Blog Archives - Julie's Healthy Living
Water--essential for all life function. No living organism can survive without water. You will die without this vital resource. Our bodies are comprised mostly of water--55-78% depending on body size. We lose water from the minute our feet hit the deck first thing in the morning. Water escapes the body through urine, feces, sweat and water vapor when we breathe. Therefore we must replenish this resource as the day progresses. There is so much information out there concerning water intake that it tends to confuse people as to how much we should really be drinking. I'm here to help debunk the myths.

So how much water do we really need?
The old standard was eight 8-ounce glasses a day for a total of 64 ounces. Then it came out that we should be drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water. That was actually suggested by a company that sells bottled water as a marketing plan to get people to drink more; therefore, buying more bottles. I'll get to bottled water shortly. What people don't seem to account for when factoring their daily water is how many other liquids they are drinking or what foods they consume. If you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables then you are consuming up to 20% water through your food consumption. The juicier the fruit and/or vegetable the more water content.

What counts as liquid hydration?
For those of you who really have a hard time getting water down, rejoice, there are other liquids to hydrate you besides plain water. To spruce up plain water add cucumber slices and fresh mint, citrus slices or some strawberries with pomegranate seeds. Next is herbal teas that have not been sweetened. Last is 100% fruit or vegetable juice that has no added sugars.

What about other drinks?
Coffee, black tea and cocoa all contain purins, toxins that are eliminated from the body by sweat or urine in the form of uric acid. The water consumed with these drinks is what flushes the toxins out of the body. Milk is not a drink, it is a food and as such digestion is incomplete by adults. Alcohol also acts as a body dehydrator. I am reserving soft drinks for their own topic.

Why are soft drinks not recommended by 4 out of 5 doctors?
Simply put, they're poison. There is nothing good about soda. People who drink even ONE can of regular sugar soda a day raise their risk of Type II Diabetes by 68%. Most regular sodas contain 150 calories per 12 ounce can. Most people I know guzzle the 20 oz. bottles. At approximately 300 calories a day that would be 2100 calories a week of pure sugar and no nutrition. If that isn't enough to make you think twice about picking up soda here's another factoid. People who consume soda also put themselves at higher risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis. Soda also creates air in the colon slowing down digestion which is what leads to feeling bloated. This is true even with the diet soda. Diet soda is the lesser of the two evils when it comes to the waistline, but still has an impact. Studies have shown that people who consume artificial sweeteners tend to have more sugar cravings than people who don't. Aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, fructose, maltodextrin and dextrose are all added sugars found in food and drinks. The most common one in diet soda is aspartame (brand name Nutrasweet) or sucralose (brand name Splenda). The chemicals act on the sensor of the brain that tricks it into thinking it's gotten sugar, but it hasn't and therefore continues to crave the real thing. The artificial sweeteners cause a spike in blood sugar which lead to food cravings in an attempt to get what the body really needs. It becomes a vicious cycle. I am not telling you to give up soda, just giving you the information so you can make your own choice. And now I jump down from the soapbox.

How do I know if I'm drinking enough?
The BEST way to determine your hydration level is by looking at the color or your urine. The first urine will always be the darkest of the day. As the day progresses keep an eye on the change in color. If it is still a dark yellow than you are dehydrated. A light yellow urine color typically signifies a very healthy urine. The light straw yellow urine will have a low odor, few bubbles in the urine, little to no foam in urine, and have a clear urine consistency. If you urine color is very clear, it is showing a high concentration of water and a lower concentration of actual waste. This could mean you are very well hydrated, but a low concentration of waste is not necessarily a good thing. What this means is that you need to pee more in order to get rid the waste your body doesn't need. Which is why people who over hydrate find themselves in the bathroom 20 times a day.

