Sunday, June 21, 2015

Drinking anything but water inhibits thirst for water

I've been a water fan almost all of my life, and I don't mean it just in the sense of I need water more than anything else just to live. I mean it in the sense that I've tried every other beverage, from sodas to juices and there is nothing that makes me feel better than drinking water.

At some point in my early adult life, I got in the habit of carrying a bottle of water around. I was in my 20s and I distinctly recall how I just hated the taste of water at the drinking fountain. I still had not so fond memories of the water from the drinking fountain at the playground and the park. I worried about how the city water may not be filtered and I didn't like drinking ice cold water. I had read somewhere that drinking cold water is not good for digestion. So I started carrying a refillable bottle around.

I was also allaying my concerns about the environment by using a refillable bottle. I even went from plastic to metal in my bottle choices. I preferred something with a wide mouth that made it easy to fill, easy to drink. I liked having a cap with a smooth round loop that made it easy on my fingers to carry.

Then I began to consider Perrier. It's bottled, it has minerals and it's a little bubbly. Sure, they add the bubbles when bottling, but it still tastes pretty good. I have a few relatives that drink it, so I thought it might be worth a try to see if it would work for me. It did for awhile.

I'd bring one to work every day with my lunch and drink it in the morning with my snacks while I'm working. I found Perrier to be refreshing after a salty snack. So I made a habit of drinking Perrier. I felt like my conscience was clean by making sure to always put the empty bottle in the recycle bins at work or at home. Costco was there to enable the habit even more by making cases available at reasonable prices.

It turns out that Perrier is just another beverage in a long list that I've tried and found wanting. What was it that I wanted? Something that would not inhibit my thirst for water. The reason for this is that I've found that water, filtered, unflavored, unsweetened, is the only beverage to truly quench my thirst.

Over the past few months as I observed my behavior with Perrier, I began to notice a curious pattern with my drinking habits. When I drank Perrier, I drank less plain water, and I don't think it was because Perrier quenched my thirst. Rather, I think it inhibited my thirst. So I dropped the Perrier from my lunch bag to see what happened.

Immediately, I noticed that I drank more water and I made more trips to the bathroom, but I felt better. I felt cleaner. It is fortunate that at my work place, they have reverse osmosis filtered water with hot and cold taps. I use both to warm the water up to something like room temperature. I do that because I'm also starting to get the impression that very cold water also inhibits thirst.

I've always enjoyed my water at room temperature. At home, I have a room temperature water source from another reverse osmosis filter. If I have to take water that's chilled, I let it wait until its had some time to warm up. I might put the bottle next to the fan from a laptop computer to warm it up. Then when it's warm enough, I start to drink it. Even in the hot summer sun, I prefer to drink lukewarm or tepid water.

I don't even think that drinking cold water really cools us down. Sweating is what cools us down. Evaporative cooling is far more effective than drinking cold water. As we sweat, water forms on our skin and then evaporates, taking heat with it to the air. Dogs use the same principle when they hang their tongue out. So you won't see me drinking some chilled beverage in the hot sun unless there is no other choice. But remember that when we sweat, we need to drink more water.

As much as I like Perrier, the best I can say is that my Perrier habit was an interesting experiment, one that I won't have to repeat. I might have a Perrier on occasion here and there, but I won't make it a habit again. Plain filtered, room temperature water is what works best for me.
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