by Nicole McArthur, DVM
I love water, but that wasn't always the case.
Early in my teens, I was introduced to Diet Coke. I drank it with breakfast, lunch and dinner. I drank it between meals. Pretty much a 6 pack a day habit. If I was thirsty, I opened a nice cold can of Diet Coke. If I was tired (which was often), Diet Coke to the rescue! Headache? Pound another DC! Never having a clue that perhaps I was dehydrated, I just drank more of that brown liquidy goodness. I am pretty sure my blood chemistry closely resembled the secret recipe of Diet Coke...
When I was pregnant with my second child, I noticed I was thirsty. Really thirsty. And no, I did not have gestational diabetes. So I started drinking water and was amazed by the fact that I felt better. Despite the presence of an obligate parasite growing inside me, my body felt more alert and my brain more clear. I bought a Nalgene bottle so I didn't have to keep refilling the little plastic cup that came with the water dispenser at work. While my body felt better, my bladder was asking for overtime pay.
My my water habit continued long after the birth of my daughter. And I can't believe I didn't see it before... I spent my teens and 20s in a state of perpetual dehydration. Despite calculating fluid requirements for my patients, I never considered it for myself. Like our animal patients, we lose water through breathing, perspiration, urination and bowel movements. In order for our bodies to function properly, we must replenish our water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water (i.e. not soda. Or in my husband's case, beer).
The amount of water we require per day depends on many factors. The Mayo Clinic outlines the following:
I am proud to say that I have totally eliminated Diet Coke from my life. I love my morning coffee and my evening glass(es) of red wine. But in between, you can find me chugging water from my giant glass jar. For the record, I have heard every moonshine joke in the book.
If you aren't drinking much water, I strongly recommend you give it a try. I know it is 'boring' but you might just be surprised by how much better you feel.
My desk this morning.
Coffee on the left, water on the right.