chronic illness

Natural Sports Drink Alternative

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In college, I went on a full scholarship to run track at Bucknell University and I think I drank my weight in Gatorade every weekend there was an invitational.  Blue Frost, or something like that, was my favorite and it was one of my “must-haves” for race day.  Oh boy, if I knew then what I know now…that Gatorade was doing me more harm than good…I would have stayed away from it and probably would have run faster and felt stronger as a consequence.  

I recently had the privilege to speak to a group of 7th grade basketball student-athletes and I shared my collegiate experience as well as healthier sports drink alternatives (the ones I wish I knew about).  

You may be wondering why it even matters.  

The problem is that Gatorade is flooded with sugar.  

Here is the nutritional label from the Blue Frost Gatorade that I used to consume on a regular basis.  There are 34 grams of sugar in one 20 ounce bottle.  Let’s do the math and convert it into something a bit more recognizable.  

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There are 4 grams of sugar in each teaspoon of sugar. 

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34 grams / 4 grams = 8.5 teaspoons 

**Take a pause and visualize that for a second.  Drinking 8.5 teaspoons of sugar.**

Even the ingredient list highlights sugar and dextrose (hidden form of sugar) as its main ingredients.  

What we know now is that sugar - specifically refined sugar - will drain energy, wreak havoc on the liver, weaken the immune system and contribute to chronic inflammation.  This is not the best source of fuel for an athlete or anyone, really.  

However, dehydration is a very real concern and athletics and hydration go hand in hand.  If you eat too much sugar, you’ll feel low energy, but at the same time if you feel dehydrated, you’ll also feel low energy.  As an athlete, I was sure to drink sports drinks before my races and lots of water to recover afterwards so I don’t believe I was dehydrated, but I was drinking an inefficient sports drink.

The star of this new and improved energy drink is coconut water. 

Coconut water has naturally occurring electrolytes, vitamin C, B vitamins and protein - it’s the perfect sports drink alternative and I will also give this to my kids when they are sick instead of Pedialyte. 

Coconut Water Sports Drink

In a pint size mason jar (with a lid), mix together the following:

1 cup coconut water

Juice of one lemon

Juice of one lime

1 tsp. maple syrup

1 cup filtered water

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One of the 7th grade basketball players all ready to go for game day with her new and improved sports drink!

One of the 7th grade basketball players all ready to go for game day with her new and improved sports drink!

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Have you tried coconut water before?  What are your thoughts?

Self-Care Tips for Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day is great day to reset New Year’s goals or resolutions that have fallen off in an act of self-love.  Our attention is usually on others this day, but take a few moments to reset some self-care intentions to keep yourself on track and focused.  Remind yourself about what your new goals were going into this year and think about why you made those goals a priority.  

Here are some self-care ideas for you to start today to incorporate into your daily or weekly routines to support your wellness journey!

Try a Detox Bath for Self-Care. Although there are many ways to detoxify your body, detox baths are one of the most relaxing and effective ways to do it. Detox baths help remove toxins through the pores of your skin and ease the burden on the liver. • 2 cups epsom salt, 1 cup baking soda, 8 drops lavender EO 

Make a sugar scrub. This is one of my favorite things to use on dry hands in the winter and year round in the shower. I keep small jars at the sinks in my home and a large container in the shower. A sugar scrub will exfoliate and moisturize at the same time leaving your skin feeling super soft and hydrated. Making it homemade will save you money, too! • 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, 10 drops lavender EO, 10 drops orange EO

Pay attention to your nails • Nail Whitener Soak - Combine 4 tbsp. of lemon juice with 3 tbsp. warm water in a glass bowl. Soak nails for ten minutes or until nails have whitened, rinse well then apply a good cuticle oil or Vitamin E. 

Olive Oil Remedy - Soak nails in olive oil for up to 20 minutes, which is extremely moisturizing and easily absorbed. This is a great practice to start, especially during the winter time! If I don’t have the 20 minutes, I will also rub some coconut oil or olive oil on my nails as I’m winding down for the night. This is a great weekly ritual! 

Quiet Time w/ Herbal Tea • Allow yourself to take a moment. Turn off ALL electronics, dim your lights and just be present. Sit on the floor, your bed, the couch, wherever, but just sit and calm your mind. First, set your tea up beside you, close your eyes and then slowly inhale and exhale three or four really deep breaths. Keep your eyes closed and pray, meditate, or think of all the ways you are blessed. When you’re finished, open your eyes and drink your tea while remaining in this quiet, blissful state. Simple, but powerful. Include herbal teas like chamomile, mint, raspberry leaf, lavender, and lemon balm

Hot Towel Scrub • Helps with relaxation, circulation, and detoxification • Helps to break down cellulite • How it works: take a washcloth and run it under hot water, wring it out, then rub your entire body for 5-10 minutes • It’s invigorating if you do it in the morning & relaxing if you do it at night.  You can also use a dry brush and detox right before jumping in the shower. 

What are you doing today for self-love?

Happy Valentine's Day!

xoxo,

Stephanie