Water Recipes

By the looks of my green smoothie I think it’s safe to assume I’m willing to give any healthy beverage a try.

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But to be totally honest, my first day drinking a green smoothie I literally gagged it down. I think it took me over two hours to drink it and eventually I just forced it down. I stuck with it for 3 days to complete my detox plan and by the end of those 3 days I had come to really like them. Now I drink green smoothies 3 – 5 days a week.

So when I saw a recipe for a ‘fat flushing water’ on FaceBook I was willing to give it a try. Now mind you, I like all the ingredients so of course they should taste great in water, right? 

  • Grapefruit
  • Tangerine
  • Cucumber and
  • Peppermint

WRONG. 

Granted the recipe stated the longer the ingredients sat the better the water would be. So I blamed the first pitcher on the fact I hadn’t let the water sit long enough. So I made second pitcher and let it sit overnight. Let’s just say the water didn’t age well. I didn’t make it even 24 hours into the 10-day challenge.

This was one recipe I just could’t gag down and try to acquire a taste for.

But I’m not writing this to discourage anyone from trying the ‘fat flushing water’ or any other healthy water recipe. Rather, I want to take a look at the root of these water recipes and how we can tune into our personal preferences to increase our water intake. 

The major success of any of these recipes is that you are hydrating with water! In an age where we can choose anything from coffee to energy drinks, from milk to soda, it’s no wonder we are consuming less and less water in its purest form.

Let’s face it, water tastes pretty darn plain compared to our other options. And even though water may be the main ingredient for some of our beverages of choice, we are consuming a great deal of empty calories and/or artificial sweeteners and dyes as well. Cutting out these unnecessary additives is an excellent way to manage calorie consumption and work towards a more clean diet.

If you find regular old water boring you are going to find it extremely difficult to consume 50% of your body weight in ounces of water every day.

So why not seek out ‘healthy water recipes’ with natural ingredients that give it the kick you are looking for? There are a number of water recipes based on natural ingredients to meet your personal preferences. I really like Sassy Water published in the Flat Belly Diet, but for someone who isn’t a fan of lemon or ginger this water would be a total turn off. The key is to find one that works for you.

What I hope you take away from this blog is that:

  • Water doesn’t have to be boring – find natural additives that make it more tasty for you
  • Staying hydrated is key to health and weight loss – drink at least 50% of your body weight in ounces every day

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Caffeine-Driven Workouts

For some caffeinated beverages are the only way to get going and stay moving throughout the day. Believe me, there are times that a caffeine jolt is the only thing that gets me going for my early morning training sessions (which also tells me I need examine my bedtime and get more sleep!).

Some studies have even suggested that the use of caffeine prior to a workout may have positive effects on your body during exercise. These studies claim that when it comes to exercise, caffeine:

  • Delays fatigue
  • Slows the breakdown of muscle glycogen, which means your body has more fuel to keep going
  • Enhances endurance
  • Keeps you more alert
  • Can reduce muscle pain during exercise
  • May lower perceived exertion, making exercise feel more comfortable

While those results may be true, caffeine is a stimulant so it has the potential to have adverse effects on a workout and as a trainer I can tell you that I see the negative far more often than I see positive results from a caffeinated-driven workout including:

  • Stomach upset
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Increased anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Any of the effects listed above results in a less than par workout. If I have a client who is nauseous, trembling or complaining of a headache it’s my responsibility to immediately put the breaks on our workout and determine if they are well enough to continue. In more cases than not, I often need to modify the intensity of the workout and we end up taking it easy for the reminder of the session. So rather than experiencing enhanced performance from the caffeine it results in the client getting less from their workout.

In my opinion if you are looking to get the most out of your workouts hydrate with water or a sports drink prior to exercise and reserve that caffeinated drink for an early morning kick-start if you need it.

Tailgating

This weekend marks the opening of college football for many universities. And for many along with college football comes tailgating. I know around Notre Dame, most people spend the majority of their week prior to a home game deciding who they will be tailgating with, what they will be serving, and just how early they are going to get there to get a prime location.

I think there is an unwritten rule somewhere that says the more calories and fat a food has, the better it will taste eating it while standing in a parking lot with a bunch of friends.

With so many yummy temptations it’s hard to resist not indulging in some of them. So I’d like to offer a few strategies to help you enjoy your tailgating experience without completely going off track in your efforts to make healthy choices.

  • Allow yourself to try the things that you are tempted by, but only take a small amount. When eating the food, savor the taste and you will be more likely to find that a couple bites are just as satisfying as a whole serving – without the guilt!
  • Stick to drinking water whenever possible. We can consume a number of empty calories through beverages. If you choose to have any other type of beverage, drink a serving of water before and after.
  • When asked to bring along a dish bring a healthy dish that you won’t feel guilty about eating.
  • Take the time to look at ALL the food choices before building your plate. You will be able to make better choices about what you really want rather than loading up early and going back for seconds on what you didn’t get the first time around.
  • Stay away from the food table. We often find ourselves having conversations around the food and can be very tempted to mindlessly snack.
  • Eat something small before you go so that you aren’t overly hungry when you arrive.

Happy tailgating and GO IRISH!!

The Benefits of Water

How many glasses of water do you drink a day? What about coffee, soft drinks or alcohol? How many refills did you get on your sweet tea at lunch today?

With the heat and humidity it is extremely important that you stay hydrated and water is the very best choice you can make.

You can easily promote better overall health by simply drinking a few glasses of water a day to flush toxins from your system. We generally tend to increase our intake of fluids when we are sick to flush the virus or bacteria – why not be proactive and get rid of those germs before you get sick.

If you are looking for a quick way to cut calories from your diet – take a look at the beverages you consume throughout the week. Many beverages are full of sugar and empty calories. Please don’t think that using artificial sweeteners is the answer either… they can be just as damaging (if not more) to your system.

Water can also have an impact on your complexion. Drinking water will help to keep your skin from drying out and can also improve problems with blemishes.

You can help yourself and our environment by avoiding the disposable water bottles as much as possible. Purchase a water filter of some sort and a couple reusable water bottles.

So what if you don’t like water? Simple – add a little all-natural flavors to it by dropping a citrus slice in the glass or water pitcher. You can also slice cucumbers and put them in the water – I know it sounds crazy but it is one of the most refreshing glasses of water you will have.

If you really struggle with the blandness of water, try making flavor cubes out of Crystal Light or your favorite fruit juice and use it to cool your glass of water. You will get a hint of the taste without all the calories and sugar.

To all the parents out there I encourage you to get your children drinking water from an early age. The sooner you start, the easier it will be for them to choose water over juice or soda on a hot day.

With all this talk about water I’m feeling kind of thirsty. How about you?