Thursday, March 14, 2024

Why I Make and Drink Lots of My Homemade Sports Drinks And My Calculating Savings

Last July, I went to the EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) expert in my country. I still plan on writing up about that visit because I found it very enlightening, but for now, I want to share one of the changes I have made to my life since then. 

Through this doctor it was confirmed that I have POTS, a type of dysautonomia, and the treatment of that, among other things, is to stay very well hydrated as well as making sure to have enough salt. Though she wrote on my paperwork that I should drink 2-3 liters a day, I've discovered through trial and error that I really do best with ideally 4, but at least 3 liters per day.

I can't just drink water. That much water without anything else in it would be more likely to cause me water poisoning at the worst, and at the very least I'd just be spending my life in the bathroom. In order to be able to actually hydrate (and not just flush everything out) you need to have salt with it, as well as other electrolytes. Carbohydrates, in smaller amounts, also help with absorbing both the sodium and the water. So this is why I started off drinking Gatorade, made from Gatorade powder that I bought online from overseas, which was significantly cheaper than buying ready made Gatorade. But it got very expensive when they canceled the free international shipping if you bought more than a certain amount, so I tried figuring out something else. 

I have a recipe for Laborade, a homemade sports drink, that I published on this blog already 13 years ago, which I'd used successfully many times. But the recipe uses honey, which makes it pricier, and it creates a really large amount at once and needs to be mixed in a large container, which was a real headache to make and involved cleaning a large container each time. Basically, it was ok for one time uses but not for daily use. I tried experimenting with it, to make a powdered drink, similar to the  Gatorade powder, using citric acid, tea bags, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and no matter how many different ways I tried, it ended up tasting quite vile. 

Looking for another solution, I checked Iherb for sports drink options, and didn't find powdered stuff that fit my criteria. I needed without caffeine (that dehydrates you, which is the opposite of what I need) and with actual sugar and carbs, not fake sugar. It actually was quite hard to find. I ended up buying an electrolyte drink mix (in liquid form), but there were shipping issues and it never actually arrived. 

I started getting desperate, since I was out of Gatorade powder, and I saw what a huge difference it made to my life and functioning level for me to be that hydrated with electrolytes, and I didn't want to go back to nothing. So I started buying juices and watering them down and added a pinch or two of salt to each bottle, but that was getting expensive too. So I decided to give it another shot and try to create a recipe for a sports drink that I could make easily.  And I did, and came up with this recipe, after a bit of tweaking. (Ok, a lot. I already went back and tweaked that recipe twice.)

It has been amazing. I see how my life has changed drinking my sports drink regularly (which, with my family, I now just call "my drink" or "my salty drink" because my kids keep on trying to take some to drink and I've designated them as my bottles only, because I use them to keep track of my liquid intake. (Though I will make them their own bottles as needed.)

But I see now how many boxes of tea I go through, as well as lemon juice and sugar. Herbal tea isn't cheap, especially when I only find one company in most stores, so I can't exactly price compare. I started to question myself if it was truly saving me a lot of money, or if I should just buy concentrate.

So what does Penny do when she isn't sure if something is actually a good deal? She obviously does calculations, sometimes intense ones (as you might remember if you've been a reader for a while) to figure it out.

I calculated how much I spend on a month worth of my drink, and compared it to a month's worth of Gatorade powder, including the more expensive shipping, as well as the Iherb electrolyte replenishers, to see if I'm saving money, and if so, how much. This was a little annoying to calculate because it involved lots of conversions but eventually I got it.

Every day I drink 3-4 liters a day of my sports drink. Most days it is 4 liters (and that is what it ideally should be). That means that over the course of a month I drink 120 liters of my sports drink.

To buy the Gatorade powder, it costs $74.60 (including shipping) for enough powder to make 9 gallons or 34 liters. This means that to get a month's worth of my drink would be 3.5 containers. That would cost $261 per month if I were drinking Gatorade made from this powder.

As for the Iherb electrolyte drink, the calculations were a bit harder. 
International shipping is free if you buy over a certain amount of money but under a certain amount of lbs. So if I buy 4 packages it is $74 for 80, 16 oz packets, which makes a total of 1280 oz of drink. The 120 liters I drink is 4057 oz, so 3.17 orders of 4 packages would make 120 liters, for a total of $234.58 per month. A little cheaper than the Gatorage but not significantly.

For every 2 liters of my drink, I use 2 herbal tea bags, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

I buy teabags at $5.11 for 25 of them working out to $0.20 cents per tea bag, $0.40 cents per 2 liter bottle, 80 cents per day, and $24 per month. 
Lemon juice I buy for $2.34 for 1 liter, which is approximately $0.18 per bottle of drink, $0.36 per day, and $10.80 per month.
Sugar costs $1.29 for 1 kg, which makes it cost $0.16 per bottle, $0.32 per day and $9.60 per month.
Salt is basically negligible at $0.43 for 1 kg, $0.004 per bottle, $0.009 per day, and $0.27 per month.

This brings the grand total of $44.67 for 120 liters or a month's worth of drinks.

Is this cheap? I mean not super cheap. But it's basically medicine for me. 

I'm still on the lookout to find cheaper tea, and I try to buy lemon juice on sale, but about 45 dollars a month to be much more functional, especially when its at least around 200 dollars cheaper than the alternatives- I'll take it.

And now, when I see that yet another box of relatively expensive tea gets used up, I'll remind myself that it's worth the money to be more functional, and its still significantly cheaper than it could have been.

1 comment:

  1. I know you lean toward crunchy and natural, but did you get Covid vaccinated?


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