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Refreshing Chia Fresca (Isikiate) Drink Recipe

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Looking for an ultra-healthy refreshment to fuel your run? Made with a handful of ingredients, a chia fresca / iskiate energy drink is just what you need. Try this all-natural, five-minute beverage today!

A glass of chia fresca (iskiate) placed on a white towel is seen with a slice of lime on its rim. Two other glasses and lime slices are in the distance | Hurry The Food Up

“Unlike any other organism in history, humans have a mind-body conflict: we have a body built for performance, but a brain that’s always looking for efficiency.” – Dr. Bramble ‘Born to Run’.

I was a bit late to the party in picking up the fantastic book – ‘Born to Run’, but no matter.

If you have just the slightest interest in running or fitness, this book is more than worth taking a look at.

It’s a great read, super insightful too, exploring problems and solutions relating to the human physique.

It touched me so I decided to do a lot of soul-searching, amending my practices and techniques to make running, freeletics – heck, exercise overall a much more fruitful and accomplishing experience. 

One of the things I learnt from the book that really changed the game for me was this natural but incredibly powerful energising drink. 

For an energised and exercise-ready day, start off your morning with this iskiate!

It’s been used by the Mexican Tarahumara Indians – ‘the world’s greatest distance runners’(1) for thousands of years (they call it ‘Iskiate’) and provides your body with a huge amount of endurance energy.

The first time I drank it, I headed out for an 8-mile run where I smashed my previous best time and still had enough energy to continue for another five, and I’m not even kidding.

‘Twas about half a marathon in the end and I’m not one to toot my own horn but I’ve gotta say, that ain’t bad for an easy Sunday morning run.

Ever since then, this beast of a drink has become my go-to before any sort of athletic activity. be it working out at the gym or any kind of sport. 

The best part about it is how quick and easy it is to make, especially since you’ll just need four ingredients. Have a look at the ones I used below.

Two glasses of chia fresca are seen with several lime slices, a jar and tablespoon of chia seeds with a white tablecloth | Hurry The Food Up

Ingredients

Sweetener and Citrus

An energy drink is basically just fancy plain water without a sweetener so, I used just a single tablespoon of honey to add some pizzaz to our iskiate.

If you’re vegan, some agave or maple syrup would do just as fine and if you haven’t got any, just throw in your favourite sweetener.

The lime juice adds that much-needed touch of sweet and sour acidity to give this healthy beverage more depth in flavour.

Switch your own chia fresca up a bit by using a different citrus juice like lemon juice (for a lemon chia fresca) or orange juice instead! 

Some fresh mint would also be a great addition, giving it a nice aroma to make your refreshing drink all the more cooling, plus, minty water is great for weight loss too.

Just by subbing one ingredient for another, you can make a variety of chia drinks. So, give it a go, try out a different fruit juice and sweetener every time you make an iskiate to find what fits you!

Chia Seeds and, of course, Water

The black chia seeds, being the star of the show, are essential for this recipe and the water’s what ties all the ingredients together. 

Instead of making your chia water at room temperature with regular water, try using 2 cups of cold water. You could even try making this into a coconut chia fresca (by using coconut water) for an even more refreshing and tasty drink! 

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How many calories are in this chia fresca recipe?

This homemade energy drink contains just 142 calories and 3.5g protein per serving.

One portion of our chia fresca will boost you with:

  • kcal 142kcal
  • Carbs 30g
  • Fat 5g
  • Protein 3.5g

Being low-calorie and high-fibre, this popular drink makes for the perfect pre or post-workout sip on a hot sunny day. 

Health Benefits – Chia Fresca / Iskiate – A Natural Chia Seed Energy Drink

The main and most important ingredient here is by far the chia seeds.

They’re nice and easy to get hold of these days (you can find them in most good supermarkets/health food stores, or on Amazon too) and are a nutrition powerhouse.

Chia seeds are stacked with omega-3 fatty acids (more than salmon, gram for gram!), high-quality protein and dietary fiber – not to mention calcium, magnesium, manganese and a whole host of other nutrients.

There’s also a wide range of health benefits chia seeds provide like helping improve blood sugar levels and heart health and when it comes to water, the benefits are nearly endless.

Citrus fruits aren’t just tart and colourful fruits bursting with flavour, they’re loaded with vitamin c and fibre too while sweeteners, when consumed in moderation (obvi), will do most people no harm.

