Fall has arrived with all of it's majestic colors, wonderful apples, and rain. As much as we try to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the season tends to encourage us to stay indoors more than play outdoors.
Staying hydrated tends to be a little more challenging for some of us this time of year. "I'm not thirsty" is a common refrain I hear from my students.
What does "staying hydrated" mean?
Here's a simple way to remember how much water you should drink each and every day.
Take your body weight, divide by 2. This number, in ounces is what you need.
Example: Body weight = 150 pounds. This person should drink 75 ounces of water per day.
Do you drink coffee, tea, soda, alcoholic beverages, or packaged fruit juices?
If so, then you need to add 1.5 x the water to your daily intake.
Example: You drink 8 ounces of coffee with breakfast. You will need to add 12 ounces of water to replace the diuretic (dehydrating) effect of the coffee.
How important is water to the human body?
* It is the primary component of all body fluids - blood, digestive juices, urine, tears, sweat, and lymph.
* It makes up about 60 percent of our total body mass, which for the average adult, equates to 10 - 13 gallons of water.
* You can go without food for approximately 8 weeks, but can only go days without water.
* It is involved in nearly EVERY body function - digestion, elimination of wastes, circulation, absorption, to name but a few.
* It carries the electrolytes (mineral salts that help convey electrical currents in the body)
TIP: Add a pinch of sea salt to your water to add electrolytes. Try different salts from around the world because they have different mineral compositions in them.
Obviously, water requirements vary greatly from person to person and the climate, activity level, and diet all influence our individual need for water.
Know the signs of dehydration
Early signs include headache, fatigue, irritability, cravings, and cramps.
Mature signs include heartburn, joint pain, back pain, constipation, migraines.
Is it possible to drink too much water?
Yes. This is called hyponatremia (overhydration), and occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted. This tends to happen to endurance athletes who drink too much water before and during their event.
"Water is boring!"
No, it's not and with these simple, delicious ingredients, you can liven up your day with a refreshing variety of flavors to jazz up your water consumption.
Choose organic when you can. Wash produce and rinse herbs to remove chemicals, pesticides, and other residues.
Use cold or room temperature filtered water only.
Glass, plain and simple. You can buy infusing pitchers and bottles, but you don’t have to. Spend on fresh produce instead.
Softer fruits like citrus and strawberries can be sliced thick, thin, halved, or quartered. Harder fruits like apples should be sliced very thinly because they take longer to release flavors.
Crush fibrous ginger root, rosemary, and lemongrass with a muddler or wooden spoon; tear or crush leafy herbs like mint, basil, and cilantro to release their oils.
Soak Time and Temperature
Infuse water at room temperature for no more than 2 hours. After that, put it in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth.
Cucumbers, citrus fruits, melons, and mint flavor water almost immediately. Apples, cinnamon, fresh ginger root, and rosemary need an overnight soak in the fridge.
Melons and sliced strawberries start looking waterlogged after a few hours; citrus, and whole berries look pretty good even after hours in the fridge.
After 4 hours, unpeeled citrus can make water taste bitter. To make a big jug of infused water for a party, peel the citrus before soaking. Or you can soak it unpeeled for 4 hours, remove it, and add fresh slices for looks. (And keep that water icy cold for food safety.)
If you don’t drink the water within 24 hours, strain out the solids and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To keep sipping all day long, refill your infused water container when it’s half full. It will be weaker than your first drink, but still flavorful.
My favorites so far...
1. Apple and cinnamon (stick)
2. Cucumber, mint, and jalapeno
3. pear and fennel
4. lime, ginger, and basil
5. lemon and thyme
Experiment with herbs and fruits to determine your favorites.
Share your favorites on my facebook page.