Poison in Your Pipes

Tens of decades ago, tomatoes were thought to be a poison fruit for wealthy Europeans. Lower social classes were exempt from this myth due to one small difference between the two classes: Pewter tableware. Unaware of the lead content of the tableware and the effect it has on the human body, the wealthy used pewter plates to serve food. Combined with the acidity of the tomatoes, the tableware would leak lead into the food. This often resulted in the death of the diner.

Today, lead is most commonly used in household plumbing fixtures. Although the greatest exposure to lead poisoning is through inadvertently ingesting lead paint chips and dust, exposure from drinking water is not far behind. Lead enters tap water through the corrosion of household plumbing systems, brass or chrome-plated faucets, and even use of hot water for cooking. Newer homes are less at risk of exposure to lead as homes built after 1986 are often made with non-toxic metals. This is partly due to the fact that a prohibition on using lead in household plumbing systems has been in effect since 1986.

 

Health Effects

 

Exposure to lead above the action level can lead to a wide range of health effects among people of all ages. Children who are exposed may suffer from delays in mental and physical development including attention deficit disorder, nervous system damage, and learning disabilities resulting in decreased IQ levels. Infants that are fed mixed formula receive up to 60 percent of their lead exposure from drinking water, leading to neurosis. Lead provides the biggest risk to developing bodies, as it leaves a more permanent effect on them. Over the years, adults can develop high blood pressure, kidney failures, fertility problems, nerve disorders, and much more.

 

Regulation

 

In 1986, the Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) included a ban on using lead in household plumbing materials. The ban prohibits the use of any pipes that contain lead in the installation and repair of any facility or home that provides water for human consumption through a public water source. However, this does not mean that your water is 100% lead free. Even with this ban in effect, your water may still contain traces of lead as the term “lead free” was defined to mean that solders and flux may not contain more than 0.2% lead and pipes may not contain more than 8% lead.

 

In January 2011, Congress set forth in motion the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act to amend section 1417 of the SDWA in regards to the use of lead in plumbing systems. They set the effective date of January 2014 to ensure that affected parties had plenty of time to transition into new requirements. End use water sources must be certified through NSF/ANSI Standard 61 to be lead free. The standard sets health effects criteria for the materials used in the production and delivery of water to consumers.

 

Take Action

There are many steps you can take to reduce lead in your drinking water besides just replacing the entire plumbing system in your home. First and foremost, have your water tested for lead. This can be done through any water testing facility for $10 to $100. Home Depot and a select few other retailers offer water testing for free. Once you know exactly what you are dealing with, you can take some simple precautions to eliminate lead include flushing your pipes for two minutes before drinking the water any time a particular faucet has not been used for more than six hours. Most of the lead in your water supply comes from the plumbing in your home rather than the municipal water supply. It is important to know that the longer the water has been sitting in your pipes, the more lead is in the water. Always flush your water until it is cold, and use only cold water for consumption. Hot water is more likely to contain lead due to the heat intermingling with your pipes. To conserve water, consider showering, running the dishwasher, or washing your car to flush your pipes. Afterwards, make sure you flush your tap water for five to thirty seconds to clear the water to tap. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for updates from your water utility, as they will inform you if you need to flush your water for longer due to local conditions.

 

Filter your Water

The best thing you can do for your home is to invest in a good quality water filter that will remove the lead content from your water altogether before using the water for consumption. For those that cannot afford whole home water treatment systems, there are plenty of point-of-use systems that are available for your drinking water needs. Try an Aquasana over counter or under counter drinking water system to prevent lead from entering your body. Our drinking water systems are certified to remove over 99% of lead in tap water. They’ll also leave in all the healthy minerals so that you really are getting the best out of your tap water. Only you can control what comes out of your water faucet and in to your body. Take the necessary measurements to ensure the safety of your family today.

The Truth about Alkalizers

The American diet consists largely of low quality, processed foods and snacks with a high sugar to nutrient ratio. These types of food impede on your body’s capacity to optimize your pH. Recent studies have found that water is also a large contributor to the pH levels in your body. To combat this problem, more and more consumers look for a way to alkalize their water, and they come to a simple Google search solution: Water Alkalizers.

Clean water is essential for a healthy functioning body. Water that is too alkaline or too acidic can be destructive to your immune system as your body will be stripped of all of its nutrition content and it will have to fight to make up for what it lacks. Consumers are led to believe that alkaline water works as a powerful antioxidant and it helps rid your body of disease causing agents. It is also said that alkaline water can help reverse major illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. The harsh truth is that many marketing companies present many of these claims to consumers with little to no scientific data as support.

What is alkaline water?

