Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cold, Refreshing Drinks

With the temperatures nearing 70 degrees all of a sudden, it's time to think about sensible hydrating.
Only that doesn't sound very tasty. What I mean, of course, is cold, refreshing, water-based drinks.
It's also time to think about sensible approaches to hydrating, if you are so inclined. By sensible approaches, I mean inexpensive, healthful and friendly to the earth.
Whoops. That rules out drinks in plastic bottles!
Darn, because both Coke and Pepsi just introduced "healthy sparkling beverages," fortified with vitamins and minerals, to appeal to customers growing ever more wary of the synthetics and high-fructose corn syrup and whatever all's in the regular stuff. (Slogan: "Now with more stuff! Good for you! Please?")
But customers are even warier of this new ploy, to judge from a comment thread at the New York Times today. (And I was lying when I said "Darn." You knew that.)
So, what to do?
I know. You're on the run. No time to prepare a lunch to bring to work, much less something to wash it down with. That's when those refrigerated cases with the dizzying choices of waters and colas and fruity somethings look so convenient.
But: Not inexpensive, not healthful and not friendly to the earth.
Among the choices in the cooler, water is your best bet for health, but how stupid is that? Paying for water in a plastic bottle?
Someone I know who grew up carrying around bottled water — so chic, so urban, so sporty! — once spent some time when she was in her late teens at her grandmother's home. She was appalled that the only water in the house came out of a spigot. It seemed so, so — primitive! And, kinda, y'know, "ew."
Did she want water that came out of an artesian well? A glacial spring? See, that's primitive.
No, all she wanted was modern water that came out of a bottle. We didn't have the heart to tell her the water used by the bottlers comes out of a spigot.
So how do you get around the plastic bottle problem?
Well, yeah, you could use the water cooler at work. But you might want something tasty with a whiff of "good for you." (Stay with me; this is gonna be easy and cheap.)
First, get a Thermos. Buy it once, and reuse it forever.
And then, each night before work or school, add something to the cold water in the Thermos to make it delicious.
Lemon wedges.
Crushed slices of cucumber.
Orange segments.
Bruised cilantro leaves.
Or try brewed green tea, or some other flavor.
Bonus! You can also use the Thermos for hot beverages. Like coffee.
(As if anyone brews their own anymore; everyone knows it comes in paper cups with plastic lids.)


Era said...

This is a fabulous post. I wish I could say what you said with as much humor and not seem like I'm on a high horse (which you didn't). Well said, well said.

Stacie said...

you are mad and you drink! save the world through thoughtful beverage consumption, inspiring as always, Ms. Crumb!

Dagny said...

When I was growing up, my mom would keep a pitcher of tap water in the fridge. You could add lemon or whatever else to it. I mean I can understand bottled water if there are parasites in your tap water but otherwise? It still confuses me that people pay for water.

At work there's an electric kettle. Each morning I drop whatever teabag I have brought from home into my travel mug and fill it with hot water. And it's OK if the stuff cools because I still drink it. I do this about three times a day. Probably because I have never been a huge fan of sodas. Besides, aren't those really drink mixers?

Barbara said...

Brilliant idea. I tend to buy a plastic bottle and refill it until I lose it, then buy another.

kayenne said...

hmm... you're not supposed to reuse those plastic bottles for more than a week, or when the clear bottles turn cloudy. something about the plastic breaking down. check the number on the triangle PET logo. 5 is the highest and best, i think. reusable. those with 1 or 2 are the worst.

kayenne said...

hmm... you're not supposed to reuse those plastic bottles for more than a week, or when the clear bottles turn cloudy. something about the plastic breaking down. check the number on the triangle PET logo. 5 is the highest and best, i think. reusable. those with 1 or 2 are the worst.

ChrisB said...

I'm glad to have read Kayenne's advice I wasn't aware there was a timescale on re-using plastic bottles because that's what I tend to do. I will now go and check the logo numbers on my saved bottles.

Moonbear said...

Sometimes you sound as crunchy as I am, Cookiecrumb. Carry a thermos? Are you as Dorky as I am too??
I have a friend who takes his own container to buy take out food, and even in Berkeley he gets blinky looks.
Thanks for the reminder about cold green tea. I will make my lunch today to take to work with me, and it will include some nice refreshing drinky. In my house we call a drink of water "brain food."
I just love your post. Please continue to harp on these issues. (Really.)

Sam said...

I am so cheap.
I have a thermos, a beautiful one in fact that I am so in love with I got in right tizzy when I temporarily lost it on Monday, and fill it with hot water.
Nothing added, nothing taken away.
I love it.

I drink hot water all day long.

I liked the water ethics last night at Incanto.

I am wondering how they add bubbles to their water?

We used to have a Sodastream as I was growing up. That would do the trick - now where could I get one these days?

Melody said...

Love it... water is the absolute best.. and I love infusing it with herbs and lemon.. my favs being mint and cilantro....
and oy vey to your scooter libbey post. Have you read his book?

What a creepy man!

cookiecrumb said...

Aw, thanks, Era. I actually did worry about that. xxx

Stacie: I'll drink to that! (Welcome home.)

Dagny: How sane is that, what your mom did? Very.
When I was in high school, a pal's entire pantry was filled with cases of soft drinks. That whole family was addicted.

Barbara: I'm guilty of the same trick, and for the most part, I thought it was reasonable until I read the comment following yours...

Kayenne: Thank you. Wow. Didn't know.

ChrisB: We think we're so clever, and then...

Moonbear: I'm just a few ticks short of bringing in my own Tupperwear for doggie bags in restaurants.

Sam: I think they have a grand, vast distillery at Incanto. What fun that was. I'm guessing Sodastream is like a seltzer bottle.
And -- hot water all day? I sort of like that, but it's new to me... I'd need lemon.

Melody: I forgot mint! And I have vast quantities of it on the patio. Thanks. And no. I'm not reading a book by "the aspens' entwining roots" Libby. :D

Katie said...

Be really daring - go against the flow, order (shudder) tap water is a restaurant...
Which actually wouldn't be bad if they would filter it.
In Andorra they (like the rest of the world) bottle and sell 'artesian water'. The locals just take their plastic jugs up to the spigots coming out of the mountainside...same thing, free.

cookiecrumb said...

Katie: How grand to have access to those streams...
Anyway. In the US these days, waiters have taken to offering "sparkling" water or "flat." Ugh. I always correct them that the proper term for non-sparkling water is "still."
I order water. I used to be afraid it made me look cheap, but -- what, liquor, coffee, Coke? Nah. I'll take the non-petro-mile domestic water.

Willa said...

I'm a big bottled water addict- I say it's because I am always driving, and I am SO well hydrated that I have to have water with me all the time, and if I take it in a cup or a glass, I spill it down the front of me. AND since, I don't drink anything else, when I am out and waterless, there is nothing at the convenience store for me to drink but bottled water.
It's also because I don't like the taste of the tap water here- like drinking a swimming pool, and besides, we are way too close to Three Mile Island, and there are an awful lot of brain cancers here...
Anyway, I am trying to do better- perhaps I'll go look at thermos-y cups that have some sort of access limited port on the top so the water doesn't decorate my decolletage

cranky said...

Willa: If you're thinking of ditching the plastic bottles, I'd suggest a water filter (never used one, though; does Brita get rid of chlorine taste?). And Thermos has a cute bottle with a retractable sport straw.