A Better-Than-Store-Bought Energy Drink Recipe To Refuel In Electrolytes

energy drink, electrolytes, sugar

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A Better-Than-Store-Bought Energy Drink Recipe To Refuel In Electrolytes

Written by: Sarah Lawrence

Summer sun is up and sweat season is in full gear. Happy, healthy, fun in-the-sun days can be accompanied by a real loss of electrolytes for most people, more so for active kids and athletes.

If your go-to rehydrator is an off-the-shelf sports drink, then I hope you’ll spend a few minutes with me so I can hook you up with something better – an easy, tasty, healthy DIY electrolyte replacement drink that will help keep you feeling your best all summer long!  

This recipe does double duty:  bookmark this baby to have it handy whenever sickness strikes. Proper hydration and electrolyte balance is a game changer when you’re fighting off a bug.

What Are Electrolytes?

Let’s tackle this thing before we jump into what to swish in your pitcher. It’s a little sciency, but good to know.

Electrolytes are just substances that produce an electrically conductive solution when dissolved in water. They are essential for life and help regulate fluid balance, nerve and muscle function, heart rate, blood pH, blood pressure and some functions related to healing damaged tissue.

In your body, the key electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and hydrogen phosphate. The “E” team is impressively important!

When To Supplement With Electrolytes  

When you sweat, become dehydrated or are challenged with an imbalance in any electrolyte, you can start to feel a bit off. Supplementing is a quick and easy way to replenish your electrolyte stores.

While proper hydration and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is usually enough to meet your day to day needs, there are times when an electrolyte drink is a better choice.

Reach for an electrolyte drink during times of physical exertion, exercise and illness when you will commonly lose sodium and potassium. One serving is usually enough. Clean, clear water should be your main-squeeze when it comes to hydration.   

The Nitty Gritty – What You Can Buy And How To DIY

Commercial stuff typically contains six major components:

  1. Water (for hydration)
  2. Sugar (for energy/carbs)
  3. Citric acid and sodium citrate (both preservatives)
  4. Salt (for replacement of sodium)
  5. Monopotassium phosphate (form of potassium – an essential electrolyte)
  6. Natural and artificial flavors and artificial food coloring (for flavor and color = YUCK) 

Pediatric formulas will usually also contain zinc. The big problem with the shelf stable products – and why you’ll do better making your own – is that there’s a wicked lot of sugar in the ready made stuff, twice the amount of sugar recommended by the World Health Organization for rehydrating (the low sugar versions are mostly on par with the WHO recommendations).

The high sugar content is supposed to address an athlete’s demands for carbohydrates during and after intense exercise.  But, more sugar isn’t the best way to help your bod.

We know the dangers of excess sugar consumption, so let’s blaze our own healthy path on this one! To restore your “E” Team quickly and efficiently, try this DIY solution and let us know what you think:

DIY Balanced Electrolyte Replenisher
 
Makes 2 quarts or enough for 8 one cup servings
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt (sodium and chloride)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda* (bicarbonate)
  • 4 ½ cups mineral water* (bicarbonate) or tap water (hydration)
  • 3 cups coconut water (magnesium, sodium and potassium)
  • ½ cup lemon juice PLUS 1 tbsp lime juice
  • OR ½ cup orange juice and 2 tbsp lemon juice (potassium)
  • ¼ cup honey* OR ¼ tsp plain liquid stevia
  • OR ⅛ tsp powdered stevia extract (carbohydrate)
Instructions
  1. Mix the salt and baking soda with water until dissolved.
  2. Add the citrus juices and sweetener and stir to combine.
  3. Shake well before serving.

Important Notes:

  • *Omit or reduce baking soda to just a pinch if serving children.
  • *Omit baking soda if you use mineral water, which is already a source of bicarbonate.
  • *Do not use honey for children under the age of 2.
  • Will keep refrigerated for up to one week.
  • Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Add to water or summer drinks for a little boost.
  • Freeze in popsicle molds for a frosty treat to support your body in the heat.  Popsicles are also great to have on hand when sickness strikes. 

Sources:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153188.php

http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~cchieh/cact/c120/electrolyte.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/512753-electrolytes-in-lemons/

http://mgwater.com/bicarb.shtml

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Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence

Certified Holistic Health Nutrition Coach at Sarah Lawrence Health
Sarah Lawrence is a Certified Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition Coach, Speaker and Reiki Master based in Southern NH. Sarah creates lifestyle transformations by coaching her clients to shift from their current habits into healthier ones. Her philosophy is that small changes, over time, can yield big results. By developing a technique that leverages the benefits of whole foods nutritionals, seasonal detoxification, reiki, aromatherapy, meditation and life coaching, Sarah artfully combines her knowledge from years of study in the fields of chemistry, nutrition and energy healing.

Sarah leads clients from frustration due chronic health issues to elation by attaining and sustaining balanced health. Her intuitive style supports true healing on all levels. Sarah studied at Fairfield University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; she is pursuing her Masters in Clinical Nutrition and is dedicated to continuing her studies so she can provide the best support for her clients.
Sarah Lawrence

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