Alkaline water is water that has been divided into fractions between acidic and alkaline. The alkalizer passes an electrical current through tap water in order to make it more alkaline. This process is called electrolysis. What you want is a balanced Potential of Hydrogen (pH) ideally between 6 and 8. pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions. A high pH represents fewer free hydrogen ions in the water while a low pH represents more free hydrogen ions. A pH of 7 represents a neutral standing as the pH scale runs from 0 to 14. A pH above 7 is alkaline while a pH under 7 is acidic. An important fact to keep in mind when considering pH levels is that every liquid in your body had more than one pH level and the ideal pH level for each liquid differs. For example, blood must always have a pH of 7.35 to 7.45, making it more alkaline. The digestion-aiding hydrochloric acid provides your stomach with a pH of 1.35 to 3.5 for it to function normally. Your body works to keep all pH levels exactly where they should be. Your lungs and kidneys work to help your body by getting rid of any extra acid. This helps you eat and drink a variety of foods without causing major damage to your body.

Are water alkalizers worth it?

The selling point of the alkalizers is that they help prevent illness by balancing the pH in your water and body. Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine states that your body does not need help adjusting its pH balance. Dr. Weil states that the pH of your bodily fluids is on average around 7.4 and small changes in that number does not make an impact on your health. Your body naturally controls it’s own internal balance and unless you are experiencing a serious illness, the pH will remain the same. To further build on Dr. Weil’s claim, gastroenterologist John Petrini, past president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy explains that after digested, food and water ends up leaving the stomach with a pH of about 6.8 regardless of the pH it was when it entered the body. Furthermore, he states that your body has effective processes that ensure your bodily fluids always have a pH that is close to neutral. Alkalizers have not been proven to make a difference in your well-being. A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found that normal cells perish under alkaline conditions. The study found that altering mitochondrial function to raise pH levels is in fact a negative side effect. A Cornell University study backs up the study by stating that antioxidants have not been proven to effectively fight against neurodegenerative illnesses. The study says that this is a result of how the mitochondria works within the cell structure under different pH conditions. Catherine Ulbricht, co-founder of the National Standard Research Collaboration states that alkalizers are not only expensive, but evidence of their proven health benefits is seriously lacking on many accounts.

How do I alkalize my body?

It’s important to remember that when the healthy minerals are removed from the water, the water is basically dead. Water without minerals becomes highly acidic. If the water is filtered with the right filter, the pH in your water and body will not be affected in any way. If you are really concerned about the pH levels in your body, you can alkalize your body naturally by drinking filtered lemon water several times a day.  Fresh lemons are also anionic. Once you drink the acidic lemon water, it will become alkaline as your body reacts with the lemon anions during the digestive process. We recommend using a carbon filter in order to preserve the naturally occurring minerals in your water. Just add your favorite citrus fruit to the water and drink up! You can also optimize the pH in your body by eating a diet rich in organic, non-packaged, plant and meat whole foods.

Is it worth spending $1,000 to $6,000 on a water alkalizer that may or may not benefit your health? You be the judge.

Spring Refreshers

Carbonated drinks are often associated with a variety of health problems such as obesity, weakened bones, and nutrition deficiencies. What many don’t realize is that combined with the right recipes, carbonated water is pretty harmless and fairly healthy for you.

Unlike many other carbonated beverages, sparkling water is sugar and calorie free. It hydrates, and the filtered water that is carbonated will keep your body from calcium depletion or tooth erosion. Many times, it is the ingredients that go into carbonated drinks that cause potential health risks – not the carbonation itself. For example, the sugars in conjunction with carbonation cause the beverages to become acidic – which in turn result in tooth decay.

The right mixtures combined with sparkling water can actually promote a healthy lifestyle by keeping you hydrated and helping you lose weight. The water will help contribute to your weight loss efforts by making you feel full faster and keeping you from overeating. The extra hydration will help your body’s process of flushing out toxins move along further. Not only that, but the carbonated water is just as delicious as plain filtered water and it too will keep you hydrated throughout the day.

Start with plain filtered water and carbonate the water yourself with a home carbonation system. Club soda and store bought carbonated water often contain added sodium and sugar. By doing it yourself, you know exactly what is going into your drink. Next, try one of our recommended recipes below with your carbonated water to add some spark to your sparkling water!

 

Red Delicious

For something simple and refreshing, this recipe is perfect for an after work drink. Coconut water not only hydrates and aids in weight loss, digestion, and reducing blood pressure, but it is also perfect for acne and blemish prone skin due to its rich nutrient content. Paired with basil, this is also a great healthy drink as the leaves contain nutrients essential for cardiovascular health!

