Imagine it’s a beautiful summer day. The sun is shining, there’s a little breeze to keep you cool, not a cloud in the sky, and you’re… sitting on the toilet.
Yep, another summer day and you’re trapped in the bathroom with diarrhea or constipation.
Summer is for enjoying the outdoors, barbecuing, and sipping a cold drink – not for suffering on the toilet.
But whether you can’t go or can’t stop going, you likely have one issue in common: dehydration.
And more time in the bathroom isn’t the only side effect of dehydration. Being dehydrated impacts every aspect of your life.
- You might have a hard time concentrating
- You might head to the vending machine at 2 PM (when you’re actually thirsty, not hungry!)
- Your legs might feel restless
- When you stand up at the end of the day, you might feel dizzy or lightheaded
- You might be too fatigued to play with your kids
- If you try to workout, you’ll find you get tired more quickly than usual
- If you make it through that workout, you’ll be sore for days
- You can sit on the couch all night – not just because you’re tired but because you never need to get up to go to the bathroom
- You wake up in the night with charley horse cramps
And if you don’t address these signs of dehydration early on, you can experience severe reactions like heat stroke, seizures, and even comas.
If you want to support your body in healing, and feel amazing, you have to get and stay hydrated.
How to Tell If You’re Dehydrated
You may think you’re really well-hydrated if you’re drinking eight, 8 ounce glasses of water a day (that’s what we all learned in school after all!).
But if you’re having regular diarrhea, there is a very good chance you’re dehydrated. And if your stools are hard and difficult to pass, it’s likely dehydration is contributing.
Other signs you may be dehydrated:
- Dark urine
- Infrequent urination
- Dry mouth
While we normally recommend drinking to thirst (meaning drink when you’re thirsty, stop when you’re not), if you’re really struggling with constipation or diarrhea, or you have any of the above signs, you might need to be more intentional about getting hydrated.
But just adding in one (or 7) more glasses of water doesn’t necessarily hydrate and replenish your body. Mark Sisson points out,
“For maximal water absorption, the body requires sodium and glucose/sucrose to facilitate the transport of water through channels in the small intestine.”
That means if you’re trying to get hydrated, you need more than just water.
And if you become dehydrated, your electrolytes may also become imbalanced. Electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and sodium are like a light switch for your body. They carry electrical impulses across your cells and activate hundreds of processes inside the body (things like nerve impulses and muscle contractions).
Your kidneys are responsible for maintaining proper electrolyte balances in the body. However, this system can be thrown off by lots of sweating or diarrhea, for example.
That’s where electrolyte and hydration drinks come in.
They provide some sugar and some sodium to help your body better absorb water and other important electrolytes.
How to Get (and Stay) Hydrated
But not all hydration and electrolyte drinks are equally beneficial. If you just buy something at the store, you’re likely to get electrolytes alongside artificial colors and flavors, artificial sweeteners, and more.
Luckily, it is really easy to make your own electrolyte drinks. You probably even have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen right now.
Here Are 3 of My Favorite Recipes:
1 – For basic hydration and constipation
This drink is a great choice for those who are feeling dehydrated, sweat a lot (like if you work outside in a hot climate), or are struggling with constipation.
Two common causes of constipation are being dehydrated and not getting enough salt in your diet (which contributes to dehydration). This recipe helps both! (If you need more tips for overcoming constipation, check this out).
Over in the private Solving Leaky Gut Facebook community, this recipe is a favorite for squelching constipation. Plus, it’s the easiest recipe!
- Add 1 pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or raw honey to 16 ounces of water
- Mix thoroughly and drink
2 – For boosting digestion
This is my favorite drink on a hot summer day AND it can help boost your digestion while hydrating you, thanks to the addition of lemon juice and raw apple cider vinegar. (Both create a more acidic environment in the stomach.) If you don’t have adequate stomach acid, you can’t break down and absorb the protein that you eat.
I love to sip on this while I’m preparing dinner to get my digestive juices flowing.
(Need something stronger than this? Read How to Supplement with Betaine HCL.)
- Combine in a glass or jar
- ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
- Juice of one lemon
- Grated ginger (to taste, but 1 teaspoon is a good place to start)
- 1-2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
- Mix thoroughly, until honey or maple syrup are dissolved. (If you put this in a mason jar, you can just put the lid on and shake!)
- Dilute with water to taste – you can mix this up by the glass or mix it all up in about 48 ounces of water to share with your friends and family
3 – For diarrhea
If you’re dealing with chronic diarrhea, your electrolyte balance can easily be disrupted. If I’ve had a flare of symptoms, I incorporate this drink (and the rest of the advice here).
Dissolve in 16 ounces of water:
You can also add ½ cup of fruit juice to improve the flavor.
Don’t feel like making a drink yourself?
You can also try some coconut water (make sure the one you pick has no added sugar) or Lyte Balance electrolytes.
I hope you enjoy these drinks as much I do. Let me know your favorite electrolyte drink recipes in the comments!
P.S. If you’re still struggling with constipation or diarrhea, even after adding in these drinks, you may need to dig deeper and look at the other clues your body is giving you. You can learn more by registering for our webinar:
Here are just a few things we’ll show you on the webinar:
- How to decode your poop to know exactly what’s broken
- Why cramping is a dead giveaway and the specific steps you need to follow for relief
- If gas is normal and what it means if you’re not healing
- How to quickly come up with THE RIGHT TWEAK to stop nagging symptoms fast, through our “hot seat” tweaking sessions
- How to understand the subtle clues from your body so deeply that your next steps will become obvious
We even share a quick, at-home test you can try immediately if you’re having stomach pain and our bonus 5-day emergency diet handout detailing the exact foods we eat to relieve symptoms in 5 days (this is something we’ve been testing for years).