Archive for the 'Tips for Health' Category
It’s not JUST water
We can all remember the days of high school chemistry class and learning the basic components of water, H2O: 2 hydrogen molecules attached to 1 oxygen molecule. You may also remember that our bodies are composed of 70%-80% water and we must drink enough of it to survive. Today we face major problems regarding safe drinking water, not only because of mass contamination from environmental and synthetic chemicals, but an even bigger problem is growing due to corporate and governmental control of our bottled water system. We are being forced to buy more bottled water than ever and the only people who benefit are the big corporations who mass produce this highly consumed product. It’s not easy to find clean, affordable drinking water but there are things that we can do.
The EPA has set standards for more than 80 contaminants that may occur in drinking water and pose a risk to human health. The EPA claims its standards protect the health of everybody, including vulnerable groups like children. Is there really a safe standard when it comes to drinking toxins? And, what happened to the countless other contaminants found in our drinking water? According to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation, tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals that lack safety standards. In an analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, most of which were required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, EWG found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 260 contaminants in water served to the public. One hundred forty-one (141) of these detected chemicals — more than half — are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals, even though millions drink them every day.
According to the EPA, contaminants fall into two groups based on the health effects that they cause. Acute effects occur within hours or days of the time that a person consumes a contaminant. Chronic effects occur after people consume a contaminant at levels over EPA’s safety standards for many years. The drinking water contaminants that can have chronic effects are chemicals (such as disinfection by-products, solvents, and pesticides), radionuclides (such as radium), and minerals (such as arsenic). Examples of the chronic effects of drinking water contaminants are cancer, liver or kidney problems, or reproductive difficulties.
Go here for more information.
The bottled water scam
With so many of us becoming aware of our contaminated tap water, the world is embracing the bottled water industry like never before. In 1999 the sales of bottled water in the US was around $6 billion in one year. By 2007 the sales of bottled water jumped to over $11 billion. Some believe that drinking bottled water is no more pure or better for your health, nor is it safer than community or municipal water. The purity standards for bottled water are no higher than those applied to tap water — in some instances they are lower or less rigorous. Studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time. There are no regulatory standards limiting phthalates in bottled water. The bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals.
Go here for more information.
What can you do?
The majority of the contaminants found in our drinking water can be traced back to improper or excessive use of ordinary compounds like lawn chemicals, gasoline, cleaning products and even prescription drugs. As a consumer, you might consider buying eco-friendly cleaners, avoid using toxic toiletries, and dispose of your medications properly. By doing your part in creating a less toxic environment, we will be able to create safer water for generations to come.
The benefits of bottled water are convenience and novelty. Instead of buying bottled water you can carry a canteen or a reusable athletic bottle. My personal favorite is to use a glass bottle and filter the water at home using a water filter. It is good for the environment and lowers the risk of chemical exposure such as BPA, a common toxic chemical in plastics. This change will save you a lot of money and will help the environment because water bottles are one of the major sources of plastic going into landfills today. Shipping billions of gallons of water every year also uses a lot of fuel.
Lastly, recycle empty water bottles, EVERYTIME! And don’t WASTE your water by letting the shower or faucet run. Use old water for things like watering plants and invest in water saving devices for you home. Be a responsible and conscious water consumer. We will all benefit from it.
—Dr. Wendy Norman, D.C.
And for more information on how to dispose of your pharmaceuticals:
Unfortunately, studies and records show that eczema, particularly in babies and children, is becoming a more common and widespread problem. The good news is that it’s not always a life-long affliction for kids (they often outgrow it by 5 years old), but it’s still painful and frustrating to treat as a parent (and no picnic for your wee one, either).
Many cases remain of undetermined origin, but there are some environmental and genetic variables that can play a part:
• Skin too dry (dehydrated or not enough natural oils, excessive sweating)
• Exposure to physical allergens and irritants
• Plain old bad luck (genetics)
In babies and young children, eczema shows up initially as red or swollen—sometimes pebbly or rough—skin, especially in skin folds that tend to stay damp: armpits, behind the knees, and in the groin area. Sometimes there are blisters or raised red bumps, and sometimes the scratching and dryness can get so bad the skin cracks and leaves open sores. Fussy, irritable babies with tender skin who dislike bath time might have a problem with eczema.
Treatment invariably depends on the cause, which is not always obvious. Please consult your pediatrician or a dermatologist in order to get direction on the proper course of treatment.Your doctor will evaluate your kiddo, and ask a lot of questions about his or her environment. Why? If your child’s skin reacts to the laundry detergent you use, resolving the issue could be as simple as switching brands or going to a “free and clear” version. Children’s skin often responds to diet changes as well; removing things like dairy, nuts or soy can improve eczema symptoms a surprising amount. There are lotions and creams, acupuncture and other homeopathic treatments, and even UV light treatments. Here are the biggies:
• Filter your child’s bath water (I can personally attest that this does help, as I have adult eczema, and it helps me!)
