Go Green with Homemade Sports Drinks
By BR Thomas, Guest Contributor
Sports Drinks for Hydration and for Taste.
Most sports drinks in the stores are just empty calories, chemical additives, disposable plastic bottles and unnecessary costs. Some of us are drinking bottled water, but that still has the problems of disposable bottles and costs per gallon greater than that of gasoline! We all need to be well hydrated to keep our bodies functioning properly, but what should we drink to achieve that goal?
Sports drinks provide water, sugar, salt and flavor. Sugar and salt in sports drinks are needed only for intense workouts longer than 1 hour to refuel muscles and to replace salts lost in sweat. Salt helps to stimulate our thirst mechanism to encourage more fluid intake and helps to speed the absorption of water into our tissues. A pleasant flavor also helps to encourage more fluid intake and stimulates pleasure centers in the brain allowing the athlete to exercise harder while feeling a little less fatigued. If your plan is to drink one glass of fruit juice and a few glasses of water per day why not spread out the good taste of the fruit juice into all of those glasses of water to make all of your drinking more enjoyable? Its easier to remember to drink enough fluid every day if you really enjoy the liquids that you are drinking to maintain good hydration. Thus, there are many good reasons for everybody to help avoid dehydration by drinking something more interesting than just plain, old boring water.
Homemade Natural Sports Drinks made with Fruit Juice.
Excellent homemade, healthy sports drinks can be made by dilution of any fruit juice or fruit/vegetable juice blend. Precise dilution is needed because high sugar concentrations slow down the absorption of water into our bodies. My Fruit-Ade natural sports drink recipe shows how to use the sugar content information on any bottled fruit juice for precise dilution of the fruit juice to make a great tasting healthy sports drink. A very small amount of lite salt is added to replace the sodium and potassium electrolytes that athletes lose in their sweat. This provides a light, subtle and refreshing drink that includes the nutrition from the fruit juice and also spreads your fruit juice costs over a much greater volume of hydration drinks. Testing of the homemade Fruit-Ade recipe demonstrated that many different fruit juices taste fine when diluted to make a sports drink. These have become my everyday drinks for before, during and after sports, mealtimes, etc.
Stevia is a natural sweetener & flavor enhancer that can be added whenever the diluted fruit/vegetable juice tastes too bland. It is available in powdered and liquid concentrate forms. Stevia makes the diluted fruit juices taste much better without adding any calories. Lemon & lime juices contain little or no sugar, so stevia-sweetened homemade lemonade and limeade make excellent, no guilt, no calorie drinks for all occasions.
Sports drinks made with tart cherry juice might possibly be useful for reducing muscle soreness after vigorous workouts. Tart cherry juice can be diluted in the Fruit-Ade recipe to provide a great tasting hydration drink to use during your workouts or consumed at full strength as a recovery drink after workouts.
Stay tuned for future posts that will discuss filters for water purification and reusable bottles for transporting homemade sports drinks.
Note: The Succulent Wife is thrilled to feature this article by BR Thomas, an avid outdoorsman and whitewater kayaker. He demystifies for us the properties and benefits of commercial sports drink and makes healthier, more eco-friendly and much less expensive homemade recommendations. Athletes and others in warm climates, listen up…