Loving the BITE’s Magic Health Tonic


The words “health tonic” were not something we discussed in nutrition school or residency much.  Unfortunately.  More and more, I’ve seen the benefits of tonics, supplements, and practices that are far from your standard Western Medicine protocols.  I’ve seen them work firsthand, and I’ve seen their efficacy documented in studies.

But, since we can’t really figure out why they work, we don’t recommend or discuss.  Any more, I’m okay with not knowing why.  To me, some of the most beneficial nutrition is found in components I can’t explain and we don’t understand: anti-cancer, phytochemicals, energizing, and detoxification nutrients.  And while I love research and academics as much as the next, I’m fine with recommending something I can’t explain – in my opinion, the proof is in the pudding.  Or tonic, rather.

Recipe of the week: Apple Cider Vinegar Health Tonic


  • 1 Tbsp RAW apple cider vinegar
  • 16 oz. water (cool or warm)


  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (¼ tsp ground)
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper


  1. Mix all together.
  2. Drink.
  3. If you can’t, plug your nose, and drink up anyway.  This is a health tonic, not Jamba Juice!


Yes, the all-natural, all-curing, amazing Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  The stuff of folk-medicine legends.  A cure so powerful, so strong, nothing stops it from improving health.  On everything.  Just like fish oil, organic coconut oil, Vicks Vapor Rub, and Windex.

Mostly, I’m making fun of myself.  There do seem to be a few ingredients I come back to, time after time, and recommend them for a variety of ails.  I can’t help it, if they’re that good.  And, now, I present ACV.  What’s the fuss all about?

In folk-medicine, ACV is proclaimed to energize, detoxify, decrease harmful bacteria, fungus, and viruses in our bodies, reduce infections, alleviate seasonal allergies, improve eczema, prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, and be an all-around nutrition winner.  Now, when I hear of a supposed cure-all, I’m suspicious, as I should be.  And as you should be.  I’ll let you know what I know, and you can decide for yourself.

In my own practice, I’ve seen it aide weight loss, aide healthy blood sugars and cholesterol, and most notably, help fend off colds, seasonal allergies, and sinus infections.  For example, I work with one ultra-runner who had been plagued with sinus infections most of his life, and has had unsuccessful sinus surgery to alleviate the problem.  Still, he suffered many debilitating sinus infections per year.   Since taking the tonic at the on-set of any symptoms, he’s not had one sinus infection in two years.  Other athletes have experienced the same results, but less dramatic stories.  As for myself, I’ve suffered three severe sinus infections in my life, all in the past five years.  The kind where you can’t eat because your teeth hurt too much, can’t look down because the pressure in your head is too great, and can’t clear out your sinuses no matter how much you’ve steamed your face and used a neti pot (these two are still often helpful, but now I use them in conjunction with ACV).  Hasn’t happened again since the health tonic.  Several times I’ve felt one coming on and went into action early.  Not sure exactly how, but it does make my nose run, which immediately relieves the pressure and reduces the incidence of infection.  Good enough for me.

In research, it has in fact been shown to reduce waist circumference, blood sugars, triglycerides, blood pressure, and “bad” cholesterol.  In studies involving mice, it’s been shown to be anti-cancenogenic as well.  And why not?  Almost twenty-five hundred years ago, Hippocrateds used it to reduce infections and manage wounds and the Chinese used it to avoid infections during autopsies as early at the 10th century.  For a full research review on it, you can access this document for free at  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/.

Of note, there are some risks.  In the rare cases of esophageal tissue damage, the vinegar was consumed, often in large amounts, straight.  I recommend drinking a smaller amount in water (we athletes could use the hydration anyway, right?).   Also, if possible, use a straw.  Highly acidic fluids can damage tooth enamel.  And, I do recommend using raw ACV.  Like other raw fermented foods, it will provide the added bonus of healthy bacteria.  With this in mind, it’s fine to drink every day, even twice per day if you’d like.

Since posting ACV as one of my tips for reducing colds in another post, I’ve heard from readers around the world who have stated it’s used regularly where they live.  Traditional folk medicine absolutely has its place.  And, if it sounds a bit too hard on the stomach, consider the AVC, ginger, and cayenne pepper are actually soothing to the stomach and promote digestive health.

Bonus Recipe:

Of course, ACV is great on salads.  Don’t forgot our delicious Everyday Salad Dressing recipe.

If you’ve never officially drank a “health tonic,” today’s a great day to start.  Possibly more energy and less risk of disease. Which can only mean one thing, more loving the bike.  Cheers.

Fuel your Ride.  Nourish your Body.

Enjoy Your Ride

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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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