages to stay hydrated, for taste and enjoyment, and for some, a few extra calories between meals. So the question is, what’s next? According to beverage trends, people want more healthy function from their beverages. This expanding consumer demand is giving rise to a new kind of functional supplement drink. For some people, the aim is more energy and for others it’s a boost to their immune system. Whatever the function, the new consumer wants options that are aligned with their modern healthy lifestyles.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an entirely new demand, humans have been taking liquid health tonics for thousands of years with the hope that imbibing an elixir might offer some kind of healthy, = benefit. Coke-cola after all was originally thought to cure ills such as: headache, morphine addiction, and neurasthenia.

So what’s new about today’s healthy supplement drinks? Simply put, the definition of “healthy” is evolving and for many of today’s educated consumers, healthy means less sugar and more real ingredients made from natures oldest source of medicine, plants. In this post we’ll share at a few things to look for when shopping for healthy supplement drinks, specifically when you’re looking for supplements to boost immune system function and supplements for energy.

Ingredients to Consider for Immunity

Noni Power

Ingredients like Noni fruit (aka: morinda citrifolia) are packed with valuable nutrition

In Hawaii, the Noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia) has been used as a traditional folk medicine for over a thousand years. Only over the last fifty years however has modern science begun to explore how noni might actually be able to naturally boost immunity. While western science catches up to indigenous Hawaiian knowledge by quantifying Noni’s many health benefits, modern Hawaiians continue to use traditionally prepared noni juice as a natural medicine to ward off unwanted illness.

Sugar Sense

Too much sugar can be tough on your immune system.

Hawaiian Ola Noni Immunity contains no added sugars. Consuming too much sugar has been shown to suppress immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. According to web MD “Consuming as little as 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria. This effect is seen for at least a few hours after consuming a sugary drink.” If you’re looking for immune boosting supplements, find an option with no added sugar, as a sugary option could further tax your natural immune response.

Healthy Energy from comes from Healthy Plants

At Hawaiian Ola we believe the best energy supplement you can take is one that is energized with organically grown plants. Hawaiian Ola Noni Energy is caffeinated with a blend of two caffeine sources: Organic Yerba Mate and Organic Green Tea. The benefits of using these plant based caffeine sources over isolated, synthetics are that they contain certain vitamins and phytonutrients that are found almost exclusively in plant based caffeine. The difference reported by users is that caffeine from plants provides a calm, gradual lift that lacks the sharp ups and crashes associated with beverages caffeinated with synthetics. Learn more about the difference.

Green Tea Power Plant

Green Tea is a great example of a powerful, plant-based energy source.

Some products attempt to appear healthy by calling themselves “natural energy supplements” while using synthetic caffeine for energy. Here’s a tip that’ll help you spot the difference between plant based and synthetic caffeine sources. Caffeine that comes from plants will typically be listed on an ingredients panel by the name of the plant from which it was derived (green tea for example). Synthetics on the other hand will not list a plant name, rather they will list the name of the compound or chemical used to caffeinate the beverage (caffeine or gurana for example).

If you are one of the many new consumers looking for natural supplements that meet your modern standard for healthy living, remember these tips at the super market: Hawaiian noni has been used as a natural immune booster for over a thousand years, with sugar less is truly more, natural caffeine comes from plants not industrial labs, and spotting synthetics is easy if you’re a label reader that knows what to look for.

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The Rise of the Health Drink

Organic Noni Immunity Bottle

Noni Immunity contains no added sugar, is certified organic, and is packaged BPA-Free.

Today, the number one source of calories in the United States is soda; even large-scale producers of bottled water are adding things like sugar and salt to their products. Over the last several decades the market for beverages has grown and matured a great deal—and similarly, the consumers that drive the demand for beverages is maturing as well. The popularity of drink options that contain less (or no) sweetener and real ingredients over ingredient flavoring are on the rise.

