Making water less boring

[what I had for breakfast today: jasmine rice, beet greens, scrambled egg, and leftover roast chicken]

I drink about a gallon of water each day, and I have for a long time--it makes me feel clearer-headed and less fatigued, it helps my skin stay bright and glowy, and it keeps my joints in better working order. 

I recommend aiming for half a gallon of water per day to patients who aren't in a water-drinking habit. Sometimes, though, patients will balk--"But water is so BORING!" they protest. 

Well, it doesn't have to be. And I don't think you should drink anything that bores you. Here are some ways to make water more interesting: 

My water glass is a quart Mason jar. Four of these=one gallon.

-Bring water to a boil and pour it over your favorite fruits or spices, let steep for five to twenty minutes, remove fruits and drink when cool enough. As an example, think about putting half a sliced pear and a little bit of minced ginger in the bottom of a quart jar and then pouring hot water to fill the jar. Dried blueberries and orange peel could be another tasty option.    

-Bubbly water still counts as water! I put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and about a teaspoon of maple syrup in a pint jar and fill that with bubbly water. A little rice vinegar and a thinly-sliced cucumber would be delicious as well, as would balsamic vinegar and a couple of sliced strawberries.

-All kinds of herbal teas count towards your water intake--chrysanthemum, mint, rooibos, chamomile. One you may not have heard of before is barley tea, which is common in East Asian countries but not so much here. It's made by toasting raw barley in a heavy pan for just a couple of minutes till it's nuttily fragrant, then simmering it for ten to twenty minutes in water. I'd do maybe a heaping tablespoon of barley to a quart of water. 


[what I ate for breakfast today: one egg, beet greens, jasmine rice, sriracha...also known as "the usual."]

That's how many degrees it was today. Eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit! In the very middle of February.


So warm Kamal decided he'd eat his orange outside. In his underpants.

We finished planting our earth boxes, shoveled some compost for our garlic beds, and let our chickens out to hunt bugs. They're ruthless predators, chickens. 

The mint figures it must be June and is growing up in every little patch of dirt it can claim. One of my favorite summer drinks is iced mint tea. Nothing is so straightforwardly refreshing after a long, hot day of gardening. Even if that day is February 15.

Conventional wisdom cautions that you should always plant your mint in a pot; otherwise, it will take over your garden the way it has ours. I don't mind it so much, though.

Here's the recipe. Couldn't be simpler! 

1) Get a great big stockpot. 

2) Pick and wash an armload of fresh mint.

3) Put your armload of mint in the stockpot and then fill it with water.

4) Bring the water to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer for about twenty minutes. You'll want to stir every few minutes and make sure all the mint stems and leaves are submerged. 

5) Add about a half cup of sugar or honey for a large stockpot. The tea should taste barely sweet.

6)  Turn off the heat. Strain out leaves. Chill and drink.