Staying hydrated.

Whenever you’re not feeling well, the first question asked, be it by friends, family or a doctor is, “Are you drinking enough water?” At least it should be. Not drinking enough water can be the cause of headaches, cramping and fatigue to name a few. Of course water is not always the cure to what ails you, but it’s a good place to start. (Remember, I’m a writer, not a doctor, people.)

So how much is enough? While there’s no easy answer, according to MayoClinic.com and The Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake “AI” for women is 2.2 liters a day (9 cups) and for men, it’s 3 liters (about 13 cups) a day. That’s a lot of liquid!

For an amount more specific to your body, I found this Hydration Calculator on About.com. According to the its calculations, I need 2.4 liters a day… pretty close to the recommended AI for women. But the problem is, lately, I have not been wanting water. It’s all I can do to get it down. My cravings for water ebb and flow like my kicks for any other food or drink. (Except for cheese. I’m always in the mood for cheese.) So I’ve come up with a few ways to help make the H20 go down:

1. Find the perfect water bottle. I’ve tried many a bottle, but I always come back to the CamelBak Better Bottle. I like to see what I’m drinking. But it’s really all about the bite valve. I can flip it up with one hand (being able to open my water bottle with one hand is key) and it makes the water that much more gulpable. Dave calls it my sippy cup. I prefer the smaller .5 liter size because it’s easier to carry places, but it comes in .75L and 1L models.

2. Add juice.  I discovered this trick when I was pregnant and bored with water and ginger ale. I’d fill up a glass with about 2/3 to 3/4 water and then fill the rest with my favorite juice (mangosteen or acai if I was feeling ritzy). For an extra kick, I use seltzer water instead of regular water. Which brings me to #3.

3. Go for some bubbly. Seltzer water is not for everyone, but it can be a great substitute for water and for soda. I could drink White Rock Pomegranate Blueberry Seltzer by the liter. Actually, I do:)

4. Tea for you. What are you steeping that bag in? Water! Tea is just as hydrating as water only you get the added bonus of antioxidants and herbal benefits. I don’t have a favorite hot tea yet (iced mint tea in the summer!), but I tend to lean toward anything that has the words “Zen” or “Calm” on the box. (Or “Energy” for midday!).

What are your tips and tricks for getting your daily dose of water?

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