A Healthier Holiday Season!

Dr. Amy Myers, Founder and Medical Director of Austin UltraHealth, gives us nine tips for a healthier holiday season! Enjoy.

1. Avoid gluten.

  •  You can use arrowroot scratch or sweet rice flour to thicken your gravy instead of wheat flour. You can also make your own gluten-free stuffing or dinner rolls with almond meal or coconut flour.

2. Ditch the dairy.

  • Use full-fat coconut milk instead of cow’s milk for your cream gravies or green bean casserole. You can also baste your turkey in coconut oil instead of butter.

3. Avoid alcohol.

  •  Ditch the wine and beers. Filtered Aquasana water with a splash of lime juice makes for a perfect holiday drink without the pain of a hangover.

4. Support local farmers.

  • Plan ahead this holiday season and purchase your produce and meat from local farmer’s markets to practice farm-to-table habits and sustain local businesses.

5. Make your own holiday party classics.

  • If you’re hosting parties this year, consider making your own gluten-free and dairy-free treats, like gluten-free cookies or offer an array of exotic nuts and dried fruits.

6. Share your eating habits with friends.

  • If you aren’t hosting the party, then prepare a dish or two that you know will be safe for you to eat. This is a great opportunity to share your health journey with your friends!

7. Eat with purpose.

  • Don’t eat yourself into a coma this year! Arrive to holiday parties with a plan. Eat your veggies first, then meat, then starches, and finally if you have room, a bit of dessert.

8. Go Green.

  • If you’re roasting a turkey, save the bones and make your own turkey broth. If you have leftover vegetable pieces to discard, save them for a vegetable broth instead. You can freeze your broth and use it as a base for future soups.

9. Relax.

  • Focus your attention on relationships and connections with loved ones rather than food.

For more tips on functional medicine, visit http://www.dramymyers.com.

Shower Like a Celeb

The Simple Secret Insiders Know for Lustrous Locks and Supple Skin

Austin, TX (June 28, 2013) – It’s rumored that self-indulgent celebs bathe in bottled water to maintain star-quality hair and skin. The secret to the water is actually the lack of one element: beauty enemy chlorine.  Think of how dry skin and hair is after a dip in a chlorinated pool. While tap water doesn’t contain as much chlorine as a pool, levels are high enough to have a drying effect on skin and hair.

 

An easier and less expensive alternative to buying cases of bottled water is a simple shower filter. “One of the most important things you can do for your hair is to wash it with filtered, chlorine-free water,” says celebrity stylist River Lloyd of the John Frieda Salon. “Your hair will be noticeably softer and shinier, your scalp will be healthier and hair color will stay true and last longer.”

 

Aquasana, maker of best-in-class water filtration systems, offers shower filters that reduce chlorine by 90% and retail for as little as $30. The removal of chlorine not only benefits hair, but also reduces harmful effects that can contribute to the premature aging of skin.  Additionally, the filters enhance the performance of beauty products – providing valuable savings on pricey shampoos, conditioners and soaps.

 

Vanity isn’t the only reason to install a filter. Shower filters also improve air quality by reducing vaporized chlorine and many users with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema see improvements after only a few weeks of use. More information can be found at Aquasana.com.

 

About Aquasana

Aquasana is a leading water filtration company with the sole focus of providing best-in-class water filtration products so everyone can enjoy great-tasting, healthy water. Based in Austin, Texas, the company markets drinking water filters, shower filters, and whole-home water filter systems that remove over 60 harmful contaminants from water including chlorine, chloramines, herbicides, pesticides, industrial solvents, lead, and mercury. Aquasana water filters are engineered to preserve the healthy minerals in water, which include calcium, magnesium and potassium resulting in healthy, great-tasting water.  For more information visit www.aquasana.com.

MTBE: From Clean Air to Toxic Water

What is MTBE?

MTBE(methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a chemical compound that is produced in large quantities as a fuel additive to help gasoline burn more effectively to reduce air pollution. So what’s it doing in our drinking water?