Bottled versus Filtered Tap Water?
This is a personal choice that all families make. For some of you bottled water may be your only option depending on where you live. In MOST cases though, people live in an area where filtered tap water is suitable for drinking, yet people spend hundreds of dollars a year on cases of bottled water. What is the benefit? Turns out, not much, if any. From the editors at Men's Health Magazine:

Four Truths About Bottled Water

1. You may actually be drinking tap water
Case in point: Dasani, a Coca-Cola product. Despite its exotic-sounding name, Dasani is simply purified tap water that’s had minerals added back in. For example, if your Dasani water was bottled at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Philadelphia, you’re drinking Philly tap water. But it’s not the only brand of water that relies on city pipes to provide its product. About 25 percent of all bottled water is taken from municipal water sources, including Pepsi’s Aquafina.

2. Bottled water isn’t always pure
Scan the labels of the leading brands and you see variations on the words “pure” and “natural” and “pristine” over and over again. And when a Cornell University marketing class studied consumer perceptions of bottled water, they found that people thought it was cleaner, with less bacteria. But that may not actually be true. For example, in a 4-year review that included the testing of 1,000 bottles of water, the Natural Resources Defense Council—one the country’s most ardent environmental crusaders—found that “about 22 percent of the brands we tested contained, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.”

3. It’s not clear where the plastic container ends and the drink begins
Turns out, when certain plastics are heated at a high temperature, chemicals from the plastics may leach into container’s contents. So there’s been a flurry of speculation recently as to whether the amounts of these chemicals are actually harmful, and whether this is even a concern when it comes to water bottles—which aren’t likely to be placed in boiling water or even a microwave. While the jury is still out on realistic health ramifications, it seems that, yes, small amounts of chemicals from PET water bottles such as antimony—a semi-metal that’s thought to be toxic in large doses—can accumulate the longer bottled water is stored in a hot environment. Which, of course, is probably a good reason to avoid storing bottled water in your garage for six months—or better yet, to just reach for tap instead.

4. Our country’s high demand for oil isn’t just due to long commutes
Most water bottles are composed of a plastic called polyethylene terepthalate (PET). Now, to make PET, you need crude oil. Specifically, 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of PET water bottles ever year, estimate University of Louisville scientists. No wonder the per ounce cost of bottled water rivals that of gasoline. What’s more, 86 percent of 30 billion PET water bottles sold annually are tossed in the trash, instead of being recycled, according to data from the Container Recycling Institute. That’s a lot of waste—waste that will outlive you, your children, and your children’s children. You see, PET bottles take 400 to 1000 years to degrade. Which begs the question: If our current rate of consumption continues, where will we put all of this discarded plastic?

A personal note on the water issue and where I stand:
I live in Vero Beach, Florida. A sleepy little town on the Treasure Coast about 10 miles from the Atlantic. I love my home, but the tap water is just awful. It's not undrinkable in the sense that it is dangerous for consumption. It just tastes awful. But really, what can I expect for living on land built over a swamp. For years my husband and I poured money into bottled water. In addition to all the money we were spending I started to get concerned about the waste and the contamination from the plastic. Call me crazy if you will, but I care about the environment. It weighed heavily on my mind that we were depositing up to or more than 100 bottles a month in the recycling bin. Grant you I do recycle, but that's still A LOT of plastic and I can't always be sure all bottles make it to the recycling center. So my reasons for switching to filtered tap water were fueled by many reasons, not the least of which is the money we've saved.

On Earth Day 2008, which happened to be a happy coincidence, I invested in a Brita filtration system. Because we do drink so much water I got the largest pitcher they sell--144 ounces, which came with one filter and then I purchased a three pack special that contained a bonus filter. Altogether I spent $65 for the pitcher and the five filters, which lasted us more than a year. That was almost two years ago. We have saved almost $400. I use a double lined stainless steel for the same reason I gave up my plastic water bottle habit. The same fossil fuels and chemicals are found in the reusable plastic bottles that are in the throw away bottles. Again, I am not telling you what to do, just passing along information for you to make your own decisions.

I do understand what it's like to get into the habit of drinking water. I was a Diet Coke/Coke Zero addict. I drank both of them almost exclusively. Rarely did I drink water except on the hottest of summer days. Little by little I replaced the soda with water and now water is my habit. I don't only drink it because I know it's the best choice for me physically. I drink it because I like the way is tastes and nothing quenches my thirst better.

Drinking water does the body good!!!