Part 2: The Magic of Lemon and Honey in Water

As promised, I wanted to write about the myriad of reasons why warm water with lemon and honey is so good for you — especially in the morning when you first wake up.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about feeling really crummy and how hot water with lemon and honey helped me get through each day, you can read more about how this concoction helps a cold here: https://momloveswater.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/oh-honey-thanks-for-the-honey-with-lemon-in-hot-water/ This soothing drink made me feel so cozy and good that I’ve continued to drink it. So, I’m happy to know that this mixture’s go way beyond helping the common cold.

Here are 10 other reasons to drink this yummy medicinal combination:

  1. Stimulates Digestive System: Warm water with lemon and honey in the morning simply stimulates the digestive system and gets things moving.
  2. Improves Oral Health: The acidic nature of lemon combined with the innate properties of honey and water can help beat bad breath almost instantly. The lemon cleanses the mouth, activating your salivary glands and killing offensive bacteria. When added to honey and water, it helps wash down bacteria and degraded food that is usually present in your mouth and throat early in the morning.
  3. Helps The Waistline: Apart from its properties of cleansing the stomach, lemon contains a type of fiber called pectin, that helps make you feel full and keeps cravings at bay. Warm water, honey and lemon  also creates a more alkaline atmosphere in your stomach helping  you lose weight faster.
  4. Cleanses the Colon: A build-up of toxins in the stomach often makes us feel bloated. Even worse than this feeling, this same build-up (consisting of undigested food, intestinal cells and dead bacteria) often coats the inner lining of our stomach and is thought to lead to diseases. By drinking Lemon and honey in warm water the walls of the intestine – especially the colon – get stimulated, which leads to the expulsion of this build-up. A cleansed colon functions much better, thereby, helping your body absorb nutrients, get rid of toxins and stay hydrated.
  5. Flushes Out Toxins And Boosts Immune System:  The components of lemon stimulate your liver to produce more bile and help your digestive system by flushing out unwanted toxins. Honey acts as an antibacterial and helps beat any infections that might be present in your body.
  6. Improves Energy And Mood: Water helps clear your mind by providing fresh blood to your brain, lemon activates negatively charged enzymes in your stomach and improves digestion, and honey acts as an instant energy booster. What’s more, the scent of lemon is known to be a natural relaxant and can help uplift your mood.
  7. Cleanses Urinary Tract: Honey is a potent antibacterial agent, that has the capability to beat a number of common infections. When mixed with lemon and water, two agents that act as excellent diuretics, this concoction is the best way to cleanse your urinary tract. This mixture is especially good for women who suffer from frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) as it will keep recurrent infections at bay.
  8. Aids in Clearer Skin: As said above, lemon helps purify your blood which also helps in the production of new blood cells which act as potent cleaning agents. Water and honey offer unique restorative, antibacterial and collagen boosting properties to your skin as well.
  9. Hydrates Entire Lymphatic System: Research says that a dehydrated lymphatic system is a leading causes of illness. Lack of water and essential fluids in the lymphatic system can make you feel sluggish and fatigued, lead to constipation, disturbed sleep, high or low blood pressure, stress and an all-round lack in mental function. The benefit of drinking this mixture early in the morning is that it helps hydrate your entire lymphatic system, which not only helps all of the above symptoms but also improves immunity.
  10. Tastes Delicious: This doesn’t need any explanation — just give it a try! Use warm (not hot) water, add the juice of around half a lemon and one teaspoon of honey, mix well and drink.
Honey and Lemon are two Powerful Ingredients. Image from: http://www.babydigezt.com
Honey and Lemon are two Powerful Ingredients. Image from: http://www.babydigezt.com

Although this drink will always provide some benefit, if you drink warm water with lemon and honey first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, you will reap much more. Additionally, for full benefit, you shouldn’t drink coffee or tea for at least one hour after (I’m still working on my timing and I definitely haven’t worked up to waiting an hour to drink my morning cup of java).

