Monday, July 6, 2015

Mix-it Yourself Electrolyte Supplement

This started with me finding out a short time ago that a problem I'd thought was a pulled muscle wasn't:
Me: Doc, before I leave, can I ask about something else?
Doc: Sure.
Me: (story of pulled muscles in legs not getting better), any suggestions?
Doc, after checking legs: You're dehydrated.
Me: What?
Yeah, I only thought I was drinking enough. He said to drink a lot more, get some Gatorade or something for electrolytes, and that'll take care of that. So I did, and it did. Which led to me wondering 'Just how much sugar is in that stuff?' and being shocked by the answer. Not just Gatorade, but everything I found in the stores; some of the 'sports drinks' have more sugar per bottle than a can of coke. So I started looking around for information.

(Note: Asking "What's the best electrolyte supplement?" is damn near as bad as "Glock or 1911?" on a gun board. Or "What's the best oil for my bike?" on a motorcycle forum.)

The story has a happy end, though. I was at a local spice shop (it has branches in most states, and they ship; good place, good prices) and the owner -- also a biker -- mentioned how hot and dry he gets riding in this weather (95° to 105° and humidity of 30-40% just sucks the water out of you), and I mentioned trying to find a supplement not full of sugar.

"Oh, we have our own recipe, you want it?"  Well, hell! Yes I do.

Sports Splasher
  • 2 quarts water
  • 6 tablespoons honey powder (you can use honey, but honey powder is a bit easier to mix)
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink sea salt 
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (if you prefer another citrus juice, you can use it instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract  (for flavor; without it, the taste is fairly blah)
The amounts of salt and juice can be adjusted for taste or need. The nice thing about the sea salt is it has minerals not found in standard table salt.

I made a quart (well, it's a liter bottle) at a time.  Here's what I started with:
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I do have the Himalayan)
  • 3 tablespoons concentrated lemon juice (equals one lemon, easier than squeezing)
  • No orange extract, so I shook it all up thoroughly and tried it.  Taste already mentioned, though not nearly as bad as stuff son was issued in the Army*.

Note: I'm not a doctor. I don't blog as one, or even pretend. These are my results so far from using this, only a weeks trial, nothing more. If you try this and grow a forked tongue or something, don't yell at me.

Lately, it's been normal-level hot but above-normal humid here (central Oklahoma), so doing most anything outside produces lots of sweat. My first bottle lasted a couple of days of mowing, walking, yard work, the usual. And, since my legs were working normally again, some workout stuff.

The next batch I mixed up kept the same amounts, but I added a little almond extract I discovered in the cabinet (Yes, I know. "Almond?" Well, it is an experiment). That's been used through the last couple of days, including a couple of gulps before and after the walk/workout, and other stuff.

It works. No further cramps, headaches, or the other stuff. It doesn't cost much to mix up, and if it's too salty or whatever, you can adjust it to suit. The almond extract made a large and good difference in taste; I'm going to find some orange. The gentleman did say that you could use orange juice instead of lemon both for the ingredients and for the taste (I'd add more for the taste option), so there's that, too.

I'm going to keep using this stuff. Especially on days like yesterday when it felt like a horror movie scene set in a bayou and I half-expected Swamp Thing to come sliding out of the tomatoes.

*That stuff was in packets: "If you get crampy, headachy, mix one of these in a one-liter bottle or canteen, shake it up, and drink it." The stuff tasted so bad we'd chug the bottle to get it over with... but it worked.

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