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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions

48 Comments

  1. I’m glad you brought this up! I’ve been seeing lots around blog land on this topic, and the theory makes sense. My question is this: why am I so thirsty all the time? If I wait until I feel thirsty to start drinking, I can never satisfy the thirst. I’ve tried reducing water, but I feel thirsty and/or fatigued. Following thirst cues, I can easily drink 12 cups a day. I have switched to warm liquids and eat liberal amounts of salt and don’t worry about moderate starch and natural sugars. My mom says I loved water as a toddler too, so this has been life-long. Do you have any thoughts on this from your nutrition training?

    On another note, cold fingers and toes can also be a sympathetic stress response. Many of us live at that level all the time. I’ve worked extensively on biofeedback equipment and with meditation, and have learned quite a bit about this issue. I was always told my cold hands were low thyroid, low metabolism, etc, but actually I can warm them up at will now through practices that activate the vagus nerve. I have a problem personally with hyper-vagalism, but that’s a whole other story. Fascinating stuff!

    • Matt also mentions cold fingers/toes as being a stress response in the book (if I remember correctly). That is a great point! I’ve also been experimenting with visualization exercises to warm up my fingers/toes. I didn’t do anything to specifically stimulate the vagus nerve, I would just visualize warmth radiating from my extremities. Thank you for sharing your experience with this!

      As for the excessive thirst, I’ve heard that a low carb diet can often cause this issue. Nothing else comes to my mind immediately, but it is something with which I’m not familiar. Even if you are getting carbs, you might try reducing the starches (like grains) and increasing natural sugars (like fresh fruits and raw honey), which are more metabolically available. Eating juicy fruits may help you satiate your thirst while still getting in some electrolyte-supporting natural sugars.

      • Thank you for the response, Lauren! I appreciate your sharing your knowledge and experience. I like the idea about juicy fruits. Yum. Perhaps some of us simply need more fluids *and* more salt and sugar to go with it. I look forward to learning more.

        • I used to be extremely thirsty also. I believe it was a lack of electrolytes. When I started adding trace minerals (Concentrace) to everything I drank, started using RealSalt and supplemented with potassium and magnesium, the thirst went away.

    • I always had problems with dehydration in heated climate. Also, in general I was often thirsty, but drinking water didn’t really help. I felt it was not being absorbed in the body, but just swishing around in my belly and I would pee a lot.
      Last few years I have been adding Himalayah salt to my water. (1 teaspoon in my 2 liter bottle). This makes it a joy to drink the water. It quenches the thirst and it “absorbs”. And I don’t have to pee constantly.

      I recently found out that I have lots of symptoms that match adrenal fatigue. So this makes a lot of sense now – how this condition can drain the body of salts and how it looks like this has been part of the situation for me.

    • It’s a long-standing joke amongst my friends how thirsty I am and have been for years. At one point, we joked I was “12 Years Athirst”, as I’ve actually noted an increased thirst since 2003. Then something interesting happened at the top of this year. I started a ketogenic diet and had to up my sodium intake to ward off migraines. My water consumption dropped, but my thirst didn’t increase.

      In some researching, I read about a connection between low-sodium and excessive thirst. It occurred to me that I significantly changed my eating habits and started eating/cooking whole foods in 2002, a time when there was a lot of talk about watching sodium. This warning, however, is really for people who consume a lot of processed food.

      Perhaps this is something you can relate to, but it’s been a helpful realization for me.

  2. I have read eat for heat and if i remember correctly he states once you have a high metabolism the rate at which cells are repaired is increased. Then later on says that bodybuilders drink a lot of water to hydrate and that it might be helpful in that case but he’s not sure. Shouldn’t the increase in metabolism from not overhydrating cause muscle cells to repair faster? Would like to hear your opinion. Great blog btw!

    • The more I learn about the metabolic approach, the more I understand that a good metabolism equals better health in every aspect, including physical and emotional wellbeing. Interestingly, one’s ability to build muscle and muscle tone is improved when metabolism is improved. So it would make sense to me that by supporting metabolism, you support the ability of muscle cells to repair.

