Are Humans Natural Water Drinkers?

by Nora on September 27, 2011

Recently a question about water drinking was posed on my public forum, and I thought the answer might make a good blog topic.  Basically, the inquirer wanted to know if humans are naturally adapted to water drinking, since he’d heard of raw fooders giving up or cutting back on the water they drink, and he himself had noticed he had less desire to drink water as he has added more raw foods to his diet.
The popularity and necessity of drinking water arose as we (humans) started taking water out of our foods, and eating the wrong ones.  Humans are not natural water drinkers.  Even if we make a drinking vessel out of our cupped hands, it flows through the cracks and our noses get in the way.  It can be done, obviously, but it’s more of an emergency device.  Drinking water is not awkward for species who are biologically adapted for it.  They have natural equipment that makes it effortless and efficient.
I attended a class at Woodstock by Robert Lockhart on the topic of dry fasting.  He said that water drinking slows down cleansing during a fast, and that a fast is always more powerful when water is not drunk.  For this reason it is not for people who are new to fasting, or are coming from an unhealthy lifestyle.  Just water fasting is generally enough of a challenge for them (as it still is for me!)  He also said it can be dangerous if a person tries it after having been on drugs because the body may not have sufficient fluid reserves to dilute those harmful substances as they are liberated back into the bloodstream for eventual elimination.
The reason why dehydration is so feared in the cooked world is because people who eat the conventional diet require a lot of extra water and quickly become dehydrated when they don’t get it.  That’s why they’re always holding a container of some kind or offering each other something to drink.  It’s also where the idea comes from that people can only survive 7-8 days without water.  I think Robert Lockhart mentioned that he’d fasted for 9 days with no water, and the record is much longer.
Water drinking temporarily turns off the unpleasant symptoms we experience when fasting, and that’s why it’s so popular among fasters.  Practitioners encourage it for the most part because they don’t know exactly how toxic their patients are, so there is the legitimate need to ‘manage’ the outflow of toxins.  But the idea that we need to drink in advance or in the absence of thirst, even while fasting, is just plain crazy.  Thirst is a perfectly reliable indicator of the body’s water needs.  If it wasn’t, our species wouldn’t be here.
Personally, I don’t drink much water anymore.  I used to have to drink water first thing on waking in the morning, but I find that I now go hours without wanting a sip.  I expect I’ll continue to drink less and less as time goes on.

Nora

{ 8 comments }

Shelah Segal September 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for this post, Nora.
I have found that my water drinking habits have changed greatly since eating a simple Hygienic diet (5 years), especially so in the last month or two.
At first, I did drink less than on a cooked vegan diet but I was still enough in my intellect, that I did so due to reading that so much water would be unnecessary. As my eating became less and less complex (more mono meals), and especially as my overall consumption decreased, I have become much more in tune with my body’s signals and have noticed that when I drink water, I sometimes feel uncomfortable. Even first thing in the morning, when I thought it might be good to “rehydrate” (that intellect dies hard!), I may experience mild nausea if I try to “get in” a glass of water. So, I have finally stopped trying to “get in” anything.
What is of interest to me is that this recent response to drinking has coincided with my overall decrease in food consumption. Some would think that with less fruits coming in, I’d want/need more water. But obviously, it is just a matter of getting what my body actually does need, as determined by my own desires and reactions. To me it seems another example of how our bodies use nutrients more efficiently as they heal.

Tim Griffin September 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Great article Nora. I too have experienced. About the only time I ever drink water is first thing when I wake up. I remember that this was one of the most amazing teachings of Natural Hygiene: Drink water only when thirsty. That was so foreign to me. No standard health guru taught this. Thanks for the blog.

