HOME HYGIENE LIBRARY CATALOG GO TO NEXT CHAPTER
Drink we define as pure water only. No other fluid except water deserves the name of drink. Other fluids commonly referred to as drinks are either foods or poisons and should be classed under these heads. Thirst is a demand for water--not for food or for a so-called beverage. Fruit juices, milk, etc., are foods, and should be taken as such.
The body is largely water and its water content is greater during its period of most rapid growth than at other periods. Water supports all of the nutritive processes, from digestion on through absorption and circulation through the body, assimilation and disassimilation, to excretion. It is the chief agent in regulating body temperature, serving much as does water in the radiator of an automobile.
Some of the most important offices of water in the body are:
1. It is an essential constituent of all tissues and cells and of all body fluids--blood, lymph, glandular secretions, etc.
2. It holds the nutritive materials in solution and serves as a medium for the transportation of food to the various parts of the body.
3. It holds waste and toxins in solution and serves as a medium for the transportation of these from the body.
4. It keeps the various mucous membranes of the body soft and prevents friction of their surfaces.
5. It is used in regulating body temperature.
The body is constantly throwing off water and this must be replenished. It gets much of its water in foods in the form of juices. Other water is taken as drink. A good part of the water taken in becomes an integral part of the tissues, that is it becomes "living water."
Fresh rain water and distilled water are best. Distilled water is not dead, as some foolishly say it is. Pure water from a rock spring is excellent drink.
Drinking water should be as pure as possible. Hard waters, mineral waters, etc., contain considerable mineral matter, and are injurious in proportion to the amount of mineral they contain. The delusion that mineral water is curative is an old one and has resulted in incalculable harm to countless thousands.
One of the dogmas of modern so-called science is that man should drink so much water a day. People are advised to drink at least a given amount daily regardless of the quality and quantity of their diet, the nature of the environments (climate, season, occupation, etc.) and without consideration for the instinctive demands of their bodies. If they are not thirsty they are advised to drink anyway; to cultivate the habit of drinking a glass of water at regular intervals. The advise usually given is to drink at least six glasses of water between meals each day.
I do not believe in routine drinking anymore than I believe in routine eating. There is not and never was any necessity to drink any specific number of glasses of water a day. Indeed, many have gone for years without drinking water as such.
A peculiar feature about this drink-lots-of-water dogma is that it is held by those who advise one never to eat unless truly hungry as much as by those who preach the belly's gospel of three squares plus and go by your appetite. Why should one drink without thirst? Is this more appropriate than eating without hunger? Does not the body know when water is needed?
The great importance of pure water should be recognized, but all of the facts about water given in this chapter do not teach us that we should be constantly taking water into our stomachs.
Water needs vary with season and activity and other factors. The man who is engaged in active physical labor in the summer's sun requires more water than the office worker who is in the shade, perhaps near an electric fan, and pushes a pencil or operates an adding machine. We require more water in summer than in winter, more during the day's activities than during the night's slumbers. The more rood one eats the more water will his system demand. The fasting individual has little thirst. The person whose diet is chiefly fresh fruits and green vegetables gets large quantities of water in its purest form from these. He needs to drink less water than the man whose diet is largely dry. If milk is taken with meals this supplies considerable water.
The body's water requirements depend upon age, sex, activities, season, climate, etc. It needs a certain amount of water under given conditions, but it makes no difference to the body from whence it obtains this supply. It is perfectly satisfied with the juices of fruits and vegetables or the water in milk and, accordingly, we find that infants on a milk diet and adults who consume an abundance of juicy fruits and succulent vegetables have little or no desire for water.
The amount of solid matter in milk is small. It is nearly all water. The percentage of water in milk is greater than the percentage of water in the infant. There is, therefore, no reason to give much water to the milk-fed infant. If fruit juices (also nearly all water) are fed to the infant, in addition to the milk, there is absolutely no reason to give additional water to infants. This I have proved on several infants. They need no water save that contained in their milk and fruit juices, during their first year of life, and their growth will be above the average.
How about adults? Most green vegetables and fresh fruits contain a higher percentage of water than the adult body. If the diet contains an abundance of these foods little or no additional water will be required.
Dr. Lamb, of England, took the position that man is not by nature a drinking animal. Dr. Alcott and others of the vegetarian school proved by direct experiments that those who adopt an exclusively vegetable regimen and make a large proportion of their diet consist of juicy fruits and succulent vegetables can be healthfully sustained and nourished without water-drinking. Sophie Lepel, of England, also condemned the use of water.
