Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration


By Dana Cohen, MD

By Gina Bria

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Based on breakthrough new science in the field of hydration, Quench debunks many popular myths about “getting enough water” and offers a revolutionary five-day jump start plan that shows how better hydration can reduce or eliminate ailments like chronic headaches, weight gain, gut pain, and even autoimmune conditions.

Chronic headaches, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, gut pain, autoimmune conditions. We may think these and other all-too-common modern maladies are due to gluten intake or too much sugar or too little exercise. But there is another missing piece to the health puzzle: Proper hydration.

Yes, even in this era of Poland Spring many of us are dehydrated due to moisture-lacking diets, artificial environments, medications, and over-dependence on water as our only source of hydration. For this reason, that new diet or exercise plan may fail because our body doesn’t have enough moisture to support it.

Quench presents a wellness routine that can reverse all of that, based on breakthrough new science in the field of hydration. Readers will be surprised to learn that drinking too much water can flush out vital nutrients and electrolytes. Here is where “gel water” comes in: the water from plants (like cucumber, berries, aloe), which our bodies are designed to truly absorb right down to the cellular level. In fact, Ms. Bria’s work as an anthropologist led her to the realization that desert people stay hydrated almost exclusively from what they eat, including gel plants like cactus.

Based on groundbreaking science from the University of Washington’s Pollack Water Lab and other research, Quench offers a five-day jump start plan: hydrating meal plans and the heart of the program, smoothies and elixirs using the most hydrating and nutrient-packed plants. Another unique feature of their approach is micro-movements — small, simple movements you can make a few times a day that will move water through your fascia, the connective tissue responsible for hydrating our bodies. You will experience more energy, focus, and better digestion within five days . . . then move onto the lifetime plan for continued improvements, even elimination of symptoms.



Mni Wiconi.

—Lakota for “Water is life”

This book about hydration was inspired by two different authors from very different traditions: anthropologist Gina Bria and physician Dana Cohen. Each brought her own expertise and experience to this vitally important topic.

Gina was researching indigenous tribes from desert regions around the world and trying to understand how they survived drought conditions. At the same time, she was struggling to care for her elderly mother, who was in a nursing home seven hundred miles away. Gina eventually recognized that her mother was suffering from chronic dehydration, a health issue common to many residents of nursing homes. Like so many of us, her mom was subject to the dehydrating effects of indoor living in a sealed environment: artificial lighting, long hours of immobility, processed foods, medications, with little fresh air and sunlight, conditions almost drought-like in their drying effects.

Gina needed to figure out how to get her mom the hydration she so desperately needed. And in fact, that answer came from the very desert dwellers she was researching. They were experts in hydration. Instead of searching for water in their arid environment, they found their water another way. They practiced what so many of us today have forgotten—they used the water locked in plants to hydrate. Gina started focusing on the water already inside fresh food, such as apples, to help her mom get the hydration she needed, and the results were dramatic. Her mom never had another dehydration incident. Gina was amazed that no one was talking about this simple yet radically effective approach to wellness, and she started sharing her story about the power of water—particularly efficient plant water—in overall health.

Half a world away from these desert tribes, on the island of Manhattan, Dr. Dana Cohen was busy at her Midtown medical practice. Dr. Cohen is an integrative physician, one of a small but growing circle of New York City doctors moving away from prescribing medication for every ailment. Her holistic approach was tethered to the latest science in nutrition, which she offered her patients as an innovative way to promote health. She was always looking for new methods to help her patients, and she’d even been approached to write a book on the topic. She didn’t want to write yet another generic health or diet title that focused on one area of wellness or one small segment of her patient population. She was looking for a far more universal message to accelerate healing for all her patients. And she was starting to experiment with a new protocol on some of them—treating them with not just nutrition, but also hydration. Her results showed early promise, and she wanted to amplify them.

One day, Gina and Dana found themselves in the same small office after several professional acquaintances had insisted that they meet. They soon realized that they had both been observing the same clues. Indeed, almost no one came into Dana’s office without talking about their inexplicable fatigue and low energy. Could dehydration be behind so many pervasive complaints? Could better hydration be the upstream solution, intercepting decline? Gina talked passionately about her research. Desert dwellers were brilliant at harnessing plants to keep themselves hydrated for a much longer amount of time compared to city dwellers. It wasn’t volume they were exploiting but absorption and retention. They ingested plants that were already well hydrated. She related her own personal experience seeing the dramatic effect that absorbed hydration had on her mother. Dana knew immediately that Gina was on to something.

