Eating (and Drinking) for Energy, Part 1
Electrolyte-Rich Tips and Recipes to Keep You Energized All Day
By Sam Crow
Photo: Kylie Fly
Even though the temps are below freezing and you start off the day with cold digits, there is no doubt you are going to work up a sweat climbing a mountain — even if you don’t feel like you’re actually sweating. Sweat is made up of WAY more than just water, so, equally, it is important to hydrate with more than just water. If you’re going out for more than a 60-90 minute splitboard tour, you might want to consider adding electrolytes to your water to prevent dehydration and energy fatigue.
You’ve certainly heard about electrolytes — the sugary, neon-blue drinks, powders or tabs in the grocery store soda aisle that are hyped up for athletes of all kinds. But before you reach for that processed sports drink or sports-enhancing gummies, consider opting for a few better choices to keep you hydrated (which also have less plastic, a win for us and mama earth).
First, we need to know what our sweat is made of. There are 5 main minerals to be aware of: sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Second, we need to learn what these minerals do for our body. Spoiler alert: electrolytes actually conduct electricity (aka ENERGY) when mixed with water. They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood pH, stimulate the heart muscle, AND help rebuild damaged tissue! So, they are kind of important, especially for backcountry activities where you’re far away from the nearest bodega.
Third, we need to consume foods or drinks that put these minerals back in our body by packing snacks and fluids that are rich in these minerals. While salami and cheese are a great option, consider adding homemade, electrolyte-rich choices to your backpack.
Photo: Steph Nitsch
My go-to electrolyte drink combines water (duh), Redmond Real Salt (which has all 5 of the electrolytes), real orange juice (for flavor, potassium, & a vitamin C boost), and natural sweetener (you can pick your favorite; mine is maple syrup from my dad’s trees in Minnesota!).
So the next expedition you go on, do yourself a favor and wake up 10 minutes early to prep a yummy electrolyte drink and a snack to get you up that mountain in good health. Cheers!
Mountain Slayer Trail Mix
1 c. toasted coconut flakes
½ c. toasted pepitas salted
1 c. walnuts salted
½ c. goji berries
½ c. dried blueberries
1 c. dried cranberries
Stir and portion out into a reusable snack bag.
Your portion size will depend on a lot of things, activity duration, intensity, weight, metabolism, etc. So trust your body's signals and eat what it requires. I usually take about 1-2 cups with and end up with extra. I like to be over prepared when it comes to food and drinks.
Peak Bagger Tonic
3 c. water
1 orange, juiced
½ tsp. Redmond Real Salt
1 tbsp. maple syrup
Add all ingredients into your water bottle (32 fl. oz). Shake, throw into your pack, and go bag that peak!