Don't Blow Your H2O

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who knew drinking water could be so complicated. Should I drink tap, filtered, or bottle water? Should it be room temperature or ice cold? How much water do I need to be drinking for my body size?

I read in one place that you'll burn more calories by drinking ice cold water than lukewarm water because it takes energy for your body to warm it. Then, in another place I read that cold water hinders your body's homeostasis. Huh?

Does tea count towards your daily water quota? I mean, tea is essentially colored water, but some of it does have caffeine. And after you drink caffeine, you're supposed to drink like 8 cups of water to make up for the caffeine. But tea and soup and sugar-free drink mixes for that matter seem like good sources of water. I'm so lost.

One time when every water filter at work was empty, I filled my cup from *gasp* the kitchen sink. I made sure no one was looking and listened for footsteps like I was doing something socially unacceptable. What the?

Should I drink water at a certain time? Like with meals for instance. Some say drinking water before a meal helps you eat less. Some say drinking water before a meal interrupts the enzymes that break down food. Are you kidding me?

What about the vessel from which you drink your water? BPA is the new health swear word. Disposable bottles are an environmental no-no. Avoiding tap water could diminish your exposure to beneficial fluoride. And I remember learning in college that bottled water is not much different than tap water. So what gives?

All I know is that drinking water is healthy and required for almost every bodily function. My favorite website,, uses water consumption as one of its major dietary recommendations and even has a tracker for water intake. I know drinking water is super-important, but I don't want to get caught up in all the details. So here are my favorite easy-peasy water tips:

1. Drink water first thing when you wake up. That feeling of cool water in your throat is always so refreshing. It's a great start to the day, especially when it's so common to wake up with a bad case of dry-mouth. And it helps keep the momentum flowing for the rest of the day.

2. Keep a glass of water next to you throughout the day and drink as much as you can. Get a cute fashionable cup or bottle if it helps make water more enticing to you.

3. If you're feeling the itch to snack, have a glass of water first. I've read over and over that sometimes thirst signals are misread as hunger. Make sure you're hitting the right craving by trying water first.

4. Opt for water as your refreshment of choice most of  the time. One of the first things I learned when I started my health journey was that a huge number of my daily calories were coming from drinks. Soda, milk, juice and other drinks can add up much faster than you would think. Have a cup or two of milk per day, but stick to water whenever you can. It's calorie-free, yippee!

The best part abut water is that it's essentially free! So, drink up!

Today's Gratitude List

My inbox has been teeming with advice about daily gratitude lists from some of the health and fitness newsletters I subscribe to. Everything I've been reading lately stresses the importance of gratefulness on emotional, relational, and spiritual wellbeing. I'm taking it as a sign. Here's a list of things I'm exceptionally grateful for today:

1. A hubby who went hog-wild and got everything on his to-do list done. Aside from that, he made some truly decadent cookies. He even worked on potty training all day. Who is this guy?

2. Sunshine has been out and even makes the car nice and cozy warm.

3. Preparing for a party on Saturday has got me cleaning nooks and crannies in my home that don't get much attention. It actually feels quite refreshing.

4. Getting tickets for my mommy and me to see a play. I'm itching for a little theatrical diversion.

5. The truly uninhibited facial expressions a little two-year-old will make.

A Very Merry Un-Birthday to Me

I hosted a wine and cheese party for some of my favorite people last Saturday. I've mentioned this idea before, but I finally put it together and did it and enjoyed every minute. We had quite the spread of cheeses, a tub full of wine bottles, and a choice assortment of dried fruit, figs, olives, chocolates, crackers and nuts.

My grandma recently bestowed me with my great-grandmother's china, and I couldn't have been any giddier to showcase it and put it to good use. My great-grandma bought the set for herself while she worked outside the home for a short time. You see, my great-grandparents owned a farm and didn't have a lot of money left over after getting the necessities for frivolity. So, it just makes me feel all tingly knowing she did this one nice thing just for herself.

We also broke out our Tiffany candle holders that have been protectively wrapped up in tissue inside the familiar blue box. These were a wedding gift from almost five years ago that I am always afraid to bring/leave out. We joke that they're some of the only refined things we own, aside from the china now.

I put up a fun tinsel/streamer wall with a set of props and charades-like cards for picture-taking. With a little encouragement, almost everyone got their mugs captured. Even my husband tried his best Rockette's pose. Oh boy!

We watched a comedy collection of four Independent Films and rated Best Picture, Best Performance, and Best Original Story. We chatted. We broke out the Wii. And a few of us went out to a lounge afterwards to catch a cover band, featuring a friend of one of the girls.

