Happy Hydrating!

It started with the feeling of being light headed and dizzy then progressed to leg cramps. Later that night while I slept, the leg cramps became unbearable, shooting me out of bed. Thinking back, I did remember earlier in the day, stopping to ask myself, why had I gone into the walk-in, and what was I looking for? This foggy state of the mind and my inability to remember what I was doing, suggested that I was exhausted. Granted I do work extreme hours, well, long hours and taking care of my needs as a professional Chef do not come first when I am responsible for catering to the culinary needs of a private estate. Then I realized: how much water did I have that day? Oh, not good. What about the day before? Definitely, not good. How about the week? Oops! I forgot to drink my water. There it sat on the kitchen counter, full.

It was so bad that my brain functioning was impacted, and I had to stop and think about what I was doing and why. What the heck was happening to me? It dawned on me that I was dehydrated. By the time, I wanted a bottle of water, it was too late. I had already gone past the point of dehydration. Don’t let that happen to you!

We hear about exhaustion, but in reality, it might be dehydration. It’s quite easy to do. I get caught up cooking or you might be outside weeding your garden and we tell ourselves, “On my next pass by that counter, I will throw back half that bottle!”  Well, I didn’t. I am lucky. It can land someone like me in the hospital. Severe dehydration can lead to organ failure, brain shrinkage, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure to name a few. That doesn’t sound so good does it? So for February, we need to show the love to our organs, our skin, and our bodies by hydrating!

What can we eat that will supply hydration to the body?  As a chef, I use the small packets of hydration gel. It provides hydration, electrolytes in gel form that  can be squeezed into their mouth or if a powder, throw into a  water bottle. I found them in a national chain that deals in natural organic grocery products for the body.

Be sure to stock these water packed foods in your refrigerator to eat when it is especially hot outside or for anytime really. These foods all contain over 90% water so you want them as snacks or as a meal or as a grab and go for yourself or your kids. Watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries and skim milk are just a few that I will mention. For every cup of watermelon, there is 1 cup of water! Plus vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe offers 2% of fiber in every cup and lettuce has 5 % folate in every cup, fiber and for each cup you have ½ cup of water.  Cucumbers are the lowest in calories for those weight conscious dieters who are seeking hydration and they offer potassium, magnesium and vitamin K. Its easy to offer these, simply make a salad of them, or have them out as snacks for the kids when they come home from soccer or basketball practice.

Other food items that have high hydration value and contain over 90% water are zucchini, broths, soups, peppers, celery, cabbage and cauliflower. Celery and Zucchini combined and cooked offered as a drink has a terrific cleansing diuretic for your kidneys. I used to give my employer this drink as a detox for her kidneys and to flush the toxins out of her. There are so many ways to obtain water other than just opening a bottle cap. Its important to remember that consuming these will add to our hydration.

For people who have CHF, fluid balance is the most important aspect of managing their disease. Consult a doctor if you are unsure of what diet to serve them or what foods they need for a happier longer life.

Its very important to remember our bodies are made up of water and we need to maintain that for optimum health.

Remember that beer commercial? Stay Thirsty My Friends? Well, it shouldn’t be for beer.

Alcohol severely dehydrates you and can lead to a whole different set of problems if consumed in excess. The next morning our brains and our bodies are depleted of the moisture we need to stay alert, healthy and function. AKA, the hangover. No, there is no cure for one. You must maintain adequate hydration before you even take that first sip of alcohol. Be sure to wash the fruits and veggies you buy for added safety! Happy Hydrating!




Mary Beth Johnson, CEPC, CCC

"Chef Mary Beth creates delicious and elegant culinary works of art that should be in a museum, as described by E. Oppenheim. She is a professional chef who has made her career as a private personal chef in the luxury field for over 25 years. Chef Johnson is the recipient of numerous culinary and visionary awards in her field and is often in the media for her expertise as well as appearing on television and she is an author  to writing for major media publications.

Comments Join The Discussion