In honor of Earth Day this April, I’m going to do a 5 part series over the next 5 weeks to encourage you to get outside and get grounded — it is an absolutely essential part of your spring healing plan!
Here are the next 5 blog posts:
- A new study helps to explain why grounding boosts your mood
- My top 10 indoor activities to take outside this spring
- Holistic sun protection: tips to know before going outside
- Replacing minerals to boost your conductivity and avoid dehydration this spring and summer
- Holistic skin care support: protecting against bug bites, ticks, treating athletes foot & more!
So today is the fourth one… how to protect against dehydration while you are outside having fund this spring and summer!
Known as the “Elixir of Life” for good reason, water is absolutely critical to our well being in every way.
Not only are we primarily made up of water (over 70% of our body is pure water!) but water has a healing property that goes way beyond simple hydration.
Today, I want to share with you all the different ways that we can use the power of water to support our Well Being from the inside out. One of the most important ways is that it supports our grounding practice — allowing your body to literally be more conductive the more electrolyte balanced and hydrated it is!
But first, I want to run through some of the surprising symptoms of dehydration, and I’d like you to tally up how many of these symptoms you are feeling right now.
If you feel even one, you are already volume depleted and you need to immediately go drink a big glass of water!
What Does Dehydration Feel Like?
Dehydration is life threatening. Severe dehydration means our organs absolutely can not function normally and leads to seizure, organ failure, and death.
But did you know even very mild levels of dehydration might be affecting you on a daily basis?
Dehydration can lead to or exacerbate common conditions such as constipation, dry skin, bad breath, headache, and high blood pressure. How many of these symptoms do you have right now?
- Dry Mouth: One of the first symptoms of dehydration is dry mouth, which leads to bacteria overgrowth and bad breath. If you notice bad breath, you might consider: are you chronically dehydrated?
- Dry Skin: Your skin turgor is another indicator of dehydration. If you’ve been concerned about your skin feeling dry or more wrinkled, double check that you are drinking enough fluid each day.
- Pain: Pain is actually a symptom of dehydration as well, often starting with a headache. And low fluid status can lead to headaches and brain fog as well, as the fluid volume of the brain gets depleted from dehydration. I’ve literally had patients with a raging headache drink a glass of water and have the headache clear completely. The next time you have a headache or any type of pain, make sure you drink a glass of water and then re-evaluate your pain levels before reaching for a pain reliever or medication. Dehydration makes all pain worse, as the volume of the organs and joints deplete, dehydrated ligaments and cartilage get injured more easily and dehydrated discs in the spine allow increased pinching of nerves and muscle cramps increase as electrolytes deplete.
- Constipation: Having sluggish bowels is another classic symptom of chronic dehydration. Recent studies have shown that water status is the NUMBER ONE factor impacting regularity. More important than walking and more important that even fiber intake, water intake can turn constipation issues around completely. Drinking water has more of an impact on encouraging healthy bowel movements than fiber supplement or exercise… in fact, I’d go as far as to say fiber supplements clog people up more often than they help. In general, a constipated person is a dehydrated person. You can fix that right now — go grab a glass of water.
- High Blood Pressure: Another classic sign of chronic dehydration? High blood pressure. When we decrease our water intake, our blood gets thicker, harder to pump, our blood volume decreases and our heart rate increases and our blood vessels constrict. All together, this means your blood pressure raises and stays raised. If you are having blood pressure issues, it is more important than EVER to be extremely vigilant about your hydration status!
- Digestive Issues: Dehydration also impacts your entire gut lining, and chronic dehydration can give rise to stomach ulcers and absorption issues as the mucosal layer stops secreting it’s protective film.
- Dry Cough: Not only does the gut lining need to be well hydrated to function, but also our entire respiratory lining does too. Our lungs absolutely require a moist mucous membrane to function. In chronic dehydration, the mucus membranes in our respiratory system dry out and become more vulnerable to dust, pollen and other irritants, leaving you susceptible to an irritating, non-productive, dry cough.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Getting more UTI’s than usual? Our entire urinary system (and therefore the health of our kidneys) depends on having enough volume to use liquids to flush toxins from our body. When we can’t do that, we set ourselves up for issues with kidney function and a higher rate of infections.
