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America’s Healthy
Cooking Teacher

Don’t Sweat the Summer

The stories vary, like any legend, I guess (true or not; legend or not…). Some accounts say Coca Cola was introduced on May 6, 1886 and some say June 6, 1886. Either way, this iconic brand is coming up on its 130th anniversary of the year one little beverage changed everything…for better or for worse, depending on your view.

 

Coca Cola was invented by John Pemberton, a pharmacist who seemed to fail at every attempt to make money inventing drugs. He decided to try his hand at the beverage business since soda fountains were gaining in popularity.  Some innovative marketing techniques were put into play by business associates to create a national brand including selling Coke as a ‘patent medicine’ that could cure fatigue and headaches. When the federal government decided to tax all medicines, it was quickly re-classified as a beverage only, making no more health claims.

 

Knowing what we know now about soda…Coca Cola or any other version of sparkling sweet poison, it’s easy to see the introduction of Coke as a turning point in our collective health. Fast forward to the present and there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that soda sales are showing signs of fizzling (declining 1.9% to $27 billion; I know…billion, but still a decline is a decline…), but the consumption of energy drinks and sports drinks, often made by the same companies that manufacture soda, are on the rise.

 

And it seems they are all in on the act of selling us bottled water with Coca Cola owning Dasani brand, Pepsi holding Aquafina and Dr. Pepper Snapple owning Deja Blue.

 

So there’s no need to shed tears for the soda giants of the world. More Americans still drink it more regularly than coffee or energy drinks which are the focus of this article.

 

As the weather warms, people who are active look for a beverage pre and post workout that will help replace electrolytes, keep them energized and hydrated and in some instances, is a bit more fun than water. A big water fan myself, I can understand the desire for something more…interesting, but I can think of nothing more refreshing after a tough training session than a tall glass of water.

 

But if ‘something more’ is what you crave…and you don’t want a drink with an ingredient panel that reads like a Russian novel, try whipping up your own sports drink. You’ll know what’s in it and the effect it will have on your body and can alter and tweak the recipe to suit you.

 

Here are some interesting and yummy options.

 

Cranny Sports Refresh

A homemade, natural energy drink that is a yummy mix of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles, electrolytes (sodium and potassium) to help replace what your body loses through sweat…with no artificial flavors, colorings and preservatives. Did I mention it’s yummy?

 

Makes 4, 16-ounce servings

 

3 cups unsweetened cranberry juice (100% unsweetened juice)

5 cups spring or filtered water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons brown rice or coconut sugar syrup

1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest

 

Mix together all the ingredients and refrigerate.

 

Chia Fresca

This tiny seed is famous for its omega-3 content as well as its ability to keep us hydrated. Considered hydrophilic, holding 10 times its weight in water, sipping this drink before a long workout can keep you going and going and going…

 

Makes 1, 8-ounce serving

 

1 cup spring or filtered water

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Pinch sea salt

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup

 

Mix all ingredients together. You can set this aside and allow the chia to sprout in the water (30 minutes or more) or drink it immediately. Studies show that you reap the same benefits whether the seeds sprout or not. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.

 

Camelina Refresher

This ancient seed dates back to the Bronze Age and has many of the same attributes as chia seeds with the added bonus of electrolytes from coconut water.

 

Makes 1, 8-ounce serving

 

1 cup unsweetened coconut water

1 tablespoon camelina seeds

Pinch sea salt

Juice of 1 orange

 

Mix all ingredients together and set aside so the camelina can sprout in the water (30 minutes or more) or drink immediately. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.

 

Cook’s Tip: I have to say that I do not use coconut water very often, not because I do not like it but because of the footprint it makes on our planet. I often just make this drink with water and reserve something like coconut water for an especially hot day so my footprint is not so big.

 

Lemony-Cherry Refresh

This brightly flavored recovery drink has tart cherry juice, renowned for its ability to battle muscle soreness. I must say that this one finds its way into my life pretty regularly during the summer.

 

Makes 3, 8-ounce servings

 

2 ½ ounces tart cherry juice (unsweetened)

Juice of ½ fresh lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

2 cups of cold sparkling water

Pinch sea salt

 

Combine tart cherry juice, lemon juice, and sweetener in a 16-ounce water bottle and shake vigorously to combine and dissolve rice syrup. Then add enough water to fill. Add salt. Tightly seal the bottle and chill completely before serving.

 

Sparkling Apple and Wheat Grass Boost

This nutrient-dense drink gives your body all the moisture it craves and the minerals it needs to feel restored after a tough workout.

 

Makes 8 ounces

 

1 cup cold sparkling apple juice

1 ounce wheat grass juice

Juice of ½ fresh lemon

Pinch sea salt

 

Combine all ingredients in a tall glass and drink immediately.

 

Cook’s Tip: Make fresh each time to preserve the nutrients in the wheat grass.

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