Water – Our Lifeline to Health…And A Great Solution to Adding Minerals to Your Water!

www.mypicshares.com

Just like food, the quality of the water we drink can have a major impact on our health. Most of us don’t drink enough water, and there’s certainly a good amount of justified concern when it comes to water quality.

One of the most talked about problems lately is the BPA in bottled water. I’ve noticed a lot of people seeking alternatives to drinking bottled water to avoid issues of plastic leaching into what they are drinking, but then there are still an abundance of people I see using bottled water.

I try not to drink water from bottles unless there is simply no other choice. Then there’s the question of whether the bottled water you buy is actually good quality water or if it is no more than just tap water.

Tap water is riddled with chemicals like chlorine and fluoride just to name a few. I always worry about other substances in the water too – from what goes into the water that probably doesn’t get sufficiently filtered out like residues from cleaners, prescription drugs, and other chemicals that are poured down the drain.

Water – a major component of our bodies

Our bodies are comprised of a lot of water – around 90 percent. Our bodies couldn’t manufacture blood without water. Water is necessary for carrying nutrients to all our organ systems and for regulating body temperature. It is also responsible for transporting oxygen to cells, protecting  joint and organs, and removing waste. It’s pretty easy to see that without it, we can perish in just a couple of days.

Hydration

We drink water to keep ourselves hydrated. Signs of dehydration can be varied but include constipation or hard stools, muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, and headaches. You can also tell by color of your urine – if you are seeing a yellow tinge to your urine, you are dehydrated. And dehydration can occur long before thirst sets in. Vitamins from the B family are water-soluble and they leave our bodies through the urinary tract. One of the signs of those nutrients leaving is the yellowish color you see in your urine.

How much water do you need to drink?

Our bodies lose water each and every day, so it’s important to constantly replenish the lost supply. We lose water through perspiration, urination, and respiration. When you are active or sick, you tend to lose more fluids and it becomes necessary to take in a larger amount of water to make up for what you have lost.

You should drink at least half your weight in ounces daily. So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water. A good way to accomplish this is to keep water available at all times. I use a recycled glass bottle – liter size – and fill it with water twice daily. I try to drink this amount each day, but I often fall short. A liter is 32 ounces, so two of these adds up to 64 ounces which is more than half my body weight in ounces. If you exercise, you should add water to your daily amount. Approximately 30 minutes of exercise, for example, would require an additional intake of 6 – 8 ounces of water.

Can’t I just drink coffee, tea, soda, juice, or sports drinks?

These beverages contain a lot of sugar and chemicals, and these substances do not contribute to your overall hydration profile or health because these substances are not only unnecessary but are toxins which deplete your body of valuable nutrients including minerals.

Some drinks like coffee or tea actually put an additional strain on your body by lowering the function of your adrenal glands, which causes the loss of more nutrients and fluid. And because drinks with caffeine are diuretics, they prompt yet more fluid reduction. Many teas and coffees also have added chemicals, artificial flavors, sugar, or residues from pesticides in them – or could come from genetically-modified organisms. Although some teas are purported to be high in antioxidant and health benefits, a study conducted in the last six years revealed that many of China’s green tea exports were tested and found to contain alarmingly high levels of pesticides. So if you are going to drink tea or coffee, do so on occasion and buy organic.

Juice seems healthy – but for regular consumption, it’s not. Here’s why – first, in order to make an 8 ounce glass of juice, you must have the juice of about 20 – 30 pieces of fruit, depending on the fruit. Most people don’t eat more than one to two pieces of fruit at once, and the amount of sugar in each serving of fruit is usually less than 20 grams. When you drink juice, just think of how much sugar you are getting from the juice of 20 – 30 fruits at at time! And, you aren’t getting any of the benefit of the nutrients or fiber from the fruit – just the sugar and empty calories.

Another hazard of fruit juices is the way many of them are produced – unless they are organic, they are full of pesticides and other chemicals, and some of them are from genetically-modified seeds. Some juice drinks are not even 100 percent juice. Reading the label can reveal that many of these drinks contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flavorings, colorings, and other dangerous chemicals. Read this article titled, “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry” on the Weston A. Price Foundation to learn about how orange juice is made. You’ll never want to drink a glass of it again, unless you squeeze it fresh in your own home from organic oranges.

