How many of you, after reading Born to Run, promptly went out and made a pair of huaraches and bought a package of chia seeds? Or was that just me?
There is a trend I am seeing in sports nutrition that seems to be moving towards natural ingredients and whole foods. From what I can tell, as with minimalist footwear, it appears to be largely driven by consumers - and it may very well be the same people who are driving both. In a nutshell, we as consumers are looking to improve our health by moving back towards more wholesome practices. Whether that be through stepping out of overly engineered footwear or stepping away from overly engineered food.
One company that is blazing trails in this space is Achiva Native Energy. The title of their latest product is almost their entire ingredient list: Chia Seed & Dehydrated Coconut Water Native Energy Drink Mix. Consisting of chia seeds, demerara sugar, coconut water powder, chai tea blend, and sea salt.
What do you get when you mix it all together? A delicious, refreshing, lightly sweetened beverage that looks like (and probably has the same texture as) swamp water. Don't take the "swamp water" descriptor the wrong way, we actually really like this product, but be forewarned that if there is a downside to this product, it is the way it looks. But sometimes, that is just the way it goes with natural foods. In an era of food coloring and artificial ingredients designed to make things look better, this is a refreshing departure.
Lightly sweetened, caffeinated, and complete with protein, fiber and essential fatty acids, Achiva bridges the gap between nutrition and hydration. If you are physically tired and need a boost, or are looking for a post-workout recovery beverage, this product is great. Think energy gel, only it's one that you drink. If you are really thirsty and are just looking to replenish fluids and replace electrolytes, then this may not be what you are looking for.
Our family took this product on a 40 mile backpacking trip to Cape Chignecto Provincial Park in Nova Scotia. We found it was very welcome on our afternoon breaks after hiking many sweaty miles. Because we were both thirsty and in need of nutrition, having an energy food that also provided valuable fluids was perfect. The little kick of caffeine was a nice bonus as well, motivation to keep us going in the heat of the day. It truly was a highlight of our afternoons. For backpacking, we found this product to be a perfect compliment to our daily nutrition.
If you are looking for an alternative to chemically laced sports nutrition products, you might just want to give this one a try.