Countdown to Clean #3: Sneak in your eight cups a day

fruitcubesTip: Stay hydrated by disguising water in healthy flavors.

Problem: Knowing how important it is to drink enough water every day doesn't make it taste any better. Sure, the human adult body is 60 percent water and the brain is 85 percent water, and water helps us absorb nutrients, maintain body temperature, control appetite, and run all our systems. But it's so much more fun to reach for a beverage that delivers taste, right? Party in your mouth!

Well, it's time to get creative because water is central to our quality of life. Here are just a few implications of not getting enough water:

  • Skin loses color and texture with decreased cell production, according to the American Skin Association. Drink enough water and the look of wrinkles will improve.
  • Headaches, which can be prevented and alleviated by drinking water.
  • Muscle fatigue. Tired? Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day could help your stamina because muscles are 75 percent water (American Council on Exercise). "Cells that don't maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel," says a report on WebMD.
  • Greater risk of developing cancer. This is a huge claim, but it's backed by research. Click here to view sources (see #4).

Staying hydrated also lubricates and cushions joints, aids in digestion, and boosts your mood.

How much is enough? At least eight cups a day. How often? By the time you are thirsty, you already are DEhydrated. So, don't get to thirsty.

Sneak in your water:

  • Make fruit cubes by dropping fresh fruit and water into ice cube trays; or adding a little bit of fruit juice (or puree) to the water in an ice cube tray. Add those cubes to fresh water and you'll enjoy the subtle taste as the ice melts. Fresh mint cubes work, too.
  • Keep a fresh pitcher of filtered water in your fridge with some crisp addition, such as sliced cucumbers (peel them first), berries or citrus fruits. Mint works here, too.
  • Fill up all your water bottles -- "blender bottles," gym bottles, etc. -- with filtered water and add smashed berries (or frozen ones) or chopped apples and pears. These to-go bottles make it easy to reach for something with flavor to fill you up (instead of a snack or soda) at home or when you're heading out. The convenience takes away the decision-making in front of the fridge door, and it will save you money from buying water while out. (It's way better to reuse your own bottle than to purchase a new Poland Spring bottle every day and then recycle it.)
  • Add water to a big pot of soup each day you heat it up. Homemade soup's flavor intensifies with each day so it can handle the extra water. If your soup contains beans, rice or other starch, it will soak up water so this is a great way to sneak more in without sacrificing taste.
  • Make hot cereal with water (not milk) instead of having cold cereal with milk.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables because they have high water content. About 20 percent of our fluid intake comes from food.
  • Make your protein shakes with water instead of milk or juice. If that doesn't work for you, use half water and half milk or juice.
  • Drink your water in a fancy glass. Spring for nice sparkling water (or add a SodaStream to your Christmas list but watch all the sugar and additives in their flavored potions) and add lemon, a sprig of mint. It will feel a little decadent to drink you H20 out of a champagne flute, but sipping is perfectly suitable.
  • Drink hot or cold tea. Instead of adding a sweetener, add dried fruit like apricots, cranberries, figs or prunes; they release flavor as they hydrate and you get the prize of a snack at cup's end!
  • Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you sling back. Order your vodka with soda water for double-duty. Works for me!

Next Step: Pick two of the ideas above and try them this week. Next week try two more.

Posted in Countdown to Clean for 2015 and tagged , , , .