Day 2 - Hydrate
Lesson 2: Water yourself
Your actions today: Drink water; on waking each morning and throughout the day
This lesson will ask you to:
- Consider your hydration needs
- Increase your hydration between 2fl oz (100ml) to 8fl oz (250ml) each day until consuming your daily requirement
- Obtain hydration from different sources
More than half of our bodies are comprised of water.
We are mostly water! The inner world of the body is a liquid one. The only water-free places in the body are fat cells, bone crystals, and the tiny interior recesses of enzymes. Apart from these places, the majority of the body is washed with water continually. Good water is a cornerstone of health and fundamental for ongoing detoxification. Correct hydration is a supremely simple element and its importance is often underestimated during a cleanse. A process of detoxification involves changing toxins into water soluble compounds, so they can be removed through urine, sweat, or on the breath. We need water to detoxify effectively.
Water is crucial to life. Here are a few things it does for us:
- It helps maintain a healthy acid-alkaline pH balance.
- It contributes to the amount of blood in circulation, consequently affecting blood pressure and its flow through the body.
- It is a primary player in transporting nutrition and oxygen in the body and regulates heat.
- Water regulates gene expression and affects regulation inside the cell.
- Most of the body's biochemical processes occur in a fluid environment.
Water is truly the river of life that flows throughout our bodies.
How much to drink?
On average we humans excrete between 68 - 85 fl. oz. (2000 - 2500ml) water every day. Water leaves us through breath, sweat, faeces, and urine. We need to replace these daily losses. If we don't, our internal worlds can become dehydrated, which subtly affects our functioning. Dehydration is rife. Consider the difference between a baby and an elderly person in terms of their possible hydration status. As one professor put it:
"Drying is dying"
Dehydration is a serious lack of water and soluble salts, called electrolytes. Suboptimal hydration is a lack of water, but one that our bodies adapt to. In suboptimal hydration the body creates "regional droughts" throughout the body, according to water-doctor, Dr Batmanghelidj. These 'droughts' can manifest as aches or inflammation in specific areas of the body.
Key signs of dehydration:
- Dark yellow urine
- Reduced amount and regularity of urine
- Dry mouth or thirst
- Dry skin
- Recurrent constipation and headaches
- Tiredness, dizziness or light headedness
- Reduced skin turgor. This is assessed by pinching skin on the hand and watching how long it takes to retract
The general requirement suggested is eight glasses (8 fl. oz or 250ml) of water a day. This is a total of around 67 fl. oz (2 litres) a day. Your water needs increase if you're sweating excessively, exercising, or spending extended periods in air-conditioned or heated environments. Have an extra glass or two each day if this is you. Caffeine and alcoholic drinks can slightly increase urine output. So ensure you drink a glass of water every time you have a cuppa or a tipple. The best indication of adequate hydration is having four to six trips to the toilet every day, releasing good quantities of pale-yellow urine.
What to hydrate with
You can hydrate with straight water, or herbal teas, vegetable juices, and water rich foods. But not with soft drink nor sugar rich drinks. Keep in mind that most unprocessed foods contain water. Generally 25% of your water intake will come from your food. Water in food is often combined with beneficial nutrients. The more water-rich, whole foods you eat, the more nutrient infused water you consume. Water can be jazzed up, by placing a sprig of herbs or chopped fruit into a jug of water. Try slices of banana and a spring of mint, or a sliced apple and a stick of cinnamon. Herbal teas are an excellent way of hydrating: Drink herbal teas to hydrate during your first week. Infuse single herbs or blend them together. Use one teaspoon of dried herb per cup:
- Lemon balm
Eating more fruits and vegetables this week is easy if you liquefy them. If you juice them you'll benefit from the plant water. If you blend them to make a smoothie then you'll also benefit from the fibre bulk too. Drink home prepared vegetable juices. This week you might have one cup a day, drink one every other day, or just one for the whole week if that's all you can manage.
Using a juicer, try these yummy juices (made ideally with organic produce):
SIMPLE DETOX JUICE:
Using a juicer, try one of these combos: - 2 carrots, ¼ beetroot, 2 sticks of celery, ½ apple - Handful of leafy greens (either spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard), 1 pear, ½ cup of strawberries, ½ lemon (with skin) and 1 apple.
SIMPLE DETOX SMOOTHIE:
Using your blender, try this vegetable and fruit smoothie: - 1 lime (no skin), 1 green apple, ½ cucumber, 1 small handful of parsley OR leafy greens (spinach or chard), 1 stick of celery, ½ inch (1 cm) peeled ginger root, ½ cup of filtered water
SIMPLE DETOX SOUP:
Try this 4 minute cup of soup: - ¼ cup of chopped seasonal vegetables (ideally organic), pour over 1 cup of boiling water and leave for 3 minutes. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of miso paste, ½ tablespoon of raw almond butter. Garnish with chopped chives or spring onion.
How to hydrate?
People have different ways of ensuring adequate hydration. Some sip. Some gulp. Some like iced water. Some like hot. Do it the way you like. Ideally avoid too much water around meals, particularly iced water. Drinking 60-90 minutes on either side of meals during the day may reduce excessive trips to the toilet, as well as increase your cellular hydration, according to Dr Batmanghelidj. Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors often suggest 500mls (17 fl. oz) or more, an hour before breakfast each morning. Build up to this if you want to try it. I generally recommend drinking more in the morning and finishing your water intake by 6pm. This way you won't be up taking trips to the toilet all night. Whichever way you do it, ensure you gradually increasing your intake. A gradual increase places less stress on your precious kidneys.
What type of water?
Drink the best water available to you. Tap water is often treated with chloride and fluoride. Both of these substances present major challenges to human health. Flouride accumulates in the pineal gland, which can interrupt the release of the naturally secreted sleep, repair and beauty hormone. Flouride is small so ensure your water filter removes it, if it is added to your local water supply. There are many other compounds identified in potable waters around the world, including pharmaceutical drugs and their breakdown chemicals, agricultural pesticides and synthetic hormones fed to animals, just to name a few. Filtering your water is recommended.
"Filter or be a filter" - David Wolfe
Our water planet
When an environment is unhealthy, it can't support the healthy functioning of the living beings living within it. This is because they are totally reliant upon the environment for their survival. We humans are slowly waking up to this interdependence between environmental health and our health. We are also coming to understand the importance of the "green water" involved in forest systems, as well as the "blue water" of the rivers, lakes and oceans.
"Water is all humans' first medicine. We are all water babies, born in water... We live on a water planet... Don't forget to thank your water." - Agnes Baker Pilgrim; one of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers