Reddit can be a mixed bag when it comes to finding your community. While some subreddits can be mined for actionable advice from legitimate sources, others simply exist to give a voice to Long Furbies or people who staple bread to trees. But I’m here to tell you that I found a subreddit community that’s changed my life for the wetter — I mean, better.
Up until my mid-twenties, my average daily water intake could be measured by the gulp. I was always tired, always achy, and chronically cranky. It wasn’t until my wife gently bullied me into buying a reusable water bottle that I saw some of those chronic symptoms disappear. The migraines that seemed to follow every gym session or long run became less frequent the more water I guzzled.
Water always felt so boring and obligatory — until I scrolled upon a beautiful portrait of a frosty glass bottle of water against a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains. I had just stumbled upon HydroHomies, a Reddit page with around 1.2M members that was founded in 2019 to give well-hydrated people a platform to sing their praises about all things water.
Building a new habit as an adult can be really challenging. But through HydroHomies, I’ve been able to deprogram my brain from thinking of drinking water as a chore and turn it into a hobby to revel in well-hydrated joy. In short, HydroHomies gave me what it’s given more than a million other people: a taste for drinking water.
“Stay Hydrated, Homies” reads a banner on the top of the page. Disciples share stories and advice on everything from the ideal temperature of your drinking water to the color of one’s urine when peak hydration is reached. Among thirst traps and guidance on avoiding micro-plastics, you’ll find ethereal glamor shots of water glasses, jugs, bottles, and streams; photos of water from around the world on nightstands, refrigerators, airports, and more. It’s where I learned which thermos brands keep your water the coldest and which cafes in my area use filtered water instead of tap.
It’s water, water everywhere.
Bro, water is so good for you.
It’s a remarkably grown-up feeling to be an adult who prioritizes hydration. I grew up in the no limits unsupervised ball pit that was the 1990s. Cereal was sweet, shorts were baggy, and hydration could be addressed with two words and a question mark: “Got Milk?”
This was before sending your kid to school with a water bottle was commonplace. For me, drinking water was an obligation, something you begrudgingly did at the dinner table to get your parents off your back. The older I got, the more this H20 avoidance was forged into a habit: coffee, beer, soda, repeat.
I was 27 but felt closer to 47 — I’m talking constant fatigue, knee pain, cottonmouth, and soul-shattering migraines that would take me out of commission for an entire day. Mind you; these were the days when my diet consisted of free pizza and whatever food cart outside my office had the shortest line.
Thanks to my wife’s not-so-gentle suggestion, it finally clicked. Now that I’m a hydration fiend, it’s hard to believe that most people still aren’t drinking enough H2O. Between 2015 and 2018, the CDC found that adults drank an average of 44 ounces or about 5.5 daily glasses of water. For reference, the recommended amount of daily fluid intake is about 125 ounces (3.7 liters) of water for men and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women — a range between 11-16 glasses of water.
Building a new habit as an adult can be really challenging. But through HydroHomies, I’ve been able to deprogram my brain from thinking of drinking water as a chore and turn it into a hobby to revel in well-hydrated joy.
And why exactly do we need so much water?
“Our body is between 55-60% water,” says registered dietitian and owner of Fredericksburg Fitness Studio, Jennifer Scherer. “It’s essential to body functions, from regulating your internal temperature to lubricating joints,” says Scherer. “It protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, prevents cramps, strains, headaches, and backaches, improves complexion, and can take the edge off hangovers.”
While it feels counterintuitive to continue drinking alcohol on the quest for hydration, a sudden drop in hangover-related headaches — and exercise-induced migraines — gave me first-hand experience of what a well-hydrated body feels like in times of duress. I could suddenly run a few miles without feeling the tightening vice of a migraine around my eyeballs. I felt lighter, happier, younger — effectively lubricated from the inside out.
My interest in water began to bloom into a tall glass of obsession. I’d spend my free time Googling the most cost-effective water filters and ice cube trays while aimlessly sipping my emotional support water bottle. Now, I no longer felt sad: just hydrated and needing to pee. Constantly.
The making of a HydroHomie.
HydroHomies are rarely born but made — like accountants or high-ranking criminals. All it takes to join the cold water cult is an active Reddit account (lest you lurk anonymously) and an open mind. Forget everything you knew about water and allow yourself to consume H20 in a sexier light.
Dare I say: water is in? Stanley saw a tremendous spike in popularity after #StanleyQuencher became a viral hit for simply existing. WaterTok, while controversial for its reliance on artificial water accouterment like sugar-free syrups and flavor packets, dominates the social stream in a way it simply couldn’t in forgone decades.
No matter what level of hydration aptitude you are coming to the group with, there’s something for everyone. Can’t get over the “tasteless” taste of water? The homies recommend flavored waters and hydration packets to stay hydrated without effort.
Of course, not all HydroHomies come to the page as a stick of human jerky. In fact, it was a burgeoning love of sparkling water that first attracted writer Alex Robinson to HydroHomies back in 2020. Born in Florida, Robinson says he grew up taking hydration as “serious as a gator warning” but was introduced to a treasure trove of seltzer brands on HydroHomies, bringing his water appreciation to a new level.
“I love to find out about the new sparkling waters that people love, and then trying to find them,” says Robinson, citing Pellegrino, Perrier, La Croix, and Topo Chico as brands he discovered from the community. Alex points to the subreddit as a source of continued inspiration, remarking how different his drinking habits are now versus 10 years ago.
HydroHomies are rarely born but made — like accountants or high-ranking criminals. All it takes to join the cold water cult is an active Reddit account (lest you lurk anonymously) and an open mind.
“I’m always trying to get that perfect glass of clean, crisp, high-quality water,” he adds. “It’s always great to see what kind of filters people use and review.”
That’s the beauty of Reddit: You’ve got the world’s taste buds and expertise at your fingertips.
One recent photo of a moldy water bottle top drove me to scrutinize and scrub every vaguely porous cap in my house. Another warned of the larger-than-trace amounts of microplastics in a plastic bottled water brand just waiting to be gulped down by unsuspecting homies.
Unlike the more exclusive (and sometimes NSFW) subreddits requiring verification in the form of a photo or government ID, aspiring H20Gs can join the tribe with little more than a username and a bottle of your favorite bottle of the clear stuff.
Maybe they should rewrite the age-old saying:
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make that horse drink the water until its slim horse bride points out some fairly obvious signs of dehydration, inspiring it to join a subreddit where like-minded horses happily drink water. Then, it too, will drink water.
Stay hydrated, homies!
PHOTO CREDIT: Illustrations by Sibel Balac