The Foundations: Hydration


“Water is an essential nutrient, and arguably one of the most important.”

I don’t know about you but I never took water seriously. I lived off juice and milk as a child, Diet Coke as a teenager, and coffee as an adult. Oh and there was definitely beer, margaritas and wine mixed in (after 21 of course!). Water was an afterthought and only something I reached for in extreme circumstances, like an excessively hot day or lots of exercise (which rarely happened let’s be honest). 

Health education was severely lacking when I was growing up. The main push was physical education and if you got thirsty, you got to fight the other kids for a sip at the communal water fountain. Gross. The importance of water was never really highlighted. 

Fast forwards to a few years ago when I briefly worked with a woman who drank about 100+ oz. of water a day. She would pack her giant clear water bottle everywhere and often announce the thrilling victory of finishing it off. She was quite proud of herself. You probably have a person just like this in your life too and they are annoying as hell. Her behavior only furthered my resolution that excessive water consumption was ridiculous. I didn’t want to look like her and lug a 60 oz. heinous-looking water bottle around everywhere I went! Was this really healthy? Was this really necessary? I was pretty sure our ancestors did not go from water hole to water hole enthusiastically filling vessels and chugging water all damn day. 

What’s the big deal?

So what’s the fuss about water and hydration? Why are there TikTok videos about drinking 100 oz. each day? Is it our fate to chug water all day long? The short answer is yes and no. Water is incredibly important and most of us are chronically dehydrated, but we don’t have to be saddled with a 60 oz. heinous-looking water bottle.

Here’s the simply truth about water. Water is a key nutrient that is essential for us to function properly, let alone live, and that is why it is one of six nutritional therapy foundations. Most people (my former self included) load up on everything except pure water. There is no blame here. After all, why would we reach for water when much tastier beverages like coffee, energy drinks and smoothies are readily available? You may be ‘functioning’ but without pure water the small issues start stacking up with all signs pointing to dehydration. Early signs range from fatigue, muscle cramps, anxiety, headaches, cravings, and memory loss to more chronic symptoms such as heartburn, joint pain and constipation. Any of those sound familiar? 

Here’s why we need pure water daily:
  • Transports nutrients throughout our body
  • Improves oxygen delivery to cells
  • Empowers the body’s natural healing process
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Moistens oxygen for easier breathing
  • Prevents tissues from sticking (gross right?)
  • Maintains normal electrical properties of cells
  • Enables cellular hydration
  • Removes wastes & flushes toxins
  • Lubricates & cushions joints
  • Enables the digestive process

Don’t you wish you had learned this in high school health? After seeing why water is critical, it really hits home why it’s so important to incorporate every day. But it doesn’t have to be the excessive practice my previous co-worker enjoyed or the 100 oz. daily social media challenge. Let me explain. With simple adjustments to your day and some high-quality water added in, you can adequately hydrate yourself without looking like a lunatic. How you ask?

Just like this: 

Step 1: Eat water-rich fresh fruits and vegetables each day. 

Step 2: Aim to drink half your weight of water in ounces. For a 140 lb. woman that would equal 70 oz. water/ daily*. Broken down, this is a little over four 16 oz. glasses. For a 170 lb. man that equals 85 oz. water/day, or five 16 oz. glasses. Drink normally throughout the day and please don’t chug. Your body needs time to absorb it.

Step 3: Drink the highest quality of water you can manage. Whether it’s a Brita filter or a Burkey, filtered water is an absolute must.

Step 4: Add minerals to your water to help your body absorb it better. You can do this with a pinch of sea salt to your water or you can add ConcenTrace, a mineral supplement that does that exact same thing. I personally prefer this over sea salt. 

The truth is water sustains life. Make a pact with yourself today to try the steps above. Divide your current weight by half and aim to drink those ounces leisurely each day. As a former anti-water person, I now crave it. It helped with my mental clarity, joint pain and as a bonus, I don’t feel ravenously hungry before meals. I still have morning coffee and I still have a glass of wine with dinner and I don’t pack around a giant water bottle. You can do this without being a slave to your water vessel.  

One final word on the water debate. Everything is taken to extremes these days, even how much water to drink. Don’t listen to what social media tells you to do. Do what works for you, first and foremost. Only you know your body. If you have intense food cravings, muscle aches, headaches, and brain fog, chances are you’re dehydrated. Look at what you’re drinking each day and make adjustments. You don’t have to run out and buy a 128 oz. Hydroflask or 1 gallon Yeti Rambler. I fill up a mason jar at home throughout the day. Keep it simple. Your body (and wallet) will thank you. 

* Varying circumstances can elevate water needs, such as age, pregnancy, nursing, or intense exercise.

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