Thanks to The Health Site for helping me explain the content on my list http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/why-drinking-water-early-in-the-morning-good-for-health-p214/

Oh Honey, Thanks For the Honey (with lemon in hot water)

Last week I was feeling really run down with a cold. Feeling sick is never fun but it feels especially awful for a mom (at least it does for me). When I’m sick, I really just want to revert to being a child and have someone take care of me. However, as an adult and especially as a parent, the harsh reality is that life for the most part must go on. There are jobs to do, lunches to pack and seemingly constant sibling bickering and quarrels to manage.  And so sick or not, last week I had to pick myself up out of bed and sniffle through the day. I made breakfasts, packed lunches and counted down the minutes until I could drop my kids off at school and return to bed (albeit with my computer in an attempt to get the minimum amount of work done).

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This is exactly how I felt last night. Thanks http://www.beautyandgroomingtips.com for the image
I had a hard “poor me” kind of week and although there were few redeeming things about it, one of the small things that got me through was the hot honey lemon water that my dear husband had ready for me each morning. This was his small way of saying sorry that you’re sick, I wish I could help out more but I really need to leave for work now.  And although I irrationally loathed him at the time for walking out the door, I loved my cozy mug of soothing goodness so much that I managed to move on.

Such a simple and soothing remedy! Hot Water with honey and lemon. Comfort in a cup.

Since cold and flu season is officially upon us, I wanted to share this simple yet very effective remedy. Chances are you’re already quite familiar with it, either from your grandparents or parents recommending it through the years or because you’ve actually tried it and loved it as much as I do. The soothing remedies of hot water with honey and lemon are real, not just an old wives’ tale. According to the Mayo Clinic, this remedy may help reduce the soreness and irritation of a sore throat, and be an effective remedy for cough. Last week, my throat felt more soothed with each sip, and unlike medicine, water with honey and lemon is something you can drink all day long and you absolutely should to stay hydrated. The other awesome benefit for me was the soothing aromatherapy that came with it. To help clear my congestion, I cupped my hands around the top of the steaming mug and inhaled the goodness.

Not to snub lemon but honey really is an amazing ingredient. It has antioxidant and antimicrobial effects and sweetness that stimulates salivation which releases mucus in the airways and naturally relieves coughing.  But don’t settle for just any honey — opt for local, raw honey whenever possible. Most of the honey sold in stores has been heated and pasteurized, which destroys many of the enzymes and beneficial compounds that make raw honey so nutritious. Raw honey is left in its natural state and therefore contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds. And, you have probably heard some of the research around the benefits of “local” honey — there is evidence that honey obtained as close as possible to where you live, may help build an immunity to some seasonal allergies. I always try to buy my raw honey at my local farmer’s market, direct from the source.

Yummy raw honey. So good for so many things!

Boil a cup of water, then stir in 2 tbsp. of honey. Squeeze a small amount of fresh lemon juice in the mixture to taste. Add more lemon juice, honey, or hot water to taste. Drink and let the mixture soothe your throat, cut mucus and suppress your cough.

I’m on such a water with honey and lemon kick that I’ve continued to drink it in the morning even though I’m feeling great again. Lucky for me, there are many other reasons that this mixture is good for your health and next week I’ll write about my favorites.

Paddle Board Yoga — I Absolutely Love It!

Two weeks ago I tried my first  Paddle Board Yoga class and absolutely loved it! Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga, also known as waterborne yoga is yoga taught on the water on floating boards. Fun, right? Well, I do love yoga but between the thought of exercising in a bathing suit and being on a surf board surrounded by water, I wasn’t so sure. Lucky for me, I live in San Francisco, where the weather is mild and the water is freezing, so when I called to ask what I should wear to class I was told that a bathing suit was in fact NOT appropriate and that I should wear my regular yoga gear; I liked SUP Yoga more already!

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to my class in Sausalito was beautiful and peaceful — it’s rare that I’m driving without my kids in the back so the silence combined with the gorgeous day and glistening water of the bay had me savoring every minute. As I parked my car, the reality of trying something new, that would likely be pretty challenging, had me feeling a bit apprehensive. I still needed to embrace my impending reality of standing on a surfboard surrounded by water.