½ cup filtered carbonated water

½ cup chopped watermelon

½ cup fresh coconut water

½ cup chopped strawberries

2 lemon wedges

Basil

Add your watermelon and coconut juice together in a blender. Squeeze your lemon wedges into the mixture and blend until you have a smooth consistency. Add your freshly filtered carbonated water into the mix and stir. Add in the chopped strawberries and top with basil. You are now ready to kick back and enjoy the rest of your day!

 

Not So Rude Awakening

This recipe is soft on your body and none of the ingredients are as overwhelming as they may seem to appear. Pairing lemon with cayenne pepper and jalapenos, this drink will act as a natural detoxifier as it stimulates the circulatory system and aids in regulating blood sugar. It is also a perfect kick-starter to get your metabolism running! The lemon will also help shift the pH in your body back into your favor.

1 cup filtered carbonated water

½ cup juiced pineapple

2 lemon wedges

1 jalapeno (sliced to perfection)

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

Mix the filtered carbonated water, pineapple juice, and cayenne pepper together in a cup with ice. Add in the lemon and jalapeno slices and stir. Drink up and you will feel ready to take on the excitement of a new day!

 

Tropical Sunset

For a sweet treat, try this drink with mango and banana! Mangoes help lower cholesterol levels while alkalizes your entire body due to its tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid contents. Bananas are an extremely powerful health fruit because they help sustain your blood sugar, protect your heart, improve your mood, give you the best amount of energy for a work out, and keep you from building muscle cramps.

½ cup filtered carbonated water

½ cup orange juice

½ cup chopped mangoes

1 chopped banana

Orange wedge

Ice (blended)

Add the ice, orange juice, mango, and banana into a blender and blend until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Add the mixture and filtered carbonated water into a cup and top off with an orange wedge.

 

Day by the Pool

For a lazy day by the pool, this drink has just the right amount of kick to keep you feeling both energized and relaxed. Mint is a great palate cleanser as well as an aid in the digestion process. The strength of the mint also helps keep nausea, headaches, and coughs away. Pair that with honeydew juice – which contains the highest vitamin C content among melons –to aid in fighting disease causing bacteria in your body. Honeydew also lessens the risk of heart problems as it works to maintain a functional heart.

½ cup filtered carbonated water

½ cup juiced honeydew melon

Mint leaves

Cucumber slices

Combine ice, filtered carbonated water, and honeydew juice into a cup and mix well. Add in cucumber slices and mint leaves for that extra kick!

 

Sweet Sangria

And just for our wine lovers, this is the perfect non-alcoholic “sangria.” It’s sweet and sour and the best drink you can have in your hand for a perfect evening on your outdoor patio! The juices from the tea and pomegranate give your drink the perfect mixture of sweet and acidity found in many red wines. Not only that, but the cinnamon will help keep away the common cold!

½ cup filtered carbonated water

½ cups hot water

½ cups pomegranate juice

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teabag

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon honey

1 lemon wedge

3 apple slices

2 pineapple slices

½ cup fresh cranberries

Pour hot water over tea bag and cinnamon stick and steep for a few minutes. Throw away the teabag and honey and mix until it is of a smooth consistency. Add pomegranate and orange juice. Add in the pineapple, lemon, cranberries, and apple and let sit overnight. When you are ready to enjoy, stir in your self filtered carbonated water and drink!

10 DIY Natural Beauty Products

It’s no secret that we spend hundreds of dollars on beauty products every year. But what’s more disappointing is that many of these beauty products fail to deliver what they promise. Instead of spending lots of green on products that may or may not work, why not try a fun DIY project that will give you natural products that actually make a difference?

The most important component of beauty treatments is water. Staying hydrated throughout the day will promote proper blood circulation throughout your body to keep your skin, hair, nails, and body looking healthy. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of filtered water every day to flush out toxins and get the results you want when paired with the beauty remedies below.

1. Makeup Remover

Coconut oil does amazing things for your hair and body. When used as a skin product, it strengthens underlying tissues, and removes dead skin cells from the surface to provide deep moisture and get rid of flaky texture. Start with a small amount of coconut oil on the tips of your fingers. Rub the oil in circles over your eyes, lashes, and face until you feel the makeup has lifted off your skin. Use a damp cotton pad to wipe off the makeup and coconut oil. Try it for soft, moisturized skin and lashes without having to put chemicals on your face!

 

2. Eyelash Thickening

Castor oil thickens your lashes while aloe Vera lengthens. Clean out an old mascara container and fill it up with ¼ part aloe Vera gel, ¼ part castor oil, and ½ part Vitamin E oil. Close and shake the bottle to mix all ingredients together. Apply a light layer of this serum to your eyelashes every night before you go to sleep. You will start to notice results in about a month.

