Saturday, January 12, 2013

Water You Drinking People?! Sad Realization #1

As the idea of Shiny Healthy People came to fruition, I saw myself practicing more holistically in my current rural health clinic. My patients came in with the Western food related diseases- Syndrome Xer's we'll call them and I started asking different questions. My most recent realization came with a diabetic, high cholesterol, obese, hypertensive, a pretty typical adult patient over the age of 60 in our modern practice. Mr. Smith wondered why he didn't have any improvement in his health with all the medicines he was taking. He was doing everything we told him to do: take the medicines. He couldn't exercise because he was too overweight and it hurts too much to move. Mr. Smith thought if he took his medicines he would feel better, his diseases would be controlled, he would be cured.
There were so many teaching points with my patient, but I took the path of least resistance, the one I thought would be the easiest to change, water intake. "How many glasses of water do you drink Mr. Smith?" "Water? I don't drink water. I don't like how it tastes." My jaw dropped, literally dropped to the floor. "I drink diet soda, about 5-6 a day". I didn't know where to begin. I started to examine him in silence and thought about how this was going to go. Upon finishing his exam, I took a deep breath and gave my spiel. "Our bodies are 60% water, we need water to allow our vital organs to function properly, we need to be properly hydrated so our kidneys work, our muscles work better, we can poop regularly, and most of all we can have radiant skin!" (A selling point that may have worked better if Mr. Smith was Mrs. Smith.

He smiled, a patronizing smile and said "but it's still gross". He wasn't sold.

Hence the sad realization #1 that we must help change in our practice. We need to educate our patients about why the drinking a soda, sweet tea, bottled juice, diet or not, is detrimental to their health. Fake sweeteners and their long-term effects on our bodies are for a whole other post. For now, I just want patients to drink water, to understand the health benefits of filling your bodies with water and the way that it can lead to weight-loss and some studies say increasing metabolism.
Below is some proof in form of an article from Web MD.  Or you can try it for yourself, do a water challenge. If it doesn't change how you feel after a month of two, then go back to drinking sodas.

This is Shiny Healthy People's challenge to you:

- Try to drink a 10 oz. glass of water before each meal
- If water is 'gross' to you, try to place a slice or two of lemon, lime, cucumber, or orange in it to train your palate
- Purchase a cool, reusable water bottle and use it
- If you have to have juice, make a half juice, half water drink
- After going to the restroom, drink an 8 oz. glass of water to replenish
- Eat water-rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries in
  their natural form.
- Have a 24 oz. bottle of water next to you while you're watching tv, drink at every commercial break.
- Drink sparkling water if you need something bubbly
- Track your water intake, make it a competition with yourself
- Write on a plastic bottle, the time of day and a line to how much water you should have

Water toxicity is a real thing. A general rule according to the Mayo Clinic is 2.2 liters for women and 3.0 for men. This will depend on your activity level, environment, illnesses, or pregnancy, breast-feeding. Drink until your urine is light yellow or colorless, that's the easiest way to track adequate intake.

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