Infused Water for Beginners: What NOT to Do

I’ve always lived with something of a “go big or go home” mentality. If someone told me they didn’t think I could do something, I usually tried to prove them wrong, or at least show I could put in a good effort; even if, in the back of my mind, I agreed with their opinion of my abilities. Sometimes this stubbornness got me in trouble. (Ok, rather often it did.) But as often, it has helped me succeed when, had I taken a second to consider it, I might have backed down.

This doesn’t just apply to challenges handed to me by others, but to challenges I set up for myself as well. Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to work on the half-hearted healthy habits I’ve developed over the past year or so.

It started out with trying to drink more water. Back at my old job with the 1/4 mile walk to the restroom, this seemingly simple task was very challenging. But now, with some help from this adorable app, I’m getting better. Of course, this meant I needed to step up my game. My solution: infused waters.

And no, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with a few slices of lemon in a glass. I went all out: special jug with an infuser core-thing; lemon, grapefruit, cukes, fresh mint (so of course I had to get another mint plant despite my failure with the last one); and the kicker: coconut water.

Word to the wise: coconut water is not for the casual health nut. It is an acquired taste. Also, research after the fact revealed that, in this area, quality is necessary if one wants any hope of enjoying their beverage.

I bought the Target brand. Thankfully, I bought the smallest size for my trial run.

While infused water may have a decent list of pros vs. cons, it does have one truly redeeming factor: it makes for great Instagram photos.  Here’s what I did the first time:

  • Thinly slice a lemon and add to glass bottle, peel and all
  • Pick through blueberries discovered at the back of the chiller drawer, halve, and add to bottle
  • Take a deep breath and examine my coconut water of choice
  • Gag on the salty scent and take a sip
  • Decide to mix the coconut water with regular water this time
  • Let chill overnight and take to work in the morning without testing
  • Take a confident swig at my desk
  • Gag like Gracie in Miss Congeniality when she tries Cheryl’s non-fat hot chocolate
  • Tell myself that the road to a healthy lifestyle is paved with weird new flavors and swallow hard

I drank it all. Halfway through, I transferred the “water” to my mug and picked out most of the fruit, leaving a few lemon slices to garnish. When a coworker came in, she remarked on my tea with lemon. I scowled at the mug and said, “Actually, it’s coconut water. And I’m not sure why it’s pink.” She gave me the same dubious look my mother had the evening before.

Not to be swayed from my undertaking, I got a few more supplies (including the jug-with-infuser-thing) and tried again that evening. Here’s how that went:

  • Thinly sliced about 1/3 of a lemon (peel and all for best benefits)and drop in the jug
  • Thinly slice a couple slices of grapefruit (and do NOT leave the peel on like I did) and drop in jug
  • Thinly slice about half of a cucumber
  • Pluck a few large leaves off of your handy mint houseplant and “muddle” them (which means roll them between your fingers to bruise them, but do not tear them, as this evidently leads to a bitter flavor)
  • Layer the mint and cuke in the infuser core-thingy
  • Skip the coconut water and fill the jug with plain water
  • Add stevia to taste
  • Let chill in fridge (after proudly displaying it to your parents, who stare at you in bemusement and ask, “What is it? What does it do?”)

And here’s what I learned:

Many health professionals (and/or wannabes) recommend lemon water first thing in the morning. Like, before breakfast (the blog I read said to wait an hour because lemon water is supposed to help your gut) and before brushing your teeth (wait at least 1/2 an hour because citrus and enamel and stuff). So, with my optimism on high because I was barely conscious, I poured out a glass of this concoction in the morning and took a big sip.

And I realized why the few recipes I had looked up showed the grapefruit peeled and sectioned in the pictures, instead of in-peel like the lemon. It wasn’t just for aesthetic purposes.

Grapefruit peels are bitter and not edible.

Other than that, everything blended pretty well. I was surprised that cucumber and citrus went so well together, but I will mix them again. However, the drink was too bitter to consume plain. I ended up adding it as a base to a very ambitious smoothie.

As far as healthy eating goes, I tend to just wing it. I’m in it for the bright colors. (You’d be amazed how many things are improved with red bell peppers.)

 

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