How to Stay Hydrated in Hot Weather

Stay Hydrated in Hot Weather

Are you drinking enough water?  We’ve been having an extremely hot June here with temperatures in the 90’s during the past few weeks.  It usually doesn’t get this hot until late July or August so my thoughts have turned to ways to keep hydrated to prevent dehydration.  Hot, humid weather increases the amount of fluid you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.

Not drinking enough water in hot weather or during periods of exercise may cause dehydration.  Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.  If you don’t replace lost liquids, you will get dehydrated. 

Preventing Dehydration

Mild dehydration may be reversed by drinking more fluids.  The safest course to follow is preventing dehydration in the first place.  In older adults thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of the need for water.  A better indicator is the color of urine.  Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.

Older adults are at an increased risk for dehydration because the body’s ability to consume water is reduced, the thirst sensation is lessened and the body’s ability to respond to changes in temperature has decreased with age.  Some older adults may forget to drink adequate fluids without prompting from family, friends and care takers.  Chronic illness is another risk factor for dehydration.  Uncontrolled diabetes puts one at an increased risk also.  Fever affects hydration as does the use of certain medications. 

We can prevent dehydration by being aware of how much we are drinking each day.  One way to do this is to fill up a pitcher or bottle with water with the total daily amount needed and to drink from it during the day until it is all consumed.  How much to drink depends on varying factors such as weight, use of medications, chronic illness, excessive heat, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.  The Merck Manual of Medical Information recommends 1 1/2 – 2 quarts daily for healthy adults to prevent against dehydration and to prevent the development of kidney stones.  Water enters the body primarily by absorption from the gastrointestinal tract so we must drink it in adequate amounts to stay hydrated.

In addition to water, fluids may be obtained by eating juicy fruits (melons for example), vegetables with a high water content (summer squash, tomatoes, etc.), soup, broths, juices and other beverages.  Flavored waters are delicious also. 

Tasty Tip

Freeze lemon juice in an ice cube tray & pop out a cube to add to a glass of water for a refreshing way to drink water.  You can also add other flavorings such as mint, basil or whatever you like to make water more enjoyable.

I challenge you to drink 2 quarts of water daily and see if you don’t just feel better.  Even if you don’t notice a difference, you will be protecting yourself from dehydration and kidney stones.  Water is really important – we can’t live without it!

Twin Sisters Vegetable Soup, which I really enjoy in the summer months because the vegetables are fresh from the garden, is the recipe I’d like to share with you today.  Soup provides extra fluid, too.

Twin Sisters Vegetable Soup

Print Recipe


2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 large yellow squash, diced 

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 bay leaves

1 16-oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes

1 16-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Ingredients for Twin Sisters Vegetable Soup


Heat the oil in a soup kettle or Dutch oven and sauté the onion, garlic and oregano together until the onion is tender. Add the potatoes, zucchini, squash, celery, carrots, tomatoes and bay leaves.  Add just enough water to cover the vegetables.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover lightly and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.  Add the beans and continue to cook for 20 minutes longer. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Adding Kidney Beans to the Soup

Yield:  4-6 servings

Recipe Source:  365 Vegetarian Soups

Serving Suggestion:  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with a good, crusty bread. 

The flavor intensifiers in this recipe are the bay leaves, oregano, and garlic.

Stay cool wherever you are, and stay hydrated! 

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


The Spice is Right / Recipe for Beef Biryani

Let’s spice things up a bit!  We might even get healthier as a result.  Ongoing research is studying the antioxidant, antibacterial and cancer-preventing qualities of spices and herbs.  Cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger and garlic are a few spices believed by researchers to have substantial antioxidant properties.  Antibacterial properties have been found in cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic and turmeric.

Using spices and herbs to ramp up the flavor of food may assist some people in cutting down on the amount of salt and sugar added to food, thus helping with weight maintenance.  Spices add very few calories to food as they are normally used in small quantities in recipes. For those of us with aging taste buds the addition of spices increases our enjoyment of food.

Many of the spices in today’s recipe are included in the above lists of spices with potentially healthy contributions to food to which they’re added.  Some of these same spices – cinnamon, cardamom and ginger – even played a role in world history!  Spices were once tightly guarded and generated immense wealth for those who controlled them.  Through the centuries, various groups have battled for control of the spice trade.

Explorers Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan set out in search of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and other Indian spices. (By the way, India accounts for about 70% of the world’s spice trade.) Christopher Columbus found the US instead of the Eastern spices he had been determined to find.  (We’re grateful!)  Magellan also thought he could sail west to reach the Eastern hemisphere but he landed in Rio de Janeiro.  Fortunately new people, animals and plants were discovered by these two adventurers. 

Let’s look at a few of the spices in today’s recipe.   Cloves come from Indonesia, Zanzibar and Madagascar.  Cloves are aromatic, sweet and pungent and are the dried unopened flower buds of a tropical evergreen tree.  Folklore has it that in Indonesia where cloves were first found that new parents planted a clove tree when a child was born.  In the United States, cloves are a key flavor contributor to ketchup and Worchestershire sauce.  For added flavor, cloves are also used to cover the outside of  hams before baking them  

Cinnamon was one of the first known spices.  Cinnamon comes from Indonesia and Viet Nam, with Saigon cinnamon considered the finest cinnamon available.  Sweet and pungent, while woody and earthy in flavor and aroma, it is warming to the taste.  We love it in many baked goods, especially cinnamon buns. 

Cumin is the dried seed of an herb and the key component of chili powder and curry powder.  Cumin has a pungent, earthy, slightly bitter and aromatic taste. 

Ginger comes from a knobby root of an herb.  It’s flavor and aroma is pungent and sweet and it is considered an aid to digestion.  It comes to us from China and India. 

We’re fortunate to have all these spices readily available and much less costly today than in the past.  Their health benefits are an added bonus! 

Beef Biryani is a wonderfully aromatic dish from India.  It will please your taste buds with a variety of spices.  While it is spicy, it is not hot.  It’s wonderful served with Basmati Rice.  This recipe is prepared using a pressure cooker but is equally as good prepared in a slow cooker.

Beef Biryani

Print Recipe


2 Tablespoons butter

1 onion, sliced

1 pound top round, cut into strips

1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain yogurt

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 cups cooked rice (Basmati is good)


Melt butter in an uncovered pressure cooker using the “brown” mode on an electric cooker or over medium heat with a non-electric pressure cooker.  Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

           Brown onion in melted butter

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the rice, to the pressure cooker.

Set electric pressure cooker to high pressure and set the timer for 30 minutes.  Attach lid and seal per your manufacturer’s instructions.  For non-electric pressure cooker, turn the heat to high.  When the cooker reaches pressure, lower the heat to the minimum required to maintain pressure.  Cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.

                  Electric Pressure Cooker

When time is up, release pressure (following manufacturer’s instructions for your particular cooker) and open the pressure cooker.

Simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Serve over cooked basmati rice.

**To prepare this recipe in the slow cooker, put all the ingredients in a slow cooker except for the rice.  Cook on low for 6 hours or more until done.

Cooked Rice


2 cups water

1 cup rice

2 Tablespoons butter or oil

Salt to taste

                         Rice Cooking

Instructions:  Place pot of water on high heat and when water is boiling, stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to low.  Cook for 20 minutes or until done.  Serve with Beef Biryani spooned over the rice.

       Beef Biryani over Rice with Broccoli

Yield:  4 servings

This recipe is soft enough for those who have dental problems to chew. 

I hope you found it interesting to read about the role of the spices in the history of the world and the promising attributes of some spices. 

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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