Daily hydration is critical to one's very existence. Without water, we literally shrivel up and die. Active people know this better than anyone. Hydration has been beaten into our brains from our earliest days participating in sports. Weight loss programs all have one thing in common, hydrate or you will not lose weight. Every mother's child knows that when one is sick in bed the most important thing to do is to drink lots of fluids. Yes, we all know that hydration is important so I won't spend any time preaching about the benefits. Rather, today, I'll talk about making hydration fun and, in one case, serving a dual purpose.
What is 'responsible hydration?' Let me be as clear as possible on this point. Buying bottled water is irresponsible. According to Ban the Bottle,
Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.'s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.
That reported behavior is irresponsible. If you are still buying bottled water, please stop. Unless you live in a place like Flint, Michigan where the water supply is contaminated, you are contributing to a serious environmental disaster.
Even if you recycle zealously, your actions remain irresponsible. A few years ago I had my eyes opened up by two nearly simultaneous experiences. In the first, I purchased a case of bottled water from a large wholesale membership store. I don't know why, but I decided to look at the source of the water in the bottle. There, in extraordinarily small print it revealed, "Water supplied through the Rockford, Illinois municipal water system." I was, it turns out, drinking tap water in a bottle. The second was an episode of Penn and Teller's Showtime program, Bulls**t. They filled empty plastic bottles with water from a garden hose, they then proceeded to offer 'different' water to diners in a restaurant. The diners praised the complexity of the various waters they were served, water from a garden hose.
"You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." This quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Don't be fooled by bottled water claims. As Penn and Teller point out, they are bulls**t.
Making Hydration Fun
The days of hydrating with plain old water are over. Today flavored water is one of the ways to make drinking a whole lot of water tasty. The best part is you don't have to take out a loan to buy commercially flavored water. You can easily make it at home using your own tap and some cut-up fruits or vegetables.
The flavor infusion, reusable plastic bottle, and some fresh fruits or vegetables are the answer to your desire for flavored water as a way to hydrate with a bit of pizzaz. The two main parts of the flavor-infusing bottle are the container itself and the infusing insert in which you place cut up the fruit or veggies. Cut up your flavor of choice, place them in the infuser, fill with water from your tap or from your water filter, connect the infuser to the bottle, and place overnight in the fridge. In the morning you'll have the best flavored water you could ever imagine. It is simple, healthy, and absolutely responsible.
Of course, when you make your own flavored water, there are absolutely no ingredients you cannot pronounce added to preserve the water over an unseemly amount of time. You are drinking nothing but treated water and essential flavors from fresh produce. That's what I call fun and responsible hydration.
Making Hydration Easy
I live most of the time in Mesa, Arizona. I am a short drive to the Superstition Wilderness where I love to go hiking. Of course, hiking on the Sonoran Desert, in the Superstition Mountains, requires one to deal with elevation changes, uneven trails, and potential dangers such as cactus and critters. Even in the cooler winter months, hiking in the desert requires one to bring a whole lot of water in order to stay hydrated.
In the past, I used to carry a few reusable plastic bottles clipped to my belt-loops. My general formula was to take one bottle for every two miles of trail plus one extra bottle as my backup for underestimating how much I needed. Those bottles tended to bounce around as I walked, bouncing into my thighs. While not harmful, it was a bit irritating so I began to think about becoming a camel and carrying all of my water on my back in the form of a hydration backpack.
I actually own two backpacks. One is a 2-liter pack for short, two to three-hour hikes. The other is a 3-liter pack for longer, three to five-hour hikes. While the water in the bladder doesn't stay still, it is not nearly as unsettling as having plastic bottles bounce against my legs. I stay hydrated and happy all the time.