A Salty Arguement

Ayeayeaye…. I’ve been doing a lot of research into fasting.  In the age of the ‘net that of course has led to watching youtube videos.  And cringing.  A lot. cringe-embarrassing-funny-humour-humor

really hope people take a lot of the info out there with a grain of salt (literally in this case!).  There is a slew of videos that advocate water fasting, which is fine, but these people are drinking up to 2 gallons of water a day.  They also report feeling weak, sick and nauseaous.  For the simple reason that they are flushing out their electrolytes and putting themselves at risk of hypnatremia; a legit, potentially life-threatening medical condition in which your body doesn’t have enough sodium.

People have been taught to think of salt as bad and water as good.  It’s way more nuanced than that.  Proper hydration includes salt.  Salt is an essential nutrient, necessary for your survival.  If you’re not taking it in, in amounts needed to balance water intake, you are risking water intoxication.  People have died from excessive water intake.

My old pastor actually suffered a concussion when he passed out from low sodium on a 40 day water fast he was doing for spiritual purposes.  He hit his head and was lucky it wasn’t worse.

You do not ever need to force down 2 gallons of water a day.  You probably do not even need 1 gallon.  If you are taking in a lot of fluids, or sweating heavily, you need to be mindful to replace lost electrolytes just as much as lost water.  If you are doing a strict water fast I’d either limit the water to a reasonable amount or add a pinch of healthy salt.  In this case more does not = better.

You body is intelligent and you can follow your thirst cues.  When you’re thirsty, drink.  If you’re not, don’t.  It’s pretty simple.  You wouldn’t gorge yourself on food if you weren’t hungry, because you doubt your hunger cues (or I hope you wouldn’t…) so why would your hunger cues be accurate but you thirst cues are faulty??  the-iconic-picard-facepalm

Sorry, I’m ranting at this point.

But one of my first “breakthroughs” came when I realized the standard health advice on drinking water was wrong.  I too believed dehydration was a constant threat to be diligently guarded against.  I brought my giant water cup everywhere.  I needed a cup holder at all times and quick access to a bathroom.  I was also always cold and tired.  I was keeping myself in a constant low-grade state of hypnatremia. CwJTMri

When I stopped that nonsense I felt better almost immediately.  I now add liberal amounts of sea salt to just about everything.  I drink when I’m thirsty.  It’s pretty simple.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to go against conventional health “wisdom”.  Remember when the experts told us margarine was good and butter was the devil??  Exactly.  But please, most of all, do your own research.  Listen to your body’s cues and feedback.  Our bodies are trying to communicate to us what they need, but are we listening?  I’d trust your body over a youtube expert any day.  😉