Kristen Yarker

Stay Hydrated This Summer

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Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD brings the JOY of healthy eating to adults and picky kids. And, powers us to LOVE our bodies. Because food is love. A registered dietitian, Kristen has 20+ years of experience in nutrition helping find the sweet spot where eating is healthy for your body without giving up enjoying food’s pleasure. Kristen liberates people from the diet/ guilt cycle so that they adopt healthy eating habits that actually stick.

How Much Water Do I Need?

You’ve likely heard the common adviceof drinking 8 glassesof water a day. But is that really how much water you need?

The fluid recommendations are 2.7 Litres of total fluid per day for women. This is for us women who are between 19 – 70 years old who aren’t intense athletes, living in 30 degree C or hotter weather, or pregnant/ breastfeeding.  (Men need 3.7 Litres of total fluids).

You may have noticed that I used the term “fluid”, not “water” in the last paragraph. That’s because the recommendation is for total fluids – including everything you drink and the liquid naturally found in foods such as soups, fruit, and veggies.

How do you know if you’re getting enough fluid? Some of the symptoms of mild dehydration are tiredness and irritability. Imagine if drinking some more fluids could be the secret to being happier? Now that’s worth a try!

My personal experience is that people feel their best on a bit more water than is recommended. That’s why I recommend that women drink 2.5 Litres of water (or other naturally sugar-free and decaffeinated beverages). The fluid in your foods will be in addition to this water.

I recommend that you reach this level for a few days and see how you feel. Then, slowly decrease the amount of water that you’re drinking and take note of how you feel. You’ll find the sweet spot between needing to constantly go to the bathroom and having good energy.


Flavoured Water Warnings

Drinking plain water day after day can become boring. A solution is to mix it up – to reignite your interest with flavoured water (a.k.a. spa water).  When I mention flavouring water, your mind likely jumps to lemon water. Here are two warnings when choosing flavoured waters.


#1: Acid & Tooth Enamel

Lemon water is being talked about all over the internet. Unfortunately there is a downfall from all the attention that lemon water is getting. The natural acid that’s in citrus fruits (e.g. lemon, lime, orange) can cause weakening of your tooth enamel, especially if you sip on them all day, day after day. Kiwi and pineapple are also quite high in acid. To save your tooth enamel, mix it up. Choose low-acid options more often and choose citrus options only occasionally.    

#2: Hidden Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners

The other common downfall that I want you to avoid is that many flavoured waters contain hidden sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. I’m not against the occasional use of artificial sweeteners, afterall, officially they are approved as safe for use in Canada. However, one of the overarching truths in which I believe when it comes to nutrition is: “foods closest to the way nature made them are the healthiest choice”. Artificial sweeteners are far from nature. Therefore, stick with drinks that are close to nature for your day in and day out water consumption.

Spa Water Ideas

Here are some low-acid, low-sugar, and artificial sugar-free spa water options. The herbs have the lowest natural acids (i.e. none). The fruits all have a little bit of acid. But don’t focus on what these drinks don’t have, instead focus on what they do have – fantastic flavour! I call them “spa water” – doesn’t that sound luxurious? Feel free to bring out your inner mixologist to create your favourite flavours.

  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon verbena
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries
  • Iced green tea
  • Iced herbal tea
  • Kombucha
  • Concord or coronation grapes

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