It is well established that equestrian women are far better at taking care of their horses than they are at taking care of themselves. And we husbands have all experienced that moment when wife, having gone for hours of riding in the hot sun (paying careful attention to the hydration level of their horse), comes home feeling exhausted, mildly ill, and kind of cranky.
For years I have explored ways to keep my wife Elisa hydrated. Water is, of course essential, but Elisa is a high performance athlete, who loses more than just water throughout the day. She, like anyone engaged in high intensity athletics, need to replenish electrolytes as well. Gatorade gets the job done and is relatively inexpensive, but is far too sugary in my opinion.
Here are three alternatives:
Pedialyte Advance Care Oral Electrolyte Solution is a favorite among professional athletes, and has saved Elisa during competition on more than one occasion. It works wonders for recovery after cross county (she is a three day eventer) and, for a long time, I would make sure to have a couple of bottles on hand every time Elisa returned home from competition. The problem is that Pedialyte is really expensive. At a grocery store or pharmacy, it can cost as much as $8 per bottle, which is why we typically opt for lower-cost store brands, but these typically run between $3 and $5 per bottle. Excellent for ‘urgent hydration’ at a horse show, but its not the kind of thing that you want to buy palates of for daily use.
Do It Yourself
So I thought to myself: why is pedialyte so expensive? it’s just salt and water, right? I can make my own at home for a fraction of the cost.
Pedialyte is basically a fancy version of something called Oral Rehydration Solution, which is basically just water, sugar, and salt. It works, but its not particularly appetizing, and I know that whatever I give my wife will only work if she is willing to drink it. So I whipped something up using the following recipe:
- 1 quart water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar
- 1 packet of Kool aid (unsweetened)
How does it taste? Kind of like sweat. To me, this makes sense, since that is exactly what it is meant to replace. I find it palatable. Elisa finds is repulsive.
The ‘Pink Juice’
Elisa’s go-to at the barn has recently become Muscle Pharm Amino 1. It’s super convenient, since it’s a power that can just be dumped into a bottle of water and shaken. Coconut water has been proven to aid in hydration. As a bonus, the addition of branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) means that Elisa receives the added benefit of increased recovery and muscle repair.