• Change laundry detergent, and dress your wee babe in 100% cotton clothing to allow the skin to breathe
• Perform an allergy test and identify possible contact or internal allergens (we’re looking at you, cow’s milk!)
• Remove certain Big Allergens from your kid’s diet (or stop eating them yourself, if you’re breastfeeding): cow’s milk, soy, nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, and wheat
• Try keep your baby in a warm (not hot!), dry environment to minimize sweating (sorry, fellow Texans, you will fail this one)
• Try OTC hydrocortisone cream (though I’m not a huge fan of chemicals)
Those are just some of the remedies available. There are a lot of them out there on the web, but please be careful when trying them out! Always test first on yourself, and if there’s no reaction, a small part of your baby (with something handy to wipe/remove the solution if it’s not well received).
Does your child have eczema? What have you found works to help alleviate the symptoms? Share in the comments!
We all know we should use sunscreen to help ward off the harmful rays of the sun. Sometimes there are so many choices, however, that it’s hard to know where to start. At the most basic level, there are lotions (the old stand-by) and the newer sprays and spray lotions. Do they do the same job? Do they both give the same amount of coverage and protection? There are lots of articles out there that go into the science of the debate, which I (not being qualified to) will not do here. But people tend to have a great deal to say about which sunscreen they like better (just ask—there are some pretty big opinions out there!).
For your skin, lotion might be the better way to go. To me, the sprays tend to lose at least 75% of their liquid to every chance wind that gusts up right when you hit the button. But sprays undeniably go on faster. But what’s in them? Lots of chemicals and questionable ingredients that may provoke a negative reaction. Not that lotion is any better—it’s goopy and white and “takes FOR-EVER, MOM” and is hardly attractive. So after sifting through several blog posts and discussion posts on forums about the issue, I have boiled it down to the major pros and cons for each (as told by others).
So which is better? I’d say that whatever works for you and your family is the better choice. And there are, as I mentioned before, lots of studies and reviews to help you choose:
And here’s a list of lotion-based, chemical and hormone-free sunscreens
In the end, whichever route you choose, there are a few rules of thumb when dealing with sun exposure:
- 1. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure, to give the ingredients a chance to activate.
- 2. Cover every inch of exposed skin (I know lots of people who apply it naked before dressing, to avoid missing those little slices of skin at your clothing lines).
- 3. Reapply regularly (every 2-3 hours at most—more often if swimming or sweating profusely).
Other pro tips:
- Cover with lotion in the morning, then reapply with spray during the day (because it’s quicker).
- Remember to get the back of your neck, your ears, your hands and feet (even the soles, if you’re planning on lying on your tummy for any length of time), and very carefully under all the hems of your clothing.
- If you begin to feel over hot, or if your skin turns a markedly different color when you press your finger into it, get into the shade for a little bit and drink some water!
As much as possible, wear protective clothing to block as much sun as you can: hats, shirts, and loose clothing.
Which do you prefer? Spray or lotion? We had the discussion in the office, and everyone has an opinion and a reason! What are yours??
As you may or may not be aware, dermatology is the field of medicine that focuses on the skin: skin diseases and disorders. This includes things as varied as hair removal and implantation, skin cancer treatment, skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis and (the most unfair of plagues) acne, to plastic surgery like liposuction and face lifts.
And just how, you might ask, is dermatology related to water and water filtration?
For hair removal issues, plastic surgery and cancer, water is important for all the usual health reasons, but has little impact aside from that. Where water becomes an essential component of dermatology issues are in the areas of skin health and skin disorders. Proper hydration is often the heart and soul of health in general, but it particularly affects the skin. Lack of adequate hydration can exacerbate (or cause) rashes, eczema, allergic reactions and other topical ailments.
Along the same lines, the water you wash with can affect the quality and vitality of your skin in surprising ways. City water contains a whole raft of contaminants in varying concentrations, some of which have been shown to be harmful to your skin. Chlorine in particular is cause for concern. We all know how it feels when you get out of a chlorinated pool: the itchy, dry, tight feeling plagues you until you can rinse off with less chlorinated water. But there’s chlorine in your shower water, too, if in lesser amounts, and it’s still not good for you.
