Tap Water, Bottled Water, Filtered Water?

What’s the safest to drink, and why?

Guest Post by Ellen Kittredge, CHC

“Water, water everywhere, and nary a drop to drink.”

You may recognize this quotation from the famous poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The line refers to being stranded at sea, surrounded by water, yet with no drinkable water left on board the ship.

These words have been oft-quoted since the publication of the poem in the late 1790’s, usually to refer to a situation in which clean drinking water has been hard to come by. While in this country we are lucky enough to have ample drinking water, sadly it may not be as clean as we’d expect. I’m not saying that there is “nary a drop to drink”, however accessing clean and safe drinking water is not just as simple as purchasing a bottle of “spring” water from your local convenience store or turning on the faucet at home to fill up your glass.

Two questions I am frequently asked by my clients are: “Is bottled water better than tap water?” and “If I’m using tap water, what filter should I use on my tap?”

These are great questions, and ones I think I may finally be able to answer with some surety, thanks in a large part to the great investigative work done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.

EWG’s most recent recommendations around safe drinking water boil down to the following: “Drink filtered tap water.” This may come as a surprise, as bottled water seems to be a better choice, given claims that you read on the bottle, such as: “pure”, “crystal-fresh” or “pristine source”. However, it turns out these claims don’t have any real verification or substantiation, so it is impossible to know if you can trust the claims you read on a bottle of water.

While federal law requires that municipal water suppliers identify the source of their water, the FDA does not require that bottled water companies disclose this information. Additionally, suppliers of tap water are required to not only test their water supply, but also share these results with consumers.  Bottled water companies don’t have this same requirement. In fact, 4 out of 5 bottled water companies do not publish the results of their water quality testing. And according to the Environmental Working Group, there were 38 contaminants found in 10 popular brands of drinking water.

Interestingly enough, consumers will spend up to 1,900 times more for a bottle of water, yet can not be confident that what they are buying is any safer than what might be coming out of their tap. This is not to say that tap water is pure. There are, unfortunately, contaminants in most of the public drinking water supplies, ranging from agricultural fertilizers to lead, to trace amounts of pharmaceutical medications. Since 2004, testing by municipal water facilities in this country has turned up more than 300 contaminants in public drinking water supplies.

This is why filtration is so important, and is the top recommendation I can make for ensuring that your drinking water is safe to drink. When choosing a water filter, it is important to do your research, read the fine print, and choose a brand that will actually remove contaminants. Carbon-based filters are good at removing many common water contaminants. A reverse-osmosis filter, while a little more expensive, will remove even more contaminants, and may be a better option.

To get a full understanding of the variety of different water filtration options and their effectiveness, I’d recommend checking out the in-depth recommendations EWG has made available online: http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/getawaterfilter. There are a wide variety of brands, filtration methods, and prices, and there is no one best choice. It is just important to choose one that will work for your home space and your budget. It may take a little research, but you should be able to find a brand that will work for you.

Water is essential to life: clean, pure water. Now that you know that filtering your tap water is the best way to ensure a safe water source, it is just a matter of determining which filter is the best option for you. Enjoy the process of learning more about the variety of options, and make a commitment to investing in a pollutant-free drinking water supply for you and your family. It’s worth it! Plus, it’ll be a lot cheaper than bottled water in the long run.Ellen Kittredge, CHC, is a Nutrition and Health Counselor offering individualized in-person and phone sessions, as well as group cleansing programs and other group services.

Advertisements

Mindful Eating: A Contributing Factor to Weight Loss

By Ellen Kittredge, CHC (www.ellenkittredge.com)

I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying: “Where attention goes, energy flows.” If you concentrate on your food – what you are eating – you will absorb and assimilate the actual nutrients in it – and thus need to eat less food overall.

The opposite, of course, is also true: the less awareness you bring to the table, the more you’ll need to eat, thus leading to excess weight gain.

How often do you eat your meals in front of the computer, checking emails and shoveling food in at the same time, or mindlessly watching TV, and going back for seconds on that bowl of ice cream before you realize that you didn’t even taste the first bowl?

There are two specific examples I’d like to share that will explain how lack of awareness of what we are eating leads to weight gain. It is my hope that this information will inspire you to have more awareness around the actual consumption of food, thus making it easier to lose any weight you are looking to let go of! Thanks to Marc David, and “The Slow Down Diet” for inspiration for this topic.

Examples:

#1 is something called the Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR). CPDR is the pleasure of taste, aroma, satisfaction and visual stimulation of a meal. 30-40 of the total digestive response to any meal is due to CPDR – our full awareness of what we are eating. So, if we are distracted while eating, we are metabolizing our meal at only 60-70% efficiency.

And why would this lead to weight gain? It’s simple. We need to eat more to feel satisfied. To see weight loss, our metabolism needs to be functioning optimally. That means we want to be metabolizing our food at 100%, all the time.

#2. In a test where subjects were given a mineral drink to test for absorption of sodium and chloride, when in a relaxed state, the test subject absorbed 100%. At different session when given the same mineral drink while exposed to dichotomous listening (two people talking to them at the same time) the results showed that participants had a complete shutdown in absorption of chloride and sodium for one full hour afterwards. Basically, they completely lost the ability to absorb these nutrients when they were not focusing on the food and were in a heightened state of stress where they were trying to listen to two stimuli at the same time. Perhaps you could imagine a scenario where you just sat down in front of the TV to eat your dinner, and your child or partner is calling to you from the kitchen…

Consider bringing more awareness to the table for your next meal. Not only will this benefit your health and your waistline, you’ll probably enjoy your food more too!

Continue reading