Agua. Mizu. De l’eau. The Big H-Two-Oh.

It’s the middle of July, and despite the storms, heat, and humidity across the midwest, we’ve very likely not even hit the hottest part of the summer. August is yet to come, and as my home state, Michigan, is surounded by the largest freshwater sources in North America, I ought to make note of the importance of staying hydrated–no matter where you are.

WebMD has a good overview of what helps hydrate you. The notion that you must physically drink 8 ounces of water every hour (or every two hours; the reccommendations are inconsistent) is outdated. People neglect to remember that food contains water, just as our bodies contain water while seeming dry on the outside. The article mentions, oddly enough, watermelon as something that contains enough water to help you in your hydration quest. Other fruits and veggies, like peaches, tomatoes, and cucumbers, are also full of water.

While you cannot replace all of your water intake with hydrating food, it’s worth remembering that snacking on carrots, cucumbers, and ranch dressing or hummus, is also helpful.

Also remember that water does not have to be “ugh. water.” There are plenty of options for flavoring water. Iced tea, milk, and juices all count, too! Just remember to watch sugar intake for sweetened beverages. A question answered by a Mayo Clinic nutritionist supports the WebMD article’s claim that the dehydration effect of caffeinated beverages is negligible, so iced coffee and tea–even black–are okay once in a while.  If you’re exercising, something containing electrolytes that are lost through sweat isn’t a bad idea. Don’t go crazy with these, though, since sports drinks are meant as support for hard workouts, not everyday hydration.

Finally, I shall leave you all with my favorite recipe: Cucumber Lemon water. I drink a pitcher a day of this, when I make it. It’s super simple, and it makes ‘plain old water’ into something completely refreshing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • Choose one: Fresh Mint Leaves (or) 1-inch section of fresh Ginger

Directions:

Wash the lemon thoroughly. Parts of the rind will be going into the pitcher! Slice the ends off of the lemon, then slice the lemon into circles. Throw them in the pitcher, but do not squeeze them.

Wash the cucumber and peel if desired. Slice half of the cucumber thinly (a mandolin slicer helps immensely) and put into the pitcher as well.

If you’ve chosen the mint leaves, wash them and put a few in the pitcher. If you’ve chosen the ginger, peel it and cut it into eighths or quarters, then put in the pitcher.

Add water and ice, and stir, but do not muddle. After a few hours, the water will be ready, but leaving it overnight is the best. Once you’ve finished drinking the first batch, you can add more water and muddle the ingredients this time to double their life! The second batch will be a little more lemony, because of how much more juice you get from muddling the lemon than the cucumbers, but it will be equally refreshing.

Enjoy!

(As a bonus, once they’ve lived their life in your water, you can flush the ingredients down the garbage disposal with hot water to make your kitchen smell nice. Otherwise, everything is compostable!)