Living Paleo For Dummies
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Water is an essential ingredient to a Paleo diet. Cave men had a natural supply of clean, toxin-free water, but you might have to go beyond the tap for a healthy supply.

Your body is made up of about 60 percent water. Just as your body needs macronutrients (such as healthy proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) to function, it also needs water. Pure, clean water is the most essential of all nutrients. You can live for weeks without consuming food, but you can't go for more than a couple of days without water.

Proper intake of water is so vital to your being that deficiency of even 1 percent can present signs of dysfunctions in your body. Slightly more dehydration, and you have exponentially more health risk.

You also need water to maintain the chemical balances in your body, such as these important functions:

  • Balancing acid-base levels

  • Eliminating waste from the lungs, skin, and colon

  • Regulating hormones

  • Transporting nutrients to the cells

Your body responds with different signals when it's dehydrated or hungry. Many times, people read the signs wrong and intervene with food, medicines, or procedures that aren't necessary. All your body really needed was some water — another one of those simple health weapons that's often overlooked because it seems so simple!

Recognize your body's signs for hunger and thirst when living Paleo

Your brain recognizes low energy levels available for the functions of its body. Hunger or thirst fall within this signaling. Because brain signals are simultaneous, people sometimes confuse these signals and assume they need food when they actually need water.

One of the main problems with this signal confusion between thirst and hunger is not understanding how much water you really need and misinterpreting the signs of dehydration. The key is to be attuned with your body and know when to drink water.

The biggest roadblock is waiting until you're thirsty to drink. Your brain center doesn't send a message until you're almost 2 percent dehydrated. By then, you've likely already encountered some problems associated with dehydration. Your kidneys receive the low signal before you do, so it responds by decreasing urine output, a big sign that you need more water.

Here's how some of the signs of dehydration play out in your system:

  • Arthritis pain

  • Chronic hunger

  • Depression

  • Excess body weight

  • Headaches

  • High blood cholesterol

  • High blood pressure

  • Intestinal pain

You need at the very least six to eight cups. A great way to tell whether you're hydrated is to simply look at your urine. If it's a pale to light yellow color, you're well hydrated. If your urine is dark yellow, it's time to drink some water!

The optimal water intake should be half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 100 pounds, you need 50 ounces of water daily. If you exercise, you should consume even more water. Get in the habit of drinking water before, during, and immediately after exercise.

Pre-hydrate in the morning! It's a good way to get your blood moving and transporting all the good stuff to your body!

Determine whether tap water is okay in your Paleo diet

Tap water is easy to get and low in cost. But is it healthy to drink? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) obtained almost 20 million records from state water officials. Incredibly, more than half of the chemical pollutants they found (315 total) aren't subject to any health or safety regulations, so they can show up in your water in any amount, and it's legal.

The contaminants you have to be concerned about in tap water are

  • Bacteria

  • Environmental chemicals

  • Heavy metals

  • Parasites

  • Radiological pollution

Also, even public water systems, where the water is filtered, add chlorine and fluoride back into the water. You also have to think about your home's pipes. The type of pipes you have and any corrosion can cause contamination.

To make a decision about whether your water is safe, you may have to do some investigation. If you have a public water system, you have the right to ask for the results from past water tests. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires utilities to provide a consumer's confidence report. If you have well water, you'll have to have it tested yourself.

Having your water tested from a laboratory takes away all the guesswork. Your local health authority may offer free test kits. For a great resource on certified testing labs and water in your area, call the EPA's drinking water hotline (800-426-4791). The EWG also has an information site where you can see how your state's water ranks.

Unless you know your tap water is safe, drink it only when you're desperate and look for a cleaner source.

Choose clean water for wellness when living Paleo

One of the simplest ways you can loose weight and get healthier is to listen to your body's signal for water — clean, pure water, that is. You may not have access to pure stream or river water, but you can get close!

Water that gets into your body isn't just coming from your kitchen tap. It's also coming from all the water sources in your home (like the bath or shower).

Water bottles aren't an alternative to tap water because the plastic packaging they come in pollutes your body and the world. The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates contained in plastics are dangerous to your health.

Even low levels of these chemicals cause disease and can create hormonal disturbances. Also, 40 percent of bottled water is simply taken from municipal tap water, so most bottled water is really nothing more than tap water in toxic bottles.

Your body needs pure, clean water without all the chorine, fluoride, and toxins. The best way to get this kind of water is through a water filtration system. Knowing what's is in your water and what needs to be filtered out is a good place to start. This is where water testing comes in.

If you don't want to test your water, at the very least, make sure the filtration removes the following:

  • Arsenic

  • Chlorine

  • Chloroform

  • E. coli

  • Fluoride

  • Nitrites and nitrates

  • Radon

You can choose from a system that filters the water in one area of your house or a whole house filtration system. The best-case scenario is to make sure all the water in your house is filtered, including bath water and cooking water. Choose a system that fits your personal needs and budget.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Melissa Joulwan is the author of the paleo recipe and lifestyle blog Dr. Kellyan Petrucci, who is a go-to expert in the nutritional field, helps patients build the strongest, healthiest body possible through her family-based workshops and consulting practice (

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