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Matcha with MB: Hydration Edition

Matcha with MB: Hydration Edition
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Hola Mi Gente!

Welcome to the second edition of Matcha with MB–a sort of space where I can take your questions and carve out time to get to know you a little better, and to write about things that aren’t food. It’s only the second week though, and I’m already breaking the rules 😂 Blame it on how lightning fast this new year has already been, or how ridiculously slow I’ve been at getting all my ducks in a row, but I’ve been wanting to talk to you all for a while now about hydrating–specifically when it comes to water consumption. So I’m going to take advantage of this space to talk about it, and then we can go back to questions next week.

Now, I want you to know that I’m not coming from a space of someone who drinks gallons of water a day. In fact, up to this past Christmas, I was hardly drinking any water at all; and trust me, both my parents and my aging self, had tried for years to pick up the habit. Ironically, one of the reasons I started drinking an adequate amount of water, was because my massage therapist told me to. Weird right? Maybe it’s because at periodic intervals, when I could hear him pumping more oil, he would softly say “you are very dehydrated.” Maybe it was the slow repetition, and his sincere plea without a tone of challenge, but it was like a lightbulb turned on for me. All of a sudden I was hyper aware to the fact that I was thirsty. Very thirsty.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve snubbed water because I didn’t see a benefit from it. I remember hearing people say “oh this water tastes so good,” and promptly rolling my eyes, because honestly, unless you’re chugging Florida tap water, most water tastes more or less the same, and it’s definitely underwhelming. I remember thinking that statement more about margaritas, than about water if I’m being honest. But as I’ve been regularly drinking water this year, I’m starting to get it. The more hydrated I stay, the more water tastes good when I know my body needs it.

It’s actually pretty fascinating how much water does in our bodies. I mean the average human is 60-70% water. Our bones, our joints, our muscles, 90% of our blood–it all thrives off us consistently replenishing water. And that’s the key, right? Replenishing. When we aren’t drinking enough water, our body gets greedy about it, and sends whatever water we are consuming to the most needed functions. The longer I think about it, the more I realize I don’t want my body to be a space where certain things aren’t functioning at full capacity because I refuse to pee a little more throughout the day.

Speaking of pee,

It’s one of the reasons I’ve always HATED drinking water. Whenever I would try to pick up the habit, I felt like I was perpetually attached to the bathroom. If you work or go to school (that’s pretty much most of us), it can be really inconvenient to have to go ALL. THE. TIME. Thankfully, there are a couple ways to combat this:

  1. By adding lemon OR 1/8th of a teaspoon of baking soda to your water. These two help your body absorb water. If you haven’t been properly hydrated, your body is only accustomed to holding onto a certain amount of water and it lets all the other stuff flush out almost immediately. Especially as you’re getting started, it’s really helpful to add these to your water to train it to retain it (yes I am proud of that  rhyme). As an added bonus, lemon water (at room temperature) is really great for your skin, for detoxifying your body, and for increasing your metabolism.
  2. By setting a schedule for yourself. A majority of the time when I started drinking water this year, I was drinking it WAY TOO FAST. It was like I was trying to compete in some sort of an olympic sport. Drinking water too fast, can actually be bad for you. ALSO it makes you pee every two seconds. Using an app to remind you when to drink water, is super helpful. You can also mark your water bottle to certain times of the day where you should have a certain amount of water intake by. This is why I love having my clear Nalgene,  because I can visually see how much I’ve had, and how much more I should drink. Every body is different, but generally speaking, you don’t want to drink more than 1 glass of water an hour. I stretch it out to 1 glass every 1.5 hours.
  3. But also, you’re going to pee more if you drink water. It happens. As your body adjusts, it will regulate. Hold on during that adjustment period!

