Water: Can How You Drink it Change your Life?
Water Basics for Health and Transformation
After having taken some classes at Harvard and too many other places to be useful, I thought I knew things. But in fact, the more time goes by and the more I study, the more I realize I know very little. Not theoretically, but by experimenting on myself.
Surprisingly, water is one of those basic elements of life for which I knew nothing.
So if you are curious like me, you may enjoy experimenting with the basics of life and questioning what you think you know — even about something as elementary as water you may enjoy this blog entry.
It is said that 72% of your body is water — so it makes sense that if you regulate this important element in your system phenomenal things could happen (by the way 72% of the planet too is water). But regulating that is a different story..
Diet is hard to change, but water in our own bodies is something all of us can do something to improve. There is no need to wait, to ponder, to question if it is a good idea. It is a no-brainer to attend to water in your system: what type of water, how much water, how cold or hot, when to drink it and anything that may change your experience of life.
The advice that I follow about water is primarily from yogis, mostly Sadhguru, but also other health sources that I have experimented and tested on myself for your convenience.
But again, never take someone else’s word for it –get curious. Have fun and begin testing the following simple tips on yourself and seeing if it is true for you. Enjoy!
Here are some ideas and tips to start experimenting :
- If you must Drink Tap Water (straight from the pipe) let it sit for at least 20-40 minutes in a brass, copper or glass container before drinking. The molecular structure of water changes after it turns through a pipe 40 or so times, even if the chemical structure does not. It is said by yogis that drinking straight from the tap without letting the water sit a bit is not good for you.
At home I have some large glass jars where I store water that has been filtered and keep it there prior to use. I keep this area clear of other food materials and smells — except a fresh flower in a crystal glass making the area simple and beautiful.
- Drink Clean Water, Less Chemicals (a good filter these days is no longer a luxury even for the healthiest of us and a good filter may be helpful if your immune system is weak). If you can, drink water with a good filter (today’s water has many chemicals and also includes residual medicine and other substances that has seeped into our drinking water — including “add ins” in certain countries that are marketed as something good for us like fluoride).
Simple filters like Brita which I used for a few years are better than nothing, but not enough. For simple filtering, I recommend something more substantial like the system provided by Berkey (more below) that you can use for your drinking water and also cooking water. These are relatively inexpensive compared to bottled water.
You can even add a filter for the Berkey system to remove in addition to all the other substances– fluoride. Fluoride is good to remove if you have cancer or a weak immune system or you want the best water for kids as fluoride in water is known to calcify the pineal glands of our young (which has an impact on hormones and energy levels). According to some recent studies fluoride also reduces IQ tests. You can go to the Berkey site in Singapore Water for Life and see the studies done on Singapore’s water and the Berkey system as well as fluoride.
Below too is a review of this filter system by Chris Wark. Chris helps people recover from cancer and does tons of reasearch: if Berkey is good enough for him– it just may be acceptable to you. Especially, because Chris is the type of person who tests everything on himself. I do too.
And I am very happy with the Berkey system which I have had for over two years — the water tastes better, feels good and the system does not consume electricity like my distiller nor adds to plastic waste on the planet (nor is it stored in a plastic bottle).
4. Containers Matter. As mentioned earlier, if you can use a copper vessel to hold your water it has many additional benefits (especially if you leave it over night).
But you can also use stainless steel, or large glass jugs which are both acceptable. When you are on the go, my kids sometimes prefer to carry water in a plastic container (they are lighter than stainless steel) but you should be aware that storing water in plastic (even BPA free) absorbs other elements from the plastic that can impact our hormones and is not great for us.
Having said this, water in a plastic BPA bottle from home that is filtered properly is perhaps better then drinking unfiltered tap water at school!
5. No ice please. The Chinese and often people in the East know this — you do not drink water with ice (in fact the Chinese often drink warm water) as ice cools your digestive fire and drinking cold ice water can make you more prone to sickness.
Yogis have more stringent rules — you are only to drink water that is 4% difference from your body temperature. But then again yogis are aiming at enlightment. If you are just a student and not looking for transformation, but still need to learn (best to drink water within 8% of your body temperature) and if you are a householder with no need to learn anything you can drink 12%. More than that % change, not advised according the yogi Sadhguru.
6. No sipping water throughout the day. Sipping water throughout the day can confuse your system and cause swelling in the brain — so best when you are thirsty to drink a good amount at one time (your body can eliminate excess easier this way).
You can drink to your quench your thirst and then 10% more says Sadhguru. Also eating fruits which have a high percent of water content is a great way to keep hydrated. Fruits and vegetables often have a higher water content than our bodies and are welcome in our system.
