Sure you’ve heard the rule many times: Drink more water. Apart from the fact that our body needs water to function, it has other benefits: It keeps you from drinking other “things”. It is undeniable that water is the best choice of beverage over soft drinks (diet or not), juice and other pseudo-water beverages. A few studies have shown that drinking a couple glasses of water before a meal will reduce your caloric intake during that meal. Drinking water with a meal, which also includes wine, helps you control how much wine you are drinking. Ancient Greeks used to water down the wine to control its consumption.
Greeks and Water
Henry Miller best described this relationship when arriving in Greece. “The glass of water…everywhere I saw the glass of water. It became obsessional. I began to think of water as the new thing, a new vital element of life”, he wrote.
Yes a glass of water is vital for the Greek.
In Greece, water is as necessary as olive oil is for food. The moment you sit down at a restaurant, the first thing to come is a bottle of cold water. Go to a Greek house and you will be offered a glass of cold water. Their refrigerators are full of bottles of cold water. If you go out for a coffee, a glass of water will always come with it. If you are served a dessert, the water is there again. Water is considered a basic necessity in Greece, so much so, that the law controls the price of bottled water; a ½ liter bottle cannot cost more than 50 (euro) cents.
I grew up in an average Chicago suburb with a Greek mom. She made sure that we never drank soft drinks or milk with our meals. Our parents just couldn’t stand the concept of drinking something sweet like a cola with something salty like a hamburger, they thought it was strange. During our trips to Greece in the summer, on the rare occasions that we drank a soft drink it was in a tiny cup and one 12 oz can would be shared with my brother, my sister and my cousins. Soft drinks were usually reserved to drink when someone went out, and the preferred drink was what we called gazoza, a clear sweetened carbonated drink. Today, Greeks are drinking soft drinks, iced tea and sports drinks (thanks to multinational companies) however, a tall glass of cold water continues to be a favorite and necessary beverage.
Yes you know water is good for you. You probably keep bottles of water in your car, on your desk, at home trying to chug down those 8 glasses of water every day. How about just enjoying a plain cold glass of water with all your meals? Water doesn’t have to be like medicine; in fact it can be “pleasant as honey” as Pindaros an ancient Greek poet once said.