The water, citrus, chia seeds and sweeteners (depending on your choice of sweetening agent) that make up this natural energy drink are all vegan-friendly and that’s another thing I love about this refreshment. 

Speaking of vegan-friendly, if you’re looking for more easy and nutrient-packed dishes filled with plant-based ingredients, be sure to grab this free 7-day vegan meal plan for the best inspo!

A glass of chia fresca (iskiate) is placed on a table with a slice of lime on its rim and by its side | Hurry The Food Up

How to make the best chia fresca / iskiate energy drink

  • Measure all your ingredients and set them aside. Make sure you’ve juiced the lime (or lemon) too.
  • Grab a jar, a bowl, or heck, even a freaking sports bottle if you’re in a rush and give all your ingredients a nice mix in it. If you’re using warm water, throw it in the fridge to let it cool for a few.

And you’re all done! 

Chia Fresca / Iskiate FAQs

Is chia fresca good for you?

A chia fresca is a dairy, gluten and egg-free Mexican Lemonade drink that’s incredibly healthy and great for you. 

Those canned energy drinks filled with sickly amounts of sugar will do you no good in the long run. Ditch the little bastards and opt for this simple homemade choice instead!

When should I drink Iskiate?

I’d say at least an hour or two before exercise. I personally like to start off new day by chugging down a big ol’ glass of chia fresca, but hours before an intensive workout sesh would do. Carry it along with you on a run for some hydration too!

What is Chia Fresca made of?

A traditional chia fresca is a Mexican Lemonade made from water, a citrus fruit (usually lime or lemon) and a natural sweetener with the addition of chia seeds. It’s traditionally known as Iskiate and it’s used as a natural energy drink. 

More Chia Recipes

Kick off exercise on the right foot with a chia fresca / iskiate that’s sure to keep you energised and hydrated throughout your session. I live for the comments so if you’ve got anything to add or testimonies to share, drop them in the section below!

Enjoy! 🙂

Refreshing Chia Fresca (Isikiate) Drink Recipe
4.71 from 31 votes
Looking for a healthy refreshment to fuel your run? Perfected by the Tarahumara Indians, this chia fresca/iskiate is just what you’ll need!
Cuisine:Mexican
Diet: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, vegan
Prep Time:3 minutes
Total Time:3 minutes
Servings:1
Calories:142kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple/agave syrup/favourite sweetener. Honey is non-vegan)

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a suitable container (large cup or sports bottle) and let cool in fridge for minimum 2-3 hours.
    2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 cups water, 1 lime, 1 tbsp honey
  • Optional: Make double the amount and drink half before sports, and take the other half as your main refreshment. F**k Gatorade.
  • Drink, and feeeeellll the poowwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeer!! 😉
  • PS: It’s ok that the chia seeds end up looking like frog spawn…

NOTES

IF YOU LIKED THIS RECIPE: Then you definitely need to check out this Fitness Mega Smoothie by extreme endurance athlete Ben Greenfield. If you look for a quick snack that boosts your energy, you can’t go wrong with these Banana Egg Pancakes!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Refreshing Chia Fresca (Isikiate) Drink Recipe
Serving Size
 
577 g
Amount per Serving
Calories
142
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Sodium
 
16
mg
1
%
Potassium
 
182
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
30
g
10
%
Fiber
 
6.9
g
29
%
Sugar
 
18.4
g
20
%
Protein
 
3.5
g
7
%
Vitamin A
 
50
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
28.1
mg
34
%
Calcium
 
160
mg
16
%
Iron
 
1.8
mg
10
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Comments

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Recipe Rating




63 comments
  1. I need that book! I have been a “runner” for almost 15 years (totally off and on) but it is NEVER easy for me. NEVER! Anywho…your drink looks great!

    1. I highly recommend both! The book is really quite revelatory, and the drink…see what you think 🙂

  2. I’m a long time believer in the benefits of chia seeds! Such a wonderful food.

    1. I start liking them as well even though I was very sceptic to begin with 😀

  3. I’m loving this! I am a runner and can’t stand the normal energy drinks and powders. I have to be honest, I hate the consistency of chia. It makes me gag. But I’d be willing to give this a try if it will help give me a natural energy source!

