Though I appreciate Google, when it becomes your main reference library, no matter how efficient a “surfer” you are, you can’t deny your researching deficiencies. I remember when my good friend used to let me sneak into Reason Magazine and use their Lexis/Nexis search engine while fact-checking our book “Retro Hell” (we didn’t care so much about our information being factual, as for us it was more of a psychological reminiscence, but stuffy Little, Brown & Co. – our publishers – had a figurative stick up their you-know-what about the whole thing).
Anyway, it’s a personal goal I have, that someday I’ll be rich enough to subscribe. Of course, you never know for sure how things might go, and on the off chance I someday find myself on the other end of the spectrum, say per chance in an Hawai’i jail, I have learned (via Google) that there are some positive perks.
A company whose extensive database… is used mostly by legal offices, schools and libraries has attracted a new type of subscriber: prisons. The service from LexisNexis enables prisons to provide required access to legal information while banishing law books, which are more expensive, quickly outdated and easily damaged…. LexisNexis…has installed computer kiosks resistant to damage in four prisons and jails in Hawaii and five in California. The kiosk consists of a touch-screen computer monitor covered in shatterproof glass inside a steel box bolted to a wall.
So, I’m not sure whether to blame it on growing up on sugar cereals, watching TV while doing homework, using drugs while trying to think, or some undiagnosed ADD-like syndrome succumbed to on a daily basis, but it has proven difficult to not let thoughts meander to all potentially relatable subheadings and tangents. This is just the beginning of the article, and gotta make our way back to the original idea: salt and lemons, and the finalé being a delicious nutritious lemonade recipe… of the sort you can not find on Lexis/Nexis!
But before we go there (or while we’re on our way), I must give in to one more interruption in continuity, the unnerving realization that perchance my parents had it right when they said I should marry a doctor. Yes, every Jewish mom and dad tells their daughter (if she’s not going to be a doctor) to marry one. But it’s not for the potentially secure lifestyle ($) that now makes me reconsider the idea. And in actuality it is more the idea of a “doctor”; the omnipotent philosopher who would know the answer to my every question. A kind of doctor / nutritionist / intellectual / researcher / scientist. Someone I could crawl into bed with, kiss on the neck, and whisper into his ear, “Hey honey, why do surfers need to supplement with salt and citrus?” And I don’t expect common-sense conclusions that I can imagine myself, about electrolytes and exercise, but specifics and studies and theories that take me a little beyond… beyond pseudo-research on a free search engine.
But that’s not the world I live in, and with not so many Mensa members in my midst, I can only pose the question to myself, and conclude with my erratic simpleton logic, rich life experience, erratic schooling in biology and nutrition, combined with hours of determined Google-ing… all to share with you, my dear readers (you’re so kind).
Unless sweat losses are replaced during exercise, an athlete will become dehydrated. Most of us know that severe levels of dehydration have a dramatic effect on exercise performance. But even small fluid losses reduce performance and increase your feeling of effort. Of course the effects at lower levels of dehydration are more subtle… however, well before the effects seem obvious, your output has dropped and your skills and concentration have deteriorated. In an ideal world an athlete would drink enough fluid to cover all sweat losses during their event. However in the real world of sport this is not usually practical or possible. At best, most athletes only replace 50 per cent of their fluid losses during the event so there is plenty of room for improvement. [Ocean to Outback]
Surfers sweat more than they realize. Similar to swimmers, being in the water there’s little awareness as to the extent to which we sweat. Though you can use accurate scale weigh-ins pre and post session to get an idea (surfers just aren’t as fanatical about that kind of info as other athletes are; maybe when surfing becomes an Olympic sport perhaps?). But if indeed you are unsure, a simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is if your pee is dark yellow/orange; that shows your body is releasing the wastes but retaining the water because it can’t afford to lose any more. In addition, often we’re exposed to the sun – surfing occurring outdoors during daylight hours. Guaranteed even winter overcast there’s some sweating going on in those new fangled rubber wet suits.
