Wednesday, February 18, 2009

(Snake) Oil and Water Mix

The Boy has been easing into a nutritional program to help with his diabetes and I have a rule that I don't do unto my children what I wouldn't myself endure, so I've been easing into the same program myself.

The first part of the program involves drinking distilled water at regular intervals. This is somewhat controversial, as you might discover if you were to Google it. But I have reason to trust the doctor I'm dealing with, who's very knowledgeable about body chemistry.

Actually, water is an interesting sticking point for a lot of programs. You hear a lot about people being dehydrated, for example, but Adele Davis eschewed the eight-glasses-a-day meme saying she'd never met anyone who did that who wasn't seriously deficient in some vitamins. (The water flushing water-soluble vitamins out of the system.) The IAHP warns against too much fluid on the basis of over-hydration leading to seizures. (One of the effects of a seizure is to push fluid out of the body with saliva and urination.)

Conventional medicine seems largley unconcerned with the quality of fluids--water, Gatorade, whatever, it's all fluid, though most draw the line at soda--but alternative medicine hyperventilates over the water's mineral quality, fluoridation, source, etc.

For myself, if I have a glass of water at my desk that I can easily refill, I'll end up drinking a gallon in a day. But I have no dog in the what-sort-of-water-and-how-much race; I have no idea.

So, yesterday, I drank the prescribed amounts at the prescribed intervals for about 3/4s of the amount prescribed me. (I started late and ran out of time.)

Those of you who are regular readers know that part of my treadmill desk environment is to reduce some stiffness in my achilles' tendons that I acquired during a particularly sedentary job. I had made great progress. The only stiffness I'd feel any more was after sitting for a while or sleeping; I'd take about a minute to loosen up. You also might recall that I was experiencing a bit of numbness from the early days from when I had overdone.

This morning I was walking around for several minutes and realized there was no stiffness at all in my tendons. Just a very slight ache. As I was writing this, I had to stop, get off the treadmill, take off my shoes and double-check my foot--numbness all gone.

Wild, eh?

Then, of course, I've reported on the stiffness in my back. (As I've mentioned, I've always been tight: Even during my martial arts years, with tons of stretching, I was never much of a kicker.) The downside of doing all the walking seemed to be that I had to make sure I did some periodic back stretches or I'd feel sort of locked at the waist. (And I'd forget to do those stretches; it's been weeks since the last time.)

As of this morning--without a single stretch--I can now comfortably grab my legs just above my ankles.

That's a hell of a placebo. I love a good placebo.

On the flipside, I was warned that this water regiment would likely lead to a cold due, allegedly, to the body using this water to flush out things it hasn't been able to before. No cold yet, but a remarkable amount of goop in the throat.


  1. Interesting. I look forward to seeing how this goes.

    I asked you somewhere else, but I can't remember where, so I don't have a way to see if you answered. Is IAHP a stop on your possible upcoming Philadelphia trip?

  2. I would swear that eating less carbs for the last 5 weeks--and I'm not even being maniacal about it--has made me feel a lot better in general. I am more energetic and don't tend to get the "late afternoon doldrums" like I used to. I am also less hungry in general and more reasonable in my portions (I can suck down ungodly amounts of pasta, rice and the like). Placebo effect? Who knows. Unless it changes, I'm sticking to it. Also, I lost all my extra weight and have got down to what I consider my normal, ideal weight. I'll never be what I was before I had kids, but I can fit into all my size 6 clothes again.

  3. Freem--

    If I go to Philly, it will be to visit the Institutes.

    Also, Morimoto's place if I can manage it.

  4. Congrats, Knox.

    Yeah, the carbs are bad in excess, I'm told. (He said, just having gotten back from a lunch of spaghetti with loads of garlic bread.)

    I used to worry a lot about doing things double-blind and being all super-scientific about it, but then I realized that I was trying to prove something to people who weren't going to believe it anyway.

  5. blake,

    Perhaps you should consider moving to Hawaii for health reasons. Their natural water has extremely low mineral content, averaging about 0.005 mg/L. For comparison, Sparkletts water in CA has an average of 18 mg/L.
    Despite being surrounded by the sea, fresh rain water in Hawaii is filtered through and stored in igneous rock, which must account for the anomaly.

    I can't see much harm from drinking distilled water, but I'm not a physician. Magnesium and calcium, the two most abundant minerals in fresh water, are essential, but are ubiquitous in foods.

  6. The explanations I've heard for why you're supposed to be drinking distilled water don't make sense to me, but then again, the why is secondary. It wouldn't be the first time I'd had success with something I didn't understand.

    I'm told it's not about the minerals, though. The diet part of the program is mineral heavy and the supplement part involves several different types of calcium.

  7. Water is the best thing for you. At all times really.

  8. Of course this vitamen drink my wife has me drinking has me pinching more loaves than the Mexican guys at Caputo's bakery let me tell you.


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