I am truly honored and grateful to have such wonderful friends. Sometimes, winter seems to turn us into such impersonal, stagnant beings. We only see our neighbors if we both happen to be outside shovelling at the same time. Everyone's hibernating in their own homes, there's not a whole lot to do, and we can start to feel quite bored and lonely. This party sure broke up some of the winter doldrums and made my heart feel all warm. I think I might start a new tradition and try this again, once every year.

Putting a Little Love in My Heart

Thursday, February 17, 2011

abstract heart
Picture from Zen on Flickr

I know it's a few days late, but my heart was peeled open on Valentine's day by a quick scan through an old journal I kept. I found the pages where my husband and I became an item. And the date--May of 2003! The story isn't overly interesting, there is no plot climax, no sparkling lift-off. It's all pretty tame. But the feelings I felt after reading it tell another story.

I could practically feel the butterflies again. I was reliving some of the conversations and critical moments. I was laughing about how he always tried to surprise me with things and the uncanny ways it never worked out. I was laughing at all the people on the roster that wanted us to start "going out." I read aloud some of the sappy and funny things to my husband and we both enjoyed the good-humored reminiscing.

The next day, I woke up feeling like someone had hit the "refresh" button. There were emotions stirred up inside me that had long been forgotten. I looked at my husband like he still had some charm left:) Ha! But anyway, I felt very different. On a small high, if you will.

This got me thinking even further into using writing as cheap therapy. Writing down five things that were great about your day or nice things people said to you is rather healthy. I found some compliments in this same journal that gave me a bit of an emotional lift even this many years later, but I know I wasn't thinking about that when I wrote them down. Write them down today and who knows what sort of joy they'll bring in a year or five. I know exactly where I'll turn when I need a little boost about the feelings of my marriage.

Too Many Ideas Boun-Sing Around

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Disclaimer to those who know me: Sometimes I have so many ideas, thoughts, analyses, observations and deductions rolling around inside my head that when I talk to an actual person, I sometimes come off as sounding a bit vapid. Those thoughts overtake my conscious capacity to the point where I am completely consumed and there is no extra room for spoken word. I sometimes feel disoriented when leaving my head to engage in conversation. I am a master multi-tasker, so you can't accuse me of this shortcoming. I have, however, always been able to say it better in writing than in vocal form. Just thought you might like to know, in case you can't get much out of me today.

Cutting the Cable

Friday, February 4, 2011

I don't know what I'm going to do when we have to cancel our three-month trial of our extra cable channels. We originally got the extras specifically for FitTV (now called Fit & Health), by my request. And at around $5 for the first few months, it's soooo worth it!

Now I don't know what's going on with FitTV these days, but I seem to remember seeing a lot more workouts than there are now. Anyhow, I had to wait two full days before there were any actual workout videos playing after work. I got all suited up and into position, ready to change the channel promptly at 5:00. "FitTV is currently unavailable." Excuse me?

I was not a satisfied customer when the only channel on the whole tube that I care about was currently unavailable. My husband saw the look on my face and dutifully started dialing. The fastest they could send a technician was on the weekend. After several unsatisfactory phone transfers, the lady on the line pointed us to ExerciseTV On Demand. Oh brother!

Handfuls and handfuls of fitness videos I can turn on as I please? I don't have to do the same workout twice? Hallelujah! Those videos I bought a month ago will be collecting dust for three months because I won't waste them (and risk growing tired of them faster) until On Demand is gone. Believe you me I am going to squeeze every last drop of potential out of those channels until our time is up.

That's a Total Crock-Pot

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The crockpot has got to be the single most important diet invention ever. Especially for the working gal who only has a passing interest in "cooking." You can make anything in there. Oh yes, you can. Lasagna, enchiladas, meatballs, barbecue chicken...every.thing.

Type in "crockpot" on the SparkRecipes website and you get 200 recipes, many of them saying they're "the easiest recipe ever!" Now that's what I like to hear. Since the site is affiliated with SparkPeople, most of the recipes are going to be rather healthy.

People, this is easier than cruising to the drive-through. Dinner arrives just in time, while pizza can be expected to arrive 30-45 minutes after you're already starving. You place your chosen meat, packet of seasoning and can of cream-of-something soup in there and it cooks for you while you're busy at work.

And I don't know about you, but sometimes I miss the smells that came from my mother's kitchen. But when I walk into my house after a day of work, a simmering crockpot emits a smell that could rival a restaurant. That onion soup-drenched roast smells almost as good as mom's.