Friday, March 30, 2012

Bottoms Up

     No this has nothing to do with your bottom, it's the first of a few posts on being better to yourself. Incidentally, one of the hardest to get real information on. The experts don't agree, on anything. What am I talking about? Hydration. That's right, getting your drink on. This is by no means the definitive piece on staying hydrated, feel free to add corrections or comments as you see fit. It's just my musings.

     Everyone who tries to lose a pound or two always gets the, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day routine. It's not exactly wrong, but it isn't exactly right either. I'm going to back track a little, using myself as an example, because I know my routines, what I drink blah blah blah.

     Why is water so important?

     It makes up about 60% of our total body weight. It drives every bodily function of every cell. We need it to survive. As a baby, it makes up about 75% of our weight, decreasing as we age. The other factor is fat. The more weight you have in fat the lower your total body water. At 6 feet, 200 pounds and 47, my body water is around 48 litres. I'm rounding things out for the sake of making all of this easier. Because I'm about 25 pounds off my ideal weight, that number is probably closer to 45 litres. I'd need to get an actual medical test on my body fat and water content to be truly accurate.

     The average person, in a temperate climate, under normal circumstances loses over 2 litres of water a day. Through urine, sweat and the one everyone forgets, breathing. What that means is I lose between 3-5 % of my total body water every day, just being me. Turn up the heat, throw in some exercise, you're sweating more, breathing heavier, more water loss.

     Between 2 and 5 percent loss, you can experience a dry mouth, headaches, tiredness, muscle aches, attention loss. An athlete can see a potential 30 % reduction in their performance at 5 %. A loss of 10 -15 percent can be fatal. It's a surprisingly small margin before dehydration starts to have some serious side effects. Interestingly, it is a big problem in seniors.

     Get thirsty, drink, problem solved right? Do you always drink the minute you're thirsty? I don't. I can put it off for hours if I'm busy. Every summer on every patio I've ever worked, I've seen one co worker or another take the dive and faint.

     Always grab water? I never do. I don't really like plain water. Coffee, tea, beer, ginger ale, iced tea, those are my beverages of choice. It is all fluid and does go to making up the fluid loss. This is where the experts go crazy. Some say no, only water, others call that crazy talk, everything counts. Throw in the water content in our food and we should all be fine. Who do you believe?

     There is the myth, then the debunk about caffeine being a diuretic. True and false. Under about 5 cups of coffee a day, no real diuretic effect. I'm well over that. In my case drinking coffee helps hydrate and dehydrate me. Add in caffeine from soft drinks, teas and chocolate and you may be over the 5 cups too. Don't even start with energy drinks. Alcoholic drinks are also open to debate.

     The other problem with my personal selection is that they all contain a ton of sugar, artificial colours, flavours, salt/sodium and preservatives. Not necessarily the best things to be tossing back.

     Add a high sodium diet, that causes water retention and you can see how easily this can all go so very wrong.

     What to do?

     I'm going to cut back on my coffee intake ( a little) and try replacing it with this. The following recipe is not mine but I don't know where I got it. The page it's on says Bert Wood 1901, I'm pretty sure my great great grandfather didn't pen this. It is essentially a variation of the Master Cleanse and is a detoxifying drink, but no starving. Fairly easy to make and no juicer required.

Ginger Citrus Water
Juice of 1 grapefruit, orange and lime.
Fresh ginger, peeled and pressed/grated
cayenne pepper-optional
maple syrup or honey to taste, teaspoon by teaspoon
water, about 2 cups

Juice the citrus.
It's better to do this fresh because while you are juicing you also get the phyto nutrients from the pith which help your body absorb more of the vitamin C.
Peel and grate or press the ginger.
I use a piece about the size of a quarter and put it through my garlic press. 
Add to juice
Add a pinch of cayenne, or not.
Add 2 cups of water, preferable purified but I won't tell.
Add first teaspoon of honey or maple syrup, adjust sweetness to taste.

     This is kind of a hard recipe to write out because so much of it depends on what you like. You can adjust the sweetness, the heat, the amount of ginger, the amount of water until you have something you'll drink. I let this sit a bit, an hour or so and strain it as I use it. I hate the chunks of ginger floating around in my glass. Up to you.

     What you get out of it. Lots of vitamin C, lemon and cayenne are cleansing and good for your body, ginger is good for your digestive system.  No preservatives, no refined sugars, no salt/sodium, no caffeine, no artificial anything. A guilt free drink, designed to help you be less toxic. You can have it hot or chilled depending on your mood.

     If this isn't to your taste, plain ginger or mint tea is also good hot or cold. Just boil water, throw in a couple of pieces of peeled ginger or sprigs of fresh mint, or both and let steep 5 minutes. Strain, or not, but I hate things floating in my cup, and enjoy.

     Got a "good for you" way to re hydrate? Feel free to share in the comment section. 'Til next time, bottoms up.




  1. Ugh, I know I should drink more water. It's on my list of things to do. It's just so blah compared to my beloved Mt. Dew!

    1. Mine is ginger ale, or coffee. The recipe above is actually pretty tasty, makes it easier to try and be healthier.

  2. I have such a difficult time drinking plain water, too! Sometimes I'll just add a little lemonade to add a little flavor. Thanks for this recipe. Sounds interesting.

    1. Plain water is boring, that's the problem. Too many other tasty alternatives. I like this recipe. As long as you can find something fairly simple that you'll drink, as close to water as you can stand, it's better for you. Being an endurance runner, really important for you.

  3. I've been finding it easier to drink my water if I actually make up a pitcher in the morning and add some lemon, lime, even cucumber slices give a different flavour. Having the pitcher made up is convenient (although really -- what is more convenient than turning a tap on?) and I am more likely to pour a glass if it is right there.
    but holy crap....the bathroom trips are taking up more time than when I was pregnant!! So... I must be drinking too much? perhaps my body doesn't need that much when I am just indoors with the kids. whereas summertime run and play....I slurp from the darn garden hose somedays just to keep up with them!
    (beats the old cattle trough! LOL)

    1. Making a pitcher before hand is key. More likely to reach for that than something else.
      About the peeing, more that 2.5 litres a day is excessive depending on fluid intake. Strangely enough we don't usually pee when we have to either. Throws everything off. As long as you're not getting up in the middle of the night often, probably fine and good for you flushing toxins out of your body. Cut back a bit and see.
      Oh the cattle trough and drinking bowls LOL


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".