    1. Hahah, well that’s a bummer 😉
      Maybe blending everything could help?

  4. Wow, I had NO idea that these give you that much energy but it sounds like your run made it proof. That is seriously amazing! I have used chia seeds in smoothies before in the past, but I’ve never just drank them straight before like this. I’ve seen these energy chia drinks at my store, but never tried them, simply because I don’t like the slimy texture at all. But I would chug it really fast if it gave me a ton of awesome energy, haha! Thanks for sharing! I’ve never heard of that book either!

    1. Haha yeah I do tend to drink it pretty quickly tbf!

  5. Great book indeed! I also recommend “Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek. 🙂 I must say that my favorite snack before any run is my homemade raw cacao energy bites. 🙂

    1. Interesting!! I need to check that out, thanks Cris 🙂

    2. I saw Scott Jurek had written one! Very interesting, I’ll certainly be picking that up. Gonna check out your energy bites now 🙂

  6. I’m a runner but not a fan of energy drinks or bars, except for a token few. Although this doesn’t look like something I’d want to drink (I’d be looking for tadpoles if I didn’t know better-haha) I’m going to try it. Anything that would make me go an extra five miles for the fun of it is worth trying. You also sold me on the book. 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Chia seeds are a true super food. I use them a lot in desserts, smoothies etc. I had no idea that they could affect performance as you describe though. Amazing!

    1. I couldn’t believe it myself, honestly! Very happy about it though of course!

  8. I desperately need one of this now. I’m so thirsty!!!! And I still have two more hours of tutoring. Please, make one for me? I’ll pay you in Pinterest favors, haha!

    1. Made you one Levan. Now you’ve just gotta come collect it – I’ll pop it in the fridge… 😉

  9. I love chia seeds! 🙂 Can’t wait to try your recipe!

    1. Let us know what you think! 🙂

  10. What a delicious and healthy way to enjoy chia seeds!

    1. It really is great! I have one before every workout now, so I’m making this 3 or 4 times a week – I’ll be buying limes by the sack soon!

  11. Haha – I never thought of chia seeds as “frog spawn” – and now that’s burned in my brain! 🙂
    I really need to try this drink the next time I feel tired before an evening run – this sounds like it would be exactly what I need to keep going!

    1. hahaha, well sometimes that happens and it’s difficult to get rid of such associations 😀

  12. I absolutely love chia seeds so I know that would love this. I must try this asap.

  13. Ok, I need one glass of it now!

  14. I love incorporation Chia Seeds into my diet…such great benefits! Thanks for this drink idea!

  15. Absolutely obsessed with this! A natural energy drink? Count. Me. In. 🙂

    1. hahaha, well, hope it’ll give you the energy boost it gave Dave 😀

  16. 5 stars
    I love adding chia seeds in my smoothies, but I would never have thought to use it as an energy drink! Totally trying this before my next workout!

    1. Hahhah, well same here, but Dave somehow digged out this idea. I’m a fan since

  17. I love chia seeds, so glad to see them in a drink, this looks refreshing and delicious!

  18. 5 stars
    I love love love chia seeds. This is a very delicious fresca. We are still having a hot September, so, I can enjoy this refreshing drink.

    1. Though I do believe chia seeds are a powerhouse food I can’t help thinking we don’t really get all the goodness we should because of the hard coating, so we’re better having hulled seeds. Is that hard coating broken down in the gut?

      1. It’s my understanding that when they’re soaked first they’re much easier to break down. I’m not completely sure on that, but I will looki into it. When dry, hulled doesn’t sound like a bad idea 🙂

  19. 5 stars
    This was amazing. My son drinks a lot of pre-workout drinks and he tried this. He noticed an increase in energy. We were beyond surprised that it wasn’t slimy. You really couldn’t feel the “frog spawn” unless you swished it around in your mouth. I made mine without sweetener and it was good. He preferred his with sweetener.

    1. Woah, thanks so much for your feedback!! Yes, I’m still not sure if it’s a placebo or if it’s due to the drink, but I feel more energetic too. Either way, as long as it helps!! 😀

    2. That’s great to hear Kendra! I’m really pleased 🙂 thanks for letting us know – it’s one of absolute faves on here!

  20. Is it alright if I share your post in a round-up I’m doing for first trimester symptoms/remedies? I would, of course, attribute the photo to you and link back to this post.

