So here I am, an expert on all things wellness and 100% devoted to practicing what I teach, and yet, I realized yesterday in a self-care appointment, that I am not and have not been drinking enough fluids for, well...years!
I – the queen of self-care, health, wellness, and vitality – have been suffering from chronic dehydration.
I am being transparent with you because there are experts in the field of holistic medicine who act like they have everything figured out. The message underlying all the images of “skinny is healthy” and “drink green smoothies” and “meditate” and “go to yoga class” is:
“Look at me. I am so perfect. And I have this all figured out. And you need me as a guiding light because this is the way to wellness.”
Sometimes the wellness industry feels like a cult. “Follow me or die.”
Don’t fall for the hype being presented to you. It is an image, and we all need to question what’s behind what we are shown.
Doing yoga and meditating and ingesting green things are wonderful tools that may contribute to your health, but we have to remember there is no silver bullet that guarantees we will live longer, happier, healthier lives.
Healthy is not a single-pointed destination. It’s a continual dance, an ebb and flow of living and listening and refining how we move, how we eat and how we relate.
I think that we are all in the process of taking steps forward and backward and sideways and backwards again and forward again.
And sometimes we go in circles!
A perceived expert can know a lot…but actually living it? That’s another, much more exciting story.
You may know a lot about living in a model of wellness, but then life happens. In my case, I had a child, and that has put me in an even bigger game. I am learning how to play this new game, and in this case, I forget to drink enough water. I let that slip, and I’m an “expert.”
Have you been forgetting to drink enough fluids?
Your body is roughly 60% water.
All of your detoxification pathways, which involve pooping, peeing, breathing, and sweating, are WET!
But most importantly, think about what happens to plants when they are dry. They get brittle. The wind blows, and they break; in a worst-case scenario, a wildfire starts.
Think of yourself like a plant.
When you are dehydrated, you may be more reactive, anxious and irritable. After encouraging one of my clients to focus on hydration, she was motivated make some changes. Drinking more water worked so much for her that when I moved, she bought ME a water bottle as a going away gift!
Everyone reading this is on a different journey with his or her body and sense of vitality, and I just want to take a moment to honor you and myself for everything we do to live in this crazy-ass world within a model of wellness. Every little change makes a difference and so does your awareness when you step off course, like I have in terms of not drinking enough water.
I suspect that I have been dehydrated for the following reasons:
Well, I’ve been breastfeeding for 3 years and 4 months.
I’m thirsty - All. The. Time.
I don’t pee enough and when I do it is a deep, dark yellow color.
My constitution is on the warm side, so I sweat a lot.
My eyes have been puffy in the morning - a weird kind of puffy. My eyes have felt heavy, and I have felt sluggish.
For those of you who aren’t aware of this, the area under your eyes tells a story about your kidneys. There are no sweat glands under your eyes. And each little sweat gland is like a nephron in the kidney. A nephron is the functional unit of the kidney. That means the kidneys and the sweat glands are dancing together. If you sweat more, you will pee less.
So when you’re not drinking enough water or something is going on with your kidney function, it shows up under the eyes because that area can’t sweat, so the kidneys have to take care it, and if they can’t, well, then you see it – under your eyes. And in my case, I really feel like I have been puffy lately, like my body has been holding on to water because it isn’t getting enough. I have no scientific proof of this obviously. It is just my intuition.
But here’s my confirmation: yesterday I drank a quart of water lightly infused with hibiscus flowers, and then I made sure to drink more later in the day. I feel so much better this morning. I don’t have that heavy feeling in my eyes. It is very difficult to give words to, but whatever it was is leaving.
I am recommitting myself to healthy hydration today. Is this something that you also need to recommit to?
In addition to drinking more water, one way that I am manifesting this new commitment to proper hydration is by making the delicious tea you see pictured above. It was my breastfeeding tea right after Drake was born. It contains:
Nettles leaf – cleansing and rich in minerals (think of a leafy green on steroids)
Raspberry leaf – uterine tonic
Milky oats – nervous system tonic
Alfalfa leaves – rich in minerals and supportive to breast milk production
Calendula flowers – lymphatic (and adds a splash of color to tea)
And I added one hibiscus flower for flare. Hibiscus is a wonderful cooling remedy and that amazing color points to the presence of anti-inflammatory compounds. Eat color. Drink color.
The overlapping action of all these herbs is NUTRITIVE. Each one of these plants is rich in minerals and is green (remember, we need to consume green things and teas are a great way to do that).
I put a half a cup of the dried plant material pictured above in a quart of boiled water and let it steep overnight. This is called an overnight hot infusion. It is awesome for pulling out all the minerals, and it just feels good to wake up to something like this.
Any herbal medicine is only as good as the starting plant material. For an overview of things to think about, you can read more here. I ordered this blend from Healing Spirits Herb Farm. Great quality.
As I write this, I am almost done drinking my quart of tea. My body is saying thank you. And I am amazed by how much we take for granted. There are people in this world who don’t even have access to good quality drinking water, and we do. We fail to nourish ourselves with it, and then we get sick. Sometimes all we need to do is something simple, like drink more water, go to sleep an hour earlier, eat real food and go for a walk.
Let this be your invitation to be the observer of your life. Pay attention. Don’t assume that just because you know something that you’re actually doing it. Stay awake.
And by all means, go have a nice glass of water or make a hot cup of tea and drink in peace.