Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is your Drinking Water Safe?

I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but I've always suspected the danger of added fluoride to our drinking water. I'm always a little suspicious when chemicals are forced on me, and usually rightfully so.  In this case, most municipal water suppliers have been adding fluoride to our drinking water since the 1940s in order to help "prevent" tooth decay. Unfortunately, over exposure to this potent neurotoxin can lead to health problems such as lowered IQ, thyroid issues and surprise, surprise, cancer.  Sadly, there are several studies showing that the ingestion of fluoride doesn't improve cavity prevention. I can guarantee, though, that is has put millions of dollars in the pocket of its manufacturer, Dow.  

Although, he's a bit of an alarmist, here's what Dr. Mercola has to say:

"The conventional wisdom has been that topical application of fluoride can help strengthen your enamel and help prevent decay. If that's untrue, then the case against water fluoridation—the ingestion of fluoride—becomes even stronger than it ever was before.
There's just no doubt that ingesting fluoride has no beneficial effect on your teeth. In fact, there's overwhelming evidence indicating that fluoride is a potent toxin that can cause a wide array of severe health problems once ingested.
When evaluating the issue of water fluoridation it is also important to understand that fluoride is a drug. You can't get fluoride without a prescription. Yet it's being added to your water supply on a mandatory basis at various levels that may or may not be safe for various individuals, especially children, the sick, and the elderly. Water fluoridation is a major assault on your freedom of choice – to be drugged or not.
Sodium fluoride, which is a far simpler toxin than the fluoride compounds used for most water fluoridation, has also been used for rat and cockroach poisons, so there is no question that it is highly toxic.
Amazingly, the United States is only one of eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply. (The other seven are: Australia, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.) In Europe, Ireland is the only country that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its drinking water, and England fluoridates 10 percent. Most of mainland Europe is not fluoridated, and yet, according to World Health Organization data, their teeth are just as good, if not better than Americans'."
Read the full article here: Does Fluoride Really Fight Cavities
All this talk about chemicals in our water made me curious about mine. After a little digging, I found this great database through Environmental Working Group that gives water reports for many cities in the U.S. and helps you find water filters to eliminate specific chemicals.  EWG Tap Water Report
You can also check out the widget on my sidebar and enter your zip code to get your EWG water report. Of course, this report doesn't have fluoride listed for some reason. I did find that Baltimore City's fluoride average is .9 ppm (parts per million), which is just above the new Health and Human Services proposed maximum limit of .7 ppm. Here's a link to Baltimore City's most recent water report: Baltimore City Water Report
Unfortunately, most water filters, except for reverse osmosis systems, don't remove fluoride, so we're basically stuck with it until the levels are reduced or eliminated by the government. 
In a nutshell:
  • It is recommended that you filter your water to help reduce chemical contaminants. Don't forget to cook and make coffee with this water too. It appears that carbon block filters are more effective than the granulated activated carbon. Ideally, a reverse osmosis filter is the best, but they are expensive and a major pain to change (I've learned this from personal experience). This one seems pretty good after looking at Baltimore's contaminants: Clear 2O Water Pitcher

  • If you're on-the-go, carry a safe, re-usable water bottle. Hard plastic bottles (#7 plastic) can leach a harmful plastics chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) into water. Carry stainless steel or other BPA-free bottles. Don’t reuse bottled water bottles. The plastic can harbor bacteria and break down to release plastics chemicals.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blend It

We've had many discussions in our household over the years about having a liquid diet.  I'm not talking about coffee and beer here. Although, I know that's what you were thinking.  In our cottage, as in most, we struggle with ways to eat all of our fruits and veggies.  We're reminded constantly about the benefits and pure need for our bodies to ingest 7-10 servings a day.  That being said, it's not easy.  My father always said he had to retire in order to eat all of his fruits and veggies and drink his daily allotted water.  He's right, in a sense, it's hard to fit it all in. I'm lucky if I floss once a week and I snicker when the dentist tilts his head with that mask on and says in a muffled voice, "are you flossing every day?" I usually reply, "no, I'm lucky I showered today", and that's true!  

We're all busy and need to find a balance in our lives to keep ourselves healthy.  Regular exercise and a healthy diet are so important, and if you're one of the lucky ones, flossing.  With fruits and vegetables, an easy rule to follow is eat the rainbow.  Of course, if there was a pot of chocolate at the bottom we would have an easier time following through.  Fortunately, I am back as a proud blender owner. My brief 3 month hiatus due to an attempt to remedy my leaking blender was a huge waste of time.  Good old, "Fifty Years of Quality", Waring, has not redeemed themselves. I've moved on and am back in the smoothie-making saddle. Here's the great thing about smoothies, fruit contains just as many nutrients as vegetables, and tastes better too. So, you could go on a liquid diet with a good old fashioned blender. At least you can squeeze part of rainbow into a good blender drink.  Cheers!

Here are a few of my favorites:

High Protein Peanut Butter Banana
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt (I prefer this yogurt since it's higher in protein)
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp honey (go for raw honey if you can)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 banana
Kid's Favorite
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of Trader Joe's vanana yogurt (yes, vanana)
  • 1 carrot
  • orange juice (pour enough to cover the other ingredients) 
Tamara's Early Morning Energy Smoothie
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter 
  • 1 frozen banana
  • optional--1 scoop of protein powder