And unlike most who exercise for extended periods, we often do not do the obvious: drink enough water! Just think, a bicyclist may be riding for a few hours, but he’s squirting water and energy drinks in his mouth all along the way; while we may be out in the water for hours with no access to fluids besides the accidental salty/gunky gulp we inhaled as we got pounded on the inside.
Those who do compensate with fluids might not be replacing their salt as well; and athletes need increased salt intake to properly hydrate the cells and reduce the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia. Most studies on this subject seem to focus on marathon runners though, not surfers.
How many of us end up with cramps while out in the water? Aches in our back? Pain in our joints? Jelly arms? Burns from the sun? Even end-of-the-session injuries because we are spent? Many of these symptoms (in combination with nutritional issues and a lack of adequate warm-up and post-session stretch) can often be attributed in part to our water and salt deficiencies and imbalances.
Science and medicine have tried to define the precise roles of salt in the healthy and diseased human organism. Blood, sweat, and tears all contain salt, and both the skin and the eyes are protected from infectious germs by the anti-bacterial effect of salt. When salt is added to a liquid, particles with opposite charges are formed: a positively charged sodium ion and a negatively charged chloride ion. This is the basis of osmosis which regulates fluid pressure within living cells and protects the body against excessive water loss. Sodium and chloride ions, as well as potassium ions, create a measurable difference in potential across cell membranes. This ensures that the fluid inside living cells remains separate from that outside. Thus, although the human body consists mainly of water, our “inner ocean” does not flow away or evaporate. Sodium ions create a high pressure of liquid in the kidneys and thus regulate their metabolic function. [Shirley's Wellness Cafe]
More of salt’s endless list of therapeutic properties, as comprised in Dr. Barbara Hendel’s book “Water and Salt – The Essence of Life”, include: stabilizing irregular heartbeats; regulation of blood pressure; extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body; generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body; absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract; clearance of the lungs of mucus, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis; clearing up congestion of the sinuses (a strong natural antihistamine); essential for the prevention of muscle cramps; making the structure of bones firm; sleep regulation; a needed element in the treatment of diabetics; vital for maintaining sexuality and libido; vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs; vital to the communication and information processing of nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death (oh, is that all…). Actually, drinking Sole (a mix of water and crystal salt) is also said to help dissolve and eliminate impurities and built up toxins which lead to kidney and gall stones.
To truly understand the function of salt, we need to look to the sea, witness the high level of health of its creatures and compare its composition to that of human body fluids.
Dehydrated sea water contains over 80 elements, most required for the maintenance of the human body. While all salt originates from the sea, refined table salt and almost all sea salts sold in health food stores have none of these elements left. Even in the “natural” salts, refining, washing, boiling or kiln drying has stripped away almost all traces of these minerals. That’s why it is white and dry.
Any untreated, natural, whole salt will stubbornly hold on to part of its original water unless kiln or vacuum-pan dried. Even by drying naturally in the sun, salt crystals will not give up all of their moisture. True “natural” sun dried salt ranges from light gray or beige to pale pink in color. [Alternative Medical Angel]
Fact is, table salt, or sodium chloride, is a refined, adulterated version of what was once considered “salt”, similar to the way natural sugar is refined into white sugar. Even most commercial “sea salt” has little resemblance to salt that has come from the sea. In the 1940s, major salt producers in the US began to dry salt at intense temperatures degrading the salt’s structure while removing all the complimentary minerals and nutrients, leaving us with foremostly sodium chloride.