Dermatology and you
For the next several weeks, be on the lookout for blog posts, Facebook and Twitter activities, and general buzz on Aquasana.com and our other community channels that relate to dermatology and skin issues. The subject is near and dear to our hearts, and we have undertaken a mission to shed light on various dermatology topics. With that in mind, we’ve found some really excellent resources about dermatology and skin conditions out there on the net:
Related, interesting sites on dermatology…
Father’s Day is coming up this weekend, and the race is on to secure a good, enticing, enjoyable gift for the men in our lives who grease the wheels and make life exciting. But what do you get for the man who already has every tool from Home Depot and too many ties to count? Why not go sideways this year, and reach for a practical and exciting gift that he’ll love? (That’s my plan, anyway.) Here are some ideas to get you started!
For the closet cook
Cooking has become a more acceptably enjoyable activity for men, and a good many of them show a decided flair for it. Why not invest in a few really excellent kitchen gadgets to help him out?
Men really like to grill best, and summer is the perfect time for him to get some more experience! Try the cookbook Everyday Grilling from Sur La Table. He’ll be able to make everything on the grill, appetizers to desserts!
If he already knows the grilling ropes, a great instant-read digital thermometer can help him hit just the right level of done.
A nice pizza stone is a good investment, too. When not in use for pizza parties, you can use it to bake other yummy things, like biscuits and cookies.
But not every man likes to cook. Some of them just can’t ever own enough gadgets. For some spectacular ideas on what to get to indulge him, try looking at Skymall.com or Brookstone.
Weather stations are pretty neat little things, and the prices on the good ones are coming down. If you need to know instantly how to dress the kids today, don’t wait for the weatherman, just take a peek at this little guy!
Maybe your man is security-minded, though. If so, investing in a home security system could be a good gift to ease his anxiety. There are lots of options out there, and some even come with iPhone or smartphone apps that let you manage your security remotely, so you always have access and control.
Or if your husband is the fastidious sort, you could consider even our own Aquasana shower filter with handheld wand. Clean himself, the kids, the dog, pots and pans, whatever he wants, in clean and healthy shower water!
Being a dad is a demanding job, one that increases stress and tension. Why not get Dad a back and neck massager of some kind? (And when he’s not using it, you can hop right in there and take a whirl!)
There are lots of other ideas out there, but use these to get you started. Use a bit of thought and imagination, and forgo the tie or cufflinks this year (unless they shoot lasers or auto-clean the house or something). And remember the best gift dads can ever get, those three little words they love to hear:
“I’ll clean up!”
We all want to upgrade and beautify our homes, but the problem with making changes these days comes down to two key facts: money is scarce and tastes change. High-contrast color kitchens are trendy this year (lime green and stark white, purple and white), but may not always be. Chrome and black appliances are all the rage, as are granite counters and reclaimed wood cabinets. Some people are also really into making healthy and/or “green” changes, trying to make their spaces beautiful and functional in a way the supports long-term sustainability and health goals. You know what they say about diets: if you want to eat more healthy, stock your kitchen with healthy food, not junk. The same idea can apply to your home: if you make it easier to be good, you will be good more often. And we start the being “good” by not over-reaching our budgets. Living within your means is the hottest new fashion, and we certainly want to promote that!
This year, forgo the massive remodel, and opt to give your kitchen a face lift instead.
Repaint/stain your cabinets with VOC-free paint or stain, of course. Unless your cabinets are just falling apart at the seams, you can probably get away with simply giving them a good hard scrub and a layer of paint or re-staining them. The new look will make you see the space with fresh eyes, trust me!
Get a sink-mounted water filter. (I know, please forgive the plug.) You’ve no doubt heard the recent clarion call to abandon our national love affair with bottled water; the concerns that inform this trend are real and incredibly sobering, and we’ve covered them in other blog articles. But to get the healthiest water, you need to filter what you drink (and bathe in). And for those of you who really want the convenience of a water filter spout in your kitchen, but don’t want to sacrifice your kitchen’s feng shui, we have seven different finishes just for you!
Consider green lighting options. Some older kitchens still have overhead fluorescent bar lights. Yuck. Aren’t we a bit too old and discerning for that? We don’t all have the budget to add a new skylight (which would be the ideal green kitchen lighting) but you have options to make a few changes to the illumination in your kitchen, save some energy and update the look all in one swoop. You’ll be amazed at the difference good lighting can make. Look into sustainable countertops. There are a number of sustainable, affordable options out there if you’re into getting new countertops. There are the reclaimed wood and recycled paper varieties like PaperStone and EcoTop. Recycled glass counters like Vetrazzo, EnviroGLAS and EnviroSLAB. Ceramic tile can be a good option if you take care when shopping (look for tiles made from recycled material) and use a low-VOC adhesive to lay the tile. Invest in energy star appliances. You can get some really good models of fridges, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and stoves out there that look great, don’t cost a ton, and can save you money on your house bills in the long run (and some even come with local or even national rebates for going green!). Make sure they rate well and save lots of energy (some models only barely save you enough to be considered Energy Star compliant, and I’ve avoid those), and recycle your old appliances with your local municipality (or donate them to Goodwill). Up next time: redo your bathroom with a few key additions or changes and give it a whole new look and feel.
