Dangers of Sports Drinks and What to Drink Instead

Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte?  Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water!  However, it turns out that they have been misleading us.  There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD.  For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange:  water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6.  Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?!  AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!

One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content.  In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat.  It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!

Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more.  They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.

Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda!  A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.

After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated.  There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink.  A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2).  All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption!  You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!

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Easy Cauliflower or Broccoli Recipe

Here is an easy way to add some nutrient dense foods to your diet.  Cauliflower and Broccoli are huge folate sources, which is one of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy, and breast feeding!  They are also loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, and Magnesium!

Ingredients:

  • 2 crowns of broccoli/cauliflower (any combination that you like)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 a lemon

This is one of our go to vegetable sides.  The hardest part of the recipe is cutting up the garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower .  You can make them separately or together depending on what you like.  First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Next, after you have cut up the crowns of broccoli and/or cauliflower  and the cloves of garlic add them to a baking sheet.  You then want to add some oil, we prefer to use coconut oil because we are baking the vegetables at high heat (high heat tends to denature other oils, making them less effective) and coconut oil is loaded in good fats for the body, but if all you have is olive oil that will work fine too.  I then season with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder (a little bit of cayenne pepper if you like some heat!).   Before you place it all in the oven, I toss everything together to make sure everything is evenly coated!  You should bake this for about 30-40 minutes.  I like to bake it until I see some browning of garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower.  After you take the vegetables out, squeeze the lemon on top, and then they are ready to serve!  This usually lasts us two nights.  I love to make extras when I cook so that I don’t have to cook every night, and I can just heat it up the following evening! Bon Appetite!

Easy Morning Smoothie Recipe

Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to get in more fruits and vegetables to  your day.  One of the smoothies my husband likes to make has the following ingredients:

  • 2 banana (frozen)
  • A handful of kale
  • 1 apple
  • 1 carrot
  • walnuts or almonds or almond butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup of raw beets (add more to taste)
  • A handful of Frozen blueberries/mixed berries
  • 2 scoops of Hemp Protein or Pea Protein (Trader Joe’s has it in stock)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk/Almond Milk/Rice Milk/ Hemp Milk (any of these will work, just not cows milk)
  • Fill water to top of mixture (not to the top of blender)

We use a Vitamix, but any blender should work.  You can always add ice or put in fridge for it to cool more. This mixture make 4-5 8 ounce glasses of smoothie, which lasts us about 2 mornings.