By Reba Ray
This may well be the easiest set of recipettes I’ve ever concocted – variations on the theme of water! Any maybe yur wonderin’ why I would even bother. Well, can I tell you a little secret about yurself? You’re probably mildly dehydrated. I can say this with confidence, though it dudn’t give me any joy to do so, because medical and nutrition experts estimate that up to 80 percent of the population is walking around in a constant state of mild dehydration. Feelin’ a little thirsty? Maybe, maybe not. Yur body may be so used to bein’ drained that it doesn’t even send a decent thirst signal for mild dehydration. So, if yur thirst mechanism isn’t kickin’ in, you need a back-up plan: Drink 10 cups of water or water-based food and drink every day. Just make it a habit.
Why? Because even mild dehydration can zap a person of intellect! Ever feel sleepy in class or meetings? Ever have trouble concentratin’ when it’s time to work on an assignment? Excuse yurself and go getcha a big glass of water. I know what yur thinkin: “Then I’ll have to excuse myself again in 20 minutes to go to the bathroom.” It’s true that when you start to drink what you oughta be drinkin’, you have to run to the potty a lot more than usual. But if you’ll just make 10 cups a day a habit, pretty soon – like within a couple of weeks – yur body will get used to it and you won’t be running to the potty every 20 minutes. And you’ll be operatin’ at yur prime, all the time.
You probably knew that severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Ever heard of cholera? It can kill a person in a day simply by dehydratin’ em. Mild dehydration is serious stuff too! Because a thirsty body trickles down to thirsty cells, chronic mild dehydration can mess with yur body systems and organs. Here’s a quick list of some of the damage lackin’ a little water every day can cause: headaches, impaired sleep (except in classes and meetings!), dry skin, joint problems, sore eyes and digestive disorders, as well as lack of concentration. Furthermore, you may have no clue that lack of water is causing or making worse these conditions: asthma, heart disease, hypertension, infections and more.
Simple enough to fix, though: drink water, right? Actually, that might not solve the problem. Dehydration can be caused by just a whole lot of things, so check out this list of 25 causes of dehydration, only one of which is that you need to drink more. Disclaimer: The link above is not a medical reference; it’s a list compiled by someone wantin’ to sell you fancy water purification rituals. However, it’s a really good list! Most of the medical sites, like Mayo Clinic, just list a few causes of dehydration that you might be lookin’ for in a person needing medical attention. I don’t endorse fancy water purification rituals, but read Just What You Need in this issue of Single! for some whistle-wetting gear I do recommend.
Now, whatcha gonna wet yur whistle with?
I don’t fully understand it, but I hear people sayin’ all the time, “I don’t like water.” Well, OK, but ya still need to drink it, so we better figure out a way to get past that. But first let’s look at some ways that don’t work: Sodas. You read me right! Those tiny bubbles are keepin’ yur body from processing that water the way it needs to. Caffeinated drinks, including sweet tea, and alcohol (but you already knew that, right?) contribute to dehydration as well. What does count toward yur 10 cups is anything with water, like fruits and veggies, soup, milk, juice and decaf coffee or tea. Trouble with gettin’ all yur daily hydration through sources other than water is that all the rest of those sources have calories. For weight management, you gotta drink some water! If you get a decent supply of fruits and veggies, and maybe eat a yogurt or drink a glass of milk a day, you probably only need to down 8 cups of liquid a day. But if yur diet in a day is dry – breads, pastas, nuts, etc., make it 10 cups of libation. Now for some ways to dress up water without too much effort, from least to greatest taste impact.
10. Add ice
9. Tear in half and toss in mint leaves
8. Gently squeeze and toss in a lemon or lime wedge
7. Flavored ice cubes (made out of yur favorite juice).
6. Bite and crush a piece of hard candy with the wrapper still on and then open it into yur water. Butterscotch, peppermint and cinnamon all work well.
5. More candy! Add red hots to the bottom of the glass.
4. Toss in a few maraschino cherries and a few squirts of lime juice from concentrate.
3. Try herbal teas. Every grocery store has ‘em.
2. Go half and half: juice and water. (All juice is a high calorie way to hydrate.)
1. Kool-aid or lemonade singles are an easy way to convert yur liter water bottle into a highly tolerable sugary beverage.