Label readers are on the lookout for things like preservatives, dyes, and GMO ingredients. In short, consumers are moving towards health drinks. At Hawaiian Ola we’re committed to giving health conscious consumers who are looking for healthy energy supplements a product that they can trust. In this post we’ll look at three things Hawaiian Ola is doing to stay ahead of the health curve by being certified USDA organic, not selling sugar water, and packaging Hawaiian Ola BPA-free.

Certified organic by the USDA

Certified Organic

Products certified organic by the USDA are grown without the use of conventional pesticides.

Being certified organic is important to Hawaiian Ola because the USDA seal of organic authenticity is a way to quickly convey three important things about our products to consumers. In order for a health supplement to be certified as organic by the USDA, products must adhere to three important standards: 1) raw ingredients must be grown from non genetically modified (GMO-Free) plants, 2) crops must be farmed without using any harmful pesticides and, 3) plants used in organic products must be grown without using any synthetic fertilizers.

Enough with the sugar water

Just one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by in men 25%—even more, young people who consume extra sugary drinks on a daily basis increase their risk of obesity by 60%. In the US, Less than 1% of all energy drinks are made from organic ingredients and of the few energy products that are organic, most share the same main ingredients: water and sugar. For many consumers (especially avid label readers) who are looking for healthy energy drinks, the options can seem limited. When we created Hawaiian Ola Noni Energy and Noni Immunity we set out to make a genuinely healthy product that we could feel good about sharing with our friends and family. Hawaiian Ola is made from healthy juices like organic noni (our first ingredient), organic mango, passion fruit, acai, and goji juices, just to list a few.

BPA-free for you and for me

BPA Free Packaging

Products packaged in containers that are BPA-free are better for you.

BPA is an acronym for an industrial chemical that has been used to make plastics for decades. BPA is commonly found in containers used to store foods, health supplements, and beverages. Research has shown that, in some cases BPA can leak from BPA containers into the food being stored within them. Exposure to BPA can be cause for concern because the possible health effects related BPA exposure could negatively effect: behavior, the prostate gland of fetuses, infants, children, and the brain.

Health supplements like Hawaiian Ola represent a new breed of emerging products that are focused on giving consumers who are looking for healthy supplement options something that fits their modern and informed definition of a health drink. Next time you are out shopping for a health supplement to up your energy levels or boost your immune system, look for health drink options that are organic, packaged BPA free, and made from real ingredients and not sugar water.

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Boost Your Energy Naturally

Plant-Based Foods That Boost Energy Naturally

Hawaiian Gardener At Kona Hawk Farms

Farm fresh vegetables are a perfect source of clean energy.

These days almost everyone could use a little more energy, and for those of us looking for an energy boost that is natural, finding an option that works and is healthy can be difficult. Less than 1% of all energy drinks are organic and of the few that are, many of their ingredient labels begin with water and sweetener. Hawaiian Ola is a natural energy booster that is caffeinated with organic yerba mate and green tea and is flavored with real ingredients (Hawaiian Ola’s first ingredients are 100% organic fruit juice).

As eating healthy continues to become more popular, we think people are going to continue to look for healthy options like Hawaiian Ola to perk up in place of the high-octane, sugary options that may not be so healthy. In this article we will look at several popular natural energy boosters that (like Hawaiian Ola Noni Energy) can help consumers feel more energy without compromising their health goals.

Banana & Coconut Are Your Friends

Hawaiian Grown Bananas

Organically grown Hawaiian bananas are a great source of potassium. Yum!

The Oil in coconuts mainly consists of a very specific kind of medium chain triglyceride, which is a kind of fat that is turned into energy quickly and efficiently. Eating these types of oils can prevent you from feeling slow and tired throughout course of your day.

Bananas are a great energy food because they contain a variety of sugars (fructose, sucrose, and glucose) and healthy fiber. For a great anytime snack, pair a banana with your favorite nut butter (my favorite is sunflower butter) and the rest is nom. This healthy bite will provide an extra boost of energy that will keep you going between meals.