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge — The No U Turn sign captured exactly how I was feeling 🙂

While I waited for class to begin I mingled with a few other students and felt a bit better as I noted that several of us were first-timers. The instructor kicked-off class and successfully eased us into the experience, taking the time to explain the equipment and letting us warm up by paddling around the Bay. Once I was on the board and paddling in the Bay, I began to relax and feel centered — the magic of exercising while in harmony with the sea and sun was already exhilarating.

As the yoga portion of the class began I quickly realized how even the simplist yoga postures take on an added intensity on the board.  The board on the water really challenges your balance, it’s constantly wobbly and taps into different muscle groups than traditional mat yoga. Moving out of one pose and into another is also more challenging — just staying still is challenging. While it was hard to adapt to the continuous motion and instability created by weight shifts on the board and movement of the water, this is also what allowed me to focus in a much deeper way than traditional yoga where my mind constantly wanders. Your entire being is switched on every minute while practicing yoga techniques on a board.  Every movement must be done with more intent and concentration. If you miscalculate your center you’re not only likely to fall out of a pose but chances are you will land in the water (which happened to me!).

SUP Yoga. Image courtesy of On Board SUP in Sausalito, CA
SUP Yoga. Image courtesy of On Board SUP in Sausalito, CA

Doing SUP yoga in the Pacific waters of Northern California has many advantages beyond the weather and invitation to wear “regular yoga gear”. The audience in the water consists of boisterous sea lions and the sky is full of glorious birds. During the final part of class, Savasana, I laid back, listened to the symphony of sea lions, birds and rippling water and watched the clouds roll by. The breathtaking beauty of it all literally soothed my soul.

Savasana
ahhhh Savasana SUP style

The complete experience gave me an adrenalin rush — like a roller coaster ride for a yoga mom 🙂 My last comparable experience to this “first” was learning how to snowboard 15 years ago. I fell trying both activities but with both I also experienced a rare drive where my body took control of my mind, my face was beaming and I couldn’t get up fast enough to try again. With both activities, the only remedy for a fall is to refocus and then get back on board and try again. Many people would see these two sports as on completely different ends of the spectrum, however what resonates for me, with these glorious outdoor activities, is being surrounded by beauty and nature and the requirement of both to be centered and focussed. Be it in the Sierras or the San Francisco Bay, I am a girl who loves the open air and the simple pleasures of being surrounded by the beauty of nature. To exercise in a gym feels like work to me but to be outside automatically brings an element of fun and a sense of spirituality.

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Feeling awesome after class!

Sup Yoga is one of the coolest outdoor activities I have ever done!  Even for non-yoga folks, I highly recommend trying it. It’s an amazing full-body workout (in the middle of paradise) that leaves you feeling refreshed and exhilarated. I will certainly be trying it again soon and next time I will remember to bring a change of clothes — “regular yoga gear” may provide more coverage than a bathing suit but it doesn’t mean that you’ll stay dry.

Minerals and Electrolytes – What Are They and How to Get Enough

Most of us are somewhat familiar with electrolytes and know about things like Gatorade to replenish but what I’m going to talk about goes way beyond drinking a sports drink after heavy exercise. While I hold strong that water is the most essential nutrient for the body, I know that water is not the only supplement our bodies crave. Our bodies are basically made up of the same things that make up the earth, so beyond water we need to think about the soil and thus what’s in (or supposed to be in) the earth’s soil. Minerals. Beyond water (or better yet, with our water) our bodies need replenishment of minerals.