Sodium chloride is an aggressive substance, which biochemically is perpetually seeking an equalizing counterpart so that the body’s pH can always remain neutral. Sodium chloride needs its natural counterpart in order for it to produce its effect. The natural counterparts, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and trace elements, demonstrate, from a biophysical standpoint, specific frequency patterns. These patterns ensure the geometric structures in our body. When these structures are missing, we are without energy and are lifeless. Salt should not be used just to add flavour to our food, but for its vibration pattern, which is similar to our body! … The body recognizes table salt as an aggressive cellular poison, an unnatural substance, and wants to eliminate it as quickly as possible in order to protect itself. This causes a constant overburden on our organs of excretion. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]
Since our salt craving didn’t change with the advancements of technology, we are left with a confused body which, no matter how much sodium it consumes, is still craving real salt. As we need a precarious balance of salts in our body, this may lead a person to consume even more sodium chloride, and in turn more food, as the body tries to satisfy its needs, hoping to garner the aforementioned therapeutic benefits, but unfortunately generating the opposite results.
For example, even on Morton’s Salt site, they recommend NOT using their salt for aquariums because the salt does not include necessary trace minerals fish need. And, though they don’t mention it, commercial salts often include additives that fish – and people – don’t need including: free flowing agents, inorganic/ potassium iodide (added to the salt to avoid iodine deficiency disease of thyroid gland (I prefer getting mine from RealSalt™ and seaweed), dextrose, bleaching agents, sugar (added to stabilize iodine and as an anti-caking chemical), and our Alzheimer compatriot aluminum silicate. That whole concept of limiting salt intake to prevent high blood pressure… has been proven to be, by and large, hooey! And one eight year study even showed stressed out New Yorkers on a low-salt diet had four times as many heart attacks than those on a normal sodium diet. Okay, we all need to watch our excesses of anything, but in a typical diet, it’s more likely processed salt, especially found in processed foods, that you need to limit.
Chandra fucked my loneliness away, at least for a minute or two, lemonade. I just fucked my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade. I just beat my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade….
And why lemonade? First of all, unlike casual sex for the addict, the benefits last more than a minute or two – or the time it takes to drink a glass of lemonade. Though, for myself, these sweet and sour urges modify to include other fruit, EmergenC™ packets, even li hing mui lollipops (mmmm!). Other times, depending on what’s available, and how careful I am being about eating right, these desires can adulterate to junkier compensations.
Our cravings, often mutated by the brain into veiled indulgences, express the needs of the body. Even when we bolt from the beach to buy some french fries, processed meat-something, and a soda to quench the urge, there are reasons for it: the salt in the french fries; the protein in the meat; the quickly available sugar and carbohydrates in the soda. We may not be paying attention to whether the salt is natural, or the sugar whole, or the protein digestible, etc. Depending upon our personal awareness, there is a realization that proper choices keep us feeling healthier (and proffer us the ability to surf longer sessions and more often – and not having to pass out after lunch). Eventually, through years of trial and error, conscious beings eventually wake up to the fact that there are natural solutions that better comply to our body’s intrinsic desires.
So it’s conceivable, when we have a tangy thirst after surfing, our bodies could be wanting of hydrating fluids – like that found via citrus drinks – and unknowingly yearning for the benefits of lemons. These benefits more specifically include: being a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants; supporting the immune system, neutralizing free radicals; helping to prevent inflammation / swelling in the body; offering worthy doses of B6, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients, phytonutrients, flavonoids (that have been proven to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines); limonins, which help fight cancers of skin and other organs and remain in the system much longer than the phenols in green tea and chocolate; and antiviral and antibiotic properties. Lemons have also been known to act as a blood purifier, improving the body’s ability to release toxins, and are an oft utilized ingredient in detox cleanses. They are also considered to tonify the kidneys.
Though there is some debate over whether lemonade should be consumed to hasten kidney stone development (they found orange juice to work better; and though I love OJ too, it’s kinda harsh on da belly and gets me into a diabetic coma quicker) it doesn’t negate lemon’s holistic support of kidney function, especially in the case of certain deficiencies. Lots of surfing can put a strain on the back: the muscles, the spine, draining the adrenals (hey, we’re goin’ for the dopa-high), and can weaken the kidneys. Kidney depletion is often found in those indulging in the water element; too much water puts out the fire. The sour/bitter flavor, like that of the lemon, is considered in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a remedy to correct that imbalance.
