Three years ago I thought I was dying. It was late September 2013 and I was lying in bed feeling so cold, but somehow sweating bullets. Nothing could stop me from shaking. My fever was pushing 104° and I had terrible pains in my lower back – like someone had repeatedly kicked me. I was pale, had terrible under eye circles, and had lost about 10 lbs in two weeks. I looked and felt like the walking dead.
When I finally couldn’t take it anymore, my (then) boyfriend (now fiancé – I love saying that!) drove me to the hospital. What I thought had been a terrible case of the flu had been much, much worse. The doctors put me in a gown (thank God my legs were shaved!) and before I knew it, I was hooked up to three IVs – one morphine drip, one fast-moving antibiotic, and one to give me fluids. My diagnosis: dehydration and pyelonephritis, a severe kidney infection that was spreading to my blood. I had never felt worse in my life, but a few hours later I was walking around relatively pain free. I even came home and made Caldo de Gallina.
The moral of the story: DRINK WATER.
Seriously, this one little lesson that everyone pounds into you when you’re working out or staying outside in the sun, can save your life. Dehydration sucks. So does a kidney infection. I can’t attest to this, but I hear the pain is worse than childbirth.
How did it happen? Well, I didn’t always take great care of myself. When I was younger I hated the “taste” of plain water and would grab a Monster or Gatorade (which actually make you thirsty). I would sit at my desk and pound out the work, often forgetting to drink. Sometimes I just didn’t feel thirsty. Flash forward a few years and all I want to do is drink water.
One great takeaway from the Whole30 is the importance of eliminating the empty calories found in sugary drinks and alcohol. Before you know it, you could be eating away at your allotted daily calories with just drinks. Water is cheap (except at the movie theater), plentiful, and calorie-free.
Take it from someone who has lived and learned the hard way: just drink the damn water.