COMING CLEAN: Take Action Challenge: Week 2

This was a particularly good week for me as far as the Take Action Challenge goes.

When it comes to hydration, I’m an A student. I drink at least 6 cups of water a day, plus 2 cups of tea. I would go so far as to say that I love water. Water with lemon or lime, yes. Sparkling water plain or with berries, delicious. Water with mint or cucumber, yum. But what I crave the most when it comes to water is ice. I’m not sure what it is about ice (I don’t chew the ice), but that extra bit of frosty coldness makes it oh so much better.

Of course, those of you following the Take Action Challenge know that it was instructed to not use ice in your water. It’s thought that people drink less water when it’s iced because it’s too cold — our reaction to the frigidity is to retract as our bodies are warm. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Yin likes the cold — if you have an imbalance of energies, avoiding cold water would help Yang, which is hot, regain harmony. Ayurvedic medicine suggests drinking beverages at room temperature because ice water interferes with digestion. Some references even state that ice water impedes digestion, because the body needs to expend energy to warm it first. That conclusion leads me to understand that drinking ice water would burn more calories during digestion than drinking lukewarm water, but the number is insignificant. Looks like I can skip my plan to burn off that cupcake with several glasses of ice water.

While all this makes sense, I think I’m okay with limiting my ice water intake if I find that it interferes with drinkability. And, of course, to make my Yang happy.

Takeaway Tips From This Week

  • Thanks to Mary who commented on my last blog with a helpful idea: When setting your alarm for activity breaks (I’ve dubbed them “Move it!” on my cell phone), also drink a big glass of water. Mary then hits snooze on her alarm so it reminds her to drink water throughout the day.
  • My friend Jenny drinks a glass of water first thing, then keeps her Klean Kanteen at her desk and drinks it during her workday. That way, when she’s immersed in a big project, she doesn’t have the excuse that she forgot to get water — it’s right there, ready for her to drink.
  • I’m treating ice water as a treat after my activity breaks (as I struggled with stairs last week, I’ve switched to a brisk walk around the block — the spring flowers and birds chirping make my stroll even more invigorating). I’ve also tried to sub black tea for my morning coffee so that I cut back my daily caffeine consumption.
  • For those who don’t like plain water, fill a pitcher with one sliced whole lemon, one sliced medium cucumber, mint leaves and fresh ginger. Let sit overnight (I like mine in the refrigerator, but that’s my cold addiction talking). The next morning, strain into a large travel container and take your flavored water with you to drink all day.

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