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healthy sports drinks? - The Original Live Journal Runners Club
healthy sports drinks?
So I'm looking for a healthy alternative to the usual sports drinks.  I want something that will give me the electrolytes or whatever else one needs after and during long runs, without a million calories and also without fake chemical sugars like sucralose.   I don't care if it tastes disgusting.  

I've looked at most of the supermarket brands and they usually have artificial sweeteners and colors and everything else.  It's just frustrating because I'm so careful day to day with eating healthy (I'm vegan, and I avoid heavily processed food/drink) and I don't want to make sports drinks, which I will consume so often, the exception to my healthy diet.  Last summer I just used water even on long runs (didn't use energy gels either), but I wasn't as focused on improving endurance/performance as I am hoping to be this season, and I had a hard time running more than an hour and 45 mins without more energy in some form.

Ideas?  Thanks.
39 miles | run a mile
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brokenheather From: brokenheather Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do SmartWater or the Trader Joes version. It's just electrolyte water. It seems to do the trick for me (most sports drinks make me nauseated - I don't usually take in that much sugar, so it's a shock to my system).

virtualannette From: virtualannette Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh cool.. I didn't know Trader Joe's had that! I'll check it out. Thanks :o)
phrassie From: phrassie Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can add some salt to your water for electrolytes and carry fruit for some added energy. I also like honey sticks because they are easy to carry and a good source of energy but those are non-vegan in some books.
virtualannette From: virtualannette Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow so you don't even really need sports drinks. Hmm.. I'll look into this. It seems a lot cheaper than having to buy bottled stuff all of the time. Thanks!
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virtualannette From: virtualannette Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much. Price is an issue for me too, and I like the idea of dissolving something in regular water (easier to store in my small apartment). I'll check into these.
reoracer From: reoracer Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've used Ultima for about the last 5 years, you might look into it. It's Vegan friendly, and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners (it uses Stevia), no MSG, and no caffeine. It's also gluten free. Electrolytes it contains include sodium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, and calcium. It's not horribly expensive and it even tastes good (my faves are the orange and the berry)! You can find it online (sorry, I don't have a weblink, you'll have to search), at most major race expos, and honestly, I bought mine by the case off ebay for a steal...

I have a lot of food allergies, and this one is the only thing I have found that works for me. I've run 25+ marathons and ultras with it, and will swear by my Ultima...

Good luck!
virtualannette From: virtualannette Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, this is really helpful! I like that it's cheap.
katie_keysburg From: katie_keysburg Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
electrolytes = fancy name for salts, sodium and potassium in particular. You can find potassium chloride around or you can eat fruits and veggies.

Basically you can get the same effect by eating a banana and maybe a little salt mid-run. I think most runners have issues with solid food mid-run, which is why they go for the overpriced packaged crap. If you have this problem, try juice or honey and some salt mid run.
shayenne From: shayenne Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can dilute orange juice half and half with water, and add a half a teaspoon of salt. Tastes not too bad, and gives you most of what you need, certainly the sodium and potassium.
virtualannette From: virtualannette Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's easy. Thanks.
moodyduck From: moodyduck Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I drink tomato juice after runs for salt and potassium. I haven't tried it while running. Watered down it might work, but I have no idea how nasty that would taste!
futurebird From: futurebird Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Frankly I don't think sports drinks are much better than kool-aid.

I just drink water and eat gumi bears.
futurebird From: futurebird Date: March 3rd, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh I don't have issues with salt I tend to eat too much of it, so I see no real reason to add extra.

I eat tons of fruit during the day and get the rest that way.

While running I need 2 things:

1) Water (For medium and long runs)
2) Calories (for longer runs)

On runs of less than 5 miles I don't even need water, I just drink a glass when I get home.

The body is made to run don't over complicate it!
t__m__i From: t__m__i Date: March 3rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
(as another vegan) I use Torq drink + gels on occasion, but tbh when not worrying about speed or race prep I have been known to just pootle along with water and a squeezy bottle of golden syrup (maple syrup flavoured yum yum).
Or just take money and make the route go past various newsagents/shops where I can pick up a carton of Ribena & a flapjack.
Also Vegetarian Sport Nutrition by Enette Larson-Meyer has a mix-yer-own sport drink recipe in it - bit of juice bit of water bit of salt iirc.
tar_miriel From: tar_miriel Date: March 3rd, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't be so quick to knock carb-bearing sports drinks, the best of them are based on long-chain complex sugars, malto-dextrose, you can make your own (cheaper) with brownrice syrup. Delivering carbs while training is not a bad thing and I prefer it for the majority of my runs over 4-5 miles (which is the vast majority of my runs). I also burn more energy per mile than most runners so that's always a factor for me. I favor Cytomax, I get good results with it and for better or worse I believe their claims about aiding lactate metabolism.

When you don't want carbs or when you need more electrolytes than are available in whatever you're drinking, Enduralytes from Hammer or Ultima or Nuun are all good choices, Enduralytes are pretty cost-effective.

For really long distances, carb intake is absolutely necessary, you can't go more than 90 minutes or so is the max for most people before they run out of their glycogen reserves.

The things I want no part of are the mass-market 'energy drinks' based on caffeine and / or HFCS.
futurebird From: futurebird Date: March 3rd, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

For really long distances, carb intake is absolutely necessary, you can't go more than 90 minutes or so is the max for most people before they run out of their glycogen reserves.

Really? I do 90 min runs all the time and eat and drink nothing. I only need calories if it's over 120 min or so. and then not that much.
aka_lusi From: aka_lusi Date: March 3rd, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Google "oral rehydration salt recipe" or some such thing and you'll get some easy, cheap ways to rehydrate. I used this stuff when I was dehydrated due to sickness, not the same thing, but still useful. Example:

1 level teaspoon of salt
8 level teaspoons of sugar
1 litre of clean drinking water or cooled boiled water

Also, Emergen-C has an energy/rehydration thing if you want something better tasting.
clmcormick From: clmcormick Date: March 3rd, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I train with whatever liquid refreshment is being offered on the course of the race I'm training for. Marine Corps Marathon used PowerAde so that's what I trained with. I think this year's marathon I'm training for is using Gatorade so I'll use that.

Not a wise move to train with one thing and race with another.
jules_perox From: jules_perox Date: March 3rd, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a drinnks recipe..I like it, seems to work..

500ml sports bottle...
approx 150ml of fruit juice (i like the berry types better than orange)
Top up with water.
2 tsps of sugar
hefty pinch of salt

sarahnucci From: sarahnucci Date: March 3rd, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Camelback Elixer - I just found it at Sports Authority as well as on base. I don't like the orange flavor, but the lemon-lime is pretty good - and it's only about 10 calories per serving (which is a full camelback bottle of 24 oz). It's a bit bubbly but it's light enough that I drink it on my run and still gives me all the electrolyte stuff I need.
erinbear0923 From: erinbear0923 Date: March 3rd, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was a great post, I learned a lot. Thanks to those that commented.
39 miles | run a mile
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