      • Im reading lots of interesting stuff. I cant eat salt. My whole body blows up. Even eating a ham sandwich last night for dinner had me all bloated this morning.. i use nosalt brand to taste.. I love the taste of salt. Any ideas for me? I also have low blood pressure.. For me thats normal. Thanks

        • Wendy,
          The salt found in ham is highly processed and isn’t what you need. I also “blow up” when I eat anything with refined salt, but when I use Celtic sea salt, that doesn’t happen. Your low blood pressure likely indicates that you need to raise your sodium level. Replace your cheap salt with Celtic sea salt, himalayan salt or Real Salt and you’ll notice a big difference. Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. 🙂

  3. Wow Lauren,
    You are always posting things that make a big difference in my life! I’m very into fitness and used to guzzle a gallon of water or more throughout each day. My adrenals have been suffering for many years, and when my doctor recommended more water to “get things going” I opted for concentrace minerals instead. I struggle with my memory due to low blood pressure, or i would have started implementing your adaptogen electrolyte beverage recipe, but once I received the tulsi…I forgot. :/ lol I am going to warm up that stock and brew up some tulsi right now. Thanks for your consistantly excelent information. You are officially my absolute favorite blogger!

  4. If you seem to have trouble with water not quenching your thirst, try adding a pinch of salt (healthy salt), either mixed in or on the tongue after. Or add some mineral drops.

    A friend had never, ever, felt thirsty. After I hounded her for about a year she started to force herself to drink. Soon she started to feel thirsty, her skin turned from a greyish color to pink and she felt better than than she ever had before.

    I’ve worked with pregnant women and the elderly. Both groups get dehydrated easily, and suffer from dizziness and in the elderly confusion. I pregnancy the baby gets dehydrated as well, and movement is reduced.

    For some healthy adults less fluid might work but this is not for everyone.

  5. Is it true that the thirst mechanism doesn’t work as well when we age so we may not know that we are thirsty?…and do elderly people need as much water? Many oldies I deal with hardly drink any water.

    • Many elderly are dehydrated and electrolyte deficient. I think the approach for elderly will be different than this approach… that’s a question I would ask Matt 🙂 My first thought would be to increase both electrolyte intake and water intake. Again, the Adaptogenic Sports Drink is an excellent option for that.

  6. Hi Lauren

    I’ve read your post and am reading “Eat for Heat” the theory makes sense about adding electrolytes, I drink a lot of water and always have and I don’t add any salt to my diet – I avoid salty foods and find if I add salt to anything it is too salty…I have cured myself and help others with gut disorders and the one thing I always found that helped was drinking a lot of water when symptoms flared up – I am thinking of rather recommending sipping a homemade adaptogenic sports drink throughout the day – any thoughts if this safe to drink all the time rather than straight water?

    I personally also have cold hands and feet and have been diagnosed with Rynaud’s but perhaps it’s just too much water……I shall experiment and see if the condition improves – thanks again for an interesting and thought provoking post.

    • The Homemade Sports Drink is definitely safe to consume all the time! There are mild concerns that high amounts of tulsi may have a natural contraceptive property (but this hasn’t been shown in humans, only animal studies). Those trying to conceive may wish to consume tulsi in moderation. I was diagnosed with Rynaud’s many years ago but it has almost disappeared after a year of intense gut-healing and metabolism-healing 🙂

  7. Sorry to muddy the waters, but one symptom of chronic dehydration is the inability to feel thirst. So the comment above about the woman who didn’t feel thirsty until she forced herself to drink makes a lot of sense.

    And I’ve read in several places that drinking warm water 20 minutes before a meal INCREASES stomach acid, and that this is a highly effective and healthy practice for those of us with low stomach acid. The contradictions are so confusing!

