I am having lots of fun with fruit and herb infused waters this summer. For a recent brunch I hosted, I made up a big pitcher of water infused with strawberries and lemon balm. The one you see here features peaches with basil and lemon balm (I’ve got SO much lemon balm in my garden!).

peach infused water 2_text

I’ve also been dreaming up many other combinations, like pineapple with lavender and plums with anise hyssop, that I plan to try soon. If you are like me and don’t love drinking plain water, infused waters are a nice option.

Infused waters are great because they add subtle, pleasing flavors to the water your body needs. They are also naturally sweet, though much less so than juice. The icing on the cake? They are beautiful to look at…

infused water 1_


…and they’re so easy to make: Just slice your fruit and pile it into a jar or pitcher (I used 6 peaches in my half gallon glass jar), add a bunch of herbs, and top off with water. The more fruit and herbs you use, the more flavorful your water will be. Allowing it to hang out in the refrigerator for an hour or more before you drink it will maximize the flavor, as well.

I often add a pinch of high quality salt (my personal preference is Celtic Sea Salt) to my infused waters. Sodium is an essential electrolyte and you lose some when you sweat (by way of exercise or very, very hot weather). It’s been a scorcher of a summer so I think the salt is really beneficial.

When you are ready to drink your infused water, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer to filter out floating bits of fruit and herbs. When you’ve used all the water in the jar, fill it up again. Keep refilling the jar until the fruit and herbs don’t have much flavor left. You can eat the fruit at this point, but it will be pretty bland: I usually just add mine to the compost, along with the “spent” herbs.

Peach Infused Water | Healthy Green Kitchen

While we are on the subject of water, I’d like to address the “you must drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily” directive. We’re all familiar with this advice, of course, but do we really need to abide by it? My feeling is that it makes no sense that everyone should drink the same amount of water. Eight glasses may be the ideal recommendation for someone, but it may not be ideal for you. Different sized people need different amounts of water. Moreover, your water needs aren’t necessarily static: they can change day to day depending on your activity level, the climate, the amount of water-containing foods and drinks you consume, etc.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, I believe it’s important to find balance with water consumption. Many people either drink too little or drink too much. Hydrate yourself throughout the day and listen to your body. If you are in touch with your body, your body lets you know when you are thirsty. When you are thirsty, you should drink! Don’t drink water when you are hungry to fill you up so you won’t eat a lot, though- that’s not useful. It may even be harmful. When you are hungry, your body wants food…not water. Not drinking water isn’t healthy, but guzzling glass after glass of water when you are not at all thirsty is not exactly a healthy habit, either.

If you eat lots of fruits and veggies, drink wholesome smoothies and other healthy beverages like kombucha and milk (whole and raw, if possible), and even some coffee and/or tea throughout the day, you are taking in plenty of water. It’s unlikely that you need eight 8-ounce glasses of plain water every day on top of all of these foods and drinks (unless you live in a very hot climate and/or spend hours a day exerting yourself physically)! Keep an eye on your urine. If it’s dark, you are probably not drinking enough water. If it’s very pale or clear, you may be drinking too much water. When you are properly hydrated, your urine will still have a little (yellow) color to it.

I recommended drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning in my One Simple Change blog series and I have a chapter on that topic (and hydration, in general) in my book, as well. I think water first thing is a good practice, since your body’s been fasting while you sleep. I personally wake up feeling thirsty and I look forward to my morning water.

BUT.

I recently discovered a health writer named Matt Stone and his thoughts on water and metabolism really got me thinking. Matt cautions against over consumption of water (particularly on an empty stomach) because it dilutes the salt and sugar in your cells, and this may damage your metabolism. So, if your metabolism is not quite up to snuff, I would NOT drink water on an empty stomach when you wake up, and I’d probably back off on the plain water throughout the day, as well, at least for a while. You can learn more about how to identify low metabolism and what to do about it (the suggestions may surprise you) in Matt’s book Eat for Heat.

 

17 Comments

  1. 1

    Eat Mega — July 25, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    A nice refreshing cool summer drink thanks for sharing :O) Would love to how it goes with the pineapple with lavender recipe!!! Take it easy

  2. 2

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 25, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    I usually have a water bottle by my side at all times. This infusion would add some fun flavor as I hydrate!

  3. 3

    Justine — July 25, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    Thirst is actually the first sign of dehydration setting in, (I have my wilderness first responder and I’m from Arizona, so the qualifications on how much water to drink are different) so it’s not good to wait until you’re “feeling” thirsty to start drinking water. It’s good to hydrate yourself throughout the day. It’s also important to differentiate between hunger and appetite. It’s better to drink when you’re just browsing for something, because that’s just your appetite saying you want to taste and munch. Actual hunger is satiated by very little, but it’s still important to get the correct amount of calories for the day, especially if you’re really physical.