If the fertilized ovum of some sea animal is placed in tap water and watched, its weight will increase to as much as a thousand times the original. The ovum develops despite the entire absence of all other nutrients except water. Obviously such growth is not normal and the cells formed under such conditions are deficient and weak. Growth of this kind can occur only within narrow limits and the water-logged cells are far from ideal.
Super-saturation of the protoplasm of plants submerged in water weakens and even kills them. Excesses of water produce rank, watery vegetation, while prolonged standing in water will kill most vegetation more surely than a drought.
If a sufficient amount of water is forced into man or animal it will produce all the symptoms of alcoholic intoxication. Nothing is to be gained by excessive water drinking at any time. Excessive water drinking tends to water-log man's tissues and fluids and to lessen the vitality of his cells. The power of the blood to absorb and carry oxygen is lowered and the body is weakened. One sweats more when he drinks more, but excessive transpiration is weakening. Observation will readily show that those who suffer most from the summer's heat are the ones who drink the most water. We naturally conclude that they drink more because the heat causes great thirst. If these individuals can be induced to drink less, their sweating will decrease, thus showing that the excessive drinking was largely responsible for the sweating.
I do not believe that a small excess of water is particularly harmful, but I believe that the safest rule about drinking is: drink as little as thirst demands. A false thirst induced by salt or some other irritant, is not to be "satisfied."
I have never been able to find any sound reason why we should deliberately drink a certain number of glasses of water a day just because somebody has arbitrarily decided that we require that much water. I know of no sound reason why we should take water in the absence of real physiological need for water, as expressed in genuine thirst. I am fully convinced from my own observations and experiments that there are many people who are injuring themselves by drinking too much water.
Dr. Trall severely condemned the "indiscriminate practice of large water-drinking" and said, "I have seen not a little mischief result from it." Drs. Shew, Cully, Johnson, Wilson and Rausse, of the hydropathic school, severely and justly repudiated the extravagant recommendation of large water-drinking contained in many works on water-cure. Dr. Tilden, though, like the author, once an advocate of much water-drinking, has for several years past condemned the practice. The late Dr. Lindlahr did not favor the practice.
Shall we, then, affirm that all the water should be taken that instinct calls for? If so, how much does instinct call for? What is an instinctive call for water? How much of our present thirst is due to habit? How much to irritation? What part is normal? Is an abnormal thirst any better guide than an abnormal appetite?
Water drinking can become a habit like any other thing we do. Those who cultivate drinking large quantities of water will feel a "need" for much water. On the other hand, eating salt, spices, condiments, greasy dishes, concentrated foods, meats, eggs, cheese, sugar, starches, etc., creates an irritation that is usually mistaken for thirst. But water will not ally such a "thirst." One may inundate his stomach with water every five minutes and still be "thirsty." If he will refrain from drinking he will find that his supposed thirst will be satisfied much sooner. It is argued that people turn to strong drink because water will not allay such "thirst." Perhaps it is often true. If the supposed thirst is endured it will be satisfied with the normal secretions and this almost irresistable desire for water will pass away. On the other hand, if water is taken, these secretions are not used to allay the "thirst," while the water, upon leaving the stomach, carries the secretions that are there along with it.
Those who seek to do the body's work for it and are afraid of letting it do its own work in its own way will object to permitting these secretions to be used for this purpose and will maintain that it robs the system of that much water. The objection is unsound from first to last. The secretions can satisfy the "thirst" while water will not. Besides this the secretions will prevent putrefaction and fermentation in the digestive tract while water will favor these very processes. Lastly, the secretions are not lost to the body, but are reabsorbed.
Would we say to the glutton: Eat all your appetite calls for; or to the satyr and nymphomaniac; Indulge as much as your desires command? If not, then, why shall we say to the man of perverted thirst: Drink all your thirst calls for? Such advise could be beneficial only where thirst is normal.
How much should one drink? I don't know. How much should one eat, or breathe, or sleep? You answer--"All that nature calls for." Suppose we say the same in regard to water drinking--how much does nature call for? This will depend on a number of circumstances and conditions, such as; the amount and character of food eaten, amount and character of work performed, climate, age, sex, etc.
No hard and fast rules can be set down in this matter. The intelligent person will not attempt it. It is often stated that our bodies require a certain minimum of water daily. This is doubtless true, but it by no means follows that we should always drink this amount. We may get two-thirds or all of this amount in our diet.