Stay Strong With Kale & Spinach

Healthy Greens

Getting enough leafy greens in your diet is essential for balanced health and well being.

Truly a super-food, Kale is high in minerals and vitamins, and can be a great way to boost energy levels while also being daily source for calcium! If you’re a smoothie person, blend with your favorite fruits and vegetables and enjoy spinach raw. If you prefer your kale to be cooked, be sure to cook it thoroughly and consider adding some oil and vinegar. This extra processing will add flavor and help break the kale down so that you get all of kale’s nutritional value (minerals and vitamins) by making it easy to digest and be absorbed in the body.

Did you know that a single cup on spinach contains sixty-five percent of your daily value (DV) for Folate and more than twenty percent of your DV for vitamin B6! Spinach can also be great source for Iron, which is an important mineral for producing energy in the body. If you’re one of the many people who consistently experience a feeling of energy loss in the middle of the day, try having a spinach salad for lunch, it’s a great way to avoid the afternoon energy dip.

Go Nuts With Cashews & Almonds

Drying Macadamia Nuts

We didn’t have any photos of almonds or cashews. These Hawaiian Mac nuts will have to do. :)

Ever wonder, why so many trail mix blends include cashews—it’s not an accident. For one, cashews are one of the least fatty nuts available. They’re antioxidant rich (which is great for your heart) and also contain valuable omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Since cashews are loaded with important minerals such as, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron, they’ll help keep your energy levels up during a variety of physical activities.

This amazing nut has been praised for health benefits such as reducing your risk of heart attack, alkalizing the body and promoting healthy brain function. Almonds contain high amounts of riboflavin, copper, manganese and protein. Minerals such as manganese and copper play an important role in the healthy flow of energy in the body they also play a role in helping bodies neutralize certain cellular toxins.

The next time you’re looking for a healthy boost, go for a healthy option like Noni Energy, or fruits like coconuts and bananas, or greens like kale and spinach, or nuts like almonds or cashews. The energy from these kinds of sources will give you the immediate energy you’re looking for now while supporting your body nutritionally throughout the day.

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Jason Lester’s Run-to-Rebuild Transcontinental Adventure

The Adventure Begins – May 5th 2013

Jason Lester Running

Jason Lester is running from California to New York in order raise money for building homes

At 9AM this morning, Hawaiian Ola sponsored Ultra-Endurance Athlete Jason Lester embarked on an epic journey—a 3,100-mile transatlantic run across America. The journey began at San Francisco’s city hall and will end in New York City New York. In collaboration with Waves for Water (W4W), which supports neighborhoods and communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy, Jason and sponsors like Hawaiian Ola are working to meet a noble goal.

The aim is to raise $20,000, which will rebuild a home for one family, giving them a restorative step forward toward the future. The ultimate goal? To raise as much money as possible to help many families rebuild their homes. As Jason crosses the United States, Hawaiian Ola will be following his progress closely and sending him plenty of Noni Energy along the way. Jason’s end goal will be to reach New York City NY. Go Jason!

Donate | Learn | Follow

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Natural & Synthetic Caffeine

understanding the difference

Everyday, millions of people take part in a beloved daily ritual. For some, it’s starting the morning with a fresh cup of coffee, for others it’s a steamy gourd of Yerba Mate. What they have in common is something that’s made them the most popular drinks on the planet—caffeine. To many consumers, caffeine is caffeine, but to a growing number of people, the difference between synthetic and naturally derived sources is an important distinction. For these drinkers, taking a closer look into the ways caffeine-containing products are made tells an important story about how they affect our bodies.

Today there’s no shortage of new research on the positive benefits of naturally caffeinated drinks. In men, coffee has been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer and in women, lower the effects of depression. Similarly, the leaves of the tea plant have been found to contain potent, naturally occurring antioxidants, which are powerful agents in the prevention of disorders such as Alzheimer’s. But these and other benefits are associated with caffeine sources harvested from natural plants. What about the synthetic caffeine found in sodas, popular energy drinks, and sweets? What sort of effects do they have on our bodies?

