Note from Matt: It’s official! Our new book, The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: 150 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts and the Rest of Your Life, is now available for pre-order, at just about every major bookstore.
Over the next few months I’ll be sharing a lot more details about the book, and today I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Stepfanie Romine, the plant-based chef, health coach, runner, and yoga instructor who co-authored this book with me. Stepfanie shares my affinity for streamlining healthy recipes and concepts to their simplest, most practical core (while taking care not to oversimplify), which made her a perfect fit for this book.
Stepfanie has loads of experience making workout-friendly food for herself and her husband, a competitive cyclist, and I absolutely LOVE the homemade, natural sports drink recipe (which tastes shockingly like grape Gatorade!) that she’s sharing with you in today’s post.
So without further ado … meet Stepf!
If you’re a regular No Meat Athlete blog reader, you’ll know that Matt is not prone to hyperbole. When he says something is “mind-blowing,” you take notice.
Just after we announced our new cookbook, Matt asked if I could share a few of the recipes with the NMA community. Excited, I flipped through my notes, went back and forth between a few workout fuel recipes, and emailed Matt for input.
He responded quickly, insisting I share this recipe for switchel.
“Seriously, the grape one was mind-blowing,” he said (again).
And I agree.
This sports drink recipe is a game changer. Having used switchel for going on two years now, I can say I’ll never go back to store-bought drinks again. Judging from his reaction, Matt likely won’t either.
My Search for the Perfect Homemade Sports Drink
I know what you’re thinking. Why make my own sports drink when it’s so easy to buy?
For me, it was the same reason I started eating dates on runs instead of gels and gummies. I’m a clean eater in real life, and my body was begging me to clean up my running fuel, too. Most common sports drinks, like Gatorade, contain processed sugars and artificial flavors, ingredients I want to avoid when putting my body through intense exercise.
As a distance runner, I knew I needed carbs to give me the energy to log all those miles, but my digestive system never liked what I put in. I had to reach a detente with my GI tract if I wanted to PR.
So I started experimenting. I made a few different homemade sports drinks that didn’t upset my stomach … but also weren’t too appealing.
Then I stumbled upon switchel. I can’t remember when exactly I first heard about it, but here in the organic farming and outdoor enthusiast epicenter that is Asheville, such things have a way of being common conversation. It sounded retro and cool, and the ingredient list was clean — with staples I already had in my pantry, like fruit juice, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar.
I couldn’t find an exact recipe, so I used the ratio of carbs to electrolytes in a typical sports drink as my guide. After a few attempts, I had fine-tuned the recipe. It was perfect.
I spilled the beans about switchel to Matt who gave it a try during his next long run, and it was love at first sip.