Healthy Energy Drink Alternatives

energy drinks featured

Energy drinks are a wonderful thing to have on hand in your pantry, bug out bag, or even first aid kit. There’s a reason everyone from elite athletes to 8-year-old soccer players relies upon energy drinks and electrolyte drinks for vitality, energy, or replenishing nutrients lost while sweating.

These days, there are a ton of energy drinks on the market, and some can be quite harmful for you. If you’re an energy drink addict, you might be tempted to stock your survival pantry up with 6-packs of Red Bull or Monster, and those wouldn’t be the worst things to have on hand.

But consider this: energy drinks are pretty bad for you.

(Dan’s note: I actually got the flue after drinking one, it took me a whole week to recover. Commercial energy drinks seem to be particularly bad for those with a low immune system.)

According to the National Institute for Complementary and Integrative Health, while the caffeine contained within energy drinks can increase alertness and energy, it can also have negative side effects. Caffeine has been shown to be damaging to the vascular system, heart rate, and even blood pressure over time. Considering energy drinks often have incredibly high amounts of caffeine, a regular habit of consuming them could certainly be very bad for your health.

Furthermore, the other additives often found in energy drinks haven’t been researched enough to know how safe they are.

On top of all this, energy drinks often contain excessive amounts of sugar, which can have negative effects on your overall health, metabolism, and energy over time, not to mention can contribute to high blood pressure and obesity.

Sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade, on the other hand, don’t typically contain the caffeine of energy drinks and have been shown to improve athletic performance by replenishing the electrolytes that are lost through sweating. This is why it is often recommended to give people suffering with dehydration or stomach illness sports drinks to keep their body properly hydrated.

However, they often contain high amounts of sugar as well, not to mention a host of artificial colors and flavoring, which can contribute to obesity and high blood pressure over time as well.

So, should you worry about them? It might be worth it to keep a few energy drinks or sports drinks on hand just in case, but there are a few ingredients you can stock up on that have the same beneficial effects of energy drinks or sports drinks but are much healthier. You can even make your own delicious, energizing drink with a few ingredients you can keep on hand!

A Quick Word on Coffee

Why spend money on expensive energy drinks when you can simply buy coffee? Coffee is one of the oldest “energy drinks” around, and is very popular for a reason. While excessive amounts of caffeine can still have negative impacts on your health, coffee is still a much safer and healthier alternative than artificial energy drinks. It’s cheap, easy to store, and can be prepared virtually anywhere. Always have lots of coffee on hand in your survival pantry!

coconut water

Coconut Water

Coconut water can easily be purchased in cans or boxes and keep on the shelf for long periods of time. Plus, it is one of the healthiest beverages you could possibly drink! It’s loaded with electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, and even has small amounts of fatty acids. If you needed to, you could even live on coconut water.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the world’s wonder “foods”. It has a host of nutritional benefits and can be used as a natural remedy for everything from stomach illness to poison ivy. When blended with fruit juice or water, it makes a wonderful, healthy, naturally energizing drink that will detox and nourish your body while it wakes you up! Ideal for your survival stash.

green tea

Green Tea

Green tea is another amazing superfood, and it has what we’re looking for in energy drinks: caffeine!! Green tea will give you plenty of energy without the negative side effects, and will also detox your body and ward off cancer in the meantime as it is highly anticarcinogenic. You can buy it in bulk very cheaply and as it is simply a tea, it is light and very easy to store and transport.

maple syrup

Maple Syrup or Raw Honey

Both maple syrup and raw honey are delicious sweeteners that are actually incredibly healthy! If you’re going to make a homemade energy drink, you want it to taste good, right? Either or both of these are great to keep in any survival pantry as they can keep for long periods of time, and raw honey in particular is a wonderful home remedy and natural first aid item.

You can enjoy many of these items on their own, or blend some of them together to make a delicious, natural, energizing cocktail. Here are some ideas:

  • Coconut Water + Maple Syrup + Lemon Juice
  • Green Tea Coconut Water Cocktail  + Apple Cider Vinegar + Apple Juice +Raw Honey
  • Green Tea + Raw Honey +Lemon

You can also experiment with your own blends and see what works for you. Enjoy!

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  1. Old-fashioned switchel is the original energy drink. All sorts of recipes on-line, but most are based on apple cider vinegar, molasses, ginger, and often a little raw oatmeal (which is great to eat after you’ve drunk up the switchel!) Depending on the crew drinking it, some also added a little rum or other liquor, although I never have. I keep a jug of switchel in the fridge during haying!

    • Rhonda,
      Thank you for sharing. I definitely could use a little extra energy during hay baling season! Adding rum to the switchel sounds like one heck of a great idea too – but only after the baling is done, I am afraid my homesteading work crew would get too distracted otherwise! Around our place, work details double as date nights and social gatherings. We throw something yummy in the smoker, break open some canned pickles, and gather around in the shelter house after another long and beautiful day of working on the land comes to a close.

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