“Think cactus,” Gina told Dana, and she went on to tell her how she solved her mother’s dehydration. “I got her to drink her orange juice, with chia seeds mixed in, to increase moisture retention by twofold.”

Dana, too, had her own personal experience: Her mom had faded away in a nursing home fifteen years earlier from Alzheimer’s, leaving Dana frustrated and hurt that as a young doctor she couldn’t help her own mother. She also saw her patients coming into her office every day—frazzled, fatigued, unwell—and she had witnessed firsthand how returning them to a proper level of hydration could heal them. She just hadn’t thought about using food as a tool for hydration until now.

Their conversation moved to the groundbreaking book written in 1992: Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. Dr. Batman, as he was affectionately called, showed from his own clinical experience that dehydration can lead to many chronic conditions. To both Dana and Gina, this aligned with their belief that hydration should be used more by the scientific community as a key barometer of our health and that persistent low-grade dehydration is a larger factor in many chronic illnesses than currently understood. Dr. Batman’s book, though still a substantial book on treating health issues with hydration, is over twenty years old. In the meantime, groundbreaking new findings on water have appeared.

Dana, sipping the smoothie Gina brought her, looked right at her new partner and stated, “Let’s write the new book on hydration.”

That meeting planted the seed of an idea, and it has blossomed in amazing ways. Today, Gina is the head of the Hydration Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the healing power and the new science discussed in Quench. And Dana continues her medical practice, incorporating these ideas in her hands-on work with hundreds of patients and sees dramatic results in the process.

The book you hold in your hands could be the answer to your own fatigue. Or headaches… brain fog… weight gain… insomnia… gut pain… joint pain. This book can elevate your smarts and cognitive performance at school and work, and protect you from sports injuries and concussion. We often mistakenly think these and other all-too-common modern maladies are due to gluten intake or too much sugar or too little exercise. But we identify a missing, and crucial, piece to the health puzzle that can no longer be overlooked. Hydration is our key to flourishing. In Quench, we give you entirely new and simple strategies based on breakthrough science and confirmed by ancient traditions. And we package it all in a five-day jump start plan, friendly and easy-to-do to get you to optimal hydration.

We have seen the dramatic, powerful health effects that come from understanding how optimal hydration can heal. And we’re excited to share these healing techniques with you. Read on and start feeling better—today!


Hydration: How Can We Do It Better?

Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.

—Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi

For years, you’ve been told you need to drink eight glasses of water a day to get the hydration you need. And if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re feeling sick, or you’re training for a big athletic event, eight glasses has always been just the tip of the (melted) iceberg. It’s strange: In most aspects of our health, we are taught that moderation is the key. But the message when it comes to water has always been more, more, more. In our quest to be healthy, we’ve always thought we could never drink too much water.

The conventional wisdom was half right. Proper hydration is the key to unlocking optimal health. But we need to start looking at hydration for what it is: the very essence of your health. You are a body of water. In fact, by the most modest traditional estimates, approximately 65 percent of you is water. If you’re not hydrated, everything else you do to stay healthy (exercising, eating right, stress management, sleep) is undercut.

It’s known that humans can survive for about two months without food, but just days without water will kill us. Yet, shockingly, most of us are dehydrated—in fact, some doctors think as many as 75 percent of Americans are dehydrated.1 Low-grade dehydration is the epidemic behind the epidemics, an omnipresent yet unseen dilemma tipped into new levels of urgency by our modern living conditions. What we eat—including salt-heavy, moisture-lacking processed food—makes our bodies work harder to metabolize. And a lack of hydrating greens and fruits keeps us dried out, even parched, all the time. In addition, we are ever more exposed to fluorescent lighting, dry heat, and air-conditioning… and that’s not even considering all the electronic devices we use that further dehydrate us. On top of that, the very prescriptions and over-the-counter medications we take to reduce pain, stiffness, allergies, or any chronic condition are also very dehydrating. There is a long list of medications reported to the FDA that actually cause clinical dehydration. You may be using one right now. Think about the last time you took a Benadryl or Sudafed for allergies—surely, you felt these medicines’ dehydrating effects. Are you taking aspirin or acetaminophen for a headache? Xanax or Ambien to help you sleep? Did anyone prescribe taking extra water with that?

