Being a Homeopath and Nutritional Therapist, you'd be forgiven for thinking that my diet is holier than thou and I have my life sorted to the point of perfection.
If but that were true!
Sufficed to say, in the last few weeks as we move out of this strange world of lock-down and back into somewhat normality, I've been paying special attention to my diet and well-being.
I'm one of the lucky ones who LOVES vegetables and fruit. I can't go more than a couple of
days without filling a plate or two with something green and fresh. My body just tells me I need it.
Here's a courgette I grew earlier.
However, on Wednesday last week, myself and my other half trundled off to the city (it's about 3 1/2 hours door to door with public transport) to meet a friend for his birthday and a trip to the cinema.
I started Wednesday with my usual healthy morning muesli
and 'fully' intended to keep up my winning health streak for the full week. But one of the perks of visiting the city is the wealth of vegan restaurants on offer (we have a grand total of TWO vegan options in our little town - accommodating but a bit cobbled together) and so a visit to one of our favourites, which was just around the corner from our accommodation was an absolute must.
As we sat down to eat I had not drunk much water that day (it's always a gamble with the Deutschebahn as to whether there will be a functioning toilet on board, and with no chance to go for 2 hours 7 minutes, it's not worth the risk) and as the restaurant we were in sells one of my favourite German beers, a bottle of said beer seemed like the perfect accompaniment to my meal. I ordered my favourite vegan schnitzel with mushroom sauce, fries and salad. Not the healthiest, but it was a treat and we should all treat ourselves every now and again.
Another friend came with us so it ended up being two beers and by the time we had finished, it was time to head off to meet the birthday boy for the cinema.
Now, I don't know about you, but a cinema visit for me HAS TO involve popcorn. I don't like the taste of salt that much so I opted for sweet - which in this particular cinema, isn't really too sweet at all. AND I bought a bottle of water. YAY ME - she says, polishing her halo.
As this arse-face virus is doing the rounds right now, we were able to watch one of my all time favourites on the big screen - Dirty Harry. 'Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?'
Mastery! And as it was a school night, off we toddled home at a reasonable hour - 11pm!
I had my trusty sports bottle filled with water by my bedside, as I always do, and made sure to drink a bit before bed as I was truly feeling a little parched.
My usual evening routine is to get ready for bed around 9.30pm and I'm in bed and settled in by 10.15pm. So going to bed after midnight was kind of late for me. Gone are the days where I'd party until dawn.
The next morning I woke up pretty refreshed. Well, I thought I was anyway. I'd slept with ear plugs all night as the city is a noisy place compared to the owls and roosters I'm used to. And after I'd been up a while, caught up on a few emails and had a cuppa, I looked in the mirror and was a tad shocked.
Usually, I look pretty much like this:
Fairly fresh faced, if I do say so myself, and quite healthy.
That morning, after too little water, some salty, unhealthy food, popcorn at the pictures and a later than usual night, the results were this:
Swollen nose, puffy, glassy eyes and generally looking less than great.
So what happened?
First let's look at the water situation. You might be mistaken for thinking that drinking at lot of water will make you retain a lot of water and make your skin even puffier. However, the opposite is true. Dehydration causes the blood vessels to enlarge, which causes water to then be retained. Hence the puffy face. And my enlarged proboscis.
Let's then bung some salty food into the mix. Salt tends to hang on to the water in the body due to chemicals and stuff (technical terms), further exacerbating the puffiness.
Throw in 2 beers on top and despite being golden, tasty liquid, the alcohol causes more
water than the volume of beer itself to be excreted (the diuretic effect) and we're well down Dehydration Highway and on the road to Puffiville.
And last, but by no means least - SUGAR! We love it, we hate it, and it's worth a fortune. It's built empires, fortunes and misery. But what role did it play in my puffy face?
Sugar has almost the same effect as salt when it comes to water retention. Excess sugar in the blood stream means more water is needed to balance it out. More water retained, more puffiness. That's why after you've crammed in a dessert after a meal, despite it being irresistible, it makes you feel like you're going to explode.
The moral of this blog post is don't underestimate how much you need water in your daily diet. At least 2 litres a day and more if you are active. Even if you're sitting at a desk most of the day, like I do.
If you just don't feel thirsty, even though you're not drinking much, that's a sign that you need to drink more. Your body has trained itself not to feel thirsty as it's thinking it's not going to get much water. That's a handy mechanism to have when there is a shortage of water, but not so healthy in the long term.
You might also be afraid that you'll need to go to the loo more, as with my assumption that
the DB train wouldn't have a functioning toilet (by the way, on the way there it had ONE from 4 carriages and one the way back, ZERO!). You'd be correct, but you do get used to it and as your body gets used to being adequately hydrated, the need to pee is lessened.
So try it today! Set a reminder in your phone every hour to drink some water and work your way up to 2 litres.
One day of unhealthy good, and not enough water, and it aged me. Is your diet, water intake or even mental health doing the same to you?
Would you like to work one-to-one with me? I've helped hundreds of people to find freedom through better health and well-being. I've made it my mission to support those affected by the suicide of loved one so they can live their lives without shame, blame and guilt.