• April 25, 2019 |

    alternatives to water

    one girl’s quest to stay hydrated

    article by , illustrated by

    To be honest, I never follow the recommendation to drink eight glasses of water per day. Shocking, I know. Well, there might have been that one day when I was little: I remember continually filling up a small, colorful cup decorated with animal prints. I thought that there was something intriguing about that cup—my favorite back then—and I was so mystified that I kept filling it up with water and drinking from it. That day, I probably did drink at least eight glasses, if only because of that cup. 

    But water has never been my favorite beverage. It’s bland and boring, something I only drink when I feel thirsty, and by then it’s too late—I’m already dehydrated. If I’m ever choosing to drink water, it’s because I need to keep myself alert during classes or between workout sets at the gym. 

    I know water is supposed to keep my body happy, but because I dislike it so much, I search for other drinks— unsweetened tea, fruit, and vegetable juices—to stay hydrated. 

    Though my meal plan days are but a distant dream of the past, my credits once allowed me to frequently indulge in Runa Tea, a perfect blend of caffeination and hydration. My favorite flavors were lime and guava, perfect because I don’t enjoy overly sweet beverages. These teas are uniquely brewed with the “super leaf” guayusa, which gives them more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Because I always crash after consuming coffee—something I unfortunately learned during an evening exam—I especially appreciate the light, refreshing taste of Runa tea as I can drink as much of it as I want without worrying about this. Runa was great on days when I absolutely needed that sustained energy and clarity. Unfortunately, these clear glass-bottled teas are no longer in stock at the Blue Room. Now, I have to find herbal delight myself, brewing my own morning cup with rose or green tea bags gifted to me by my aunt or venturing out to Starbucks for some matcha. Occasionally, I’ll go to Shiru Cafe for a Capetown Sunset tea—a citrus and lavender rooibos herbal drink that reminds me of wholesome late-night hangouts and making s’mores by the backyard fire pit with my friends. 

    When I don’t want tea but crave a fruity drink, I’ll have some coconut water or juice instead. Before I found the only coconut water I actually enjoy—Harmless Harvest—I probably sampled all the ones that Costco carries, from Vita Coco’s to Zico’s. Let me be frank and say that although coconut water is an acquired taste—in part due to its many electrolytes— these coconut waters didn’t taste anything like actual coconut water. As in the kind you get from cracking open a coconut and taking a gulp, which I’ve had the pleasure of doing occasionally. When I stumbled upon Harmless Harvest and sipped its robust yet nutty flavor, complete with a pleasant aftertaste, I knew I’d found the real deal. However, I thought all coconut waters were clear, so I was a little alarmed to see my Harmless Harvest adopt a pink hue. I later learned from a Serious Eats post that this is due to the drink’s unique pasteurization process: a low-temperature, high-pressure method. This preserves the antioxidants— the source of that distinct pink—which help neutralize the dangerous metabolic free radicals in our bodies. At the end of the day, the locally sourced coconuts hold onto their 100 percent raw quality, so it’s no wonder why this sweet, fragrant drink provides the freshest taste. Unlike water, Harmless Harvest is a little pricey but totally worth indulging in. 

    My dedication to finding drinks that resemble the actual taste of their ingredients—combined with the fact that I don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables— has led me to try a variety of fruit juices sold on campus and at the local Whole Foods. On campus, I gravitate toward Simply for lemonade, apple, and orange juices and Odwalla for mango smoothies. From Whole Foods, I have tried a variety of Bolthouse Farm’s drinks, including the Acai + 10 Superblend. This drink has a thick, smoothie-like texture and an irresistible combination of acai and complementary fruit juices—from blueberries to black-currants to pomegranate—that I’ll drink slowly to savor. My inherent bias for mangos above all other fruits means I’m also pretty satisfied with Bolthouse’s mango smoothie. When I’ve felt adventurous, I’ve tried the vegetable carrot juice, which has an unexpectedly sweet taste and smooth texture, a surprise that hasn’t stopped me from trying out the next atypical thing— pressed grapefruit juice! 

    I know that drinking these teas and juices isn’t the same as eating whole fruits and vegetables, but I am nonetheless getting some more nutrients and fluid into my body. One of these days, I may even qualify as being hydrated!