 

3. Dark Circles

The main cause of dark circles is lack of sleep and dehydration. Keep away dark circles by staying hydrated with filtered water and making sure you get the required 8 hours of sleep a night to function properly. The caffeine and tannins from the teabags will shrink blood vessels under the skin to reduce swelling under the eyes and eliminate dark circles. To get rid of already existing circles, save your morning tea bags! Place one cold tea bag on each eye and let it rest for 20 minutes every morning. Pat dry to look and feel revitalized. Give it about a month for best results.

 

4. Bath Exfoliant

When life gives you lemons…make a bath scrub! Lemons are effective at treating many skin problems to provide healthy looking skin. Mix 3 cups white sugar with 1 cup olive oil until they create an even paste. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon extract into the mixture and mix well. Add more if you really like the smell of lemons! Use the mixture on your arms, elbows, legs, and stomach – anywhere you have dry or damaged skin!

 

5. Lip Scrub

Honey is full of antioxidants and is naturally antibacterial. With these properties, it moisturizes and slows down aging. Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon honey and stir until they have an even consistency. Add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and once again, blend the mixture together. Scrub your lips with the mixture in a circular motion for 2 minutes twice a day for smooth lips.

 

6. Blackheads

Baking soda acts as a perfect at-home microdermabrasion treatment due to it’s small crystalline structure. Squeeze a lemon and add baking soda until you make a thick creamy paste, scrub in a small circular motion over the area and then leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry to enjoy blackhead free skin!

 

7. Keratosis Pilaris

This is a major skin problem amongst many people. Many may not even know it exists. The annoying chicken skin bumps on the back of your arms and thighs? That’s what they are: Keratosis Pilaris (KP). The best way to get rid of these is to exfoliate and avoid picking at them. Aspirin is a great medicinal exfoliant. Crush several tablets of aspirin up and add water to create a paste. Scrub this paste on the area during each shower to reduce bumps.

 

8. Blemishes

Lavender, jojoba, and tea tree essential oils have antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that make them ideal blemish treatment remedies. The rosemary and lemon will help get rid of blemish-causing toxins from your body. Mix ½ ounce jojoba oil with 4 drops tea tree essential oil, 3 drops each of lavender and lemon essential oil, and 6 drops of rosemary essential oil in a 1 ounce bottle. Shake well. Add another ½ ounce jojoba oil to the bottle, cover, and shake once again. Apply to affected area with a cotton pad twice a day!

 

9. Cellulite

Many of us have cellulite – even after tons of workouts, creams, and medicines. The best thing you can do for yourself to eliminate the problem is dry brushing. Start with a natural bristle brush (these can be found at any grocery or bath store). Brush towards the heart using long, upward, overlapping strokes. Over time, this process will restore radiance to skin, boost elasticity while tightening skin, and smooth cellulite. While doing so, this process stimulates blood circulation, eliminates toxins, rejuvenates the nervous system, and stimulates oil-producing glands to keep skin moisturized and keep away signs of aging. It’s the simplest and cheapest way to give life back to your skin.

 

10.Teeth Whitener

Hydrogen Peroxide is great for whitening teeth as well as keeping away cold sores and other oral problems. Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide (*make sure it is a 3% solution for safety), and ½ teaspoon water into a cup with a small amount of all natural aloe Vera toothpaste. Mix thoroughly and use the mixture to brush your teeth for no more than 2 minutes. Do this once a week until you are satisfied with your teeth. After that, use the treatment once every month to keep your teeth looking pearly white.
Stay beautiful the all-natural way!

5 Organic Gardening Tips and Ideas

Organic gardening is simple. No synthetic fertilizers, no pesticides, and no harmful toxins are thrown in to your garden. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the only way to have an organic garden is to avoid synthetic chemicals. There are other aspects that must be taken into consideration to ensure that you will get 100% organic products from your garden. For example, who would have thought that the type of water, wildlife, or insects in and around your plants had much to do with how well they grew? Everything from the soil that you use to the food you feed your plants will affect how much your garden gives back to you.

Follow the steps below to give your garden the best it needs to maximize its nutritional quality.

1. Homemade fertilizers

Synthetic fertilizers can do a great amount of environmental damage, especially when they are overused. They don’t do much to improve the structure of your soil to provide essential nutrients for your plants and they leak toxins into your garden. Once they are in your garden, they make it to your food and your body. You can make your own fertilizers to ensure that you know exactly what is going into your garden.

• You can use Epsom salt and water as a fertilizer to stay green without spending a ton of money. Epsom salt contains both magnesium and sulfate. Both of these nutrients are vital to a plant’s growth.

