Gluten Free For Good


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My last post focused on hydration and featured a power-packed smoothie recipe. I’m still on my hydration and recovery kick, but this time I’ll serve you up a nice “end of the day, I’m absolutely exhausted” recovery cocktail. I’m calling these evening, post-workout drinks sportinis. No alcohol needed. At least not most of the time. And, in my case, certainly not after an energy-draining, dust-collecting, 20 mile, single-track mountain bike ride. I’ll explain the alcohol piece shortly.

As some of you may know, I’m on a mission to get in shape and lose the extra pounds I gained over the winter co-writing a book on sports nutrition with friend, colleague, and ultra-endurance athlete, Pete Bronski of No Gluten No Problem. The Gluten-Free Edge: A Nutrition and Training Guide for Peak Athletic Performance and an Active Gluten-Free Life will be released in June. If you’re interested (semi-shameless plug), you can pre-order it here.

Aahh, the irony of sitting on my bum for long hours writing about nutrition, sports, and wellness—a downgrade in fitness and health, an uptick in weight and low energy. Life is a roller coaster ride at times, wouldn’t you agree?

Regardless of the ups and downs of life, it’s never too late to jump back on the healthy-living bandwagon. Never give up. Check here if you need some serious motivation – Arthur went from disabled, depressed, overweight vet to headstand-crow-chaturanga. Wow.

As Arthur demonstrates, it’s possible to have major gains in strength, aerobic capacity, energy, and over-all radiance if you put your mind and body into it – no matter where you are on the health spectrum. But, as you can see from the video, it takes foot-stomping commitment.

Now, back to the alcohol piece. Studies show that alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, even in low doses. Yes, as little as one glass of wine can impact sleep. You might fall asleep okay, but as your body starts metabolizing the alcohol, sleep becomes progressively more erratic and disturbed. Here’s what happens in a nutshell (or, in this case, a shot glass). You have your glass of red wine. You feel warm and mellow, relaxed and sleepy. An hour or two later you go to bed and fall asleep easily. The first half of the night goes well.


And then, out of nowhere, you wake up at 1:12 AM. That’s a measly four hours after you fell asleep. And no matter what you do, you can’t seem to find na-na land again.

Toss. Turn. Pillow flip. Check the clock. Worry about lost sleep. Start fretting about bizarre things.

Oh my gosh, what if the refrigerator stops working? Did I pay my phone bill? Maybe I should get a puppy. What’s the deal with putting hot dogs in pizza crusts? Disgusting. I hate it that people get Parkinson’s disease. Did I shut the garage door? I’ll probably get another Alaskan Malamute if I get a puppy. Yikes! What was that noise? Is someone in the house? I’m hungry. And tired. Wish I could go to sleep.

Repeat frustrating cycle while incorporating new random worries. Kick covers. Curse crickets.

You get the idea. I don’t have time for that. I need eight hours of sleep. Straight. So, if I want to feel my best and reach my summer sports goals, I have to skip the wine (most of the time anyway, there are exceptions). Here’s where the sportini comes in. After a long day of work topped off with an evening mountain bike ride, I want to feel like I’m having something special like a glass of wine, but without the 2 AM pillow tossing. My post-exercise, recovery cocktails (mocktails/sportinis) replenish lost electrolytes and glycogen stores, provide antioxidants and phytochemicals, and boost hydration. Plus, they feel kind of special like I’m celebrating.

Lemon-lime-mint recovery cocktail (sportini)
Makes 1 large or 2 small servings

what you need
8 ounces S. Pellegrino sparkling mineral water
8 ounces Recharge organic lemon sports drink
1 organic lime (the fresh-squeezed juice and a little zest)
1 organic orange (the fresh-squeezed juice and zest)
1-2 fresh organic mint leaves

what you do
Place mineral water, Recharge, lime juice, orange juice, and zest in a shaker (I use a mason jar). Shake well. Add ice if desired (I don’t like ice, ever). Pour into a fancy glass, top with crushed mint leaves, stir gently, and enjoy.