To understand how synthetic caffeine interacts with the body, it’s important to know how it’s made. The process takes place in a lab or a factory and involves the chemical synthesis of urea, which is exposed to a variety of harsh chemicals such as methyl chloride and ethyl acetate. When the process is complete the caffeine created is a very pure isolate that is highly concentrated. Caffeine made in this way is absorbed and processed quickly in the digestive system, which is why consuming products containing synthetic caffeine generally results in a very sharp increase in energy and the all-to-common “crash” reported by so many drinkers.

Natural caffeine on the other hand is made by unique, caffeine producing members of the plant kingdom. Currently, we know of around 60 species that have evolved this trait. When these plants are harvested for consumption, the caffeine present isn’t all that different from its synthetic counterpart. What makes it unique is the additional presence of plant-based vitamins and nutrients found alongside the caffeine. These companion compounds help balance out the caffeine’s effects. Additionally, natural forms of caffeine are far less concentrated than isolated synthetics. The result is a more balanced experience where users report a pleasant lift, sustained energy, and a gradual descent from the caffeine’s effects.

The way we see it, clean energy comes from healthy plants, which is why Hawaiian Ola is naturally caffeinated with Organic Yerba Mate and Green Tea. These plants have been used throughout Asia and Central America as healthy caffeine sources for many generations. We choose to source organic to ensure the plants we use are grown without any harmful pesticides, GMO’s, or non-organic fertilizers. Next time you’re out shopping for a healthy buzz, remember that not all caffeine sources are the same; synthetic and natural caffeine products can have very different effects on our bodies. If you have a preference and aren’t sure how to distinguish between the two, keep this in mind: if a product’s ingredients list includes the word “caffeine,” it’s synthetic—if you see the name of a caffeine producing plant such as Green Tea or Yerba Mate then it’s natural.


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Interview With MMA Athlete Collin Hart


Running into Collin like we did, in sandals, a tie-dye tee, and shopping at a vegetarian coop market—your first impression would probably not be that he was a professional MMA athlete. Ola had just launched our Organic, Noni energy shot and was doing in-store samplings when Collin first approached our demo team. He had questions about Noni and its anti-inflammatory effects. He told us a little about his work as an MMA athlete and left with a case of Ola and some Ola schwag.

A month later, Ola’s CEO Brett was getting to know some of our new retailers by dropping in on sampling events to say aloha and show his support. Collin was shopping for healthy snacks and Brett asked if he’d like to try a sample. Collin said he’d tried it and was already a fan—“I buy a shot pretty much everyday.” Collin shared his work in MMA and his relationship with healthy foods. “Awesome!” Brett was stoked and offered him an Ola shirt—Collin opened his hoodie and was already wearing one.

A few weeks later Collin was nice enough sit down with us for an interview at Community Market—the vegetarian grocery where we had originally met. He shared his thoughts on why healthy eating was important to him, his background as an MMA athlete and offered a few tips to average people trying to stay fit.

Hawaiian Ola: So, how did you get started as an MMA Athlete?

Collin Hart: That’s actually a tough question. I guess MMA started with me in high school with back yard wrestling—I didn’t really get into wrestling for competition until I was a senior in high school though. Once that was over, I wanted to continue, so I started training at a gym. I found Dave Tyrell, started training with him. He got me into some amateur fights, I started wrestling for the Junior College—took a couple years to do that, and now I’m back fighting, I love it, it’s great.

Hawaiian Ola: How long have you been working as a professional in the MMA world?

Collin Hart: Well I started training about five years ago when I was seventeen, I started fighting about six months later. Got into amateur cage fighting when I was eighteen, and went pro when I was nineteen. Really, it’s just been escalating ever since.

Hawaiian Ola: What is your workout routine like—do you divide it by season? How do you organize your training habits?

