Do you know that I drank at least a bottle of lemon lime gatorade everyday of the last month of my second pregnancy? And probably every day for the next month after bringing Charlie home? I had long since cut out Diet Coke (and all other soda), didn’t drink much coffee, and thought this Lemon Lime ‘sports drink’ was a relatively healthy alternative. Do you know how sick of water I was?!?! I even demanded several bottles of it immediately after giving birth.
Now I realize that that ‘healthy’ alternative really wasn’t much better than a sugary soft drink. Sorry for that, Charlie. And what I wish I would have realized is how easy it is to make your own Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drink with all natural ingredients! Awesome for hydrating in the mornings, chugging post workout, or just when you’re sick of plain water!
My three boys even like it (although they do claim to still prefer the store bought gatorade … I think it’s a peer pressure kinda thing).
Let’s look at what regular gatorade contains:
A few concerns about these ingredients:
- Sugar: Gatorade does contain quite a bit of sugar. In a 12 oz serving, there are 21 grams of sugar (but in a regular 32 oz bottle … that jumps to 56 grams!). Less than soda, but lots of empty calories.
- Yellow 6: An artificial color that creates a ‘sunset yellow’ color in foods and drinks (our gatorade above was Orange flavored). This is, by far, the most concerning ingredient to me. This artificial colorant, and several of the others, may be linked to hyperactivity in children, and ADHD. While it is approved by the FDA for consumption in the US, it is banned in some of Europe and in other places anything containing this ingredient must carry a warning label that it may create adverse effects on “activity and attention in children.” It provides no health benefit and it’s sole purpose is to make your drink ‘look more appealing.’ These artificial colorants are in so many ‘food’ products that I feel like my kids are being bombarded by these!
- Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate: An emulsifier that helps keep the other ingredients from separating in your drink. It is considered safe for humans in limited quantities, but studies in dogs have indicated enlarged livers as a result.
- Monopotassium Phosphate: It is also known as a fertilizer and fungicide and is a questionable ingredient.
So let’s get back to why people are drawn to Gatorade or other similar sports drinks. The first reason that comes to mind is for hydration during and after sports or after a bout with the stomach flu. The second reason I hear the most (especially from parents) …. it that it’s “better than soda”. The second reason may be valid to some degree … a can of Coke has 39(!!) grams of sugar in a 12 oz can (18 grams more than 12 oz of Gatorade). If you are drinking more of the Gatorade, however, because it comes in a larger bottle, or because you think it’s better for you … you’re right there with straight up soda. Would you feel good about your kids chugging a can of Coke right after their sports practice?
Let’s break down the second reason people drink Gatorade (or other similar sports drinks). The goal: to hydrate and replenish electrolytes after exercise. Alright … so what exactly are electrolytes? They basically are a substance that carries a charge in our bodies are are essential for life and normal human functioning. They regulate nerve and muscle function, our bodies hydration, blood pH, our blood pressure, and rebuilding of damaged tissue. Good things, right? In our bodies, these electrolytes include Sodium, Calcium, Bicarbonate, magnesium, Chloride, Hydrogen Phosphate. When we exercise and sweat we lose mainly sodium (salt) and some potassium.
So, how about we make a drink with those good-for-your-body ingredients without the refined, processed sugar, chemicals, and artificial colorants?!
Here’s the recipe:
- 12 oz of Coconut Water
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- Juice from 1 Lime
- ½ teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt
- ½ tablespoon of Raw Honey
- Combine all ingredients and stir vigorously. If you have a container with a lid ... use that and shake to combine ingredients and dissolve salt and honey into water.
- *Great to double or triple the recipe to have some on hand as needed!
We make this in big jugs, separate into smaller to-go containers and store in the fridge. Easy for the boys to grab a bottle to go!
So … now let’s talk about the ingredients in this homemade, healthy version of ‘Gatorade’:
First up … Coconut Water:
- Coconut water is often referred to as ‘Nature’s Gatorade’. Just what we’re going for here, right? It’s packed full of potassium and is a wonderful ‘natural hydrator’.
- This is a great brand available through Amazon.
Next … Himalayan Pink Salt:
You can buy this at most grocery stores (or on amazon HERE) and will replace the sodium that you lose when you sweat or when you have the flu. This Himalayan Pink Salt also has a ton of other benefits like:
- Contains 80+ minerals that are easily absorbed into our cells.
- Balances electrolytes in our body
- Increases hydration
- Balances pH
- Prevents muscle cramping
- Strengthens bones
- Helps your body and intestines better absorb nutrients
- Even possibly helps detoxifies the body from heavy metals.
If you don’t have Himalayan salt on hand, an alternative could be natural sea salt. Just try to avoid table salt. Most table salt has been striped of all it’s minerals (besides sodium and chloride), bleached, and chemically cleaned. Often, it also has an anti-caking agent added that can cause build up in our bodies leading to an array of health problems. Not what we’re going for here, people!!!
Fresh juice from lemon and limes:
- Contains vitamins, enzymes, and easily digestible sugars that your body can use for energy and recovery.
- The vitamin C rejuvenates your skin from the inside out!
- The citric acid is highly electrically active, and the water helps deliver the electrolytes directly to your cells.
Raw Honey (sweetens your drink, plus has some other benefits):
- Rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids.
- Also rich in easily digestible sugars your body can use for energy.
- Contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that help protect your cells from damage.
Just make sure to get RAW honey. Commercial honey has usually been heavily processed, and chemically treated. It has also been heated which destroys many of the beneficial natural vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
All that good stuff … none of the bad stuff. Feel good about your kids drinking this up!