Paul M September 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Nora – would you have any recommendations for water drinking in transition? After years of cooked food, I still get incredibly thirsty no matter how much fruit I ingest. Also, due to my living circumstances, I do not have regular access to watery type fruits. So I eat a lot of bananas which I find more dry in their effect than many other fruits. Would you suggest water drinking as needed during transition in a similar way as your dietary approach during transition – constant and gradual improvement to prevent backsliding? Thanks!1

Nora September 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I assume you meant “years of raw food”. :) Even bananas have lots of water, so I think they could probably meet all a person’s fluid needs, as long as s/he’s eating enough of them to fulfill fuel requirements too. If fluid needs are great due to hot weather, exercise or overeating, etc., then it’s open to debate whether bananas alone can supply enough water. Your guess is as good as mine. :)

If a person is overeating, thirst will be experienced more if the foods he’s eating too much of are less water rich. But even overeating water rich foods can produce thirst. The main thing to remember is that thirst, while a pathological and abnormal condition, is just another symptom. There’s no reason to worry about drinking to rectify it, as long as everything else you’re doing is still leading you in the right direction, no matter how slowly. So, yes, water drinking can be regarded as any other transitional habit (only much less harmful than others, typically) that you’ll gradually leave behind. It will happen naturally and spontaneously, although usually more slowly than any of us would choose. The main rule is, drink when thirsty, not because somebody told you to. And it’s also helpful when you are thirsty to acknowledge why it happened. This is the part that’s missing in all the discussions about water drinking. Examining the influences that led to thirst will lead you to a deeper understanding of how your habits and practices affect your body, and will enable you to read the signals of over-expenditure (of any kind) as they are happening instead of after it’s too late to do anything except remediate.

Paul M September 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Great answer, Nora! Thank you! I will apply increased awareness around this area.

Also, I wanted to ask you another question which is not about water drinking but was triggered by your comments about drinking water. Specifically your comment regarding if we are biologically adapted for it. Where i live there is an abundance of cactus pears and I luv to eat them despite the needles nuisance.
As we appear to be fruit eaters my question then is about specific fruits. Like cactus pears. Although they are a fruit (and delicious IMO), the needles would tend to prohibit humans and many animals from eating them. So along the biological adaptation idea, does this mean humans were not meant to eat cactus pears? If so, maybe I should avoid them for some unknown reason that Mother Nature intends but has not revealed to us? I loved your post about greens recently; and my question would also pertain to greens: many green leaf plants contain alkaloids (poisons) to discourage animals (and probably humans) from eating them. Yet we eat them! Should we?
In fact, a huge proponent of eating greens is Victoria Boutenko. I respect and appreciate her very much. Ironically, she’s the same person who has brought the alkaloids to my attention as she encourages everyone to eat greens daily.

Gio November 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Hi Paul,

I would suggest to trust your body. If you like it and it REALLY attracts you, whether the greens or the cactus pear, just eat it. That is what you would do in nature. Your body will tell you otherwise if that is not the case.

Sometimes your body wants to compromise: ever had the feeling that you like something, you start eating and just after awhile you don’t like any longer? And maybe the previous time you liked it for much longer? Maybe your body wants a bit of something out of the greens and when satisfied it does acknowledge the alkaloids again. The difficult part is to distinguish the real request from your body from cultural conditioning. Yet, with raw foods this should be easier or it will become.

Your bodies always know when something is wrong in a natural food ’cause it had to deal with it for millions of years…as opposed to our modern “knowledge” of things.

Also when we say that “nature does this ’cause/for” we are using a metaphoric language, of course, or we are tackling the issue from the wrong side. Nature does not reason and neither has a “purpose”. Instead, things happen and then other things happen as a consequence of what happened before. Anything else is just conjecturing.

For the cactus pears, for instance, needles are not enough evidence to say that humans could not get them without tools. Yet, if that is the case, AND the cactus pear is not good for you, your body will tell you as it does with meat, dairy, grains, excessiveness etc.
In fact, being able to get a food is only part of the equation. For instance, we could easily get avocados; they are among the easiest to open and eat too. Yet, many avos are not part of an optimum diet for sure and, guess what, you body will tell you when you eat too many too or too much fat. Your desire and their appeal will change.

Hope I’ve helped somehow….

Take care,
Gio

Peter Love November 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I just want to simply say, “THANK YOU!” You’ve answered my questions about the need for humans consuming water and more. Peace & <3

Dr Robert Lockhart December 22, 2011 at 1:43 am

thank you Nora, for faithfully reproducing what I said. Appreciate it.
Was with a group of Russian fruitarians in the Philippines recently, one of whom dry fasted for 21 days! However, on closer examination, I found he was taking an enema on a regular basis, so no doubt significant absorption occurred thru the bowels. You could say a rather unconventional way of drinking water!
Have a great Christmas and New year, Nora.
Dr Robert Lockhart

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