- Weight Gain: Another little known side effect of chronic dehydration is weight gain. As we become volume depleted, we begin to feel thirst, which is often confused with hunger because the body is craving intake of any kind (knowing that most foods will provide some form of hydration, your body sends out the message that it is hungry when it is volume depleted in any way.). As a result, we eat when what we really need to be doing for our true health is rehydrating.
- Bad Mood & Brain Fog: Did you know that even mild dehydration affects our mood? A study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that study participants reported decreased motivation and increased feelings of anxiety when mildly dehydrated. On top of that, headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and decreased physical activity all were increased during dehydration. And the effect of dehydration on mood was even more pronounced in women than in men! And this medical review published in the Journal Of the American College of Nutrition showed that our attention spans and even our short term memory fizzles when we are dehydrated.
So the next time you have a headache, or feel anxious, or notice your blood pressure or weight creeping up… drink a glass of water and re-evaluate.
It could be that chronic dehydration has been a key factor contributing to your symptoms all along.
And don’t rely on thirst to remind you to drink!
Prevent dehydration before you even get thirsty. Dehydration begins when we are just 1% volume depleted, but thirst doesn’t set in until our body is about 2% volume depleted. By then we have already had effects on our mood, energy level, ability to think clearly, and pain levels.
Instead of waiting for thirst or darkened urine to remind us to drink, let’s utilize these preventative strategies for staying well hydrated, instead of treating dehydration!
The goal of this article isn’t to teach you how to address dehydration but to have you protecting your hydration levels by preventing dehydration in the first place. Read on:
My 12 favorite ways to use water to boost your health:
1. Begin and end every single day drinking a big glass of water.
Drink a full glass of water each AM before you even think about reaching for orange juice or coffee. In fact, don’t allow yourself to drink anything at all before you’ve had a glass of water.
Replenishing the fluids you lost overnight every as well as the fluids you may have overlooked drinking all day long is a great lifelong habit to get into.
Do it daily so it becomes an automatic routine!
2. Drink a glass of water whenever you feel hungry.
Use hunger as a reminder to hydrate!
We feel hunger on and off all day long, and so we can remember to drink water on and off all day long too.
Thirst is often confused with hunger, because your body is craving INTAKE of any kind!
Drink a glass of water before each meal and whenever you feel thirst *or* hunger, and you will stay well hydrated all day long.
3. Include fruits and vegetables at every single meal.
Fruits and veggies are full of water (many being more than 90% water!) and minerals that help you maintain essential fluid volume.
Processed foods like packaged snacks actually dehydrate you.
Fruits and veggies are a great way to hydrate *while* you eat!
The most hydrating ones include:
- leafy greens
- tomatoes and
- bell peppers
4. Use an unrefined sea salt when you cook, instead of table salt.
It’s truly important to make sure you have enough minerals in your diet so that you can absorb and retain the right hydration balance.
Trace minerals, found in sea salts, are essential to the body’s function.
In fact, trace minerals actually help enhance another healing practice that I feel is crucial for our well being… grounding! I talk more about why minerals are so essential for grounding in this video I made for you here.
Even if you don’t think hydration is an issue for you, most of us are mineral depleted whether we hydrate well or not. This can affect many different organ systems in our body, and even decrease our grounding potential.
You might want to consider a daily mineral supplement that you drop into a glass of water, which will further encourage you to drink drink drink throughout the day.
5. Moisturize your skin to decrease transcutaneous water loss.
By removing any dead skin, making sure your skin is moist and hydrated, making sure you are not mineral depleted, and making sure you drink a big glass of water so you are well hydrated internally before grounding, you can maximize how quickly and how easily your body gets grounded through contact with the earth outdoors.
My favorite moisturizer combines two of these principals in one: it moisturizes to repair the lipid bilayer of your skin, and it also adds crucial trace minerals to your body as well. It is a trace mineral lotion and you can find it right here.
6. Switch from soda to sparkling water.
If you love carbonation and find it difficult not to crave soda, make the switch to sparkling water instead.
The sugar and chemicals found in soda (even diet soda!) mess with your metabolism and absolutely do not *count* towards your 8+ cups of water a day. But sparkling water does… and even better if you drink sparkling mineral water, which also replenishes your mineral balance. Here is one study showing mineral water has health benefits.
Get your carbonation fix from sparkling water or sparkling mineral water instead of soda and reap the hydration rewards!
7. Allow tears… always.
The healing power of water can work magic for helping to support our entire well being, from clearing our mind frame to easing pain.
