It's so easy to do.
We eagerly jump into this Plant-Based Diet lifestyle, immersing ourselves in Pinterest or Facebook, searching out hundreds of recipes, and get so focused on the food that we forget one, tiny, little important detail.....
Our bodies are 60% water.
Yep - water.
Remember that in a survival situation we can go for weeks without food - but we only have about 72 hrs before we are in serious trouble for lack of water. Every living cell in our body needs water to survive. And if you don't get enough - it's called being dehydrated.
I remember sitting in one of my Medical Response Training sessions, and the instructor telling us that the majority of us are constantly dehydrated. In fact, recent studies estimate up to 75% of us are in a chronic state of dehydration.
The point of this little rant is just this:
Many of us are on this plant-based journey to improve our health, and we are doing that by being very picky with our food choices, because as Dr John McDougall says, "It's The Food!"
Just don't forget the water.
Symptoms of Chronic Dehydration
Dehydration is a serious issue and can cause all sorts of problems:
- High and Low Blood Pressure
- Fatigue, Energy Loss
- Digestive Problems
- Excess Weight, even Obesity
- High Cholesterol
- Joint Pain or Stiffness
- Asthma or Allergies
- Body Temperature Issues
I have many of these symptoms myself but just recently made the connection that they may be due to lack of water.
But don't do what I did and decide to spend an entire day just chugging ...... that's no good either. Trust me - I spend a LOT of time in the bathroom that day.
Go slow, and gradually up your water intake over time.
Just How Much Water Do We Need?
There's an old rule of thumb that we've all heard that says "The average person needs to drink 8 - 8oz glasses of water a day. "
I would consider that the bare minimum because it really depends on your body and how much water you're losing throughout the day from working, hot weather, exercise, etc.
A better rule of thumb is this - take your current weight and divide by 2. That's how many ounces of water you should be drinking every day. So for me at 195lbs, that would be about 98oz of water.
That may sound like a lot - but remember 75% of us are dehydrated anyway.
Now this doesn't mean you have to stay by the kitchen sink with a glass of water all day. there are other ways to make sure you're getting your daily dose.
I hate to admit it but we have bought cases of those little 12oz water bottles in the grocery store. They're really not my favorite choice because after all - most of it is just expensive tap water anyway. Plus now you have dozens of plastic water bottles you have to recycle. (You DO recycle them....right?)
A better option would be to buy one of those BPA Free Water Bottles and just carry it around with you throughout the day. If you're not keen on just plain water, add a slice of lemon or lime to jazz it up a little.
I added a link to a popular one on Amazon if you're interested. (yes it's an affiliate link - I'll make a few pennies if you buy one).
It Is The Food.....Too
Also remember, we're talking overall fluid intake - not just drinking water. So the foods we eat count toward this goal too. There are many different foods that you can eat that are over 90 percent water and that will help keep you hydrated.
Here’s a list I borrowed from the PCRM (Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine) website of foods with a high water content that are not only hydrating but also nutrient dense:
- Cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food at 97 percent.
- Iceberg Lettuce may not have the highest nutrient rating, but it is 96 percent water.
- Celery has folate and vitamins A, C, and K and is also 96 percent water.
- Radishes have high-antioxidant content and also a water content of 95 percent.
- Tomatoes are high in the antioxidant lycopene and have a water content of 95 percent.
- Red, Yellow, and Green Peppers all have about 92-93 percent water content.
- Cauliflower may look pale and devoid of nutrients, but it is actually filled with vitamins and phytonutrients and is 92 percent water.
- Watermelon can thank the powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene for its red hue and is 92 percent water.
- Spinach is rich in lutein, potassium, fiber, and folate and is 91 percent water.
- Berries are all great sources of water, hovering in the high 80th percentile, but strawberries have the highest water content with 91 percent.
- Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, which means it is great at fighting cancer cells, but it is also 91 percent water.
- Grapefruit is high in vitamin C and contains 90 percent water.
Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues. Kevin R. Stone
So there you go.
Yes the right food is important for good health, but I hope I've shown you that water is too. So as you travel along on this amazingly healthy plant-based vegan diet - make sure you are not hindering your health goals by not drinking enough water.
Drink up and stay hydrated.
Now - get back to cooking those awesome plant-based recipes, (just don't forget the water).