One of the worst things you can drink, sodas and pop, contain carbonation which is especially hard on the kidneys. It also irritates the stomach lining, and in response the stomach creates a surplus of antacid which it takes from calcium in the blood. After being depleted of its calcium supply, it takes additional calcium to make up for the deficit from the bones. As if that weren’t bad enough, soft drinks contain phosphoric acid which leeches additional calcium from bones.

Then, you can’t leave out  the terrible effect sodas with their high sugar content have on insulin levels in the body (there’s about 9 – 10 teaspoons in each 12 ounce can). And finally, soda pop consumption has been linked to esophageal cancer due to the burping cause by the carbonation. Continued burping causes stomach acid to rise up, and can eventually lead to lesions in the esophagus. Other drinks containing carbonation such as champagne, beer, wine spritzers, and sparkling waters fall into this same category.

Sources for good water

Spring water is naturally rich in minerals that come from the earth – and it is these trace minerals that are essential to good health – such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, or iron. We also get minerals from the foods we eat, but due to chemical applications and modern farming practices, a great deal of naturally occurring minerals and nutrients are depleted. Unfortunately, spring water is not always accessible, affordable, nor necessarily clean enough to drink.

Due to a shortage of clean, affordable water, most of us drink water from the tap, buy bottled, fill up our own, or use a filtration system. There are an enormous number of water products on the market at a variety of prices – bottled water, filtration systems, and retail locations that allow you to fill up with your own container. It’s overwhelming to decide which is best for your health and is also something you can afford.

I personally feel tap water is unsafe to drink. Because water is expensive and we can’t fit a high-quality filtration system into our budget at the moment, my compromise is reverse-osmosis water that we buy from our local health food store. It’s only .39 cents a gallon – a good price, but it is stored in an enormous plastic tank, which is the main problem I see with it. I worry that there might be BPA leaching into our water from this tank, but I don’t know for certain. I have been meaning to ask the folks at the store about it.

My husband says he doesn’t want to buy any kind of filtration system for our home for two reasons:

  1. He doesn’t think the fact that we’d have to buy a filter every so often is cost-effective, and
  2. The filter has to be thrown away and has chemicals in it, which will end up in a landfill somewhere and pollute the earth more.

I see his point about the pollution, but I’m not convinced that the cost of the filters is such a big deal when you consider how it can save your skin and body from being exposed to more chemicals like fluoride, chlorine, and other toxic chemicals.

Since I have never owned any water filtration systems, I can’t comment on the quality of any existing systems. I’ve certainly drank water from plenty of different kinds of filtration systems owned by other people, but that’s not enough to go on in terms of whether that water really makes a difference in someone’s health. I’ve had a few people tell me that their exorbitantly-high priced water system is the best you can buy. But I’m a skeptic, so I’m not convinced that easily.

Does anyone have any thoughts about water filtration and the names of some good quality systems? My husband believes there aren’t any filtration systems that don’t use filters, but what about UV filter systems?

Since the water I drink is filtered, it no longer contains minerals in it. I’m concerned about this, so I try to eat a varied, traditional foods diet with real food as much as possible to provide those important minerals to my body.

Good places to get minerals from our food are the following:

  • bone broths made from bones of animals and birds allowed to roam on pasture
  • eggs and dairy products from pastured animals
  • organ meats from animals and birds on pasture
  • properly prepared grains, legumes, and rice – soaked, sprouted, and fermented
  • seafood – salmon, tuna, oysters, mollusks, mussels, clams
  • kelp, seaweed, dulse
  • organic fruits and vegetables (when produce is cultivated in mineral enriched soil, the minerals the food contains are naturally higher in content)

Cranberry water

Besides foods, I believe I have found another great way to get my minerals in my drinking water. I add unsweetened, organic cranberry juice to my water on most days. When I first heard about using it as an effective method of lymphatic detoxification in Ann Louise Gittleman’s The Fast Track Detox Diet, I didn’t realize it was also a great source for minerals and other nutrients until I re-read the section in the book about adding it to water for daily drinking.

