I have integrated infused water into my daily lifestyle for well over a year now. However, only recently have I realized that specific recipes are used to boost your immune system, reduce stress/headaches, loose weight, aid relaxation, maintain energy, and so forth. To clarify, I did not start drinking infused water with these details in mind. My objective, as I decided to change my diet, was to have a tasty and healthy way to hydrate myself. As I am always on the go, throwing a few basic ingredients into water seemed like a manageable quick fix. This was also a good way to start my new and improved routine immediately. Like many of you, I have been brought up with the mindset to drink more water as it ‘is good for me’ but water by itself did not satisfy my taste buds. I needed an alternative to the bland, boring and tasteless liquid and to ultimately cut down on all the sugar that I was devouring. As time passed, I have been able to get quite creative with my infused water. By adding even one simple ingredient found in my fridge, I am now able to drink many bottles of water a day and can confidently say that I rarely, if ever, turn to juices or sodas. After about two weeks my skin looked better than ever which was all the encouragement I needed. Therefore it comes as no surprise that infused water has now turned into a huge health phenomenon.
I will admit juices have always been my go-to beverage. To my defense, I made sure to buy drinks that clearly stated on their labels to be ‘all natural’, containing ‘good bacteria’, with ‘Vitamins’, that are ‘made with real fruit’, etc. I took these labels as a sign that I am making a good decision that I will benefit from. May I add that these wonderfully flavored drinks also tasted spectacular! Ironically, I continued to consume them day in and day out without giving it much thought. I reasoned with myself that they were a good substitute to coffee. What I could not explain was why my face was continuing to break out. I just assumed that I was incorporating new foods with my new diet and my body was going through a shock. Nevertheless, I was quite surprised when one of the first things my personal trainer told me to do was to cut down on the juice. So I began to research what was in my juices and liquid yogurt drinks. One google search away, I discovered that some of my selections contained more sugar in merely two juice boxes then the daily recommended intake of sugar. I am still trying to process all of that information.
After I gave up my love affair with juice, I turned to the ever so popular Glaceau Vitamin Water. Yes, I was spending more money but I was drinking liquids that had been enhanced for my well-being right? After another session at the gym, my trainer was once again reminding me to fill up on more water. I took the opportunity to boast, as I was proud to say I made the switch vitamin water. He smiled and advised me to look up what I was now vouching for. I may or may not have rolled my eyes at that point. What could possibly make vitamin water unhealthy? Instantly I pulled out my phone and began to read. I saw an article on Fitday.com which brought up some surprising points: “The sweetener, crystalline fructose … concerns are raised about its propensity to play a role in causing chemically produced liver damage… The presence of citric acid also may be a problem, as citric acid is known to wear down your tooth enamel…” and if that is not enough the article declares that: “a 20-ounce bottle of this drink [Glaceau Vitamin Water] already contains 8 teaspoons of sugar…Just for comparison purposes, a 20 ounce bottle of Coca Cola has 16 teaspoons of sugar in the same serving” (2013). I was in utter shock. How can we even compare water to coke? To read that so much sugar is in my healthy drink is alarming to say the least. In addition, mayoclinic.org’s article on ‘Nutrition and Healthy Eating’ confirms that: “you won’t likely benefit from drinking vitamin water, which is water that’s been fortified with nutrients, such as vitamins and electrolytes. Some types of vitamin water also have flavorings, caffeine and sweeteners” (2014). It also does not help that beverage aisles in our food and convenience stores are now filled with flavored waters. To be honest, I have tried many of them too. From packets you can slip into your water bottle to squirting highly concentrated chemicals into your glass, the possibilities to enhance your drinks are only increasing. Commercial brands are marketing in such a clever way so it is important to cautiously read the entire label so you are aware of what you are consuming.
It is important to note that these juice/water alternatives are not the same thing as infused water. Those flavored waters contain plenty of sugar, preservatives and even food coloring… to say the least. Whereas infused waters are done with natural ingredients such as fruit, flowers, veggies and fresh herbs. Plus, many infused waters are still sweet enough to quench your sweet tooth cravings so give them a try before reaching for your own vitamin water. It is true that infused waters may take a bit of prep time but once you settle on two or three recipes, you will get into the groove of things and be set for a few weeks. Want to start immediately? I can almost guarantee you have a lemon in your fridge. So grab one and squeeze a few drops into a bottle of water. Voila! It is that easy! The taste is instant and huffingtonpost.com confirms that lemons are: “a great source of calcium, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium — minerals and antioxidants that improve the appearance and condition of our hair, skin and nails” (2013). Don’t have any lemons? My favorite go-to ingredient is cucumbers. Cut a few slices and slip it into a pitcher or container of water. The taste is sensational and this is a great alternative to assist you in accomplishing your daily amount of essential vitamins and nutrients.
So how much fruit, veggies, or herbs do you put into your jar or container? There are hundreds of recipes online but these are your little creations so put in as much or as little as you would like. Do not fret about the ratios; just be aware that the more you put in the more potent the taste. Worse case scenario you can add more water because the flavor is too strong. Ever wonder how much water you should be drinking on a daily basis? Dr. Leigh Vinocur is a board certified emergency physician and national spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians and she offers up her advice: “an easy way to gauge how well-hydrated we are is to simply look at our urine. It should be fairly clear, and if it is very dark yellow, that’s sign we may need to drink more water” (2011). Use your judgment, have fun and experiment to see what tickles your taste buds. Trust me you will feel like you are doing something good for your body and mind. Plus, I have found that infused water is aesthetically pleasing to look at and you can drink it feeling guilt free.
Copyright © 2014 Olivia Gudaniec