Drinking with meals: There are many who advocate drinking with meals although animals and savages abstain from water at this time. Drinking with meals or soon thereafter is not compatible with good digestion.
While eating, large quantities of digestive juices are being poured into the stomach. If drink--water or beverages--is taken, these are diluted. The water passes out of the stomach in ten to fifteen minutes and carries the digestive juices along with it. The food is deprived of these juices and digestion is greatly retarded. Fermentation and putrefaction follow.
Drinking water and beverages leads to bolting of food. The food is washed down instead of being properly masticated and insalivated. Many foods are dry and require much insalivation before they can be swallowed. Washing them down with drink prevents the completion of this first and necessary step in digestion. Forego the drink and the glands of the mouth will meet the demand for fluid by a copious supply of digestive fluids.
Drinking water with meals and directly after meals, leads to dilatation of the stomach. Chronic indigestion, gastritis, ulcers, and even cancer follow in their logical order.
A fictitious thirst often follows a meal. This is especially so if the food has been salty, greasy or full of spices and condiments. This "thirst" should be ignored. If thirst following a meal is not satisfied with water, it will be satisfied with digestive secretions and these will bring along enough enzymes to prevent fermentation and accomplish digestion in good order. The intake of fluids with meals and immediately after meals interferes with all the digestive secretions and results in indigestion. One may safely drink fifteen to twenty minutes before meals.
The person who eats fruit, green and succulent vegetables, and avoids condiments and has overcome his drinking habit, will have little cause for drinking at any time and no cause for drinking at meal time or immediately thereafter. Let him not fear that his health will suffer therefrom. I can assure him that it will improve and quickly at that.
Drinking with meals is a frequent cause of overeating. It stimulates the appetite, sometimes even creating an enormous one. Trall says: "Some persons have boasted of the 'ravenous appetite' produced by drinking twenty or thirty tumblers of water a day; but I cannot understand the advantages of 'ravenous appetites'; they are generally indicative of excessive morbid irritation of the stomach."
Distilled water: This is water that has been vaporized by heat and re-condensed by being cooled. In this process the mineral matters that are suspended or dissolved in the water and the vegetable and other organic matters that are suspended therein, are left behind, so that the water is rendered practically pure. The hardest and foulest of waters may be rendered practically pure by distillation. Certain noxious gases contained in water falling in the cities are not lost upon distillation. For this reason, it is best to use other water for distillation.
Nature is ceaselessly engaged in distilling water. Were this process not in ceaseless and eternal operation, the water of the earth would become so contaminated and foul as to be unfit for use. In spite of this, all natural water is more or less impure. Some of it is very impure. Hard waters are full of dissolved and suspended mineral matters. Surface waters are full of earthy matters and organic matters. Even fresh rain water contains gases and dust picked up in falling. Distillation provides us with the purest water obtainable.
Distilled and aerated, distilled water has the taste of freshly fallen rain water. It is soft water, for it has lost its minerals. It contains so few impurities that it constitutes the best drinking water obtainable.
Objections are frequently offered to the use of distilled water. Distilled water is said to be "unnatural." It is as unnatural as the purest rain water. It is said to be dead. There is no such thing as live water. All water is lifeless. It is said that the body needs the minerals dissolved in the water. That the body needs minerals is certain, but it needs them, as previously shown, in the form of organic salts and derives these from foods. It is objected that the use of distilled water causes decay of the teeth and softening of the bones. This objection has no foundation. Observations will quickly reveal that decay of the teeth is very common in people who are habitually using hard waters. It is objected that the affinity of distilled water for minerals causes it to take up the minerals from foods so that the body derives no benefit from these. This objection is a peculiar perversion of physiology. One of the functions of water in the body is to take up these very minerals and take them to the cells and tissues. How absurd, to object to the use of distilled water because it serves this very function better than does contaminated water!
Mineral Waters: "According to the theory of the anti-Naturalists," says Dr. Oswald, "a man's instincts conspire for his ruin; whatever is pleasant to our senses must be injurious; repulsiveness and health-fulness are synonymous terms. To every poison known to chemistry or botany they attribute remedial virtues; to sweet-meats, fruits, fresh air, and cold spring-water all possible morbific qualities. But for consistency's sake, they make an exception in favor of mineral springs. Spas impregnated with a sufficient quantity of iron or sulphur to be shockingly nauseous, must therefore be highly salubrious. Solitary mountain regions afflicted with such spas become the favorite resort of invalids; dyspeptics travel thousands of miles to reach a spring that tastes like a mixture of rotten eggs and turpentine."