Sure enough, I read the label of the brand I use, Lakewood organic unsweetened cranberry juice, and it revealed a wealth of nutrients – Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, Calcium, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Thiamine, and Zinc.  Wow, that’s a lot of trace minerals and vitamins! And it’s easy to do – I just add about 4 ounces for every 32 I drink – for a total of 8 ounces per day to my 64 of water.

Something else I add to my cranberry water mixture when I have them on hand is organic lemons. Lemons are also a great detoxifier and contain trace minerals and other important nutrients. If you prefer to tame down the sour taste of cranberry juice and lemons, add a bit of Stevia to your water. I normally drink mine straight, as I like the tart flavor.

According to Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman (author of The Fast Track Detox Diet), “Cranberry juice, for example, is packed with flavonoids, enzymes, malic acid, citric acid and quinic acid, which, based on my research, have an emulsifying effect on stubborn fat deposits in the lymphatic system. Cranberry juice actually digests lumpy deposits of lymphatic waste, which could very well be the reason Fat Flushers report that their cellulite disappears.”

The downside to buying cranberry juice is that it is not cheap. In fact, if you buy the organic kind (which I do about half the time if it’s on sale), it can cost $9 – 12  a bottle. Here are some ways to save money – buy fresh-pressed, unsweetened cranberry juice, and when you can, buy organic. If you can’t swing having cranberry juice every day in your water, try doing it once or twice a week.  And, think of how much money you are saving on buying expensive mineral water by doing this. The savings could be considerable.

How I’ve applied this to my own life

I think this is an amazing finding, and something very simple and natural to add minerals back into your body as well as provide your lymphatic system with a mechanism for detoxification. For the last six years I have had fibrocystic breast condition, for which I have had two mammograms. Although the results were benign, I have been very careful not to add too much to my toxic load – which is something that can cause many conditions to occur, including fibrocystic breast issues. After knowing what I do about mammograms, I’ll never have one again. If you’d like to hear the story of what I went through to get to this point, read To Mammogram…Or Not.

So far I haven’t found much consistency in the conventional nor alternative medical communities about this condition. Most medical doctors say it’s not normal but that it doesn’t put people who have it in a higher risk for cancer. But I’ve talked to various alternative practitioners and health professionals who say it could turn into cancer if the person isn’t mindful of their health, diet, and overall toxic load.

I’ve also heard the connection between iodine deficiency and fibrocystic breast conditions and breast cancer. For the past six months, I’ve been taking an iodine supplement and I haven’t noticed any difference in the size of the lumps. The interesting thing is, I was having a lot of pain and tenderness in the summer of last year when I started taking the iodine and began my cranberry juice regimen. And guess what? I’ve had an almost complete remission of pain, swelling, and tenderness. So I believe I am on the right track.

Water is the solution!

So now that we’ve covered all the dangers of tap water, bottled water, carbonated beverages, juices, tea, caffeine, it’s pretty easy to see that the best fluid for your body is water. Other good alternatives include lacto-fermented beverages like kombucha soda pop which are detoxifying and hydrating and herbal teas from sustainable and organic sources.

Although I haven’t started making my own kombucha yet nor using my own home-grown herbs for tea yet, I do buy organic herbal teas and enjoy them on a regular basis. Iced tea is also good; there is nothing quite as special as a sun-tea made in your own backyard with your favorite natural flavors and spices from the earth. I’m also planning to make some kombucha this year as well.

Do you have a great water solution that you’d like to share? Please tell us about it!

This post is part of Cheeseslave’s Real Food Wednesdays and We Are That Family’s Works for Me Wednesdays carnivals. Please visit this sites and read the other articles linked there.

16 Comments

  • Leesie
    February 2, 2010 - 7:38 PM | Permalink

    We purchased the Aquasana water filter system a little over a year ago and we love it. Here is the link: http://www.aquasana.com/
    plus, we signed up for the “prepay for Water for Life every six months” option. You can read more about it here (scroll down) http://www.aquasana.com/water4life.php

    I also brew my own Kombucha (using the filtered water) and enjoy it immensely. I made my own mother using Food Renegade’s tutorial but have since ordered a brand new mother from Cultures for Health.