MTBE has been used in U.S. gasoline at low levels since 1979 to replace lead as an octane enhancer. Since 1992, MTBE has been used at higher concentrations in some gasoline to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by Congress in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. MTBE was used across the US up until the last decade as a gasoline additive to make the fuel burn more thoroughly and reduce air pollution. Anytime this toxic chemical leaks or spills on to the ground, the toxins seep into the ground and contaminate natural ground water sources.

MTBE is now a commonly found contaminant in drinking water across the United States. The EPA reports a growing number of studies have detected MTBE in ground water throughout the country; in some instances these contaminated waters are sources of drinking water.The MTBE gasoline additive is now banned in many states due to the elevated risk of brain tumors, liver cancer, blood cancer, and kidney cancer when inhaled or ingested from tap water.

Who is affected?

Almost everyone in the United States breathes in or drinks some MTBE. However, some states have seen dangerously elevated levels of MTBE contamination and have banned its use. New York and California banned MTBE use in 2004, and twenty-three other states followed suit by signing legislation banning MTBE by 2005. The current court battle in New Hampshire alleges pollution of 40,000 wells with 5,590 of them reaching levels that make the water unfit for human consumption.

What you can do to protect yourself from MTBE:

If you are concerned about MTBE in your water make sure you are using a water filter that removes this harmful toxin. Aquasana water filters are certified to reduce MTBE in tap and well water. For more information on the specific impact of MTBE on your local water source contact your local EPA drinking water office for more information.

Chloramine on Tap

There’s a threat in the water, and it appears only as a single word on your water bill: chloramines. It’s the combination of ammonia and chlorine that’s added to the water to disinfect it before use. However, when added together, ammonia and chlorine create toxic, cancer-causing disinfection byproducts.

For many years, chlorine has been the primary chemical used to eradicate the risks of waterborne diseases. In the last few years many municipal water treatment plants have switched to chloramines due to their ability to disinfect water for longer periods of time. When these disinfectants interact with the organic materials in water, disinfection byproducts are created. Many of these byproducts are thought to cause gastric or liver cancer, or pose other health risks such as increased asthma symptoms, danger to mucous membranes, digestive problems and skin irritation. Kidney dialysis patients cannot use water that contains chloramines in their dialysis machines because it will cause hemolytic anemia.

While chloramine poses a risk to everyone, there is an increased risk to populations with weakened immune systems, including children younger than 6 months, the elderly, those on or who have had chemotherapy, people with HIV or AIDS and organ transplant patients.

The use of chloramines is growing. The EPA estimates more than 20 percent—or 1 in 5—of Americans use water treated with chloramines. More states are adding chloramine to water supplies because it is a more stable and longer-lasting alternative to free chlorine. Free chlorine is chlorine before it combines with other chemicals, but it can evaporate quickly, while the stability of chloramine means it lasts longer in the water supply and the harmful byproducts reach the consumer in higher levels.

Washington D.C. witnessed another side effect in 2004 when chloramines were introduced. Officials say lead contamination resulted from chloramine-related pipe corrosion. The city discovered lead levels at least 83 times higher than the accepted safe limit while performing research into premature pipe corrosion. They found that the decision to change from using chlorine to chloramine as a treatment resulted in a spike in lead levels. A report released in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the water supplied to almost 15,000 homes might still contain dangerous levels of lead despite the partial replacement of lead pipes at the homes from 2004 to 2008.

As consumers, we need to be aware of the dangers posed by these byproducts in our water. In a recent study conducted by water filtration company Aquasana, it became apparent that our country doesn’t know the risk associated with unfiltered water. More than 70 percent of respondents were unaware of the health risks connected to drinking and bathing in unfiltered tap water, and 91 percent did not know that one of the President’s Cancer Panel’s top three recommendations to reduce environmentally-based cancer is to filter tap water.

The EPA does not force any state or town to use chloramine as a disinfectant. Additionally, they recommend many alternatives to the toxic mixture, including removing organic contaminants through coagulation or sedimentation. However, the use of more and more chemicals in water treatment underscores the need to regulate what goes into our water supply in the first place. By limiting toxic materials and enforcing regulations, the need for such harsh chemical disinfectants diminishes.

Along with Washington D.C., Tennessee has completely banned chloramines from water. This is the best possible outcome for consumers, but in the meantime, filtering your water has never been more important. When shopping for water filters, make sure that the company has a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification to remove chloramines.