Because water is such a transformative medium, it’s no coincidence that the basis for our blood, sweat and tears is water. So the first way to use the power of water to transform your well being is to allow the tears… always. Never hold them back.
Let the water of your tears release your emotions and lift them from your body.
Water is the ultimate medium of flow and healing… in fact, water is the body’s natural choice of release as well, as you can see in the fact that the body uses tears to facilitate an emotional release.
Tears help encourage the flow of emotions through the body (both tears of joy and tears of sorrow!) and allows us to release tension more easily.
8. Sweat it out!
The other way that the body uses water as a form of energetic and physical release is through sweat. Working up a sweat uses the energy and flow of water (the blood in your circulatory system) by increasing flushing — fluid in, sweat out.
Exercise is an essential, wonderful, medically proven treatment plan for so many different health conditions, shown to be effective in treating everything from insomnia, to depression and anxiety to fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions… even preventing dementia and extending our lifespan!
Make sure you find some physical activity that you can routinely do that allows you to sweat… whether you like hiking, yoga, kickboxing, jogging, or even, in a pinch a more passive form of sweating like a sauna (which has been recently shown to decrease dementia rates!) — find a way to embrace sweating and be sure to replace that fluid flow with tons of fresh filtered water both before, during, and after sweating!!!
9. Use the grounding properties of water to detox and release, even inside your home.
Take a long hot epsom salt bath soak (add some baking soda and apple cider vinegar to turn it into a detoxing experience) to soothe muscles, calm and relax you before bedtime. Or, simply relax in a warm shower and envision the water carrying the tensions of the day down the drain for you.
Here is a video I made for you showing you how even the water inside of your home is likely grounding you! No wonder showers, baths, and even washing the dishes can feel so stress relieving and centering.
10. Use water to increase the strength of grounding outside as well.
Another great way to use water to heal is to ground in areas that are naturally moist: by the ocean or river or lake… even simply the morning dew on a blade of grass!
There is a reason that doctor’s routinely gave out prescriptions for spending time by the sea when they had no idea what else to do to help an ailment. That’s because the earth has healing energy to give you, and if you add moisture to that you increase your own conductivity and healing accelerates.
moisture + you + earth = expedited healing
This spring and summer, if you can get outside grounded while there is still dew on the grass, you will expedite your grounding experience.
If you can take a spray bottle out with you and spritz the ground before touching it, or spritz your skin before touching the earth, you will boost your conductivity.
If you can run through the sprinkler as you water your garden or yard, you will boost your conductivity (take your kids… they love this!). If you have a hose you can play with, to get wet during grounding, by all means do it!
If you have the option to get grounded in an in-ground swimming pool that is made from cement (not plastic) you will be grounded and the water will boost your grounding experience.
If you have the option to wade through a river or creek, or swim or walk along the edge of a lake, river or beach, you will feel the boost that water gives to your time spent grounding.
Bottom line: if water is ever an option for outdoor grounding — take it!
Here is a video I made last summer with my friend Stacey, experimenting with grounding in water. It was one of the last really warm days we recently had at the very tale end of summer (which, where we live, is in September!)
I hope you enjoy it. You can really see and feel the difference of how relaxed and centered we become after spending an hour grounding through water.
11. Make sure your air contains moisture!
You lose over two cups (or a half liter) of water just from breathing each day. And another cup or more just through your skin. If the air is dry (which all of our indoor air is…) then that water loss is dramatically higher.
Use steam/humidifiers to help hydrate your air and support the hydration of your mucosal membranes, decrease respiratory water loss and even decrease transcutaneous water loss.
If you can’t humidify your whole house, humidify the area that you spend the most time — usually, the bedroom. If you breathe mositurized air for the 7 or 8 hours you spend in bed each night, you will notice a difference, waking up with more hydrated skin & mucosal membranes.
12. Drink water in an intentional way, to energetically reset the body from the inside out.
As I mentioned above, you lose about 2 liters (8 cups) of water each day… through skin and lungs, urination, bowel movements, tears, and sweating. You can utilize this high turn over of fluids to your advantage and hydrate hydrate hydrate during times of worry or sorrow or stress more than any other time of your life.
Look at every glass of water you drink as a way to add a healing intention into your body, infusing every single cell of every single tissue of every single organ system you have with healing support. You can simply say a prayer, say an intention, even just *think* an intention as you hold your cup of water and silently bless it before you drink it.
