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Lesson 2: Drink Water

I’ve learned over the years that I ignore most nutrition guidelines until I understand the why. Water is a perfect example. I know it’s important to stay hydrated but I never understood the negative consequences of not drinking enough water...or the "why." Now that I’ve been enlightened on the subject, I’ve become a crazy water lady. If friends or family are experiencing health problems, I’m going to tell them to drink water and hydrate. In my opinion, it’s the first step before you go see a doctor or start popping pills of one kind or another.

So what’s so bad about dehydration beyond that cotton-mouth feeling? It can have a big impact on the digestion and absorption of food. And if our bodies don't get enough nutrients we can experience low energy and brain fog. When the body is really desperate for hydration, it will take moisture from other parts of the body. Water can be scavenged from the mucus membrane in the stomach and large intestine and disrupt digestion and absorption of nutrients or cause heartburn and ulcers. Or it'll come from the spongy discs of the spine leaving them hard and inflexible like the dried up sponge sitting on your kitchen sink. And the next time you have problems with constipation make sure you've been drinking enough water with your fiber before spending money on over-the-counter drugs.

Low levels of water in the body will also lower blood plasma levels making blood circulate at a slower rate and inhibiting the distribution of oxygen, nutrients, and other good stuff our bodies need to function.

The good news is that although hydration is common it's really easy to fix. Go get a glass, turn on the faucet and fill 'er up. So simple! Okay maybe not that simple. Most sources recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water. Not an easy task for anyone. I like to drink a couple of glasses as soon as I wake up and then every few hours until I go to bed. I also prefer using fresh lemon or lime to flavor my water rather than those flavor packets or Gatorade. Those flavor packets certainly make the water taste better but they contain sugar, chemicals and other additives that cause more harm than good.

There are certainly days and weeks I don’t come close to my hydration goals. With time, I’ve learned to stop beating myself up when it doesn’t happen. Starting a new habit takes time. For some it may be 21 days or 40 days. For me, it may take a lifetime. My philosophy is that tomorrow is a new day and all I can do is try again…practice makes perfect!

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