December 9th, 2011

Electrolyte Drink

You guys ever seen Idiocracy? Probably not. It’s not the best low-budget cult film out there, to be sure, but it has some funny moments. One of the major plot points is that future society has so completely succumbed to the effects of advertising that they are watering their crops with Brawndo, a Gatorade-like sports drink.

“Brawndo’s got what plants crave! It’s got electrolytes!”
“Look, what are electrolytes, do you even know?”
“It’s… what they use to make Brawndo.”

Okay, so let me demystify: electrolytes are salts. Not only straight table salt, but the group of salts according to the periodic table. They’re necessary because your body needs to maintain the proper balance of salts and water in your cells, and when you sweat or urinate a lot — or more notably, when you have the loose/frequent bowel problems commonly associated with autistic individuals — you lose salts faster than you can take them in from food, and your whole metabolic process works less efficiently. But in the end, yes, it’s all just a form of salt water.

So why would you want to pay a ton of money for the privilege of having a bunch of artificial dyes and chemical sweeteners added to your salt water? I certainly wouldn’t. Oh hey I know, let’s make our own!


First, take an empty water bottle, preferably with a lid so you can shake it up when it’s ready. Then add 1/16 of a teaspoon of Potassium Chloride. For the accountants out there, note that that’s $4 for 648 servings. You can get tiny measuring spoons here, and while they give them useless names like “pinch” and “smidge,” the five spoons are actually 1/4 tsp, 1/8 tsp, 1/16 tsp, 1/32 tsp and 1/64 tsp. Alternatively, you could make it in larger batches so you could use the larger measuring spoons you already own.


Next, add 1/16 of a teaspoon of baking soda, AKA sodium bicarbonate. See, salts! Again, this ingredient goes for less than $1 for 1,612 servings.


Fill the drink bottle with about 8 ounces of water, which should hopefully leave you with some space at the top, unless you have a particularly undersized container.


Fill that remaining space with the fruit juice of your choice. And that’s it! You’ve just made your own Pedialyte/Whatever-ade, with no extra junk and for only a few pennies (including the cost of the juice — not counting the juice, it’s a small fraction of a penny.)

Of course you could always add a little more juice if they don’t like it so watered down. You could also use 1/2 Tablespoon of honey instead, or even a bit of granulated sugar. But it is important to use some form of sweetener, not only to cover the mild salty flavor, but also because a small amount of glucose is actually necessary to help with absorption. It’s all about the chemistry, baby.


Happy Rehydrating!


Electrolyte Drink

8 oz. water
1/16 tsp potassium chloride
1/16 tsp baking soda
2 TBS fruit juice, or more as desired


2 comments to Electrolyte Drink

  • fernandezmommy

    This is so awesome! My kiddo has had so many “clean-outs” for his GI issues, and I hate giving him Gatorade. Now I have another option! Thank you so much!

  • xoxoxoBruce

    You need some potato chip, or french fry, flavor to compliment the salt. ;o)

Leave a Reply