It’s all About Water, Part II: Dying of Thirst

We have become so busy, so enamored of being busy, in believing whoever is the busiest, is the best, that we have lost an important survival mechanism. We’ve lost the ability to identify our body’s call for water. Even if we do feel a prompting, we’re likely to interpret that call as hunger or we may experience cravings for salty foods, sweets or caffeinated beverages. This is very much due to programming by the media. We feel tired and achy, our head is in a fog. What do we reach for? A stimulant and the liquid ones are usually close at hand and the choices are enormous–each one carefully marketed to a particular social strata. We’ve got the fruited waters, the flavored teas, the diet sodas, and the enhanced juices. We’ve got the old standard sodas and those companies are big into producing very highly caffeinated drinks marketed to young people. If your kind of a whole-wheat- granola, there’s no shortage of all natural energy drinks. The go-to here in Downeast Maine is Mountain Dew. In more upwardly mobile places it’s Starbucks coffee. It doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are–the older folks have Ensure–we’ve been programmed to reach for something other than water when we show any signs of thirst.

If you knew that chronic dehydration can lead to the following conditions would you think twice about what you reach for and perhaps choose water? Here’s a partial list: heart disease and stroke, infection, depression, sleep disorders, addiction, osteoporosis, leukemia, lymphoma, Attention Deficit Disorder, autoimmune disease, obesity, asthma, allergies, hypertension, constipation, heartburn, ulcers, angina, back pain, migraines, fibroyalgia, bulimia and the list goes on.

One brave soul, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, made it his life’s work to educate the public about the dangers of chronic dehydration. In 1979 Dr. B. was incarcerated as a political prisoner in his home country of Iran. Being a doctor he was asked to treat other prisoners, but had no medications to give them. Many of the inmates suffered from peptic ulcer pain. Dr. Batman found the pain could be relieved in about 10 minutes time by giving two glasses of water. Continued hydration resulted in healing the ulcers. When Dr. Batman came to trial, he was pardoned in honor of the work he’d done with the prison population. Rather than accept release, Dr. Batman requested that he be able stay several more months to complete his research. By the time of his release in 1982, he’d treated more than 3,000 prisoners successfully using his water cure.

Over his lifetime, Dr. B. went on to write eight books about the dangers of chronic dehydration. The dedication of the people who knew him, to further his work is quite touching. Their website is www.thewatercure2.org. There are many testimonials and resources here, including an interview with Tony Robbins.  You can download one of Dr. Batman’s books, Water, Rx for a Pain Free Life for free from this site, a gift from his friends.

David and I read Dr. B’s book You’re not Sick, You’re Thirsty this winter and have been following his suggestions for hydration. I encourage you to visit the website for complete directions including some precautions. Here are the main elements.

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sweetened drinks, artificially sweetened drinks.
  • Drink one half ounce of water for every pound of body weight in 8 to 16 ounce portions. Build up to that amount over three days time.
  • Drink water one half hour before your meal and 2 1/2 hours after it.
  • Use sea salt on your food to taste and depending on various conditions, it may be recommended to put a little sea salt on your tongue before drinking water.
  • Take two walks a day starting with 20 to 30 minutes and building up to an hour each walk.

It’s not all about water; it’s about salt, too. There’s been a lot of hype in the past about salt causing high blood pressure. Recent studies show that dietary salt does not cause hypertension in the majority of cases and new studies have shown that salt restricted diets can actually cause high blood pressure. All salt is not equal. Our table salt is highly refined, a product of high temp processing to remove all the magnesium salt as well as fifty plus naturally occurring trace minerals. To keep the salt dry, harmful elements such as aluminum are added. Potassium iodide to supplement iodine, is added in amounts that can be toxic. Dextrose turns the salt purplish in color resulting in a need for bleaching.

Unprocessed sea salt, dried naturally in the sun contains the magnesium and trace minerals stripped from table salt. Our body benefits from these minerals. Sea salt activates our enzymes and helps our stomach to make hydrochloric acid. There’s much more on sea salt on the water cure website, including recommendations for finding quality sea salt. We use Redmon Real Salt available at our local health food store. Beware of sea salt that’s pure white, such as Hain’s. It’s been partially processed.

Sea salt contains very little naturally occurring iodine; not in the amounts we need. Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine and taste good too. We just happen to live in the same town as one of the foremost suppliers of sea products in the world, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. We particularly like their Triple Blend Flakes (dried, powdered seaweed). They also have a blend of sea salt and sea vegetables.

