Whenever something is made for a specialist need or a niche market, you can guarantee it costs more than it needs to and so is the case with sports and energy drinks. What is perhaps more insulting than the over-the-top prices, is that the products aren’t actually doing that much good for you and many contain ingredients you really could do without. Don’t fall for the marketing hype and instead make your own sports and energy drinks.
Apple cider vinegar has many healthy benefits making it one of the perfect ingredients for homemade energy drinks. This one is also really easy to make and provides a nice boost during or after a workout.
• 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 16 ounces of cold water
Tip all ingredients into a bottle and mix.
Yerba maté is a type of tea made from the leaves of a South American tree. Yerba mate contains caffeine and a number of other important nutrients including amino acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. This drink provides a caffeine boost when you don’t want to drink coffee and the mint gives it a nice fresh taste.
• 1 yerba mate tea bag
• 2 green tea bags
• 1½ tbsp sweetener (sugar, honey, agave or stevia to taste)
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 cup boiling water
• Ice cubes
• Fresh mint leaves
In a heatproof container, add the hot water, green tea bags and yerba maté bag. Leave to steep. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bags and squeeze to get all the liquid out. Add the lemon juice and sweetener. Leave to cool. Serve over ice with fresh mint.
Many sports drinks advertise themselves as the perfect post-workout recovery drink. One of the simplest and most readily available is low fat chocolate milk. If you make your own, you can ignore those processed ingredients and additives.
• 1 scoop no-sugar-added chocolate protein powder
• 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
• 12-15 drops stevia
Into a blender tip the soy milk, protein powder and cocoa. Blend for 30 seconds or so, until the mix is smooth. Add 12 drops of stevia, blend for a few seconds and taste. Add more stevia if required. Chill and serve.
At the beginning, I mentioned that homemade energy and sports drinks can save you money. This is not the case with this one because coconut water is not cheap – however, the major benefit of this drink is you know it’s 100% natural. Coconut water is excellent for hydration and a good source of potassium, a mineral that can help with muscle cramps.
• 10 fl oz cold coconut water
• 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
• Pinch unrefined sea salt
Add the honey or maple syrup and salt to the water. Mix and it is ready to drink immediately.
If you want some help in boosting your workout endurance, turn to chia seeds. If this is your first experience of chia seeds, please note that the gelatinous texture of this drink takes a bit of getting used to, but there are so many health benefits of chia, it’s worth persevering. This is best taken half an hour before exercising.
• 1 cup water
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• 2 tsp honey or agave nectar
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix the chia seeds into the water. Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. Add the honey/nectar and lime juice and whisk well. Drink straight away.
Gatorade is one of the world’s most popular sports and energy drinks. You can make your own Gatorade concentrate at home quite easily that enhances your energy and balances your electrolytes.
• ½ cup of your favorite juice
• ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
• 2 tbsp honey
Put all the ingredients in a pan and heat on low. Stir continuously until the honey and salt are dissolved. When the liquid is cooled, pour into a glass container with a screw top lid. A concentrate made with pasteurized juice will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks, unpasteurized for about 4 days. To serve, add 1-2 teaspoons of the concentrate to 8 ounces of water and stir. At this concentration, you can make 2 quarts of Gatorade.Use less if you prefer a stronger taste.
Whatever, water remains the best thing for hydration but drinking it plain can be boring. You can make your own great tasting vitamin water at home. This one is called “B” Water because it delivers a boost of B vitamins: B1 from rosemary; B2 from lemon; B3 from peach; B5 from raspberries; and B6 from pineapple.
• 1 peach
• ½ fresh pineapple
• 1 lemon
• Handful fresh raspberries
• 1 sprig rosemary
Cut the fruit up into pieces of roughly equal size. Put into a large pitcher. Add the rosemary and fill the pitcher with cold water. Put the pitcher in the fridge and leave for 15-24 hours before serving. Will keep for 4-5 days. Ring the changes for each batch between pineapple and watermelon.
Homemade energy and sports drinks are fun and also you have the benefit of knowing exactly what you’ve put into them. It’s a bit more effort than grabbing a drink off the supermarket shelf but so much better for you. What’s you favorite way to rehydrate or get an energy boost?
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