The more I study nutrition, though, the more I realize that water just might not be enough. Most sports drinks, like Gatorade or Powerade, are almost disgustingly sweet (yes, even for a dessert lover like me) and are especially difficult to stomach during and after a hard workout. Recently I learned that my difficulty in consuming those very sugary sports drinks may be caused by the extreme level of acidity that is prevalent not only in modern sports drinks, but in the entirety of the modern American diet. That's when I learned about pHenOH 7.4: an alkaline-based sports drink created to more accurately reflect the internal environment of the human body.
Disclaimer: I was provided a box of pHenOH of charge in exchange for my review, and am being compensated for my review, but I am not affiliated with pHenOH. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
After researching some of the advantages of going alkaline - such as maintaining a better internal balance and reducing the damage that can be done by highly acidic liquids - I decided to give it a try in my myriad fitness contexts. My first opportunity came from my exciting return to team sports, so I grabbed a bottle of pHenOH and headed to the field. My early impressions of the beverage were very positive: a mild and unobtrusive flavor, vaguely sweet but mostly earthy, easy to drink like water. But once I started playing and worked up a good sweat and a dry thirst, that plant-y flavor from the main aloe vera ingredient was suddenly overwhelming.
I'd had a similar experience a while ago, when I first tried MESTRENGTH as a hydration solution, so I'm not incredibly surprised that my dehydration affected the flavor. Your body chemistry can make a sweet taste tart pretty easily when you're thirsty; the tart that had been almost undetectable before starting my game quickly became the loudest note in the bottle. I have to admit, I did not finish that bottle during the game, or immediately after. Instead I drank plain water until I was less dehydrated, then used the pHenOH as a recovery beverage.
My taste experience with pHenOH was fairly consistent in other fitness trials: post-run, during boot camp, and during my step classes. My husband also grabbed a bottle for his Brazilian jiujitsu class, and reported the same switch as he became more dehydrated. It was always tasty pre-workout, and I would typically drink about half the bottle en route to a class or prior to a run, but once I got moving, I switched to plain water, then switched back to finish the bottle about 20 minutes after my exercise. By that time, the water had adjusted my hydration level, allowing me to rely on the pHenOH for continued recovery. I have not experienced next-day or two-day soreness in the past couple weeks, and as the pHenOH was the only sports drink or supplement I have consumed during that time period, I can only assume that my choice to use it as a recovery beverage has been seeing results!
As I realized the earthy taste was better (for me) as a supplement to recovery, I opted to try adding pHenOH as an additive in my favorite smoothie recipe! Typically made with mango juice, I substituted the more earthy flavors of the pHenOH to cut down on the sweetness and the acidity of my cherry pineapple smoothie - to great success! I have trouble drinking exclusively "green" smoothies because of the overly plant-like taste, but mixed with fruit, that kick of aloe became a subtle but interesting twist on an old favorite. I would definitely recommend adding some pHenOH to your smoothies, this was probably my most delicious experience with the sports drink!
I also grabbed a bottle during yoga, thinking the lower intensity workout wouldn't dehydrate me as quickly or severely and I would be able to enjoy pHenOH during my activity instead of waiting. Though I focused on a physically demanding flow, and certainly challenged myself, I never got to the point at which the pHenOH lost its subtlety, and I was able to slowly consume the entire bottle throughout my 45 minute workout. I found this particular experience to be what I would consider closest to the overall pHenOH mission: reconnecting with your inner self, mentally, physically, and now, chemically. The earthiness of the aloe was soothing and called to mind the essence of nature, which was incredibly fitting for my yoga practice. My routine became all-encompassingly wholesome, and it was a very pleasant break from the everyday.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed pHenOH. Made with only seven ingredients, pHenOH is a simple, subtle, sports drink that can be incorporated into my diet in several ways. Though I found its use as a recovery beverage to be most palatable, I believe people with different body chemistry will likely enjoy the flavor throughout their workout. I have also noticed that my lingering illness (particularly my sore throat and chest) has finally cleared up despite the constantly changing weather outside, and when I think about my overall lack of soreness in the past couple weeks, I wonder if there really IS something to this "internal pH balance" thing that pHenOH claims to assist. I'll be paying much closer attention to where my fuel lies on the pH scale from now on; perhaps that will help me stay sound both inside and out!
Have you ever considered the pH of your diet? How have you experimented with your foods to help find your internal balance? Would you try pHenOH?