    Thank you for sharing the great info on the cranberry water. I have read that Ann Louise Gittleman book, but I didn’t remember that part! I have dense breast tissue, had a biopsy years ago (that scared me to death!) — but I would never choose not to have a yearly mammogram. I know of too many people who have died from the disease and/or more importantly, whose lives were saved by it. However, I do understand it is your personal choice not to, and respect that.

  • Peg
    February 2, 2010 - 8:18 PM | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this article. You have made some very good points here, that I will be trying myself. We do have a filter system, but I am always looking for new ways to make drinking water more interesting. I don’t drink sodas and have not for several years now. I want to encourage you to make your own kombucha, as I have been doing this for about a year now. It is not hard to do, and I have used the organic juices made by Lakewood to make it more interesting too. I even got my sister making her own now, and she has been making it for some for a few girls in her office! Here are the links to the sites I found most helpful when making my own kombucha. Good luck with it. Thanks for your post.
    http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/07/kombucha-refreshing-summer-drink.html
    http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-brew-kombucha-double-fermentation-method/

  • February 2, 2010 - 8:20 PM | Permalink

    Hi Leesie -

    Thanks much for the information about the water filter systems. I have been wanting to buy one for sometime, but my husband, as I pointed out, is not convinced yet. I hope to learn more about these systems and figure out a good solution for the near future with our water.

    I am planning to order some cultures from Cultures for Health this year as well. I want to make sourdough and kombucha as well, but I also just got some buttermilk starter from someone at a local farm that I hope to make some great projects with as well. It’s really fun making food this way!

    I hope the cranberry water is helpful for you, and I definitely believe dense and fibrocystic breast tissue is due to lifestyle habits and environmental factors as well. I’m not a person who gives a lot of credence to hereditary factors because even most doctors readily admit heredity only accounts for 10 – 20 percent of health issues. The rest is lifestyle – which leaves 80 – 90 percent that we are in control of.

    The reason why I will never have a mammogram again is outlined in my story above – here’s the link: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=1746

    The doctors I dealt with, and many of those whom I have heard about from others, operate with such inconsistency and incompetency, it makes me question the motives and solid scientific data of their advise and performing mammograms.

    As I explain in my story, the mammograms always made my problem worse (more pain, cysts becoming bigger), and there are plenty of studies done regarding the development of cell dysplasia after compression and more exposure to radiation. Their insistence on my having repeated mammograms after finding nothing cancerous and the fact that I was under 40 with no previous cancer history on myself nor in my family was also perplexing. And just recently in the news (it was December of 2009) the big announcement was made that women under 50 shouldn’t get mammograms due to the radiation and compression exposure.

    To me, all of this proves they are just talking themselves in circles. They don’t really even know what they are saying half the time – they double-talk and then go back on their word about all types of advise they give out.

    Finally, there is a fantastic technology available that has been performed in Europe for years and is FDA approved – thermography. It is completely safe, painless, and detects cancerous changes up to 10 years before the mammogram – which is, at best “not the most accurate, but the best we have” (in the words of various doctors I’ve read stating this and ones I’ve actually spoken with).

    After hearing that, doesn’t it seem like perhaps the doctors have patients over a barrel and scare them into thinking if they DON’T get the mammogram they might develop cancer and die? I went into the office of the breast specialist just after the second time I had a mammogram completed and was in absolute hysterics. They did not help me to feel comfortable nor give me any useful information. Not once did they ever really talk about any dietary changes that included real food. I think that is misleading and unfair to patients when there is a completely safe and much more telling procedure that can detect changes so much earlier. Doctors don’t ever mention the thermogram option. And you won’t hear them endorsing it either.

    And, it’s cheaper! The thermogram only cost me $100, while the mammogram wasn’t covered by my insurance (because I hadn’t paid met my deductible), and I had it done two times. The result? I had to pay for almost three years on two mammograms that most insurance companies are supposed to provide as a “covered service” for women.