• Another easy fertilizer is fish tank water. Fish tank water is full of nutrients that your plants thrive on – and it’s an easy, earth friendly way to recycle your water.

• If you have a fireplace, you can use the leftover ash for your acid loving plants. Ash is rich in potassium and calcium carbonate and your acid loving plants can thrive on acids the all-natural way. This will ensure that you don’t get any synthetic acids into your garden and food when it is time for a harvest.

• A common household refrigerator item is the eggshell. Many of us eat eggs for breakfast – and throw away the shells. The shells are made up of almost 100% calcium carbonate – which is the main ingredient used in the making of agricultural lime. Save the shells, allow them to dry, and then blend them into a powder to sprinkle on your garden for glowing plants.

2. Newspaper

Recycle your newspapers by using them as a weed barrier in your garden. Newspapers create an easy and free weed barrier while being earth friendly (no extra toxins, biodegradable, easy recycling). Commercial weed barriers are often made of plastic – imagine melting plastic waste on the plants you plan on putting into your body!

• For the newspaper barrier, use a bucket of clean water to soak about 6 layers of paper together.

•  Once the papers are completely soaked, lie them down on your soil, sheet by sheet– making sure they overlap by about an inch.

•  Punch small holes into the paper where you would like to place your plants.

•  Remove some soil from the holes, add the plant, and fill in the hole with soil.

•  Once you have done this for all of your plants, simply cover the papers with soil for a beautiful and weed free organic garden!

3. Garden Box

Another great option for an easy garden is to create a wooden garden bed. The box will keep weeds away from your garden soil, provide a great source of drainage for your plants, prevent soil compression, and keep away many unwanted pests.

Having a raised wooden garden bed will also keep erosion away during rainfall. Depending on where you live, a raised bed will also allow for early season planting as the soil will be warmer and will not have water buildup. Attaching four wooden boards (any height up to 36”) together to create an open rectangle shape is the easiest way to create raised beds. You will want the bed to have an open bottom as the more your plants grow, the more their roots will expand into the ground.

4. Organic Matter

Soil is the most important part of your journey to a perfect organic garden. Make sure you use fresh, unused soil so that the nutrients in the soil are going to just one plant. If you use soil that has been recycled frequently between many different plants, you may not get all of its benefits anymore.

Add organic matter to your soil so that as the plant uses us essential nutrients, you are replacing into the soil to give back the nutrients it needs to supply for the plant. You can find organic matter almost anywhere. Your garden and kitchen will produce organic matter frequently through decaying plant waste, otherwise known as compost. Compost is the best thing you can do for your organic garden.

5. Water

As is the sunlight, water is an essential part of the growth of your plants. Adding filtered water to your homegrown fruit and vegetable plants will keep away contaminants that dry out your plants such as chloramines and chlorine. Additionally, your plants will not be exposed to contaminants such as lead, mercury, pharmaceuticals, gasoline additives, pesticide run off, herbicide run off, and a variety of other things that keep your plants from growing big and ripe.

 

SXSW: Hydration Tips from Aquasana

For you Austinites and out-of-towners enjoying Austin’s annual SXSW festival, it is important

to stay hydrated in order to enjoy all the best parts of this year’s activities. It is important to

remember that by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Avoid dehydration with

these tips below from your friends at Aquasana:

 

1. Carry a reusable BPA free water bottle

Here in Austin, we are big on recycling. What better way to contribute than to carry

a reusable water bottle? Not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll also be

keeping toxins out of your system when drinking water. Bringing your own bottle will

also ensure you aren’t spending the extra time or money getting a replacement bottle

every time you need to hydrate. This gives you more time and money to spend on fun

events, activities, and delicious food!

 

2. Fill it up with filtered water as often as possible

While we are on the topic of healthy hydration, we would like to remind you that having

a BPA free reusable water won’t be the only factor to consider when thinking about

how to keep toxins from entering your body. The main source of toxins is in the water.

Municipal water has hundreds of contaminants in it, many of them being unregulated

contaminants. It is best to fill up your water bottle with healthy, filtered water as often as

possible to ensure that your body is not being exposed to contaminants such as chlorine,

chloramines, pharmaceuticals, gasoline additives, lead, mercury, pesticides, and many

other contaminants.

 

3. Add enhancements

Many people don’t like the taste of plain, boring old water. Combat that by adding fruits

to your water to create delicious infusions! Anything from lemon and raspberries to

watermelon and rosemary works. Just pick your favorite fruit, add it into your delicious

filtered water, and you’re all set!

 

4. Keep track of how much water you drink

An average human being should be drinking 10 to 12 glasses of water per day. However,

with SXSW going on – there’s going to be lots of exposure to the sun and running from

place to place going on. Think about it. You will probably be sweating a lot over the

course of the week. Drinking about 8 ounces per hour will not only help you make sure

you are keeping toxins away from your body but it will also ensure that you are getting

the right amount of hydration for your active week.