I’ve always found the difference between electrolytes and minerals somewhat confusing. Some experts say it’s all the same, or is at least converted within the body to be all the same but I didn’t entirely get it. One of my goals in writing this week’s blog is to gain a better understanding for myself of the similarities and differences (and hopefully be able to convey this new understanding in a very articulate way to you)

Trace Minerals

There are two types of minerals your body needs to stay healthy: major and trace minerals. As their names suggest, your body needs large amounts of major minerals and only very small amounts of trace minerals for normal function. Major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Trace minerals are a group of minerals that the body needs in very small amounts. Types of trace minerals include iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, bromine, and selenium. Both major and trace minerals are vital for all body functions and processes. Without minerals our bodies would not be able to build new tissue, flex and contract muscles, transmit nerve impulses, clot blood, maintain a neutral pH and keep our heart beating.

minerals

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals in your body have an electric charge known as ions. They are in all of our body fluids, tissues and cells. Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes helps the body’s blood chemistry, muscle action and other processes. Electrolytes are primarily composed of the minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, phosphates and sulfates. They are essential because they are used by our cells to create and carry voltages across cell membranes and they’re a big player in the communication between our cells. You get them from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink.

Electrolytes2

Proper hydration, mineral and electrolyte status are vitally important aspects of our health. Traditionally, eating fresh grains, fruits, and vegetables grown in nutrient-rich soil, was the primary supply for a full spectrum of minerals. However, in today’s world, naturally occurring, nutrient-rich soil is becoming increasingly rare and our intake of all essential elements is at risk of being inadequate. Modern living, with its dependency on processed foods, increased consumption of purified and/or distilled water, and depleted soil has culminated in a distinct drop in meeting our mineral needs. Even though I try to eat a very healthy diet that is full of unprocessed and organic foods, I still take an active role in restoring my mineral balance with dietary supplements and occasional beverages that help me meet my electrolyte requirements. Here are some of the things I incorporate into my daily life to help meet my mineral and electrolyte needs:

1. Coconut Water: If I’m sick or doing intense cardio training (or otherwise feeling dehydrated), I always turn to coconut water. Coconut water restores electrolytes, carbohydrates and other nutrients — it even packs  about the same amount of potassium as a banana.

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Coconut water, full of electrolytes and other nutrients, has earned the reputation as nature’s sports drink

 

2. High quality Sea Salt: High quality seal salt like the one I use pictured below, Celtic Sea Salt, contains electrolytes and trace minerals. Each morning, I prepare a pitcher of water for my family to fill their glasses and water containers with and leave it on the counter. In this water I always put 3-4 pinches of sea salt. I also use this salt for cooking and baking.

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High quality and properly harvested Celtic Sea Salt contains electrolytes and trace minerals

 

3. Trace Mineral Drops: I take a daily dose of high quality trace mineral drops, like the one pictured below. I know I get my major minerals through my diet and other supplementation but I find I need to be more intentional about getting enough trace minerals so I supplement with this regularly.

tmr002-trace-minerals-research-trace-mineral-drops-4ozliquid
Trace mineral drops help me ensure I’m getting enough “minor” minerals too

 4. Epsom Salt: This is my favorite! My doctor told me that our bodies absorb magnesium simply by soaking in Epsom Salts — what could possibly be a better excuse than that to take a relaxing bath? I also put Epsom Salts into my kids’ bath a few times each week.

Dr. Teals
The best way I can think of to get my magnesium!

 

Please check back next week, I’ll be taking things in another direction and blogging about Paddle Board Yoga……something I just tried for the first time. Since it takes place in the water I figured I could tie it in to MomLovesWater 🙂

How Much Water Do I Need and What Really Counts?

Water is our body’s main component and makes up about 60 percent of our body weight. It’s an essential part of our health since every system in our body depends on it. We should all want to keep our body happy and functioning optimally, and drinking enough water seems like a pretty easy way to make a big impact. But how much is enough? It seems like water intake recommendations change as often as the seasons, as does the list of what actually counts toward the ounces. There is no magic formula but there are general guidelines that should help us stay on track, especially when considered in conjunction with individual lifestyles.

how much H2O do you need? Image courtesy of http://www.cleanwateraction.org

The ‘eight glasses of water a day’ guideline that’s ingrained in my head (and most likely yours), is no longer the right rule of thumb. The most recent report by The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (released 2/11/14) includes total water general recommendations for women of approximately 11.5 8-ounce glasses (91 ounces or 2.7 liters), and men approximately 15.5 8-ounce glasses (125 ounces daily or 3.7 liters ).