    • Leesie
      February 3, 2010 - 11:15 AM | Permalink

      Thank you so much for the information on mammograms and especially for the thermogram info. I had no idea. As I said I respect your choice and I can certainly see why you are not a proponent! I will look into the thermogram as I am due for my yearly mammogram. To make a long story short, my best friends mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer within months of each other, via mammogram, and were subsequently all tested for the BRCA2 gene. Turns out all of them had the gene, sparing only one sister. Consequently, my BF decided on a prophylactic mastectomy and oophorectomy in her early 40s. She feared getting the dreaded disease. Testing is important and for that I am glad we have options and can make our own choices.

      Good luck on deciding on a water filter system, or not, and your culture ventures…smile

      • February 3, 2010 - 11:35 AM | Permalink

        Thank you Leesie, I am glad you read the post I wrote about mammograms. Now, I know there are some people who are at risk for cancer, and those people certainly must take caution and do things by their own conscience, it’s so true. I also believe doctors don’t emphasize enough the amount of control we as consumers have over our health. In fact, I believe people with hereditary factors must be even more conscious of their health and the dietary and environmental choices they make. To me, that includes the choices they make for diagnostic, as well as lifestyle habits – such as using the thermogram instead of a mammogram.

        I hope you are able to take advantage of this important technology. I had a thermogram done in 2007 that did not show cancer, and then, I was finally relieved. But I’m still vigilant and always looking out for new information I can use to eliminate my condition so I don’t some day have to deal with cancer like many others who have been less fortunate. When I have the money again, I’m going to go have another thermogram done.

        It is definitely good to have choices, too. I just wish that all the information about mammograms that I’ve learned is readily available to the public so they can make a truly informed decision, and that real food is always part of what doctors tell patients about in order to manage their health – that’s what I object to most is that people are bombarded with information about making sure to get that mammogram each year, and yet aren’t told all the details about what happens when mammograms are done to the human body and how it affects your cancer risk.

        Radiation is cumulative, and it builds up in the body. But you won’t hear doctors telling people this, they just say the benefits of getting the mammograms outweigh any risks.

        And very little is conveyed to patients in terms of dietary suggestions that is actually helpful. Doctors are ready and waiting to tell patients to eat low-fat diets, eat soy and industrial products, and not emphasize organic and naturally, humanely, produced foods. I sincerely believe these factors are prominent in the marked rise in development of chronic diseases we have today.

  • February 2, 2010 - 8:25 PM | Permalink

    Hi Peg – thanks for the links to those wonderful web sites. I have visited them before and they are great resources for all things traditional and whole, real foods and living. I hope someday to have a web site as packed full of interesting information as Lindsay and Kristen – they have a lot of experience and much to teach us all. And thank you for the encouragement for making kombucha. I’m really motivated to make some now!

  • Jen
    February 3, 2010 - 7:00 PM | Permalink

    Hi Raine. I make kombucha using the double fermentation with organic fruit juice like a previous commenter. We love it! I’ve had to increase production lately because 1 gallon a week is not enough.

    I haven’t completely given up my coffee, but I only buy organic, fair trade from a charitable company. I have cut down use from daily to 2-3 times per week. Baby steps, right? :)

    We bought a Berkey water filter 6 months ago, and I love it. It is not a whole house system, but I use it for all drinking, ice and cooking purposes. It is an affordable option, and while it does have filters… the main ones only have to be changed approximately every 5 years. If you purchase additional PF-2 filters, they must be changed approximately every 8 months, depending on use. I am still researching a shower and bath filter. There are affordable options available for this purpose too. Your husband is right though; the filters will have to be disposed of. While I definitely care about the environment, and do my best to minimize the impact of our family, for me the health of our family comes first.

    Here is the website, if you would like to check it out: http://www.berkeyfilters.com/index.html

    Great post, as always!

  • February 3, 2010 - 9:06 PM | Permalink

    Hi Jen – thanks for the link to the water filtration system. I will check all of these great links out when we have the funds to do so…hopefully sometime in the near future! Come on, small business! And I agree with what you say about the health of your family. Besides, not everything we do can possibly be friendly to the environment, it’s just not possible. If you are doing most of what you can in other areas, that’s all you can do, right?

