I share these thoughts with you, and these experiences, with one primary purpose. That you fall in love, head over heels in love, with the miracle of your own body, and what it is capable of doing and being, when it is properly nourished body-mind-spirit-soul.
Ignorance is the cause of all suffering and education is the very best medicine on earth.
I want to share with you something that happened to me a few years ago...or...should I say more accurately...that I created through my own ignorance for the benefit of my own self-education.
Before I begin this little story, let me tell you a little bit about where I am heading with this and why:
Water: Is it in you?
Next to oxygen, there is no more important substance in the proper care and maintenance and nourishment of the human body...body-mind-spirit-soul...than water. 75% of the body is made up of water...80-85% of the brain is water! The internal hydrologic systems of the human body are the main biomodulating systems of the human body. Read this last sentence again...The internal hydrologic (water) systems of the human body are the main biomodulating systems of the human body. What does this mean? This means that if you are maintaining the proper water balances in your body (quality and quantity of inflow and outflow) then you can expect that all of your bodily systems and functions to work as they have been designed to work. It also means that if you are not maintaining the proper water balances in your body then you can expect that all of your bodily systems and functions are being insulted, and will rapidly begin to manifest the symptoms of imbalance and dis-ease.
According to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, author of; Your Body's Many Cries for Water, our bodies need half our weight in ounces of (purified drinking) water daily...with a little pinch of organic Sea Salt per glass. This means that if you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink at least 100 ounces of water per day. This also means you should expect to eliminate 100 ounces of urine per day.
This is the bare minimum number of ounces based solely on body weight. Depending upon your activity and exercise level and other potentially dehydrating influences in your environment, (like the weather and your exercise levels) you may need to drink even more water.
As you may already know, I am not one for prescriptions of any kind. I prefer principles to prescriptions. I have always felt that once the principle is understood, then it is up to us, to figure out all the particulars. All I can tell you is this; in my own experience during the past six years, I have learned to measure the amount of water I drink daily and I make sure I am meeting my absolute minimum, determined by half my body weight in ounces. This fundamental practice or habit has turned out to be (for me) one of the most important health breakthroughs of my entire life!
This could be a long story...but I will try to keep it brief and to the point.
During the peak of my seminar days (1994-97), I was travelling a lot. At least two weekends a month from September to June. I loved it. I felt honored and proud to be a part of a team of trainers and educators that shared an ecological-sustainable perspective. It was January of 1997.
I was in Tampa to do my Building Bridges to a Healthier Lifestyle seminar. I was staying at a hotel on the beach in Clearwater. I had arrived early on a Friday afternoon, and decided to go for a walk on the beach. It was sunny and warm, mid-80's. A far cry from the wintry weather I had just left behind me in Boston.
I was feeling great. A little jet-lagged but nothing a walk on the beach, a nap, and some extra superfood supplements couldn't take care of. Then, very suddenly, something very strange happened to me. I stopped in mid-stride there on the beach, under the sun and blue skies, and lapping waves, and thousands of other people walking, swimming, playing volleyball...and recognized to my utter horror and disbelief that I was suddenly depressed. Depressed as in clinical depression. Depressed as in dark and gloomy and anxious. I was shocked. How could this be possible? I quietly walked back to my hotel room and sat down and tried to figure it out.
I examined everything. My diet, my lifestyle, my relationships, exercise, stress factors, you name it, I examined it. I finally came to the conclusion that my Depression had a mysterious cause and that if I ignored it, it would just go away as suddenly as it arrived. (Talk about denial)
Somehow I made it through that weekend, but it wasn't easy. Who could I tell? How could I possibly explain this? I couldn't explain it. I didn't understand why this was happening to me. It didn't make sense at all. So there I was, in front of hundreds of people talking about the biological foundation of our lives, experiencing quite a few integrity gaps of my own.
The next weekend I was back in Boston to do a training at the John Hancock Center. Over 200 people were in attendance. My condition was much worse. In fact on Friday night I could not sleep at all. I was suffering from a spell of acute anxiety, and was dizzy, nauseous, nervous, and very much afraid. Afraid of what? I couldn't tell you specifically, all I knew was that there were no breaks from it, just this constant, nagging, fear-filled consciousness. It was absolutely one of the worst nights of my life. At four o'clock in the morning I came very close to checking myself into a hospital to ask for treatment. Finally, I fell asleep for a few hours.
When I woke up, I realized that I had a whole-day seminar to deliver. Somehow I made it through again, but my memory of the experience is still a blur.