    1. Hi Marie! Of course, we’re happy to share our recipes with you 🙂

  21. I tried this while training successfully and then used it as my primary energy drink while completing my first half ironman a couple of days ago. As a high fat low carb athlete I cant rely on standard sports energy drinks, this really worked well for me. I use xylitol as my sweetener as it doesnt trigger an insulin response. I add to this a mix of essential amino acids and whiz it all up in my nutri-bullet. You will need to shake it as it separates while sat in your sports bottles but I have tried it in several different brands of bottle, all with different valves and havent had any issues (never tried it with out a whiz in the nutri-bullet).

    With a HFLC breakfast, home-made energy bars (nuts, seeds, nut butter, coconut oil, cacao and eggs) salt tablets and my version of iskiate, I do not need to consume store bought energy drinks/bars/gels and enjoy finishing the race with no tummy issues. I now stand amazed at the amount of food/nutrition my store-bought-carb-fuelled fellow competitors need.

    1. Hi Ian, and wow, awesome! Congrats on the half Ironman, really glad to hear it went well. Thanks for the detailed response about the iskiate – I use it myself all the time and love the way it keeps me going. I can see swapping out the honey to avoid the insulin response would be very beneficial too. I’ve started to run longer and longer distances recently and find myself wondering about energy bars/snacks – I refuse to buy store bought but hadn’t found a recipe that particularly appealed yet. Your ingredients definitely sound good, I think I’ll see what I can knock up. Thanks for sharing and good luck with any future races!

  22. It really works!

    1. Doesn’t it?! Glad you found the same Dilah 🙂

  23. Do you drink the seeds down as well, or has all that goodness migrated into the frogspawn after 3 hours!?

    1. I absolutely drink everything! It’s no problem to gulp it down, tasty actually!

  24. Have you tried substituting lemon juice for lime juice? I only have lemons on hand, but I want to try the drink as soon as possible

    1. Hi Zipporah! I absolutely use both! The lemon version is much tangier, and lime much sweeter, but I honestly just use whichever I have laying around 🙂

  25. is it ok if it doesn’t have 2 hours soaking? will keeping it out the fridge or blending it reduce the time? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kate! Yep, you can still make it without the soaking time, I just found that was perfect for making the chia nice and squidgy 🙂

      If you’re in a rush and don’t mind the chia (possibly) slightly harder then you could drink it after 20 minutes too! I imagine if it’s blended it could be drunk almost instantly, the chia wouldn’t really need to soak at all. Hope that helps!

  26. Tried this lastnight prerun and I certainly noticed a difference! Afterwards, I couldn’t stand still for more than a couple minutes! Its like first time coffee jitters- without the caffeine!

    1. Haha, great isn’t it?! I completely swear by this drink. Very glad to hear it helped Justine, that’s awesome!

  27. Hi
    I am definitely going to try this one. Have you tried to add ginger? Will ginger go with the chia seeds?

    1. Hi! I’ve never tried adding ginger, but it’s a cool idea. Ginger would go very nicely with the lemon or lime, and from a nutritional point of view, it would be great. So why not? 🙂

  28. Just jumping in and have a couple of questions. Just cliarying – you drink the seeds, not chew them, correct? How early before a run do you prefer to drink it? thanks!

    1. Hi Mali! Yes, you just drink them down! They are kind of big and chewy though, so if you feel you need to give them a quick gnash then please do so 🙂

      To your second question – that’s an especially good one! For me, I need to drink it at least 20-30 minutes before I run otherwise I run the risk of getting a stitch. If my brother eats or drinks a single thing any less than a full hour before a run he’s gauranteed to get a stitch! If that’s isn’t something that affects you then just before the run is definitely fine, too. Enjoy the drink – and the run!

  29. Could I use this in my weight loss plan?

    1. Yes, absolutely! I’m sure this would work very well as a snack in the weight loss plan 🙂

  30. Reading the book now (where have I been?!) and keen to try the chia super drink to help my sluggish running days! How soon before you run do you consume the drink? Thanks

    1. Hi Eli! Glad you found your answers. Happy running!

  31. 4 stars
    Ooh how great yummy i need to make this for my energy levels !!it should be a big help for us thankyou xx

    1. Yeah it’s worth a try! Let us know what you think!

  32. Would the chia seed actually be bio available if it just swished down in a drink? I’m thinking crushing and soaking might be the best option?

    1. Good question! So, here is what I found out: grinding chia seeds helps for better bio availability. Then you wouldn’t need to soak them anymore. That being said, whole soaked chia seeds also increase bio availability. I can’t tell you how ground chia vs whole soaked chia performs. But know, both is better than just eating them whole and dry 🙂

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