The Indians at Standing Rock in North Dakota say “Water is life,” and “We are water.” Is that true for you? How big a part of your life is water?
Biologist Peter Alpert writes, “Water and life are inseparable. No known living thing can function without water, and there is life wherever there is water on Earth.”
The average adult body is about 60% water. Children may be more like 75% water. We need to take care of water; water is us.
When you have diabetes, water becomes even more important. When blood sugars start to run high, it makes the blood sludgy, like pouring sugar in the gas tank of a car. You want to get the sugar level down, but it’s also important to keep water level up. Water can even help prevent high blood sugars in some people.
A French study of over 3,600 people found that those who drank more than 34 ounces of water a day were less likely to develop high blood sugar than those who drank 16 ounces of water a day or less. Researchers believe that too little water means too little urine, so extra sugar can’t be released in urine. Dehydration also causes the release of the hormone vasopressin, which raises blood pressure and reduces the production of urine.
F. Batmanghelidj, MD, writes on his site, The Water Cure, that, “Through activities of daily living, the average person loses about 3–4 liters (about 10–15 cups) of fluid a day in sweat, urine, exhaled air, and bowel movement. What is lost must be replaced by the fluid we drink and the food we eat. We lose approximately 1–2 liters of water a day just from breathing.”
I think it’s a mistake to think of this water as “lost.” It is being eternally recycled to plants, animals, and the rest of our environment that needs it. We don’t need to hoard water, but we need to constantly replace it. Water is life; it moves from land to plants to animals to air, and falls back to earth. Our bodies need to be part of this dance of life; we need to drink our share.
Most people rely on the sense of thirst to let them know when they need water. But thirst doesn’t always work, especially as you get older. People with diabetes may get used to being thirsty and not feel it, or they may feel it as hunger. Many people overeat because they mistake thirst for hunger. Other people may feel thirst but ignore it.
The website Health Alkaline says that you can’t rely on your sense of thirst to keep yourself well hydrated. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink water, you’re waiting too long.
There are other signs that you need more water besides thirst. Urine color is one. Urine should be light colored and in good amounts. Dark urine can mean the body is low on water and is trying to conserve its supply.
Skin tone is a reliable way to tell if you’re hydrated. On your arm or belly, pinch up some skin between your thumb and index finger, and then let it go. It should snap right back into place. If it goes slower, you are getting dehydrated.
If you’re sweating or exercising or singing or breathing hard, you will be losing water and should remember to drink some. You can also get water from fruits and vegetables.
All this depends on having water available to drink. That’s what the Sioux and other tribes are doing at Standing Rock, protecting water. They are stopping an oil pipeline from crossing underneath Lake Oahe, from which they get fish and water, and the Missouri River, which 18 million people rely on. If the pipeline is built, it could leak, and millions of people, animals, and plants would lose the water they depend on for life.
As I wrote on my blog The Inn by the Healing Path, “Water is finite, vital, and irreplaceable. It should be the most valuable thing in the world, yet our current economy and technology treat it as worthless. Corporations happily sacrifice Earth’s remaining water for fuels that are extracted and burned, and for chemicals that pollute the water forever. We can’t live like that.”
I think health and sanity demand that we honor the water within us and protect water in the environment.
• Drink more. Give thanks to water for every swallow you take. It’s the life force going through you, keeping you alive.
• Don’t use bottled liquids — they are ridiculously expensive, environmentally destructive, and often have unhealthy additives like sugar. It takes more water to make the bottle than to fill it.
I hope all our readers get themselves metal bottles. Fill them from the tap and keep refilling. You can flavor them with a drop of lemon or lime juice, if you like.
• Protect the water where you live. Don’t dump motor oil or chemicals in the sewer. If there’s a fight for clean water in your area, consider joining it.
• Support the Indians at Standing Rock who are defending our water, defending life. They are peaceful and prayerful, even while being attacked with water cannons, dogs, Tasers, and batons. They need our help. Check out how you can help here or here.
As technology progresses, life with diabetes will be transformed in the most profound way, says Scott Coulter. Bookmark DiabetesSelfManagement.com and tune in tomorrow to read more.