Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring is for Water; Hydrate for Health, by Patti McCabe

Our monthly column from our Certified Holistic Health Counselor and nutritionist, and theatre stage manager extraordinaire:

As a Stage Manager, I always make sure there is plenty of fresh water in the rehearsal room and backstage for performances.  But I’m not surprised to find that I’m more often thinking about refilling the supply at the coffee station!

Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking enough water. Getting our daily dose of water helps our organs perform their functions, keeps our skin clear and hydrated, and allows physical action in our bodies to flow smoothly. Even with this knowledge, it can still be challenging to drink all the water our bodies deserve daily. In the warmer months, when we tend to play hard, sweat and spend prolonged time in the sun, drinking plenty of water is critical. Those who are not drinking enough may experience poor digestion, sluggish thinking, skin breakouts, headaches, bad breath and general fatigue. 

To start your day right, set a large glass of water by your bed each night and drink it when you wake up. Drinking water first thing in the morning pulls out toxins from the previous day and freshens your system for the day ahead. Keep a bottle of water accessible throughout the day, whether you are on the go or at a desk. Having a bottle of water close by will remind you to take a sip when thirsty. The first sip will usually let you know how much more water you need. A sip or two may be enough, or you may need a big glass. If you drink most of your daily water before early evening, you most likely will not be thirsty before bed. This is good, because drinking before bed and then waking to use the bathroom disturbs your peaceful night’s sleep.

Many people are also surprised to learn that dehydration can be a main cause of sugar cravings.  Sometimes we think we are hungry when what our bodies really need is water.  So the next time you find yourself reaching for that candy bar (especially when you know you don’t want it but think you need it), try drinking a glass of water first.  Not only will you be allowing yourself a moment to become more conscious of your craving, but you may just find that you are better able to satisfy what your body truly needs. 

What about quality? Some people like bottled water, while others prefer filtered water. The key is to like the taste of the water you are drinking, and the water should agree with your body. If the taste of plain water is unappealing, experiment to see how you can make it tasty and drinkable. Try adding a few mint leaves, a wedge of lemon, a sprig of parsley, slices of cucumber, a twist of lime or a squeeze of orange to make water more tempting, or to jazz up your routine. Also, drinking tea or juice and eating raw fruits and vegetables contribute to the hydration process.

As the sun starts to warm up, set the stage now for a more hydrated you.  Try some of these tips to add more water into your daily routine, and feel your health and energy levels soar into the coming season!

Patti McCabe is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who specializes in helping the performing arts community get more out of their lives by getting more out of their food.  She received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and is accredited through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She leads workshops on health and nutrition, and offers both individual and group counseling services in person and by phone.  More information at and

No comments: