|Heidi Moretti, MS, RD|
Clinical Registered Dietitian
Instant | athletes | coffee substitutes | students | smoothie | reviews | lifestyle tips
Homemade Energy Drinks, Story in a Nutshell
- In this post, I will share with you some of my favorite homemade energy drinks recipes using natural whole foods and herbs.
- Products covered: Ginseng Fuzion drops, Tulsi tincture, Coffee Break, Cordyceps, Living Greens, Cacao Elixir.
- We’ll also discuss some of the key fundamental lifestyle consideration for good healthy energy.
All these DIY recipes are easy to make using common natural ingredients that also caffeine free. Some of these natural ingredients are very well studied and shown to help boost energy and support:
- Physical and mental performance
- Brain function
- Focus and memory
- Better cope with stress.
If you are a fan of energy drinks such as red bull, monster, or others, make sure to read my thoughts on common store bought sports drinks and energy drinks. (Towards the end of this article).
Long story short, making your own homemade energy drinks is always a much better idea in terms of health, effectiveness, safety, and budget. In this guide, we’ll focus on your time with quick options.
Reasons You’re Feeling Low In Energy
Before we dive into the recipes, an important note about energy drinks.
I see SO many clients who desperately seek out energy just so they can stay awake and focused through the day.
When seeking energy to fuel the day, I like to think beyond just an energy drink or coffee, and consider if there’s an actually problem that may cause low energy.
If you always feel you need “something” to energize you, then perhaps it’s time to look deeper, and find the cause. Possible causes of fatigue or low energy may include:
- Diet (for example low calories, sugar crashes, food sensitivities)
- Nutritional deficiencies (for example B12 or iron who play a major role in energy production)
- Sleep (not enough or poor quality)
- High stress
- Mitochondria issues: especially as we get older.
If you are above 40, make sure to read my guide on: mitochondria supplements.
Bottom line: if you have been battling with low energy for awhile, I highly recommend you should go and see your doctor to make sure there’s an underlying issues causing it.
Homemade Energy Drinks Recipes
Here are some of my favorite homemade energy drinks recipes that can help to naturally boost your energy levels and support your physical and mental performance.
Keep things simple: Energy drinks don’t need to be complex to be effective. They need to be easy and quick with easy to use items. So you can use these as effective tools when needed, rather than spending hours in your kitchen.
Listen to your body: Just like any food, or supplement, not everyone responds the same. So always allow room for variations to find the magic formula that works best for you. The recipes below do offer a great starting point.
The Instant Energy Drink: The Power of Ginseng
Looking for a quick “natural lift” (caffeine-free), but are at work, on the go, or away from your kitchen?
I’m so impressed by ginseng health potential and research data, I think it may very well be the (caffeine free) coffee of the future. While completely caffeine free, most people who try ginseng really love how it improves energy, stamina, and mental performance.
So here’s is a quick homemade energy drink recipe with some options.
I will also share some more info on the different types of ginseng and the main way they work. You are likely to know them by different names. Maca and Ashwagandha for example, are actually different types of ginseng.
The Instant Energy Drink
My favorite when I am on the go:
- Ginseng Fuzion drops (1 dropperful)
a combination of five types of organic ginseng shown to support energy, stress, focus, mood.
- Purified or spring water (300-500 ml, hot/cold)
When I am out: I often replace water with 300-500 ml coconut water for electrolytes and hydration support. You can simply add the one dropperful of Ginseng Fuzion in your coconut water bottle and carry with you.
Keto diet: if you are doing Keto: replace the coconut water with:
- 300-500 ml of unsweetened almond milk
- 15 ml of coconut oil or MCT oil (start with 5 ml to avoid digestive issues due to too much MCT)
Know your herb: Ginseng
While all the types of ginseng are known to support energy, each may work a little different with additional capabilities. You can try each type by itself, or combine them together, as they tend to complement each other.
- Korean Ginseng: Energy & Fatigue
also known as asian ginseng, red ginseng, or panax ginseng
- Ashwagandha: Energy, Endurance & Stress
also known as indian ginseng
- Maca: Energy & Mood
also known as peruvian ginseng.
Ginseng Fuzion drops are easier to add to drinks or water, saving you the need to make tea, or buy each kind separately. Its not always easy to get good sources of organic ginseng. This formula only uses organic extracts.
All you need is to carry the small bottle with you.
Homemade Energy Drink for Athletes
Athletes and people who are more active often need more nutrients, electrolytes and calories to support performance.
When working with athletes, we always pay special attention to what happens after the workout, to help the body heal and recover afterwards.
The homemade energy drink recipe below may offer a great starting point.
Take 30 min before your workout.
For ideal athletic performance, note that the ingredients and serving size may be different from one person to another. (Think of a 120 pounds female runner, vs. a 250 pounds bodybuilder).
- Ginseng Fuzion drops (1 dropper)
for energy, performance, balance the stress response of intense workout.
- Coconut water (300-500 ml, electrolytes and hydration)
- ½ lemon juice (alkaline forming in the body)
- ¼ tsp Himalayan salt (helps support muscles and hydration. Bodybuilders may notice better “pump” during the workout)
Endurance athletes: add 1 scoop of Cordyceps Mushroom.
The research suggests that cordyceps can improve oxygen uptake into tissues, delay fatigue by improving oxygen kinetics and and increase training volume, particularly in endurance athletes.[1,2]
As with all herbs and medicinal mushrooms, the source matters. If you consider cordyceps, it is best to get yours for an organic source that guarantees it is grown under the best conditions, including third party testing.
A good example is cordyceps by medicinal foods.
Coffee Substitute Energy Drink
Coffee substitutes are everywhere now and for a good reason: coffee is perhaps the most abused substance in the world!