Add in another surprising source of dehydration: immobility, which slows down or squelches water delivery into cells, as well as the all-important outflow of waste particles. All that sitting most of us do—usually in stale, artificial office air, or while riding in cars for hours—is literally dehydrating us by slowing our body’s flow of water and energy.

As a result of all these factors, most of us live in a chronic level of dehydration. This shows up in us as fatigue, a lack of focus, and lowered mood, as well as poor sleep2 and, surprisingly, even excess weight. In fact, according to a study by Dr. Tammy Chang and her colleagues3 from the University of Michigan, people who are obese are more likely to be inadequately hydrated. And another study from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech4 showed that drinking water before a meal can improve weight loss. Brenda Davy, senior researcher on the study, states, “We found that over the course of twelve weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about five pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.”

The effects of chronic low-grade dehydration are real, long lasting, and potentially very debilitating. We believe this hypohydration is the mother of all epidemics and can be linked to many common ailments. The cues are afternoon fatigue, a decline in cognitive performance, headaches, weakness, urinary tract infections, and constipation. But some other disorders resulting from dehydration may come as a surprise: sleeplessness, decreased immunity, joint pain, chronic diseases like fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, reflux, and even Alzheimer’s. We’ll talk more about this in chapter 1, but suffice it to say that dehydration can have a big—and lasting—effect on our overall health.

So if we’re hydrating all wrong, what are we supposed to do about it? That’s where this book comes in. We know there’s no one way to perfect health. But what if there was something that brought us closer? There’s a better way to hydrate… and the benefits of proper hydration can have a dramatic effect on your health, your vitality, and your overall quality of life.


Let us introduce you to a new way to claim the power of water. Quench will help you determine how to hydrate properly (hint: it doesn’t involve chugging a gallon of water every day), and then how to get the water you do drink deep into your muscles, cells, and fascia (the connective tissue of your body), where it’s needed most. When it comes to drinking enough water quantity is not necessarily quality. It’s all about absorption, and that’s why our plan will not push you to simply drink more. Why? Because counting on water alone to hydrate your body is inefficient—and it can even hurt you. Drinking too much water can flush out vital nutrients and electrolytes from your cells and tissues, actually harming your health and limiting your body’s ability to perform. In chapter 2, we’ll show why you need to incorporate more hydration into your diet not just through water but also through plants, such as fruits and vegetables, seeds, and other hydrating foods. The effects of hydration can be transformative, and once you feel them for yourself, you’ll never look at a simple glass of H2O the same way again.

So what are the benefits of proper hydration? For our kids, it can mean better mood and smarts. For athletes who want to perform better, stronger, and faster, proper hydration can be a game changer. For those of us who struggle with health issues like headaches, bloating, and even chronic diseases, getting the right kind of water can alleviate our symptoms and recharge our lives. And for our elders who struggle to get enough nourishment and hydration, this may actually be life-saving information. We can incorporate superhydrating foods into our diet in simple ways. We will help you find the best ways for you to hydrate deeply and completely—so that all your cells are quenched.

We have crafted a five-day jump start plan that offers you a delicious array of drinks, meal plans, and the heart of the program—smoothies—that all take advantage of the most hydrating and nutrient-packed foods to hydrate you more fully, more deeply, with longer retention. There is a second component to this plan that actually is the missing half of hydration. And that’s moving water into your tissues. In chapter 3, we’ll explain how movement delivers hydration. A key feature of this program is the inclusion of micromovements: small, simple movements you can do a few times a day that get the hydration into the tissues and organs that need it most. Chapter 4 outlines the science of micromovements. By doing our simple plan for five days, you will experience more energy, better focus, and improved digestion. We promise you will want to incorporate our hydration strategies and movements into a lifetime practice that will keep you moving without pain and living with a renewed vigor that you didn’t know you had.


“But I drink plenty of water,” you may be thinking. “How could I possibly be dehydrated?”

Even if we think we consume enough water, we are floating in low-grade fatigue, challenged by multiple moisture-stealing factors of today’s way of life. If we think of a healthy body as if it were a plant—rooted in nutrient-rich soil, absorbing minerals and moisture, taking in sunlight and water and converting them into abundant greenery—then by contrast, today our hydration-deprived bodies are like wilted leaves and shriveled dry stalks. Do you sometimes feel that way?

