This week Jill answers a listener question about tracking fluid intake and how to make sure we’re pacing our fluids throughout the day.
Have a question? Leave us a voicemail at (773) 789-8763.
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Who is Jill Harris?
Jill is a nurse and health coach that specializes in educating patients on kidney stone prevention. For more than 20 years she’s helped patients understand that kidney stones can be prevented with the right treatment plan. It’s one thing to be told to lower oxalate or drink more water, but HOW do you do it? That’s where she comes in. Through the educational resources at kidneystonediet.com, stone formers can learn everything they need to know to significantly lower new stone risk.
Who is Jeff Sarris?
Jeff’s co-founder of SPYR, a branding agency based out of Chicago, where he and his business partner Dave help awesome people like Jill create online platforms that make an impact. He’s also a certified health coach, Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and host of the Starting Now podcast.
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Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast, the show about reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
Jill Harris: And I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention nurse. Hey, Jeff! How are you?
Jeff Sarris: I’m good! I’ve got my standing desk going. We have a whole different setup that anyone who’s watching on YouTube is going to notice. We have a two camera simultaneous setup and then we’ll cut to just Jill at times. We’re changing it up and trying to experiment with different things.
Jill Harris: You always make the most beautiful podcast, you know, everyone says that.The fact that you get to stand up, I’ve got to figure that out over here because you just get sick of sitting, right? I like to move, so the standing up thing is great. You can project more, not that I need to do that, but it just feels good to stand up.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, for sure! And I have this nice – I think I mentioned on a different episode – but this nice standing desk, just a little crank one from IKEA. I love that it’s manual. I know not everyone wants a manual but there’s something about not needing any electric or anything at all. It’s works.
Jill Harris: 100%! I have this coffee table, because I live in such a small place, that converts into a dining table, actually. It’s very simple and it’s all mechanical. There’s nothing special. I always feel like the less stuff, less mechanical stuff, the less problems you’ll have. Plus, it’s just way more intuitive that way. I’m not that high tech, as we all know, and Jeff you are, but I think you just have an appreciation for really well-made simple design things, right?
Jeff Sarris: Oh yeah, for sure. It’s that minimalism that comes out for me. It’s the things that straddle that line between sort of modern tech and not being overdone. I don’t want something overdone. But yes, so should we dive into this week’s question?
Jill Harris: Oh, what are we here for? Oh, yeah, kidney stones! Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s see what we got on the docket for today.
Jeff Sarris: Ok, this is from Robert.
Jill Harris: Okay, Robert.
Listener Voicemail: Hello, my name is Robert. I live in Rochester, Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic. And my question for Jill is we all know that we’re supposed to drink at least two and a half to three liters of fluid a day, but what is the best method? Our phone app for dummies, are a standalone device that you carry in your pocket or whatever to help pace the water intake. That’s one of the things I struggle with, and I know a lot of other people struggle with this for getting to know when to drink the water and to spread it out throughout the waking hours. Thanks.
Jill Harris: Robert, I love that question. I always say I love that question, but they’re all good questions. This is a great one. So, it’s a black and white issue here. There’s no middle of the road. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a problem. Either people are forgetting to drink their fluids, they just forget, they get busy, they don’t want to have to find a bathroom, especially during COVID, or they’re drinking too much and then they’re up all night. So his question is great, how the hell do I pace this, by the way? And he asked, there’s another little question in there, too, about apps.
What app would you recommend for tracking my water consumption and pacing?
So, I love apps for certain things. I happen to be pretty good about drinking water. I’m talking about kidney stone prevention all day long, so I’m deep in it, people. I’m pretty good at remembering to drink, but there are some times when I’m super busy. Maybe it’s a Saturday and I’m out doing errands. I’m telling you right now that I’m not the best with it. This is why I always say to patients and to anybody that listens to our podcast, we are not striving for perfection. We’re striving for the best we can do with what’s given to us on that day. I will say this until I’m blue in the face.
The diet industry wants us to think we’re either on something or off something, so if we’re not drinking water, we’re going to form a kidney stone by this afternoon. That’s not going to happen. Now, ideally, one of the things you really want to be rather consistent with is drinking water. A lot of nurses and doctors and pilots will say, “Look, I don’t got time to drink all day, Jill, but as soon as I get home, I drink, drink, drink, drink, drink.” Well, remember, during that eight hour period, when you were at work and you couldn’t drink, you’re dehydrated. Your urine is concentrated, it’s saturated with these crystals at this point. So now you can go home and start drinking, but that doesn’t make up for the time you were not. You can not make up for the time you were dehydrated, that ship has sailed, but now you can get hydrated or rehydrated in the evening.
Now as far as the device to help you remember to drink your water or pace your water, I do not use apps. Dr. Coe has a nice article on his website at kidneystone.uchicago.edu where he actually asked patients, what devices do you use? What apps do you like, for tracking water? So you could check that out on his website. A lot of people just go to the App Store and they look through free apps. Don’t be paying for those apps! First, check them out for free, then if you love it, pay your two bucks a month or whatever it is. So go to the App Store, find one that is appealing to you – physically and also how it works – find one that you will like using just like anything with a diet or lifestyle change. You’ve got to do the things that you like, so you’ll keep doing it. So, find the app that works for you and see if it’s helpful to you. Sometimes, people just put a reminder on their phone. They’ll set it every hour to drink, then once it goes off, they shut it off. We set it again. Some people do that. Those are the biggest things that I know people do.
How else can I pace my water intake?
