It was about 11am so it was time for a Noni shot on the permaculture farm of Punta Mona, on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.
A few of the long term residents sauntered over to the kitchen, beckoning us newbies with polite but deceptive smiles.
One of them produced a container of a bronze coloured liquid, before explaining the enormous health benefits of this ugly looking fruit we’d seen growing on the trees all over the farm.
Apparently Noni has been consumed for years in its home of South East Asia as it possesses nutrients which can fight against depression, cancer, hypertension and many other ailments. So it’s essentially a medicine growing on a tree.
It wasn’t being consumed, though, by the local ‘Ticos’, including Padi, The President of Punta Mona.
Padi was Punta Mona’s elderly neighbor who believed Noni was
‘…so nasty even the animals don’t eat it.”
But the happy hippies do.
They harvest it, chop it, squeeze it in to containers and let it ferment. Then, when it emits an unholy and putrid smell, they drink it.
One shot every day at the same time. Believing that the regularity of this routine will allow the body to best absorb the fruit’s famous nutrients.
The first time, I tried it without the slightest trepidation.
It was one of many new experiences on this Central American odyssey, and I’d already been seduced by the idyllic beachside paradise of the farm producing organic food prepared with our own bare hands.
But then I tasted Noni.
“EEEEEUUUUURRRGHH, that’s disgusting”
It had to be the single most disgusting thing I had ever tasted.
Give me something to eat, drink, anything…
I grabbed a banana and gulped it down in an attempt to rid myself of this stench in my mouth.
It was horrible.
But it’s good for you. Very good for you, I’d been told.
Anything that tastes this bad has to be good for you.
So, the next day I downed my Noni shot, and the next day, and the next.
The taste never improved but maybe my fortitude did.
I felt healthy. I could feel the Noni lowering my cholesterol and boosting my immune system.
So for the remainder of my stay I presented myself at 11am at the kitchen and steeled myself for my Noni shot. Steeled myself as if I was about to leap off a bridge attached to a bungy rope or enter the ring with a heavyweight boxer.
Then down. In one fast swig. Don’t let it touch the sides. Have a drink or snack on hand to kill the taste.
It’s also supposed to boost one’s memory.
It’s certainly an experience I will never forget.
Image: Rachelle Blake.