A toast, to your health

Water is not a magic, cure all elixir, but it does have an almost magical list of benefits. It replenishes the liquids that make up 60% of your body, by hydrating your tissues, muscles, organs, and lubricating your joints. This helps your skin have a healthy, clear glow. Aids digestion, suppresses appetite,  improves metabolism, and reduces weight. Proper hydration can reduce headaches and improve concentration. Regulates your body temperature, energizes muscles, and reduces cramps and sprains. Keeping your organs hydrated, flushes your system of toxins which fights fatigue, and improves your immune system. Finally, it can improve your mood. While water should make up half your daily liquid intake, it doesn't have to be plain. I like to spritz fresh, citrus juice in mine to glam it up every once in awhile.

In pure form, tea and coffee are just augmented water, with the same zero calories, and no sugar. Four glasses a day can consist of these two most commonly consumed beverages in the world. The problems only surface when the teas and coffees get fancy with added milks and sugars. One Venti Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino® is a quarter of the standard 2,000 calorie plan, and has a whopping 81g of sugar. Sticking to plain tea and coffee is difficult when you are accustomed to foo-foo drinks. I started slowly by cutting out the whip cream, then the sugary syrup, and built up to no milk or sugar. Then I realized that it wasn't really hard to just stop with fancy drinks altogether and opt for Americanos, Drip Coffee or Herbal Tea instead.

Two beverages can include milk and juice. However, this is not a free-zone, as you still need to be mindful. Everyone recommends low-fat milk, but if you are only having one glass a day, I say drink whichever makes you happy. Honestly, I think the best option is fresh milk if it is available. The juice is bit trickier, since you will need to diligently read the ingredients list to find the best options. I recommend 100% juice, with no added sugars, especially no high fructose corn syrup. Furthermore, it seems most juice is highly concentrated, so I usually dilute it with water for taste, adding the bonus of cutting calories.

Think of the final glass as a freebee, and indulge yourself. I think indulgence is very important to temper your cravings in lieu of pure abstinence. The more you deny yourself, the stronger the urge will become until you give in and gorge yourself. So, yes, think of this one glass as your indulgence, whether it be soda, beer, wine or Starbucks. Enjoy.

This is based on an average intake of 100oz or approximately 12 glasses a day. No matter your daily intake, the proportions should be the same: 50% Water, 25% Coffee or Tea, 17% Milk or Juice, and 8% indulgence. Of course, opting for 100% water is ideal, but likely unrealistic, especially initially. The real key is to be mindful of the cost-value of everything you put into your body.