Where I live, the signs of summer always start with warmer temperatures, longer days, and extra hours of outside time with my dog.  I head out to the pool, my wardrobe changes and I am pretty much in heaven. But the real symbol of summer for me has always been a simple, fresh strawberry.  It may sound funny, but for as long as I can remember, I have associated the sight and smell of that brightly colored, perfectly formed berry with the magic that nature brings along to say that another season is ready to unfold. 

Where I live, it doesn’t take much to head over to a farm and pluck some of those gorgeous fruits right off their stems, and when I can’t do that, I head over to the farmer’s market where I can grab a ready supply of freshly picked berries. But my love of the strawberry goes beyond its vibrant red hue. I love them most because they are versatile, refreshing and hydrating.

You see, the other, more unspoken part of the summer always comes down to proper hydration. You know that dizzy feeling of being so thirsty that you just need to stop what you’re doing and grab a drink? Well, to tell you the truth, I do everything I can to avoid that feeling, because that feeling means that I haven’t been hydrating properly all along. Did you know that once you feel the first signs of thirst, your body is already dehydrated? What if I told you that you are actually supposed to drink half your body’s weight in ounces of water every day just to stay properly hydrated? So if you currently weigh 140 pounds, you should be consuming 70 ounces of water daily just to maintain your body’s optimal level of hydration. Now add the stresses of the summer heat, with the added bonus of sweating, and you have the need for even more hydration to keep your body working at its best levels. How can you stay on top of that?? 

Well, it really isn’t as hard as you think. Which is where my friend the strawberry comes into play. Throughout the summer, I find as many ways as I can to incorporate my favorite summer fruit into my efforts at proper hydration. For example, I love sipping strawberry infused water. It gives me a summery twist on my regular hydration habits, and it dresses up my drinking, since I can smell, taste and see the summer in every glass. And the truth is, you can do the same thing for yourself no matter where in the globe you might be. Perhaps where you are, cucumber-infused water will add a bright and crisp twist to your hydrating routine. I say go for it!  Experiment with the tastes and flavors you adore. As long as it brings you enjoyment, it’s a win! 

In addition to strawberry infused water, I would love to share my easy strawberry chia pudding with you. These are simple ways to get more water into your body each day. And strawberries are just a suggestion. Each of these recipes can be adjusted to fit your favorite fruits and/or veggies to make them your own sort of tribute to the season. 

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