Recession Cuisine: Water
by Jack Kanefield

It’s free. It comes out of our faucets. It comprises about 75% of both the Earth and our bodies. You can get it distilled or filtered or bubbly. You can add lemon or lime or ice cubes. But water?? That’s not a food.

No, it’s not. And I’m not suggesting you substitute your meals with water. But it’s a commonly overlooked and crucial substance.  It’s particularly key for weight loss because it helps the liver metabolize fat. It helps flush toxins out of your body. It improves muscle tone (hydrated muscles contract more easily). And most of us don’t drink nearly enough of it.

The recession part? It’s free. At least for now. The cuisine part? Sometimes when you’re hungry, sleepy, headachy, or craving sugar, you actually need water instead.  A few weeks ago I was at the tail end of a nasty bug, fever and GI symptoms included. I’d hardly had anything to drink…because…well…I couldn’t really keep anything down. And I developed a monster of a headache. As in, every time I shifted position, my head felt like a gong that had been smacked soundly by a sumo wrestler. I was concerned. What was going on? My brilliant boyfriend, who also happens to be a naturopathic doctor, suggested the obvious: dehydration. Sure enough, after sipping some water over a period of a few hours, it dissipated. You’d expect me to come up with this answer on my own, being a nutritionist and all, but it can be easy to forget about the basics.

Having trouble fitting the clear magical liquid into your life? Feeling confused about filtered vs distilled, flat vs bubbly? Here are a few of my top tips for effective H2O consumption. They’re good. Read ‘em all.

1. It’s great to aim for 8 glasses per day, but don’t drink them all at once – the body can’t absorb it. Instead, drink smaller amounts throughout the day.

2. If you have difficulty getting excited about drinking water, try purchasing a really fun cup or Sigg, and have it near you at all times. You can add flavorings like the aforementioned citrus, auditory stimulation like clinking ice cubes, or even a dash of tea or a FEW drops of juice to make it more palatable. Also try envisioning one pound melting off for each day you drink 8 glasses. It doesn’t quite work that directly but it can be good motivation.

3. The body absorbs flat better than bubbly. But bubbly’s far better than none at all.

4. It’s a good idea to filter your water. You can buy a home filtration machine or a Brita filter. Distilled refers to the process of removing minerals from the water – you don’t want that.

5. Please try to refrain from buying water in plastic bottles! They’re horrible for the environment. Get something you can use and re-use, like a glass bottle or a Sigg. Also, if you do happen to have your water (or any other drink) in a plastic bottle, make sure it doesn’t get hot. Heat causes the toxins from the plastic to leach into the fluid. Yum!

6. Caffeine does not equal water. If you’re drinking black tea or green tea or decaf coffee, that’s not water. Caffeine is, in fact, dehydrating. However, herbal tea is like water with herbal benefits. I know many people think “gross” when I say “herbal tea”. I used to. Try experimenting with flavors. Go to your local health food store and ask them what they would recommend for people who think most herbal tea is gross. I like rooibos myself.

7. Remember that we’re all interconnected. This web that links us all is particularly evident in the water supply. Reducing your use of toxic chemicals can help lighten the load on the earth. Installing a water-saving shower head contributes to conservation of this precious material. Try to tread lightly!


  1. I love rooibus tea! There’s a little sweet taste to the herbs, so you don’t need to add sugar or Splenda or anything (if you’re a sweet tea affectionado). Good hot, good cold. I also love peppermint chamomile tea.

    But my favorite drink is actually water!

    Comment by Sayre — January 26, 2010 @ 9:38 am

  2. water, tried and true, helps my skin, fatigue, weight loss, you name it. thanks for the tips! and i love your recession cuisine series!

    Comment by liz — January 26, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  3. Thank you! Yes, I love water ;)

    Comment by Stephanie Small — February 2, 2010 @ 7:31 am

  4. I like rooibos as well although I am pretty anti-sugar and Splenda. My choice is Stevia.

    Comment by Stephanie Small — February 2, 2010 @ 7:31 am