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If God Wanted Us to Drink So Much Water, He’d Make It Taste Better: My Life in Beverages

Updated on March 1, 2012

Note: This hub was written in response to EclecticFusion's question, "Do you like your water plain or flavored? Do you drink it every day?"

Needs more lemon...and sugar...
Needs more lemon...and sugar... | Source

I don’t like drinking water.

Actually, I don’t mind drinking water—as long as it’s room temperature or chilled, no ice, and comes with a wedge or two of lemon, lime, cucumber, or anything that will interest my taste buds enough to keep sipping. If it’s had some good black tea steeping in it for a while, and had some sugar stirred into it while it’s still warm, all the better. Ideally, it comes in one of those plastic bottles that’s killing our planet and features different flavors and vitamins geared to whatever aspect of my life I need help with. And, in a perfect world, it’s been processed through a Coca-Cola bottling plant (preferably in Mexico, where they still use pure cane sugar).

Lovely...
Lovely... | Source

I blame my upbringing. When I was growing up in east Texas in the mid-1960s, we did not have a lot of doctors and scientists telling us via all available media outlets that drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day was essential to good health and longevity. To be perfectly honest, plain tap water was for manual laborers –my mother would bring pitchers of ice water and Styrofoam cups to our yard guys as they mowed our lawn and trimmed the bushes on hot summer days—and for sipping in restaurants while waiting for your real drink to arrive. The universal drink of choice was iced sweet tea, with strong black coffee coming in a distant second. I learned at a very young age how to fill the tea kettle, boil water, and how to tie the teabag strings around the handle of the teapot so they wouldn’t sink to the bottom and have to be fished out with a spoon. I learned how long to leave the teabags in and how to squeeze them out when removing them. I learned how to put cold water in the glass pitcher before pouring in the hot tea, so that the heat wouldn’t shatter the glass. And most of all, I learned that while the rest of my world seemed to prefer their tea iced, I liked mine at room temperature or chilled with no ice, with lots of sugar. There was something genteel and sophisticated about drinking a tall glass of warm, sweet tea and curling up with a good book.

Sigh...
Sigh... | Source

My family were all big tea drinkers, but there were other beverages that we probably enjoyed more than most people. My great-uncle was the manager of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in our hometown, which meant that the back porches of his house, my great-grandmother’s house, and every other household on that side of the family were stacked with cases of Coca-Cola, Fanta, 7-Up, and anything else that the bottling plant produced. Some of my earliest memories involve those tall stacks of wooden boxes, and being too short to access the top box for a drink. I was handed a “hot” (i.e. unrefrigerated) bottle of Coca-Cola so often as a child that I came to think of chilled or iced Coke as an abomination of epic proportions. Looking back at my shy demeanor as a little girl, I shudder to think of the catatonic zombie child I would have been without all that caffeine being pumped into my system—but I probably would have been a lot less nervous and timid. Nobody else seemed to be having these problems, though, so I kept drinking both tea and Coke in large quantities every day.

Comment vous dire "yuck" en français?
Comment vous dire "yuck" en français? | Source

Not until 1977, when I was in middle school and Perrier launched its American sales campaign, did drinking “plain” water occur to me on a regular basis. Perrier had the cache of being French and fancy, but I hated the bitter carbonation. Soon there were “flat” bottled waters available as well, and plenty of discussion about how much healthier bottled water was than the increasingly polluted swill pouring from our kitchen faucets. As obsessed with designer everything as I was, I drew the line at paying good money for something that tasted the same as the stuff I didn’t want to drink out of my tap at home.


And so I continued to drink sweet tea and Coke almost exclusively for years, with the occasional glass of lemon-spiked water at restaurants. Then, during my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and was suddenly immersed in dietary counseling and seemingly hourly blood glucose testing. I had it easy—I was not the typical gestational diabetic. I already exercised excellent portion control and had always maintained a healthy weight with good diet and exercise habits. My diagnosis was probably related to a family history of diabetes, and controlling my blood sugar with diet was fairly easy—except when it came to my beverage of choice.

The single most difficult thing I had to do was give up Coca-Cola and anything sweetened with sugar. Substituting sweeteners for sugar in my tea was one thing, but how in the world was I supposed to wake up in the morning without those caffeine-laden bubbles carbonating my blood stream? Forget Diet Coke—anyone who says that it tastes just the same as regular Coke has defective taste buds. It tasted like a chemical, metallic version of a failed Coke imitator and I couldn’t have drunk it even if it hadn’t been laced with all those scary, possibly carcinogenic sweeteners with copyrighted names. I must confess that there were a few days during the end of my pregnancy when I just couldn’t stand the cravings, bought a can of Coke from a supermarket, and drank it in my car, being careful to toss the can into a public wastebasket so nobody would know. Fortunately, the illicit Cokes never affected my blood sugar adversely, but when we were entering the hospital with labor pains, I told my husband that the first thing I wanted after our daughter was born was a Coke—and that’s exactly what I had.

What was I thinking?
What was I thinking? | Source

I managed to make it through two more pregnancies with gestational diabetes and a subsequent absence of Coke in my system, but I still couldn’t bring myself to drink plain water to the degree advised by my nutritional consultants. Lacing pitchers of ice water with slices of lemon, lime, and cucumber helped me drink more, but my due dates were in winter and early spring, so cold drinks weren’t particularly appealing. Another problem I was having was with my caffeine intake—I had become completely dependent on caffeine to keep me vertical with three small children and I wasn’t sleeping well at night as a result. As David Letterman once put it, “Without the caffeine, I’d have no personality at all.” I also suffered from major headaches if my caffeine levels dropped below a certain level. Clearly, some changes had to be made if I were to function at a healthy, normal level.

