What's in your water?


Water can be bland and boring for some if not for most people. But we all know the importance of water and deep down we know we need to drink it. Therefore, many beverage companies have manufactured and marketed flavored water drinks or "water enhancers" (as Crystal Light likes to advertise their products) in hopes of cashing in encouraging people to live a healthier lifestyle.

Recently, I noticed my mom had purchased various flavors of Sparkling Ice, a "Naturally Flavored Sparkling Mountain Spring Water" as the label states. Then I noticed Casey's mom drinking one too. From just the front of the label it's easy to be sold; sparkling water, "naturally flavored," zero calories, and oh, hey they even added vitamins and antioxidants. Sweet!

Then, I went to the ingredients which listed the following and then some: "natural flavors" (just so you know most natural flavors are not natural), citric acid, potassium benzoate (which Shape Magazine has listed as "9 Ingredients Nutritionists Won't Touch"), red #40, etc. 

Look, I'm NOWHERE near perfect. I drink teas that list "natural flavors," I down a Gatorade every once in a while, I love like craft beer and wine, I've represented companies that are in no way healthy for you (because I want to eat, pay bills and travel) and I think Zico Chocolate Coconut Water is pretty damn delicious (Casey is obsessed).

But I thought to myself, in a world where convenience is key, what is more convenient than making your own NATURAL flavored water? Side note: coconut water straight from the source, a young coconut, is the best and I'm not even talking about for you, I'm just talking about taste--it's SO good!

Because we travel full-time for our jobs, we are constantly in hotels, and at a few Marriott/Hilton chains they usually showcase a pitcher of water (or water cooler of sorts) in the lobby for guests often adorned and soaked in lemons and limes, cucumbers, or strawberries and pineapples. It's one of my favorite surprises when we check in and it's always so delicious.

I showed my mom how we can do this at home and make them easy to grab and ready to go by using large (I think they're quart-sized) mason jars. The best part is that you can add any real fruit or flavor that you want, it's still portable and you know exactly what's in it (although buy organic fruit if you can or just make sure to wash your fruit the best you can).

To add to it, you never know what's going to strike up a conversation, and while at the doctor's office yesterday the nurse commented on my water and even gave me a tip that when I'm done with the lemons put them either in the dishwasher (where you would put your utensils) or down the garbage disposal to use as a natural cleaner and of course, they're always compostable. Just another reason why I LOVE people.



Many people live in neighborhoods with views of mountains, lakes, ponds, oceans, trees, skyscrapers, you name it. In my neighborhood, where I grew up and where my mom still lives, we bask in views of bright lights and plumes of smoke accompanied by a wonderfully raunchy rotten egg smell. We are surrounded by oil refineries. My gradeschool is less than a mile from one of the few refineries and my junior high and high school are literally next door neighbors to one. When I say neighbors, I mean there is only a small alley that separates our football field/track from the refinery. The stench of spoiled eggs and smoke were essential to our school work and sports' practices. Which has often led me to wonder what the effects are on children living next to or near refineries, the damage that can or cannot be done (or undone for that matter) to your body, to your children, to your family and the effects it may have on all of our futures. 

Rumors have sparked in the past about water in our town as well and I've always been curious to know what's in our H2O. 

Enter Sara Gilbert's new book, "The Imperfect Environmentalist." I picked up this baby en route from Boston back to Atlanta and it's quickly become my "go-to" and it's a perfect coffee table book that you can easily pick up, flip to any page, and use as a reminder or a reference every once in a while. 

In her book she references the Environmental Working Group's National Drinking Water Database (click on the link) where you can key in your zip code, water provider, and see what's in your tap water based on previous tests in your area. 

Now, I know that based on previous tests and data conducted between 2004-2009, 14 chemicals have been found in my mom's tap water that are known to exceed the recommended health guidelines (the national average is 4) and that one of those chemicals, manganese, was detected to reach levels above the legal limit. Oh, and I'm just getting started. Since 2004, there have also been 22 pollutants found (the national average being only 8). Lets just say after reading this and returning home, I ran and bought a Brita (which really doesn't even help with the manganese problem). 

I swear I am not a diva. I live out a suitcase and I'm pretty simplistic (when you live out of a suitcase you have to be) and I'm not afraid to jump in a lake, the ocean, out of an airplane, or drink tap water in Italy (I actually LOVED all the local drinking fountains they had there) but I am concerned about what is going into my body and I want to be knowledgable about it and not ignorant. Cancer runs in my family, my father passed away from it and my mother kicked it to the curb, and I think that it's important for me to be aware of what's going into my body. You can write me off as crazy, but I'd like to think I'm curious.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Sara's book: 

"Why don't we pay more attention to who our farmers are? We would never be as careless choosing an auto mechanic or babysitter as we are about who grows our food."
 -Michael Pollan, journalist and environmentalist, The Botany of Desire



Because this made me giggle and I can only hope it does the same for you too...

Source: good 'ol Facebook


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