Meet the Queen of Alternative Flours, Daniella Hunter. The stunning wellness goddess has made it her mission to make healthy snacks that are gluten, grain and dairy free delicious, and she has more than succeeded. Aside from being the face behind popular eco-resort Sanara in Tulum, Daniella founded The Real Coconut. A snack brand that is gluten, grain and dairy free and totally amazing. Seriously - once you try the sea salt and vinegar chips you’ll never look back! Daniella is now based in LA with her partner in life and business, Charlie Gay. Most recently, she introduced the first-ever plantain flour cookies to the market. (Spoiler - they’re incredibly tasty!) We sat down to chat with Daniella about her inspiration and what she’s most excited for.
Tell us about how you got the idea for The Real Coconut
DANIELLA HUNTER: As a child, I grew up dealing with severe asthma and multiple other health issues. I discovered later in life that my health greatly improved by altering my diet to be gluten, grain and dairy free.
As we were opening our eco-friendly resort, Sanara Tulum, we needed a restaurant to serve our guests and I was convicted in my vision to create a gluten-free restaurant, even though everyone around me said that it wouldn’t be possible in Mexico. We then opened The Real Coconut at the hotel where I served coconut flour chips and tortillas as the basis of the menu, a recipe that I had formulated years before, but only tried out on my family and friends. I definitely underestimated the success of the restaurant as I thought that I could manage by bringing bags of coconut flour in my suitcase each time I traveled or I would ask friends to bring an extra bag of ingredients when they visited. We quickly realized that we would need a significant supply of alternative flour in Mexico!
After opening the restaurant to much success, we recognized the high demand for the coconut flour tortillas and chips, so we decided to bring them to the retail market in the US. Since then, The Real Coconut has grown to include five varieties of coconut flour chips, a 6-inch coconut flour wrap, and, most recently, three flavors of plantain flour cookies.
What's been the best part of building your brand?
D.H: It’s always the people we meet. Our journey through all of our business ventures has brought forward incredible colleagues and team members, many who we now see as family.
What are some of your favorite spots in Tulum?
D.H: I’ve become a bit boring in Tulum and just stay at Sanara and The Real Coconut. As I have a hard time eating at most other restaurants, I get so excited when I go back to Tulum and can eat everything at The Real Coconut!
Favorite healthy spots in LA?
D.H: We actually have some exciting news up our sleeves about a forthcoming restaurant located in Los Angeles, so that will, of course, become my go-to spot! However, when I need fast options, I tend to order from Kreation or Tocaya.
What's your favorite thing about being a female founder?
D.H: It’s certainly an exciting time to be a female founder and entrepreneur! People are recognizing and seeking out women leaders because of the unique ways in which we approach business often from an intuitive angle in addition to our ability to multitask. There is so much that we can bring to the table.
What are you most excited about before the end of the year?
D.H: I’m excited to see the reaction in the market to our plantain flour cookies, which have just launched. We are receiving great initial feedback, so I’m hoping they will be a satisfying, grain-free alternative for many people.
Photography by: Photo: Josh Telles