  8. Lauren,

    I have been following your blog for awhile and I love the focus you bring to the issue of gut health in particular. Having seen the reference to Eat for Heat multiple times I decided to take a closer look at it. I have not read the book, but I have explored his website (had to sign up to follow it in order to obtain the password (seriously?). I also read very thorough reviews on Amazon. Anyhow, it was totally not what I expected given the fact that the reference came from you. No wonder it’s called 180 degrees. I am sorry, the guy is a lunatic. I can sympathize with the fact that he is coming from a long history of being under-nourished and over-exercised. First of all he sounds like an illiterate junior high student with borderline offensive language who gave in to his cravings and laziness and is working really hard on trying to justify it. Feed kids sugary cereal for breakfast? Eat junk food and drink pop? I know you have said above that you do not agree with that. My question is, if his “research” lead him to making these “wise” decisions, how can you buy into the rest of it and not question it? I agree that over hydrating is a serious issue. However, how much is too much? He himself states in his book that most people are so out of tune with their bodies that they don’t even recognize the feeling of thirst until their mouth is parched. I am sure that this is what experts refer to when they say that if you are feeling thirsty it means you are already dehydrated. Personally, I do drink half my body weight which for me happens to be 8 glasses. I count herbal teas towards my water but not soup, broth or high water veg. It is quite an improvement for me because 2 years ago it was time and a half that. When I cut back I felt very thirsty all the time which can happen if you have a history of over hydrating – your body does not utilize the water properly and does not deliver it effectively to the tissue, just processes it through the kidneys. I know that if I don’t drink that amount my body ends up holding on to the water it gets – called water retention. If I drink over that amount it will hold on to water. So half my body weight seems like a perfect qty. When it comes to salt, I use about 1/2t a day of Himalayan salt. My blood tests are showing that my electrolytes are in perfect balance. That’s all I need to know I am doing the right thing. I agree with him on one point, fad diets do not do anything but cause harm, eating real food with sufficient amount of fat is key to proper nourishment and vibrant health. He is young and his body can withstand some abuse but it is going to catch up to him at some point. As for cold hands and feet, the water you drink need not be cold, especially in the cold winter months. I increased my body temp by avoiding goitrogenic foods. Not that they are all universally bad for thyroid deficient people. You can use the temperature method to see which ones work for you and which ones don’t, just get into the habit of taking your BBT first thing in the morning. I repaired my thyroid in less than a year with this method and my TSH went from 4.2 to 1.7.

    • I appreciate your comment and I think you bring up some great points! Yeah… Matt has some extreme views and I certainly don’t agree with everything he says. And I also believe that we are all individuals and while I think metabolic hydration as I’ve described here is a powerful tool, that’s not to say that SO many people have drastically improved their health by drinking lots of water in conjunction to other dietary changes. If you feel best with lots of water, then that means it is probably right for you 🙂

  9. I’ve had years of adrenal/thyroid issues. Only now getting diagnosed from Naturopathic practitioner. Your posts are a God send to me. Thank you for taking the time to share what you are learning! NB

  10. Drink only when thirsty is good advice but the problem is many people don’t know when they’re really thirsty. I believe histamine rises with dehydration and histamine plays a role in thirst regulation. Salt may also play a role in retaining water which is why some people can drink constantly and still feel thirsty.
    A very in depth book about water is “Your bodies many cries for water” by By F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. The author suggests 1/8th of a teaspoon of salt per litre of water.

    • *Salt may also play a role in retaining water which is why some people can drink constantly and still feel thirsty.*
      Could you explain this a bit? Does this mean if you are constantly drinking and still feel thirsty you are retaining fluid and need more salt? Or less salt? How can you tell if this is the case? I always feel thirsty and I drink up to 12 cups per day. I don’t feel that I am retaining water (nothing is swollen except perhaps my belly but I’m not sure as I have always had a bit of a pot belly) and I pee all day and night. I feel that the water passes straight through without doing any benefit at all. If I don’t drink enough water I get headaches and feel awful but I don’t exactly feel great with what I’m having to do now either!
      What would you suggest?

  11. Hi! Thanks for the interesting blog. Im wondering, i often get really thirsty in the night time and end up drinking most of the water i drink in the late afternoon, evening and often right before i go to bed ( causing me to have to get up to pee in the night often several times). Reading your post i wonder whether this could be beneficial as metabolism would naturally drop in the night?

  12. Hi Lauren, great blog great info. The endocrine system is so fascinating! I have some of symptons of adrenal fatigue . I’m going to a acupuncturist who says I’m yin, spleen deficient. So I am getting more rest andeating better. I went to nursing job burnout that created my state! I am menopausal and I feel my hot flushes related to all what you have said. I have told my daughter to be mindful with get life to avoid what I have and am going through. I also noted that just before I left my nursing job , I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid just a bit elevated. It is normal now but wow how stress can affect our lives! Thanks for your info very helpful.