It is estimated that humans lose two to three liters (about sixty to one hundred ounces) of water through breathing, sweat, urine, and bowel movements a day. Remember this adage: What goes in must come out, and vice versa. The delicate balance of water lost from the body must equal the amount of water taken in to maintain homeostasis (equilibrium) in our bodies.

If you’re not fully replacing that water loss, your brain sends out hormone signals to divert water away from non-life-sustaining areas in order to regulate function of more important organs like your brain, heart, and liver. Thirst is not always an early-warning indicator of dehydration, so it is very easy to fall prey to low-grade dehydration without realizing it.5 Dehydration can sneak up on you.

And think about the typical day in the office, where you barely get out the chair, perhaps even ordering in lunch. When you’re immobile for long periods of time, your body struggles to deliver water into its cells and push out waste particles. All that sitting is literally dehydrating us by slowing our body’s flow of water.

So should you start chugging twice as much H2O as you already do now? Not so fast. New research reveals that you can hydrate better and smarter by taking a whole-health approach to hydration. And in doing so, you’ll feel, function, and look your best. In Quench, we address everyday dehydration, not the advanced dehydration that could land you in the hospital with an IV drip. Instead we’re here to show you how to replenish what you lose through daily functions: trips to the bathroom, perspiration, stress, and environmental hits like hot rooms, traffic jams, dry processed food, medications, and just modern living.

Even the smallest amount of dehydration can have a big impact: as little as a 2 percent reduction in hydration leads to measurable cognitive loss.6 That is less than one liter (or about thirty-three ounces) of water loss. Just enough for your sensory capacities to diminish. Apprehension diminishes and appreciation is depressed. Life is less colorful. That’s your brain 2 percent dry. And that happens to most of us somewhere in our day. Often by three o’clock we are floating in low-grade dehydration, and by 9 p.m. we are sputtering near empty. Over and over, every day, through our lifetime, we dry out. This accelerates aging every day.

Dehydration can adversely affect almost every aspect of your health. Recent research from major universities, medical institutions, and even the U.S. Army reveal that even minor dehydration can make both major and minor aches—think joint pain, migraines, and postsurgical pain—worse.7 It also thwarts your ability to focus8 and increases your appetite.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.


You would think with all that we know about the importance of drinking water that we would be much better at keeping well hydrated. The truth is, we should be better hydrated than ever. After all, for most of us in the Western world, clean water is omnipresent—if not from our taps then in bottles. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, the sales of bottled water rose 7.9 percent in 2015, which is on top of a 7 percent increase in 2014. In 2016, Americans bought 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water. Bottled water is ubiquitous: Whether it’s at a vending machine or on grocery store shelves, you can find water that comes from natural springs, water that’s been purified by reverse osmosis, water with added electrolytes, and water mixed with coconut juice or aloe. Is there any science behind these additions and the claims that they’re “good for you”? Are these expensive options really your only choices—and are they even the best choices—for healthy hydration?

Bottled water may be a healthy and increasingly common alternative to soft drinks, but the plastic bottle turns out to have a hidden dark side: energy consumption, waste disposal, and other environmental concerns. As bottled water grows in popularity, problems proliferate. Did you know…

• It takes three liters of water to produce a one-liter bottle of water.

• Worldwide, bottled water consumption more than doubled between 1997 and 2005, with U.S. residents tipping back the largest share—about 7.8 billion gallons total, or 26 gallons per person, in 2005.

• Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon compared to less than a penny per gallon for tap water.

• Fourteen percent of all litter comes from beverage containers.9

What a paradox that we drink so much water yet we can’t keep pace with the dehydrating effects of modern life. Truth is, all this water has not eliminated dehydration—and bottled water isn’t a viable short-term or long-term solution. Water shortages, record-setting droughts, and growing concerns over water pollution are ever-present reminders that we cannot take water, the fundamental element of life, for granted. We are urgently in need of a new approach to obtaining our everyday water. By habitually drinking bottled water, our society supports an industry that actually pollutes our environment and views water as a commodity rather than as a right and as indispensable to health for all living things. Bottled water is not only a less effective means of staying hydrated on the go, but it depletes aquifers and other sources of water, produces unnecessary waste, and is exorbitantly priced.

