In this article, guest author Matt Stone of 180DegreeHealth.com argues that in the pursuit of “optimal health”, we over-hydrate and cause ourselves health problems.
The solution: Drink less, pee yellow, and quit running to the loo so often.
Meet Matt Stone, a man on a mission
Matt Stone of 180DegreeHealth.com an independent health researcher and author of several health books. He has wacko ideas like “eat the food”, “trust your body”, and “don’t become a nutcase in the service of better health”. Plus he’s kinda vulgar and irreverent, which I like in a man.
I read Matt’s books Diet Recovery and Eat for Heat while counseling clients who (like me years ago) had gone off the deep end of crazy with their originally well-meaning health projects, and I liked the cut of his jib.
Like him, I had seen many people — especially women — start off with a lovely, sensible, sane, health-promoting fitness and nutrition endeavour and end up in the throes of disordered eating and metabolic dysfunction.
And, like him, I didn’t blame those people. The crazy is inevitable, given how the fitness/nutrition/pharmaceutical-industrial complex has determined the discourse.
Many of us marinate in a toxic cultural stew of perfectionism, OCD, and self-loathing. We’re drowning in the inforrhea that spurts out of every media orifice. We can’t make heads nor tails of all the claims that sound logical and “scientific” but may be utter horseshit.
We’re just trying to do our best. It’s so hard to know what to do, where to turn, and what is “true”.
One area in which that’s clearly demonstrated is hydration. I’ve written before about Big Drink and how it’s created myths that have no basis in actual scientific evidence or the mechanics of physiology. We find ourselves over-drinking (and running to the washroom constantly) because we’re told that it’s good for us.
In this guest post, Matt takes on some of the claims of super-hydration, and proposes an alternative to peeing all that you can pee.
Another view on “how to be healthy”
“I’ve implemented many of your suggestions already, especially around fluid intake, and by golly it really does work. No more peeing and freezing!” ~Krista
People think I’m an idiot. At the very least weird.
And if this is your first exposure to me, well, I’ll warn you – this is not the same kind of health and nutrition info you are used to reading.
You’ll probably react to me and what I have to say a lot like author and blogger Danny Roddy did, who once plainly said, “I used to think Matt Stone was a douche. I was wrong.”
I think dietary and nutrition beliefs have now achieved the same feisty status as religious beliefs and political views. Everyone is sure they know everything. We think those who don’t share the same beliefs are less intelligent, less educated, or less fortunate.
It’s too bad really, as having staunch religious beliefs keeps a lot of people from being open to some of the neat things I’ve discovered over the years – things that are so simple and easy that they just sound stupid. No really, they will. I promise.
Oops, did I say religious beliefs? I meant to say nutrition beliefs. Sorry, it’s hard to remember which is which they’ve become so overlapped.
The following doesn’t apply to everyone. This is simply a little guidance to keep you from making one of the most common mistakes in all of the health-conscious world.
Just be open to the idea that a tiny little mistake could undermine a great deal of your health efforts.
(Yes, I’m writing to you O-trying-really-hard-to-be-healthy One. Excluding the handful of people that will Google “Mellow Yellow Stump” wondering if their gallon-a-day soda habit had anything to do with the stump they now have for a leg, that’s who I’m certain will be reading this. Health and fitness fanatics read health and fitness blogs. With that established, let’s begin…)
The cult of hydration
One of the first things that people do when they get inspired to take better care of themselves is they start doing the healthy things they have heard the most about.
They eat those vegetables, scarf up lean protein, get a gym membership, pop some multivitamins, and start drinking the proverbial eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
But see, 64 ounces of water per day is just what people who are kinda trying to be healthy do. Water is super duper awesome and healthy, and you want to be super duper awesome and healthy, so 64 measly ounces quickly escalates to 64 gallons of water a day. Ounces are for people lacking dedication.
You don’t want an ounce of immortality, hotness, and vitality – you wanna dose that shit by the gallon.
You also hear that pee is supposed to be clear. Mortals and all mammals have yellow pee, but you don’t want average. You want optimal. You make sure your urine is so clear that the toilet at your house gets listed as one of the world’s top dive sites.
You don’t stop there either.
You eat your watery fruits, watery vegetables, drink green tea all day for the antioxidants, red wine for the resveratrol, another few gallons of some green concoction pressed through your Jack LaLanne juicer, a superfood smoothie for breakfast, and you are thinking of ordering that new Nutribullet thing and going on a juice fast at a retreat with your 2-week annual vacation time.
