Hydrate. We hear it all the time. “Consume half your body weight in water daily.” “Drink a glass of water between every glass of wine.” “Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go,” yada, yada.
Most of us know that our body is made up of mostly water so it makes sense we’d need A LOT of it to survive and thrive but do we really understand just how integral it is? Seems too simple to be a panacea, but it truly is!
After getting hit with the (second) worst food poisoning of my life on the morning of my best friends wedding, I quickly learned the ripple effect that can happen when you become severely dehydrated….and yes, I was a bridesmaid!
LACK OF ENERGY: Dehydration leads to fatigue, which slowly wears down the bodily functions you need to power through the day! The more water you drink, the more awake and alert you’ll feel. For the first two days of my food poisoning I had so little energy I could barely open my eyes or get out of bed, and for almost two weeks afterwards I felt completely drained to the point where I was pressing the snooze alarm constantly (which is not like me) and couldn’t even go for a walk without feeling light-headed and fatigued.
LIGHT HEADED AND DIZZY: Four days after the food poisoning I thought I’d be able to get back to my long walks and client meetings, but the second I did, I was hit with a huge wave of dizziness and felt like I was going to faint. At the point, I was eating real meals again (although not my typical amount of protein which could have also played a role in how I was feeling). When you're severely dehydrated, your blood pressure can drop, your brain may not get enough oxygen, and you wind up feeling like you just got off an amusement park ride!
DRY, SENSITIVE SKIN: Did you know that most people who think they have dry skin just have really dehydrated skin? Our skin requires proper moisture and hydration to prevent rapid aging, to smooth and soften, and to give us the spa glow we all crave. Have you seen Pharrell Williams baby face at 45? Pretty sure he’s staying hydrated…or he’s a mythical creature which I’m already kinda convinced he is. ;) The week after food poisoning, my skin started to break out which I haven’t experienced in a long time. I have a bi-monthly membership at Heyday Skincare so I treated myself to a facial and the skin therapist said that I was super dried out and the inflammation (aka breakout) was likely a result of the dehydration. So, I made sure to get right back on my skin routine which includes hydrating moisturizer, eye and lip serum, and day and night oil by Airelle Skincare. I love this line because it’s non-toxic and formulated by a Dermatologist PA who had many clients asking for a skin line that was dermatologist approved, without the harmful ingredients. They use ingredients like Vitamin C for collagen boosting and Hyaluronic Acid which is a magnet for moisture and helps your skin to hydrate from the outside in. Our skin cells produce HA naturally, but with age (like so many things), the production declines and actually gets redistributed to other parts of the body! Feel free to use my code BodyBlissbyJess20 for 20% off the Arielle line! Pro tip: When using products with Hyaluronic Acid, apply in a steamy bathroom after the shower because it relies on moisture to do its work and can actually dry out your skin if there isn’t any to pull from. Sometimes, I spray my face with a rose mist from Beauty Counter before applying which really helps and feels amazing!
HEADACHES! Now if you know my story, you’ve heard me talk about how I cured my debilitating migraines (link to blog post here). So nowadays, when I get a headache (especially one verging on a migraine), I take a step back and look at all the factors in my life that could be playing a role and see how I can reduce potential triggers and add in supportive therapies. A week after my food poisoning, I actually started feeling much better but was suddenly slammed down by a major headache…that lasted 5 WHOLE DAYS! Now, I’m not blaming dehydration 100% but I believe it was the catalyst and created a chain reaction throughout my entire body. That coupled with trying to operate my business at full speed (hours on my computer screen), lack of protein (I was afraid to eat fish after getting sick from it and don’t currently eat meat), and the stress of not being as productive as normal. And confession: I took an aspirin/caffeine pill combo a few times in the week which has been known to cause rebound migraine and is something I eliminated when I went through the “Heal Your Headache” protocol. I finally decided to slow down, stop taking the meds and to give my body time to heal naturally…which is the only thing that has ever worked for me longterm in the past!
Here are some of the steps I took to get back on track:
SCALED BACK: I looked at my work and social calendar and moved, rescheduled or straight canceled the things I knew I wouldn’t be able to show up for as my best self! This was a tough one for me, but it made a HUGE difference. I was really looking forward to attending my first Expo West wellness conference with my girlfriends, but ultimately decided, a day of bright lights, random food samples, and over-stimulation, probably wasn’t a good move for my healing body. There’s always next year! I also traded one of my evening meetings for a Thai/Swedish massage combo at a local spot that charges $45 for a whole hour! I bought all the fixings for an epsom salt and essential oil bubble bath and soaked in warm water with candles lit and French Cafe radio playing on Spotify in the background. A small investment for such incredible reward!
EVALUATED MY DIET: I realized that I wasn’t eating anywhere near my normal amount of protein because I was nervous to get sick again and I think this had a major effect on me. I had been eating simple foods like toast, nut butter and soup but gradually added in a scoop of Plantworks Nutrition protein powder (use code plantbliss15 if you’d like to try) and some eggs until I got over my nervous jitters and could work my way back to eating salmon and other forms of protein again! I stopped taking the aspirin/caffeine pill (it was just a bandaid) and added in Life Seasons Migra-T support with feverfew, butterbur, COQ10, magnesium and added turmeric and ginger (anti-inflammatory) to just about everything! I bought sugar-free Ultima electrolyte powder to replenish the electrolytes I had lost and drank 1-2 scoops per day. I got the grape flavor and added it to a glass of ice water, topped with apple cider vinegar and some fresh mint leaves…felt like a fancy mocktail!
HYDRATION IV DRIP: I finally put to good use a gift card I won for an IV at the Hydration Room. Instead of having to check into a hospital, you can now visit one of these centers where they can customize a vitamin drip for you and with injection therapy, they provide balanced electrolytes and vitamins to calm busy minds, boost energy levels, and improve physical functions. The whole experience was actually much more relaxing than I thought it would be and only took about 45 minutes from start to finish but you can lie down, read and watch tv while you wait. I actually felt much better afterwards and even though I wasn’t cured, it definitely helped me get through my day a little easier!
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL: One of my life savers has always been Saje Wellness peppermint halo which I rub into my temples each night before bed to ease tension….it works wonders!
DAILY ROUTINES: I made sure to keep up with my daily skin routine, drank 75-100oz of water (I basically glued a water bottle to my lips), and gave myself a break from exercise. I took a few light walks, did a little yoga from home but stayed away from my normal pilates and platefit routines because my body wasn’t strong enough and my head was too sensitive for loud music and bight lights.
BOTTOM LINE: Dehydraton is a big deal. Each year, millions of people die as a result and the list of side effects that are associated are real…serious that is. If there’s two major takeaway’s I’ve learned from this experience it’s to treat water like the fountain of youth…because it truly is and to slow down and give your body time to heal. Even if your brain wants to keep moving a mile a minute, it’s ok to need a break. It’s ok to not feel 100% and not beat yourself up for it. And it’s ok to say no, because when you do that, you say yes to yourself and ultimately everyone in your life will reap the benefits!
Your homework is to go fill up the largest glass of water you can find and start chugging with a smile on your face, giving thanks for every last drop of goodness!
In the words of Missy Elliot “Work it, I need a glass of water. Boy, oh boy, it's good to know ya!”