The truth is…..You need more than 8 cups of water each day photo courtesy of: Rita Maas

These are “general” recommendations for a reason. It should go without saying that water needs depend on many individual factors, including health, age, weight, activity-level, climate and pregnancy / breast-feeding. The following information is probably obvious and really just a matter of common sense:

  • Exercise – If you engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups (400 to 600 millilitres) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour requires more fluid intake.
  • Climate / Environment – Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves and require additional hydration.
  • Illnesses – When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you need to drink more water to replenish. 
  • Pregnancy & breast-feeding – Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink approximately 13 cups (3 liters or 101 ounces) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 16 cups (3.8 liters or 128 ounces) of fluids a day.

So what exactly counts toward the optimal intake number? It’s also ingrained in my head that beverages like coffee clearly do not count because caffeine is dehydrating, however this is no longer the case. For the most part, current recommendations say that all fluids count toward your daily “water total”. Beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water, and even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages (i.e. coffee) can contribute, though these beverages should not make up a major portion of your total fluid intake.

cofee wine large
Even wine and coffee contribute to your total water intake Photo courtesy of: Rob Qld/Flickr

And, not only does just about any fluid count, food counts too! On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are 90 percent or more water by weight. For more on this see my earlier blog post ‘Keeping My Kids Hydrated with Water-Packed Foods‘ I’m a big fan of hydration through healthy foods, especially for those that have a hard time meeting the recommendations through fluids alone.

eatyourwaterjul200_0
Hydrating foods are an awesome way to “drink” your water Image by Mark Laita (courtesy of Runner’s World)

I wouldn’t run out and buy a fancy water tracker just yet, with almost all fluids counting toward the total, along with the water content found in food, the vast majority of healthy people will adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. However. it’s always beneficial to pay attention to your intake and be aware and ready to compensate for changes in your routine or environment that will have your body wanting more. And although the new guidelines allow for lots of creativity in meeting your water intake, remember that basic H2O is still your best bet because it’s the most rehydrating, readily available and inexpensive.

Personally I think gadgets like this Intelligent Water Bottle are a waste of money but if you like gadgets and think it will help you drink more then give it a try
 Check back next week, I’ll be blogging about trace minerals and electrolytes.

What’s On Tap? It’s Hetch Hetchy For Me!

Hetch Hetchy might sound like the latest trendy micro brew but it’s actually San Francisco’s delicious tap water that comes from the pristine snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If this has you thinking about California’s drought, don’t worry this is a whole other blog post that I will get to in the future but for now I’m sticking with the positive, which is lucky for me, and everyone else in San Francisco, I have access to incredible tap water both at home and while I’m out and about in the city thanks to San Francisco’s myriad of water filling stations.  According to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Hetch Hetchy water is quality tested over 100,000 times a year, and goes straight to the tap. Tap water is also highly regulated by the EPA and across state and local water quality standards. Seriously, why would anyone in San Francisco buy bottled water, which is often nowhere near as “clean” as what comes from our tap?

Sunset in Hetch Hetchy
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir at Sunset Image courtesy of Justin Gaerlan https://www.flickr.com/photos/jcue786/

San Francisco’s “Drink Tap Program” began installing water filling stations throughout the city in 2010 and for the past four years I haven’t left home without a reusable canteen! Refilling stations can be found all over the city and beyond, from the Marina Green and Golden Gate Park to UCSF Medical Center and San Francisco International Airport. Not only do refilling stations provide access to free and delicious water but they encourage conserving our natural resources and reduce waste from single-use plastic water bottles.