And here you have committed a single crime that no amount of nutrients, no amount of antioxidants, no amount of organic adherence, no amount of juice “feasts,” no amount of gluten avoidance, and no amount of treatments, supplements, and superfoods could ever ever overcome:
Why is over-hydration a problem?
The fluid in our bodies is like seawater. Isotonic saline – meaning that the fluid has the same composition as our intracellular fluid (also known as interstitial fluid), has 9 grams of salt per liter. Our body fluids, like sweat or tears for example, are extremely salty.
Conversely, water and most common beverages have a completely negligible amount of salt. The more of them you drink, the harder your body has to work to keep your fluids from becoming life-threateningly diluted. Even with hard work, they do in fact become diluted, and this causes problems – the worse your overall health the bigger the problem.
Let me recap, because this is important.
- You’re meant to be salty on the inside.
- Water and most drinks aren’t salty.
- When you drink too much unsalted liquid (such as plain water), your body has to regulate this fluid balance and keep you salty.
- This extra work of compensation causes health problems.
Please, keep your pee yellow.
It’s not a panacea of course, but I don’t specialize in panaceas. I specialize in keeping people who are putting in monumental efforts to be healthy from totally obliterating themselves, which is surprisingly common and surprisingly easy to do if you have enough “willpower” and determination.
Keep it simple
The biggest mistake I see being made today is simply trying too hard to be healthy.
The fundamentals of self-care are easy, and relatively effortless: get enough sleep, eat enough food, get some exercise but not too much, enjoy life in general.
But people tend to go to war with themselves, doing battle with themselves to be “better, faster, harder, blah blah.” The body is dumb and has no idea how to take care of itself! I once heard TV trainer Chris Powell once say, “Don’t listen to your body! If you listen to your body you will fail!”
With such an attitude, and the belief that you have cravings because you are “addicted” or it’s candida talking or some other nonsense, it’s easy to do yourself in.
Consuming too many fluids just happens to be something that’s very easy to do, is encouraged almost everywhere in the alternative and mainstream health worlds alike, and happens to be particularly harmful.
Sometimes people think I’m a magician.
This is because I often help them overcome headaches, migraines, chronic cold hands and feet, sleep problems, seizures, dizziness, blurred vision, brain fog, low energy levels, low body temperature (hypothyroid? more like hyperdiluted), dry skin, constipation, low libido, indigestion, anxiety and panic attacks (hence the title “mellow yellow”), heart palpitations, hair loss, and many other mysterious health conditions, often in a matter of days with this revolutionary advice:
Pee yellow. And shoot for whizzing about once every 3-4 hours during the day.
See, I told you it was going to sound stupid.
Those are all serious conditions that require lots of supplements, advanced technologies, medications, special diets, referrals to specialists, Himalayan beetle extracts, and treatments.
OK, sometimes those health problems do need that fancy stuff. Mostly, they do not, and respond wonderfully to some of the most basic changes imaginable – like eating enough high-quality food to satisfy your appetite, eating things you crave, drinking only when thirsty, and going to bed when you get tired.
In other words, not really trying to be healthy, but just obeying the intelligent programming our bodies come hardwired with.
If you get your brain out of the way, learn to sense in to your body cues, and let your instincts creep their way back in, the results are often a lot better than following the diet currently en vogue with religious fervor. And it starts with eating what you want (gasp) – salt, sugar, starch, and fat in particular (gasp gasp), when you want (gasp gasp gasp), and getting some sleep and yellow color back into your urine.
There’s a little more to it I suppose, but for now try paying attention to the connection between the temperature of your hands and feet and the concentration and frequency of your urine. Then tell me that the reduced body temperature and reduced peripheral circulation (both strong signs of reduced metabolic rate synonymous with the elderly) that you feel when you are peeing your brains out is a healthier place to be or that urine concentration is irrelevant to your health.
At least 80% of those who take the time to pay attention to this, like Krista, will see that I am not as nuts as I sound.
Go on now. Try it.
Quit trying to pee all you can pee.
You can read more of Matt’s work at 180DegreeHealth.com.
Curious about Matt’s theory? Do you think he’s taking the piss?
Give it a try for yourself!
If you’re used to drinking out of a gallon jug, experiment with the “pee yellow, every 3-4 hours” theory for a couple of weeks and let us know how it goes for you on the Stumptuous.com Facebook page.