When entering a disaster zone, the first things relief workers do is make sure people have clean water, food, shelter, rest, etc. because those things are the basic things human beings need to stay alive.
We have to have enough food, water, air, rest, etc. before we can live, let alone go on to work, produce, create, innovate, enjoy our lives, and reach our full potential. See Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs below.
In this country, most people have access to fresh, running water. But many us don’t drink it. We let it run down our sinks and flush down our toilets while we choose to drink something that tastes better like coffee or soda- drinks that can actually dehydrate our bodies further.
If we don’t drink enough fresh water, our bodies won’t know we live in a country with all this clean, running water. For all our bodies know, we are walking through a desert! Our bodies adapt to their environment, so without enough water, our systems stop working well, we lack energy, we are ill, and sometimes it’s simply because we aren’t drinking enough fresh, clean water.
Most of us also have more than enough food to eat in this country. We have so much food to choose from, in fact, that we can choose foods that taste good over foods that nourish us most of the time! So now many of us in this country are overweight and sick with diseases that are directly linked to unhealthy eating.
Where do we begin to fix this problem in our country, in our own lives? Just like relief workers entering a disaster zone, we can start at the bottom of Maslow’ Hierarchy of Needs with the basics and build a strong foundation for the healthy life we want to live from the bottom up.
To be just minimally hydrated, we need half our body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, that means you need 100 ounces or approximately 12 cups of water every single day.
While we need to eat in order to live, we don’t need food just for food’s sake. We need food for the nourishment it provides our bodies. We may be eating plenty of calories and even gaining weight, but that does not mean our bodies are actually getting the nutrients they need to really thrive. We have to choose foods for their nutritional value over their taste. We have to train ours palate to enjoy what’s good for us.
We’re supposed to get approximately eight hours of sleep every night. Of course, we don’t have to get that much sleep. Our bodies can adapt just like they do when we don’t drink enough water. But how well will they adapt without sleep and for how long can they keep adapting? If we start giving our bodies the time they need to recuperate, rebuild, and heal themselves from the inside out as we sleep, we will start to experience much more health and wellness.
Food, water, rest- these things are fundamental to life! They are as important as the air we breathe! Most of us are drinking and eating plenty, but with all the eating and drinking, we may not actually be hydrating and nourishing our bodies. Many of us are sitting most of the day, either at a desk or in front of the television, but with all the sitting we do, we may not really be resting enough for health. In fact, the choices we are making may be undermining our lives in significant ways. It's time to make a few simple, yet powerful choices that will begin building a stronger foundation for the full and fruitful life we want to live.