Show me someone who has struggled with an addiction or eating disorder, and I will show you someone who is severely dehydrated.
Dehydration is a major issue that we need to focus on immediately during early phase recovery.
No healing can take place on a biochemical level, if we are not properly hydrated. Our cravings intensify, our mood becomes depressed and we just can't function. Our neurotransmitters and hormones require a stable level of hydration to function and communicate messages across the body correctly.
Now one would think, well, I'll just gallon up then. No - actually drinking excess amounts of plain water is detrimental to your health. Your urine does not need to be clear for you to be properly hydrated - that is a complete myth.
When you drink excess amounts of water, you flush out minerals and sodium from your body - sodium that the blood needs in order to balance electrolyte level and facilitate nerve signaling.
Your blood is actually very similar to the ocean - it is salty. Our cells need salt to function. What we do not need, though, is that man-made bleached and refined salt sitting on the restaurant tables. Just because we have taken a good thing and made it bad, does not mean that all salt is bad for us. Minerals contained in sea salt are in their natural ratios, and this helps keep the body’s electrolytes in balance. This balance bolsters transmission of information between the brain and nerve cells, which influences heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. So just make sure to get the unrefined stuff to reap the health benefits.
Most food only becomes toxic after we modify and alter the chemical structure. That's why there are so many diet hypes out there - when in fact, most of it boils down to how we prepare and modify different foods, rather than obsessing over entire macronutrient groups being bad.
This addictive black-white thinking that many of us have - regardless of actually having an addiction or not - is often what becomes a huge obstacle to reaching a healthy balanced life.
Your body needs salt to thrive.
Sea salt helps the kidneys get rid of excess acidity from body fluids while at the same time helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Yes, you actually mess with your insulin sensitivity when cutting out salt - why addictions and eating disorders are closely tied to blood sugar imbalances btw. The behaviors, laxatives, drugs and restrictive eating patterns, rid the body of essential salts, making their blood sugar go havoc - more vulnerable to relapse and cravings intensify.
Your body's batteries which are the adrenal glands, need salt.
The adrenal glands need salt to produce aldosterone, which is involved in regulating cortisol levels. Cortisol balance is critical for optimal health and mood: it stabilizes energy, metabolism, boosts immune system, combats inflammation in addition to stress management.
An extreme end of the specter low-fat, low-carb, high carb or low-salt diet will all deprive the body of factors involved in balanced cortisol levels.
So what to do then? You need to be hydrated yes, but you need the salt with it, in order to avoid flushing out much needed minerals. Being hydrated means that the cells have enough water and minerals to function. When we drink water that has been filtered, chlorinated and fluoridated, we are drinking mineral- leachers. Not the kind of water that we would naturally be spilling over with minerals, if our environment was ideal and we were in nature drinking from a pure spring.
4 Rules To Proper Hydration:
- Start every morning with 1/2 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt in a glass of warm water to replenish minerals and provide your body enough salt to kickstart your adrenals back into gear
- Add sea salt or Himalayan salt liberally to your meals and a pinch to every quart of water you drink.
- Drink water filtered with a charcoal filter - a time-tested method used in Japan, which naturally rids the water of impurities and adds back minerals to it.
- Don't drink more than a gallon a day, more is not better. You are just putting excess pressure on your kidneys and washing out minerals.
References: Magnes Res. 1993 Mar;6(1):33-41. Blood magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium and cortisol in drug-free depressed patients. Widmer J J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994 Oct;42(10):1050-5. Dietary sodium and bone mineral density: results of a 16-year follow-up study. Greendale GA J Clin Invest. 1964;43(8):1668–1676. Renal Tubular Effects of Hydrocortisone and Aldosterone in Normal Hydropenic Man: Comment on Sites ofAction. Stuart L. et al.