I had a 22-year-old female come to the ER for headaches. During my assessment, I asked her a routine question: “And how much water do you drink daily?” She looked at me blankly. “Water? Oh, I don’t drink water. I don’t like the taste.” I unthinkingly replied, “Oh, you must drink water,” to which her mother chimed in “She doesn’t at all! Nothing that doesn’t come in a Coke bottle.” I started educating my patient and her family on the importance of water when my patient interrupted me: “Wait! Does ice count?”
Ice counts, sure, yes, it’s technically water 🙂 But it’s not enough.
Full disclosure: I’m an ER nurse who sees elevated blood glucose levels on a daily basis. I see blood sugar levels that get high and stay high, lead to complications from diabetes that include blindness and kidney failure and even amputations. Many things lead to increased blood sugar levels, but I want to talk about a personal enemy of mine: Soda.
A 20 oz can of soda has approximately 16 teaspoons of sugar in it. Imagine sitting down and attempting to chew and swallow those 16 teaspoons in one sitting- it’s gag inducing! So here’s the deal. You could fill a book with all the studies that are coming out highlighting the negative effects of soda- from obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to premature aging and decreased memory.
I think it’s been thoroughly established how bad soda is for you. So I’d like to take the time to offer some fun and delicious alternatives!
- Infused water! Easy and fresh- especially in the summer. Add fresh fruits like lemons, oranges, and limes to cold water. Cucumbers are also especially refreshing! You can spice it up a step further with some fresh mint.
- Green tea – full of antioxidants! It’s been shown to lower heart disease and high blood pressure. You can have it hot or iced, and if you’re craving a little sweetness, add some local honey! (My personal favorite is jasmine green tea- it’s as fragrant as a flowerbed 🙂
- Seltzer water with a twist! This one is easy- get some fizzy water and squeeze a fresh lemon in it. Bubbly and happy!
- Kombucha! A fermented probiotic drink made from tea. It’s tasty and zesty and ends up practically sugar-free. Plus, it has healthy bacteria and increases metabolism. Try a ginger or a cayenne version to add some kick to your day!
- TrueLime packets! I recently discovered these powdered packets, and they’re practically a life changing experience. They’re simply crystallized limes- cheaper than fresh limes in the winter, and more portable! They also have a black cherry-lime version that is sweetened with stevia. This is an excellent way to trick yourself into drinking more water, and my absolute go-to at work.
Kandice Medina Bird is an Emergency Room nurse who is currently doing travel jobs around California. She got her associates degree in Texas and went back for her Bachelors degree in Tennessee. She enjoys reading, playing disc golf, and beating her handsome husband Jason at fantasy football. She thanks her father Dr. Medina on a daily basis for her happy smile.