Hydrating, Natural Electrolyte Drinks

Staying hydrated isn’t always convenient at the best of times. Sourcing good quality water, avoiding plastic bottles, carrying a water bottle around with you, needing to pee ALL THE TIME. As the summer heats up it becomes more important to stay on top of your fluid intake. Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated? As they say ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, so drinking a glass of water upon rising, and regularly throughout the day is a great idea for general dehydration avoidance.

But sometimes things happen: a crazy hot summer, a sweaty run/walk/hike, long world cup games with a couple of beers, you know, life. And then there are the less fun ways that dehydration can sneak up quickly on us: fever and excessive sweating, vomiting and/or diarrhea caused by cancer treatment (or the flu, food poisoning, pregnancy etc).

Natural Electrolyte Drinks

Regardless of how we become dehydrated, it is important that we replace those fluids and minerals lost. Fluorescent-coloured sports drinks are easy but they’re also filled with chemicals, food dyes and general non-foods that should really be avoided (I get that bright yellow looks more appetizing than my homemade brown lemonade, but let’s face it, sometimes healthy things are just brown). When it comes to giving your body an extra boost of hydration and the electrolytes it needs (sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate & bicarbonate) a few more fluorescent-free tricks can be very helpful.

Natural Electrolyte Drinks

First of all, a pinch of high-quality sea salt in your glass of water is the simplest way to go. You could probably go to the kitchen and do that right now. Sea salt is full of minerals, the very same ones that you excrete through sweat and all of those other special ways. It makes your water extra hydrating without changing it too much in taste (it shouldn’t taste salty, it will just taste fatter and rounder like some mineral-rich spring or well waters).

Natural Electrolyte Drinks
(this is what I mean by a ‘pinch’ of salt)

Coconut water, aka nature’s sports drink, is a great mineral-rich, extra hydrating option. If you are vomiting or have excessive diarrhea (or are playing 2 hours of baseball in the hot sun), this will help to replace the minerals and fluid that you are rapidly losing. Look for brands with no additives, just one ingredient: coconut water (the freezer section is a good place to look for this). You can also crack your own young coconuts (get someone else to do it for you, obviously, you should be resting).

Natural Electrolyte Drinks

If good coconut water is hard to find, or if you don’t love the taste of it on its own, I have some simple, hydrating drink recipes for you. They are meant to be ‘watery’ like water but with a bit of fruit (minerals, flavour, natural sugar), salt (minerals) and optionally coconut water (more minerals and natural sugar). I have also added a small amount of chia seeds for some fiber and fat to slow down the sugar absorption (lowering the glycemic load) but if you are sick and finding it hard to keep food down, leave out the chia seeds and just take small sips of the drinks as they are.

Natural Electrolyte Drinks

These recipes are all really fresh and delicious to me and my chemo/radiation-free palate, but I totally understand that some funky things can happen inside your mouth when you are going through cancer treatment. I have been told sweetness can become overwhelming, if this is the case, scale back on the fruit or even stick to plain coconut water with a big squeeze of lemon or lime (or try a mineral-rich broth instead, like this). If bitterness is a problem, leave out all citrus zest. Mouth sores or a raw throat can make acidity uncomfortable, if this is the case, leave out the citrus juices entirely (although keep in mind this will also shorten the shelf life of your drink). Warm/room temp drinks will taste more flavourful (think cheese, red wine, chocolate etc) so if you are feeling nauseous, try sipping these drinks cold or freeze them into popsicles or small ice cubes. This will mute their flavour, force you to swallow a little bit at a time, and also prevent dry mouth (from meds or general dehydration).

Natural Electrolyte Drinks

You can make these drinks ahead and freeze them into popsicle moulds or ice cubes, to consume as mentioned above, or to set yourself up for a rocky round of treatment. This way all you have to do when you need a hydration boost is take some out of the fridge, pop them into a glass and pour some water over top to slowly defrost while you sip. Making all of the recipes will help you keep your taste buds guessing so that you don’t grow tired of any of them.

Natural Electrolyte Drinks

Hydration is especially important if you are fighting cancer and/or going through cancer treatment, because dehydration can tax your kidneys, which are important for detoxification and cause constipation, which is also not a place you want those toxins hanging out. These electrolyte drinks are just another tool for your cancer-crushing tool kit.

Hydrating, Natural Electrolyte Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 drink
  • 2 c Coconut Water (or regular water)
  • ¼ c Lemon Juice
  • 2 Dates, Pitted
  • 1 tsp Chia Seeds (optional)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1-2 strips (use a peeler) of lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit zest
  • Optional Ingredients: A small piece of ginger (great for nausea) or fresh turmeric (anti-inflammatory, but maybe not a great taste if you're feeling nauseous), Mint, Lavender (steep a small amount like tea, strain and add it), Rosemary (prepare like lavender)
Watermelon Lime:
  • 1½ c Watermelon (optionally frozen if you need some cooling down)
  • 1 c Coconut Water (or regular water)
  • 2 tsp Lime Juice
  • ¼ tsp Lime Zest
  • ½ tsp Chia Seeds (optional)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • ***Optional Ingredients -2-5 mint leaves, 1 inch of Cucumber
Banana Coconut Water:
  • ½ Banana
  • 2 c Coconut Water (or regular water)
  • 1 tsp Chia Seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Optional Ingredients: ⅛ tsp Vanilla Bean, Pinch of Cinnamon, Small piece of Ginger
For the Lemonade:
  1. In a blender, blend the ingredients (except the zest) until the date is well blended (medjool dates blend the best, also, bringing them to room temp first will help if your blender is just ok).
  2. Twist the strip of zest to release the oils and add to your glass before pouring the juice in.
  3. Drink room temp or cold.
  4. Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.
For the Watermelon Lime:
  1. Blend everything in the blender until smooth.
  2. Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.
For the Banana Coconut:
  1. Blend everything in a blender until smooth.
  2. Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.


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