Choose Your Path to Optimal Hydration
Water defines us
With this being my first summer in North Carolina, I could not have been prepared (although I was warned) for the oppressive heat and humidity that starts to blanket the region in June. My body, acclimated to dry weather, is transitioning to the realities of constant sweat and my mind, to the feelings of heaviness and lethargy. My attention to these subtleties has been especially heightened with time at its slowest and life at its simplest. Six months in to a pandemic and we are crawling through our own version of this humid wall - losing water, energy, and clarity in the process.
And then nature sweeps in on cue, with her vigorous afternoon thunderstorms to fill us back up. A perfect microcosm for hydration in our own bodies. We are physically filled up with 60-70% water. And our emotions are deeply associated with the water element - think tears, fluctuating emotional states, or those watery Zodiac signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). Yep.
We are literally defined by water.
Water is paramount to the wellbeing of our physical and mental state, providing nourishment to the cells and keeping our bodily systems flowing. If you experience brain fog or sluggish energy, this should be your first indicator to hydrate, even if you don't feel thirsty.
On a daily basis, we should be drinking half of our body weight (in oz), adding in more for caffeine consumption, physical activity and a hot climate.
The key to hydration is not just having the awareness around it, but also creating physical reminders throughout the day to help sustain the habit. Like a large refillable bottle that you commit to drinking from over the course of the day or setting regular timers for drink breaks. Make sure to drink an extra glass of water before or in between dehydrating beverages like coffee, black and green teas, or alcohol.
Beverages that pack a hydration punch
Your options are plentiful when it comes to hydration:
still or sparkling water infused with cucumber, citrus or herbs
salty electrolyte water (water mixed with a mineral-rich salt**)
coconut water with a squeeze of lime
maple water (trendy now)
bone broth mixed with turmeric and fresh ginger
[**Add ¼ – ½ teaspoon of Grey Atlantic salt (high in mineral content) to an 8 oz. glass of water. It should taste slightly saline.]
I’ve been treating my body to immensely hydrating chia seeds. When these tiny but mighty seeds are saturated with liquid, they expand to create tapioca-like beads. I mix a tablespoon of seeds into a mason jar of water, shake, and let it sit for 10 minutes to plump up. Despite the funky texture, I’ve found this drink to really up my game on so many levels. Apparently the Tahamara people of the Copper Canyon in Mexico sustain their energy for epic runs by consuming large amounts of chia. So it's worth a shot, right? You can also indulge in sweeter chia puddings by the spoonful.
Cool Down with Water-Rich Produce
Let’s not forget water-laden fruits and veggies like cucumbers, radishes, apples, celery, and melons that are incredibly refreshing to the body. In fact, these foods are super efficient at keeping us hydrated since water can slowly make its way through our digestive system. Right now, the farmers markets are beaming with late summer fruits and also featuring the fall apple crop. What an incredible time to tap into both harvests.
Using Oil to Nourish Your Largest Organ
And then there's hydration as a beauty nutrient, keeping our skin (comprised of 70% water) radiant and supple. Our hands have certainly taken a beating from the incessant hand washing.
In order to properly care for our skin, we should be massaging it with organic virgin oils like coconut, sesame and olive after a bath or shower (known in Ayurveda as Abyangha massage).
Or washing our faces with oil which I delight in every morning. My favorite and most trusted body care company, Living Libations, creates beautiful jojoba oil-based products meant to be applied to the skin with a wet towel. Frankincense is my go-to scent for skin sealing hydration, aromatherapy, and self-love on all levels.
If you start incorporating some of these practices into your daily routine and work incrementally to reach your optimal level of hydration, you’ll notice huge improvements to your body, mind and spirit. The power of water cannot be emphasized enough.