Who here has downed an entire bottle of Gatorade, vitamin water or lemonade after spending an afternoon in the sun, especially right after a bike ride, playing sports or a long run? *Raises hand* It would be crazy not to, right?
The reason we reach for these drinks instead of plain old water isn’t just because of taste, it’s because our bodies actually crave natural electrolytes after we’ve been physically active. Electrolytes, also known as mineral salts, are minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium that help conduct electrical impulses in the body. If you’re low on electrolytes, your heart, muscles and nervous system just won’t operate properly i.e. when you start feeling faint and get muscle cramps!
Now when it comes to the beverage of choice, there’s two main reasons you’re way better off making a homemade energy drink: a) it’s way cheaper; b) it’s dead simple; and c) it’s much healthier than drinking Gatorade or Vitamin Water, which are high in added sugar (for example, Gatorade has 21g per serving, or 5 teaspoons), contain artificial flavours and artificial colours as well. (Seriously, why does a drink need to be electric blue?)
Plus, it’s not even difficult to get the same amount of electrolytes that are found in these drinks! To paint a picture for you, Gatorade offers up 160 mg of sodium per serving and 45 mg of potassium. That amount is not hard to get using staples in your kitchen. Below is a simple homemade gatorade recipe that will give you the same amount of sodium and potassium.
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1/2 or 1 lemon, squeezed (1 mg sodium, 58 mg potassium, or 2 mg sodium, 116 mg potassium)
- 1/8 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt (~250 mg of sodium)
- 2 tsp of honey or maple syrup, or to taste
- A sprig or two of mint (optional)
- Mix it altogether in a sports bottle, give it a shake
- Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to chug it back!
Note: in case you’re wondering why I don’t include coconut water in this recipe, it’s because I want to keep the sugar content as low as possible! If you’d like, you can swap out a cup of water for coconut water, and then omit the sweetener.