When I tell people they shouldn’t be drinking things like coffee, tea, soda pop, fruit juice, chocolate milk, or alcohol I am often met with a question such as the following:
“I have been reading your advice on caffeine and sugar addiction and was wondering what beverages you drink during the day?”
The answer to that question is “water”. All the aforementioned beverages should be avoided because they contribute to sugar, carb, caffeine, drug and alcohol addiction, disrupt neurotransmitters and the endocrine system, fuel sympathetic dominance, weaken adrenal function, degrade the integrity of the gut and contribute to microbial overgrowth (Candida, bacteria, etc.), promote insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, and hinder our efforts to optimize our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Even many beverages that are considered to be Paleo friendly, like bone broth, kefir, kombucha, other fermented drinks, smoothies, and in some cases (raw milk), can be counterproductive for people with sugar and carb addiction, compulsive overeating, drug and alcohol addiction, adrenal fatigue, excess glutamate or histamine, SIBO, depression and anxiety disorders, and Candida, and should typically be avoided in these situations.
Water is really the only beverage that your body needs and that you should consume. The human body is about 75 percent water, and the human brain is about 70 percent water. Water is essential for every basic function in the body. It flushes the alimentary canal, moistens the lungs, provides a cushion for joints and vital organs, regulates body temperature, and assists in digestion.
It is also important for detoxification — both everyday detoxification and the increased detoxification required if you’re dealing with the toxic byproducts of Candida and other microbes, especially during an eradication process. Without sufficient water, toxins will not move. Additionally, blood needs water to carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain and all the cells in our body.
The body eliminates water more effectively when we eat a low-carb diet (as I recommend), boosting the need for water intake. Thirst can actually be experienced as hunger or cravings, so water plays an important role in managing cravings for sugar and carbs. Adequate water intake is also essential for the colon and elimination process.
Sparkling mineral water (e.g., Gerolsteiner, Mountain Valley, Pellegrino, Perrier) is permitted. Be sure you use only the glass bottles, not the plastic, as the plastic leaches chemicals into the water and may contain microplastic particles, both of which are destructive to your health. Enhance it with a splash of lemon or lime now and then for a little added flavor. However, if you have SIBO, be aware that carbonated water can increase acid reflux and gas.
Since herbal teas consist primarily of water, they are an acceptable beverage (as long as they don’t contain caffeine). However, dried herbs often accumulate mold and may trigger symptoms in those who are sensitive to mold. No green tea, as it contains caffeine. Decaffeinated tea is not acceptable either, as decaf does not mean it is free from caffeine, it means it contains less. No amount of caffeine is acceptable when dealing with issues like keeping blood sugar stable, overcoming cravings for sugar, carbs, drugs or alcohol, adrenal fatigue, and balancing neurotransmitters.
Coconut Milk or Water and Almond Milk
Although coconut milk, coconut water, and almond milk are Paleo-approved foods and fairly low-carb, they are only acceptable “in small amounts on occasion”, not a daily basis. Be especially mindful of the fact that their carb and fiber content can feed Candida and SIBO.
Additionally, if nuts or nut milk are eaten on a frequent basis they can contribute to inflammation, leaky gut, and nutritional deficiencies due to their high level of omega-6 and anti-nutrient content like phytates. Coconut also contains phytates and salicylates.
Avoid Tap Water & Plastic Containers
Tap water should be avoided because it contains chlorine, fluoride, and other potential toxins like pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, and parasites.
The water supply in most cities is treated with chlorine to kill bacteria, and it does precisely the same thing in your gastrointestinal tract: eliminates your healthy bacteria. Chlorinated drinking water can also cause inflammation in the gut, decrease hydrochloric acid levels, and the lower the pH level of the gut making it too alkaline, all of which encourages the overgrowth of Candida and other microbes.
Therefore, be sure your water is obtained from a purified source, with a good filter installed at your tap or filling up your own jugs at a water dispenser that has a three-stage purification process (filter, reverse osmosis, and UV light). Fresh spring water may be an option if you are sure the source is monitored periodically for microbes. I am not in favor of distilled water since it removes the minerals.
Additionally, avoid buying any bottled water from the store that is in plastic. As mentioned previously, plastic leaches chemicals into the water and may contain microplastic particles, both of which are destructive to your health. If you use plastic jugs for filling up at a water dispenser, be sure it is a hard plastic and free of BPA. Don’t store water for too long that you collect in plastic bottles, even if the bottle is free of BPA.
Once you get rid of all the beverages that are bad for you and begin to drink water on a regular basis, eventually you won’t miss the other stuff and you’ll develop a great appreciation for the taste of water.
Looking for other Paleo-friendly recipes for foods that can be eaten when dealing with Candida, SIBO, adrenal fatigue, depression, anxiety, and other associated conditions, check out my new cookbook which covers all these issues.