Essentials

Are you drinking enough water?

There’s more water than any other substance in our bodies. We have all heard the statistic that human bodies contain up to 70% water, but really this is pretty inaccurate and depends on variables like how much fat is on your body, how old you are and whether you are male or female. But to put it into perspective, bone which is the driest body part still contains around 30% water.

Oxygen is our number one most critical substance for survival but we tend to forget that humans can only live a couple of days without water compared to many weeks with no food. There are countless headlines devoted to food, yet drinking more pure clean water is rarely discussed. It’s common for many people to drink no pure water and subsist on only tea, coffee, soda and juices. Yes, these beverages contain water but they can also be dehydrating.   

Coffee is delicious but also dehydrating.

Coffee is delicious but also dehydrating.

Is water the number one most common deficiency?

Natural whole foods have a large percentage of water. Fruits, vegetables, meats. But the modern diet of highly processed foods has been completely stripped of all water to be shelf stable and are very hard to eat without some liquid. These dry foods will draw water out from the body to become more digestible.

Water is used as a medium in our body to transport nutrients, hormones and chemical messengers to organs, tissues and cells. It fills the volume inside of our cells and outside our cells.

Our entire GI tract relies on mucus to lubricate it and protect it from corrosive enzymes, acid and alkaline substances. Mucous substances are composed of 98% water so it’s no surprise that dehydration can cause digestive issues. If mucus dries out due to body dehydration it wouldn't be able to protect delicate tissue from corrosive substances. Water is also needed for all digestive juices including bile and stomach acid, these can dry up if not enough water is present.

Water is also used to cushion bones and joints, regulates body temperature, flushes toxins, maintains electrical properties of cells and much more.

Are we only really thirsty when our mouth is dry?

Our body in a dehydrated state may still prioritise some water for saliva to keep the mouth moist for digestion. So it is misleading to think that we are only thirsty if our mouth is dry, by the time saliva dries up completely we are probably severely dehydrated.

The thirst sensation begins to gradually fail if we are chronically under consuming water. Once I upped my water intake it became obvious that I was thirsty the whole time but didn't register because the sensation came back.   

Some common signs of dehydration:

Headache

Fatigue

Cravings

Cramps

Irritability

Some signs of chronic dehydration:

Heartburn

Joint pain

Constipation

Migraines

Back pain

Are you drinking enough water?

The best way to know is to track your water intake. Get a bottle and count how many times you drink it daily, most people are surprised that they have been overestimating how much water they actually drink. There are many theories about how much water to drink, but it’s recommended to not exceed one gallon (3.7L) a day because you could be losing minerals and electrolytes. Aim for around 2L and adjust for more if it’s hot or you’re exercising. Once you start drinking more water your natural thirst response will come back and you will crave drinking pure water daily.



Skin Health

Skincare is pretty important to me as I’m now in my 30’s, prevention is worth more than an ounce of expensive vitamin C skin serum. Since I love spending a lot of time doing outdoor activities, the effect this has on my skin is definitely something I have thought about. Not that I would ever choose to stay indoors to protect my skin, but to acknowledge that it needs extra support. My main concerns, if I can call them that, are skin evenness, tone, redness, dry patches, and fine lines/wrinkles.

Up until I hit 30 I just used Dr Bronners to wash my face and coconut oil or rosehip oil to moisturize, very low tech. But I thought I would branch out and try something new. I already had pretty good skin but maybe amazing skin was just around the corner. The criteria for me was that it had to have ingredients I could recognise, I’m not a fan of any perfumes or strong scents so it had to be gentle in that area too.

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The first option.

 

The first option I tried was this Primally Pure beauty cream which I got back in December last year. It’s based on beef tallow from grass-fed animals so can’t get more natural than that. It also smelled pretty great, my man definitely commented on it. At first, I thought it could be giving me a slight break out when I changed from coconut oil to this. It’s a pretty thick cream and felt heavy at times, I used it before bed exclusively. After a month my skin adjusted to the weight of the cream but I don’t think this would suit everyone.

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The second option.

 

The second option I tried was the Marie Veronique Protective Day Oil, I got this in March. The instructions say to warm up a whole dropper full of oil, warm up between the hands and then massage into face, neck and chest. Honestly, that was way too much oil for me. I would walk around greasy all day. Once I reduced down to around 4 drops my skin decided it liked the oil after all. It absorbs fast and did leave my skin radiant.

 

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Also tried

I also tried a sample of the Gentle Retinol Night Serum from Marie Veronique but my skin did not like it, and it led to some blemishes which I never usually get. I’m really not sure why. The texture is very light and the smell reminded me of Dr Hauschka products I had tried in the past. Luckily I just paid for a small sample to try instead of committing to a full bottle. I also tried the Cocokind matcha stick, but I just use this on my lips because I love the smell of matcha and coconut together. It reminds me of my peaceful morning at home drinking a mug of matcha.