    I really, really need to make kombucha. I just need to sit down, look at the recipe, and get it done. I know it’s not hard to do, but my days have just been so filled lately. Our homeschooling and my blogging schedules have been completely consuming my time. And then when I am not doing those things, I am cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping…you know how it goes. I am not too skilled at multi-tasking in the kitchen. This is something I’m still working on…and I tend to get overwhelmed when there is more than one task to get accomplished. Like with dinner, when I am preparing more than one thing at a time, it really stresses me out. So by the time I am done with dinner and cleanup, I really don’t feel like doing another project or kitchen task..so I just go to the couch and snuggle with my husband and we’ll watch one of our series we usually rent from Netflix. Anyway, I’m full of excuses, but I am going to make it soon here, one day in the near future!

    What recipe do you use? I know there are lots of great recipes on the Internet – especially all those wonderful web sites like Food Renegade and Cheeseslave…and then of course there’s my copy of Nourishing Traditions that has a kombucha recipe in it too. I was just wondering which was your favorite. :)

    • Jen
      February 3, 2010 - 11:39 PM | Permalink

      I really hope your family business takes off soon Raine! Best of luck, and I’ll think good thoughts for you!! :)

      I definitely know how it goes… the laundry, cooking, and cleaning anyway. My son is only 2, so no official schooling yet, but boy does he keep me on my toes! No blog for me either, though I toy with the idea occasionally.

      Kombucha is SO easy; you have to try it. I can’t remember where I got my recipe (I think it’s a combo of several), but this is exactly what I do:

      Bring 1 gallon of filtered water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Steep 8 organic black tea bags in the water for 30 minutes (I use a timer). Remove tea bags, and add 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice. Let cool to room temperature, pour into 1 gallon glass jar, then add scoby/mother. Cover with a cloth, and secure with a rubber band. Let sit on counter for 5 days. Remove scoby and store in fridge submerged in about 1 cup of kombucha. Pour 1/3 cup of organic fruit juice (we like grape) into each of 4 – 1 quart jars. Divide kombucha into jars and cap tightly. Let sit on counter for 2 days, then move to fridge.

      That’s it! Hands on time is 10-15 minutes at most over a 7 day period. The most annoying part to me is patiently waiting for the hot tea to cool to room temperature so I can add the scoby and be done already. I hope you give it a try soon, and let us know how it goes. My husband and son LOVE it, and it is the reason my husband no longer drinks soda… YAY!!!

  • February 4, 2010 - 7:47 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the recipe Jen, I appreciate it! I just realized I don’t have any mother/scoby or kombucha so I’ll have to wait until we get paid to order those items. :( But, hopefully that will be in the next couple of weeks or so. I know there are some good starters on Cultures for Health, so that’s probably where I’ll be buying them. The recipe seems very easy though, so I’ll try it when I get all my ducks in a row. :)

  • February 18, 2010 - 1:12 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for this post I will be forwarding it to my sister.

  • ana
    August 5, 2010 - 12:40 PM | Permalink

    I would recommend a Berkey system. A stainless steel or BPA free tank that sits on your countertop. You put tap water in and it takes the bad stuff out w/o removing minerals. There is another filter to add that takes out fluoride even. All for about $250. Oh, and no filters to keep buying month after month :)

    http://www.berkeywater.com

    No affiliation to Berkey, lol. I’ve had one on my wish list for some time. As of now we drink bottled spring water. Our city water is horrible and I absolutely don’t want to be consuming fluoride, so the typical filters aren’t “good enough” for us. Of course, I hate drinking out of plastic, but our house has PVC pipes, which is far worse than #2 plastic.

  • August 19, 2010 - 5:18 PM | Permalink

    we have a small stevia garden at home and the dried leaves are very very sweet:”.

  • August 19, 2010 - 5:54 PM | Permalink

    we have a small stevia garden at home and the dried leaves are very very sweet”~”

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  • June 16, 2013 - 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Amazing! What an idea ! What a concept ! Lovely . Amazing.
    This has been very much appreciated information!

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