Aquasana Leads the Fight Against Chloramines

The Home Water Filtration Company Releases Two New Chloramine-Reducing Products

(AUSTIN, Texas, March 2, 2013) – Aquasana will make a splash at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago March 2-5 with the introduction of two groundbreaking filtration products. Both represent industry leadership for chloramine contamination reduction.

Aquasana is the first consumer water filtration brand to alert consumers about the need to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the mixture of chlorine and ammonia, known as chloramines. Many states have begun to use chloramines to treat water, as it is a cost-effective method and more stable than pure chlorine.

To combat this threat, Aquasana is unveiling a groundbreaking filter pitcher system and an under-the counter system. The pitcher represents a game-changer in the water filtration industry. Not only is it the fastest pitcher on the market, it also features the industry’s only NSF certification to remove harmful chloramines, reducing 10 times the contaminants of the leading drip pitcher filter

“This pitcher is the result of years of research into the proliferation of chloramines in the United States,” said Aquasana CEO Todd Bartee. “We are pleased to offer a full line of chloramine-reducing products for the home.”

Consumers will no longer wait for water to drip through a filter. The system can filter one half-gallon in about one minute. The system fits on the countertop and can be stored in the refrigerator once filtered. Aquasana’s sleek design means contaminants stay in the filter, so consumers only see healthy, clean water.

Aquasana’s under-the-counter system, the AQ-5300, is the brand’s most powerful water filter. What the brand calls the most cost-effective, filtration system in the D-I-Y segment is NSF-certified to remove 97 percent of chloramines and chlorine. The eco-friendly cartridge exchange system features filters that reduce more than 60 contaminants for up to six months. This system has also been independently tested to reduce pharmaceuticals.

Additionally, the EQ-400 whole-home system, based on a research partnership with the University of Texas School of Engineering, reduces 90 percent of chloramines and 97 percent of chlorine.

For more information, please visit www.aquasana.com.

About Aquasana
Aquasana is a leading water filtration company, based in Austin, Texas focused on providing best-in-class water filtration products for residential and commercial use. The company’s consumer products include drinking water filters, shower filters and whole-home water filter systems that remove over 60 harmful contaminants from water including chlorine, chloramines, herbicides, pesticides, industrial solvents, lead and mercury. All Aquasana water filters are engineered to be environmentally friendly and to preserve the healthy minerals in water.
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A Toast to the Ice Cube!

One of the most important, yet often overlooked ingredient in any beverage is the ice cube. It can take a glass of water from ordinary to outstanding, iced tea from delicious to divine. The size, shape and taste of ice are all important factors when creating the perfect beverage.

So what is the perfect ice cube? Here at Aquasana, we think the best ice cubes are crystal clear and made from pure, clean, chemical-free Aquasana filtered water. Undesirable cloudiness in ice cubes occurs when the water contains dissolved solids and minerals and freezes too quickly. Give boring ice cubes the cold shoulder with these great tips:

Use Aquasana Ice: For beautiful, crystal clear ice cubes, start with Aquasana filtered water. Boil water for 2-3 minutes to remove air bubbles, then pour into ice cube trays. Cover trays with a piece of parchment paper and put in freezer. The hot water and parchment keep the cubes from freezing too quickly.

Once you have mastered the crystal clear ice cube, try jazzing them up to create a delicious, and visually impressive iced beverage perfect for entertaining guests. Half the fun is experimenting with interesting beverage and ice pairings.

Here are some tasty combinations to try:

Aquasana Filtered Water with Aquasana Lemon or Mint Ice Cubes:

To make lemon ice cubes, prepare crystal clear ice cubes and add slices of fresh lemon, lime or mint to the ice cube trays before freezing.

Aquasana Lemonade with Strawberry Mint Ice Cubes:

To prepare ice cubes: Put a mint leaf in the bottom of each ice cube section. Top with blended frozen strawberries, pack down to form compact cubes and freeze. Prepare your favorite lemonade with Aquasana filtered water. Serve lemonade over strawberry mint ice cubes—delicious!

