Water – Think Beyond Just Quenching Your Thirst

Water really is the elixir of life.  An interesting perspective that another friend (a backpacking buddy) who is a well trained outdoorsman told me one summer the rule of three:

A human can survive for:

– 3 minutes without air
– 3 hours without a regulated body temperature (shelter)
– 3 days without water
– 3 weeks without food

Blue Lake - Indian peaks Wilderness, Colorado

Blue Lake – Indian peaks Wilderness, Colorado

These of course are considerations in the worst case scenarios, but specific to water, we’re generally all not hydrated enough.  If you feel even mildly thirsty, you’re already slightly dehydrated, and you need to drink water to catch up.  Even the slightest level of dehydration negatively affects the body’s physical and mental performance.  When you have a dry mouth, chapped lips or decreased urine output, your body is telling you very clearly that you need to hydrate, fast.  In the above rule of three, 3 days with no water is a pretty scary place to be…after 48 hours or so, assume fever, low blood pressure, cracked skin with no elasticity, no tears or sweat and in the most extreme cases, delirium or unconsciousness.  It doesn’t take much for the body to naturally start to take precautionary steps to accommodate when it is not getting ample water.

Dr John Douillard, an Ayurvedic practitioner in Boulder CO states that dehydration is one of the most common reasons that one’s Lymph system could be stagnant.  He suggests sipping hot water every 10-15 minutes throughout the day, totaling at least ½ your ideal body weight in ounces per day.  This means for a 150 lb person, drinking at least 75 oz, or (almost 10 cups of water) per day is necessary.  He just released anther excellent article on the Lymph here, as well.

Water is the key word here…not just any liquid.  Juice, soda, coffee etc do indeed contain some water, but it’s clearly not the same thing as drinking clean water.  At home, we have filtered our water with Reverse Osmosis (RO) for more than 10 years, and feel it is the best set up for us.  It’s convenient, inexpensive and does a great job in my opinion.  The filtered water clearly tastes superior to the tap water.

Also, despite the average American’s infatuation with ice cold drinks, room temp water (or even better yet, warm)  is so much better for you.  Consider that we are about 98.6 degrees; what happens when you dump ice water in?  Your insides immediately constrict, and it douses your digestive “fire”, making it considerably weaker. Drinking iced beverages with your meal can result in overall poor digestion, cramps, nausea, gas or constipation.

Finally, it’s ok to NOT have a beverage with your meal.  Doing so dilutes the acids needed for proper digestion.  If you would like, drink a glass 20-30 minutes before your meal if you want to help curb your appetite, as it will help you feel fuller, faster.

Water quality and its general availability are becoming more and more of a concern and many today feel that it is or will be one of the most important political and environmental concerns of the 21st century.  The excellent documentary ‘FLOW” discusses these concerns thoroughly, exposing many of the historical and current concerns as well as some of the most thought provoking solutions.

Why we filter our water comes down to doing whatever we can to mitigate the negative environmental impacts on what we put into our body.  No one would willingly drink a cup of straight chlorine bleach, and yet every time we drink tap water we’re drinking it in small quantities each and every day.  I totally get and respect the advances we have made as a society with clean drinking water.  I know how fortunate as a whole we are in America and yet it has come at a price, and there are better ways today.

So, for now I’ll take my drinking water filtered, thank you.  On another blog post, I will discuss more of the specifics as to what’s in the water  (hint: its much more than just chlorine!) at the kitchen sink that we’re so interested in removing before it flows into my glass.

Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward.  – George Carlin

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Supplements in our diet: my case for Vitamin C

Rainbow Chard from our garden...incredible source of VC....and its so beautiful!

Rainbow Chard from our garden…incredible source of VC….and its so beautiful!

Whole, unprocessed, organic, real food is hands down the most important part of our diet.  One cannot live on processed supplements alone, no matter how hard you might try.  The move to supplement bars, or instant breakfast meals in a bar/drink are utterly crazy to me, and in my opinion, not good for anything other than a short term fix.  I love some of the good bars available only for long hikes or other outdoor activities where a meal is not an option.  There are some really good raw bars out there I really like.

However, no matter how hard we try to eat well all the time, supplements do play an important part in our daily regimen.  Like our use of garlic, we have staved off many simple colds, and who knows how many other unwanted invasions of good health by a small core of basic supplements.  At the moment, we prefer a select few individual vitamins, minerals and a fish oil versus a “multi-vitamin” because you just cannot get enough of the quality ingredients or the highest dose into a capsule when you’re trying to make an “all in one” product.  In addition, we do eat very well in our house, with most every meal eaten as a family with fresh, home-cooked foods.

Orthomolecular Medicine is the term coined by chemist Linus Pauling back in the 1960’s describing a form of alternative medicine built around maintaining optimal health through nutritional supplementation; aka vitamins and minerals.  Generally, my entire family takes 2 grams of Vitamin C each day….a gram with breakfast, and a gram with dinner. This is a maintenance dose for us especially October through May despite the RDA being only 60 milligrams.  We step it up to one gram an hour when a cold threatens.  There are virtually no side effects, until you get bowel discomfort, and once you reach that (no one in our family ever has, even our youngest) we know that is the limit and would simply back off at that point.

A close family member was diagnosed with shingles last summer.  What an unpleasant and somewhat scary experience.  We were past the time window where any pharmaceutical might have worked (successful treatment with most drugs is questionable at best, apparently).  After some research, VC was taken at about a gram per hour as long as she was awake.  There were some other supplements she took and applied topically, but in the end the shingles was gone…simply gone in under 2 weeks.  In fact, what looked like it could have left an ugly, permanent scar had no remains whatsoever just a few weeks after that.  Our brief experience with shingles wasn’t fun by any means, but we clearly beat the odds and hope to not see that one again anytime soon.

Vitamin C initially came into importance as a supplement to ward off scurvy, which it did in relatively low doses through the addition of citrus into one’s diet.  Over time, research has shown that it is incredibly safe, even in enormous doses, with little to no side effects, especially when compared to the side effects of the pharmaceutical alternatives.  The theory of VC causing kidney stones has been repeatedly dis-proven, as discussed here although countless other sources are available.

The list of conditions successfully treated is long and there are numerous success stories even with many types of cancer.  Success has been shown in both a cure rate as well as in a boost in quality of life during standard cancer treatment.  In these scenarios, the VC is delivered in ultra high doses intravenously, but the effects are the same.

Living in a generally over medicated and undernourished country, I think basic supplementation offers benefits that far outweigh any negatives or potential side effects.  I don’t believe in popping pills for every ailment that comes our way, but rather keeping a strong, vibrant immune system that is well equipped to fight whatever may come down the pike, as the body was so well designed to do on its own.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~Hippocrates

By the way….one of the all time best documentaries is available for a few more days for FREE!  Viewing is online only.  FOOD MATTERS is a must see, and covers food and supplements to the nth degree.

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Free Screening of the movie “American Meat” this week

I love a good book or documentary, especially on food, farming, the environment and the like.  This week, the exceptional documentary called American Meat is being offered in it’s full length entirely for free, as a way to say thanks to our great farmers.  The hope is to raise conversation and meaningful dialogue towards the betterment of the commercial, industrialized food production methods in America and beyond. This movie also just happens to fit right in with my own next blog post that will be live in the next few days!

For a quick overview, the movie trailer can be seen here.

The complete, uncut movie can be seen here.

Many thanks to the great American farmers who have seen the virtues, both financial and ecological, of sustainable & organic farming methods.  May you continue in your efforts, but also set the example for and help train & retrain others in your methods to ensure a farming revolution for the next generation.

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