Collin Hart: Throughout the year, if I don’t have a fight coming up, I train once a day, five days a week. I eat pretty healthy, I’m not too strict about it but a couple months before a fight, I’ll start eating better. I’ll make sure I get at least one to two sweet potatoes a day. I’ve recently started eating ten raw eggs a day—all the vegetables and superfruits I can get. I’ll train twice a day six days a week—try to push it hard, focus on conditioning, focus on cleaning out my system and removing toxins.

Hawaiian Ola: I feel you on the veggies and superfruits—ten raw eggs though! That’s bold. So what about your twice-a-day workouts, what are they like?

Collin Hart: In my morning workouts, it’s usually more simple. It might just be a run or putting on the boxing gloves and hitting mitts. At night it’s usually more intense. I’ll put on the MMA gloves and do some MMA rounds. Switch out a new, fresh partner every round. There’ll usually be three to five of them. There’s also some Jujutsu and a lot of rolling. I don’t really lift a lot of weights, actually, I haven’t touched a weight all year—it’s mainly a lot of cardio.

Hawaiian Ola: So for the average person, the workout you’re describing is probably a little more intense than what they’ll get at their local 24hr. What are some simple tips you would offer to people that are training but maybe not at such an intense level.

Collin Hart: I think different tips might work differently for each individual. For me, I’m just afraid of getting my face smashed in front of my mom. So I use that fear as drive to push hard, and not to fail and to do the best I can.

Hawaiian Ola: Ha! Not the response I was anticipating. Staying fit for mom—couldn’t think of better motivational tip. So changing gears here. I’d like to ask you about your thoughts on popular energy drinks. It seems like sugary energy drinks are popular in marketing throughout the MMA world. Are they something you drink—where do you think their place is in an athlete’s diet?

Collin Hart: Well, before my fights I stay away from anything like that and I cut out high sugar drinks completely.

Hawaiian Ola: We met here at Community Market; what makes this place unique, and why is it where you choose to buy groceries? What’s the difference for you between Community Market and a non-organic market?

Collin Hart: I like Community Market because I almost feel like I don’t even have to look at the labels on things, I trust what’s here, I know it’s good for me. I could almost shop blindfolded. It’s convenient because I live just a few blocks away. I walk here and it’s become a ritual. I come here, get a carton of eggs, some coconut water, some kombucha. It’s great.

Hawaiian Ola: Ok, so nutrition, healthy food—can you talk a little about why these are important to you.

Collin Hart: Well, I never really thought nutrition was that important when I was younger. I thought I could just get away with working out hard and I’d be able to eat what I want. But once I finally got into it, I started eating healthier—I see the results and now I can’t go back. I have a two and a half mile uphill run that I always do every Saturday. Since I’ve started eating healthier I’ve shaved about two minutes off of it. It’s my fuel—you put premium in a Ferrari ☺ I like to be a Ferrari.

Hawaiian Ola: So you’ve mentioned superfruits and sweet potatoes. Are there any specific health benefits that come from eating food like these?

Collin Hart: Well, superfoods are really my form of steroids. My sweet potatoes are a testosterone booster. Goji berries, they have HGH. I love Noni Juice because it’s a great anti-inflammatory. It’s something I didn’t really know about until I found Hawaiian Ola. There’s no side effects—I’m just eating food. So I try to get all the superfoods I can—the more the better; sometimes it can be expensive but it’s important to me.

Hawaiian Ola: What about vitamins and supplements?

Collin Hart: I don’t really take any vitamins. I try to get my nutrients more naturally through whole foods, salads, and things like that. Sometimes if I think I’m getting sick I might some vitamin C, but other than that I just try to eat healthy.

Hawaiian Ola: All right, so you know where this is going. ☺ I’ve gotta ask you about Hawaiian Ola. Why this energy shot? How does it work for you as an MMA fighter?

