If you have read the brilliant book ‘Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen’, you may remember talk of a drink called Iskiate.
Iskiate is drink used by the Tarahumara ‘running’ tribe of mexico. A native people who have for centuries run incredible distances of up to and beyond 100 miles for both survival and for fun.
So why should we as freedivers be interested in a food/drink used by a land locked running tribe? The answer is simple, hydration.
The Tarahumara live in a parched wilderness known as the Barrancas, where hydration is critical to survival and becoming dehydrated would be very easy. We as freedivers are also prone to dehydration as we are often out diving all day, in the sun (hopefully) whilst being immersed in water, giving the impression and feeling that we are not sweating. We also breathe heavily through our mouths due to snorkels, which aids in fluid loss.
Water on its own, in large quantities can have a diluting effect on the blood, pulling away salts and minerals. So we must try to replace those minerals as we go, along with the water.
So why is this drink so good for you?
Chia seeds are a genuine superfood. They have a wealth of benefits which are only just being discovered, and have for centuries supported and sustained both ultra running tribes and warriors covering epic distances apparently just a handfuls of seeds.
The seeds do an amazing thing when put in water…. they start to dissolve. They then create a slightly gelatinous mix (i like it… some may not!).
This texture is what makes the drink so effective in long term hydration. It drip feeds your body water, allowing the stomach to absorb it more effectively rather than just flush through like water. You also benefits from high levels of protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Yup… its good stuff!
How do you make Iskiate?
Agave syrup (or honey)
(may be a tiny pinch of sea salt if you are going to sweat heavily)
Add a table spoon of chia seeds to a standard sized glass of water, a squeeze of lime and a teaspoon of Agave syrup or honey to taste. Stir until the seeds start to dissolve. Leave the seeds to dissolve for at least 5 minutes. They will turn the water in to a gel like consistency, which will increase the longer you leave them. Add a tiny pinch of salt if you need to.
I can genuinely hold my hand up and state for the record that I believe this not only does an amazing job of providing long term hydration, but also helps with overall energy during your session.