There is an interesting correlation between the lemons and the salts. As well the link between electrolytes and positively and negatively charged ions. Of course, being that I didn’t become nor marry a doctor / chemist / natropath / nutritionist, and never made batteries out of lemons or sodium chloride in science class, beyond logic and instinct I honestly have little specific knowledge about their connection. But I imagine there to be succinct science-based reasoning and potentially elaborate experimentation possibilities exposing the principles as to why sugar and salt and lemons and lots and lots of surfing mix so well together. And some smarter folk have contributed their two cents on the matter….
On page 19 of A.F. Beddoe’s book “Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition,” he states that:
“Man does not live off the food he eats but off of the energy that is produced from the food he eats. The energy you get from your food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food. A reaction takes place as cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters anionic digestive enzymes. To explain further, an ion is part of a molecule con-atom or a group of atoms that carry an electrical charge. Ions which carry negative charges are ‘anions’.
“Lemons are considered to be anionic, having more anions (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure. Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices are also anionic. Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure. When considering the electromagnetic properties of food…all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.” [EMR Labs]
This may be why we get a buzz off fresh lemons; a buzz that is not like, for example, the sugary high we get off most sweet and sour soft beverages, fruits or candy. And when we add lemon juice to water, with the balance of sugars and electrolytes, it creates a sum greater than its parts, especially when it comes down to hydrating a dehydrated surfer.
Though hydration with H20 before and after exercise is important, plain water can actually suppress one’s thirst and cause bloating - all athletes know that feeling! (And if you drink water after you’re already dehydrated you get cramps!) It has been shown that the body absorbs fluids better and retains them longer if there are some dissolved solids (approx. 6% carbs/electrolytes) in the mix; ergo the sports drink. These are recommended especially for those who are working out for over one hour; and definitely vital for those who are not refueling while working-out!!!
And what is a sports drink actually? Usually it’s a mixture of water, fruit juice or sugar water. Cheap brands include corn syrups, additives and artificial colorings. Expensive brands typically include the same things as the cheap but add more polymers and chemicals that many who critique the sports supplement industry consider unnecessary, as well as the blockbuster ingredient: salt (the electrolyte portion of the drink for which you are paying the big bucks). What’s so special about salt, kidneys, and your electrolyte drink? On the web site Essential Wellness Hilde Bschorr explains:
Salt has a very unique property – its atomic structure is not molecular, it’s electrical. The benefit we receive from salt is it’s electrical charge, the salt itself actually still remains in its original form…. This electrical charge is essential to the life functions in our bodies. So basic is this electrical function, that salt is one of a group of elements called “electrolytes”. These are made up of ions, which are groups of atoms that carry a positive or negative electric charge.
Sodium is positively charged and chloride is negatively charged, so they attract each other and bond tightly. Our bodies also contain other electrolytes, including potassium (+), calcium (+), magnesium (+), bicarbonate (-), phosphate (-), and sulfate (-). Electrolytes are essential because our cells use them to transfer liquids, nutrients, and wastes across their membranes and to carry electrical impulses through nerves and muscles to communicate with other cells.
The kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant when your body changes. When your body perspires (from exercise or high temperature), for example, electrolytes are lost in the sweat and must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.
But salt in lemonade? Hey, I’m not chef but there are culinary (and sensual?) concepts as to why it works:
…True, we do consume a wide variety of other minerals: both the so-called “bulk” minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as “trace” minerals like iron, copper and zinc. Yet the human body take[s] those in via organic middlemen like fruits, vegetables and meats. Salt is the only inorganic substance we dig out of the ground and put straight into our mouths. It is critical to our health (and in fact the health of all living things), the greatest testament to which is the fact that our tongues have receptors specifically designed to detect it.