 

5. Share the knowledge!

Remind those you are with to drink water often. Keep your friends and families from getting

dehydrated while you’re at it so you can all have a fun filled SXSW week!

What are GMO’s?

Genetically Modified Organisms, more commonly known as GMOs, are plants and animals that are created through processes of genetic engineering. GMOs were first introduced in 1996 when major corporations began trying to maximize their yearly profits.

Studies have shown that the percentage of Americans with more than 3 chronic illnesses increased by 5% in that 9-year period. Reproductive disorders, cancer, autism, digestive problems, and food allergies are just a few of the 65 known health risks that skyrocketed with the introduction of these unnatural organisms.

The process of Genetic Engineering (GE) merges DNA from one species into another to create unstable combinations of genes that cannot occur naturally through traditional crossbreeding. This is done in order to create desirable traits such as larger and longer lasting food products.

The health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) plants are evident through the toxins, imbalance of nutrients, diseases, and unnatural reactions that organisms such as plants have to complete natural processes. These processes include photosynthesis, an important factor for life on Earth. By mixing genes from different species together, genetic engineering can result in unpredictable and dangerous side effects. These processes create new and unknown toxins that our world is not accustomed to.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has found organ damage, gastrointestinal disorders, immune system failures, accelerated aging, and infertility in both humans and animals from the intake of GMO foods. GM foods often also leave material inside of our bodies once everything else has been washed out, paving the way for long term problems in your body. Genes from GM foods transferred into the DNA of pre-existing bacteria create toxic insecticides that flow into the bloodstream. Your body has a hard time processing GMOs simply because it was not made to handle unnatural man-made organisms.

Genetically modified foods cause a chain reaction not only in humans and plants, but our environment and the future of our planet as well. GMOs are a permanent creation that will outlast many other things on Earth. By creating new and unnatural species, many other organisms on our planet may become extinct. From that alone, the entire atmosphere of our planet can be altered. It sounds drastic, but GMO toxins are not something to be taken lightly!

As a consumer, it is important to remember that many day-to-day foods are genetically modified to give consumers what they want, for a more profitable price on the business end. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and even dairy products are essential for a healthy lifestyle, especially for children. Many of these essential foods are injected with GMOs so that major corporations can get more for their money. When these products are fed to children, pregnant women, and developing brains, they may begin the slow and steady process of long-term damage to organs, immune systems, and abilities to handle simple everyday tasks. Effects can be fatal if the proper steps are not taken to avoid GMOs.

Below are some simple steps you can follow to avoid bringing GMOs into your life:

1. Read the labels.

The non-GMO project is an American organization dedicated to providing consumers with non-GMO food labels. The foods verified by the project will carry the Non-GMO Project Seal. These products are verified to adhere to the only North American third party standard for the avoidance of GMOs. These foods have not been tested with delinquent ingredients. Products that are labeled NO rBGH (synthetic hormone to increase milk production in cows), NO rBST(synthetic protein hormone), or Artificial Hormone-free, are marks of non-GMO foods.

2. Get educated.

The most important part of a non-GMO shopping trip is to understand which foods are at risk for being GMO. Some of the GM foods available at your local grocery store include soy, sugar, papaya, zucchini, squash, corn, rice, milk, eggs, cheese, honey, beef, salmon, all the way down to the vitamins you put in your body. These foods are just a fraction of GM foods available for purchase. Knowing which ones are at risk for being GMO will save you a lot of time and future health problems.

3. Shop local.

The majority of GMO foods are made through industrial farms where vegetables, fruits, and animals are injected with various genes to help them grow bigger and produce more product to sell. Shopping at farmer’s markets ensures that you will be getting non-GMO foods (after you confirm with the farmer, of course!). Most certified organic produce will also be GMO free.

4. Grow your own food.

Growing an organic garden is not only fun, it’s easy. An organic garden also ensures that you know exactly what is going into your foods. It also ensures that you will have whole foods that you can cook and prepare yourself, rather than processed grocery store foods. And the best part is, having your own garden will allow you to eat fresh and delicious food on a daily basis.

SPRING INTO GREEN CLEANING

The first days of spring bring warmer weather and a chance to open the windows to let the fresh air in. For many of us, this is also the time to complete a good spring-cleaning in preparation for the warmer days ahead. Before you reach for your stash of commercial cleaning products, consider this:

Most conventional cleaning products are packed with toxic chemicals and unnatural substances. These toxins pollute indoor air with every spray or use. They seep into air vents to circulate throughout the home, into the laundry as it is being washed and dried, and onto tabletops, windows, and surfaces as we wipe them down with everyday household cleaners. That’s not very clean at all!

