Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Water is Boring

Inspired by Emily at The Front Burner, who said in her blog today that she doesn't drink enough water, today's post is all about drinking!  No, not that kind of drinking... I mean the kind of imbibing I do when I'm not at a bar.

In my early 20s, I began having chronic acid reflux attacks.  If you haven't experienced acid reflux (or GERD as it sometimes called), it's throwing up into your mouth on a frequent basis (I know, gross, right?).  Most of the time when I was younger, I could just chew a few tablets of Tums or Pepcid A/C when I felt it coming on, and I'd feel better within a few hours. However, my symptoms got a lot worse when I gained weight, and it actually got so bad at one point that I landed myself in the hospital because acid had eaten away some of the lining of my esophogus. My doctor ordered a strict diet for my recovery--no carbonated beverages, no caffeine, no spicy foods.  I basically ate plain white bread and drank water for three days. I was miserable, and once I felt better I was back to eating and drinking all the wrong things.

When I started to take my health more seriously a few years ago, one of the first ways I did so was to tackle the acid reflux. I cut out soda pop and coffee completely and began drinking only non-carbonated, non-caffeinated beverages.  It seems extreme, I know, but honestly I never felt better in my whole life just by changing what I was drinking.  It's one of those situations where you never realize how bad you felt until you start feeling better, and you think, "What took me so long to change?"  Not only did the acid reflux virtually go away completely, but there was an added benefit that I had no idea was coming.... 

Cutting caffeine out of my diet is probably the number one thing I have ever done for my health.  I know a lot of people will say, "Oh, but I need my coffee in the morning!"  Really, you don't.  The first week or so you'll go through a withdrawal, but after that, you feel fantastic.  I have never been more alert in the mornings.  I don't get the afternoon crash.  And the biggest benefit is that I fall asleep much more easily at night. I have always struggled with insomnia, and still have some problems, but it is much, much easier to manage now than it was before my caffeine ban. Studies have shown that getting proper rest can dramatically improve your diet and I agree.  I find that when I'm well-rested, I make much better diet choices throughout the day. 

So, you may be asking, do I just drink water all the time?  No way--that's boring!  I do drink a good amount of straight water, but what I like to do when I'm bored with bland old water is to make a water-juice mix. I take a big glass of ice water and then fill 1/3 to 1/2 of the glass full of lemonade, cranberry juice, or my current fall favorite, apple cider.  I still get my sweet fix without all the calories.  Sometimes when I'm in the mood for something bubbly, I splash in a little diet tonic water, so that I get just enough of the fizziness without waking up my GERD monster.

One caveat about "drinking" drinking.  Yes, I do still drink beer. I love it too much to cut it out entirely, but I drink it a lot less than I used to, and usually stick to light beer.  When the situation is appropriate, I tend to choose wine instead of beer.  (I refuse to be a Miss Priss who sips chardonnay at a football game--I mean, that's just ridiculous in my book--but to each her own.)

Would love to hear readers thoughts on caffeine, soda pop intake, etc.  Please feel free to comment!


tissygoalie1 said...

Gab, when you're right, you're right! I am soooo addicted to caffeine though. I know it will make me feel so much better but I just can't get rid of it. However...I did just switch though to XS caffeine free energy drinks. Basically it's packed with more vitamins to give you energy and not all the caffeine like my coffee, monster, or red bull. We'll see how it goes!
I'm LOVING your blog! I will soon write out my story for you to post like we talked about. Love you! & see you tomorrow night!

Gabrielle Dion said...

Thanks hon! See you tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

I tend to drink mostly water (though I do have a diet coke now and again). The thing I have found that makes it easier for me to drink more water is that I carry some of those propel (or things like that) drink mixes in my purse that I can just add to a bottle or cup of water anytime. I am enjoying the new blog!