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The idea behind the original thirst quenchers is oral rehydration therapy, a combination of water, sugar and salt that quickly fuels the body. However, the excessive calories plus artificial flavorings and colorings dampen the appeal of these commercial beverages, as does their price tag: around $.99 for a 32-ounce plastic bottle.

Despite the tall price tag on popular sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade and Vitaminwater, these popular beverages are actually composed of a very few simple ingredients: carbohydrates (often in the form of sugar), electrolytes (salt aka sodium and potassium), flavoring (often artificial) and sometimes protein. Designed for athletes and other people undergoing rigorous exercise, these endurance drinks provide not only hydration, but also a steady flow of nutrients and minerals that feed the body and keep it going. But those commercial drinks can contain harmful, even dangerous ingredients with serious health risks. 

Save your wallet (and the earth) when you make your own energy drink at home. At a fraction of the cost, you can custom-design a sports drink that delivers stamina and refreshment without an overload of sugar or other unnecessary ingredients.

This homemade energy drink also works as rehydration therapy for those times when you forgot to drink enough water in the first place. After a long hike, grueling workout or night out on the town, this refreshing natural beverage will refuel your cells, boost your immune system and help your brain to function properly. The key ingredient is the addition of Morton Lite Salt, which has half the sodium of regular salt and potassium. When you exercise, you loose potassium and salt through your sweat glands, and the minerals need to be replenished. Sports drinks should have a minimum of ¼ teaspoon salt for every quart of liquid.

This recipe combines the classic components of a sports drink with a minimum cost and no added artificial ingredients. It makes one quart of sports drink, enough to fuel most workouts (marathon runners and those undergoing extreme endurance exercises may want to add protein powder). Be sure to drink the beverage before, during and after your exercise regimen for best results.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 ½ cups filtered water

½ cup fresh pressed fruit juice. Try orange juice, cranberry juice or apple juice (not from concentrate)

1/4 teaspoon Morton Lite salt (contains potassium chloride and sodium)

2 T raw honey (microwave for 15 seconds for better blending)

Method

1. In a one-liter bottle, combine the water, juice, honey and salt.

2. Shake very well and then chill to your desired temperature. Enjoy.

3. Refrigerate any unused portion, and consume within 24 hours.

Notes:

In cold weather, you might want to add a bit more honey for additional energy in the low temperatures.

For an added energy boost, make the drink with cold black tea instead of water.

For an added antioxidant boost, use cold green tea instead of water.

For even more endurance and powder, throw in a serving of protein powder from whey, soy or egg.

Image: tochis