Failures in Hydration, Cream Edition
August 15, 2014 1:54 AM   Subscribe

Like this questioner here, I too am a grown-ass woman who fails at hydration. However, I do find that I am more willing to guzzle down creamy drinks, such as milk or hot chocolate. Are those enough to hydrate me, will I die from too much milk, and what other drinks will help fulfil both the cream craving and the hydration?

Other pertinent details:

1. I do like tea and coffee - too much coffee makes me jumpy, but I'm fine with any amount of tea. I think they also hit part of the same craving as milk and hot chocolate in that they're warm.

2. I'm lactose-intolerant, but can deal with lactose-free milk fine. I do like soy and almond milks but also would like to know if I would suffer from drinking too much of it.

3. I'm so-so with fruit juices and smoothies (I tend to prefer solid fruit/veg) though I do love melons a great deal. Hate berries and not fond of much stonefruit. Green smoothies make me feel woozy.
posted by divabat to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Can you try herbal tea (switch up kinds so you don't get too much rose hips or whatever different herb is in each one...)? Peppermint, fruity ones, nutty ones, etc?
posted by Pax at 2:05 AM on August 15, 2014

There is a question as to whether or not excessive soy milk consumption can be an endocrine disruptor - here's an Utne article - but you'll want to do your own research and draw a line you're comfortable with. Do vary your milks (I think as long as you switch it up it's fine...?).

Chai (milk-based), melon smoothies, milk tea?
Is part of the appeal the heat? A mug of hot water with lemon, ginger, honey also works. Korean Saengangcha is basically chunks of ginger steeped in honey and makes an amazing hot drink. I can find jars of it in my area, but I've linked to a recipe just in case.

Horchata? You could (I assume) drink this hot as well.

I also remember a Lonely Planet episode set in Peru (?) where I think Justine was drinking something hot and creamy for breakfast that involved cornmeal and cocoa... maybe someone else can flush out exactly what this was.

I see your actual question is as to whether or not this is enough to hydrate you... well, is your urine a light lemony yellow or a dark amber? If the former, then you're probably fine. Fresh (whole) fruit, soups, fresh veg etc. will also hydrate you. I mean, really - the reason a lot of drinks were invented and popularized is that boiling, fermenting, etc. got rid of germs in times and places where the water supply wasn't/isn't great; which means that people all over time/space primarily drink various "drinks" and not just water.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:42 AM on August 15, 2014

In general, my understanding medically is that you are fine.

As the mom of a child that doesn't want anything beyond chocolate milk, which we limit, here's my suggestion.....

Almond Milk.

More hydration, creamy texture. Flax Seed Milk is also FABULOUS.
posted by jbenben at 2:53 AM on August 15, 2014

Atole is a lovely, hot milk drink. My friend who's lived in Mexico swears by it. You should be able to do a non-lactose version of it with no probs.

I keep hydrated by drinking lots and lots of herbal tea. I'm partial to licorice tea at the moment, but I also love rooibos (and there's an amazing rooibos/vanilla blend out there that's great cold too).
posted by kariebookish at 3:08 AM on August 15, 2014

Make your own fruit infused water?

Up your intake of fruits and vegetables with high water content?

Drink herbal tea and/or plain old hot water?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:10 AM on August 15, 2014

I also worry about hydration, especially as I realised in the last year I was often going the entire day without liquids. My solutions are (i) have a supply of peppermint teabags and rooibos crème caramel tea bags and do 1-2 cups a day (ii) buy one of those screw top bottles from a camping shop that look like they should be owned by active people and try to ensure I fill it daily and drink it, which lets me keep some track on what I am consuming.
posted by biffa at 3:13 AM on August 15, 2014

Hydration wise, you're fine. I would personally watch out for sugar/caffeine intake, because a surprisingly little amount of either makes me feel ill.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:10 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

How do you feel about cocunut water? Not exactly creamy, but it's a different texture than water...
posted by missriss89 at 4:15 AM on August 15, 2014

Do you like coconut? Coconut water is a thing in the US now and I love it precisely because it tastes like coconut but is not creamy. However, I'm sure you could mix up some ratio of coconut water and coconut milk to get a mouthfeel you like. I've combined them for cooking and the results are always tasty.
posted by Mizu at 4:18 AM on August 15, 2014

Mint tea is a diuretic, so it is counterproductive for hydration.
posted by miss tea at 5:36 AM on August 15, 2014

Hot water? I find it easier to get down than more cold water or tea or coffee, and as we have a 'boiling' tap on the filtered water at work, is very easy. Just the warmth is nice, so I don't worry about the creamy.
posted by AnnaRat at 5:42 AM on August 15, 2014

Hydration is an odd modern fetish; I think it was in the mid or late 1990s that I started seeing adults carrying around and sucking on bottles like infants all day. It doesn't matter where the liquid in your diet comes from (soup, water, tea...) as long as you are getting enough (and enough is far less than the guidelines you will see commonly repeated) and drinking when you are thirsty you are fine.