Consider green lighting options. Some older kitchens still have overhead fluorescent bar lights. Yuck. Aren’t we a bit too old and discerning for that? We don’t all have the budget to add a new skylight (which would be the ideal green kitchen lighting) but you have options to make a few changes to the illumination in your kitchen, save some energy and update the look all in one swoop. You’ll be amazed at the difference good lighting can make.
Look into sustainable countertops. There are a number of sustainable, affordable options out there if you’re into getting new countertops. There are the reclaimed wood and recycled paper varieties like PaperStone and EcoTop. Recycled glass counters like Vetrazzo, EnviroGLAS and EnviroSLAB. Ceramic tile can be a good option if you take care when shopping (look for tiles made from recycled material) and use a low-VOC adhesive to lay the tile.
Invest in energy star appliances. You can get some really good models of fridges, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and stoves out there that look great, don’t cost a ton, and can save you money on your house bills in the long run (and some even come with local or even national rebates for going green!). Make sure they rate well and save lots of energy (some models only barely save you enough to be considered Energy Star compliant, and I’ve avoid those), and recycle your old appliances with your local municipality (or donate them to Goodwill).
Up next time: redo your bathroom with a few key additions or changes and give it a whole new look and feel.
We know from our blogs and our online community conversations that our customers are fans with great love and great loyalty. People who use Aquasana products tend to talk to their friends and family (and sometimes perfect strangers) about how much Aquasana products mean to them and how much our products impact their lives for the better.
As some of you know, we have had an affiliate referral program for some time through which our customers and loyalists speak out and spread the word about Aquasana products. In fact, our program became so large that it outgrew the platform we were running it on! So at the beginning of 2011, we researched and found a new company to host our affiliate program, LinkShare.
The affiliate relationship is basically a channel marketing relationship. Our Publishers (What LinkShare calls affiliates) post links on their websites that go to www.aquassana.com, whether text links, banner images or full-blown product detail pages, and each time someone makes a purchase on Aquasana.com from that link, the Publisher earns a commission*.
There is no cost to join the Publisher program on LinkShare, and if you have a website, adding us is often just a matter of getting the link code from LinkShare and plugging it into your site. Publishers enjoy the ability to participate in site-wide promotions, like the current April 30% off promo, and earn a little something for spreading the word about Aquasana products. Our Publishers range in size from single families who refer their friends and families to substantially sized companies: we welcome all shapes and sizes.
There are several popular Publisher strategies.
The Blogger writes new and fresh content, either reviews or information on water in general or other interesting, semi-related topics, and posts the blogs with links or banners for Aquasana.
Entrepreneurs populate websites with product images and details, like an e-commerce site. (Though this is fine, we do not allow online checkout.)
Coupon Clippers aggregate coupons and coupon banners (from various companies, not just Aquasana), promoting the discounts we offer to our publishers’ customers.
Thank you for all your continued loyalty and support as we spread the word of healthy, clean, delicious water!
*For commissionable items. Not all products are commissionable, and not all items earn the same commission. See LinkShare site for details.
You recycle. You turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You started doing the laundry in cold water. But despite taking steps to reduce your family’s carbon footprint and save the planet, you still feel slightly guilty about not doing enough.
Sound familiar? It’s called Green Guilt: the anxiety and self-doubt that we are not doing enough (or that our efforts mean nothing) to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve global resources. Green Guilt is becoming less of a problem in today’s tighter and more stressful economy, since the overriding concern is “Will I have a job in three months?” not “How can I reduce my environmental impact?”, but it still occurs and adds unnecessarily to your stress level.
Don’t beat yourself up
What can you do to avoid feeling this way? Well, for starters, understanding goes a long way. Do your part, do more when you can, and don’t beat yourself up too much if you choose paper towels over cloth for the sake of convenience once in a while. To help you along, I’ve gathered a few extra tips to help you save time and money and get a little greener at the same time:
1) Use a water filter and refillable water bottles. You know how we feel about disposable plastic water bottles. They aren’t really that much safer than tap water in a lot of instances, water leaches plastic molecules, and when we’re done with them they often as not pollute landfills and oceans. Not a lot to love there. But there is an upside to drinking filtered water: not as many of those bottles. I know it’s often a quick decision to make your life easier to just grab some water bottles to toss in the cooler when you go camping, but during the rest of your life, make a concerted effort to use refillable bottles and fill them with filtered water.
