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5 Refreshing Ways to Stay Hydrated

by Michele on June 2, 2014

With warmer weather settling in for the foreseeable future, this is a friendly reminder to drink (water :) ) every day. It may seem silly to remind people to drink; but there are a variety of factors which may affect our level of hydration.

Many older folks live alone and dehydration can sneak up one them.  As we age, our thirst sense becomes less acute.  Since dehydration can cause a whole slew of problems including disorientation and muddled thought processes, especially those people living alone need to drink even when they aren’t feeling thirsty. Children go full tilt – often not pausing for hydration unless we remind them.  Given that by the time a child feels thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated, keeping cold and tempting beverages easily accessible is important.  Lastly, all of us, regardless of age, are impacted by temperature, humidity and activity level.

How much water do you need?

We lose water daily through perspiration, urination, bowel movements and simply breathing. Extremely hot weather, illness and food choices can contribute to the need for increased water intake as well.   According the the Institute of Medicine, adequate water intake for men is roughly 13 cups of liquid per day.  Women need approximately 9 cups and children and teens should drink between 6 and 8 cups daily.

Hopefully we all know by now that replacing water with sweet beverages like soda, sweet tea, the delicious, yet diet busting coffee drinks from places like Starbucks  and even juice in large quantities can create problems related to diabetes and obesity.  Yet, sipping on plain old water all day can almost seem like a punishment when we watch those around us enjoying their Big Gulps and iced caramel macchaitos.

What are some healthy hydration options?

Here are a few healthier options to keep you sipping – without the guilt or added pounds.

infuser water bottleUSE INFUSER BOTTLES – There used to be a product on the market called Fruit Water.  Sugar free, carbonation free and sweetener free, a bottle of Fruit water offered refreshing hydration with just a hint of fruit flavor.  Ironically, once the flavored water craze really took off, it disappeared from the shelves and was replaced by a similar but yuckily sweet option.  Infuser bottles offer a way to make your own original Fruit Water (and for far less than $1.50 per bottle).  Add fruit, vegetables, herbs and fresh even ginger.  Lemons and ginger are a great combo – as are cucumbers and mint.

FREEZE FRUIT IN ICE CUBES….pretty self explanatory.

SPARKLING WATER (sodium free) – If you’re a soda addict, this is a great option. All of the bubbles – none of the guilt!   I was able to reduce my husband’s Coke intake significantly with this stuff.  La Croix carries a line of these waters in flavors such as berry, grapefruit, lemon, lime, pear/peach and more.  lacroix

4. ICED COFFEE OR TEA – Leave the sugar and cream out, and you’re ready to go.  There are more herbal and flavored teas on the grocery store shelves than I care to count.  Grab a big old jar, toss in a few tea bags, and sit that puppy in the sun while you’re at work.  When you get home, you’ll have enough tea to share with everyone. If you’re concerned about the whole caffeine causing dehydration thing, don’t be.  PLOS one indicates that there is no evidence that moderate coffee or tea intake contributes to dehydration – so you’re not negating the benefits of additional water intake.

5. SPARKLING WATER AND FRUIT JUICE CONCENTRATE – if you really, really, need something with a little sweetness, try sparkling water with a couple tablespoons of no sugar added fruit juice concentrate.  You can significantly reduce the sugar content compared with straight fruit juice and add some refreshing carbonation as well.  Think of it as your own soda machine without all the scary, chemically soda concentrates that accompany soda machines these days.

What about all the new water enhancers on the market?  While I haven’t looked at the ingredients in each brand, Mio, the originator of this craze, has less than 2% natural flavors.  It also contains citric acid, propylene glycol, malic acid, sucralose, acesulfame potassium…..and the list goes on.

Admittedly, it can take a while to re-train our taste buds and our brains to find more subtle, natural options more appealing than the others, but your waist line and your body will thank you.

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Cool Sculpting – Find that Hidden 6-Pack

by Michele on May 23, 2014

fat cellsSo, as a woman – even a fairly self-confident one, I saw a news report the other day that I have to admit caught my attention.  Watching your body age and finding it ever more difficult to maintain that girlish figure isn’t for the weak or the weary.  As most of us know, losing weight can be more and more challenging as our hormones inch closer to menopause.

A recently FDA-approved procedure dubbed “Coolsculpting”  caught my eye.  Essentially, in a non-invasive procedure, fat cells are frozen.  Once they hit the magic temperature, they essentially wither, are absorbed by the body and discarded, leaving fewer fat cells to plump that belly. (I’m imagining the way frozen raspberries collapse  when brought to room temperature.)

How did the researchers get started on this fat-zapping path?  They noticed that people who ate a lot of Popsicles as children developed dimples.  The dimples, apparently, were created by popsicle-induced frozen cheek cells being discarded and leaving a divot in those chubby little cheeks…..I kid you not.

The Coolsculpting website claims the procedure is, “… a clinically proven, FDA-cleared, totally non-surgical treatment without downtime.”  Now, I’d like to think I’d never resort to such measures, but if the little poonch on my belly – cleverly disguising what I’m SURE is a 6-pack beneath – continues to grow as I grow older, Coolsculpting is, to date, the only fat-reduction procedure I’d consider.

The news piece I saw explains three procedures are typically necessary to have the best results.  Three visits may seem like a lot, but after seeing video footage of liposuction procedures and the absolute violence with which that fat-sucking wand is shoved around one’s abdominal area, a trio of easy-peasy fat-chilling visits sounds like the way to go.  OR….maybe spending a few weekends with popsicles strapped to my belly will work!

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