Benefits Of Drinking Water So Far:

So far, I literally have zero regrets from drinking 60+ oz of water a day. It overall has helped the following aspects of my life:

  • Skin and Scalp: I tend to have really, really dry skin, not just in the winter, but year round. I’ve seen a noticeable difference in how much hydration my skin needs (I can use smaller dollops of expensive organic lotion and moisturizer!), and my scalp is noticeably less itchy and dry–like almost 100% better than my norm. My skin is also visibly more clear and radiant.
  • Okay, okay, also my pee is clear and that’s a significant victory.
  • I’m sore for less amount of time after working out. My muscles feel overall less tight.
  • Generally I just feel better. I feel so good about taking care of my body in this way, and even though it might not seem like a big deal, it is a big victory for me.

About Starting New Habits

It is always challenging to start a new habit. For me, something that generally always works, is having something to keep track of my progress. If I’m tracking it regularly, I help train myself for that certain habit to become a part of my routine. While I’ve been training myself to stay hydrated, I’ve really loved using two different Apps.

  • Plant Nanny: Plant Nanny is an app that intrinsically encourages you to drink water, because in the app you have a plant you are caring for. When you first get the app you figure out how much water you need to drink per day. Coincidentally, whatever plant you pick out to grow, needs as much water as you do. As you drink water and log it, your plant grows. The opposite is also true, if you don’t water it, your plant can get sick and die. I like Plant Nanny because it’s super easy to use, and personally, I love plants, so it’s themed well for me.
  • My Water: This app is a little more advanced in that it gives you plenty of options (it’s also aesthetically way nicer than Plant Nanny). It’s more of a beverage tracker per se, but I find it really helpful because it tracks more than just water. This means that as I’m tracking my water through the day, I can log my evening margarita, and it will let me know how much more water I need to drink to stay truly hydrated. It also has trackers for things like tea and kombucha, which are mostly water and tend to count towards your daily intake as well. This is one of those apps you can set a timer for as well, for it to send you a reminder of when to drink.

I also have added drinking water to my to-do list in my planner. There’s a little section for me to mark how much water I’ve had. It might seem like overkill, but the more I’ve been drinking water (and feeling better!), the more I want to set myself up to nourish this habit.

Drinking Water Has Become A Self-Love Initiative For Me.

That maybe sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true! 2017 was a year of a lot of fear and anxiety for me. It was a year where my energy felt like it tanked because I was constantly in fight or flight mode. As I’m easing into a different season, I’m learning how much last year’s mental space affected my ability to listen to myself well. When Sam told me I was dehydrated, and it finally sunk in that I was, I became instantly more aware of it. And I sense it daily now. Instead of trying to aim for big extravagant goals of self love for 2018, I’m just learning how to listen to myself again. To listen to all the different areas of my life that became barren and thirsty as I navigated through last year.

Drinking water is the easiest thing I can do to love myself right now. To nourish my body. To say it deserves to run at full function. To remind myself to be aware and watching for other ways I can listen to my own needs.


 

When I first started the year, I talked about having a water challenge with my social media crowd. I don’t like thinking of it that way now, because drinking water is more than just that to me right now. So I would love to just extend the invitation instead, for you to listen to your body. Maybe it isn’t drinking water (props to all of you who have been at the water-drinking party since forever). Maybe it’s going on a walk, or taking time to journal. Maybe it’s NOT doing a Whole 30 round, because it creates just as many unhealthy habits in you as healthy ones. Whatever that aspect you need to listen to yourself in is, I hope you accept my invitation and dive into it. Not for a checkmark in your planner, or a cute little plant, but to nourish yourself, and repeat the truth this year that you are worth listening to and caring for.

 

Love, love, love,

 

**P.S. Matcha counts as one of my daily water intakes. I checked 🎉

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Mary-Beth is a creative, food-obsessed, Georgia transplant living in the PNW. She is proudly and fiercely Latina. You can usually find her wandering her house in pajamas staging the next social justice revolution in her head, or eating her way through Portland with her favorite people. Her life is a constant juggling of chasing joy, learning about rest/work balance, pursuing justice, and loving her crew deeply. Also tacos. Her life is full of really good tacos.



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