Sometimes I use trigger words, like every time somebody says the words ‘kidney stone,’ when I’m talking to them, I take a sip of water. People don’t know that when I’m talking to them, I do that. So there’s all kinds of different ways that you can remember to do it. Now, as far as pacing yourself, we do not want to drink so much water that we’re peeing five liters out. I mean, you really don’t need to do that, okay? So, that’s really important. You need to drink enough throughout the day and into the evening. I always say cut it off a couple hours before bed, maybe take a few sips here and there, but you don’t want to be peeing all night long. Because what happens then is, you know, look, most of us are already older anyway, we’re getting up a couple times, I get up two to three times a night anyway and that’s with cutting it off a couple hours except to sip here and there before bed.
So I already get up a couple times, three times a night, and I don’t want people up, I’ll get patients that say, “Hey, I’m up six, seven times a night, Jill, and when I get up, I drink too.” I can’t deal with this because they’re exhausted the next day. You don’t want to exercise, you don’t want to eat the right foods. Nobody’s maintaining a healthy lifestyle when they’re exhausted. There’s just no way. You’re not going to meal prep, you’re not going to get to the gym. These things don’t happen when we’re exhausted. So, sleep is so very important. So, I don’t want you to be drinking so much that you’re interrupting your sleep six times a night.
Maintain two and a half to three liters of output every day. You know if you’re peeing that much because once in a while you want to measure it. Save your orange collection jug, get some Tupperware, whatever you need to do. See about how much you’re producing every day. You can get some collection materials on Amazon. A hat to put under the toilet lid for ladies. The orange jug men can pee directly into that, it’s easier for them. The ladies can also get the orange jug along with the hat, like I said. And once in a while, see what you’re doing because what you think you’re peeing and what you really are are two totally different things.
Always remember this is one of the reasons we asked you to do the yearly urine collection to make sure you’re staying accountable with your lifestyle changes. I also want to throw in a small reminder that water is best, but all fluids count. That don’t mean a six pack of beer every night. I’m not saying that, but I’m saying if you’re having a beer with dinner that counts as fluid. You’re having a glass of wine with dinner that counts as fluid. It’s when we overdo alcohol or we don’t make healthy lifestyle choices and that can lead to dehydration going forward. What else did I miss, Jeff? I go off on so many little detours!
Jeff Sarris: Oh no, it’s perfect. I was just curious, the orange jug, is that a specific jug meant for this that’s orange, or is it like an orange juice jug?
Jill Harris: No, I’m glad you asked! So for people who haven’t done a 24-hour urine collection, there’s always that orange jug in your supplies. I think they make it orange because you know, people may have to carry that around, so people want some discreition when they’re carrying this big jug. You’re not noticing when you’re carrying a big old jug to the bathroom, but people don’t want to show that they’re urine’s in there. So, it’s an orange jug that comes with the 24-hour urine collection kit. You can get those things separately, though. You can just say urine collection jug on Amazon or urine collection hat and you can get these items on Amazon and/or in your neighborhood medical supply store.
Jeff Sarris: So I like that you also you mentioned in the past that you leave a glass of water sort of spread around the house, which I think is a really smart idea.
Jill Harris: All over! Despite everyone thinking I’m like the most disciplined person in the world, I am, but there’s things that I’m not so great at and I would be very quote unquote, lazy if I didn’t have that reminder to so I do like having it in every room. Well, there are only three rooms in here, but in every little nook in my little apartment, there are water jugs that I just love. I love going to thrift stores and getting like the dark brown little bottles. I love bottles and I love jars, so typically it’s in something like that. My favorite color is the color orange, so if it’s not a glass jar, it’s a plastic orange jar of some sort. And so yeah, that motivates me.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, very cool. Well, I think that was a great answer to the question. And if you have a question for a future episode of the show, the number is 773-789-8763 and we will answer it on a future episode. If you want to dive deeper, we have the Kidney Stone Diet course, the meal plans, everything is found at kidneystonediet.com. If you’re watching the video, you’ll see the link just below, but head to kidneystonediet.com where you can sign up for the email newsletter. You can get all of the free blog posts, the weekly message from Jill in the email, the course, and links to the prevention group on Facebook. There’s so much free content out there, but if you want to dive deeper, we also have you covered there.
Jill Harris: Yeah, kidneystonediet.com. Also, I want to ask you guys watching this, can you please help Robert out? If you have a favorite app or favorite trick that you like to monitor your water or fluid intake each day, can you please help him and write that in the comments? That would be a great service. One of the things that Jeff and I want to foster here is a robust community. We have a really robust community on the Facebook page. I really like to cultivate a robust community, we’re helping each other in the comments section, motivating each other, share your tips and tricks, because there’s new people all the time here. And some of you who have been with us for a long time, you’re a wealth of information. So, we would love for you to share your tips and tricks. It will be very helpful for new audience members.
And if you are new, please press the subscribe button. It don’t mean nothing except people can find us better. What the hell do you do when you’re watching the video? Subscribe. Whenever I’m watching somebody’s YouTube channel, they’re always screaming about press the subscribe and I’m like, “Why don’t people do it?” It’s nothing, but then people can find us better. Like the video if you like it. If you don’t like it, just say nothing. You don’t got to press the thumbs down.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, it really goes a long way. I think as a viewer, we don’t always know that, but it makes a big difference and helps us reach more people. That’s the reason we’re here: to reach as many people as possible. So yeah, thanks again for listening and watching and we will see you all next week!
Jill Harris: Robert, that was awesome question. Thanks, guys. See you soon!