My only note would be that your list of tasty beverages is fairly calorie-rich, which for me now that I don't have the metabolism of a teenager would mean having to cut back in other places or drink less than I wanted; purely hydration-wise any of those will make you need to pee and none of them will harm you.

too much coffee makes me jumpy

If it is available where you are (it is not common in some parts of the world), switching to decaf will solve this.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:10 AM on August 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

omg I looooooove coconut milk! But it's super rich and any more than maybe a glass's worth and I can start to feel my heart clog up. I'm not terribly calorie conscious, but I'd like to not drink 90% fat if I can help it, even if it's so good.

I suppose the richness is what I was trying to get at with the "is it safe to drink 8 glasses of milk a day" thing. I'd recently developed a craving for milk and creamy drinks, hence the question, but wasn't sure how much was OK to drink without being yet another family member needing an angioplasty.
posted by divabat at 6:29 AM on August 15, 2014

Coconut water is different from coconut milk. It doesn't have the coconut solids mixed into it, so it isn't full of fat.
posted by umbú at 7:17 AM on August 15, 2014

If you're peeing regularly, and your pee is pale, you're not dehydrated. Your body will extract water from bread, soup, milk, or whatever you eat. I don't enjoy drinking water, so I drink iced tea with lots of ice to water it down coffee, and beer. I also try to eat lots of broth-y soup, at least in the cold weather.
posted by theora55 at 7:20 AM on August 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

You can make your own rice milk, and flavor it or not. I'm sure you could also heat up a mug's worth in the microwave before drinking. Just make sure you shake it before using.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:18 AM on August 15, 2014

YES coconut water is way different than coconut milk, although I agree I would drink the latter by the gallon if possible. Coconut water evangelists will tell you that you should only get the kind that has never been heat treated but I personally can't tell much of a difference.

There is one brand that does actually taste different but I forget which one it is. The bottle is white with green lettering. It has a very green sort of taste.
posted by elizardbits at 8:24 AM on August 15, 2014

As an avid coffee and tea drinker, who has also been defined by the modern cult of hydration, I was interested to read recent study results claiming that your body "ignores" the diuretic effects of caffeine if you're a regular with them. I stopped with the one to one ratio of coffee to water and the color of my urine didn't change, and I did not turn into dust and crumble.
posted by Lardmitten at 8:29 AM on August 15, 2014

There is one brand that does actually taste different but I forget which one it is. The bottle is white with green lettering. It has a very green sort of taste.

It's Harmless Harvest, and it's the only one that actually tastes like it comes from an actual coconut, instead of some weird chemical.

Sorry, I grew up drinking coconut water out of coconuts that I plucked out of real trees, and it's the one thing I can't compromise on.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:37 AM on August 15, 2014

If you eat a lot of water rich food (fruit, vegetables, soup, etc), you really don't need to drink much water. If you eat mostly low-water foods (dried fruit, crackers, etc), you do need to drink more.

Tea totally counts as hydrating - don't drink so much black tea that you feel jumpy/can't sleep, but otherwise, it's totally fine. I personally would be wary about drinking more than a glass or two of cow milk or soy milk a day, due to possible health effects, but I am not sure how valid my concerns are. I would not hesitate to drink an entire container of unsweetened almond milk in a day; almonds are fantastic for you. I'd skip juice because of the concentrated sugar, but I don't see a problem eating tons of melon (and as mentioned above, fruits are hydrating).
posted by insectosaurus at 8:45 AM on August 15, 2014

If you try coconut water note that it's worth trying a couple different brands. The fancy organic one at my grocery store I thought was awful, but the shelf stable carton imported from Thailand was pretty good...
posted by jrobin276 at 1:24 PM on August 15, 2014

oh durr. I misread coconut water as coconut milk, sorry. I too grew up drinking fresh coconut, it's not cheap, but I'll check it out.

My pee is...decidedly not pale, let's put it that way.
posted by divabat at 3:07 PM on August 15, 2014

Like was said above, don't worry about hitting some arbitrary target, like 8-10 glasses of water a day, but do look at the color of your urine, and aim for pale. No matter what you are drinking, consistently dark urine is a sign of dehydration.

I really dislike water, so I feel you. But getting a kidney stone forced me to be more careful; kidney stones are excellent motivators. My own way of dealing with this is to force myself to drink a few glasses of water throughout the day--I do it fast so the unpleasantness doesn't last too long.

Given you love for creamy drinks, you might want incorporate Italian Cream Sodas, sometimes called French Sodas, into your beverage rotation, going easy on the cream and syrup. Basically, the idea is to mix sparkling water, flavored syrup, and some cream together to achieve bubbly, creamy goodness. I think just a splash of organic half and half would satisfy your desire for creaminess but wouldn't be *terrible* for you (if you are going to drink cow's milk, it is important that it be organic, especially if you are a woman, because of all the hormones in conventional dairy) . Just be cognizant of the amount of sugar you are drinking.

On preview: just now seeing the bit about being lactose intolerant. I assume they have lactose free half and half. If not, substitute a splash of the richest non-dairy creamer that agrees with you.
posted by girl flaneur at 8:39 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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