5. Drink water 30 minutes before a meal (it prehydrates and helps digestion and can help lose weight). Simple timing can go a long way. When possible best not to drink too much water during a meal as it can dilute the digestive juices. One hour after the meal is fine. Thirty minutes before the meal helps digestion and just might help you lose weight.
6. Not too much water, nor too much food at meals. It is said that for healthy living you can fill your stomach 1/2 with food (two handfuls is enough to fill the stomach by 1/2), 1/4 liquid, and 1/4 empty (leave the table a little hungry rather than bloated)! Perhaps that’s why Japanese families of four often share the American size one portion meal at restaurants and seem all the better for it.
7. Once a week you may wish to do a 24 hour water fast or at least chose not to eat in between meals (5-6 hours). Since cancer cells exist in all of us and are are far hungrier than other cells, doing a once a week water fast (drinking warm or room temperature water only) will give your system a rest and help you remove toxins. Chosing not to eat between meals will also greatly help.
Most likely, a full day water fast will give you a light headache as purification begins so if you are working this may not feel ideal. A substitute for a full day water fast that is less effective but better than nothing can be to eat a breakfast and a light lunch (helps you get through the day at work) and fast in the evening–skipping breakast the next day. This gives you a 24 hour fast that is do-able. If you get hungry at breakfast just add a few drops of honey to your luke warm water and it will do the trick.
Remember– it is often the mind that calls us to eat. We eat out of habit not hunger. To clean your cells at the cellular level on a regular basis the yogi Sadhguru recomends not to eat for 5-6 hours before your next meal. The French do this regularly — we are known to be slim and despite some extensive meals we don’t tend to gain much weight! We generally eat less than Americans and don’t eat between meals. But that too is changing these days.
8. Balancing water in the body is not just about drinking we absorb water and are influenced by it when we swim, bathe, shower. Floating in water can often have a wonderful relaxing feeling and remind us of when we were in the womb. Showering in water (about body temperature) in the morning or even a bit cooler, just before meditation can facilitate the creation of space in the body. It just might help meditaiton.
We absorb water (and the chemicals in it) so when our immune system is low (such as cancer) we have to be careful about chlorine in pools or swimming too often in salt water (Gerson therapy recemends avoiding chlorine pools and salt water during the phase of healing to help make our bodies more alkanine). Fortunately, filters now come for showers and baths making that water better for you. And if we can’t swim in the salty ocean due to Gerson, at least resting near large bodies of water or taking walks along the waterfront or a river or lake is very good for us.
For yogis, water — both drinking and bathing in it or floating in it– seems to balance the sacral chakra. When I did Gerson, and did not go swimming in the ocean or in a pool for over a year, nor drink much water (due to drinking many juices instead), I felt this water imbalance. Now no longer testing Gerson, I swim with great joy in the ocean (chlorine pools still feel less than great to me and sometimes gives me a headache).
9. Traveling for the summer and worried about water quality? A portable plastic bottle with filter or the Berkey Go Suite (carried in a small bag) will do while you are at your mother-in law’s or visiting people and don’t want to bother them with cooking or drinking with filtered or bottled water.
10. When the Immune system is very weak (such as cancer) or the water quality very bad you may wish to go further than filtering with a system such as Berkey and drink distilled drinking water from a machine such as Waterwise (reverse osmosis) or hydrogen (Kangen) water that reduces the alkanity of the body. Another alternative which is said to be equal to the well known Kangen machine for alkanizing water or better is the HiFlo Water system by the Japanese Dr. Kokichi Hanaoka (again you must research on your own as often one expert says one thing and another the opposite).
Distilled water is known to remove even more impurities than the best Berkey filters including fluoride and is what pharmacists use to make medecine. I drank distilled water from a Waterwise distiller for about two years when I was in Japan and was a bit worried about Fukushima and our water supply. I also had some health concerns and had tested Gerson Therapy on myself (which requires distilled water).
The one thing I would advise you (which I didn’t do but I am doing now) is that if you drink distilled water which removes many bacteria and residues in water, add back minerals to the distilled water after you distill it. A few drops such as ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops will make this distilled water taste even smoother and more delicious (better than Evian or Vittel) at a fraction of the cost and replenish minerals removed in the distilling process. (Note: if you use distilled water for enemas in the Gerson therapy, then you don’t add back minerals for the enemas.).
For my parents who had cancer or a tumor, I knew they wouldn’t or couldn’t do juicing regularly and properly (as in Gerson therapy) and probably not be able to change sufficiently their diet (we are from a family of great French chefs and traditions die hard!), so I went the extra mile and brought a system from Japan for Kangen water to the US. Little did I know they have these Kangen systems in the US.
