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Healthy fuel for exercise
Step away from the sports drink!
As many of you know, I’m deep into my training for the Miami Marathon this coming January 24. I’m walking a half marathon to benefit Friendship Circle of Maryland, an organization that promotes friendship and inclusion for children with special needs. As I analyze what I eat and drink pre and post workouts, I know one thing: I’m not going to go the route of Powerade and Gatorade.
I’m going to give you a number of healthy exercise fuel tips over the next few months, leading up to the race. Today, we’re talking liquids and electrolyte hydration. When we truly physically exert ourselves we lose electrolytes our bodies need to function, such as salt and potassium. At extremes, when you’re doing something like running a marathon (not jogging 3 miles), it can be dangerous not to replace them.
Why Sports Drinks are not good for you
Contrary to popular advertisements, humans were not designed to require high fructose corn syrup and food coloring – with a side of electrolytes – to re-hydrate after physical activity. Some kids – and adults – are consuming these drinks on an almost daily basis. Yuck! Talk about negating all the good you’ve done through your physical activity… What if someone asked you to drink gasoline for your health? That’s what food coloring is made from.
As many of you know, I’ve been on a tear to eliminate food coloring from my family’s diet. I am 100% sure that my son needed an exorcism the last time he had too much food coloring. I’m going for almost zero digestion on the home front because, unfortunately, I cannot control what other people give my children. You would think in an era of life-threatening food allergies, people would stop giving other people’s children food without permission. Somehow, candy (without nuts) is considered a no-permission needed food and is still being used as a reward in and out of school. But I digress….
So that’s food coloring. On to high fructose corn syrup. Whether or not you believe that this substance is worse than sugar or responsible for the increase in obesity in the United States, I think it’s common sense to limit our consumption.
Now that you know traditional sports drinks are a bad idea, what are some good alternatives?
Alternatives to Sports Drinks
Coconut water: Naturally contains electrolytes, and slightly sweet without added sugar or corn syrup
Tart Cherry Juice: Good for inflammation and muscle recovery
Beet Juice: Good for blood flow and optimal muscle performance
A friend of mine said that she makes a natural sports drink using tart cherry juice and salt. I’m not sure if she adds coconut water or not. I think I’ll try this and add a scoop of the dehydrated coconut water powder*
I bought to throw into green smoothies. I’ve also taken to adding chia seeds to my green smoothies. The effect is like a bubble tea smoothie with healthy fats and protein. In fact, there is a new “gel” for extended physical exertion, made from chia seeds.
(Sports gels will be a topic for another blog post). There are also new products made from very concentrated beet juice so you can ingest one or two liters per day, without actually drinking that much beet juice.
Have a great, physically active, hydrated day!
*This link will take you to my new Amazon store (look under Your New Pantry Essentials). For a direct (affiliate) link to the product on Amazon, click on the picture of the coconut water powder. I wanted to make it easier for you to find all of my recommended products in one place. I will earn a small commission if you purchase products through my store. I didn’t want to set anything up like that for a long time because I’m a journalist, not a blogger (bloggers typically make money from referral commissions). However, in my efforts to make things more convenient for my community, the natural set up happens to give me a commission, so I’m just going to take it. I hope you don’t mind!