Homemade Probiotic Sports Drink
For so many of us, hydration and good athletic performance is so important in exercise. Personally, I have really struggled with having effective and steady workout routines. My MO has always been frail and so so tired after my workouts. All too frequently I was unmotivated to focus on my body and I have lived a very sedentary life. Exercise was a task and not an enjoyment, but I wanted to know what it felt like to push my body, feel energized, and in control of my coordination. Sound like you? Or maybe you are athletic but want to go further with your workouts.
Feeling strong has always been out of my reach, and I didn't accept that it was a fault of my own- there's always the fact that we don't know what we don't know. During my journey in learning nutrition, I thought it would be helpful and important to understand a little about sports nutrition so that I can better assist people on a topic I haven't fully experienced or understood in my own life. I always wanted to be an athlete, but never had the resources, health, motivation or confidence to try. I realized, after much contemplation that exercise needs to be an integral part of my healing, and I needed to start somewhere.
While I have never yo-yo dieted, I have definitely been swinging on a pendulum with my exercise habits. I have never found a sustainable option for my efforts, and I have never achieved the level of strength and fitness I desire. I reached a point in my nutrition master's program where I learned about biochemistry and how that plays a role in energy and physical activity. I had more questions, and I felt like I was looking into an abyss of information, misinformation from sports culture in the U.S. and not understanding my own abilities. It was evident then that I needed to take sports nutrition. What I learned was a few things: hydration and certain nutrients are often lacking in athletes. That includes B6, electrolytes, water and effective carbohydrate replenishment. Hold up- I have more questions; what about the difference between performance and recovery? And the fact that many athletes abuse their bodies and keep pushing (no pain no gain?) Common symptoms after pushing your body too hard shows wear in the muscle, performance plateau and digestive disturbances. I already have too much stress on my body, so.. how do I push myself without the mentality of no pain, no gain? I want little pain and I also want gains. This isn't a have my cake and eat it too situation. Science is behind this, but sports nutrition research is vastly underdeveloped and too reliant on capitalist gains.
Here is what I learned in my research
Foods I chose for a homemade probiotic sports drink:
Fruits High in antioxidants: Fruits will provide sugars for proper fermentation as well as for carbohydrate replenishment. Vitamin C along with other antioxidants (fruits with dark purple coloring) will help in recovery by reducing free radical activity in the muscle. Wear and tear on the muscle can increase free radicals, so it is important to have detoxification activity for comfort and easier gains.
Purple Sweet Potato: Sweets contain healthy carbohydrates (Huang, T., Zhou et al. 2015), B6 (among other B vitamins), Vitamin C, Potassium, anthocyanin (this antioxidant becomes more effective after fermentation (Wu, T., Tsai et al. 2011)), and a range of other nutrients. (Wholesome App. 2013).
Coconut: Coconuts contain electrolytes, vitamin C, B vitamins, amino acids, phenolic contents, volatile acids, and sugars. In fermentation, acidity, amino acids, sugars and Vitamin C content declined (after 3 days, Vitamin C increased slightly then decreased again), but volatile acids and phenolic contents increased by fermentation (Xia, Q. et al. 2011).
Fun Fact! Antioxidants and probiotics work in very similar ways to repair wear and tear in the muscle and GI tract from exercise. This means, antioxidants and probiotics have the potential to detoxify, decrease inflammation, pain, soreness and fatigue after workouts. (Maughan, R. J., & Murray, R. 2001) (Lamprecht, M. 2012)
Here's a disconnect I found
This recipe is very sustainable and thought out so that you can reduce the amount of glass you are buying and recycling from kombucha or other fermented probiotic drinks. The cost of honey, salt, fruit, coconut meat and purple sweet potatoes is low compared to buying a new bottled beverage each time. You need only a small amount of each ingredient to make this recipe, and it can reduce how much you spend on making sure you are getting beneficial nutrients in your diet.
fresh or frozen
fresh or frozen
rough slices of purple sweet potato
fresh or frozen
mango, pineapple, peach (fresh peach is my favorite)
(manuka is best)
celtic grey sea salt
filtered water (do not use tap)
Ferment for 2-3 days and store final product in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Make sure your fruit, ball jar + lid are clean. Place your fruit, sweet potato, honey and salt in your jar.
Fill the jar with the filtered water, leaving 1 inch of space at the top between the water and the lid.
Close lid down tightly. Leave on counter at room temperature for 2-3 days. Burp the jars if necessary.
Strain into another jar or container and fill your jar with fruit back up with water. Store both in the fridge. The fruit will ferment again- throw out the mixture when fruit is pale.
Huang, T., Zhou, D., Jin, Z., Xu, X., & Chen, H. (2015). Effect of debranching and heat-moisture treatments on structural characteristics and digestibility of sweet potato starch. Food Chemistry, 187, 218-224. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.04.050
Lamprecht, M., Bogner, S., Schippinger, G., Steinbauer, K., Fankhauser, F., Hallstroem, S., . . . Greilberger, J. F. (2012). Probiotic supplementation affects markers of intestinal barrier, oxidation, and inflammation in trained men; a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 45. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-45
Maughan, R. J., & Murray, R. (2001). Sports drinks basic science and practical aspects. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Shirreffs, S. M. (2009, November 17). Hydration in sport and exercise: water, sports drinks and other drinks. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2009.01790.x/full
Wholesome. (2013). The Wholesome App [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com
Wu, T., Tsai, C., Hwang, Y., & Chiu, T. (2011). Effect of Antioxidant Activity and Functional Properties of Chingshey Purple Sweet Potato Fermented Milk by Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis, and L. gasseri Strains. Journal of Food Science, 77(1). doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02507.x
Xia, Q., Li, R., Zhao, S., Chen, W., Chen, H., Xin, B., . . . Tang, M. (2011). Development and evaluation of a fermented coconut water beverage with potential health benefits. African Journey of Biotechnology, 10(66), 14999-15005. doi:10.5897/AJB10.2602
For a limited time: join the Kitchen Toolkit Ecourse for free!
One of the smartest things a person can do to increase total nutrient status is to reflect on habits and goals. It helps you from blindly spending your money on super foods, waiting for optimal health to arrive. (Spoiler: it doesn't tell you what you really need!) When you take the time to learn what you need and what you can do about it, you will eliminate so much stress and confusion about healthy eating.