7 Amazing Alternatives to Energy Drinks (#2 is insanely cheap and easy to make on your own)
Every tiny bottle or can of today’s energy drinks contains a high amount of sugar, as well as caffeine in the equivalent of 3 to 8 times the amount found in your regular cup of espresso. Beside being potentially addictive, they actually account for numerous reported deaths and ER cases in various major cities around the world in the last decade.
This calls for a high demand for alternatives to energy drinks. Sadly, we continue to see these substances being abused at an alarming rate everywhere. In fact, there are energy drinks that are marketed like mere soft drinks and consumed as such in many parts of Asia.
Yes, there are times that you find yourself in a desperate need for a quick energy boost that those tiny bottles started looking like magic elixirs.
You don’t need to fall into the trap though, as there are several healthy and great-tasting alternatives that are just within your reach.
You don’t need to fall into the trap though, as there are several healthy and great- tasting alternatives that are just within your reach.
1. Water! Water! Water!
No matter how many times I repeat it, I cannot stress enough that the most basic and ubiquitous beverage in the world is still the best. More often than not, the sluggishness and sudden drop of your energy level in the middle of an activity is just dehydration setting in.
That’s right. Even if you are not even feeling thirsty, you are slowly and unknowingly desiccating. Always remember: “dehydration comes before thirst.”
Getting bombarded daily with a myriad of ads of all kinds of bottled, canned, or store-prepared beverages, water is getting pushed further down the list of refreshment options for many people nowadays.
But the truth is you don’t actually need a dose of caffeine or sugar to rehydrate and recharge. Plain clean water can sufficiently do the job and more. Not only that it helps rev up your metabolism and cleanse your system, it also helps your body perform at the top level physically and mentally.
2. Lemon Water with Turmeric
Lemon water is not only great for rehydrating your body and freshening your breath. It likewise helps in the detoxification and rejuvenation of your skin, muscles and internal organs.
Turmeric, on the other hand, is known for its many curative and nutritive properties and has been a mainstay in both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for centuries.
It is rich in polyphenols particularly curcumin, which helps in fighting inflammations, lowering bad cholesterol, and reducing the risk of heart and liver diseases. Studies also show that it helps boost energy, accelerate post-workout recovery, and reduce muscle soreness.
Here’s how you can make your own inexpensive, refreshing, and energizing gym drink with a zing. Just mix the extracted juice of half a lemon to a mug of warm water, and then add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder.
Stir thoroughly. You may also add a teaspoon or so of honey as a sweetener, and adjust at will the quantity and ratio of each ingredient to suit your taste. Pour the whole mixture into your water bottle along with pieces of ice cubes and shake well.
It’s now ready to go. Re-shake the bottle from time to time, as the turmeric powder has the tendency to settle at the bottom.
3. Matcha or Powdered Green Tea
A good quality matcha abounds in phytochemicals including EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate) and amino acids such as L-theanine. In fact, it contains more antioxidants than kale, spinach, and berries.
EGCG is active in expelling free radicals and other toxins that cause cancers and other life-threatening diseases from our bodies. L-theanine on the other hand, works hand-in-hand with matcha’s moderate caffeine content in stimulating alpha waves in our brains, thus enhancing our mood and energy level making it one of the best alternatives to energy drinks.
The said vibrant green tea powder also has a high concentration of chlorophyll as a result of the special cultivation and grinding process involved in its production.
The said plant nutrient is teeming with essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals such as A, C, K, E, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Matcha is not only a great substitute to energy or sports drink, it can also be enjoyed in many different ways. It can be made into a hot latte to replace your morning coffee or an iced milk tea.
It can be blended with fruits and nuts for making protein shakes or with juices and syrups to make non-alcoholic cocktails. You can even be used it as an ingredient for making various appetizers, entrees, desserts, and snacks.
4. All-Natural Shakes and Smoothies
First of all, let’s examine the thin line of distinction between the two. While both involves crushing fruits and vegetables in food processors, milk, ice cream, yogurt or cream, as well as ice are usually added to shakes.
Smoothies, on the other hand, don’t normally have dairy products and oftentimes pre-frozen fruits are used in lieu of ice. Other foodstuffs are also usually added to smoothie blends such as cereals, chocolates, and nuts, thereby creating whole meals.