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Globaltap Water filling station at the San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco may have been the pioneer of a public water filling station initiative, however filling stations are not unique to this city. Many other cities, including Boston and Wahington DC, have “Tap It” initiatives underway and many other private and public institutions have rolled out their own Water Filling Station Programs. Filling stations are especially on the rise and popular at colleges and universities where the average student spends hundreds of dollars each year purchasing bottled water, and more than 38 million of those plastic bottles end up in landfills annually, according to San Francisco State’s Office of Sustainability. Hopefully if you’re reading this, you live in a place where filling stations exist or are planned for the near future. If not, I urge you to still consider bringing your own container with you wherever you go, water fountains are a little awkward but still work to refill and many restaurants and cafes have help yourself filtered water available. Chances are that the water you fill your own container with will be as good or better for you than what you can buy so save some money and do something great for the environment too! 

If you’re not convinced, check out TapIt’s Infographic below, showing 10 reasons why you should drink tap water. A picture is worth a thousand words.

10 Reasons To Drink Tap-mini2
10 reasons to drink tap water, courtesy of Tap It http://www.tapitwater.com/blog/drinking-water/

Please check back next week, I’ll be blogging about how much water you should really be drinking each day and what really counts toward your intake.

Keeping My Family’s Reusable Water Bottles Clean and Yucky Free

I’m on a quest to be as eco-friendly as possible and as I discussed last week, keeping my family hydrated is always top of mind. So, it’s a given that refillable water bottles are a part of our everyday lives. However, as awesome as our reusable bottles are, it’s no secret that they’re also a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. As I work hard to keep my family as well nourished as possible, I’ve become aware of not only the healthful foods I’m intintionally giving them but also the unintentional yucky “germs” that sneak in when I take certain shortcuts….like just giving bottles a quick rinse. Thus, part of my routine involves keeping our stash of refillable bottles in spit spot shape. In this week’s blog post I’m sharing a small bit about what causes bacteria and details on my method to prevent it.

First, a quick blurb about what causes bacteria in water bottles.  According to Wikipedia, (http://bit.ly/1oltrGA) reusing bottles could develop bacteria in the bottle between uses. Mouth contact to the bottle openings can easily transfer bacteria to the water content which can subsequently contaminate both bottle and water. Contamination will cause bacterial and fungal growth in the water while kept in storage; if the user cleans the bottle very well before reuse, the risk is much less.

So how can you keep your water bottles clean and free of contamination? Here’s what I do:

1.) I have a designated water-only bottle for each member of my family. Occasionally I offer other beverages to take on-the-go, such as milk, but I always use a different canteen for this (the old water bottles become designated for other beverages). There are mixed thoughts on plastic bottles and leaching so to be on the safe side I always go with stainless steel or glass and prefer ones with a flip-up or pop-up spout rather than a threaded mouthpiece.

2.) I wash each bottle at the end of the day with a bottle brush and warm, soapy water. A bottle brush works wonders at getting out anything that might be “growing” on the sides. If your bottle has a straw, use a straw brush to quickly get inside (especially the portion that touches your mouth). For bottle and straw brushes, you don’t need anything fancy and you should replace them about as often as a sponge so I go for whatever has the best price point (Amazon and Target both have plenty of options). Some people put their bottles in the dishwasher but I prefer the old fashioned way and always hand wash my bottles, I find it preserves any decals that are on the stainless steel bottles and gets the bottles just as clean (especially if very hot water is used). On a separate note, it’s also important to keep the bottle brushes clean and bacteria-free and for this I put the brushes in the dishwasher at least once each week.

