In the first installment of my quest to get “healthy-ish” we talked about additive health goals and how my husband kind of tricked me into doing a tiny triathlon.
This week, we are going to talk about me tricking myself into adding water.
About seven times a year, I Google “How much water should I drink?” It doesn't matter what answer I get back, I know I'm not drinking enough. Drinking water is boring. So boring that I forget to do it because there is no tasty incentive. "Health" should be incentive enough, but 28 years of subsisting mainly on Diet Coke, iced coffee and gin has shown me that I ain't in it for my health.
I'm not going to bore you with an article on why water is good for you. It's like The Secret to Being a Healthy Human 101. I don't need to convince myself that I should be drinking water; my morning headaches and dry mouth plus tons of medical experts have convinced me that I should be drinking water.
I need to convince myself that it can be fun (or at least not as boring).
The amount of water an individual needs to drink a day varies due to climate, lifestyle, whether or not they are a camel, etc., but I decided to aim for the basic 8x8 (8 servings of 8 ounces of fluids that are not alcohol or caffeine). Honestly, 4x4 would be a huge improvement, but why not aim for the stars?
This really shouldn't be that difficult. The most difficult part will be overcoming my distaste for repetition. Because my life is a constant stream of new EXTREME flavors and lots of variety, I rarely get into eating "routines." But even before I ate and reviewed weird food for a living, I was never a creature of habit. I don’t really have a “go-to” order for anything. I desperately long to be one of those people who eats the same thing for lunch every day, but if I eat salad two days in a row the third salad will make me nauseated. It’s a really ridiculous way to be, but here we are.
So, in order to get myself to consume eight glasses of the same liquid each day for eternity, tricks must be employed. Here's what I've come up with so far:
1. Put it in a pretty vessel
I am a vapid magpie of a person who is easily distracted by pretty things. I buy things for the packaging. I actually didn't drink much coffee until I bought this adorable mug at Epcot, now I drink it every day.
I pretty much got into chemistry because I liked the glassware.
It's fitting then that my favorite thing to drink out of is this Erlenmeyer flask (conical flask to those of you across the pond).
A couple of things:
A. It's really important that you don't call this a "beaker" because it is not a beaker. A beaker is cylindrical in shape and has a flat bottom and (usually) a little spout for pouring. The only other acceptable definition for "beaker" is the Muppet that goes "meepmeepmeep.'
B. Though this flask came in a "Chemistry Cocktail Set," drinking cocktails from it is ill-advised. That practice always ends with me leaving the party to get into the bathtub and then not remembering ever being in the bathtub. So, don't do that.
Given the fact that I love holding/drinking from chemical glassware, it only makes sense that this will inspire me to drink more water. It holds about three cups, so three of these babies is more than enough for me to reach my goal. Not everyone gets as excited about Erlenmeyer flasks as I do, but I believe that finding a water vessel that is visually appealing to you is the first step to actually using it. If your old plastic water bottle kind of grosses you out because there's two years worth of lipstick residue on the spout, you're probably not going to use it.
2. Add some flavors
Water is literally, by definition, flavorless. That's fine in some instances -- like cleansing your palate between different bottles of wine -- but it doesn't inspire me to drink it for its own sake.
I realize that I didn't invent the whole "adding sliced plant parts to water" thing -- hotels and spas have been doing it for ages -- but every time I have a glass of "spa water," I always think to myself "Man, I have got to do this at home because it is delicious."
So I'm finally doing it at home.
Some of my favorite plants to add to water include:
- Citrus fruits
- Peeled and sliced ginger
- Mint leaves
You get the idea.
3. Multitask with cranberry juice
I love the tartness of pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, but it's a little difficult to drink undiluted. I usually pour an inch or two of cranberry into a beer glass and then fill the rest with water; the result is delightful. In addition to adding delicious flavor and acidity, cranberry may help prevent UTIs, which is great, because UTIs can only be described as "simply awful."
(Note: Drinking too much cranberry juice might give you oxalate stones though, so don't overdo it.)
Really though, I just drink it because I like the taste. Like I said earlier, health hasn't proven to be the strongest motivation for me.
4. La Croix is a gift from the gods
I love a drink in a can. I prefer both beer and soda to be in a can, though glass is a close second. I hate a plastic bottle. I love the sound cans make when you open them, the added metallic flavor (whether real or imagined), and the size.
They just fit so well in my hand.
I used to buy 12-packs of Diet Coke (always in cans) but I would go through three or four a day. This resulted in a lot of headaches and that weird blood taste in my mouth, but I couldn't stop myself. There was something about finishing one can and opening another that I found rewarding and soothing.
The same thing happens when I buy cans of La Croix, but without the weird blood taste. As a result, I'll consume 36-48 ounces of carbonated water a day, putting me over halfway to my daily goal.
My favorite flavors are peach-pear, coconut, and grapefruit. They also have a cherry-lime that is excellent, but it comes in a smaller, more expensive can for some reason.
So far, these tricks have been pretty effective. I certainly am peeing a lot more, and I no longer wake up due to extreme thirst, so I would say that things are improving.
Do you guys have issues drinking enough water? Is it weird that I have this problem? (Sean thinks it's weird.) Is there anything you have to trick yourself into doing?