Saline and sulphur spring waters are purgative, since the alvine canal hastens to rid itself of these injurious waters. A stay at the watering place teaches the colon to rely upon the mineral excitant, hence the chronic constipation that so often follows upon the return from the spa; the excitant being withdrawn, the tired organs lie down for a rest. "From a hygienic standpoint," says Dr. Oswald, "a sanitarium without a spa is therefore by no means a Hamlet-drama minus the Prince."
In 1930 the town boosters of Seaton Delaval, England, desiring to advertise the curative properties of their water supply, hired a chemist to analyze it. The chemist found that its peculiar flavor was due to near-by miners washing their pedigreed dogs in the reservoir with kitchen soap. Some years ago a wonderful health-spring in one of Gotham's many suburbs was curing its patrons daily. It achieved a great reputation as a cure-all. So great was its reputation, a movement was started to improve the property. While improving the grounds a break in the sewer was found. This was quickly repaired and, to the sorrow of the exploiters and disgust of the drinkers, the spring promptly dried up.
So come and go the cures and neither the curing professions nor the people ever forsake their superstitious belief in cure. Those who were drinking the leaking sewerage and those who took Fido's bath water, like those who pin their faith in poisonous drugs, filthy pus, diseased animal serums, marvellous machines and apparatuses, colored lights, electrical currents, metaphysical formulas, and punches in the back, simply went elsewhere for a cure.
The poodle soup of Seaton Delaval and the Gotham sewerage effected their cures in the same way that the famous mineral waters from the mineral wells and springs effect theirs. All methods of cure, however absurd or fantastic, however impotent for good or potent for harm, could point to apparent cures. But sooner or later in the march of experience all cures are exploded.
Drugged Waters: Health (?) Boards no longer permit the drinking of pure water. They drug the drinking water of cities with iodine, chlorine, lime, alum, etc. This compulsory wholesale and indiscriminate drugging of the people is made possible by reason of the fact that we have state medicine in America.
Just as examples of the wholesale drugging of our water supply the small city of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., uses 40,000 pounds of alum in three months in its city water supply, or a little over a pound per capita per month; while Columbus, Ohio, purchased for use in its water in 1933, 8000 tons of lime, 3000 tons of soda ash, 1200 tons of sulphuric acid, 500 tons of bauxite (an aluminum ore compound), 500 tons of coke and 8 tons of liquid chlorine. I shall not discuss each of these poisons separately. Iodine will be discussed elswhere. At this point I shall confine my remarks to chlorine.
Chlorinated water is water that has had chlorine, an "inorganic" acid-forming mineral, added to it, to destroy "typhoid germs." Chlorine is a poison and if enough of it is put into the water to destroy germ life, it will also destroy animal and human life. Chlorinated water is more to be feared than the "typhoid germs."
All poisons are cumulative in their effects, if they are habitually used. If there is not enough chlorine placed in city water to kill outright, it will produce its effects in time. Sprinkling the lawn with chlorinated water kills the grass and flowers and impairs the soil.
In Toronto, Canada, where chlorinated water has been used for a period of years, there has been no reduction of typhoid. During the five-year period from 1921 to 1925 there were more deaths from typhoid in Toronto than in the combined cities of Kingston, Cobourg, Cornwall, Brookville, Belleville and Hamilton. These later cities all used the same water and it was not chlorinated.
So much for its failure; now for its damages. Some authorities state that even the steam escaping from radiators supplied with chlorinated water has been known to cause death. The victims were gassed with the same gas that the soldiers were killed and injured with in World War I. Boiling this water may fill the room, day after day, with this gas. There is also a greater concentration of the mineral left in the water, which goes into the foods cooked in it. Mr. Harter, president of the Defensive Diet League, says: "The worst feature of all is the slowness with which the darned thing works and the absence of symptoms until the trouble has reached an incurable stage."
Clarke, of London, author of a medical dictionary, and a good authority, presents a long list of diseases which have resulted, in human beings, from repeated and long-continued doses of water containing the approved percentage of chlorine. Among these diseases are colds, catarrh, acute rheumatism, inflamed and ulcerated mouth, malignant pustules, acne, carbuncles, nettle rash with fever and dry, yellow, shrivelled skin. Dr. Clarke seems to have proven his case. Even if the chlorine does not produce these troubles outright, it does not kill the germs that are held responsible for them.