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I have a friend (as brilliant as he is) who recently spent a day or so recovering from a self-induced, internal drought. He was miserable.

If you’re an active person, you’ve probably experienced an imbalance between water intake and water loss at one time or another during an extended period of exercise. It’s not pleasant and greatly impacts your performance whether you’re out for long mountain bike ride or playing a hard-fought tennis match. Exercise capacity can be compromised when a person is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. That’s not much.

We often focus on food sources of fuel, but fatigue during exercise may be the result of dehydration as much as from lack of nutrient intake. It takes much longer to recover from a hydration deficit than it does from a food (energy) deficit. You can eat a banana or a handful of jelly beans and feel better in minutes, but if fluid intake is compromised, it takes a lot longer to recover. If you’re feeling like a saguaro cactus—hot, parched, and moisture-deprived—it will take hours for fluids to trickle back into your blood plasma, muscles, and intracellular fluids. It’s best to make sure you’re well-hydrated to begin with and take measures to stay hydrated while active.

Sip, sip, sip.

And guess what? Food counts as hydration. At least some food does. Processed food contains no water. Raw vegetables and fruit contain quite a bit and come with a supporting cast of nutrients, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium—critical electrolytes lost through sweating.

Power-packed, pre- or post-exercise smoothie (a great combo of ingredients for hydration, performance, and recovery)
Makes one mega serving, or two if you’re forced to share

1-1/2 cups coconut water
1 small banana
1/3 cup frozen cherries
1/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/3 cup chopped raw beets
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and pulse until smooth. Makes about 22 ounces (1-3/4 cups).

PER SERVING: 350 calories; 7 g fat; 70 g carbohydrate; 8 g protein; 13 g fiber
Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C; magnesium; phosphorus; sodium; potassium; thiamin; selenium; zinc

For a detailed post on the differences in high-powered blenders, check this post from my friend Alexa at Lexie’s Kitchen. She’s the blender guru. I have a VitaMix and I love it, but there are several other blenders on the market that will also pulverize chopped beets and celery.

Peace, love, and plant power!

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13 Responses to “Hydration and recovery (recipe included)”

  1. Alta says:

    I love coconut water for hydration. I don’t often drink it – water is usually enough for me – but when it’s hot or you’re out for a long time, it’s great. Love the mix of sweet and savory fruits and veggies here!

  2. Melissa, such a great post–thank you! Love that photo and this recovery smoothie recipe (how did I know beets would be involved, too? hehe) You know how strongly I feel about hydration, yet I found myself feeling a little off and realized that I was dehydrated this week after being caught up in a bunch of stuff and not taking time to drink enough (or even eat anything with liquid in it).

    Thanks again! Off to share …

  3. Nadya says:

    Mmmm – love beets!! Fun combo ….
    I’m *always* telling my clients to drink more water (I mean, ENCOURAGING) …. and if you soaked chia seeds in the coconut water first ….

  4. Alisa says:

    I’m much better at getting hydration through food and herbal tea than water, so this looks great!

    I do find hydration to be such a delicate balance, and though I often feel dehydrated, my body doesn’t seem to accept fluids well. I’m wondering if there can be an imbalance in the ability to utilize liquids?

  5. This smoothie sounds incredible. I treat myself once in a while to fresh coconut water that I pry out of young organic coconuts…but it’s so much work! Do you have a favorite brand of coconut water that you buy already packaged, or do you use young coconuts?

  6. Lexie says:

    This will be our breakfast smoothie in the morning!!!

  7. Maggie says:

    This is more great info Melissa! I always have to remind my dear husband to drink water. Fortunately I LOVE drinking water. My favorite part of this post – the important info about how it takes longer to recover from dehydration. I read that to my husband and he’s hooked! Thank you 🙂

  8. Oh, Melissa! These is the most mouth-watering stack of cucumbers I have ever seen in my life! And your smoothie sounds amazing. What would you think of adding a tablespoon of hemp protein powder? I’m thinking of replenishing amino acids to those well-worked muscles post workout…

  9. Liz says:

    Oooh! I am printing this out and keeping it by our blender. This sounds perfect (and so refreshing!) for the hubs and I post-workout. Thank you Melissa!

  10. Carol says:

    This is such a great post and exactly what I needed to read. I always run a little on the dry side and have a couple times expiriences sevre dehydration – it was hell on earth. I like the idea of a hydrating smoothie. I guess coffee doesn’t count? Just kidding (sort of). 🙂

  11. Nicole says:

    The recipe is very useful to me, since I am an active person and I have serious problems with hydration and my metabolism on the whole… I really hope this helps me.

  12. Esther says:

    Sounds uber-refreshing! I’m gonna have to try it 😉

  13. Printing this right now. I just made a new and hopefully strong commitment to the gym and will definitely need this as a post-exercise smoothie! Thanks for a great recipe!

Leave a Reply to Alta

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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