Korean Drinking Water Habits. Part Two.
It is highly recommended to read part one. Even if you already read it, I added a photo and it makes me giggle when I look at it. Just FYI.
It’s been over a year since I wrote about drinking water with a meal in Korea. Since then, I have tried my best to school my friends in the healthy ways of water; “Water is your friend” and such. However, I may be wrong in thinking that water has my best interests in mind. Perhaps water is no friend of mine…
The most recent convincing argument comes from this article. Take a moment, read and come back. What do you think? Still convinced that water should be drunk at the table? I’m not so sure. After all, most of the arguments I hear either sound like infomercials or old wives’ tales instead of science. Articles like this (or this) don’t exactly help the validity of the argument.
But, in their defense…
I have no science to back up my American way of thinking that water is healthy to drink with a meal. Obviously, everyone agrees that water is good for us. Some even suggest drinking water before eating to reduce portion intake. But that’s not the argument. The argument is whether water is advisable to drink during the meal.
Like fan death in Korea, I never really questioned it - I just did it. I just drank water. But what about Koreans? Most would agree that the majority of Koreans drink only a small amount, if any, during a meal. Unsurprisingly, my Korean friends simply don’t drink water at all during meals.
So who has bragging rights? Who has science on their side? Where’s the middle ground? Who’s right?
Here’s the thing. No water at all is just plain silly. Too much water is obviously not a good idea. But, what I believe people misunderstand is what is meant by ‘too much water’. Are we talking about more than 8 ounces of water? More than 20 ounces? Does it matter?
As it seems, drinking water with a meal is not that great of an idea. But don’t freak out - it’s not going to kill you, either.
But what about the people who insist on drinking with their meals? The ones who know the Western way of water? Well, in my school’s cafeteria, one can’t even obtain a cup of water until after the empty tray of food is deposited in the bin. Meaning? Kids are drinking nothing with their meal. Of course, foreigners like myself skip the line altogether and grab a cup anyways. Take that, line.
But I do it not out of rebellion but out of compulsion.
It certainly isn’t just me noticing this aqua-addiction. Ever heard of “Water water everywhere/ so let’s all take a drink”? Not on your life. You’re reading the words of man who now suffers from hydrophobia. Water’s back in town and he’s not playing around. Sure I sneak in some water at lunch, but I’m careful around water now. He’s taking names. He wants blood.
Sidestepping for a bit, this wouldn’t be the first time that water would be the source of misinformation. Still drinking bottled water? Shame on you. You didn’t know? Read up my friend, and
do nothing afterwards just drink the tap water. For that matter, here’s a great article I scanned from a few years back on which types of bottles are recommended to use.
Sidestepping further, what about clean water for Korea? Surely it’s readily available? Maybe not as much as you would expect. Water management may not be number one on everyone’s “Interesting Things to Read” list, but it affects everyone. But back on the subject (kind of), here’s a look at the healthy benefits of Korean beverages might be of interest to you, kind reader. Thanks for sticking with my bird walking.
So back on track.
I feel that Americans don’t question drinking water at any point in time - we just believe that if one is thirsty, we should just drink water - eating or not. Like fan death in Korea, it’s something that is believed in for no other reason than just “why not?”. Why question something that seems to make sense?
So where do I stand now? Well, I certainly don’t avoid water altogether. That’s nuts. If I’m thirsty, I’m going to go drink some water. But instead of just the typical Korean one thimble glass after the meal, I’ll drink two - one during and one after. Yeah, I may not be up to my old American standard of hooking up a fire hydrant to my stomach, but I’ve accustomed myself to drinking only a small amount. If for no other reason, the
questionable adverse health affects are enough to avoid.
But it makes me wonder: If drinking water with a meal really is a no-no, why haven’t I heard about it more in America? In America’s “Tune into the 6 o’clock news or your son will die” fear-driven media, why isn’t this topic covered more? Why care about the deathly affects of plastic bottles but not something as essential as water?