  13. Who is Matt Stone?! I can’t find his qualifications to write a book on this subject anywhere. He almost seems to intentionally leave this information out. Hell, I am an “independent researcher” by some sort of standards, but that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to give health advice to anyone. Before I consider buying his book, I’d like to know he’s not just another moron looking for money.

    I know I am being antagonistic by only commenting on the articles I am skeptical about (there are many articles here I have printed out for reference), but I fear that I would have a LOT of health issues if I followed this man’s advice, especially since I work outside in South Florida and have a history of passing out due to inadequate water intake (overheating).

  14. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, who are searching for some answers to our health problems. It’s very informative and i have discovered some interesting facts about sugar eating as well as the T-TAPP program. I am very inspired by your posts. Keep it up and God bless with all your endeavors.

  15. Hi Lauren. Can you recommend any other drinks for this purpose? My children and I consume broth regularly. Tulsi doesn’t sound like an option for toddlers and wondering if teens or even adults should consume it regularly due to different “health warnings”. We add trace minerals (the ones you recommend) to our water – still add the pinch of salt?

  16. I read this awhile ago, but I’ve come back to it because I would like to forward this article to people that I know. I was wondering if you know of any studies that I could cite to further support the information you’ve provided here? So many people are confused about all the conflicting health information that they get, so I would like to be able to provide as much supporting information as I can. My husband is just one person who drinks tons of water, but I think he might want to see more evidence before he changes his mind about water consumption. Thanks for this awesome, informative blog.

  17. I’m coming to this post now because I am currently pregnant, and somehow can never stay hydrated. i’m never thirsty but have re-occuring asymptomatic UTI’s and All my urinalysis tests come back saying I’m not hydrated, so I drown myself during the day, with no improvements. When I do drink a lot of water, my kidneys ache. My midwife says I need to stop drinking plain water and add more salt to my diet, and I wasn’t sure how I could incorporate that into the fluid I know I need to drink during the day, but i have a better idea now! thank you

  18. Lauren,
    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease 14 years ago. I like you did not accept that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life. As I’ve gotten older and since I had my last child at the age of 42, managing my thyroid issues and hormone imbalances have gotten harder. I have tried this diet and that diet and have never felt right. I’ve had bouts of horrible acne, brain fog, stressed out, chronic constipation, and no desire for sex.. my husband and I have most recently been doing the past metabolism diet by Haylie Pomroy. However her diet uses a number of things that I just read from your blogs are no no’s: xylitol, stevia l,ots of water drinking. My husband lost 15 to 20 pounds on it and the first month , I lost 5. And all the food requirements and food preparation stressed me out as well. I so need a diet that will work for me, be easy to follow,, not cause extra stress and be something that I could get my picky kids to eat as well. By the way I have one child that is allergic to soy and one child that is allergic to eggs and peanuts too.

  19. Would have enjoyed this article, but ads were covering a number of paragraphs….most would not allow me to remove them. I tried opting out of ads thru Google, but they still show up on your posts. Any way for me to bypass the ads?

  20. Hi Lauren, reading about your story has actually about killed me. My 18 year old daughter had her colon removed on Jan 9th, 2015. She was diagnosed with UC a year and a half prior. I went to medical doctors and didn’t like the answer that she would need meds the rest of her life. She was on Lialda and it didn’t help so I took her to a naturopath that I thought for sure could help her as he had his colon removed as well and thats why he went into natural med. But only a few months later Lily ended up in ER and 2 weeks later after not responding to steroids or Remicade and needing 3 transfusions, the drs told us if she didn’t get the surgery she could die. I will regret this decision for the rest of my life and I cry everyday for the suffering she has endured. She is now in her freshman year of college an hour away from home. She has a jpouch now and is starting to adjust although it has been very difficult. She is absolutely the strongest girl I know. But now she is experiencing some depression. She also has tonsil stones which I never heard of but wonder if its related to whats going on with her body.

    I started reading your blog becasue I want to do whatever I can to help prevent other auto-immune diseases from poping up. I know the key is to heal her gut. The problem is, the info out there is so overwhelming. Also since her colon is gone the Drs tell me she needs to drink about 90 oz. of water a day. She has had problems with dehydration and ended up in ER a few times. Now I am wondering is she is drinking too much water? We found something that helps her stay hydrated and with B vitamins it helps her energy level. It’s called Zip Fizz, she calls it her life line. I have read the ingredients and there doesn’t seem to be anything bad but I am far from an expert. She eats hymilian sea salt a lot as well.

