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Hydrating for Summer and Sports

With the heat dome we experienced last summer and a devastating loss of life on the West Coast of Canada, we need to learn how to hydrate properly.  Many chronic aches/pain and headaches are also due to lack of hydration.   Unfortunately, many people are simply "doing it wrong".   Let me explain further. 

Firstly, I am one quarter Indigenous and we like to tell stories.  It was a huge part of my childhood gathered at the table listening to stories from Dad.  Being part First Nations and Hawaiian led to information being passed down.  So please view this article as nothing more than a story.  It is not based on facts, rather information passed on through generations.  NOT mine, but I like to listen.   NONE of it I consider scientific as I have no degrees in science, but I do have a Diploma, Dr of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and have practiced and trained for years.   Doctors hold an important role in our health.  A good doctor's diagnosis can only help anyone seriously practicing any modality of health from Reiki to Naturopathic Medicine ,  TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and all in between.

That said, a construction worker came to me  years back and I explained the ideas I am going to tell you on hydration and he told me that a co-worker from Mount Currie whom was Native, had already explained this to him.  During a heat wave my patient was drinking profuse amounts of water on the job site. It was extremely hot and he was getting sick, experiencing dizziness and nausea. He was struggling and told his friend that he was drinking tons of water but getting more thirsty.  His First Nations buddy told him,  "You're doing it wrong.  Every time you drink water, you are stripping away the minerals and nutrients in your body . You need to add juice to the water in order to hydrate properly."  My patient listened and felt better after that.  My roommate grew up in India with extreme heat and the government there puts up hydration stations with water mixed with raspberry syrup. (This is how she translated it.) Its not pure water at these stations, so again, this is universal information, not mine at all.

Do you believe sugar is bad?  To start, the body highly regulates sugars. Consider a fast food meal - large burger, large fries, ketchup and a coke.  This dumps carbohydrates/sugars equivalent to around 46 tsps of sugar into the digestive tract.   The body will regulate sugars to maintain approximately 4 grams (1 tsp) in the  approximately 5 litres of blood at all times.  So the body will correct your mistakes.  It is pretty marvelous.  So if you are worried about sugars and carbohydrates, please try to make them your friend.  They are essential to our health or the body would not regulate them so accurately, bearing in mind we all have a pretty good idea of a healthy diet that doesn't contain fast food.  Carbohydrates are sugars so know what you eat.  One ounce of fruit juice in your water should be handled no problem, unless your Doctor disagrees. 

By adding one ounce of descent quality sugars (fruit juice) to 8 - 12 ozs of water I think you are buffering the near corrosive water molecule which can break down stones in a river.  My youngest son is a  Journeyman plumber and when I told him he agreed that in plumbing school they are taught this exact fact when dealing with pipes and water. - they consider water near corrosive!  So again, nothing new here.    Adding a bit of juice to your water is a great way to hydrate.  I like to juice my own different fruits and use that but any juice is better than none.   There are many to choose from.

Another important point I would like to bring up is the bodies ability to absorb what's put into the stomach.  The stomach is a big deal in Chinese Medicine, as is the blood.   When we go to the health food store and buy vitamins, they are absorbed in the stomach and intestines, then (I believe) enter the blood stream.    Once in the blood stream it is flooded with supplements that are not naturally occurring.   This could  block the absorption of all those nutrients in the healthy meals you prepare.  I don't know a lot of facts on this, but I would suggest that EATING your vitamins is much smarter than TAKING your vitamins.  This is just a personal preference at the end of the day.   I view vitamins and supplements as a rescue once you have mistreated your body.  If taken for a month or two, a switch back to natural is what I prefer.   Vitamin D deficiency? Eat vegetables (boiled, stir fried, baked, or steamed) and get a few minutes of sun when its out, without sunblock if you are confident it won't damage your skin.  Worried?  Take one tablespoon Cod Liver Oil daily, it has 3 times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D - and is really a food in a capsule.

It is also good to address the stomach when speaking about hydration, which can be viewed as a cooking pot.  It requires heat and water, like a soup you start on the stove.  Too much water, not enough heat and its a mushy mess.  Too much heat, not enough water and its scorched and burnt ( a symptom of this is bad breath, that is resistant to normal oral hygiene in TCM).  So loosely speaking, one kidney is fire and the other water.  (Yin and Yang)  In TCM the organs communicate and transfer energy, so if you eat all raw vegetables, you are taxing both kidneys as they supply water and heat to that cooking pot (stomach).  So realistically, how awesome is soup!  Yes, another great way to hydrate.  Even in the heat, as the water is already nourished, acting as buffer and ready to be absorbed.

Soaked grains are another winner.  My European patient laughed when I told her to soak her oatmeal overnight (steel cut are better) as she held up her thermos which had loose soaked hot oatmeal in it.  She took this skiing and slurped it back to fuel up (oatmeal is full of B vitamins and a great source of energy) and hydrate at the same time.  Water soaked oats travel further through the digestive tract - I believe - providing more absorption of the water contained in them.  So they potentially bypass the stomach and hydrate even more.

Another great way to hydrate is with good blood health.  Yes, we can supplement our actual blood (blood deficiency symptoms can include dizziness, hair thinning and loss - non hereditary - and gynecological problems to name a few in TCM).  Historically we never had the luxury of  eating only the breast or butt of animals.  The entire organism was consumed including organs.  Organ meats are a great source of minerals and other essential vitamins.  One of my favourite sources of nutrients are sardines, as they are an environmentally sound choice of protein with fisheries having very low bi-catch rates and  the fish having a short lifecycle making heavy metal absorption minimal.   The tiny organs and bones contained in a tin of sardines provide loads of nutrients essential to blood health.  Including minerals and good oils,  needed to stay hydrated.  Organ meats such as Liver, Kidney and Heart are also great for blood and liver health if palatable.  

The beauty of the information I am passing along here is that it all falls in the category of FOOD CURES.  The body is built for food and we all are different, so monitor how you feel and do what works.  Its tough to overdose on vitamins and minerals absorbed through your diet as the body does have that ability to balance it all so beautiful when taken naturally.  Have a great summer and don't forget to look after your elders!

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14 February 2022

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15 January 2022

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