How to Stay Hydrated in the Summer

Okay, this might seem simple, but sometimes I forget to hydrate enough. Last year I was on an app that had us do a 30 day challenge, part of which was drinking 8 glasses of water a day. I honestly felt so great that whole punch (despite having to pee all the time). Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up the habit. It’s not that I don’t want to or think it’s important, it’s that for some reason it’s a little harder than I thought it would be (this reminds me that I might do a post on habit forming in the future). What I have noticed for myself is that when I’m working, especially from home, I drink a lot of water. One glass per client, plus probably 2 extra on top of that. So on days where I have 4 clients, that ends up being at least 6 glasses of water. In the office, it’s close to the same, but perhaps a little less. The less I work, the less I drink water…

Always have that water bottle.

Except for when I go for a hike, walk, or to the beach. The summer is my favourite time of year. Yes there are some downsides to the weather being hot, but I do love outdoor activities. And I normally do pretty well at staying hydrated. I always bring a water bottle, though I’ll admit sometimes I should probably bring 2, and it’s always empty by the time I’ve returned home. I’m also always happy to get a glass of water at a restaurant, or buy a bottled water at a convenience store if I’ve run out and need more.

While water is 100% important for every human, I think it’s additionally important for Chronic Pain/Illness Warriors. Research suggests that staying hydrated can improve our joint health and functioning by increasing flexibility and lubrication within the joints (could’ve helped the Tin Man). It also has been shown to remove toxins in the body, and toxins are often the source of inflammation. Less inflammation = less pain. Added benefits are improved mood (because being dehydrated can make us angry, depressed and tense – I’ve definitely experience this before, have you?); and it can aid in weight loss, if you have that goal. We know that the mind and body are connected, so when we feel emotions like sadness, anger, and anxiety we tend to feel more pain. When we feel more pain we get into these states easier (so imagine being dehydrated as well).

Here are some ways I make sure I’m staying hydrated:

  1. I always have a full glass of water within arms reach. As soon as the glass is empty (or low) I fill it up, with some ice cubes and just carry it from room to room with me throughout the day.
  2. I bring a water bottle with me as often as possible. I take it to work, on walks, etc. Again, having it near means I’m more likely to drink it.
  3. I order a glass of water at the restaurant. Even if I’m also ordering another drink. Nothing else really hydrates us, so while I’m happy to have a beer or a soda or coffee, etc. that is really for the flavour, socializing experience, etc. I need to have water for the hydration.

Also, side note PSA, if you have a dog and you’re taking him or her for a walk, please, please bring one of those doggy water bottles for them. If you need to be hydrated, they do too!

Enjoy the rest of your summer and keep making the most of it!

Should I Be Taking Prebiotics, Probiotics, or Eating Fermented Foods?

I don’t know about you but I find that what I eat really affects how well I’m feeling. For example, back in 2019 I went to Costa Rica with one of my best friends. Neither of us had ever eaten healthier in our lives. Everything was farm or ocean to table. Fruit was literally picked off the tree. There were no preservatives in anything. I could pretty much eat anything without any problems. Unfortunately back at home that can be harder to do because of costs and availability. There has been so much talk over the past several years about the benefits of probiotics, and more recently on prebiotics. And then I was falling this Flo Living diet last year that emphasized eating fermented foods during certain parts of your menstrual cycle. So this got me thinking, what should we be taking/eating?

Farm to table breakfast in Costa Rica

Since this isn’t an easy question to answer, I thought we’d just look at the benefits of each. Let’s start with prebiotics. So this week on the podcast I had on Beau Berman from Layer Origin, and they specialize in prebiotics (though they also make probiotics) and he gives a very thorough explanation of what prebiotics are and the benefits of them, so I highly recommend checking it out. Here’s the Apple link, the Spotify link, and the web link. My quick summary is this, prebiotics helps stimulate the growth of gut bacteria that are important for digestion and can improve the immune system. Some of the benefits are:

  • pay help prevent colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease
  • helpful in relieving constipation
  • may be helpful in preventing obesity and lowering cholesterol
  • and may improve your ability to absorb minerals such as calcium and magnesium
Check out the podcast for more on prebiotics (and probiotics).

What about probiotics? These can promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, but they don’t stimulate the growth of what’s already there (basically you’re introducing new strains – listen to the podcast for more on this). Here are some of the potential benefits:

  • prevent and treat diarrhea
  • may promote heart health
  • may reduce severity of some allergies
  • may reduce symptoms of colitis and Crohn’s
  • boost the immune system
  • may help you lose weight
  • may help with mental health – some strains have been linked with improvements in anxiety, depression, and OCD

Finally, there are fermented foods. Fermented foods are full of probiotics, so they are similar to taking probiotic supplements in many ways (with the benefit of getting to eat food instead of taking pills or powders). Since they are similar to probiotics, they also improve the digestive and immune systems because they add new bacteria strains to your gut. Here’s some benefits:

  • helps to manufacture vitamin B and synthesize vitamin K
  • may help with lactose intolerance because they break down lactose in food, so foods like yogurt are easier to digest
  • and may help with mental health as they have been linked with the production of serotonin in the brain

My conversation with Beau has inspired me to try out probiotics, and for me, I think I’ll stick with fermented foods as opposed to taking probiotics because they are honestly more delicious. I think it really comes down to each of us figuring out what works for us and what seems to be helping. Talk with your healthcare team before making any changes because they may have some suggestions on which route to go. Everyone, keep making the most of it!

It’s about finding what’s right for you.
(Me in Costa Rica, 2019, eating vegan chocolate mousse on my birthday).

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