How to Use Real Foods to Hydrate and Replace Electrolytes Plus Homemade Paleo Gatorade Recipe
This summer is hotter than any I can remember. Let me rephrase that…this summer is more humid than any I can remember. It’s like we moved to the tropics. We get rain every few days so we never get a break from the constant rain/evaporation cycle. Humidity zaps your energy faster than straight heat. This year I’m really feeling it but this Homemade Paleo Gatorade quickly replenishes energy quickly.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that help your body retain water and are absolutely necessary to replenish what is lost through:
- Excessive perspiration from working out or high humidity
- High altitude and low humidity conditions
- Dehydration caused from sickness
Sports Drinks vs Water
The fact is most people drink sports drinks as a substitute for water not realizing they are full of sugar and other additives that can be toxic. Of course, when needed, drinks that provides the sodium, carbohydrates and electrolytes to help your body re-hydrate are certainly helpful. However, the artificial colors, chemicals (flame retardant beverage anyone?) and ingredients like high fructose corn syrup in bottled drinks are not.
Minerals that are Electrolytes
When you are in one of the scenarios above, the minerals in electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium along with a few other players are vital but you can get these minerals in real food, whether liquid or solid:
- Sodium – celery and salt (sea salt is the best source since it is not processed and has other trace minerals)
- Potassium – dried fruit and nuts
- Magnesium – nuts and leafy greens
- Calcium – yogurt, fish and beans
However, many times when you really need electrolytes you can’t or don’t want to eat. Plus you would have to eat a pretty big meal to get adequate amounts of all these minerals at once.
Homemade Paleo “Gatorade” to the Rescue
My youngest son eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. I fought the whole tournament sports/busy summer thing when he was younger. When he hit high school, however, we had to start that process in order for him to go the next level.
With him working out every day in this heat along and playing in 4-day tournaments, I quickly realized we needed a real food answer to electrolyte replacement drink. There is great pressure from the sports industry and his teammates to drink electrolyte drinks. I have had to commit to my own personal campaign of no Gatorade/PowerAde/Vitamin Water. The dugout each week is full of empty bottles of these drinks making this commitment even harder. It blows my mind that so many people don’t know that they are nothing more than chemicals and water and how harmful they can be to our bodies.
Real Food Ways to Hydrate and Replace Electrolytes
While Gatorade and other sports drinks are the go-to (and I will share my Homemade Gatorade recipe below,) there are many other ways to hydrate when it is super hot and humid outside.
Coconut water (from young coconuts, not to be confused with coconut milk from mature coconuts) is plentiful especially in tropical areas. It is so full of electrolytes that it is used in remote locations as an intravenous re-hydration fluid when illness has caused dehydration through diarrhea. Look for varieties that have no added sugar. Try pineapple coconut water for the best no-sugar-added sweet version if you don’t like the unique flavor the natural version offers. It can be an acquired taste. Many kids (and adults) may prefer something that has a little more tang to it that is similar to what they would get in a typical sports drink. (See recipe below for my homemade healthy version.)
Made up of 92% water, ice cold watermelon not only provides a great snack but also one of nature’s greatest forms of hydration. Sprinkle with a little pink Himalayan sea salt to bump the natural sodium factor (see Electrolytes section below). Skip the watermelon juice. Without the fiber of the fruit itself, your body processes the sugar in the juice just like eating a whole pack of Skittles and causes a major sugar spike.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Like watermelon, most summer fruits (yes these are both fruits) are naturally high in water and these two are no different. Since we treat them like veggies, though they are a great way to get lots of water when we are looking for a more savory way to hydrate. Toss together with a big drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar and a big sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. It’s a light meal that won’t weigh you down and will give you energy from re-hydration. If you’re needing a little protein with this salad, shrimp or chicken are light and easy to digest on hot days. (This tomato salad with some cucumbers added is a summer go-to. Skip the cheese if you’re currently doing a Whole30 or eat paleo and skip the mayo if you’re taking this to a summer party.)
This seems an obvious hydration choice, but in order to not get into high sugar territory, stick to veggie centric juices. Those with cucumbers and celery will have natural sodium which your body needs when you sweat a lot. Some good choices would be a typical green juice with kale or spinach. For juicing newbies, cucumber-green apple-ginger or tomato-lemon-cucumber-celery may be more palatable.
Similarly to watermelon, skip orange juice. Eat a whole orange and you still get the sweet hydration along with the fiber to slow down the sugar hit.
Homemade Paleo Gatorade Recipe
Like most things you can buy in a bottle, box or can, you can make your own sports drink easily. Fruit juice, Himalayan sea salt, and honey are the main ingredients. There is only one non-typical ingredient you will need to make it – Trace Minerals. You can easily pick these up at any health food store, Sprouts, or even on Amazon. Here is the brand I use*.
You can use any fruit juice (orange juice without pulp or mixed organic 100% juices) or a fruity unsweetened iced tea such as raspberry hibuscus or citrus flavored tea as the base. For those doing Whole30, use the fruit juice and skip the honey or maple syrup.
Homemade Paleo Gatorade Recipe
1 1/4 cup 100% fruit juice blend or concentrated unsweetened fruit tea (berry or citrus flavors are best)
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
2-4 tbsp honey or maple syrup to taste*
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt or other pure sea salt
10 drops Trace Minerals
- Mix this well. Store for a few days in a glass jar or bottle.
- *If you are using unsweetened tea for your base and you’re making this for kids, you can add a little more honey or maple syrup to taste.
- For those doing Whole30, use fruit juice and skip the honey or maple syrup.
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