Collin Hart: Honestly, I love Hawaiian Ola. I hurt my rib about…probably just a few weeks before I found Ola and it healed amazingly fast. I’ve had rib injuries before; they usually take about six weeks. I was back in the game after a just a couple this time. The Goji is awesome. The anti-inflammatory is great. I love the energy. Helps me push my self in workouts. I wake up to it every morning—drink it before I’m even out of bed. It gets me up. I’m not much of a morning person, so it definitely helps. I’m not the person who’ll get up to make coffee—it’s nice to just have it right on my night stand.

Hawaiian Ola: Last question, we’ve talked about healthy food and organics. This year there has been a lot of controversy surrounding GMO food and whether or not it should be labeled. What are your thoughts on this?

Collin Hart: The way I see it—if GMO foods are safe and healthy there shouldn’t really be a problem with putting a label on them. There’s no reason to be changing our food, I think Non-GMO food is great…. and if you want to change it, that’s fine. If you want to make cheaper food to feed more people, I understand, but at least tell them what you’re selling them. It doesn’t seem like too big of a deal to do that.

For someone to be against labeling my food, that’s…I feel like they might as well kick a spoon out of my hand—I don’t like people messing with my food. I just want to know what I’m eating, because as an athlete, what I’m putting into my body is important. I’m young. I have a long career ahead of me, so I cant really afford to take the risk of being a test rat.


On January 9th UFC officials released the names of the 28 middleweights who will compete on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17—Collin is one of them. We’ll be watching on the edge of our seats as the season unfolds. The show kicks off Tuesday, Jan. 22, on FX. Congratulations Collin!

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7 Reasons to vote YES on 37!

The Opposition
Monsanto, DuPont, & Pepsi Co. are behind a campaign against Proposition 37 that has spent over 47 MILLION dollars (over 1 Million per day recently) to keep the bill from passing. Consumer Advocates say that “No on 37” proponents have used many of the same tactics used by big tobacco this summer in a campaign to defeat Proposition 29 requiring an additional tax on cigarettes to fund research into related cancers. Their strategy was to spend a lot of money flooding TV and radio waves with campaign messaging to vote it down—and they won.

No Sales Ban
Despite the claims from the opposition that 37 will “ban the sale of thousands of groceries”, the fact is it wouldn’t. The only change would be a packaging requirement labeling GM products with the phrase “partially produced with genetic engineering” anywhere on the back or front of the packages.

No Price Hikes
An economic study on Proposition 37 conducted by Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., a tenured professor at Emory University School of Law, found that “Consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required.” “California consumers know that putting a little ink on a label is not going to change food prices,” said Stacy Malkan, Media Director of California Right to Know.

Friends & Profits
In the US, corporations are considered people in the eyes of the law. The question is what kind of people are Monsanto, DuPont, and Pepsi Co? Would they look out for your best health interests when making decisions about labeling your food—or is there a chance that their campaign to keep GM food unlabeled could have anything to do with generating profits or minding the best interests of their shareholders?

In 2009 a CBS poll found that 53% of Americans would not buy food that was genetically modified. In recent polls 90% of Americans would like to see GMO products labeled. Currently 94% of all soy products, 72% of all corn products, and 80% of all pre-packaged foods contain genetically modified material.

In 61 other countries including Japan, Australia, and Switzerland governments have already passed laws requiring GMO labeling. Yet in the United States, Congress has never even held a vote on the issue to give shoppers the opportunity to exercise their most basic right – to choose.

Make History
Passing 37 would be a landmark win for advocates of food transparency. If California passed a GMO labeling bill it would make history by setting a president as the first US state to require labeling laws for GM food which could lead the way for other states and even national policy changes.

Today you have the chance to make a difference. By voting yes on 37 you’ll be supporting food transparency and standing up for your right to know what’s in your food. Large food and chemical companies selling sugar water and pesticides would tell you to vote no—however, proponents of Yes on 37 such as the Center for Food Safety, Organic Consumers Association, and American Public Health Association do not stand to make a profit from your vote, they are simply concerned citizens like you that believe we should have the right to know what we’re eating.

Let’s make history today! Learn more at California Right to Know & Vote!

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