The subject of water is so big! I was hoping to tie in adrenal fatigue and energized water today. Looks like there’ll be an It’s all About Water Part III and maybe a IV.
I hope you’ll visit the water cure website and become informed. David and I were talking about this subject over supper. This is the question he posed.

“If you knew Who was the passenger in your physical vehicle, would you take better care of it?”

David's View from Little Moose Island, Schoodic Point

Please drink more water and

Shine your Light!

Joanna

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2 comments

  1. This came via email–Thank you Lauren for giving another voice to this challenge with your own experience. I’d meant to mention about “sipping”…Do you remember ever sippping water as a child? No, we guzzeled! Bottoms up! Love and blessings, Joanna

    Namaste Joanna, and thank you again for such a great column on a really important topic. I’ve said quite a bit on your blog about my naivety about salt, so I’ll focus on water here. And yes, I eat sea salt now (I used to avoid all salt almost entirely), and recently tried the sea vegetables you recommend and love them both, together! I used to eat sea salt on my avocado I usually have for lunch, but now I eat sea salt on my hard-boiled eggs and use the sea vegetables on my avocado–delicious!

    You turned me on to Dr. B a while back, and I read his web site (and ordered one of his books) with my chin on my desk. When I was honest with myself, I went through entire days drinking no more than about 1/4 cup of water. I really don’t think this is so unusual for, like you’ve said, a culture that has designer beverages (and frankly, that’s what they are) shoved down its gullet 24 hours a day.

    I was having the water discussion with a friend over dinner just last night. She said she barely ever drinks any water, and I told her that I was the same way. I told her about Dr. B (and I have since forwarded your blog), and told her that I got into the habit of drinking more water, literally, by treating it as “medicating.” I tried to notice when my energy dipped, when a headache came, or stiff muscles, etc. Instead of reaching for the coffee, tea, or aspirin, I made a point to guzzle two large glasses of water all at once. Wow! It absolutely worked. Then, I followed advice you gave me and began to drink about 16 oz. (two glasses) as soon as I woke up. Then at lunch, two more, then at dinner, two more, then before bed, two more. In no time, I had trained myself to drink a lot of water when before I hardly drank any.

    It’s a shame we have to think to “medicate” with water to get ourselves used to drinking it. My friend thought that was a good idea, so clearly she understands what I’m getting at. Like so many of us, she said she leaves a metal, refillable bottle of spring water at her desk at work all day. But by the time she leaves work, it’s still half full. This is why I suggested the “medicating” approach. Perhaps to train ourselves on drinking more, we have to treat water like a vitamin. We have to instill a sort of discipline to break the old habit and make room for the new.

    I know drink much water without thinking about it, and without planning my trips to the kitchen to guzzle. And, it’s only been a couple of months.

    Believe me, if I can do it anyone can! I used to joke about how I am a camel, because I could take a three-mile hike and only sip from my canteen a couple of times. Well, now I know that wasn’t a sign of toughness or resilience; it was a sign of idiocy!

    Water is GOOD. We do, I believe, develop a “taste” for it. Now that I am more attuned to what my body is doing, I can feel what a couple glasses of water do to me almost instantly. I do not and have not in years drink fruity beverages, flavored bottled teas or sodas. But that doesn’t mean I had healthy water habits.

    I just…dehydrated.

    I used to keep reptiles and turtles as pets. I was amazed to see, when I soaked them in warm water, how their bodies absorbed the water. They would sometimes gain as much as 20% of their body weight just by soaking. After a soak, they were perky, bright-eyed, and very energetic. Their scales looked better and they ate better.

    As for me, I sleep better drinking more water, and my skin and hair look so much better. I’m less achy, and hardly feel muscle strain after the longest, most rigorous hikes.

    It’s silly how people say they don’t want to drink more water because then they have to go to the bathroom more. People, get over it! We are slaves to our computers and desks. How we should be thinking about it is that our frequent visits to the john get us off our bums (and there’s a good reason they’re called “bums.”)

    Time for my walk!

    Peace, Joanna! Drink water, everyone!

    Lauren

  2. This from an email:

    Namaste Joanna, I would like to tell you how valuable your columns are. Not only are they packed full of information but I feel I need to save every one of them to look back on them. Thank-you so much for talking about water. We are a society that disregards water unless it is souped up or added to. We know natural is the best. Thank-you so much! Karen Jolicoeur

    Namaste`Karena! Thank you. It’s good to know someone is reading and finding this information helpful. Good health and happiness are really about doing some very simple things with consistency. It’s when we fall out of balance that it becomes very labor intensive and complicated to find our way back. Especially if we have not developed the simple everyday practices such as proper hydration with water. Love and blessings, Joanna

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