Normally, I don’t give to much consideration to our hydration. We drink water almost exclusively, and we get plenty of it during our normal living routine and conditions. Most of the time, we are doing just fine with staying hydrated, and I take it for granted. But, not when we are RVing. Constant travel is a recipe for dehydration…between exploring, hiking and other added physical activities and the different climates that our bodies are constantly adjusting too; hydration becomes more of a priority for us. It is easy to think about it at the beach, or in the desert, but what about on the open prairie? That constant breeze is hot and so very drying, and we may not realize just how much water our bodies are losing.
Electrolytes, Minerals & Water
We lose water from our bodies through sweat, breath, urine and stool. And while it is important to drink plenty of water to replace what we are losing, there is much more to staying hydrated than just water. Hydration includes the proper balance of minerals and electrolytes in our bodies too. What is the difference between electrolytes and minerals? All electrolytes are minerals, but not all minerals are electrolytes. We will explore them further, but an understanding that we need both minerals and electrolytes in conjunction with water to stay hydrated is the main purpose of today’s Self Care Sunday.
The Two Types of Minerals Your Body Needs: Major & Trace
Major minerals include Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfur, Chloride and Magnesium. These are called the “major” minerals because your body needs a lot of them.
Trace minerals, on the other hand, are minerals that our bodies need in only small amounts. They include Iodine, Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Molybdenum, Manganese, Bromine and Selenium.
Minerals are part of what keeps our hearts beating. They are essential to so many functions of our bodies including contracting muscles, clotting blood, transmitting nerve impulses and so much more.
Electrolytes are minerals in our bodies that have a positive charge, or ion. They are in all of our body’s tissues, cells and fluids. They play a major role in how our cell’s communicate with each other. Electrolytes help to maintain the stability of our individual cell’s wall, while aiding the cell’s function and energy production. Electrolytes contract muscles, move fluids in our bodies and more.
Some Electrolytes That You Probably Already Know
Sodium. This important electrolyte is probably the most well recognized. Sodium is most often found in the plasma in our bloodstream. It is a main player in our body’s water regulation, as water follows sodium. It plays a large role in the electrical signals within our body making our muscles work and allowing for proper brain function.
Potassium. Unlike sodium, potassium is most often found within our cells. It also helps the electrical signals of our body’s, like sodium.
Calcium. Calcium is bound to proteins in our bloodstream. It is used to promote bone growth. Calcium can not be metabolized by our bodies without proper levels of magnesium.
Magnesium. Magnesium is used for relaxing our smooth muscles, and it is a cofactor in many of our body’s enzyme activities. Magnesium is so important, and has been so overlooked in the general public’s quest for increasing Calcium. I help my body to get more magnesium through foot soaks and diy magnesium oil.
Signs of Dehydration
When your electrolytes, minerals and water are out of balance and not at proper levels, then you may start to feel the following symptoms of dehydration (source)…
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Feeling tired, sleepy or lethargic
- Decreased urine output
- Dry skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Drop in blood pressure when going from sitting to standing
Simple Pinch Test for Dehydration
A simple test that Chris and I learned from a Naturopath Doctor friend to gage your hydration is to pinch the skin on the back of your hand. When you release it, if your skin quickly goes back to normal, then your hydration is pretty good. If, when you release it, the skin is very slow in returning to its original place, then you may be dehydrated. The pinch test is a way to judge your skin’s elasticity, which can be a good indicator for your hydration level.
How to Stay Hydrated or Rehydrate
We want to avoid dehydration and not get to the point where we start to feel the symptoms, and there are multiple ways to make sure that your body stays hydrated or to rehydrate if needed. We drink sole daily, but as we have been spending time in the desert and now on the prairie, and with a lot of physical exertion too; we are leaning on a pink drink to make sure we stay hydrated in addition to our daily sole.
The Pink Drink
Gatorade and other sports drinks typically contain a lot of sugars and nasty dyes. But, we have found a hydration option that adds minerals and electrolytes to our water, with a pleasant taste; without adding sugars or nasty dyes.
It is this electrolyte powder, which contains the following:
- Vitamin C
And it tastes delicious! We prefer the raspberry, but they have several different fruit flavors, and you can also get a variety pack to try different flavors. This drink is great for during or after strenuous activity, and since it is a powder, it is easy to store in the RV. One container holds 90 servings. You just add a serving to water and stir.
Another great option would be to pair this pink drink with my chia energy drink recipe! That would be a fantastic way to boost energy and hydration at the same time!
Other Options for Better Hydration
Coconut Water – Not milk, water. Coconut water helps to restore electrolytes, nutrients and carbohydrates.
Sole – Drink your sole each morning! This is such a simple, cost-effective, easy way to add major & trace minerals to your daily diet. Plus, in this form, there is ionization! So, you are making your own electrolytes too! Use my recipe to make it – really it is the easiest, cheapest thing I can tell you do right now to improve your body’s function and overall health. All you need is sea salt and water. I used to add trace mineral drops to my water, but frankly, sole is cheaper and just as good in my opinion.
Herbal teas – Different herbs contain minerals too. This option takes a little more work, but is effective.
I hope you found some tips today for staying hydrated this summer and in your travels! I like to think that my pink drink will add some flavor and fun to your life!