Why do the French drink water so often? Firstly, we all know that water is good for us. The benefits are numerous and include healthy looking skin, controlled cravings, healthy kidneys, energized muscles, and increased energy in general! So it’s hard to overdo water intake and much easier to not get enough!
So, if you’re like me, drinking plain water has never come naturally. Sure I can carry around my water bottle wherever I go, but I don’t necessarily drink from it enough. It is a conscious decision I have to make every day to remind myself to drink water.
When I moved to France decades ago, the biggest “gastronomic” shock on this side of the Atlantic was not that the French ate such different and varied foods than the Americans, it was the central role of water in their lives. The French drink water constantly.
Water is THE choice of drink for most people when they sit down for a meal, otherwise it is sometimes a glass (or two) of wine for the adults. It is not guzzled down in huge quantities at meal times (most adult water glasses seem miniature sized when measured by our standards), it is just a constant, a way to get rid of immediate thirst.
At school cafeterias, water is the only choice of drink. So milk, juices and sodas never appear on the school menu.
What are some of the reasons why the French drink so much water?
The importance of food is so great in France, the French would never ruin the taste and experience of food with a drink that would take away from it.
After adopting only-water-at-mealtimes, I realized an added bonus was that it didn’t ruin appetites like other drinks loaded with sugar or flavors. In addition, mealtimes become more focused on food, and the palate wasn’t ruined.
Much has been said about how French and other European women stay slim without necessarily dieting, all while enjoying delicious foods in the process. Part of the answer is drinking water consistently and skipping out on other sugar-filled drinks. Water keeps you fuller for longer, and helps your insides and plumbing work correctly!
Here are eight ways to add water easily to your day
Start your morning with water
Whether or not you are a coffea or tea drinker, starting out your morning with a glass of water (warm with lemon, or room temperature) is a great way to clean out your system and get some hydration early on in the day.
Only meal time drink
Like the French, it is the only drink served at meal times, whether I’m on my own or with my family. For those who drink sugary drinks regularly, this is a game changer. Go about making the switch slowly and consistently.
Use your water bottle
Go for it and fill up your bottle every morning and endeavor to get it finished by night time. Personally my daily goal is to get one liter of water in me before noon, then at every meal I have a few glasses.
An afternoon jolt
If you’re like me, cravings usually raise their head in between lunch and dinner. Before you give in to something unhealthy, drink up. Chances are your craving will go away. And if you experience low energy afternoons, this could also help you along!
On the road
Have a long commute (plane, train, automobile?), aim to use your commuiting time to guzzle down.
Get family on board
Have your kids in charge of filling up a pitcher for meal times. If water is too boring for them, try sparkling water, or infusing with citrus fruits to give it more flavor. Add ice or crushed ice to the pitcher.
When you’re out for dinner or at a cocktail party, have a glass of water or two for every cocktail or glass of wine you drink. Great way to stay sober too!
If you’re having a quiet evening at home, why not unwind during the evening with a warm herbal tea? No caffeine to interrupt your sleep and another chance to hydrate before the end of the day.
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