Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ode to a glass of water

Studies have shown that decision making is difficult. Our brains get tired of having too many things to choose from. We get overwhelmed. Routines and habits can help us focus on the important decisions we have to make. Once you have created a habit, through a conscious decision, you don't have to think about that one anymore. It's that way with me and a glass of water.

A trip to the grocery store is a wild ride for beverage choices. Whole aisles are devoted to trying to get shoppers to purchase processed beverages instead of choosing a humble glass of tap water. Trucks full of heavy beverages lumber down our highways daily, creating air pollution and using fossil fuels. The average US home has a variety of beverages in the general categories of milk, soda, fruit juice and energy drinks. (I'll discuss beer and tea another day)

Got Milk? It comes is a terrifying array of flavors, fat ratios and pesticide/hormone levels. The thing is, it's not that good for people over the age of two. Lucky for me, I'm lactose intolerant and hubby hasn't had a glass of milk since the last time we went to the dairy building at the NY State Fair. Passing up milk is easy.

Fruit juice is another common drink in the US. While we may think of it as healthy, most of the bottled "juice" on the store shelves is sugar and not so much fruit. Drinking 100% fruit juice is ok in moderation, but what's wrong with eating the whole fruit? Distilling just the juice from whole fruit is expensive in processing and transportation and the body loses out on all that necessary fiber. I'd rather have an apple any day than a glass of apple juice.

How about the soda industry? It's incredible what we have bought into on that one! Soda will make us more popular? We know it's loaded with sugar and chemicals our bodies don't need and yet still we drink it. My own father is a Coke fiend (the legal stuff, of course). Here's the really bad part about soda. To make a single 2-liter bottle of soda, it takes 132 gallons of my favorite, life-giving beverage. That's including making the plastic bottle, which really has to count, since my tap water doesn't require a plastic bottle. Not only does the soda industry use potable water to degrade it into a beverage that can kill us (albeit slowly), in some countries the water is diverted from villages and farms.

That leaves me with the energy drinks and all the rest of those boutique beverages. Some of those make sense when you think about them as medicine. I've been known to mix in some Gatorade powder (the plastic bottles are too expensive for my taste) into my glass of water when I've had a particularly hot walk and I've got the shakes. It does seem to fix the shakes. I'm guessing, however, that most people who are loading cases of energy drinks into their grocery carts are just drinking it for the sugar.  

A glass of water is so simple. It's so clear and clean. It tastes so good. It makes me feel good. It makes me happy and healthy. It's inexpensive in most places. It doesn't have any hidden calories. It's easy to obtain. It saves me from having to make a choice about what to drink. 

I'll just have water.

What do you choose to drink? How do you make that choice?