Tuesday, January 10, 2017
DIY Electrolyte drink
Gatorade? Powerade? Insert other name brand sports drink here?
Yep, I've consumed these products before; during sporting events and after a bout of stomach illness, because I was told I should. It's all I knew that could replace the lost electrolytes in my body. However, since becoming a Holistic Nutritionist and advocate for health, I have discovered a healthier solution.
First off though, let's begin with electrolytes. What they heck are they?
Electrolytes are, in a brief nutshell, compounds which can conduct electrical currents when dissolved in liquid (blood or water), which is important for the electrical impulses within your muscles, brain, heart and nervous system. Electrolytes are responsible for thinking and movement and everything in between. They consist of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium
What happens when electrolytes are out of balance?
- muscle cramps
- increased blood pressure
- water retention
- kidney failure
- kidney stones
and many more.
How do electrolytes become out of balance?
- kidney disease
- vomiting or diarrhea for prolonged periods
- excess sweating
- taking diuretics
- Ph imbalances in the blood
In my line of work, it would be most common for people to exhibit electrolyte imbalance symptoms through working out and sweating hard without replenishing the imbalances. And I am cautious with clients who have children suffering with excessive diarrhea or vomiting. I wouldn't fill their little bodies with the crap Gatorade has in it, ESPECIALLY when they're sick and their immune system needs as much ammunition as possible.
Next, let's look at what's in these typical sports drinks
Let's pick this apart for a second, just the 4 worst ingredients in this:
1. Liquid Sugar - the second ingredient listed, meaning there is a LOT of it in this drink. Remember way back when I discussed Ensure and the immune system? I stated that a single teaspoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to 6 hours. Enough said.
2. Natural Colours/Flavours
Sports drinks come in a variety of colours, which means more additives. Don't be fooled by the word "natural." Natural means it needs to be sourced from nature, but after that, anything goes, and I suspect many things happen afterward. Flavourings and colourings have known behavioural effects, especially on children.
3. Modified Corn Starch
How many people would assume there is a wheat based ingredient in a sports drink? Probably not those who have sensitivities to gluten and shouldn't be eating it. Modified corn starch is often derived from wheat and/or gluten, to which many people have issues with. I myself try to avoid anything labeled as "modified." This word alone indicates that this food didn't exist in my Grandparent's day and age. Modified corn starch contains about 10% maltodextrin, a common keyword used by industry to hide the presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a known excitotoxin (overexcites the cells to damage or death, which affects brain functioning)
A.K.A. silly putty. You can read more in depth information about this ingredient and it's dangers here. If you aren't interested in reading more, just imagine a substance like silly putty in your body and ask yourself if it belongs there.
So after briefly looking at some of these ingredients, let's check out an alternative. Here's my quick and simple recipe for replacing electrolytes. You can find a few more here, and read more in depth information on the dangers of sports drinks if it's a topic of interest to you.
3 cups water (or better yet coconut water, containing a great balance of electrolytes)
1/2 tsp Natural Calm Magnesium powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp. raw honey
Juice from half a lemon
*Tip - you can make a larger batch and freeze in popsicle molds to give to children when they're sick*
That's it! Quick and simple and your body won't suffer afterward.
Let me know if you try it and what you think!