The Importance of Hydration and Water Consumption in Achieving or Restoring Optimal Health
In our previous article, “Humans are Herbivores, Comparative Anatomy” we established that eating watery fruits and fresh greens is the optimal diet, what about water consumption? Many people seem to believe that if you consume optimally hydrating foods that water is no longer necessary. However, this is a grave mistake. Perhaps if someone has been following this ideal diet their whole lives this may be the case, however, virtually all of us have spent years and decades consuming non-ideal foods: Processed junk, meat, dairy, etc. Making sure you get enough water in addition to eating as clean as possible will help speed up your healing process tremendously. Why? Virtually all of our unnatural lifestyle decisions will eventually result in dehydration.
Eating processed foods? Dehydration
Pushing yourself too hard? Dehydration
Not drinking enough water? Dehydration
Eating acidic foods? Dehydration
Need to burn off excess fat for energy? Takes a lot of water
Consuming animal products? Dehydration
Bowel troubles? Water will help clear it
Exercise or physical activities? Dehydration
Body temperature regulation? Consumes water
Eliminating oils and lymphatic waste? Consumes water
Virtually all bad diet and lifestyle issues lead to dehydration eventually. Consuming more water will help reverse most health issues. Often since we are not accustomed to drinking appropriate amounts of water we go through phases where we can’t take in very much, which is why it is generally recommended to start slow and go by feel.
I was on a raw, fairly ideal diet for about 3 years before I put together the water piece thanks to Sam Kovalyov, and my health improved dramatically in just the few months after I began drinking water regularly again. At first I was only able to drink about 2 quarts per day and I was urinating constantly. Only a few short months later I was up to over a gallon each day and I was no longer feeling a need to urinate all the time.
When I first began putting emphasis on water again in February of 2020, I went through phases of edema (swelling) in various parts of my body as the water pooled up in areas of my body which it was being used to help clean. Our bodies will use water to help dilute acids and waste as they are cleared out. Just like raw diet, the water piece takes time for your body to become accustomed to and some time for your body to utilize it.
Frequent urination is usually a sign that your body is passing toxins. This is very common for most people when they begin to drink more water because most people are chronically dehydrated. Water helps break up the toxic gunk and as it becomes urine, the urine is more harsh than normal, so our bodies want to pass it sooner rather than later. Frequent urination is a great sign you’re doing some cleaning. This step usually won’t last very long.
Ideally you will get to a point where it’s easy and you feel better consuming about a gallon or more per day, but if you are not used to this yet, it is recommended to work up to it slowly. Start with maybe 2 quarts and work up from there. If you need to hold at 2 quarts per day for a week or two then that’s totally fine. As usual, go at your own pace. Frequent urination will slow down over time and it will be easier to drink more and more.
It took me about 3 months of habitual water drinking before I began to be able to feel my own thirst impulse again. Talking to others in similar situations, this seems fairly normal. Just try to go slow and don’t feel like you need to force excessive amounts of water down as this can result in other types of issues. Drinking excessive amounts of water can result in a condition called hyponatremia which happens when we drink so much water that the concentration of sodium or other minerals in our bodies gets too low. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, restlessness, muscle weakness, and can even progress into seizures or coma. If you begin to suffer from these symptoms, simply stop drinking and wait and your body will utilize the excess water in your system and everything will rebalance naturally.
So again, as always, go at whatever pace is comfortable to you.
Healthy adult kidneys can process about 1 liter or 1 quart per hour at most, so exceeding this rate of consumption is not useful.
Ideally we sip and keep water throughout us throughout the day.
I recommend getting a large water bottle. I use a one gallon tank that I fill once or twice a day and lug around with me everywhere I go.
These days I also really prefer to get in most of my water in the mornings. I usually wake up anywhere from 6-8 a.m., and I refill my gallon every morning right after waking if it wasn’t full from the night before. I like to try to get a whole gallon in before my first meal of the day, which is usually somewhere between 12 noon and 2 p.m. This way I can just sip water the rest of the day in between meals without feeling any pressure to try to stay ahead of dehydration.
Addendum / Clarification from Sam Kovalyov and Lauren Whiteman
Sam: Water helps keep our extracellular fluid hydrated and mobile so it can transport nutrients to where they are needed, when they are needed… intracellular fluid is best affected by the water from fruits and veggies because it has minerals in it that give it different physical properties from plain drinking water… toxins get recycled into our digestive system and back into our extracellular fluid over and over again until they are broken down enough to be eliminated by the kidneys or mixed with enough fiber in the digestive system that they make it to our colon for elimination… either way, water is a necessary component to this process… cellular hydration is a result of a fully hydrated extracellular environment, as the ECF will pull water from the cells if it is lacking, and since fruits and veggies contain substances in them besides water, they do not help to dilute and remove old toxins from the system as readily as plain water does. It is a currency that is spent in the detox process and thus gets to be replenished. As the need for detox goes down, so does our need for water, and the body communicates this to us with subtle signs of discomfort when drinking water, which should tell us that we’ve had enough to drink, just as we eat food until we feel subtle signs of discomfort, which tell us we have eaten enough food for now.
Lauren: We have always had the same position on water. All humans today require water because they have old waste compacted in their bowels. 1-2 gallons per day. Humans are not physiologically designed to drink water, but we are also not physiologically designed to eat cooked foods, so when we make the mistake of eating inappropriate foods we must counter that by replenishing the water lost via the cooking and digestion processes. We do not have a drinking anatomy because our anatomy was designed for fruits, but when we put in anything other than our ideal foods we must replenish that water to heal.