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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learn to drink tap water

For many people, any drink that passes their lips must have a flavor: coffee, soda, juice, etc.  However, all of these carry a cost: both caloric AND financial.  Whether you purchase your drinks from the grocery store or the local cafĂ©, the vending machine or the cafeteria, a few coins are required for each drink.  The only drink that is not charged by the cup (or bottle) is tap water.  Tap water is free in Canadian restaurants, on campus, and in residence.  In your apartment, a cup of water may have a financial cost if your water bill is not included in your rent – but a glass would be less than a penny. Best of all, tap water has no calorie, no aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, no caffeine (ok, this may not be an advantage when trying to complete an assignment!), no artificial color or flavour.  It is healthy, keeps you hydrated, and can be found anywhere you are on campus (including washrooms).  Tap water does not produce plastic or metal waste if you use your own bottle or cup (as opposed to a disposable cup or bottle).

You find plain water boring? Try a few of these:
- For every drink that is not water, drink a glass of water first – this will slow your consumption of other beverages overall.  It’s also a great tip for not getting a hangover while drinking alcohol – the hangover being caused mostly by dehydration.

- Add ice to your tap water – very cold water is much more refreshing than room temperature water, and often appealing drinks are sold very cold in the summer, making them irresistible.  If getting ice throughout the day is difficult (although most cafeteria with fountain drinks have ice cube available at the same machine), fill one third of your bottle with water the night before and freeze it – in the morning, add cold tap water to the bottle and the water will stay cold for longer.
- Add a slice of cucumber or a wedge of lemon or lime to your water.  One piece will last the day even if you refill often, and will make it seem much more ‘designer’ than plain tap water.  Yes, this adds to the cost of your water, but does not bring it up to the cost of soft-drink or even bottled water.

- The container you use often has an impact on the overall beverage ‘experience’; if you like a drink with a straw, buy an insulated glass with a hard plastic straw.  You can also choose from a variety of different drinking cups with different spouts – choose what you enjoy the most and even ‘invest’ in a few different types.  Insulated containers prevent too much temperature variation.
- Keep in mind that the tap water from home most likely tastes different than the one at school – this is especially true if you are in school outside your home time.  Don’t reject the new tap water because you don’t like it at first.  Just like the one at home, you will come to like it once you get used to it.

- If you don’t like the taste of the chlorine in your water, let it sit, uncovered, for a day or so; most of the chlorine will have evaporated by then.  You can also do the same but in the fridge if you want colder water.
- Filtered water is still cheaper than bottled water so invest in a carafe that has a filter if you like the taste of water better this way.

- Order water in restaurants; you are already spending money on food and service, save a bit on beverage.  Order it with a slice of lemon and lots of ice – it’s still free!  And don’t be fooled by the ‘bottom-less’ drinks (or free refill); the first drink is typically around $4, so the free refills are not worth it – a case of 12 soda cans is around $4 in the grocery store!

So… drink and be merry! 

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