Anyone who lived in the mid-west this summer can attest to the fact that this summer encompassed one of the worst droughts on record across the country. Most of our yards looked like this:
But something happened when the rains started coming in August... life came back. Suddenly, the burnt to a crisp lawns and crops began to sprout back to life and thrive once more before fall crept up on us recently, and we were left with the reminder that water is the source of life for all living things, including ourselves.
Without water, our bodies react in a similar way that we watched nature respond this summer. The human body is made up of 60-70% water. It helps our body flush toxins out of our organs and carry nutrients to our cells. Without proper hydration (from water), our bodies can react with dry skin, lethargy, excess fat gain, poor muscle tone, decreased ability to digest food and improper organ functioning to name a few. These are all responses that our body could be having without getting to the point of instantaneously life-threatening dehydration (where one becomes light-headed, seizures, clammy, etc...). Not drinking enough water on a daily basis may not seem "life-threatening," but in essence, we are allowing our bodies to live on a daily basis as burnt up grass. The overall health benefits of drinking enough water will not only help you to have more energy, but also fight disease better, lose weight and gain muscle tone. But most importantly, it will help you to function mentally and physically better.
So how much water should someone drink? Different medical institutes recommend somewhat varying amounts, but on average, men should be consuming around 13 cups of liquid and women should be consuming 9 cups. Notice the term above used was "liquid"? Nearly half of American's drink soda on a daily basis. Drinks such as soda pop, most conventional juices, sweet teas and various fancy 300-400+ calorie coffee drinks are not what I am talking about when it comes to proper hydration. Our bodies were created to consume and need water, not large amounts of sugar. Just because these drinks are liquid in nature does not mean that they are healing, fueling and hydrating our bodies the same way as pure water. Not only is the 16 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 ounce Mountain Dew that our teenagers are drinking not going to help when it comes to proper hydration, but it's also breeding an addiction to sweetness. I have heard so many people lately say they can't stand to drink water because it has no flavor. No offense, but it doesn't need flavor! We have been brainwashed to believe that our drinks need to please our palates instead of literally nourish our bodies.
One way to try to drink more water is to buy a water bottle that you can refill throughout the day so that you aren't tempted to buy bottled drinks out of the vending machine. I do understand that many people do have the sweetness bug (I admit, I used to have it too) and in an effort to convert someone over to drinking more water, there are naturally flavored water options that do not contain sugar or artificial sweeteners because they aren't the solution either.
When using leaves, you need to first chop or muddle the leaves to release the flavor in the water. The blog linked to the picture below has some great recipes for naturally flavor infused waters.