washing bottle
I always start with hot water and dish soap

3.) After washing the bottles, I leave them (and their parts) in a place where they can get plenty of air to dry overnight — don’t ever put the top back on a damp water bottle and put it in the cabinet for future use. This is the ultimate invitation to bacteria! For drying, I use the Boon Grass Countertop Bottle Drying Rack (http://amzn.to/1mzINM8), it keeps bottles raised and sanitary and provides great circulation for faster drying  OXO also makes a great drying rack (http://amzn.to/1vo0zCL)

boon rack
I love my Boon Drying Rack for keeping bottles ventilated while drying

4.) Approximately once per week I give the bottles a deeper clean. I put around one tablespoon of baking soda in the bottle, fill it with hot water and cup my hand over the top to give it a quick shake. Meanwhile, I put another few tablespoons in a glass bowl, fill it with hot water and add all the bottle components for their own “bath” (lids, straws etc). After a few hours of soaking time, I rinse the bottles and parts thouroughly, being careful to get rid of any baking soda residue.  White Vinegar also works well for a deeper clean and when I’m mistakingly out of baking soda this is my go to. With vinegar, I add around a 1/4 cup, fill the rest of the way with water and let the bottles stand this way overnight.

5.) And, finally my favorite step! After my bottles are clean and dry, I love to add a few drops of food-grade lemon or orange essential oil to the bottom before filling with water. Essential oils are known for their antibacterial properties and by just adding a few drops of a citrus oil, I get a nice refreshing hint of taste along with some great aromatherapy all day!

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essential oils, my last step to keeping reusable bottles fresh

Please come back and visit next week, I’ll be writing about the water bottle refilling stations that are popping up EVERYWHERE (at least all over San Francisco).

 

 

Keeping My Kids Hydrated with Water-Packed Foods

My older daughter Cypress had to be taken to the emergency room last year with severe neck pain and a host of other symptoms. She was just over 5 at the time. Luckily, it turned out to be just a scare and basically “nothing”, however the doctor told me that her symptoms could have been caused in part by dehydration. I was shocked by this……I thought to myself “I’m a good mom”, I send her to school everyday with a full water bottle, I always have water with me, how could this be? But as my initial defensiveness subsided and I began to review the previous few weeks in my head, I realized there were many days that the water bottle I packed for school came back home full and that although I offered water throughout the day there really was no guarantee that she was drinking enough. So, I did what any parent would do and began monitoring her water intake much more closely and really tried to encourage her to drink more, explaining in layman’s terms why water is so important for our bodies. Her water intake definitely improved but I was still feeling like she wasn’t drinking enough.

I decided that I needed to get more creative and tried a range of things. I don’t generally allow juice, however I found if I put a small splash of some sort of organic juice (apple, blueberry, grape) in her water, she did tend to drink more. I also discovered that she liked tea and in the morning and evening began making various teas like hibiscus, berry and mint, sweetened with just a tiny drop of stevia. However, one of my favorite ways that I began to “sneak” water into her was by packing a lunch full of hydrating foods. Hydrating through foods has been a change that has stuck for our entire family, becoming a healthy habit that I no longer need to try to remember to do.

Her lunch today included half of a turkey sandwich, along with a side of fruits and veggies that all toll added up to more than 1 cup of water!

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I fill the lunchbox with as many hydrating foods as possible

It’s a fact, eating foods, such as cucumbers or strawberries, contribute to your overall fluid intake and help you stay hydrated. And, there are so many water-packed foods that I can constantly rotate to keep lunch interesting. What’s more, her lunches are filled with a lot more nutrition. There’s Vitamin C in everything pictured, not to mention the lycopene in watermelon and peppers, fiber in cucumbers, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta carotene and folic acid in red pepper and my favorite….celery, which contains the highest percent of water along with the longest list of nutrients, including vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and plenty essential amino acids.

And, if extra hydration and nutrition isn’t enough to convince you, adults may be interested to learn that research shows that eating foods that are full of water will also help keep you satisfied on fewer calories.

Here’s a table of some of my lunchbox favorites, including water content percent and some of the added nutritional benefits of each food:

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A table of some of my lunchbox favorites along with some of their other benefits

And for those of you that need even more evidence in order to start integrating hydrating foods into your diet, I will leave you with this……A 2009 study at the University of Aberdeen Medical School found that the combination of salts, minerals and natural sugars in some fruits and vegetables can actually hydrate people more effectively than water or even sports drinks. Watermelon was on top of the list, thanks to its 92 percent water content and essential rehydration salts calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.