It’s Really Hot, Hot, HOT! So Hydrate!

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Can you feel the temperature rising? I know that Western Washingtonians—at least some of them—melt when the temperature gets over 75°. Well it’s truly summertime now, and you have to make sure you take care of yourself and your family. Whether you’re going camping, clam digging on the beach, picnicking in the park, hanging around at the zoo, investigating at the museum, hiking in the mountains, boating, hunting, bird watching, or just going to a sporting event, you have to prepare.

How can we prepare? It’s not that difficult. Think about the following things:

  • Where are we going?
  • How many of us are there?
  • How long will we be staying?
  • Do we need jackets to stay warm?
  • Do we need sun protection?
  • Do we need special clothes?
  • Do we need equipment?
  • Do we need water?
  • Do we need snacks?
  • Will we need at least one full meal to take with us?
  • What should we have on hand in case of an emergency?
  • Do we know what to do in case of an emergency? (fire, flood, accident, bee stings, etc.)
  • Do we have the contact information we need?
  • Do we know how to get to our destination?

Those are just some of the questions that I thought of off the top of my head. One thing that is very important is to make sure that you stay hydrated during this time of year. That is one very important item that people tend to neglect. I have even seen a young female army soldier in basic training refuse to drink water even though it was 90° and sunny in the hot sand and we were going to be out there all day. I don’t know if it was a power struggle between her and the drill sergeants or if she just couldn’t stand water. Whatever her reason, the result was only to her detriment. She either suffered from heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Now I have never suffered from heat stroke, but while at Fort Benning, Georgia, I did find myself in trouble with heat exhaustion. It was no fun. I didn’t realize I was suffering, except for the fact that I was having a hard time going up this one hill. It felt like I was trying to go up Mount Rainier, but the hill wasn’t very steep or high. I had been running for about three or four miles and just seemed to have run out of gas. The rest of my platoon had passed me by. I knew I had to keep going, because the TAC officers—these guys are like drill sergeants on steroids—would jump down my throat if I gave up. TAC stands for “Teach, Advise and Counsel” or as I like to think, “Trick, Antagonize and Castrate.” No, really, these TAC officers were really great. Just don’t get them mad!

Actually, one did walk up to me and yell, “Stop!” I knew I was in trouble at that point. Then the TAC officer told me to feel my thigh. You see, it was summertime in Georgia with a high of 95° and 95% humidity. Our physical training uniform consisted of shorts and a T-shirt—and running shoes, of course. Therefore, my thigh was bare. I obediently put my hand on my thigh and felt it not knowing why I was doing it. The TAC officer asked me what it felt like. I told him it was cool and moist. Now I knew the problem. He asked me what that meant. I replied, “heat exhaustion.”

The TAC officer proceeded to give me water. Then he told me to go to the medics and get checked out. I felt really bad, because I did not accomplish the mission. But it was good that I went, because I found out that I was also anemic and needed to take iron supplements. So luckily, I was in good hands that day. The trained TAC officer recognized the signs of heat exhaustion and took immediate action.

Here is a great reference to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress, which includes, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash or heat syncope (dizziness or fainting) and to help you take the appropriate action:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

Let’s look at some cool ideas to help us keep hydrated during the dog days of summer in Food Stuff.

Food Stuff

Summer is full of opportunity to hydrate. Take advantage of it. This is a great time of year to be creative. Here are just a few ideas to help you get the fluid in your body:

  • Frozen water bottles. If you are going on a long road trip, put the water bottles in the freezer, but remember to take them out before you leave. This way, the water will stay cold a lot longer. Make sure there is room at the tops of the bottles for the water to expand to ice.
  • Popsicles. You can make homemade popsicles from fresh lemons, oranges, berries, grapes, peaches or fruit juice.
  • Watermelon. See that first word in the bigger word? WATER. There is a reason. It is one of the most water-filled fruits ever! It stores extremely well, too. You can’t pass it up. Get one with seeds and grind them up with the juice beforehand or just cut it up in slices and enjoy your sweet, watery snack.
  • Flavored ice cubes. Water is extremely important, but may be difficult for some to take in. Make it more desirable by squirting a little flavor in the water or put flavored ice cubes in it. So instead of “watering down” the drink, you are “flavoring it up!” Orange juice, lemonade or peppermint tea are some ideas.
  • Add some bubbles.  Sometimes fizz may be required to jazz up a drink. I don’t recommend this for all occasions. I do see some events, such as a pizza party, may call for a seltzer water and fruit juice combination. It brings a little excitement to the meal without the excess sugar that soda pop does.
  • Soup’s on!  I know a lot of people have the misperception that soup is only good for cold weather.  Not true!  There are cold soups like Gazpacho and cold cucumber soup.  You can make some “cool” soups with melons and peaches.  Soup is one of the most awesome ways to get water into your body without thinking about it.  Take a thermos with you.

Try one of the six tips or try all six.  Let me know what creative way you hydrated this summer!  Don’t leave me high and dry!  Ok.  Bad expression.

In Good Food We Trust,

Renée

 

Photo courtesy of Macit Pank.

 

The views and opinions in this blog do not necessarily represent those of the SouthSoundCommunityGuide. We do however value your opinion.

Renee Paden About Renee Paden

Renée graduated with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2010, after over 20 years in the IT corporate world. Her first nutrition teacher was her grandmother, who showed her how to prepare a balanced plate. Renée spent hours in the kitchen with her grandmother, learning the importance of our relationship with food. She wants everyone to understand how urgent it is for our families to appreciate real food. Our lives depend on it, literally.

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