Let’s face it – Gatorade (and Powerade, etc…) is one of the worst things you could possibly put in your body. It’s made up of mostly chemically treated & refined sugar (as much as a typical soda), artificial colors, and other ingredients that are dreadful for your body.
One of the worst ingredients is Brominated Vegetable Oil which is added to some flavors to keep the drink from getting cloudy and the artificial flavor suspended in the drink. This controversial substance is linked to serious health consequences like skin rashes, severe acne and thyroid disease and is banned in Europe and Japan! (Update: Gatorade recently decided to phase out this ingredient due to a recent successful petition, but Powerade still contains it)
The new natural version of Gatorade still has chemically processed refined sugars and questionable natural flavor to cover up the fact there is absolutely no fruit juice in this drink to make their fruity flavors. To think athletes and exercise enthusiasts have started drinking this makes me sad.
Even more upsetting, my parents (sorry Mom and Dad!), not knowing any better at the time used to serve me Gatorade to make sure I was hydrated anytime I was under the weather. It was the remedy of choice for hydration in my household growing up…I remember orange was my favorite flavor and is the worst one for you.
Gatorade does do one thing. It replaces electrolytes. But what is the big secret behind the ingredients that do this? To replace electrolytes you don’t need some tricky formula, man made chemicals, refined sugars or colors. All you need is simple real food sources that provide a few key minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium and magnesium.
Here are 4 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally and give your body some serious nutrition at the same time. Remember to choose organic ingredients whenever possible.
- Juice Celery + Apple + Lemon - This juice combination works wonders for replacement of electrolytes. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit.
- Stir Sea Salt + Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Maple Syrup into 8 ounces of Water – This is a great natural remedy for serious endurance athletes – You might think drinking baking soda is a little weird, but it’s been used for centuries to treat various aliments. In this case, it’s added to the mix because it makes the body less acidic and provides an additional source of sodium bicarbonate.
- Shake Raw Coconut Water + Chia Seeds - Raw coconut water has a ton of electrolytes and potassium that will not only help you stay hydrated but also keep your body from getting any cramps. It is completely natural and very low in sugar. Combine this with a packet of chia seeds and you have a 1-2 punch! Chia seeds are an incredible energy food – full of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber. These seeds have the ability to keep you from getting dehydrated because of they can hold 9 times their weight in water! There are travel packs available that don’t need refrigeration either – perfect for just throwing in your gym bag or purse.
- Blend Frozen Banana + Almond Milk + Kale – This smoothie is extremely hydrating. The banana provides a good source of potassium and magnesium which help regulate your fluid stores. Almonds are extremely rich in magnesium and potassium. When you make your almond milk, make sure you add sea salt (store bought almond milk already has salt added to it). Kale is a superfood and another excellent source of magnesium and calcium.
Now go outside and sweat, so you can enjoy one of these yummy combinations!
P.S. After I wrote this article, 2 news agencies reported about sports drinks – The Atlantic and NPR. These are must reads, check them out.
Specifically, The Atlantic reported that scientists 40 years ago were paid by these sport drink companies to tell us we would not be able to sufficiently hydrate ourselves with just water, that our children didn’t drink enough at meals, and that we would lose performance during sporting events if we didn’t drink this artificially flavored and colored salt water. These companies even developed school outreach programs to get to even more children to buy into the thought of drinking sports drinks at an early age. Are you shocked? I certainly am.