Last fall, my husband was injured when he lost consciousness from heat exhaustion while riding a moped. He had a mild concussion, a broken hand, and bruised ribs, and was out of work for about 2 months.
The ER doctor warned us that once someone has had an episode like this, they’re far more likely to have one again. In an effort to prevent this, we installed a large window air conditioning unit in my husband’s shop, and while this helped, we noticed that he had very little tolerance for heat. He would still sweat profusely (even with the A/C running), and became lightheaded quickly when working outside in the sun.
We asked our family doctor what we could do, and he suggested that my husband drink a bottle of low sugar Gatorade – commonly known as “G2” – in the morning, and again at noon, to replace some of the fluids and electrolytes he loses through sweating. My husband sweats. A LOT. It’s not unusual for him to have to change shirts a couple times a day in the summer, because they’re literally soaked through.
We started out buying bottles of G2, and it did seem to help him, but after about a week I was getting concerned. I did the math, and even when on sale, I figured that this 2-bottle-a-day routine could easily add $30 to our grocery bill every month, not to mention all the plastic bottles….ugh. They are no friend to the environment.
So, as I always do, I decided to do some research. I read a lot of message boards, and I learned (from someone, who learned from their doctor) that you can make your own Gatorade fairly easily. Homemade Gatorade is basically just flavored water, with the addition of both regular salt (to replace lost sodium), and “lite” salt (to replace lost potassium). The message board poster just added the salts to regular, full-sugar Kool-Aid.
Except…my husband is supposed to drink low sugar Gatorade, and I didn’t want to buy sugar-free drink mix because it contains questionable chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Instead, I decided to cut the sugar content in half by using enough full-sugar drink mix to make one quart, but adding two quarts of water. Most drink mix canisters have measurement guidelines inside the lid to make this easy. Also, I found that it’s a bit tricky to get the salt-to-water ratio correct. The amount of salt must be sufficient to replenish electrolytes, but my husband found my first attempt a bit too salty to be palatable. After some more fiddling I came up with a combination that tastes very similar to Gatorade G2 (according to my family, who were my taste-testers). This recipe is simple, and my husband can make it himself with very little effort – I wrote it on an index card and taped it inside one of our cabinets. He drinks an 8-ounce glass in the morning, and another at noon. He really enjoys it, and it has kept him healthy and heat-stroke free all summer…for a teeny-tiny fraction of the cost of purchasing commercial Gatorade.
- Full sugar drink mix to make one quart (my husband likes cherry, grape, or fruit punch best)
- 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Morton Lite salt
- 2 quarts cold water
- Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher. Mix well to ensure drink mix and salts are completely dissolved. Refrigerate and use as needed.