It never fails. We’re in the middle of summer and someone in my house gets sick. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been lax about making sure my kids get all their vitamins and supplements on time. Maybe it’s my kids going into different environments with summer camp.
This time it was my 8-year-old son, who up until recently got the stomach flu every few months due to inflammation in his colon (read more about our experience). It’s been nearly 9 months since he’s had the stomach flu, so I was surprised when he got it.
We’ve got the routine down. BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and gluten-free toast) diet and an electrolyte drink, usually Pedialyte. But when I began really looking at the label, I was horrified to find so many harmful ingredients – such as artificial colors and flavors.
What’s in Typical Electrolyte Drinks?
The strawberry-flavored Pedialyte one-liter container has the following ingredients: Water, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Zinc Gluconate, Red 40 and Blue 1.
We’ve tried the unflavored version and it was so horrid that my son wouldn’t even drink it. Plus, I was bothered that it still contained chemicals that I didn’t want my son to ingest. And sports drinks like Gatorade contain other harmful ingredients such as brominated vegetable oils along with refined sugars and artificial colors.
What Are Electrolytes and Why Do We Need Them?
In a nutshell, electrolytes are basically salts – specifcally the ions in salt. According to Discovery Health, “electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells.”
Furthermore, when kids get the stomach flu or have diarrhea or vomiting, they lose electrolytes and need to replenish them. The same goes for kids (and adults) who exercise a lot – they lose electrolytes (specifically sodium and potassium) through sweat.1
The major electrolytes in the body include: sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate and sulfate.2
How to Make Your Own Electrolyte Drink
I wanted a natural homemade remedy to increase my son’s hydration. Salt is a key ingredient in getting electrolytes into the body. I adapted this simple recipe from Mother Nature Network and loved that I could use ingredients that I use everyday from my kitchen.
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups of water (filtered or purified) or raw coconut water
- 2 tbsp organic raw honey or organic maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp Himalayan Pink salt or Celtic sea salt (I like Himalayan better – it has 84 trace minerals)
Equipment and Accessories
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well. That’s it!
Footnotes: 1, 2, “What Are Electrolytes?”, Discovery Health.PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.