Alternatively, the Quench Plan for deep hydration, based on our understanding that when we drink is as important as what and how much, reshapes our attitudes surrounding this precious resource, while breaking our dependence on bottled water. Our method is sustainable and encourages readers to think more critically about the global impact of their drinking habits and fosters a healthier future for our water-challenged world.


Along with problems around bottled water and beverages, misinformation abounds about what you should drink—as well as how and when. As mentioned earlier, thirst isn’t always the most reliable warning of low hydration. Often when we feel fatigued or a headache coming on, we think we need to eat, but really we need to drink. Researchers speculate that these ill effects are your brain’s built-in “alarm system,” tipping you off to the fact that your body needs hydration ASAP. If you’re feeling headachy, grumpy, unfocused, or otherwise less than great, chances are you’re already dehydrated.

And the problems go beyond a fuzzy-headed feeling and a dry mouth. Research suggests dehydration is the link to many—if not most—ailments. As we’ll discuss in more detail in chapter 1, dehydration contributes directly to a whole host of complaints, including:

• Headaches, including migraines

• Weakness and fatigue, both everyday and relating to conditions like fibromyalgia

• Foggy thinking and lack of focus

• Urinary tract infections

• Constipation

• Sleeplessness

• Decreased immunity

• Heart disease

• Type 2 diabetes

• Acid reflux

• Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease



  • "For those of you who know or suspect that you don't drink enough to compensate for daily water losses, the good news is you don't have to rely entirely on your liquid intake to remain well hydrated.... That's the message in a new book Quench, by Dr. Dana Cohen, an integrative medicine specialist...and Gina Bria, an anthropologist...of the Hydration Foundation. I feel comfortable recommending an increased reliance on these hydrating foods because, at the very least, they can result in a more nutritious diet and foster better weight control."—Jane Brody, The New York Times
  • "[Quench] is wow-worthy intel about the liquid we can't live without."—O Magazine
  • "Quench is the first book I have ever read that makes the connection between true hydration and the function of the connective tissue network known as fascia. Moreover, Dr. Cohen and Bria's explanation of what fascia is and what it does is compelling and brilliant. Finally, a book about the importance of hydration--and how to actually do it. Hint: It's not about drinking more water."—ChristianeNorthrup, MD, NewYork Timesbestselling author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and The Wisdomof Menopause
  • "Water is a scientific mystery and a complex subject that most of us take for granted and don't really understand its profound healing potential. Enter Dr. Dana Cohen and Gina Bria! They have written a long overdue and extremely important book on the merits of optimal hydration. As a clinical cardiologist, I can attest that the section on fat and hydration is absolutely outstanding! Highly recommended, this book will help put you on the right track toward optimum health, hydration and recovery. A must read!"—Dr. Stephen Sinatra, cardiologist and co-author of Health Revelations from Heaven
  • "Everyone knows that we must drink enough water. But Cohen and Bria, two authorities on hydration, tell us how we can obtain our water even more effectively from foods. I found their presentation refreshing and comprehensive--including a practical guide for achieving proper hydration in a painless (and delicious) way in your own kitchen. This book will set the standard for understanding the life-giving issue of keeping hydrated."—Gerald H. Pollack, PhD., professor at the University of Washington and author of The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor

On Sale
Jun 12, 2018
Page Count
304 pages
Hachette Books

Dana Cohen, MD

About the Author

Dr. Dana Cohen served on the Board of Directors of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM), the leading voice of Integrative Medicine, for four years. She is currently an advisor to their Board of Directors and on the education committee and has served as the program director for their yearly conferences, which train more 1,500 master-level health-care providers. She received her MD from St. George’s University School of Medicine, and completed her three-year internal medicine residency at Albany Medical Center.

Gina Bria is a cultural anthropologist researching ritual, ritual foods, and food strategies for over twenty-five years. She is Founder and Executive Director of the Hydration Foundation and CEO of HYCHIA, LLC. Trained at Columbia University, she is a former Berlin Fellow with the Social Science Research Council, a National Endowment for the Humanities finalist and has been featured at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She weds ethnographic strategies to the new science on hydration to serve the elderly, school children, athletes and hydrating while traveling. She has coached many of TED speakers on better brain performance. An innovator and inspiring speaker, her work has appeared in such diverse places as the New York Times, Grand Central Station, Harvard University, and the Wissenschaftskollege, Berlin. She is the recipient of the Buckminster Fuller Institute Design Science Award.

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