Don't Forget Your Electrolytes

by HEAB on April 26, 2009

After posting my thoughts on excessive cardio this past Friday, I was prepared for some negative comments, but by the time I got back from yoga class, my inbox was full with nothing but positive feedback.  Thanks to everyone for your kind and encouraging words.  I guess we all need to be reminded how important it is to honor our bodies, myself included as I read several of your comments while lying in a hospital bed. Oh, the irony. 

Long story short, after getting some routine blood work done around 1 PM on Friday, I drove about a block before realizing something was not right.   I pulled into an empty parking lot, and within one minute the world was spinning.  I started throwing up and broke out into a cold sweat.  Thankfully, I managed to call CD. His office was not far away, and he was by my side within 5 minutes.   He quickly drove me to the ER, where they drew more blood and then started pumping me with fluids.  Apparently, I was severely dehydrated, and my potassium levels had bottomed out…the doctor asked me if I had done an intense workout lately, Did you sweat a lot this morning or something?  Um, does hot yoga count? 

Anyway, the doctor was amazed that after 2 bags of fluids, I still had not asked to be unhooked from my IV to use the bathroom.  I was in bad shape!  Honestly, I thought I was drinking enough water as I had 32 ounces during and after class followed by 16 ounces of herbal tea. However, there were several contributing factors that landed me in the hospital: 

  1. I was not hydrating enough before class. Coffee instead of water? Bad idea!
  2. My electrolytes were completely out of whack.  
  3. I have very low blood pressure…not sure why, but it was 88/50 at my last check-up, and I tend to get light-headed fairly easily.  

Needles, giving blood, etc. usually don’t bother me, but on Friday, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Let’s just say I’ve learned my lesson! As the weather gets warmer, make sure you are getting plenty of potassium and perhaps add a little salt to your diet if you plan on a sweat-filled workout the next day (I never salt anything). As far as sports drinks go, make sure you pay attention to the ingredient list. Ultima Replenisher and Emergen-C’s Electro-Mix are both good options with all natural ingredients and zero sugars. Coconut water is also an excellent source of electrolytes following an intense workout.

Our cupboards are now stocked with potassium rich foods:

Chia seeds, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, and Emergen-C Eletro-Mix

Chia seeds, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, and Emergen-C Eletro-Mix

I’m still feeling a bit weak and nauseous, and the thought of coffee disgusts me right now.  Unfortunately, so does the thought of a caffeine withdrawal headache. So, for breakfast I made chocolate mocha oat bran.

Mmm...caffeinated oates. :)

Mmm...caffeinated oats with homemade walnut butter. :)

I cooked 1/2 cup oat bran with 1 cup water and then stirred in 2 TBSP of chia seeds, and let the chia seeds go to work while I made my walnut butter.  After about 15 minutes, I poured my thickened oat bran into the Vita-Mix with 1 packet of Jay Robb chocolate rice protein powder and a spoonful of this:

Pot O' Caffeine

Pot O' Caffeine

My mom bought me this espresso powder for use in baking, and it’s just been sitting in my cabinet untouched.  Mom, my head and belly thank you as this not only prevented a caffeine headache, but also made my oats delicious! I can’t wait to try it in some cookies.

Will I continue to do yoga in a heated studio?  Yes, but I’m going to make sure I hydrate more and drink some sort of electrolyte replenisher immediately after class. There will be no more early cups o’ joe prior to class, and I’m hoping to cut out coffee altogether.  I know I don’t do well with acidic drinks anyway.  I have another month left of my package at the hot yoga studio, and once it ends, I think I’ll just take classes here instead.  Plus, I’m going to do no more than 3 days of hot yoga a week.

Please please please learn from me.  Again, listen to your body and don’t overdo it. See, we all need to hear this, and perhaps I just need to hear it more often than others. :) Friday’s little incidence only reiterated the fact that I need to get past my I have to get my sweat on mentality!

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend.  I’m going to go rest now.