    • Winnie replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

      Hi Justine,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I know this is the standard teaching/thinking when it comes to thirst. But I do get thirsty and I am definitely not dehydrated. I’m simply recommending that people tune in their bodies (many people have no idea how to do this), and encouraging other ways to hydrate beyond drinking plain water all day. I don’t really agree with drinking water when you’re in the mood to munch…I think there are other ways to deal with boredom if that’s what’s going on. Also, many people do overhydrate but have no idea they are doing so: this may have subtle adverse consequences.

  4. 4

    Sandy — July 25, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

    Exactly what herbs have you used. This looks delicious. It is so hard to find something with flavor that doesn’t have artificial sugars. Thanks.

    • Winnie replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

      Hi Sandy,
      I used basil and lemon balm from my garden :)

  5. 5

    Georgie — July 26, 2013 @ 12:11 am

    Really delicious and wonderful flavor combinations (Peaches & Lemon Balm). I love the idea of adding fruits and herbs to water as an alternative drink. I’ve never ventured beyond lemon, limes or cucumbers so this has me excited about experimenting with some new flavors. Thank you!

  6. 6

    Traci — July 26, 2013 @ 12:33 am

    I just made this the other day too and posted about it. :) I just did straight peach and lemonbalm though. What a great recipe and I totally agree with your thoughts on hydration.

  7. 7

    Mitch Parker — July 26, 2013 @ 12:59 am

    This is great! I never tried making my own healthy infused water before. It looks so easy to do. I would love to try this. Thanks so much! :-)

  8. 8

    Kumar's Kitchen — July 26, 2013 @ 4:04 am

    such a refreshingly fruity drink, can really enjoy it everyday,the mason filled peach and herbed water looks so cute :-)

  9. 9

    Monique Carpentier (Quebec, Canada) — July 26, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    Hello, Back once more. As my time is tight, I made copies of Peach & Herb Infusion and Quinoa & Black Beans for future use. You’ll understand that a 5 x 10 balcony cannot hold but two small pots of basil and thyme shawdowed by a huge pot of flowers.
    Nevertheless, I’m already delighting myself with the sparkling colours of infusion flowers in a possible fareway kitchen.
    Your column is as Fresh as it is Green!
    I’m reading it regularly!

  10. 10

    Week in Review (1) | Books, Tea & Me — July 27, 2013 @ 11:48 am

    [...] Green Kitchen shows you how to keep yourself hydrated in the heat—peach and herb infused water! I often find water boring so I’m going to stock up on fruit and herbs this week to make this [...]

  11. 11

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — July 27, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    I love this idea, Winnie! I have actually been struggling with proper hydration over the last week – I could tell that I wasn’t drinking enough water because my lips were chapped (despite applying copious amounts of lip balm) and my skin felt dry. I have learned in the past that this is my body’s way of telling me to drink more fluids. But I can only drink so much plain water! Infused water is a fun way to make it more enjoyable!

  12. 12

    Jessie Bryant — July 30, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    This is interesting! I just learned that drinking water first thing in the morning is a healthy practice. Now, someone says it’s not really healthy. I’m so confused! Anyway, I love the infused water. That’s what I will drink to be safe. :-)

    • Winnie replied: — July 30th, 2013 @ 9:27 am

      Hi Jessie,
      It IS healthy, and I definitely recommend it for most people. I just wanted to point out that sometimes people take a good thing too far…drinking tons and tons of water, and drinking water on an empty stomach, isn’t the best thing for everyone.

  13. 13

    The Wimpy Vegetarian — July 30, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

    This is such a great idea, Winnie. I’ve read that putting lemon in water is good for several reasons including aiding digestion, so I imagine infusing herbs along with a fruit is equally beneficial. I fall in the ‘don’t drink enough’ camp, unfortunately. I’m good for a few days, then my schedule gets crazy, and it all goes to hell :-) But I’m trying. Maybe infusing some herbs from my garden along with some fruit will make it fun and I’ll drink more :-)

  14. 14

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — August 3, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

    Loving this recipe and post, Winnie! I must try this. Just picked up some fresh peaches from a nearby orchard. I enjoy reading your insights and also agree with you about water consumption. Our body sends us signals and, if we’re listening, we know what to do. It’s all about balance. Thank you for sharing! xo