Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Water Water Everywhere, Drink More Than a Drop!

Drink more water. I know you’ve heard that before. You probably know all the reasons too. But do you take it to heart? I’ve always struggled to remember to drink more water. Sometimes I think I’m part camel because I'm able to go nearly all day without a drink. But I’m trying to do better for a multitude of reasons. My daughter drinks only water – no juice, no soda, no milk, an occasional hot chocolate or tea, but other than that, water only. I want to be like her.

I know the party line regarding water and preach it all the time.
Drinking plenty of water:
- increases energy level
- reduces joint/back pain
- prevents headaches
- aids in digestion and prevents constipation
- ensures proper circulation
-- increases metabolism and regulates appetites
- keeps us alive (we can live a month without food, but only a week without water)

But I found my most compelling reason for drinking more water in an excellent book called Stiff by Mary Roach.
In Stiff, Roach investigates what happens to our bodies once we die. The book considers all the possibilities from donating your body to science to becoming human compost. It may sound gruesome, but it’s a fascinating and fun read. Roach’s honest, funny comments and asides pepper the book with unexpected humor.  Great writer. Besides the funny stuff, there were two other things I took away from the book.

The first is that we all need to think through what we want to happen to our bodies after we vacate them. We should not leave this to the people who love us. It’s not fair to burden them with such a huge decision at a time when they are emotionally askew. Learn your options and pick one. Today. Write it down somewhere and tell the people you love where that somewhere is. It’s the only way you can help them through your death, which will hopefully be a long time from now, but could ultimately be tomorrow. Do this.

The second thing I learned from the book is that water has a powerful effect on our skin. There is a chapter in which Roach visits a morgue and watches a body as its prepared for the funeral. As the technician pumps the body full of fluid, Roach is amazed at how facial lines disappear and the dead person looks not only more alive, but decades younger – instantly. I immediately got up and poured myself a glass of water. Drinking water helps our systems function better, keeping us hydrated and healthy, but it could also be the single most important part of your skin care regime. As a bit of a skin care junkie, this hit home. So if you’re not drinking water for your health, drink it for your complexion.

How much water do we need? Seems like just about every health and fitness magazine has a different opinion.  Every body is different – some need more, some need less and this can depend on how much you exercise, sweat, and eat. It can also depend on your size, your age, and your health. The basic number is 1.5 liters, which is the infamous 8 eight-ounce glasses. If you exercise a lot, you need more. If you are pregnant, you need more. The weather and the temperature also affect how much you need to drink. Obviously when it’s hot and dry, you need more. One thing that is not a reliable indicator of how much water you need to drink is your own thirst. By the time you register thirst you are already dehydrated.

Our kids need to drink more water too. Studies reveal that we are all dehydrated.  One of my children gets migraines and the first thing the neurologist asked was – is he drinking enough water? Apparently dehydration is a big trigger for migraines. Drinking plenty of water every day is a critical lesson we need to impart to our children. Water should be available all day long and I’ll do what it takes to make that happen. Here are a dozen ways to encourage kids (and you) to drink more water:

1. Never walk by a drinking fountain – always stop and drink. 


2. Don’t go anywhere without a water bottle. Sure, this leads to lost water bottles and a car rattling with empties on the floor but it’s worth it.


3. At our house, the only beverage a kid can carry outside of our kitchen is water. That means if a child wants a drink while watching TV, working on the computer, or playing in his room with friends – water is the only option. Water is the one thing you can have anytime, anywhere.


4. Get rid of the juice. Treat fruit juice like the decadent dessert treat it is. Fresh fruit has more nutrients and fiber and less calories per serving. If there’s no juice in the fridge, there can be no debate about how many glasses anyone has already had. We do buy juice for special occasions. But it’s not an everyday thing and shouldn’t be.

5. A pitcher of ice water is inviting when it’s all ready to go. Keep one in the fridge or set one on the table at snack time. The key is making it available and appealing. A friend introduced me to the pitcher below. It was an inexpensive purchase on Amazon. It's gorgeous filled with lemons or strawberries, limes too. Gives the water a slightly fruity taste without any added sweeteners.


6. Put water in front of them whenever you have the chance. Serve water with every meal – just like a fancy restaurant. Instead of asking your kids if they’d like some water, fix them a glass and give it to them. Just say something like, “I thought you might be thirsty.” They get busy just like us and forget to drink enough.


7. Make it easy for kids to get their own water whenever they want. Store kids’ drinking glasses in a bottom cupboard where they can easily reach them. I bought plenty of thick juice glasses because I personally think water tastes much better in glass than plastic. All the kids that visit our house quickly learn how to get themselves a glass of water whenever they are thirsty.

8. As hard as it is, try not to complain about all the empty glasses left all over the house and in the kitchen. I can hear my husband groaning at this because he knows our counter is always laden with many more empty glasses than there are children present. In an effort to eliminate all the extra glasses, I went to Goodwill and bought sturdy glasses with stems. My daughter and I made glass markers for them out of wire and seedbeads. They work beautifully when we have a full house of thirsty kids.


9. For the first time ever we have a fridge with water and ice on the outside. It’s definitely worth the splurge in terms of encouraging kids to drink more water.


10. Buy kids some cool refillable water bottles. Good water bottles are something to put on your Christmas list. Find trendy fun bottles with the carbiner clip on them and put one in each of your kid’s stockings. Buy a cool one for yourself and set the example. And whatever you buy – put your name on it. 


11. Always ask for water when you are out at a restaurant. If you don't like the taste of tap water, ask for a slice of lime or lemon. Order water for your kids too.


12. No matter what you do – don’t buy bottled water. Not only is it a huge waste of money, it’s irresponsible in so many ways there isn't room for them in this post. I had to write an entire other post on the subject!

So drink up! And help your kids’ drink up. It’s one of the best things your can do for your health - and for your complexion.


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