The next weekend I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma for another training, and I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that this Depression thing was not going away anytime soon, so I better learn to live with it. What a strange, and very uncomfortable period of time this was for me. I was exercising, meditating, going for walks, reading good books, playing with my children, talking with my wife, eating all the best foods and supplements...and nothing I did was making a difference. Nothing was improving my condition at all.
Then, at one of the breaks, in the middle of the Tulsa seminar, a wonderful thing happened. An older man from the audience (Larry Smith) approached me and asked what my thoughts were about water and chronic dehydration. He asked me if I had seen the book by Dr. Batman (as he is affectionately known) Your Body's Many Cries for Water. I said no, I hadn't seen it, and that my position on water consumption was "to drink when I'm thirsty." He said, "I think you should read this book. Here, take it. It's a gift."
That night in my hotel room, I started reading the book, which by the way is subtitled: You are not sick, you are thirsty!
I turned to page one and read these words: "Chronic cellular dehydration painfully and prematurely kills. Its initial outward manifestations have until now been labeled as diseases of unknown origin." Interesting. I kept reading.
"In this book, we will discuss the role of water in the body and how a brief understanding of this topic can transform the health needs of our society. We will learn how preventive medicine can become the main approach to health care in any society. In this book, and in the discussions that follow, the hero is water. We will look at every explanation with the view that water is the primary substance and leading agent in the routine events that take place in the human body. With the primary role of water in mind, we will look at some disease conditions. The missing role of water in physiological situations that will eventually become disease conditions will be discussed.”
“It is important that we understand the possible role of water metabolism disturbance before we assume that any disease conditions may have been caused by other means. We should first exclude the simpler causes for disease emergence in the body, and then (and only then) think of the more complicated causes. The simple truth is that dehydration can cause disease. Everyone knows that water is "good” for the body. But, they seem not to know how essential it is to ones well-being. They do not know what happens to the body if it does not receive its daily need of water. After this short book is read, you will have a clearer understanding of this issue.”
I quickly turned my attention to the Table of Contents and scanned down until I found what I was looking for: Chapter Five: Stress and Depression.
“When the body becomes dehydrated, the physiological processes that will establish are the same ones that occur when coping with stress. Dehydration equals stress, and once stress establishes, there is an associated mobilization of primary materials (nutrients) from body stores. This process will “mop up” some of the water reserves of the body. Consequently, dehydration causes stress, and stress will cause further dehydration. With dehydration, the level of energy generation in the brain is decreased. Many functions of the brain that depend on this type of energy become inefficient. We recognize this inadequacy of function and call it depression.”
Unbelievable. I wanted to learn more. Within twenty-four hours I was on the phone talking with Dr. Batman "live.” He suggested that I measure the inflow and outflow of my water for the next few weeks and see what happens. Along with all the other usual things I do, I started measuring the inflow and outflow of water. Three weeks later I was absolutely fine. The depression, (which at times had been severe, and the long periods of acute anxiety) was gone, disappeared, as if it had never been there. I was ecstatic! I was relieved. I was sobered and humbled. But most important of all, I was empowered.
What did I learn? It's the fundamentals, stupid! I learned that as much as I thought I knew and understood about the fundamentals of sound nutrition and health, I still had at least one very major gap in my foundation. I learned that correct principles, correct biological principles, and the common sense practices they require are the secrets to health and well-being, and are liberating when understood and applied consistently.
The moral of my story? Never stop learning. Education is the very best medicine on earth. In the area of nutrition and health, know that there are correct principles and correct practices, and that these two things make all the difference. Know, with confidence and certainty that: the human body is a marvelously designed living organism with the ability to grow, regulate, repair and defend itself when given natural, high quality, full spectrum nutrition. Nothing is neutral. Everything is either complementary or insulting.
What nourishes us best, is understanding the fundamentals of nutrition and health and practicing them consistently every day of our lives. If we practice the fundamentals, the rest is easy.
If you have not yet seen the document: The Water Cure Recipe, please request it from me via phone or email. Most importantly, start implementing the suggestions in the watercure right away. I have come to believe that proper daily hydration is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves every day.
Water: Is it in you?
This article was originally written in January, 2000. It has been continuously revised since then.
The last revision took place in September, 2003.
Russell Mariani, M.A.
Health Educator & Nutrition Counselor
The Center for Functional Nutrition
514 Amherst Road, South Hadley, MA 01075-1213
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