Water: The Gift of Life

It’s raining!  We’re so short of normal rain for the year plus the extremely high temperatures we’ve been experiencing are drying everything out. Just a brief rain shower is enough to get me excited, although they haven’t been plentiful or long enough to keep me from having to move hoses around the garden. (Dang. It’s already stopped.)

Every animal and plant on this Earth needs water. Reptiles and desert cacti, too! They may not need as much as we humans or a rain forest plant but it’s a necessity for them, as well.

One episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation had a crystalline life form calling the humanoids “ugly bags of water”. Not very flattering, but true. Our bodies are 55-78% water (depending on your age and fat content) so water is very necessary to our lives. Among other things, it nourishes cells, keeps the kidneys functioning properly, and keeps your skin in good condition which also helps eliminate toxins from your system.

As boring as it is, you should be drinking one-half of your body weight in ounces of water every day, e.g., if you weigh 100 pounds, you should be drinking 50 ounces of water. Notice I didn’t say “liquid”, I said “water”. Drink a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed in the morning because you haven’t had any to drink for several hours. I do this while I’m waiting for the coffee to finish perking. Keep a glass or bottle by you and drink from it all day long, if possible, because by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. This is especially important for people who work outdoors. You need to have enough water in your system to continue sweating, which is the body’s natural cooling system. We caffeine-fiends need to be especially watchful about our water intake as caffeine is dehydrating.

A note to athletes: if you drink sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade, alternate your sports drink with plain water. Those sports drinks dehydrate you, too! (I can remember being at a fencing tournament years ago. One of the finalists started cramping so bad that he couldn’t hold his weapon. He couldn’t understand as he’d been drinking sports drink throughout the day. The medic on site and I asked him about his water intake. He and his coach were surprised to learn he should have been alternating and why. He spent the night in the hospital getting fluids through an IV.)

You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, nor should you buy water with additives – some contain sugar! (See here for an article about bottled water with additives.) If you drink city water from the tap, it might be wise to invest in a filter pitcher or tap filter. That will take out most of the icky stuff (like chlorine) cities put into their water to keep it “clean”. If, like me, you don’t like plain water, try adding a squirt of lemon or lime juice to your glass.

I discovered years ago that I didn’t need to drink nearly as much soda as I was wont to. It wasn’t the sugar I wanted, it was the carbonation! (Weird, I know.) You can buy carbonated water at the store but a much less expensive solution is to buy a home carbonation unit. The various companies sell them as a way to make homemade soda (with syrup mixtures they happily sell you) but we have only used ours to carbonate plain water. I’m down to one can of soda a day from five or six and our grocery bill, even considering the cost of replacement CO2 canisters, has dropped considerably. I’m healthier for it, too.

If you haven’t had even a short glass of water for an hour, get up from the computer and go drink one. You need it!