Tosca Reno


Friday, November 16, 2012

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns - Choosing an Energy Drink with Nathan Robbins

Today we have amazing guest blogger Nathan Robbins with us. He gives a male perspective on tackling the Eat-Clean Diet. He also shares a great energy drink recipe below.
I’m “that guy.” You know, the one who can seemingly eat whatever he wants and not appear to gain an ounce. I generally eat healthily. I don’t freak out if I have an extra slice of pizza and know there’s some things that, at least for now, aren’t going to be leaving my lifestyle anytime soon (I’m looking at you, occasional Hendrick’s Martini.)

That being said, I finished a workout during my lunch break and strolled in drinking a popular energy drink. One of my co-workers said, “You take such good care to eat right. How can you drink that stuff?”

To begin with, it gives me a boost at the right time of the day - especially after a workout. In fact, I actually feel a bit bubbly and ebullient afterwards. But after reading about a girls death after consuming two Monster energy beverages, I thought I should investigate whether my treat should be replaced.

For starters, the boost comes from caffeine. That could be achieved with a black coffee. There’s sugar in there for sure and a bunch of “special” ingredients like Taurine, for which there’s little evidence to say what good it does. At any rate, the sugar can take a hike. Talk about two steps forward and one back! So being that there’s 120 useless calories and a boatload of caffeine, I looked to replace it. There are a bunch of ready-made juices and protein drinks that are designed to replenish whatever’s lost during a workout, but their full of lots of “ingredients” and I don’t really wreck myself that much during a lunchtime session, so perhaps I don’t really need anything more than water.

But I drink water all day. Unless you’re at the foot of the Grand Canyon sucking rocks, a cold Kleen Kanteen isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Besides, when you think about it, I - and maybe yourself - really are wanting to complete our ritual. Which is a whole ‘nuther subject.
Add a lemon you say - and I did too! - until my officemate started wondering what was up with all the half-cut lemons in the office. Since then, I’ve been taking a lemon-lime Emergen-C packet. It seems to do the trick. For now.

I've tried Gatorade. I'm a Lemon-lime man myself, orange is a close second. The others taste like "bug-juice" from cub scout camp. Which calls one glaring fact to the foreground - Gatorade is a heap-load of sugar! It may provide energy if you're running a marathon or hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, but that amount of sugar I think only adds to our nationwide obesity epidemic. That being said, if you've got a hangover - not that you ever would - this stuff is great!

I've also dabbled with Mio, a curious teardrop-shaped dispenser that encourages you to squirt as much or as little of the liquid into your water. It failed to provide me the added lift that Red Bull gave me. Perhaps it had less caffeine. It was hard to tell, as I was unable to quantitatively gauge a squirt. Also, with Mio, in the flavor department, less is definitely more.

Someone asked me, "Have you tried 5-hour Energy?" I had seen the commercials. And the stuff is ubiquitous at every convenience-store checkout, as well as grocery stores. Could it be that this was the elixir I was waiting for?

I opened the Lemon Lime bottle and cautiously took a sniff. I was unprepared for the wrenching feeling that would take over my gut and I struggled to suppress a gag. Once getting over the dry heave, in the name of science or vanity I pounded that little guy back.

About what you'd expect. It has an awful lot of caffeine. 207 mg compared to 135 mg for a cup of coffee. Herein lies the rub - 5-hour Energy is about the size of a D-cell battery and tastes nearly as good. If it's an acquired taste, count me out. My abs are still quivering as I type this.

Clearly, the market for energy drinks is as fertile as the market for snake-oil, which can also be found at various check-out counters. After the past week of experimenting, the best energy seems to come from a good night's sleep and a well-packed lunch. But as I mentioned, for me, a lot of this is ritual.
So, realizing that the lowest common denominator in the equation was a sensible amount of caffeine, a tiny bit of natural sweetener, and the residue of smugness that comes from doing something a bit different that the rest of the hoi-polloi, I made my own concoction:

Nathan's Clean Energy Drink
1/2 a packet of Starbucks refresher (green unroasted coffee, naturally sweetened, 35 calories)
Yogi brand Ginger tea (made in the morning, left to get cold until noon)
A splash of fizzy San Pellegrino.

It all goes in my 24 oz Contigo bottle and gives me both the lift in energy and smugness that I desire.

What do you folks do to complete a lunchtime workout - and keep Clean?

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