This year make a commitment to take cleaner, greener approach to household cleaning. As we like to say here at Aquasana, it’s better for you and the environment. We found some amazing home recipes on diynatural.com for all types of household cleaning including glass, laundry and dishes. And now for the fun part: You can customize almost any homemade cleaning solution with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

 

Reuse/Recycle Tip: Before you toss out empty spray bottles, save the sprayer. Sprayer bottle tops can be used on top of many other containers.

1. All Purpose Cleaner

1/2 teaspoon sodium carbonate

2 teaspoons borax

1/2 teaspoon liquid soap ( try Dr. Bronners 100% organic castile soap)

2 cups warm water

Essential Oil

Directions: Mix ingredients into a spray bottle (the spray bottle tops can be saved from store-bought bottles to be reused with your homemade cleaners) and shake well before using. Use filtered water for the best results. This cleaner is perfectly safe around children and will help keep the air you breathe clean.

 

2. Glass Cleaner

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon liquid soap

Spray bottle

Essential Oil

Directions: Mix ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well before using. The natural ingredients in this cleaner will help keep your air clean, ensuring that you or your children are not breathing in the harmful fumes.

 

3. Laundry Detergent

5 ounces of shaved bar soap

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda

Blender

Directions: Mix ingredients together in a blender to create a laundry powder. This detergent will help your clothes last longer and keep them looking newer longer. The harmful chemicals will also be gone, preventing them from seeping into your clothes, and again into your lungs.

 

4. Hand Dishwashing Soap- (Not for dishwashers!) 

5 ounces of shaved bar soap

1 cup liquid castile soap

1 cup washing soda

Essential oil

Directions: Mix the shaved soap flakes into boiling water and stir. Once dissolved, add washing soda and stir. Next, add liquid soap and once again, stir until dissolved. Let the mixture cool. Add essential oils for scent. This mixture will rinse away all residue and leave your dishes looking and feeling clean.

 

Fun. Clean. Green.

Spring cleaning doesn’t get any better than this!

 

 

 

 

BOTTLED VS. TAP WATER

Every year, the world spends over $100 billion on bottled water. The economic value of clean water began in the late 1700s when people began to visit natural springs to drink and bathe in the water. Today, bottled water is a multibillion-dollar business that produces a product that is many times equal to what you can get at the tap – with roughly two thirds of those bottles winding up in oceans and landfills, polluting and poisoning water and wildlife.

According to a 2010 report by Food and Water Watch, 47.8% of bottled water is obtained from municipal tap water. In 2001, 13% of bottled water companies were required to change their labels to list the source of their bottled water. If the label reads “from a community/municipal water system,” you are buying tap water. If the label reads “demineralized,” “reverse osmosis,” or “distilled” water, most likely, you are still buying tap water that has been filtered or processed to remove minerals. The process of reverse osmosis and demineralization remove healthy minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium from the bottled water.

 

Below, you’ll find some examples of bottled water brands that are essentially just bottled tap water:

 

Pepsi’s Aquafina announced in 2007 that it would begin to label it’s bottled water with “Public Water Source” to accurately describe where their water came from: municipal tap water.

 

Coca Cola’s Dasani is not natural spring water. Coca Cola admitted in 2004 that the water in their product was just “purified” tap water.

 

Nestle’s Pure Life switched from spring water to tap water in 2005 with an increase in advertising leading to a 320 percent increase in sales since 2004.

 

Everest water lists it’s source of water as the municipal water supply of Corpus Christi, rather than the advertised pure mountain water.

 

Safeway Spring Water chemically resembled tap water with chlorine disinfection byproducts in two different studies done by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

In 2011, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the water bottle industry fails to provide basic information about the water consumers are buying. Their last label survey found that only 2 out of the 188 bottled water companies provided the water source and treatment methods on their labels.

Water Standards

A 2011 Drinking Water Research Foundation study found that the differences in the number of contaminants between bottled and tap water are near to the same. The FDA lists 91 known contaminants in bottled water while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists 96 in tap water. To add to that, the FDA has 4 contaminants on its list which are not on the EPA’s list of known contaminants. In turn, the EPA has 11 contaminants on its list that are not on the FDA’s list of known contaminants. Bottled water companies are not required by the FDA to publish water quality tests. However, the EPA is required to provide water quality

Post Treatment Contamination

The only major difference between tap and bottled water stems down to the delivery methods used to transport the water for consumption. Tap water is delivered to consumers through miles of unlined and poly-lined underground iron, PVC, and lead service lines. As these lines age or leak, they can lead to post-treatment contamination. These toxins have been shown to cause brain damage in infants and children, cancer, and birth defects. Bottled water is delivered in plastic containers that are usually not Bisphenol A (BPA) free. Once sealed, the bottles may remain in storage for months at a time before they are sold. This leads to contamination when toxins from the plastic leak into the water over time. A 2009 German study raises concerns about the regulations around bottled water considered “safe” by the FDA. It was found that a man-made estrogen-like compound was leaking into polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. This endocrine disruptor has the ability to restrict human reproductive hormones.

