In this blog I want to examine how water can help us to be more mindful and useful pointers how to best experience and taste your water.
Mindfulness has become one of the most important ways you can improve your life. It’s all about living in the moment, appreciating the now and being able to better control your thoughts. I will share a story with you on how mindfulness has saved my life during a meeting later.
The beauty of mindfulness is that a few minutes every day will have a tremendous impact on your daily life.
Over the past years, mindfulness has allowed me to take charge of my habits and bring more balance to my emotional state. I am using the app Calm , but there are many other options out there such as headspace or insight timer.
You might ask yourself now: but what has water to do with mindfulness?
Most people take water for granted. They sip water here and there, mostly when they feel thirsty or light headed. Many associate water with a meal they take. In most restaurants, a waiter will bring a glass of water as quietly as possible or open up a bottle of water and we sip almost subconsciously as we talk to others.
Being mindful about water can change your wellbeing and your happiness tremendously. Our body is made up of 70 percent water. The better we are hydrated, the better our organs will function. When we get the signal that we are thirsty it is often too late. Our organs do not function properly anymore and we rush to take a sip. Most of us are accustomed to the fact that water is all around us and that you just have to open up the tap to take a sip.
Did you know that by drinking water regularly you can lose up to 10 pounds of weight per year? Just by taking a few sips of water every day.
The quality of the water you are drinking is important. Tap water often contains chemicals to keep the treated municipal water safe and it often does not include enough minerals which your body needs daily.
Spring water on the other hand contains essential minerals, is free of chemicals and comes with a great taste. Drinking water does not only have to be a life saving automatic experience, it can be an enjoyable event.
In order to appreciate the taste, you need to be mindful of how you experience the water. Drinking water can be an experience to appreciate the moment and to be grateful for what we have. It is sometimes the simple things which can help us to get into a better mood and appreciate our daily life.
Let me give you a crash course in tasting. You can break down the experience into several components and you can be mindful of each step.
While your taste buds will be doing the heavy lifting, it helps to enhance the experience to utilize your other senses.
Have a look at the glass, swirl the water around a bit. You can even smell the water, although in most cases the water will be odorless or will have a hint of sweetness. Have a look at the bottle. In great restaurants the wait staff can give you a bit more background on where the water is coming from and what makes it so unique. Knowing what to look for will help your taste buds later on. For sparkling water you can see the motion in the glass: are the bubbles fine or heavy? Do you see them rising to the top quickly or slowly. The intensity of the sparkle will give you an indication on how you might experience your tasting.
The initial sip
The initial sip: When the water enters the mouth, you will have an initial reaction to the water. Does it feels soft or heavy? Do you experience the energy of the bubbles? Does it feel elegant or bold? This can be sometimes a critical moment to decide if you like a water or not.
Now your taste buds go to work. Each of us experiences taste differently. It depends on the composition of our taste buds and how well we are tuned into the experience. It will also depend on our likes, if we like sparkling or still water, if we have a preference for the intensity or if we like a certain level of acidity. These decisions are made in fractions of a second and feel more like a ‘gut’ feeling. Being mindful and ask yourself: how does this water taste? What makes it special? Do I like it or not?
I like to add certain terms when I describe water. To me there are several categories:
- The energy feel: does the water feel vibrant or quiet? When the water dances with my taste buds, is it a slow, romantic dance or a quick, passionate, vibrant dance?
- The flavors: Can I sense a bit of salt? Do I feel a bit of acidity? Maybe like a lemon? Like a piece of fruit?
- The texture: Is the water velvety or silky? Does it feel complex?
- Reflection: Does the water remind me of anything? Granite? Chalk? Silk?
Often a taste will link with a memory. It could be a vacation trip we had to a river or a water fall. It might relate to our grandma’s farm and the spring in the back yard. Maybe a trip to a lake and a taste we had drinking the water on a hiking trip from a clean spring. These memories will try to link to the taste experience you are having right now.
I invite you next time you take a sip of spring or mineral water to be mindful of these categories and find a term that would work for you to describe the water. If you mention these terms to your wait staff they will be able to find you a water that matches the taste and you will enjoy the experience more. Water choices in a restaurant should be much more then just the question : Still or Sparkling?
Part of my job as a sommelier is to find good descriptions of taste, so that people can connect with the experience. It’s not easy as we all have a different understanding of taste. In the beverage industry these descriptions have to be appetizing and inviting so that you would be happy to try it out.
Drinking the water
And finally, drinking the water. When your water makes the way down your throat, it will be a unique experience for you. You might like it or not. This last stage is called the finish and in some cases you will experience an after taste. That does not have to be a bad experience. In some cases you like the experience so much that you will remember the water and would buy it in the future again because of it.
Most of us do not spend much time thinking of this in stages, but being mindful about a simple thing as experiencing a sip of water can open up a whole new world. The saying “ water tastes like water” is outcome of thinking when we do not describe or pay attention to the taste of water. Everything has a taste and everything leaves an impression , you just have to be mindful about it. This is similar to what I am experience in the tea industry. It is just like flying economy and business class. Once you have flown business class you do not want to go back. When we experience a certain taste in water we accept this as normal , as the status quo, but once we have the opportunity to taste something amazing , it will open up a new avenue for us and new possibilities to enhance the quality of life. And why not try to enhance our life with an affordable piece of luxury, a fine water which can add a bit of positivity to our day. Knowing how to taste a water and what to look for, will earn you street (or water) credit with your family and friends.
When I was in a workshop in Rome, during one of the presentations I started to get very bored as the presenter was very dry. I remembered my mindfulness practices and spotted a bottle of Aqua Panna in front of me. I started to think about the qualities of the water, the tastes and the history of this water. These thoughts got me trough the presentation and I took a sip of the water and was saved. You can read my reflections in one of my previous blogs.