Because water was “bland and had no taste,” I was so hesitant about drinking water at first. Why on Earth would I want to give up my tasty sweet beverages? I LOVED sweet tea, coffee with my 1-2 Tbsp of sugar and vanilla creamer, and yeah, good ole soda! Mountain Dew was my favorite. I actually gave up the Mountain Dew for coffee drinks, basically swapping one bad thing for another, but it wasn’t a soda. 😆
I get it. “Water sucks.”
Wrong! It sucks to make a change away from something you currently enjoy!
Water is the ONLY thing I drink now. I always have my Brita Stainless Steel Water Bottle with me. It does well at filtering water and keeps the water at a fairly consistent taste wherever I fill it up, but I can still tell minute differences.
I had a plastic version that did great, but the stainless steel one does REALLY well at insulating the water!
Make it tasty.
I tried several liquid water flavorings, but most were full of chemicals and not very clean. I found Stur at one of my local grocery stores. Finding this flavoring was a huge win! No sugar, alternate “-ose” sweeteners, or anything terrible like all the other water flavorings that I tried. The best part is THEY TASTE GREAT! My favorites are the Black Cherry, Fruit Punch, and Boldly Blue & Blackberry. If you like fruit flavors and hate plain water, this is a great way to start drinking more water! Read more about them here.
A bridge from the old to new.
A favorite summertime beverage was lemonade. However, I liked it with a LOT of sugar! Remember, I was a sugarholic! There are several health benefits to drinking lemon water! (But not with all that sugar.) But I like it sweet, and even though the article suggests honey or syrup, that is still sugar… so what is one to do?
Enter pure monk fruit sweetener. This was my saving grace! Monkfruit is only grown in Southeast Asia and is known as Luo Han Guo or “Buddha fruit.” Here is another great detailed article on monk fruit. Long story short, it is zero calories, produces zero blood sugar spike, has been around for centuries in ancient Chinese medicine, and in my sugar-loving opinion… is the best healthy alternative to sugar a sweet tooth can get! I get this product from Amazon.
100% monkfruit extract enabled me to sweeten coffee, make lemonade and sweet tea without ANY added sugar while tasting wonderful! The odd thing is I just randomly quit drinking coffee without even thinking about it! I went from 8-10 cups a day pre-heart attack to 2 cups for the first month or so after. I don’t recall exactly when I quit, as it just seemed to happen. Coffee and tea (and anything with caffeine) are diuretics and inhibit hydration, keeping that in mind.
A strange side effect of drinking more water happened.
A side effect of drinking more pure water-based drinks is I started to CRAVE water! Weird, huh? It is not really because the body craves what it needs (except for craving/caving to harmful addictive substances.) I started weaning myself off the monk fruit because I read several articles such as this one that suggest using non-sugar sweeteners can end up doing more harm than good. Read the article, but here is a good quote out of it:
“Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” explains Dr. Ludwig. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable.Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital
As with anything, we need balance. In my logical mind, I needed to get far away from the ~400 grams of sugar a day that I was consuming, so I used the monk fruit to ween me off of that. Then I weened myself off the monk fruit. I still use it in lemonade, but I’ll drink unsweet tea at a restaurant now… unless I opt for a refreshing glass of water.
How much water should you drink?
Enough to be properly hydrated. Hydration also includes adequate amounts of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium), but I’m just talking about water for the sake of this article. I’ve read and heard that you should drink an ounce per pound that you weigh or a minimum of a gallon a day or some other bogus calculation. The truth is, it depends on several factors for how much water you need a day. Many things can affect it, such as activity level (how much you sweat), medications being taken, any diseases you may have, etc. This is a good article about that. I regularly use Redmond’s ReLyte Hydration in my water regardless of whether or not I’m exercising for the day. You could get creative and combine their unflavored with the Stur flavorings mentioned earlier.
I go by a couple of factors to determine if I had enough water.
- Urine color. It should be a very pale yellow or clear.
- Blood pressure. If my BP is low or if I get light-headed when standing up quickly, then chances are I need more water (or more sodium as sometimes I sweat more than I think I do, and I take the “low sodium” part of the diet to too low.) Check out this article I wrote about blood pressure.
- Lack of thirst. If I’m not thirsty, then chances are I’m well hydrated. If I’m on a long run and get thirsty, then chances are I’m already very dehydrated. That’s why it is important to drink when running long distances, especially when it’s hot.
Water is very important!
As noted in the above article, water is essential for many bodily functions, including:
- carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- flushing bacteria from your bladder
- aiding digestion
- preventing constipation
- normalizing blood pressure
- stabilizing the heartbeat
- cushioning joints
- protecting organs and tissues
- regulating body temperature
- maintaining electrolyte balance
- aids in supporting the immune system
Additional benefits include:
- helps with energy expenditure and fat oxidation (study)
- water can help with the prevention of kidney stones (study)
- drinking water can satisfy hunger (study)
- it help with recurring headaches (study)
- water also supports eye health (study)
- “Sub-optimal hydration is associated with key risk factors for COVID-19 mortality.” (Hypotheses)
Don’t drink too much water!
Too much of anything can be bad! Drinking too much at one time can cause low sodium levels or a condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and mental changes such as confusion or hallucinations and should require immediate medical attention!
If you switch to water from highly caffeinated beverages, don’t confuse caffeine withdrawal symptoms with drinking too much water. I say this because I’ve had people tell me, “I’m getting headaches from drinking water.” Nope, they were going through caffeine withdrawal.
Water is essential for life and our body. I’ve learned how the body can perform remarkably well if given what it needs, and IT NEEDS WATER every day! Not carbonated water, not soda, not alcohol, not coffee, and definitely not sugary fruit juice. All of those are things you want and are possibly addicted to, not actually needed, and unfortunately, we don’t always WANT what we NEED, especially at the beginning of a change.
Try drinking only water for a week.
If you drink any soda (including diet) or other sugary beverage (including fruit juices), then I challenge you to try replacing your current beverages with water flavored with the Stur flavorings, lemonade, or tea with monk fruit for a week. Since it is best to start small, go ahead and have only ONE of your current beverages a day, but do one of my suggestions the rest of the time. After that first week, I challenge you to go on for a month. You’ll be amazed at how well you feel at the end of that month! After that month, take a swig of your old regular beverage, and I’ll almost guarantee that it won’t taste the same as it once did. I took a sip of a Mountain Dew the other day (which I used to absolutely love), and it burned my throat and nearly gagged me. No joke.
If you don’t regularly drink water and don’t think you can or should… YES, you CAN and SHOULD!
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