Do you drink water? I know that sounds silly, but it’s an honest question. Most Americans are walking around tired and hungry when they really just need some good ole’ H2O. Even if you “drink” all day long, you may be suffering from dehydration—honestly–sugary drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea, etc.—those don’t really count and often, in fact, cause more harm than good. Now I am NOT saying give up your coffee and tea—the key is moderation and/or making sure you get the water you need in addition to your fav. Don’t make me talk about “diet” drinks containing artificial sweeteners—well, OK, we’ll talk about them, but not today–that’s another post unto itself ☺
Did you know that if you are not fully hydrated, your energy level drops by 20% or more? Did you know that coffee and tea are actually diuretics that cause you to LOSE more fluid? Did you know that chronic dehydration is at the root of many debilitating illnesses? Did you know that you can’t tell if you’re dehydrated by your feelings (or lack thereof) of thirst? All the other liquids cause a “masking” of your actual thirst—so no, 6 cans of coke classic do not equal drinking 72 oz of water.
How do you know if you’re dehydrated? The simplest test is just to “look after you go.” If your urine is very pale yellow to clear in the porcelain throne, you are probably in pretty good shape. If not, time to sling back some ounces! My mother always made a point of drinking a glass of water after each trip to the ladies room. At 75, she is still on zero medications, active and healthy—and still drinking LOTS of water.
If you’re not a fan of water because you don’t like the taste (or lack thereof) there are a number of simple ways to fix that–add a little lime (fresh is best, but concentrate is good! Lime is better than lemon, but lemon is fine) My doc told me to use lime over lemon—he’s both and MD and a naturopath, so I listen! Stock up on some fruit concentrates that have no added sugar–they are simply the fruit concentrated–I use Mango, Papaya, Black Cherry, Pomegranate, Blueberry–there are lots available—health food stores or specialty grocery places like Weggmans, Whole Foods, Healthway—even Vitamin Shop carry a nice array—and because you use so little, the cost is reasonable. I personally like to use some minty chlorophyll or chlorella (it’s green, which looks a little odd) but this helps to oxygenate the blood also. Just add a tablespoon to plain water (with ice if you like) and it makes all the difference. The point is, get the (pure) water IN YOU—
That’s another thought—don’t be drinking out of the tap—one of my 10 commandments of health is “Thou shalt not drink pool water” – use a Brita-type filter at the very least and consider putting in an RO (Reverse Osmosis) system at your kitchen sink—there are many good ones that cost very little anymore and make all the difference in your cooking and (internal) cleaning.
Need a way to carry the water around with you without making a mess? I prefer the glass water bottles put out by Lifefactory (www.lifefactory.com)– they now offer sippy cups for kids—these are not cheap, but they last and last—they have been a good investment for our family. They occasionally offer coupons too. Because of the rubber exterior it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to break these things and you do not have to worry about all the negatives that plastic water bottles come with. Slip one in your purse or diaper bag, or keep it on the counter and take a sip each time you walk by—it doesn’t have to be complicated! These are particularly handy for athletes and college students (who I would bet are constantly dehydrated at a time in their life where energy is already in short supply!)
“But I’ll have to go to the bathroom all day!” is the usual excuse. The answer is simply that once your body is properly hydrated and absorbing the water normally (and once the cells are rehydrated), this will stop. Over time, even the cells of the body lose hydration and this impacts their efficiency—it impacts enzyme activity and more and more water may accumulate OUTSIDE the cells and folks experience swelling and edema–it takes time (and consistency) to properly rehydrate and recover. Because dehydration impacts certain neurotransmitters in the brain, it can actually contribute to pain sensitivity—everything from low back pain and arthritis to neuralgia and angina, among many other things.
Bottom line is—DRINK MORE WATER—this is serious business and your entire body will benefit, and frankly, so will your budget. If you think good health habits are expensive, try chronic and long-term illness.