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I'll Drink To That!

Just like Visa, it's everywhere you want it to be...and sometimes even where you don't. It can save your life, yet kill you...both rise and fall...be a breath of fresh air, but also take it away...precious to some while wasted by others. If it weren't for the not so subtle hint in the above title, I'd bet you'd still be guessing what this weeks blog is about. In case you haven't figured it out, here are a few more helpful clues to ease the curiosity. You can find it bottled....in aquifers, creeks, dams, lakes, oceans and rivers where it seems so abundant...and from hot springs to backyard swimming pools. Cold as ice, hot or lukewarm, fizzy, flavored, mineral, sparkling or tap, there are endless possibilities to please even the most finicky of personalities. Whether liquid, as a solid, vaporized, or providing fun or offering needed refreshment, water is indeed everywhere. The earth is 71% water and her oceans alone account for approximately 96.5 percent of it. In comparison, our bodies are about 60% water. Being that both are over half water, it is imperative that we understand how important it is for all life forms, human or not. Without it, one or more parts of the food cycle would cease to exist creating a mass chain reaction. However, occasionally Mother Nature unleashes her fury and provides us with an overabundance of what is, in some parts of the world, an extremely valuable resource. While we have no control over such events when they do happen, we can and should appropriately use what is given to optimize our health. Going back to the first paragraph, I gave examples of how we see water and followed up with how it can, with a little help from science, appear (or even taste) different. Regardless of what is done to and/or with it, it is still...water. Two Hydrogen and one Oxygen molecule bonded together make up what we know as water. Large manufacturing companies can alter the pH to sell it as alkaline, add carbon dioxide to make it bubbly, artificial or natural fruit flavors to change the taste slightly and encourage people to drink more, salt for mineralization, or calcium carbonate for those who prefer more sparkle. Whatever your preference might be, there is a water for you. The purpose of this post, though, is to give you a better idea of precisely what you are drinking, as well as teach you how much you should be drinking every day to keep "all systems go." Bottled water, as I mentioned above, comes in many varieties, but how do we know the difference between each one? Nutrition labels don't give information about the process(es) involved to get it into eye catching packages and delivered to your local retailer. Nor do they list specific ingredients that turn the ordinary into extraordinary and make the boring more fun. So what exactly is bottled water and why has it become so popular? Well...the easy answer...water put into a bottle and sold...just about everywhere. A slightly more complex but realistic answer is water that comes from a municipality's proprietary water system that may or may not be bottled locally and purchased by consumers. Since each city or company has different guidelines (based on area and source) as far as what needs to be added or taken out, you will get a variety of tastes even in plain bottled water. Keep in mind that although there are vastly different standards between one distributor and the next, the states have regulations that must be strictly followed to ensure the safety of the end product. With that being said, whether you choose alkaline, bubbly, fizzy, fruity, mineral, sparkling or spring...it is, after all...just water. If that is the case, then what is all the hype about? Wouldn't they all be pretty similar? For the most part, yes with the exceptions I pointed out a few paragraphs ago. It all comes down to marketing and who does the best job of making their product the most suited for each persons particular desires. Creating a unique bottle shape or putting on an attactive label does a great deal in luring thirsty shoppers toward a certain decision. While it has been available for quite some time, the recent lockdowns due to COVID-19 and current extremely dry conditions have increased the popularity of bottled water and resulted in many stores limiting quantities. Farmers were asked to reduce usage on the foods they grow for our survival. Homeowners decreased their water consumption and many let lawns die or switched to drought tolerant landscaping. These examples show the importance water has on all life forms. Knowing how vital this nutrient is, it is also essential to understand how much is necessary for optimal health and proper bodily functions. Please note that the quantities given here are general recommendations so amounts can vary depending on climate and exercise intensity. As a rule of thumb, drink as many ounces as your body weight. For example, a 150 lb individual should drink a minimum of 150 ounces per day. Of course, during bouts of heavy physical activity and/or days with warm to hot temperatures the joints, muscles and organs in the body may require additional hydration to prevent dizziness or exhaustion. Furthermore, for you exercise junkies, professional athletes, or ultra marathoners, hydration starts the day before you plan on hitting the gym, participating in long scrimmages or competing in major athletic events. Waiting until you're already engaged in activity and partially dehydrated makes it harder for the body's systems to store it sufficiently and more taxing on the muscles and organs that need it the most. Just like a dam holds water for future use, humans need that same type of reservoir so everything functions properly when called upon. To make it a bit easier, any beverages or food items that contain water (i.e. coffee, tea or fruits and vegetables) count as water intake, but it is more difficult to measure precise water content these items offer. Most people don't drink enough water throughout the day so if you happen to fall into this category here are a few suggestions that I have found helpful. First, set a timer for sixty (60) minutes. When it dings, drink a twelve ounce glass of water and reset the alarm for another hour. Repeat this process from the time you wake up until you go to bed. Oftentimes you will get close to or meet your daily goal when using this approach. Second, for those who don't like plain water, add fruit to the glass and fill. Citrus flavors such as grapefruit, lemon and orange infuse the best but any ones you like will also work. Third, any soda drinkers out there? For every can of soda you drink, you must equal that with the same amount of water. Refill your empty can with water and consume it before grabbing another Coke or Pepsi. Not only does this rinse out the can without wasting a valuable resource, your water now has a bit more "pop" to it. See what I did there? Finally, there are bottles that can be purchased to help guide you on the adequate intake. Usually they will have motivational sayings along the way to keep you on track. With the holidays upon us and a New Year right around the corner, why not celebrate by drinking your way through the season? Really? Are you serious? Sounds good to me! Thanks, I will. No, no, no...not like that! Did you truly think that is what I meant by getting into the spirit(s)? Sorry, not exactly. Instead, grab your Hydroflask (filled of course) and take it with you when you go Christmas shopping or to a holiday party. You may find that by starting your day or a huge family meal with a refreshing glass of water, you'll feel fuller and less likely to indulge on extra calories or maybe skip dessert entirely so the unwanted pounds wind up on someone else's hips. Next time you get up, get out, and get moving, whenever or wherever that might be, remember to fill up, show up, and drink up! I'll drink to that...how about you? See you in two weeks for my next blog post where a topic just as important as proper hydration and nutrition will be "covered." Until then... What cool tricks, if any, do you use to ensure you drink enough fluids on a daily basis?

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