Water is the single best way to hydrate your body and support optimal health.
There is no reason to be afraid of water. You don’t need to add flavour, mix in drink crystals, or whatever nonsense is being peddled in current advertising. Forget the wonderfully catchy coca-cola jingle that makes you want to grab a coke. Sorry, but it won’t satisfy your thirst.
Why is water so good for us?
Our bodies are almost 60% water by weight and water serves many functions including temperature regulation, lubrication, anabolic processes, a transporter of nutrients, and a source of minerals. Quite simply, you need to Drink Water All Day Long.
Depending on where you live in the world most tap water is safe to drink. However, it’s definitely recommended to filter your water using a Brita Filter system or something similar.
Forget about drinking bottled ‘still’ water — that only creates excess waste and production of unnecessary plastic bottles. In many cases tap water is cleaner and safer.
There are also a number of bottled water brands (like Dasani by Coke), which are simply tap water filtered using a reverse osmosis purification system. Do you really need to pay for that? Get a quality water bottle and fill it up at home to have with you.
Think about this for a moment — how much does gas for your car cost per litre? Last time I checked (here in Toronto) it was $1.33/litre. Most small to 500 ml bottles of water at a corner store will cost anywhere from $0.99 to $1.79.
Really? Water costs more than gas?
DAMN! This is capitalism at its best (or worst, depending on your perspective), selling you something that you can get free, from your tap, at home!
The next order of importance (to drinking filtered tap water) is mineral water.
Look at a brand with the lowest number of parts per million. That is the amount of mineral salts and other minerals that are found in the water. My favourite is Gerolsteiner Sparkling water from Germany. Something about the taste of the water, the mineral content and the ‘sharpness’ of the carbonation that makes this wonderful to drink.
Next up are the many dairy alternatives, e.g. almond, soy, coconut, and rice milks.
Many people enjoy these beverages by the glass or as an alternative to regular milk in their cereal for reasons like allergies, lactose intolerance, etc.
You don’t need to waste your money on these products!
My biggest issue with the dairy alternatives is that they are ‘fortified’ with ingredients that you don’t need, and, most problematic, they contain added sugar.
As soon as you get into the Silk chocolate flavours, the sugar content increases to 17 grams, or over 3 teaspoons.
Regular chocolate milk is even worse. Natrel brand milk chocolate contains a whopping 29 grams of sugar per cup! At 5 grams per teaspoon that’s six teaspoons of sugar. Healthy? No!
Can you handle the plain version? If you really need to drink these products get the plain unsweetened versions.
But guess what? The plain unsweetened versions are the hardest to find and the least stocked. I’ve seen three to four rows each of the vanilla and chocolate flavours at the grocery store, with just one row for the unsweetened, if it’s even in stock.
Take care to make sure it’s unsweetened. Plain doesn’t mean no added sugar. It only means no added flavour.
DIY Almond and Coconut Milks
You can make your own almond and coconut milks. But ask yourself first why you need it.
If you only use almond milk for making smoothies then you don’t need it. Use filtered water, add all of your other ingredients, and then add a handful (1/2 cup) of raw almonds (go organic if you can afford it) and you will get all the benefits of the almond, the added fibre, and none of the additives or preservatives found in processed almond milk.
Unsweetened AlmondBreeze Ingredients: ALMONDMILK (FILTERED WATER, ALMONDS), CALCIUM CARBONATE, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, POTASSIUM CITRATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2 AND D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E).
If you’re drinking almond milk as an alternative to water, my question to you is, ‘Why?’ What’s wrong with water? Almond milk doesn’t have the nutrient density of cow’s milk, for example. Drink water instead and grab a handful of almonds.
The Problem with Soy
The problem with the most mass-produced soy milk is that it comes from genetically modified soybeans. Most research seems to suggest that GMO soybeans could have a potential long-term negative impact on our health.
Agricultural producers like Monsanto claim GMO products are absolutely safe, but who should we believe? Yet another multinational multi-billion dollar company that has the power (like cigarette companies) to influence (read: “buy”) governments, to lie, and to mislead, all for the purpose(s) of increasing their profits?
Is this really just a conspiracy theory?
I believe the evidence points to the fact that GMO foods are not good for us and probably bad for our health in the long run. As well, the less preservatives and chemicals we consume, the healthier we will be.
The problem is trying to secure enough funding to prove that GMOs are bad, and there are very few researchers who are able to do this kind of work to disprove these multi-billion dollar companies with a team of lawyers ready to dispute any scientific evidence to the contrary.
I’ll ask again, ‘Why are you drinking soy milk?’ What are you using it for? To replace water? To have on your cereal? In a protein smoothie? Because you’re lactose intolerant or choose not to drink milk?
If you’re drinking soy milk to increase calcium intake eat more kale instead. It’s higher in more nutrients and it’s completely natural. Soy milk undergoes processing and therefore loses a lot of nutrients during production.
If you absolutely need soy milk look for an organic, non-GMO, and unsweetened version. Better yet go for homemade or unsweetened processed almond milk.
Last but not least
I totally lose my shit when I see products like this hit the market: Mio liquid water enhancers.
You don’t need artificial sweeteners in your body. They are not good for you. In fact, they stimulate your brain to crave sugar, so even though you aren’t consuming sugar in your fabulously grape Mio-water, your brain thinks it’s getting sugar.
This product is not good for you and it’s a waste of your money. Don’t drink it and don’t let your kids drink it. Teach your kids to drink water instead!
Seriously, just squeeze a slice of lemon or lime into your water. Not only does it taste amazing but the lemon aids in digestion and helps to alkalize your system.
Well! That became quite the rant. Sorry about that! 🙂 Sure made me thirsty. Think I’ll pour me a cool, tall glass of water.
Carrageenan: One of the many ingredients in store-bought soy, coconut and almond milks
How to make homemade almond milk
Health benefits of lemons and limes