By Andi Pyatt
“The Well” is a recurring column to remind us of the power we possess in mind, body and spirit.
The past five months have taught us many things about ourselves and the world around us. We have learned to connect to the flow of the universe. Over the past few weeks I have felt led to discuss the ways we can support this organic physical structure called our body. This fascinating body of ours is ever adapting to our environment to not just exist but to thrive. For this to occur we have to ensure ours bodies are balanced. We support this homeostasis through eating well, resting will, moving well, and hydrating well.
I remember as a child my stepfather (Pop-pop) never drank anything but water. He is from a city outside of Lagos, Nigeria. I used to ask why he never drank any juice or soda. He would respond that they were not needed then followed by a story of his childhood and the ways “children in America are spoiled”. I would roll my eyes and go to the fridge and pour a tall glass of processed juice. Pop-pop has always been ra tall slim man. Much of his build is genetic, however, he does not eat the Standard American Diet full of sugary snacks and drinks. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to appreciate what he was trying to teach me and shifted my ways of fueling my body. As a parent, my children are allowed fresh pressed juice as a treat. In my home water is the main source hydration unless, I am specifically detoxing and healing my body with fruit juices.
About ten years ago someone asked me for advice on achieving clear skin. They noticed clear complexion and they desired this for themselves. I told them that I drink almost a gallon of water daily (full disclosure: that was during a detox, I drink about half of that daily). They scowled at my answer and said, “I don’t like the taste of plain water.” That was not the response I expected. It seemed so off to me that an element so critical to the body’s well-being could be avoided because of “taste”. It later occurred to me that the consumption of sugar and starches was altering aspects of the brain and body to act in a manner counter to its own well-being. This phenomenon is so entrenched that some people will only consume water with a chemical flavoring. It is vital that the body has daily access to clean fresh water. While fruits and vegetables provide a small amount of water, drinking 8-10 ounces of water consistently multiple times a day is vital to our health.
We know that water is critical to our health. However, we may not realize in what ways. Water regulates the body’s temperature, protects vital tissues and joints, supports in the elimination of waste, is needed for proper nutrient absorption, helps in maintaining a healthy weight, increases energy, improves mood, improve brain function, and is imperative for immune function. There is a reason the body can last three weeks without food, yet only three days without water. Now that we are aware of the importance of water for our well-being, the million-dollar question is: How do we consume more water throughout the day? Here are some concrete ways to shift your hydration flow:
- Set a routine or water alarm. There is an application for everything! This includes water alarms. You can choose from multiple free apps that will set a chime on your phone to ring each hour. When that chime goes off you know to take a few minutes to sip water.
- Use a large water container with the amount you need to drink daily. You can purchase a gallon of water and place goal markers, of where you desire to be at different times of the day, directly on the container. You can also purchase large water bottles with pre-printed goal markers. I personally practice the second option in order to minimize waste.
- Add natural flavor to your water. Forget the chemically flavored water. Use fresh lemons, limes, melon, cucumber, or herbs in your water.
- Add water to your sugary drinks. There are times when we desire a flavored drink or juice. If you have a sweetened iced tea or lemonade fill the glass with ice, pour half the drink into the glass, and fill to the top with water.
- Have mineral or sparkling water when you desire a drink with fizz. There are times when I want a little pizzazz in my drinks. Instead of reaching for a soda, I have mineral water and fresh fruit. It is especially refreshing during the warm months.
- Exercise. Moving the body creates a natural desire to replenish hydration. During and after an intense workout the body craves water. Use this time to meet your water consumption goals. I walk 6-7miles daily. During my walks I carry a water pack with 55 ounces of water which I finish by the end of my walk.
Taking care of our bodies is the key to longevity. Sometimes we need a little support to remind us of the what we are capable of doing for our health. Whether you are inspired by the journey of a family member or friend, it is important to recognize that the flow of wellness is an internal spring waiting to leap forward.
Andi Pyatt is an educator, entrepreneur, wellness professional, and author (Julia Belle) of the new children’s book, Sunflower’s Breath. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology/Neuroscience from Williams College and a graduate degree in Health Science from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO. Send letters to The Afro-American • 1531 S. Edgewood St. Baltimore, MD 21227 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org