Energy drinks don’t work.
In fact, they’re not titled very accurately. They don’t do a very good job at giving you energy.
They should be called “Carbonated sugar water that gives you a small sugar rush before making you crash.”
So here’s my version of an energy drink that’ll boost you up not because of its sugar content, but because of the rejuvenating powers of the raw superfoods contained within.
I just made a batch today and am experiencing a nice sustained energy boost.
Furthermore, the ingredients in this drink all have a nice body of research behind them that points to their ability to improve athletic performance.
So this energy drink is great for anyone looking for a powerful drink before a workout or an alternative to coffee.
2 cups condensed green tea
3 fresh beets
1 tsp eleuthero root
1 tbsp hawthorne berry powder
A squeeze of fresh lemon
You’ll also need a tea kettle and a juicer.
Why This Drink Works
Before we begin with the instructions I’d like to go into some detail about why this drink improves energy and physical performance.
The health benefits of green tea are widely documented, and most of the heavy lifting is done by a molecule called a catechin. I’ve written about the health benefits of catechins before, and they’re quite impressive. They improve the metabolic functioning of your cells and provide your body with a sustained energy lift that’s independent of the caffeine contained in green tea.
What’s not as widely publicized is the effect beets can have on your athletic performance. They’re a powerful source of dietary nitrate, which your body uses to increase the oxygen levels in your blood, which helps lower blood pressure and improve circulation. There have been plenty of clinical trials which suggest beets are very beneficial for endurance athletes.
Hawthorn berry is somewhat similar. It’s been used as a homeopathic remedy for hypertension and heart problems because it helps lower your systolic blood pressure.
Eleuthero root is a plant found in northern china and is also called Siberian Ginseng. It belongs to a class of substances called adaptogens, and helps your body cope with metabolic stress (ie, exercise). The research done on eleuthero is pretty extensive, and I know from personal experience that when I put it in my tea in the morning I have sustained energy levels.
So with that being said…let’s get started!
A Visual Guide On Making Your Own Energy Drink
Here’s a look at the ingredients needed before we begin:
First you’ll want to start brewing some hot water in a tea kettle. When You’re finished pour the hot water into a pitcher and seep three tea bags for about 5-10 minutes.
When it’s done seaping pour it back into the tea kettle and boil it down until you have about 2-3 cups remaining.
Notice how the color of the tea is much darker.
While the tea is boiling down juice the three beets and mix in the hawthorn berry powder and eleuthero root.
Add the beetroot juice to the boiled down green tea in a pitcher.
Add a squeeze of lemon when you’re finished. Lemon improves the absoprtion of many phytonutrient and antioxidants which will improve the beneficial effects of this energy drink.
Enjoy your first homemade energy drink!
Keep this concoction handy if you’re getting ready for an athletic performance or just looking for a different way to improve your metabolism and circulation.
Depending on how much you boil down the green tea you may want to add a little bit of sweetener such as stevia or agave nectar so the taste is to your liking.
If you’re wondering where to buy the herbs, I’d recommend mountain rose herbs.
I bought a 4 oz. bag of eleuthero root and 8 oz bag of hawthorn berry powder for $3.00 and $4.50, respectively.
The total cost of this mixture was probably about $5-6 and it made 3-4 cups, so I reckon it costs less than a regular store bought energy drink and is much better for you.
I would also recommend exercising a little caution when using the herbs. Eleuthero is “stimulatory” and using it in condensed fashion might have different effects on different people. If in doubt start in smaller doses and play around a little bit.
If you’re curious about more information on the health benefits of the different ingredients in this mixture here are some references that I found useful:
Weitzberg, Eddie, et. al. “Dietary Nitrate – A Slow Train Coming”
Murphy, Margaret, et. al. “Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance”
Ferreira, Leonardo, et. al. “A Toast to Health and Performance! Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure and the O2 Cost of Exercise”
Wagner, H. et. al. “Plant Adaptogens” Phytomedicine. June 1994. Vol. 1 pgs. 63-76.
Kuo J, Chen KW, Cheng IS, Tsai PH, Lu YJ, Lee NY. The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in human. Chin J Physiol. 2010 Apr 30;53(2):105-11. PubMed PMID: 21793317.