In last week’s post we recommended drinking more water as a means to taming the appetite and to elevate your overall health. This recommendation opens another box as to your source of water. Unfortunately, clean healthy water has become a billion dollar industry and attaining it is not as simple as turning on the sink.
In this week’s post we will cover a couple of tips to making sure that liquid gold you’re consuming is more helpful than harmful.
TIP #1: CHECK YOUR SOURCE
Due to the importance of not only consuming water, but consuming a large amount, it would behoove everyone to investigate where your water comes from and what’s in it.
When it comes to investigatin,g you basically have two choices. First choice is to have your water privately tested. This can be done through a company or on your own. The problem here arises with the results being contingent upon proper administration of the test. The other issue here is that the test only gives you a reading for that exact moment and the various levels tend to fluctuate.
Having a private company come out and perform the test, again only gives you a singular reading. Moreover, these companies also sell filtration systems. Do we see the conflict of interest here?
Your best bet may be to go online and obtain a free, city-provided water report. The numbers on these reports reflect the results of multiple tests done over a period of time. This can be found with a simple Google search and is truly eye-opening. Fluoride, chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, arsenic and radioactive contaminants were all tasty treats that apparently flow out of my sink.
(Click here to view a sample of a water report: http://www.cocoafl.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/4327 )
Once you have a better idea of WHAT is in your water, you can make an educated decision as to what your priority is as far as removal.
When it comes to filtration systems, there exist a wide range of choices and price ranges. No matter what choice you make, if you’re spending any of your hard earned dollars, you should know what you’re purchasing and what it does and does not remove.
For example, the majority of Americans who utilize a filter, use a basic carbon block (usually granulated activated carbon aka GAC). This is a good start as it should reduce or remove pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, benzene and radon. However, they generally do not affect things like arsenic, asbestos, fluoride, mercury, radio-nucleotides or chloramines. All of these goodies were present on my city published water report, some in high amounts.
Bottom-line here is that any filter is better than no filter, so don’t feel overwhelmed. Just know that there are more comprehensive (and costly) systems out there that you may want to look into once you see what else is floating around in your water supply.
TIP #2: DITCH THE PLASTIC
Once the effort has been made attain and consume clean, healthy water, the next step is keeping it that way. There has been much in the news about the carcinogenic chemical BPA that exists in many plastics. Fortunately, due to the bad press, many companies claim to have removed or reduced the level of BPA in plastic. Unfortunately BPA is not the only potentially harmful chemical that exists in these bottles. A safer bet here is to use a stainless steel water bottle.
If you are in a situation where you must utilize plastic, here are a couple of tips to limit potential hazard:
First, flip the water bottle over and check for a number on the bottom. This number is a recycling code and is an indicator of the chemical contained in the plastic. Try to avoid numbers 3, 6, 7 with special attention to 7. A number 7 signifies the presence of bisphenol-A (BPA), however, all three of these can release hormone disruptors and carcinogens into you food or water. The least offensive are 1, 2, 4 and 5. Again, you should try to avoid the plastics altogether, but if you are in a bind, knowledge of these numbers can be useful.
Second, do all you can to avoid heating the bottle. This includes leaving it in a parked car or anywhere in direct sunlight. The potential danger here is that when most materials (especially plastic) are heated, it opens the door for harmful chemicals to leach into the water.
As stated, adequate water intake is an absolute essential. This is not just an issue of quantity. Quality is just as, if not more important. If you’re already drinking filtered water, you’re off to a good start. Switching to a stainless steel bottle is another easily implementable step. If you’re curious or concerned, take the time to view your local water report and take it from there.
While it can be discouraging to discover that what you thought was healthy, nourishing water is actually contaminated by various chemicals; discouragement was not and is never the intent of these posts. I personally went through this whole investigative process and full range of emotions a short while back, so I feel your pain. If you have any questions as to making proactive changes to your water supply, feel free to ask.
Stay thirsty my friends.