Don’t get me wrong. There are still many benefits reported from drinking coffee. The problem is the abuse. Many people find themselves in trouble after consuming way too much caffeine.
Below is my favorite homemade recipe, using the famous Hawaiian Medicinal Foods Coffee Break. It’s a mix of medicinal mushrooms and herbs shown to boost your energy, support your immune system, help your body cope with stress, reduce inflammation and even have some anti-aging benefits.
Combine all ingredients and enjoy. This is probably my favorite drink of the day.
- Coffee Break (1-2 tablespoon)
- 1 cup hot water
- Iced coffee lovers: mix 1-2 tablespoon with your favorite nut milk.
- For added brain support, add 15 ml of coconut oil or MCT oil (start with 5 ml)
Trying to stop drinking coffee is not always easy and can cause nasty withdrawal symptoms. If this sounds like you, you may want to see my article on how to stop drinking coffee.
Homemade Energy Drink for Studying
Got an important test or an important deadline to meet? When it comes to studying, always consider the type of energy you need to help you get the job done.
Mild & long lasting: Rather than that explosive energy and alertness you would normally need before a workout, for studying you probably want a more mild energy that will keep you focused for several hours.
Calm: Almost everyone these days experience some sort of anxiety or stress before a test or a deadline; certain adaptogenic herbs can help to ease the stress. So you feel calm yet focused.
Also, get enough sleep: According to research, sleep deprivation can prevent the encoding of items in short-term memory and can impair your entire decisioning making and reaction time. So not sleeping enough before an exam in order to achieve more can significantly backfire.
For this homemade recipe (hot or cold tea):
- Tulsi Tincture (1-2 dropperful):
Calming, yet energizing, tulsi (holy basil) is one of ayurvedic medicine most studied herb known for its ability to calm stress, balance mood, and naturally boost physical and mental energy.
- 1 cup of spring or purified water (hot or cold)
Use before and during studying. May work very well together with Coffee Break.
Homemade Energy Drink Smoothie
Brain, energy, and gut health, this recipe has it all. It may require a little more time compared to the previous recipes, but if you like to make smoothies at home, you may find this recipe very rewarding and quite easy to make.
Homemade Energy Drink Smoothie
- ¼ to ⅓ cup wild frozen blueberries neuroprotective and antioxidant effects in the brain
- 20-25 grams organic vegan protein powder such as hemp or pea protein
- 1 medium banana energy and flavor
- 1-2 cups almond milk or your favorite plant based milk
- 1 scoop Hawaiian Medicinal Foods Living Greens energy, detoxification, gut health with probiotics, live enzymes
- 1 scoop Hawaiian Medicinal Foods Cacao Elixir energy, mood, and chocolate flavor
- Blend all ingredients and enjoy
- One tablespoon of chia seeds with less nut milk (one cup) to make a pudding (soak chia overnight or at least for 15 min with the nut milk).
- Add other fresh nuts and seeds.
My Energy Drinks Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In our fast-paced world that is infused with a load of stress, extra calories, yet plenty of nutritional imbalances, it is no wonder we all reach a point where we have some sort of an energy crisis. So we look for energy drinks.
In this article, we covered some great and healthy homemade options (“The good”). But…you are now out and about and need a lift. What about store bought options?
There’s a reason why we often carry these natural drops of Tulsi and Ginseng when we are out. Most energy drinks on the market today give people more than just energy: synthetic ingredients and additives that may do some long-term damage. Not to mention, most have loads of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup which are linked to disease.
Excuse my sarcasm, but the irony here, is that even the sugar free energy drinks that claimed to support fat loss have artificial ingredients that may be linked to diabetes, or disrupt your gut microbiome.
What about the all natural energy drinks or bars? They often have too much sugars or have stimulants that can cause side effects and may be unhealthy.
Stimulants can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, make you feel jittery, and while you may have a great few hours of energy and focus, you are likely to crash hours later. Then what? Take another of these energy drinks?
Another common issue with stimulants, is that the energy you get is not always consistent, and can completely backfire. Especially when abused or used long term.
Beyond Energy Drinks: Lifestyle Tips
To get more energy in your life, the fundamentals of health should always be your starting point. A balanced lifestyle can fuel your day with long and lasting energy, and prevent the afternoon slump in energy.
1: Your diet: nutrients & calories
When it comes to energy, food is the best medicine. While a topic by itself, here are some key dietary guidelines for good energy:
- Avoid sugar spikes: Stay away from high carb foods or processed foods that can cause blood sugar spikes and energy fluctuations.
- Key foods for sustained energy include low glycemic fruits (berries), fresh nuts and seeds, and fatty fruits like avocados.
- Eat enough calories: I see many people who undereat due to busy lifestyle. When we don’t eat enough, the body naturally goes into survival mode and slow things down. The result: low energy.
- Watch for nutritional deficiencies: always best to have your levels tested. Low levels of B12, or iron for example, may cause low energy.
2: Sleep is the best energy drink
Sleep is essential to good energy, and both quantity (at least 7 hours for most people) and quality matter. So you may miss an hour here and there, but it doesn’t take long before lack of sleep catches up and affect every aspect of our life.
3: Manage Stress
Initially stress causes us to be alerted and energized. Overtime, however, chronic stress can drain our adernals leading to extreme fatigue.
Have your stress under control, and be mindful to how it affects you. Try to include meditating, yoga, stretching, and getting some movement during the day.
Exercise is a known potent natural way to energize the body and mind. While a good challenge is always a great, avoid overtraining as it can have the opposite effect.
Herbs for Energy: for a natural clean energy that lasts. No caffeine, no jitters, no crashes.