Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Are YOU a Camel, too?

Note: This is a chapter taken from my new book based on this Blog! I am still in the editing phases so if you notice a typo or grammatical slip-up, I’d appreciate the heads up. Also, if there is anything here that is cause for alarm or confusion, point it out. If you loved it, hated it, or think you know a better way – tell me that, too. You can do this by posting in the comments or by shooting me an e-mail at

Drink More Water (Plus a bonus Soapbox Sermon on Plastic!)

Drink more water. I know you’ve heard that before. I think I’m part camel because I'm able to go nearly all day without a drink. But I’m trying to do better.
Here’s just a few of the things water does for you (if you drink enough): increases energy level, reduces joint/back pain, prevents headaches, aids in digestion and prevents constipation, ensures proper circulation, increases metabolism and regulates appetites, and keeps us alive (we can live a month without food, but only a week without water).
Recently I read Stiff by Mary Roach. In Stiff, Roach investigates what happens to our bodies once we die. The book considers all the possibilities from donating your body to science to becoming human compost. It sounds gruesome, but it was a really fun read. This book taught me two valuable lessons.

The first is that we all need to think through what will happen to our bodies after we die. We should not leave this to the people who love us. It’s not fair to burden them with the details of what happens to our remains. Find out the options and pick one. Today. Write it down somewhere and tell the people you love where that somewhere is. It’s the only way you can help them through your death, which will hopefully be a long time from now, but could ultimately be tomorrow. Do this.
The second lesson I learned from the book is that water has a powerful effect on our skin. In one chapter Roach visits a morgue and watches a body as it’s prepared for the funeral. As the technician pumps the body full of fluid, Roach sees facial lines disappear and the dead person looks not only more alive, but decades younger – instantly. I immediately got up and poured myself a glass of water. Drinking water helps our systems function better, keeping us hydrated and healthy, but it could also be the single most important part of your skin care regime. As a bit of a skin care junkie myself, this hit home. So if you’re not drinking water for your health, drink it for your complexion.
How much water do we need? Every body is different – some need more, some need less and this can depend on how much you exercise, sweat, and eat. It can also depend on your size, age, and health. The basic number is 1.5 liters, which is the infamous 8 eight-ounce glasses. If you exercise a lot, you need more. If you are pregnant, you need more. The weather and the temperature also affect how much you need to drink. Obviously when it’s hot and dry, you need more. One thing that is not a reliable indicator of how much water you need to drink is your own thirst. By the time you register thirst you are already dehydrated.
Our kids need to drink more water, too. Most of us are dehydrated. We need more water. One of my children gets migraines and the first thing the neurologist asked us was – is he drinking enough water? Dehydration is a big trigger for migraines, or any headache for that matter. Drinking plenty of water every day is a critical lesson we need to impart to our children. Water should be available all day long and I’ll do what it takes to make that happen. Here are a few of my water ways:
1. Never walk by a drinking fountain – always stop and drink. I’m sure this is a nuisance for teachers, but it’s a good habit to instill.
2. Even short trips in the car call for an accompanying water bottle. Sure, this leads to lost water bottles and a car rattling with empties on the floor, but it’s worth it.
3. The only beverage that can be carried outside of our kitchen is water. That means if a child wants a drink while watching TV, playing outside, working on the computer, or playing in his room with friends – water is the only option. Water is the one thing you can have at our house anytime, anywhere.
4. Get rid of the juice. We don’t need it – fresh fruit has more nutrients and fiber with fewer calories per serving. If there’s no juice in the fridge, there can be no debate about how many glasses anyone has already had. We do buy juice for special occasions, but it’s not an everyday thing.
5. A pitcher of ice water is inviting when it’s all ready to go. Keep one in the fridge or set one on the table at snack time. Make it available and appealing.
6. Instead of asking your kids if they’d like some water, fix them a glass and give it to them. Say something like, “I thought you might be thirsty.” They get busy like us and forget to drink enough.
7. Make it easy for kids to get their own water whenever they want. Store kids’ drinking glasses in a low cabinet they can easily reach so they can get themselves a glass of water whenever they are thirsty.
8. For the first time ever we have a fridge with water and ice on the outside. It’s definitely worth the splurge in terms of encouraging kids to drink more water.
9. Buy kids some cool refillable water bottles. Good water bottles are something worth buying. Find trendy fun bottles with the carbineer clip and give them to your kids as gifts. Buy a cool one for yourself and set the example.
10. Serve water with every meal at home.
11. Always ask for water when you are out at a restaurant. If you don't like the taste of tap water, ask for a slice of lime or lemon. Order water for your kids too.
12. No matter what you do – don’t buy bottled water. I know you didn’t pay for it, but here’s my two cents on bottled water. Just hold on a moment while I climb on my soapbox…
Bottled water is a ridiculous waste of money. Water is free. Can you imagine if someone told you back when you were a kid that someday people would pay $2.50 for a small plastic bottle of water? It would be like saying you have to pay to breathe the air. You’d have thought they were nuts, yet we spend over 100 billion dollars a year on bottled water. How much could be done with that money? The Water Project estimates that the cost of just one case of bottled water could supply a person in Kenya with clean, safe drinking water for the next five years!
Never mind the cost – how about the benefit? There are no regulations specifying that bottled water has to be anything beyond decent tap water. I’ve heard all about the special springs where this water comes from, but I’m certain that for many of these companies, that special spring is a hose in the factory where the water is bottled. Someone’s making lots of money because we’ve never learned the lesson of the Emperor’s new clothes.
This is an easy one, folks. Instead of spending your money on bottled water, buy some really nice stainless steel water bottles and refill them. You’ll be helping the environment and your pocketbook. This is a no brainer. Stop buying water! If you’re concerned about taste, spend $30 bucks and get a water filter pitcher or attachment for your sink. I had a Britta Water Pitcher when I lived in an apartment and that water tasted great.
Okay, I’ll step off my soapbox now, but seriously, we all should drink more water in whatever container we can. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health - and for your complexion.

Basic: Stop buying bottled water.
Serious: Purchase a few nice water bottles for you and your family. Label them. Use them. Keep a clean water bottle in your car so that you can fill it if you get thirsty when you are out.
Extreme: Keep water in a pitcher in your fridge, maybe even add a few lemon slices to it to make it more enticing. Drink a full glass of water when you get up, before every meal, and before you go to bed. Teach your children to do the same.

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