Thursday, September 17, 2009


Most of our bodies are water. And most of us don't drink enough of it -- we tend to get our water from coffee, tea, colas, or beer, and while all these will supply enough liquid to sustain life, they come with certain drawbacks. The human digestive and excretory systems were designed to run on water, and they have to work overtime filtering anything else. More, the sugars, caffeine, alcohol and other things offer some good, but mostly bad, side-effects.

I used to drink a lot of Coca Cola, and back in the bad old days, would go through six or eight bottles a day, which is how I got most of my water intake. All those empty calories, all that acid -- bad for the teeth, and gut, and kicks your body PH into a terrible zone. Not to mention the sugar highs that drop precipitously if you don't keep mainlining the stuff. Headaches, bad for your bladder, kidneys, gas, good way to develop kidney stones, all like that. The Real Thing™ hasn't been the same since they took the cocaine out ...

I long time ago realized the benefits of proper hydration. It does wonders for all kind of things, from cushioning your joints, to curing constipation, to giving you healthier skin and muscles and hair, gets rid of edema, and ... it's starting to sound like snake-oil, but nutritionists and some doctors and sports coaches have known this for years.

You need to keep a lot of water going through your system.

We've been doing some research on this because my wife doesn't drink enough water. She has a sensitive palate, and she can taste the chlorine the city puts into our water to kill the bugs. So she drinks tea to kill the taste. Most city water is safe, but most of it has some kind of something in it that the EPA allows little bits of, parts per million or billion; frankly, I don't think there's any safe level of lead or pesticides or cattle hormones. (If you want to try something to see how good your water is, get one of those little test kits you use for a hot tub or swimming pool and add them to a big glass of tap water. Might be surprised at what you find.)

Um. Anyway, I drink enough because I make a point of it. I keep a sixteen-ounce glass on my desk and go through five or six of them a day.

The rule of thumb is, take your weight in pounds, divide it in half, and that's how many ounces of water you need to drink a day. Me, at two hundred pounds, a hundred ounces, so six of my glasses a day. Plus what I go through at silat class, usually another twenty or thirty ounces.

Doesn't mean you still can't drink coffee or soda or milk or beer or wine -- most of those are okay in moderation, too much isn't. But you shouldn't count them against your water intake.

Here's an experiment. For the next two weeks, drink the recommended amount of water every day. You'll spend a fair amount of time peeing, but just do it. Get a jug, fill it up, drink it all through the course of your day. I expect that if you do this, at the end of the two weeks, you'll feel better than when you started, and I know your health will be improved.

Give it a try. Lemme know how it works for you.


Brad said...

We can't taste the chlorine in the water down here, but sure can taste the sulphur that's in it.

We bought a nice, under the sink, water filter system and it does wonders for the taste. Water actually tastes so good, my daughter will ask for a glass of water before anything else.

Get a filter system with sediment filters and a 'taste' filter. (reverse osmosis system).

William Adams said...

Even an inexpensive Brita (or other brand) filter pitcher is worth it --- I have one at work just to filter water before making tea, but we use them at the beach and keep one in the refrigerator at home for drinking water.

A slight upgrade (not quite as nice as the system Brad described) is the Pür filter attached to the kitchen faucet.


Steve Perry said...

Where we grew up, in Baton Rouge, the tap water was about as pure as it can get. Our water is pretty good here, but there is chlorine in it. If you do a blind taste-test of the filtered/unfiltered stuff, you can tell -- certainly my wife can, and even I can.

Somebody came by and ran a demo for us and there is a noticeable difference.

We're looking at one of the under-the-sink jobs, because it taps into the cold water line. (Hot water is generally bad for filters, for several reasons.)

Jay said...

I drink a lot of water and usually have 2 cups of black tea in the morning to get movin'.
luckily I live in a town with Top 10 water quality and taste.

Jason said...

I use a reverse osmosis filter, but I make sure to add some minerals back in occasionally so I don't end up with problems from the mineral depletion caused buy heavy filtration and distillation.
I just use some drops that have a broad spectrum of normal "trace" background minerals similar to pure water "in the wild"
I do it just in case, but I do find that it seems to work better for me overall. YMMV.

heina said...

We use a Brita screwed onto the tap. It makes a big difference in the taste. And we make an effort to drink a LOT of water.

One thing that helps is that we stopped drinking ice cold water. Warm water isn't great, but slightly cool water goes down a lot easier. If it's really hot out then cold water is nice, but usually just drink it slightly above room temperature.

My favorite quote about it from a certain health industry magnate is "I drink water like college freshman drink beer. I chug it!" Which always gave me a great image.

taintmonger said...

I'm about as pro-water as a person can get. I don't drink soda, alcohol, coffee, or any type of carbonation. Haven't touched any of that stuff for double-digit years, and some of it (coffee) never.

Years ago, I had a fake Mountain Dew every morning for 3 days. On day #4 I abstained, and was rewarded with a headache. I decided not to have morning sodas ever again, and quit altogether soon after.

I still don't think I get enough water -- especially compared to my wife, the sponge. Part of it is this weird condition I have where things get stuck in my throat and aren't sure whether to come up or go down. To try to manage, I don't eat and drink simultaneously. You'd be surprised how much liquid intake normally goes along with food.