    Her other issue is she was tested positive for candida by her functional med dr we found after her surgeries. He has her on Sporonox and the candida diet. But I have been reading a lot about MANUKA HONEY and wonder if she should be using that even though high in sugar? Some people with jpouches have reported that it has helped the resolve and/or prevent POUCHITIS (inflammation/bacteria overgrowth of the pouch)

    Anyways, I am glad you were able to avoid surgery. I wish I had found your blog a year ago.

    My question:

    Does my baby girl have any chance at a healthy life without a colon? I can’t bear to think of her suffering forever. Do you have any suggestions? Will the grain free diet help her? Problem is that without her colon, high fiber vegetables go right through. Also worry about nutrient absorbtion. I read all about these different diets: anti-inflamatory, candida, lowfodmap, GAPS etc.. I just don’t know how or if they apply to my daughter since she has no colon.

    Sorry for the long post, I am at a loss. Theres no worse feeling than to think you have ruined your childs health forever. 🙁

    • I can’t offer health advice in the comments, but I can tell you that your daughter sounds very blessed to have you as a mom. Please don’t think that you’ve ruined your daughter’s life, you – and her healthcare providers – were only doing the best you could do. That was my case, as well. The most heart-wrenching thing can be to look back to past situations and tell yourself, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” I’ve been there many times, but it only ruins the present and doesn’t fix the past. And I can say that I have two friends who have colectomies and they have fulfilling and joyful lives. They need to maintain a high level of attention to supporting their health, along with ongoing supplementation, and they accept that. Blessings and light to you and your daughter!

  21. Hi, Lauren and everyone of u there. I just want to say one thing about health even i was a patient of stomach disorders, if u really want a healthy life then u have to be positive with ur efforts .living a healthful life depends on our food habits in lauren case u can see how good food nutrientss helped her in my case too “the food served me like bliss miracle ” i recommend u people out there to have good diet
    Fat less “Yogurt” curd” healed me from my problmes try to take it in the morning ours take two spoons of curd ad 250ml water little salt hav on emty stomach daily it contains use full bacteria which boost ur immune system and hlp proper function of ur system specially who are suffering from constipation and digestive system and menstrual problems

  22. I have a lot I could say about this but I’ll leave just one that was important to me. A cookbook I found at my library, The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing” by Grace Young, has a section on Cantonese healing soups. They’re categorized here as “yun” (harmonizing) and “bow” (restorative). I’ve studied Chinese medicine for years on my own, so this section already made plenty of sense to me and was very exciting 😉 but I had no idea that even my own North Americanized Cantonese friend’s families were still cooking these teas/soups until I asked! I had read not to drink water during some of the medicinal recipes I knew, but hadn’t really understood what to hydrate with at certain times (ie, when you are too weak to digest and need to consume something new). I found this bit from Grace Young’s book very interesting-

    “My Auntie Frances once told me that water cleanses but it doesn’t put enough back into your body to restore what your body is missing. ‘For this, you need a yun soup.’ According to my Auntie Katheryn, my grandfather, Gunggung, who lived to the age of 93, never drank a drop of plain water; he, like most traditional Cantonese, drank yun soups or tea.”

    I’ve been using the recipes in this book as well as ones learned from friends, and I really love them! I suffered much with dehydration to over-hydration before. Also, when I do drink water now, I only drink it hot. This is what I ask for if I go to a restaurant (that doesn’t have good tea, of course!) We need to learn to feel what is right for our bodies.

  23. Hi Lauren, for the past few months I have been getting tonsil stones, I also have some GI issues such as bloating and indigestion and I was wondering if they could be connected and if they could also be caused by candida.

  24. Wow. Never knew that someone could be over-hydrated (i’m usually dehydrated). My husband hit every symptom. We’re discussing changing things up for him to address this now and see how he feels. Thank you for posting this. So glad I came across this article via your 70 Ways to be a Hippie post on Pinterest!

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I’m Lauren Geertsen, an author and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. When doctors told me that surgery and medication were the only answers to my chronic health issues, I decided to use the power of nutrition and a natural lifestyle instead.
My mission at Empowered Sustenance? To show you the simple steps on your path to vibrant health.

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