I have a confession to make. For the vast majority of my life I have hated drinking water. This is a little ironic since I run Crowdsourcing Kids, which raises money to drill wells in Africa and India. I’ve spent the last decade working to help others get access to clean drinking water, meanwhile, my main source of hydration has been diet soda. Eight glasses a day? Try two tablespoons if I was lucky!
Why I Dislike Drinking Water
I grew up in the 80s and 90s when kids didn’t really carry around water bottles. I may have occasionally taken a sip out of the drinking fountain at school, but I have zero memories of anyone urging me to stay hydrated. And since I grew up chugging Kool-Aid and soda, my taste buds were not keen on plain old water. Sure, if the weather was hot enough, or the workout strenuous enough, I enjoyed knocking back some ice water. But water was never my beverage of choice.
What Changed My Approach to Water?
I have struggled with chronic neck pains and muscle tension in my neck and shoulders for the past several years. I have tried everything including dry needling, physical therapy, deep tissue massage, yoga, stretching, heating pads, and more. The dry needling helped the most, but the pain of a session is pretty excruciating. I just couldn’t understand why I had so many knots in my shoulders! So I started researching what could be the source of all that muscle tightness and a light bulb went off. Could I be dehydrated? I got my hands on this life-changing book: Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration. The book explains that as many as 75% of Americans are dehydrated! And that old adage of drinking 8 glasses a day, is not really the best way to stay hydrated! Here are some facts that helped me change the way I think about drinking water:
- Even mild dehydration– just a 2% decrease in hydration levels– can impact your blood vessels the same way as smoking a cigarette.
- Early studies link chronic dehydration to the development of Alzheimer’s.
- Dehydration can be the root of some pain from migraines to muscle cramps. (YES! THAT’S ME!)
My Hydration Plan
The book lays out lots of tips and a Quench plan that includes smoothie recipes, the most hydrating foods, and some small stretches you can do throughout the day to make sure your muscles are accessing the water that you’re consuming. These micromovements feel great and have really helped relieve most of my pain. Here are the changes that I have made:
- I drink 8 ounces of water before each meal. I add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. I try to chug this as quickly as possible because this is still not my favorite thing to do.
- I drink two smoothies throughout the day. Although I have now developed a recipe I like that doesn’t require my blender. (I’ll share this below.)
- I try to eat more of the top hydrating fruits and veggies. For veggies, these are cucumbers, romaine lettuce, celery, radishes, and zucchini. For fruits, these are starfruit, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, and cantaloupe.
- I end the day with a cup of chamomile tea.
My Top 5 Products for Staying Hydrated
These five products have changed my life and the way I approach hydration. It really is life-changing! (Please note, these are affiliate links.)
- XTEND Original BCAA Powder. I first heard about this sugar-free post-workout muscle recovery drink from Tim Ferriss and my husband and I started using it last year. I love the lemon lime flavor!
- Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Glow. The strawberry lemon flavor is delicious and it works well in combination with the XTEND lemon lime! I almost immediately notice a difference in my skin tone when I am regularly taking a collagen supplement. This also helps with hair growth.
- Recover On Keto Electrolyte Capsules. These include a combination of Calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium, which are all essential for staying hydrated.
- Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle. I am WAY more likely to drink water if I have a great bottle to drink from. I love this one because it’s pretty, sturdy, and comes with three different lid styles.
- Quench by Dana Cohen, MD. If you’re struggling with the mental component of drinking water this will change your life. It helped me to look beyond forcing myself to choke down 8 glasses of water a day and see the science behind hydration. Now that I know how very important this is to my overall physical and mental health, I have no problem motivating myself to stay hydrated.
My Favorite DIY Hydrating Drink
The Quench book includes lots of great smoothie recipes. I took ingredients from those and developed my own favorite recipe! I’ve been drinking one bottle of this each day:
- 8 ounces of water and a few ice cubes
- half a cup of coconut water
- half a cup of coconut milk
- two tablespoons of cherry juice concentrate (or the best quality I can find since it can be tough to locate concentrates.)
- two tablespoons of pure lime juice
- one tablespoon of crushed chia seeds. (This is a huge part of hydration, according to the book!)
Shake it up and enjoy!