Unless you’ve been under a rock- a dry one- you certainly know that we are now in Stage 2 drought conditions here in Santa Barbara. The signs are everywhere: brown lawns, withering bushes, dying trees, empty fountains. Kind of depressing, so I won’t go on. We all want things to change, we hope rain is coming, but in the meantime we’re all doing our part by cutting back on water use everywhere we can.
But drought or not, the one thing you need to keep hydrated is…your body, of course. There are theories about how much water is enough, how much is too much, and you see people walking down the street with those mesh sling things holding a water bottle. A good rule of thumb is to simply stay “comfortable” with it, meaning if you feel thirsty (uncomfortable), you’re probably already slightly dehydrated. Your skin is a major area of water loss from your body, and when it’s hot (and dry) you’ll lose more that way than you might be aware of, even if you’re not visibly perspiring.
I encourage everyone to keep a good source of drinking water stashed in all your daily places, like in your car, at your desk, and by your bed. If you make it inconvenient for yourself to get a sip of water, or make yourself have to take a detour, you might just put it off, and that’s when dehydration gets going. You’d be surprised how many people just grow accustomed to being slightly “dry” and they think the mild headache, drowsiness, or difficulty concentrating is “normal.” It’s not. Try it and see: when that afternoon slump hits, take a few good swigs of cool water, and you’ll almost certainly see a bounce. Ice water is okay, too, but merely cool is actually best.
Yes, drinking boring old water over and over again can seem like a chore, so use other sources of valuable moisture as well: watermelon (90% water) is great, so is pineapple. Celery, cucumbers, tomatoes: all good. Oranges and grapefruit are fine too, but they add citric acid to your digestive system, so moderate those. Coffee and tea, once considered dehydrating, are now believed to add more moisture than they eliminate. The one no-no we still are clear about is alcohol. Beer, wine, and the harder stuff are all dehydrating.
I’ve been hitting the hiking trails lately, so maybe that’s why I thought I’d visit this subject of hydration in this edition of my blog. The exercise is great, those views from the top are awesome as ever, but you’ve got to take your water. And for those of you, like me, who might have your dog along, don’t forget your best friend needs a drink as much as you! There are some cool lightweight doggy back-packs you can buy that let your pooch tote his own supply of H2O.
That’s all for now...see you at the clinic, and let’s all keep our fingers crossed for an early and rainy winter.