You are what you drink

glass of water

Yes, that is a glass of water on my desk, next to my keyboard. It has replaced the ever-present mug of coffee. I still enjoy about a half-cup of coffee in the mornings, with cream and sugar and everything nice. And a latte with my friend Deb on Saturdays. But gone are the all-day coffee drinking marathons. (I’ll never forget the look on my doctor’s face when she asked how many cups of coffee I drink and I replied that I wasn’t sure because I keep my cup refilled all day long with a fresh batch of that hot roasted goodness!). Also gone is the nightly glass of wine with dinner. That is now for outings and special occasions only… Okay, maybe the random especially stressful day.

Water has become my go-to-drink of choice these days. And not because I am one of those crazy healthy people who walk around with a water bottle all day long and jog at 4 a.m. Or even because I like water. Because, really, I don’t – it tastes like nothing. But after a two-week-long experiment of drastically restricting my coffee and alcohol intake, and increasing water consumption, I have noticed a difference. I’ve always laughed at the notion that one must drink 80 gallons (or whatever the current recommendation is) of water daily, and I still do not stick to a set amount of water that I drink per day – and I’m sure I’m falling short of the recommended amount – but replacing most of my daily liquid intake with water (and sometimes decaffeinated tea), for the past two weeks I have felt changes for the better in my well-being, and that is what has made me into a convert.

What changes? – you might want to know. Well, for starters, I no longer feel that I need all those multiple cups of coffee to get me going in the morning. I also don’t need that glass of wine in order to relax in the evening. I do not “crash” at 3p.m. only to toss and turn in bed at night unable to fall asleep. My level of energy and concentration is consistent through the day, and yet I fall asleep faster and sleep better. My skin looks healthier. My cramps are more tolerable (this is a ladies-only benefit).

Aside from the fact that our bodies consist of about 60% water (and just like flowers, when we are not regularly watered, we wither and slump), water also serves an important detoxifying function. Your brain cells need water or they will not function properly and you will start to feel sluggish and unmotivated. Your brain cells and skin cells are very similar in composition, so your skin will also suffer and look and feel dry (especially in the colder seasons, when most of us have that awful central heat cranked up 24/7, that seems to just suck moisture out of living things!). Your liver also needs the help of water in order to help it flush toxins and excess hormones out of your system – hormones that cause us stress-related illnesses, acne and a host of other health problems.

Think about this vicious cycle that a lot of us put our bodies through on a daily basis, just by doing what I did for years:

chart

Rinse and repeat!!

If this sounds familiar, do yourself a favor and conduct a two-week experiment where you have one cup of coffee a day, and drink nothing but water, decaffeinated tea/green tea, and a little bit of no sugar-added juice (although it’s preferable to just eat fresh fruit). When drinking water, try to keep it room temperature (I drink mine almost hot). I know, it’s a strange concept in a culture of iced-liquids, but the warmer the water, the faster it will get absorbed by your body. Avoid alcohol unless there is a good reason for it. It will be challenging in the beginning, but as I said, two weeks is about all it took for me to start noticing a difference. I’m no longer a zombie in the mornings and that half-emptied bottle of Cabernet is not nearly as enticing as it used to be.

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