Then about a month ago I started drinking my essential greens powder every morning as I had done in the past and that alone has made my skin glow more than any of the products I tried. This just reminded me that we can spend hundreds of dollars on skincare but in reality, good skin comes from within. Eating plenty of vegetables full of antioxidants and drinking enough water daily is a lot more important than what cream you smear on your exterior. Limiting processed foods, sugar and alcohol is also key. Skincare and cosmetics are also so heavily marketed to women that it’s hard to not fall victim to their message that we are less-than without the latest product. So this is just a reminder to myself that a consistently healthy diet and lifestyle wins over quick fixes.

I've posted about my favourite powdered greens powder before, check it out here 

What are your tried and true skin products?

 

Drink your greens

Greens Greens Greens

I’ve been taking this green powdered drink on and off for probably 5 years. I recently got another bottle and remember why I love it and go back to it over and over. It really helps with digestion and energy. It's a great booster for days I'm lacking on green vegetables, especially in the winter months when there are fewer greens available or they have to be trucked in from far away so may not be as nutritionally dense as when they were first harvested.

 It contains powdered greens, sea vegetables, probiotics and digestive enzymes. What it doesn’t have are fillers that many other powdered greens companies add like fruit, grains or seeds. There’s nothing wrong with those things but when I am paying for a quality product I don’t want it diluted, I want a potent combination of greens, superfoods and nothing extra.

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Alkalising, Energising, Nutrient Dense

 I really love this product so I always end up going back to it since I trust the quality. I just mix it in shaker bottle of water and drink up.

Taste is important too!

 A note on taste, when I gave it to my sister she said it tastes like dirt but I love this earthy drink. If you're not accustomed to vegetable only juices or not-sweet smoothies I suggest blending it with water into a smoothie with cucumber, peeled lemon chunks and half an apple, preferably granny smith. Add any other additional greens if you want. To the ingredients listed, I have added spinach, lettuce, parsley and cilantro to the mix, depending what I have had on hand. This blend is great if you don’t like the taste of greens on their own.

I think the body reacts strongly to taste. If you are gulping something down, gagging on a taste you don't find agreeable then your body probably won't do a great job digesting the food or drink. Find a way to make eating and drinking greens work for your tastes. Start small with half a teaspoon in plenty of water and work your way up. It's surprising how quickly you might start to love the taste. 

The serving mentioned on the bottle is quite large, I usually have a big heaped teaspoon of powder in a big glass of water or a shaker bottle.

When to drink it?

 Regarding timing, I don’t drink it close to any caffeinated beverages because it can inhibit the absorption of iron from the sea vegetables and I always need extra iron. Personally I think this drink is great any time of the day as long as you take it! Sure it might be optimal on an empty stomach first thing in the morning but if that doesn't fit your day then why bother? I used to take it first thing in the morning but these days I have it right before lunch or dinner or between meals with lots of water.

Safer Cookwear

One of the first things to fill a new kitchen?

This Lodge cast iron. I have to admit it is my third version of the same skillet. The first I left in New Zealand, it's in storage somewhere. The second was bought in Moab, UT with my better half on a climbing trip. That pan got packed into my bottomless duffle and flew to Argentina where it now lives. The third is going to live in Vancouver. 

Why cast iron?

It lasts forever, is non-toxic, heats evenly and browns meat like no other.

I have yet to achieve the level of non-stick on any cast iron that allows eggs to be cooked without half remaining stuck to the pan. But I remain hopeful. 

If you were to start a new kitchen from scratch, what is the first item you would buy?

The New Essential

My first title for this post was "things I love" but I remembered the @theminimalists maxim: love people and use things. I love my partner, my friends and family. Do I love this new thing? No. Does this new thing bring me joy? Yes.

Believe it or not, I thought about purchasing this drink bottle for a few months before pulling the trigger. It’s appeared in too many to count product placement type sponsored posts on social media. I didn't want to be sucked into making a purchase I didn’t really need. But months later I picked it up at an outdoor gear shop and haven't looked back since (slight exaggeration here).

Hydration is key.

I’ve become more aware that drinking more water makes me feel great, and having a large bottle is a great motivator to keep sipping all day. It’s also insulated to the contents stays at the same temperature it went it. Also having a plastic-free bottle is important to me. It’s a real commitment to eliminating all plastic from my home, at least having the drink bottle I use daily be stainless steel is a step in the right direction to avoiding hormone-disrupting plastics - even BPA free ones.

And finally, the colour (called raspberry) just makes me happy every time I look at it! So bright, so cheery, so optimistic. It brings me joy every time I use it!