Yet if simple utility were all there were to our relationship with salt, we’d probably just carry salt licks around with us in our pockets…. Like so many life-critical human functions (sex springs to mind), our experience of salt has been inextricably bound up with pleasure. And it’s evolution we have to thank.
How else to explain the effect that salt has on the foods we eat? Yes, the conventional line states that salt “accents foods”, that it helps them taste “more like themselves” or “excites the taste buds”. But what is it that’s really going on here? The unfortunate answer is that nobody yet knows, though some very interesting recent science has provided us with a window into just what function the salt sense serves in the overall sensation of taste.
Studies conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania … have shown that in addition to stimulating our “salty” taste receptors themselves, salt also acts on other receptors in the mouth, notably the “bitter” receptors. Especially when administered in a triple-play with a sweet-tasting sample, it’s been found that salt actually suppresses bitter sensations — far more effectively than sweetness does by itself. … More than simply turning up the volume on flavors we do like, it also turns the volume down on flavors we don’t. [Joe Pastry]
Additional chemical magic includes the fact that both salt and fresh lemons contribute to creating a more alkaline state (lemons, like grapefruit, turn alkaline once they hit the digestive system) which might be useful when the body -especially that of a devout surfer- is pushed and there comes a need to balance the PH of the blood and tissues. Plus, we need a more alkaline state to keep microorganisms in check: that would include one well-known to Hawai’i surfers - the fun-lovin’ staph infection!
Active athletes also need to replace our glucose to keep our blood sugar levels up and reduce fatigue. Dr. Sears (AskDr.Sears.com), suggests “the best time for your sports drinks is during exercise, since the carbs in the drink do not cause high blood sugar fluctuations because insulin is not secreted during exercise. While drinking a high-sugar drink prior to exercise may trigger insulin and lead to hypoglycemia in the middle of the game.” Good thing salt and lemons also have the added benefit of regulating blood sugar!
So, if you’re going to drink something before exercise or immediately after, as us surfers need to do, my lemonade recipe should supply you with a healthy and balanced natural, homemade and certainly less expensive option (though I recommend for those who stay out in the water a long time and/or notice a dramatic drop in performance while surfing that they tie on their leash string or attach to a key pocket a fuel packet like the now 90% organic and all-natural CLIF Shot® (oooh, with Litter Leash packaging) and suck on it mid-session. Ingredients in their vanilla for example include: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide; with 40mg Sodium, 30mg Potassium, 25mg of Carbs and 8g of Sugar.
Carbohydrate is stored as glucose in the liver and muscles and is the most efficient source of energy as it requires less oxygen to be burnt than either protein or fat. The normal body stores of carbohydrate in a typical athlete are: • 70kg male athlete: liver glycogen 90g and muscle glycogen 400g • 60kg female athlete: liver glycogen 70g and muscle glycogen 300g. During hard exercise, carbohydrate can be depleted at a rate of 3-4 grams per minute. If this is sustained for 2 hours or more, a very large fraction of the total body carbohydrate stores will be exhausted and if not checked will result in reduced performance. Recovery of the muscle and liver glycogen stores after exercise will normally require 24-48 hours for complete recovery.
During exercise, there is in an increased uptake of blood glucose by the muscles and to prevent blood glucose levels falling the liver produces glucose from the liver stores. Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise will help prevent blood glucose levels falling too low and help maintain the body’s glycogen stores. Many athletes cannot consume food before or during exercise and therefore a formulated drink that will provide carbohydrate is required. [BrainMac Sports Coach]
If you’re avoiding sweets or got enough elsewhere, and basic hydration is what you’re after, try a more watered down version of the recipe, or simple Lemon Water (pure water, squeeze lemon into and add a few slices with a dash of salt). Penta, Essentia water, CellFood™, trace minerals, and coconut water are also great for hydrating.
