Words by Blanka Priddle
We are often told to drink plenty of water, to carry water with us when travelling on the tube in London during hot days, to start the day with water…. Water water (reminders) everywhere – but how many of us really drink enough. I am here this month to help you make drinking water more fun. Read on, and enjoy!
For the last few years, in my life as a yoga teacher, I have run seasonal yoga retreats, celebrating and bringing our conscious attention to the passing seasons, how they may make us feel, and what practices, dietary habits and rituals might benefit us in the coming weeks and months. It is always fun to hear what each of us loves or celebrates about each given season, what we enjoy, and how we take advantage of what different time in our temperate climate brings.
With Summer and its long days, sunshine, blue skies and often hot weather, the focus is on balancing the body’s energy, practising cooling breath techniques, releasing accumulated heat from the body, and eating hydrating foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables prepared in a way that keeps them as fresh and juicy as possible. I am also making sure to remind everyone to drink plenty of good quality water during the day, to stay hydrated.
We all know, or we often hear, how important it is to drink plenty of water. Sometimes the advice comes with number of glasses we need to drink each day, sometimes with other ways of making sure we have had enough before the end of the day.
Some of us may forget to drink water. For those people, setting a reminder is a great idea, a pop up window on your screen if you are at the office, or a gentle chime bell that will sound at regular intervals during the day, reminding you to stop what you are doing, stretch and drink.
Many other people complain that they do not enjoy the taste of water, or that water seems to sit in their stomach, not being absorbed. In his book “Your body’s many cries for water” Dr Batmanghelidj suggests that we need to consume water together with a small amount of very good quality of raw or live salt, so that we increase its absorption into our cells and intracellular liquid, nourishing and maintaining healthy balance in our inner ocean. He talks about salt in relation to our bone health, alkalising our body and more. This book is a real gem in wellness literature, and I highly recommend reading it, especially if you suffer with frequent headaches, backaches and other troubles, as his view on these issues is unique, but based on his experience as a practising medical doctor, and his advice about proper hydration is excellent.
We are told that the body is 70-80% water, that it is important for the health of our cells, bones, cartilage and inner organs to stay hydrated. But – if you are anything like me – water is not always appealing, even in summer. And here enters the idea of flavoured water. Taking advantage of ripe summer fruit and herbs, without the addition of sugar or artificial flavourings that you will find in commercial drinks, you can create a delicious hydrating drink in just a few hours.
To make naturally flavoured water
You will need a large glass jug, mine is about 1.5 litres, but you can use what you have. A wide rimmed jar/flask would do the same job, just make sure that you can clean the vessel properly afterwards. It is also possible these days to buy special jugs to make this type of drink, glass carafes with a stainless steel mesh insert would be great, so that once the water has steeped sufficiently you can lift the mesh part out and are left with water without any bits. It is good idea to avoid plastic though as some of it may leach into your water.
My favourite combinations are
Big handful of sliced ripe strawberries and a small bunch of basil
Two or three nectarines or peaches and a few branches of rosemary (it helps to bash the rosemary a little with wooden mallet to release the flavour )
Sliced lemon, lime and tangerine
Slice lemons and a big bunch of mint (a classic combination)
Large handful of raspberries and a sliced lime
A cup of blueberries or blackberries and a few branches of Lavender, flowers and leaves
Peel from an orange, Cinnamon stick and an empty Vanilla bean (scrape the seeds out first and use in pudding making)
Thinly sliced cucumber (without its seeds), sliced lime and a pinch or two of juniper berries
I love to add a drop of (food grade) essential oil to lift or intensify flavour, but remember that you need to buy from companies that produce superb quality oils that are safe for internal use. I use Young Living. You can buy oils from the ‘plus’ range from Young Living which are labelled as supplements and are specifically approved for internal use.
Even then, one tiny drop goes a long way. Remember that to make one drop of peppermint essential oils you need the same amount of the raw plant as you would for 26 cups of peppermint tea. When you feel that even a tiny drop may be too strong, push a clean toothpick inside the dropper, then swivel it in around in the jug; this will create a delicate flavour without the essential oil overpowering other ingredients in your drink. My favourite PLUS oils are Citrus Fresh, Lavender, Grapefruit, Lemon and teeny tiny amount of Peppermint when the temperature rises high. You can open you free account and start shopping for your oils here (affiliate link).
For a delicious alcohol free dinner party/bbq drink alternative you can prepare a stronger base of your flavoured water (more fruit and herbs, less water), and just before serving add a few ice cubes with fruit frozen into them for pretty effect, then top their glasses with sparkling mineral water.
So here is to staying hydrated in the last few weeks of Summer! Bottoms up.
Pssst… Have you heard? Balance Garden have got an amazing pop-up wellbeing space in London, and we want you to come and visit! Find out more….click here
Blanka has been passionately learning about all things natural and alternative since her teens and has been on this exploring journey for almost three decades now. She discoved essential oils back in the 90s, fell in love with raw living foods in the noughties, and played with many other things in between. She is a Kundalini as well as Hatha yoga teacher, enjoys cooking, makes her own beauty products, and is always on a quest to find the best coffee in town.
Originally from the Czech Republic, she now lives with her Husband and a cat called Chloupek in SE London, where she teaches from her cosy yoga studio.
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