Here is a little extract of why such Kangen or HiFlo systems could be better than juicing or distilled water. But then again, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Distilled water can remove fluoride, most of these water filters Kangen and HiFlo cannot. They do make other claims however — such as create water that is more easily absorbed into the body or alkanize our system.
“Before Kangen water, the only way to accomplish that (de-tox by alkanizing the system) was juicing or vast amounts of fruits and vegetables. Do not be fooled by bottled waters that claim to alkalinize the system—THEY DO NOT! These ‘bottled waters on the market, claiming to alkalinize the system, are gimmick waters that have alkalinizing agents added to them such as Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Bicarbonate or Potassium Citrate. These additives do give the blood and urine alkaline readings BUT they do nothing to neutralize the accumulated acidity inside the cell as they do not contain HYDROXYL ions. Again, the only thing that can do that is the Hydroxyl ion mentioned above which these alkalinizing agents clearly do not contain.”
Fortunately, there is nothing that can produce a greater concentration of hydroxyl ions than the Kangen water machine (not even a freshly pressed juice) which is why every single household in the United States must have this unit in their homes. It is the best investment, other than a juicer, that a family can make in its health— hands down! This is why 1 out of every 6 households in Japan has this technology in their homes. It is vital to human health.” — quote from a site promoting also Gerson but is not pure Gerson Therapy.
I am not sure what to make about the above statement of these Kangen machines but they made me think a bit. Naturally, changing your life style, learning to relax and let go, forgiving others, exercising or changing your diet and drinking better water when you have a low immune system makes sense. Going the extra mile and getting one of these machines is up to you. I thought it was worth it for my parents.
In Singapore if you are looking for one of these hydrogen machines, there is an alternate version of Kangen which is said to be better than the traditional Kangen machine which could make your blood too alkanine (and not be good for young babies or elderly) who may not tolerate such high PH. This system which may be better for families with babies is called HiFlo Water and in Singapore can be bought at Nature’s Glory (315 Outram Rd, Tan Boon Liat Building) and also demonstrated to you by a very kind and good team who cares and who drinks the water!
I drank about a liter of their water yesterday and went through a whole demonstration of the system with them. The main difference between this system and the known Kangen system as I understand it is that water can be absorbed better into the cells in HiFlo. The system is on sale now at Nature Glory in Singapore at $2,800 and filters replaced yearly cost $175. More info on the site and go visit in person for a demo. Again, like anything you have to use your common sense. I have drunk Kangen water at my parents when I visited NY and it was strong — and I did feel its effects in a good way, but there are also people who say such Kangen systems are not useful. I nevertheless found it could not hurt my parents given their cancers. Parents are gratefully well right now. No-re occurence of cancer. Your call.
I would suggest that if your immune system is weak and that you have cancer or did and do not have a budget for such advanced water systems or remain hesitant about the proof that they are helpful, at the very least I would get a Berkey Water Filter system or Water Distiller giving my body a good foundation for it to heal. This alone may not be enough to heal you, but it may prevent further toxins and aid healing. It is a base from which to work.
11. Shungite – a stone for radiation and then some. I went up to Fukushima in Japan when we lived in Tokyo for four years and worried at times about radiation. I sometimes had a detector with me in dangerous areas up north (best to avoid radiation as the best defense) but also read about shungite. Shungite is a stone that has the ability to clean water from almost of all organic compounds (including pesticides), metals, bacteria and harmful microorganisms, perhaps even some effects from radiation.
Water from Lake Onega in Russia where shungite is found, can be used for drinking without any prior cleaning! … Shungite removes heavy metals, chlorine, enriches drinking water in potassium. Some even say Russian subs put shungite on the submarines to be less easily detected by radar! Who knows…but when travelling I sometimes take a few of these stones…
12. The last and most useful advice: Gratitude! This is the simplest advice that everyone could or should be grateful for clean good water and will become that way in the future as it becomes more of a rarity. Since our thoughts and emotions have been said to have an impact on our food (just see how you digest when you eat in angry state of mind) and we have also been told that water may have memory (Dr. Masaru Emoto) — it could just be common sense to be grateful for the water we have to drink.
To simply look at the water with a glance of gratitude before we drink it… much like we admire the color of a red wine before savoring it could make all the difference in its taste and perhaps more. A thought of gratitude and the mystery of this incredible substance that keeps us alive, is all it takes to enjoy it fully and (some say) to also change its structure and functioning within our system… Try it and see. This one is free.
About the Author
Nathalie Ishizuka, a Franco-Japanese from New York, is Director of the Movement Beyond Our Best: Re-inventing Ourselves Silently. She is a meditation coach accompanying visionaries committed to changing themselves with tested techniques of meditation and one area of competence beyond a previous best.