2) Walk your neighborhood, not a treadmill. Gyms are all the rage, but are they really worth it? They’re noisy, crowded at all the wrong times, expensive, and they guzzle energy. Plus, those fancy elliptical machines lie about how many calories you’re burning. Try finding a place to walk near where you live—a trail or park that has some good hills. Or just walk or jog through your neighborhood. Do some pushups and sit-ups when you get home. The world will thank you!
3) Carpool. Seriously. I know it’s hardly appealing and takes trust, coordination and sacrifice, but if you can be one fewer car on the road, even once in a while, then you’ll be responsible for cutting down pollution, fossil fuel addiction and household expenditures. Gold star for you!
4) Ask your boss about telecommuting options. Save fuel altogether and work at home a day or two a week, if your job type allows it. Not all jobs lend themselves to working at home, and I am a staunch believer in the value of a tight-knit team, but since a lot of the work that occurs in an information economy happens in your head regardless of where your bottom is, this is becoming an increasingly viable option for many companies.
March 22 every year is World Water Day. And what is World Water Day? Not another Hallmark holiday, I can assure you. World Water Day is an education and awareness program that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Environment and Development Conference. World Water Day 2005 marked the beginning of a Decade of Action, between 2005 and 2015, during which Word Water Day each year would focus on a specific problem facing global water supplies. 2010 was “clean water for a healthy world,” 2009 was “transboundary waters: sharing water, sharing opportunities,” but my personal favorite was 2001’s discussion on “water for health – taking charge.”
World Water Day 2011 is about water for cities and the many issues and challenges facing cities regarding sanitation, waste water and drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, in 2005 40% of the world’s population did not have access to even a simple pit latrine, and 20% did not have access to a source of clean drinking water. I hope advocacy and education programs like World Water Day have improved those numbers, but the situation for so many people is so grim.
There are World Water Day events going on in a lot of cities worldwide today, with the main event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Learn about the issues and challenges, and take part in some local events if you have the time.
Ever heard this one? “I want to drink more water, I just get so bored with it! I need taste!”
Some people are happy with a slice of lemon, some just guzzle water when it is super cold to avoid having to taste it. But there are more interesting ways to liven up your water to make it taste great and still enjoy the numerous benefits to your health and well-being. Our favorite way at Aquasana is to infuse the water with various vegetables, fruits and herbs. We served our three favorite recipes at the Natural Products Expo West last week, and they were such a big hit, we wanted to share the recipes in detail here.
Yield: 1 ½ quarts or 4 servings
- 6 cups cold Aquasana filtered water, divided
- 20 thin slices cucumber
- 2 lemons, sliced thin
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, slightly crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, slightly crushed
In a 2- to 2 ½-quart pitcher, fill the bottom with about 1 cup of water. Add the thyme and rosemary and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly crush the herbs. Add the lemon and cucumber, then the rest of the water. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add ice cubes made from Aquasana water just before serving and enjoy!
Yield: 1 ½ quarts or 4 servings
- 6 cups cold Aquasana filtered water, divided
- 10 strawberries, sliced thin
- 2 tangelos, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh mint, slightly crushed
In a 2- to 2 ½-quart pitcher, fill the bottom with about 1 cup of water. Add the mint and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly crush the leaves. Add the strawberry and tangelo, then the rest of the water. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add ice cubes made from Aquasana water just before serving and enjoy!
Watermelon Cooler (not served at Expo West)
Yield: 1 ½ quarts or 4 servings
- 6 cups cold Aquasana filtered water, divided
- 1 ½ C watermelon slices
- 2 lemons, sliced thin
- 4 sprigs fresh mint, slightly crushed
In a 2- to 2 ½-quart pitcher, fill the bottom with about 1 cup of water. Add the mint and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly crush the herbs. Add the watermelon and lemon, then the rest of the water. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add ice cubes made from Aquasana water just before serving and enjoy!
- Plum and cinnamon (served at Expo West—tasty but subtle, and the plums sink!)
- Pineapple and mint
- Raspberry and lime
- Cilantro, lime and jalapeno
- Tarragon leaves with blueberries and raspberries
- Cucumber, honeydew and mint
- Tomato slices with fresh horseradish
- Strawberry, kiwi and mint
What are your favorite ways to dress up your water? Do you know more infused water recipes? Share your secrets with us!