PER SERVING: 182 calories; 0 g fat; 48 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 7 g fiber
SPORTS NUTRITION BONUS: excellent source of vitamin C; contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin A (see details below, click table to enlarge)

P.S. Stay tuned for upcoming book give-aways to highlight May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

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15 Responses to “The athlete’s recovery cocktail (sportini)”

  1. Yum, Melissa! This sounds delish, and a great way to get in some needed nutrition and fluids. The one time I miss beer is after a hard ride or race when my fellow riders are drinking a cold beer-it just seems a little more refreshing than wine 😉 I will definitely be giving this a try! So happy to hear all is going well with your journey back to strength and wellness. Keep stomping!

    • Melissa says:


      I’m not a beer person, but I know what you mean about post-ride beer drinking. Last night after a good ride, I had a watermelon and sparkling water drink. It was SO good. About a cup of watermelon, a cup of sparkling water, and lime juice (1 whole lime). I blitzed it in my VitaMix, poured it into a fancy glass and topped it with a touch more mineral water. Gentle stir and it was divine!

  2. Thanks for giving up that sportini recipe, Melissa. I know what you mean about the wine, the sleep and those crazy random thoughts. So not worth that mellow glow followed by the sleepless night.

    • Melissa says:


      I’m amazed at how 1 little glass of wine (and my wine glasses are small) messes up a whole night’s sleep. It’s not worth it. At least most of the time. =)

  3. That drink is a wonderful way to recover, and to feel like you’ve had your treat drink, too! 🙂 I did not know about that Knudsen sport drink product … very cool to know that there’s such an option. I’ve already discovered the lack of proper sleep after consuming alcohol. Boo. Happens every time without fail.

    I love that you shared the video of Arthur, too. His transformation is both incredible and beyond inspiring!

    Great post, Melissa!

    • Melissa says:


      The “treat” piece is kind of nice, I must admit. It’s like you’re getting a “special” drink, without compromising your sleep.


  4. Maggie says:

    Cool drink recipe Melissa! I think my husband would love it. I will look for the Recharge beverage. But let’s talk about what’s really cool! YOUR NAME ON THAT BOOK COVER! I love it, congrats. So excited for you. xo

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Maggie. I’m getting into these alcohol free recover drinks! Recharge is a good alternative to Gatorade.

  5. Alisa says:

    This is my kind of drink! I can’t tolerate any alcohol really – it completely messes with my sleep and I always feel sluggish the next day. Pretty much the only time I imbibe these days is for “girl time” events! Fortunately, it’s been so long that I don’t miss it! I’d rather enjoy some activity during the day and that sportini at night! I haven’t tried Recharge. Is there a reason your recommend that brand?

    Woohoo on the book!! It looks great.

  6. Sounds so refreshing! I’ll have to remember this one.

  7. […] Gluten Free For Good shared an Athlete’s Recovery Cocktail (The Sportini) […]

  8. This is awesome! It’s way healthier than any alcohol beverage.

  9. Linda Hamlin says:

    This is so inspiring. 31# “A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension.” is one of my favourites.

  10. IrishHeart says:

    I am reading this one 6 months late (I am still new to your blog and reading some back posts) and having viewed the video, feel compelled to write and say thanks.

    I am struggling with rehabbing my muscles and I have terrible joint/bone pain from long unDxed CD and it has taken me 2 years to get to where I can lift some light weights, walk about 1/2 mile without gasping for breath and experiencing crushing leg/hip/back pain and stack some wood again. My progress is so slow and often discouraging, but I persevere.

    I am doing some yoga now—and it is pretty strange that I happened to read this blog post today–a day when I am feeling as if I may never, ever be “right” again. I am always encouraging the newly diagnosed to never give up, and yet I cannot seem to muster any “pom pom” action for myself today.

    Until just now. If that guy can reach his goal, so can I.

    Thanks for sharing the “sportini cocktail” and for the video link. I sometimes enjoy a cocktail (I had to give those up for a few years when I was quite ill and started enjoying them again) and then foolishly wonder why I am wide awake at 2 AM with a pounding heart. Duh!

    I have a renewed sense of determination. Thanks a bazillion!!
    Cheers, IH

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