Glow from Within: Water and Hydration (Drink up!)

This is the third in a series of monthly posts by Certified Health Coach and Plant-Based Chef Julie Magnussen. We’re calling it “Glow From Within,” because we know that what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your skin. If you missed the first two posts, you can find them here, “Glow From Within: Lycopene and Tomatoes,” and “Glow From Within: Avocados and Fat.” By Julie Magnussen Flip through any beauty magazine or scroll through your favorite beauty blog. Chances are they’re recommending you drink more water. What’s the big deal and why is everyone onboard with it? Research has shown, time and again, the astounding benefits of water’s natural qualities. They include a myriad of body-loving goodness like fighting fatigue, reducing high-blood pressure and cholesterol, supporting weight maintenance or loss, and, most importantly (in our skin-loving world), staying hydrated to support proper detoxification of impurities so that skin can radiate its natural pure dewiness. Without water, our skin’s cells become overwhelmed with toxins causing irritation, inflammation, congestion, blotchiness, and, of course, the dreaded acne and premature aging of skin. How do you know that you’re under-hydrated? We can thank our beautiful bodies for providing the answers. They will give us signals such as chapped lips, urine with a dark yellow hue (or almost completely clear in some instances), frequent headaches, being hungry all the time, roller-coaster dips in energy, feeling dizzy, and much more. How much water are we supposed to be drinking?

The debate is certainly out there. Some believe 6-8 cups a day at room-temperature is what to strive for, while others are convinced that at least 12 cups, hot in the morning, cold in the afternoon, all while balancing a tea-cup on your head will give you the best results. Your activity level determines how much you should drink, so simply put: ignore the details. Just drink more water. Hot, cold, infused with fruit, frozen in ice-chips, upside-down - what have you - just drink it. How do we make this happen?

I absolutely LOVE water. I take about 6 big gulps every morning as I open my eyes and let out a huge sigh of relief that my body is now being activated again to work properly. I can feel the hydration hit my body and immediately feel better from head to toe. But it doesn’t stop there. I fill a glass water bottle (it’s worth the $20 investment!) to the brim and sip on it whenever I think about it or look at it. That includes my time at home but also while I’m out-and-about running errands or meeting with friends. It really never leaves my side. You may be thinking, “gosh, that’s a lot of mental energy to try to remember that every day,” but it becomes habit really fast. Would you leave your house without your wallet? No. Is it taxing to try to remember it every time? Not really. I look at my water bottle with the same importance and I never forget it.

Here are a few more tips to making sure you’re getting the proper intake of water: - I know this may sound heartbreaking, but liquids made with water do not count. This includes coffee, soda, store-bought juices etc. In fact, because caffeine is super dehydrating, you should drink double that amount in water with every caffeinated beverage. - On that note, herbal teas, homemade raw coconut water popsicles, and fresh vegetable juice

DO count because they’re all caffeine free, are full of electrolytes, and naturally full of water. - Try to drink a glass of water with every glass of wine (even better - add some ice to that Pinot Grigio - sorry wine connoisseurs). - Find a receptacle that works for you. As I mentioned, I love my glass water bottle but if you find that uber boring try finding a fancy straw or place your water in a mason jar and add one of those sippy-cup tops. Have fun with it! - If you’re the kind of person who likes to track everything, there are multiple apps you can download to track your water intake. Yes, there’s an app for that :). -

Eat your water. As it’s still important to drink, you can also focus on foods that provide a lot of hydration naturally. Some of these foods include tomatoes, cucumber, romaine or iceberg lettuce, celery, citrus fruits, watermelon, kiwi, and grapes. - No worries — you don’t have to throw our your SodaStream just yet. Although regular water is preferable, sparkling water counts as well! It’s merely water just with some added carbonation. It’s important to note however that not all store-bought sparkling waters are created equal. Tonic water contains added sugar and sodium and club soda typically contains a generous amount of sodium (which, hello dehydration!). Look for brands that say “sparkling water” that do not have any extra sweeteners or additives. - Add a glass of water to one of your regular routines.

It can be difficult to create a new habit and stick to it, so pair your new habit with something you already do everyday. Pick an activity that is second-nature to you like brushing your teeth, driving to work, putting your kids down for a nap, etc., and decide you will drink one cup or half a water bottle with that activity. All of a sudden you’re creating a new habit without feeling the pressure to adhere to yet another task in your day. - Are you competitive by nature?

Create a game with your co-workers or your family members to see who can drink the most each day or who can reach their daily goals as often as possible. Choose a desirable prize that will encourage everyone (including you) to keep going. There are just so many ways to incorporate more water into your everyday life. Pick just one of these tips and start from there. And try out my favorite hydrating salad recipe below. It is perfect for a midmorning/afternoon snack or to complement your lunch. If you’re not a fan of Asian flavors, toss in any of your favorite sauces to replace the dressing and drink eat up! Asian Rainbow Cucumber Salad serves 1 Ingredients:  

1 large English cucumber, “spiralized” (shown in the photo) or sliced into medallions 1 celery stalk, sliced horizontal 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, each thinly sliced 1 tbsp. sliced scallions 1 tbsp. fresh mint, roughly chopped 1 tsp. black (or white) sesame seeds

For the dressing: 3 tbsp. rice vinegar 2 tbsp. sesame oil 1 tbsp. raw honey 2-inch knob fresh ginger 1/2 tsp. nama shoyu (fermented raw soy sauce, tamari also works well) 1 small garlic clove dash sea salt 1/4 tsp. ume plum vinegar fresh ground black pepper

Directions: Place all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 10 to 15 seconds. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss until well combined. Eat immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Enjoy!

Certified Health Coach and Plant-Based Chef, Julie Magnussen (BS, CHC) is the creative force behind Healthy Julie, a healthy foodie blog with a fresh and conscious approach to a healthier lifestyle. The wellness and cooking blog features original recipes that taste great, look beautiful, and boast incredible health benefits. The goal of Healthy Julie is to educate others to be an active participant in their own health and healing.