I’m sure you’ve heard the news: water is good for you, and you should drink a LOT of it in order to stay healthy. Why? Well let me give you a few good reasons to chug a little more every day. First, a bit about my discovery…
I worked for a beverage company in the early 90’s and drank almost 12 cans of soda DURING AN EIGHT HOUR WORKDAY. That’s right you heard me. So that was 60 cans of soda minimum during the week. The company had free vending machines in every break room. Insane. Not only that, we were encouraged to take soda home with us each day and to “stock up” for the weekends. You would think free money was being given away based on the long lines from each break room on Friday afternoons. I’m not judging as I was always in that line. So that added probably another 24 cans for me over the weekend.
I’ve always been fairly athletic. However in my first year working for this company I gained almost 20 pounds. You may think that’s not a lot, but on a 5’0″ frame it felt and looked HUGE. When I would go home to visit family they always asked if I was ok because I was so big (relatively speaking) and I looked sick. Soon I realized I was sick. I couldn’t focus at work for long periods of time, I was impatient, I couldn’t remember things easily and BOY was I a moody Bisch! My beautiful skin was full of pimples and I had horrible GI issues (you know what I’m saying, rhymes with tart…).
I didn’t really think much about those bodily and emotional changes – I just kept doing what everyone else around me was doing: drinking more soda! When I decided to give it up for Lent one year I couldn’t believe my physical reaction. It was as if I was withdrawing from some sort of drug. I had cold sweats, tremors, nausea, migraine headaches and horrible diarrhea. This freaked me out and I went to the doctor thinking something was terribly wrong. She promptly told me I was having withdrawals from sugar. I couldn’t believe her words. SUGAR? No way! I ate a pretty healthy diet, worked out almost every day, didn’t drink much and definitely didn’t eat a lot of things like donuts, cookies, candy and cake. The soda didn’t even register until she pointed it out to me. I was shocked. That was the day I learned sugar is definitely just like a drug to our body!
Thus began my journey to remove SODA from my life. Let me tell you it was one of the hardest things I have ever tackled from a physical perspective. Once I was “over the hump” I felt great. I lost 10 pounds over 2 months and my skin began to clear up. My digestive issues subsided and my mood stabilized. All from removing SODA from my daily diet.
I began to drink loads of carbonated water as my body still craved the sizzle feeling I got from drinking soda. I also began to experiment with flavoring my own filtered water with fruit, herbs and even some veggies.
As time went on I soon lost all cravings for soda and have honestly never looked back. When I would occasionally have a soda it burned my throat like nobody’s business and reminded me why I couldn’t ever return to having it on a regular basis.
Today I’m so grateful that I don’t have that soda monster on my back anymore. I have learned through my studies just how bad sodas are for our bodies. The average can of non diet soda has 10 teaspoons of added sugar! Yet the American Heart Association recommends that women have not more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and men not more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day. What is “added sugar?” Basically this is sugar that is NOT naturally occurring in a product. So for instance, strawberries are sweet and the sugar inside is NATURAL. Whereas a sports drink is sweet but it’s from sugar which has been ADDED.
I will do a completely separate post on Sugar, where it hides, how to find it and how to replace it in your daily diet. For the purposes of this post I simply wanted to share information with you about the main item most of my clients struggle with giving up: soda.
One tool I give them for substituting sweet sugary drinks is the use of fruit and herbs in water (still or sparkling). I love to muddle the fruit in the glass before adding water and ice. The aromas and slight flavor from the fruit is truly satisfying. Yes it will take some time to get used to flavored water vs. soda but I know you can do it – trust me!
Water has so many wonderful benefits for your body:
- prevents dehydration, which in turn helps minimize cramping, lightheadedness, lack of energy and even potential brain swelling
- helps us stay satiated (full) which in turn helps in the journey for weight loss
- helps ward off / treat headaches
- helps body break up food for digestion, which can prevent constipation
- regulates internal body temperature
- acts as a shock absorber for spine, brain and even fetus
- lubricates joints
- assists with removal of waste, mainly through urination.
These are just a few of the wonderful benefits of drinking water.
How much should you drink? I recommend not less than HALF your body weight in ounces per day. So if you weigh 120 pounds, then I would recommend you drink at LEAST 60 ounces (120/2 = 60) of water a day. If you work out you will need to drink even more to account for water loss through sweat. An easy way to check your hydration is to look at your urination (I know it rhymes). Your urine should be the color of pale lemonade. If it is darker then you need to drink more water. Exception is if you have taken vitamins, which expel excess in urine and can cause a bright yellow color.
Please don’t slip on this advice y’all…Our body is made up of approximately 60% water. Man can live longer without food than he can without water. Think about it for a second.
You can also get water from eating fruits and veggies too. Some of the highest water fruits and veggies are: Cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers, and celery.
So the next time the thirst bell rings why not try to answer it with a water drink? I’ve listed some of my favorite combinations below. Experiment with your favorite flavors. Stay tuned for an entire recipe section on infused water coming soon. For now, stay sweet!
Orange, Mint, Vanilla Water
1 cup ice, 4 slices orange, 5 sprigs fresh mint, dash of vanilla extract, 1.5 cups cold water
- Place orange and mint in your glass and muddle until juices are released.
- Add vanilla and water. Stir to combine.
- Add ice, shake and serve.
Watermelon Lime Water
1 cup ice, 1 cup cubed seedless watermelon, 3 slices fresh lime, dash of cinnamon, 1.5 cups cold water
- Place watermelon, and lime in your glass and muddle until juices are released.
- Add cinnamon and water. Stir to combine.
- Add ice, shake and serve.
Pina Colada Water
1 cup ice, 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1 cup cold water
- Place pineapple in glass and muddle until juices are released.
- Add coconut water and water. Stir to mix.
- Add ice, shake and serve.