I am not sure what gives away the fact that I am not Texan. Maybe it's because I am running from the car to the store red-faced, parched, and crazily shouting, "It's hot! It's hot! It's hot!" I think it psychologically helps me cool down faster to point out the obvious.
I like HEB Central Market grocery because it offers a blast of AC right as you are walking through the entry doors. This may be my favorite spot in Texas in July. I linger as long as I can before some lady with a buy-in-bulk cart pretends it's a bumper car and "nudges" me out of the way. Doesn't she know it's H-O-T outside?
I make a mad dash to the frozen foods aisle where I pretend to compare prices of frozen blueberries (there's only one organic, and it's going with me). This buys me at least 4 minutes of cool down time. By now, I can manage the produce aisle.
The only other people in this country who have no pity for south Texans are the Georgians. They laugh when they hear someone say, "It's hot." It's not a sweet, Southern laugh either. It's loaded with intonation that says, "I grew up in Dante's Inferno; In Georgia, we know what hot is!"
I highly doubt my skin and bones will ever grow thin enough to tolerate heat index humidity. (The it's-92-but-feels-like-104-kind!) I decided my first year in Houston that anything in the 90s was completely unbearable. Little did I know that the locals translated 94 degrees as "Summer's comin'..."
Summer is coming?!? I pretty much thought summer was what came about over Spring Break. But this? This is what we northerners call hot as... well you get the idea.
So in the midst of this current heat wave (which apparently means it might get hot this year), there's the age old question of how do we eat without using the oven? (Now I understand why southern kitchens have appliance garages or at the very least 42" cabinets!) I have found a few "stove-avoidance enablers," including ones that do not involve frying eggs on the sidewalk, possible though it is:
1) Crock pot. It's not just for Christmas pitch-ins anymore.
2) Electric wok. Enough said.
3) Toaster oven. Will not cause cook's remorse.
4) Panini press. What amazing feats can this little guy accomplish.
5) Rice steamer.
Now for hydration, water alone will NOT keep you hydrated. I found this out when I arrived at my doctor's office with swollen ankles, limbs, and eyelids. Yes, eyelids. No, I was not pregnant. "Honey, you are dehydrated," she exclaimed, as I sat chugging the last drop from my 64-ounce Nalgene bottle. And so began my hydration quest, and here is what I have learned:
1) Cucumbers are my best friend; celery is a close second.
2) Add a tiny pinch of Himalayan pink salt to your water. Instant Gatorade, i.e. electrolytes.
3) Epsom salt bath every night -- reduces swelling.
4) Magnesium supplement -- Epsom salt may not be enough, especially if you have leg cramps.
5) Consciously hydrate between meals. Take time for a refreshing beverage break (Cranberry mineral water?) Set a reminder alarm!
6) Sip on cucumber-lemon water all day.
7) Start each breakfast/morning with a cup of herbal tea. You may also find it to be a relaxing treat right before bed. (This adds 16 oz to your total liquid consumption plus other health benefits.)
8) Consume water-based vegetables at every meal. Eat fruit between meals.
How do you survive the heat?