The balance of our cells reflects the balance of our life. And as imbalanced as we may get, sometimes it’s those little things that get us back to center… like relaxing on the lanai swing chair, enjoying the trade breeze on a sweet summer day, sipping a nice tall glass of fresh squeezed electrolyte-laden lemonade.
For thousands of years salt has been known as a panacea. Alchemists called it “the fifth element”—besides water, earth, air and fire—because its qualities were comparable only to ether, the actual fifth element. Why are we so drawn to the ocean? Because our subconscious mind instinctively wants to return to the specific vibrational state of the ocean from which we once emerged. This is where we can return to recharge our batteries and regenerate. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]
Yup, something us surfers are doing all the time. So it makes sense, to try to accomplish it inside and out!
Coconut Girl’s Revitalizing Surfer Lemonade
Okay, sticking with my 15-min-or-less “cooking” method, this lemonade is quick and easy to prepare, and if you want to add the “boosters” it’ll only take a few more minutes. My recipe is infinitely easier when mom’s lemon tree is going off and I suggest that if you have a tree or a neighbor has one – take advantage (you can freeze excess juice for later use if you don’t want any to go to waste). And sure they’d luv it if you offered to bring them back a jar (always save your glass fruit juice containers). For this recipe we’re basically filling one 32oz jar so for larger batches adjust accordingly….
• I pick 2-3 of the biggest, most yellow lemons off the tree. Roll them on the wood cutting board or counter top so they’re easier to juice. Throw in a lime if you have one too.
• In saucepan, with approximately one cup of purified water, medium heat, add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of raw coconut sugar (coconut syrup also works). Essentially you are heating at the lowest temp needed so the sugar dissolves while stirring.
• Cut lemons in half. Using a citrus juicer (cheap electric ones work fine, though if you’re rich go use your fancy industrial strength citrus press), juice all 4-6 halves (if your lemons are small add one more and/or one small lime for flavor). Should take all of two minutes!
• As for the sugar mixture, add a few ice cubes, preferably made from filtered water to cool it down. Pour it into a glass measuring cup. Then mix in a healthy pinch of Real Salt™, Himalayan Crystal Salt or pure sea salt (Hawaiian Salt also works). Once it’s blended add a handful more ice cubes to cool it to approximately room temp.
• It’s important to not heat the lemon juice! So, pour the juice into an empty glass jar or pitcher. Add some cold or room temp purified water, then add the sugar water / syrup water you made. Then fill the rest of the jar with more water to taste. Chill.
• The Extras: Add a bit of ginger. Most recipes for ginger lemonade call for adding sliced ginger pieces into the cooking sugar water, but ginger’s got a more killa kick if you avoid heating it, and the body will benefit more from its healing properties. So I suggest, grating about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger (with a ginger grater, if can, small sized grater otherwise) and simply adding it to the jar. Shake/stir well! * Be your own barhand…add a little zest! (of course we’re using organic lemons so all good there…) * If you read my noni article and/or have some noni juice prepared and are in need of its benefits, add a tablespoon or two to a cup of lemonade for your morning elixir… or if drained in the middle of the day and you really want to get another surf session in… talk about energizing! * You can add a splash of coconut water (as in the Big Island favorite found in the local health food stores “Tahitian Limeade” yum!) or some aloe (which also supports digestion, kidneys, and skin). * Party option is cutting some lemon, orange and/or lime slices and adding them into the pitcher, then filling with ice and serving.
That’s it! Obvious but never forget it: coffee, soda, sun, surf, alcohol… all dehydrating. Try to respond to your body’s cravings in ways that make you stronger. Spend a little bit more time helping your body stay happy and balanced so you can surf longer: that is, longer sessions and for decades to come… xo
…and hey, since pure salt is good for brain function perhaps if I start using only the right salts I will get my IQ back up enough to where I won’t feel I need a brainiac scientist husband to explain this chit to me…
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