In making either one of the two, it is advisable that you mix and match various ingredients, not only for the purpose of creating great flavors and textures but also for integrating various nutrients and phytochemicals in one blend.
You usually need to combine two to four kinds of produce to make a delicious, nutritious and energy-boosting concoction. Some of the most recommendable ingredients are berries, banana, carrot, pineapple, cucumber, avocado, apple, watermelon, celery, pear, and mango.
Other items that you can add include protein powders, peanut butter, nuts and green tea.
5. Fruit & Vegetable Juices
Juicing, or the process of extracting liquid out of fresh fruits and vegetables is great to alternate with shake and smoothies.
The former enables your body to quickly absorb newly squeezed nutrients and enzymes from the fresh produce, while the latter supplies you with a hefty serving of healthful fibers.
It slowly yet steadily gained popularity through the years since masticating juicer was first invented in the mid-‘50s.
Several more sophisticated and powerful machines came out in the succeeding decades, along with a number of bestselling books extolling the many health benefits of juicing.
In 2010, a documentary film entitled ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ further proved to the world how juicing can positively affect human health.
The movie chronicled the physician-supervised 60-day juice fast done by Joe Cross, a morbidly obese and autoimmune disease-afflicted Australian. Not only that he shed 100 lbs. of excess weight from the experiment, he also regained his health and freed himself from the bondage of lifetime medication.
Joe even inspired a truck driver he met, who is in the same physical condition as he was before, to do the same. This led to the filming of ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2’ in 2014.
Given the option, you should go for a masticating juicer over a centrifugal type. Also called “power juicer”, it can effectively extract the most juice not only from fruits and pulpy vegetables but also from nutrition-packed and antioxidant-rich green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, wheatgrass, and Swiss chards.
6. Protein Shakes
To differentiate this one with item #4, we are referring to shakes that primarily contains clinically formulated protein powders. Since protein is the primary nutrient that builds muscles and aids in post-workout recovery, then it is important that you get enough of it from your daily nourishment.
Ideally, men need to consume a gram of protein for every pound of their own body weight daily. Women may require less, but both sexes need higher amount than their normal intake when engaging in high-intensity workouts.
Protein powders are commonly soy, peas or whey-based, or a combination of two or all of the aforementioned foodstuffs.
However they also usually contain other ingredients to intensify its nutritive value and come in palate-pleasing flavors such as chocolate and vanilla.
While you can prepare the shake by simply dissolving a scoop or two of the powder in water or blending it with ice, we strongly suggest that you add other whole food ingredients into the mix such as fruits, vegetables, chia seeds, nuts and non-dairy milk.
You can take a swig of your protein shake before, during and after the workout. This way, you get a steady supply of energy and muscle-buildings nutrients from the warm-up, to the actual training, to the recovery phase.
7. Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout Supplements
This alternatives to energy drinks actually has the closest similar immediate effects with energy drink than any other items in our list. Although caffeine-free, many PWO supplements can give you that sudden energy surge and tingling feeling that comes from its beta-alanine content.
It’s true that this is the least natural among the options we presented and probably the costliest, yet we cannot discount the fact that they actually work, or at least the good ones do.
PWO supplements usually come in powder form and sold in tubs. They are clinically formulated, and unlike protein shakes, they are simply dissolved in water instead of blending with other foodstuffs.
So, if the flavor of the product you bought does not agree with you, there is no other recourse but to force or train yourself to get used to it. As much as possible, you also need to consume the entire suggested serving at least 30 minutes before the workout to obtain its full benefits.
You don’t really need commercial energy drinks to perform well in the gym, work, school, or even in a game. Not only that synthesized sports beverages pose serious health risks, its invigorating effects are just short-lived.
In fact, a crash or sudden energy drop usually ensued once its effect wears off. Go for all natural or at least, safely formulated options instead, which offers more enduring and healthful benefits.
You need to learn to listen to your body for signs of onset dehydration. I mean, if you can sense that something is wrong with your car when it is leaking or losing one of the vital fluids that make it run smoothly, then you can train yourself to monitor your body’s hydrating needs. And sometimes, all you need is a glass of cold water to make things right.
If this guide was helpful in giving you that extra burst of energy, feel free to leave a comment or share it with your friends.