Let your body be flushed out inside and out and with every urination or bowel movement or tear or droplet of sweat you shed, recognize you are flushing the old energy down the drain and making way for new healing.
The beautiful, life affirming, healing properties of water can not be matched with anything else we put into our bodies.
Why do I recommend you filter your water before drinking it, especially if it’s from the tap?
Hundreds of medical studies have shown that fluoride affects everything from cognitive function and cardiac function in humans, to diabetes, fertility and more in animals… so I recommend avoiding fluoride in water and never use fluoridated toothpastes.
Fluoride is an enzyme inhibitor, point-blank.
Even the minuscule amounts of fluoride added to the public water supply accumulates in bone. It is estimated about 50% of the fluoride we consume is eliminated, and 50% is stored in our body, mostly in our bones. So miniscule amounts of fluoride adding to our bodies sip after sip after sip equals a not-so-minimal exposure. Over a lifetime, these levels can reach high proportions… decreasing bone density and causing brittleness.
For a nation whose women have epidemic proportions of osteopenia and osteoporosis, it would be counter productive to continue to drink fluoride on a daily basis… and then use prescriptions to try to combat the osteoporosis that develops later in life. Studies have shown that the rate of hip fracture in elderly is directly increased in areas that fluoridate their water.
And the truth is, you get plenty of fluoride through your foods. Plants store fluoride found naturally in the earth AND from the water used to irrigate crops. Yep, even organic crops have fluoride in them from the irrigation water.
Statements from reps of the National Institutes of Health recommend that people who drink large quantities of water should not drink tap water, but instead switch to bottled water. We are just getting so much exposure to fluoride, that to intentionally consume extra fluoride, whether through drinking water or toothpaste, is way too much.
Your skin absorbs fluoride as well, so even when you are showering or taking a bath, you are absorbing fluoride.
We also know fluoride is being taken up by our cardiovascular system as well. A study published in the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications definitively proved that fluoride is absorbed into your vascular system. Researchers followed 61 patients after administering fluoride and found that 96% of them had fluoride uptake in their cardiovascular walls.
In a nation with heart disease steeply rising, this doesn’t sit well with me. Direct absorption to of fluoride into our cardiovascular walls (and a significant correlation between cardiovascular events and fluoride uptake) makes it all the more urgent for us to avoid fluoride all together.
And now new reports are revealing something even more disturbing, if you can believe it — fluoride lowers IQ. I am routinely asked at the dentist’s office if I would like to give my children a concentrated fluoride treatment. And affect their still-developing brain? Uh… NO. I feel that a fluoride filter to remove fluoride from your drinking water (as well as not using fluoridated toothpaste) is a mandatory investment to protect the long term health of your heart, your bones, your brain, and all the organs in between!
Not only will the right filtration unit filter out fluoride (double check that yours does, most do not) but it will also filter out chlorine and other nasty chemicals added to the public water supply, as well as nasty chemicals that are unintentionally in our water supply like lead, arsenic, pesticides, perchlorate, and even pharmaceutical drugs.
I keep a water filtration system out on my kitchen counter space so that not only am I drinking pure, clean, fluoride free water, but the beautiful filtration unit serves as a visual reminder to DRINK every single time I walk it, or am standing in the kitchen preparing a meal.
My agreement with myself, and hopefully one you will make with yourself too now that you’ve read all about how serious dehydration is and how crucial staying hydrated is, is that every time I see the water filter, I have to go take a quick drink of water from it. So every time I walk by my kitchen, every time I go in for a snack, every time I am doing the dishes, and every time I am prepping a meal or cleaning up from a meal… I drink a glass of water.
It’s win-win, because drinking a glass of water before every meal helps me decrease cravings and control portion sizes naturally, which is one of the best tips for losing weight there is. But as a bonus, this habit has really helped me to remember to maintain my hydration status.
Using a water filter not only ensures my water is pure and healthy, instead of harming me (and my children and my pets — did you know that drinking tap water is harmful to your fur babies as well? This report goes over why hard water may be harming your pet. In addition, fluoride, chlorine, lead, microplasltics, pesticides and fertilizers in tap water harm your pet’s organ systems just like it harms yours!) but it serves as a visual reminder to stay hydrated.
Today, try to use at least one of the dozen ways listed above to allow water to naturally support your Well Being… knowing you are doing more than just avoiding dehydration, you are boosting your immediate — and long term — health!