One day, as I was struggling to cut back on my Coke habit and experimenting with healthier alternatives, I read a couple of articles that made giving up my crutch much easier. One article discussed the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup in foods and beverages, and while I’d known about this before, it dawned on me that the HFCS in Coke and my sensitivity-bordering-on-allergy to corn were mutually incompatible. The second article explained how carbonated drinks created gas build-up in the gastro-intestinal tract, resulting in bloating and discomfort. To a mom who was trying desperately to flatten out her abdomen after three pregnancies, this was a revelation. Suddenly Coke was no longer the sweet elixir of life, but instead a tempting but wicked substance that would make me simultaneously hyper, exhausted, and fat. With new resolve, I committed myself to drinking only water or drinks made with 100% healthy ingredients from that moment on.

Source
Source

With what can only be described as unbelievably fortuitous timing, Coca-Cola chose that moment to roll out its latest offering—a collection of fortified waters laden with vitamins, antioxidants, and other all-natural ingredients designed to target various needs. VitaminWater, produced by Coke subsidiary Glacéau, came in so many flavors and vitamin combinations that I could tailor my drink to my needs—brilliant! I tried them all, becoming immediately hooked on the no-calorie VitaminWater Zero XXX flavor. The blend of blueberry, pomegranate, and açai (I’m pretty sure “açai” is Portuguese for “crack”) juices was delicious and healthy—maybe not as healthy as Glacéau would have me believe, but definitely healthier than Coke. Then I discovered the Energy formula—not available in the no-cal version, but containing just enough caffeinated guarana to get me going in the morning, without experiencing a serious energy crash or migraine headache later in the day.

There are still a couple of problems—packaging and cost. As I become more and more educated on the evils of plastic water bottles and their damaging effects to our environment, as well as the damaging effects that the price of VW has on our food budget, I’m having a harder and harder time justifying the numbers of VitaminWater bottles I buy. I’ve cut way back on my VW purchases, although I can’t seem to give it up completely. I am, however, finally coming around to the simple pleasures of citrus/fruit-spiked filtered tap water, poured from a lovely glass pitcher and sipped slowly and appreciatively. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

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    • larcaustin46 profile image
      Author

      larcaustin46 5 years ago from Austin, TX

      Thanks--glad you enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      calculus-geometry 5 years ago

      Who knew an article about drinking water could be so engaging. This was a fun read, thank you!

    • larcaustin46 profile image
      Author

      larcaustin46 5 years ago from Austin, TX

      Bless me, readers, for I have sinned--I had a Coke the other day, but I absolutely could not have gotten through The World's Longest Dance Competition without it. Three hours of contemporary/modern/lyrical solos to every breakup song Adele has ever recorded was enough to send me into either a coma or clinical depression without some major caffeine...

    • wowsite1234 profile image

      wowsite1234 5 years ago from Moncks Corner, SC

      Great Hub. I drink water all the time and agree that it doesn't taste the same as it used to.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I loved water as a kid but now we get chemically treated human waste from the faucet and I am not drinking it! I have learned caffeine is very bad so for me it is mostly green and herbal teas and 100% fruit juice. I only have a sip of soda very occasionally, like with pizza. That fizz in sodas are really bad for you too, so good luck.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

      Great, entertaining personal story. I have no problem drinking water. I was in New Orleans at the Marriotts, and they had this huge glass dispenser in the lobby with sliced fruit and citrus on the top. And dinky plastic glasses. Well, being from California and not being used to the weather, I drained that sucker like nobody's business. Always protect your kidneys. I applaud you for giving up the soft drinks. Voted up and everything else. Bookmarked!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 5 years ago from France

      LOL well done on giving up the cola. The first time I met my children's friends in France I was amazed that they prefered to drink plein water instead of any of the carbonated drinks I had for them!

      Now I am use to it, a table is not well served if it doesn't have two bottles: one of wine and one of water. We hardly ever buy carbonated drinks.

      Cultural differences I guess...

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I guess I've got defective taste buds when my doctor told me to give up regular coke I thought I'll never be able to drink diet coke but I did and I'm addicted to it but only the fountain kind.

      I loved coke we never got it as a kid couldn't afford it but once I could buy it myself I sure did.

      Water I like but don't drink enough of it. We get ours from a spring in town fill up big jugs and bring them home. Ice cold real spring water is so good. I know if I would stop drinking diet coke I would drink more water.

      Perrier water I would only buy to get the green bottle for my bottle tree.

      I also love warm sweet tea we had tea in our house everyday. We also lived in Texas.

      Enjoyed your hub.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Congrats on giving up the cola!!!

      Oh man, that peer eee yay stuff...TASTES AWFUL!

      I prefer Austin's water to the French stuff!

      I drink gallons of sweet tea ...daily. I just can't do without it! Lucky me that I'm not worried about sugar. :-D

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      I love your reasoning! I dislike drinking plain water too. I dont care if its ice cold, if it has lemon or if its in a fancy bottle. Ick. I need my Diet Coke every day (started drinking diet when I got gestational diabetes too). Thanks for the morning laugh :) I am heading over to follow you now. I need to see what else you have!!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is a riot! So true - I loved every word, and I relate to all of it! Thanks for starting my day off with a laugh. Voted up, funny and SHARED with my followers.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Loved it! Laughed at it! Related to it! I don't like water either, and no fruity tutti or coloring helps! I was a gymnast in the mid-seventies - and back then - all we knew was that water made us weigh more...sigh..(can you say kidney stones?) i know i can! Drink up! Cheers, dear! Ps..i may be a canadian girl - but i adore texas (San Antone, Austin). my favorite state - and - i've been around..lol