Water Filters

The safest water you can consume will come directly from a high quality water filter. Try the Aquasana 3-stage under counter drinking water system. The system will remove up to 97% of chlorine and chloramines along with pesticides, herbicides, lead, mercury, pharmaceuticals, and VOCs – up to 60 contaminants from your water. The system will also keep in the healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium so that the water you are drinking is not only clean, it’s healthy for you as well.

 

Forget tap water – filter your water for healthy living!

 

HAPPY MORNING H2O

 The most important part of your day begins the moment you wake up. Sleeping all night will leave you in a dehydrated state and the best thing you can do for yourself is to start the day with a glass of warm, delicious, filtered citrus water. This easy routine will impact the rest of your day positively.

 Kick start your day with proper hydration, and your energy levels will go up, making simple everyday tasks easier. You’ll start to crave citrus water regularly. Drinking it often will allow your body to receive the proper vitamins, enzymes, and minerals it needs to function at its absolute best.

 Start by using an all-natural citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) and warm, filtered water. Citrus fruits contain citric acid, calcium, magnesium, pectin, Vitamin C, and many other minerals that will help fight infection and promote immunity. Do not boil the water, simply heat it up and add the lemon into the water to ensure that you are not killing any of the healthy enzymes found in the fruit. Drink the mix every morning and before any meal to ensure you are providing your body with optimum health and hydration.

 Listed below are some of the health benefits of starting your day with warm, filtered, citrus water:

Support your immune system

 Citrus fruits are high in both Vitamin C and potassium. The potassium will help stimulate the brain and nerve functions while controlling your blood pressure and the Vitamin C will work to keep away the common cold. Pairing a citrus fruit with filtered water will also act as support for asthma, as the Vitamin C in the citrus and pure water will open up your respiratory system to function normally.

Increases hydration

 Drinking citrus water every morning will make you crave it more often, increasing your water intake. This will prevent dehydration and will help your body focus on the minerals it does need.

Stimulate digestive system

 Citrus fruits are high in minerals and vitamins that help flush out toxins in the digestive system by simulating your liver. The water will promote bile production in your liver and that in turn will help the digestion process move along further.  Citrus fruits will also eliminate heartburn, indigestion, and vomiting.

Natural diuretic

 Pairing citrus with warm water will make it easier for your gastrointestinal tract to keep your intake of toxins flowing through your body so that you are starting fresh each day. The citrus will increase the rate of urination so that your body can continue to flush out toxins at a faster rate. This will keep your urinary tract healthy and help you detoxify faster.

Balance pH levels

 Citrus fruits are an alkaline food. This will leave your body without excess acidity once the citric acid has been metabolized.  The metabolized acid will allow minerals from the citrus to alkalize your blood – preventing the risk of disease, as it only happens when the pH in your body is highly acidic.

Weight loss

 Drinking filtered citrus water will help reduce “water weight” as you will crave water more often. Drinking water regularly will keep your body from trying to store water. Your body begins to store water when it feels dehydrated, creating bloating from the water. If taken in proper amounts, water will not create extra bloat. Citrus drinks will also help fight your hunger cravings because of their high pectin fiber levels. The fiber will also serve as a powerful antibacterial and improve colon health.

Clear skin

 The Vitamin C in lemons helps prevent the formation of wrinkles, acne, and blemishes. It will help kill acne-causing bacteria and will further promote skin rejuvenation from within your body due to its ability to get rid of unwanted toxins. The Vitamin C also helps fade current scars and blemishes if applied directly to the skin as well as reduce pain and inflammation. It can do this by dissolving the acids that cause the pain.

 The citrus fruits can also be paired with other foods to get the best possible results. A pinch of cayenne pepper can be used to help raise the temperature of your body and make it easier for you to flush out unwanted toxins. Ginger can help with nausea as will as increase the circulation of blood within your body. Honey and cinnamon will help burn fat. Mint will enhance the citrus’ ability to help clear your skin. There are various other pairings that can help you get the best out of the water. The key is to start with citrus and warm water.

 Starting your day with citrus water is an easy routine that will change the way you look at mornings forever!

 Stay beautiful!

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