How to Drink Water...According to Ayurveda
It's summertime and it's HOT. We're also moving into Fall which is DRY - so the same rules apply.
In Ayurveda, summer is known as Pitta Season. The qualities of this time of the year are hot, intense, sharp and penetrating... just to name a few. Its elements are fire and water. Often we feel the same intensity and heat in our own bodies, as usually what is happening outside of us is also happening inside of us.
We have all been told at some point in our lives to "drink more water" or that drinking water is good for us. It is! We may even know that dry lips, dry skin, constipation, inflammation and even clogged pores are often the results of dehydration. However, most of us don't really know HOW to execute this "simple" advise. We may jump on the "hydrating bandwagon" for a week or two but soon get tired of the added trips to the bathroom. I get it - me too.
Here’s FIVE STEPS to help you do just that.
Note: If this feels at all overwhelming or not doable then just pick one or two that you can see yourself fitting into your schedule easily.
STEP 1: DRINK LUKEWARM OR HOT WATER INSTEAD OF ICE COLD WATER
Ice cold water freezes the enzymes and fluids in your gut so your body can’t properly digest food, which creates toxic buildup. In addition, the blood vessels constrict so the toxic buildup gets stuck inside you instead of draining through your lymph (cleansing) system. Blood vessel constriction also prevents blood from circulating where it needs to, restricting your organs from getting nutrients when they need them.
Lukewarm or hot water gently encourages the natural flow of the lymph system and over time, you have less buildup. This rule is extremely important for women during menstruation or when wanting to conceive because ice coldwater reduces the circulation and energy needed to prepare the reproductive organs.
Bottom line: ice- cold water makes your body work harder than it needs to work.
STEP 2: DRINK ONE LARGE GLASS (16OZ OR MORE) OF WARM WATER THE MOMENT YOU WAKE UP.
Your body worked all night to flush, and move through yesterday’s waste. This being the reason why you often have to use the bathroom first thing in the morning. To make sure the body is clean, flush your body with warm water immediately after waking up. Don’t sip the water, chug it down. This might require a little practice, but take it slowly. This needs to happen immediately after waking up. The whole point of the “tidal wave of water” is to stimulate peristalsis (a bowel movement). Nobody wants to carry yesterdays waste in their body today.
To make it easy, I fill my kettle up the night before and turn it on as soon as I wake up. I add lemon to my morning glass of water for taste- up to you. . In summer, I drink water at room temperature. You can slightly increase your early morning water intake if you’re not having a morning bowel movement. You can also decrease your intake to 8oz if you experience any abdominal pain with 16oz.
STEP 3: ADD THESE 4 INGREDIENTS TO WATER TO INCREASE ABSORPTION.
These ingredients bind to water molecules to make delivery into the body faster:
1. Add a teaspoon of unrefined mineral salt ie: Celtic Sea Salt, Utah’s Redmond Real Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt, to every 32-ounce container of water.
2. Add a squeeze of lemon to your water.
3. Soak chia seeds for a few hours and add them to your water.
4. Add ginger slices to your water.
If you have trouble with the taste of water in big batches, try adding flavor or sweetness? Soak fruit in your water to infuse it with a refreshing taste. Kiwi- Raspberry- Peach | Lemon -Cucumber -Mint | Strawberry -Basil | Pineapple-Lemon-Mint. Create your own combination.
Bonus: I love adding liquid chlorophyll to my water during the day. A few benefits are: aids in skin healing, reduces inflammation and bacterial growth in skin wounds, detoxification, weight loss, natural deodorant, blood builder - can build your blood by improving the quality of red blood cells…and more.
STEP 4: SET A GOAL TO DRINK HALF YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN OUNCES EACH DAY.
For example, if you weigh 120 lbs. drinking 16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up, means you have 44 ounces left to drink during the day. If you’re outside often or very physically active, increase your water intake until you’re quenched. Heavyset people might have intercellular water retention due to years of improper diet. Talk to your doctor if you are retaining too much water
STEP 5: DURING THE DAY, SIP WATER BUT DON’T CHUG – ESPECIALLY WITH MEALS.
I know first hand the issues with chugging water aka: batch drinking :) I’ve seen this in my kids and myself. When we chug copious amounts of water (like a frat boy on beer) our body cannot absorb the water and we end up peeing all night, or throughout the day.
Instead focus on calmly sipping your warm water throughout the day. Most importantly, don’t chug water with meals because you are snuffing out the digestive fire (agni) that is working so hard to process your food. Based on the same principle, you also don’t want to chug water right after a meal. Instead, thirty minutes before a meal, drink a glass of water. This hydrates the stomach’s buffering lining so it’s able to produce the sufficient stomach bile you need to digest difficult foods (dairy, eggs, nuts, etc). There’s a fine balance. Don’t drink a whole glass of water right before a meal, or you might dilute your stomach acid. Look at it as an experiment ABX (always be experimenting) and pay attention to the results.
Ayuvedic Doctor Dr. Vasant Lad says: “Water before a meal is nectar. It replenishes fluids and encourages juicy digestive organs. Small sips during a meal is honey. It helps turn the food into a sauce. Water after a meal is poison because it dilutes stomach acids.”
The following is an ideal water intake guide for the average person:
DAILY WATER TARGET
• Wake up: Drink two 8-ounce glasses of water (this will flush your body)
• During meals, sip your water as needed
• Between meals drink at least 1 glass of water
• 30-45 minutes before lunch and dinner, drink 1 glass of water over 15 minutes
• Between dinner and bedtime, drink at least 1 glass of water (Drinking water too close to bedtime might have you waking up during the night to pee. Make sure to empty your bladder before hitting the hay)
EXERCISE WATER TARGET
• 15-30 minutes before exercise, drink 1 glass of water.
• During exercise have your water bottle handy to sip as needed.
• After exercise, hydrate with at least 8-16 oz. of water.
Pay attention to the results of your actions. Look for signs of hydration in your body ie: easier bowel movements, moist lips, hydrated and clear skin, more sweat and other bodily fluids. You might start to notice you feel less tired in the morning and have more energy to sustain you throughout the day.