Aquasana Iced Tea and Lemonade Ice Cubes:
Freeze lemonade in ice cube trays. Pour your favorite Iced Tea, made with Aquasana filtered water, over frozen lemonade cubes.

Make up your own combinations–the possibilities are endless!

From all of us at Aquasana, we hope you have a fun-filled, happy, healthy holiday!

Enjoy!

6 great reasons to filter your drinking water

1. You’ll drink more water: It’s easier to drink filtered than unfiltered water. Unfiltered water often tastes kind of funny,drink more water when you filter your water depending on where you live and what your water source is. So you drink soda or bottled water (which we will discuss in a minute), or possibly turn to tea and coffee as an alternative. Filtering does two things: it removes contamination that makes your water taste funny and maintains the healthy minerals (calcium, potassium and magnesium) that your body craves along with its water. If you’ve ever tasted distilled water or water from a reverse osmosis system, you may notice that it tastes kind of flat. Drab. Almost dry. That’s the lack of minerals. Often drinking this water fails to quench your thirst, so even if you’re full, you still have a craving for something wet. Why do people turn to sports drinks and soda? They both contain minerals your body needs—that’s both their value proposition and the mechanism that satisfies your thirst when you drink. By drinking filtered water that maintains healthy minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, you feel more satisfied and less thirsty, and won’t hanker so much for a soda, either.

2. Your water will be cleaner: Filtration gets rid of the majority of your water’s contamination while preserving the healthy minerals that hydrate you better and relieve thirst better than some of your other options. Tap water is all right: It generally contains all the minerals in it you need, along with a good dose of contamination that you don’t. Some cities are better than others—get your local water report to learn where your city ranks—but even after treatment, the city pipes and water delivery system most likely contains some kind of contamination that gets back into the water before it gets to you. Heck, the pipes in your house are probably not all that clean, either! To be sure, a point-of-use system that attaches to your faucet goes a long way to easing your mind about the quality of water you consume.

3. You’ll have more control: Filtration gives you more control and insight into what’s in your water. It’s just always better to KNOW what you’re eating or drinking. Look no further than the spate of governmental rules and regulations food and beverage manufacturers must comply with to see that not only is it good to know what’s in there, but you have the legal right to know what’s in there. Filtering your own water once it enters your house offers a fine level of control over the quality of your drinking, cooking and bathing water.

4. It’s convenient: Really, what all the above reasons amount to is a higher level of convenience in your life. One more thing you don’t have to worry about, you don’t have to think about or wonder when you’re shopping in the grocery store. “Do I need to stock up on bottled water? Oh, no—I have better at home!”

5. It’s cheaper: Filtering is cheaper than bottled water by a mile. It’s even cheaper than pitcher filters. With Aquasana drinking filters specifically, you get almost twice as much bang for your buck than many pitcher filters, and over thirty times more than from bottled water. If you’re looking to save money in 2012, quitting the bottled water habit and choosing to filter is a long step in the right direction.

Filtering your water versus pitcher filter versus bottled water

6. It’s green/sustainable: Going along with cheaper, filtering is also a very sustainable method of treating your water. Reverse osmosis wastes quite a bit of water, especially as a household solution (as opposed to a larger scale operation). Basically, you get a bit of clean water, but concentrate the contaminated water and send it back into the environment. Distillation requires electricity and also wastes water. Bottled water, aside from its health concerns, fills landfills with tons of plastic waste each day. Most bottles are not recycled (up to 80% are simply tossed in the garbage), despite their eligibility for recycling, and end up clogging rivers and land when they’re not actually disposed of “properly” in a landfill. Filtering can remove up to 4,000 bottles a year from landfills. Also, filtering is removing contamination from water—meaning less ambient contamination in general (not just for your drinking pleasure). And carbon—the chief material used in filtration—is good for the environment even once you’re done with using it to filter your water.

Have another great reason to filter your water? Let us know in the comments!

What is dermatology?

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…

American Academy of Dermatology
National Eczema Association
Kids Skin Health
KidsHealth

Ideas for a happy and healthy Father’s Day

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 Grill veggies
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.

Pizza stoneA 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.

 

Gadget man-ia

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!Weather station

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!Dad in shower

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!”

4 small things you can do to avoid Green Guilt

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.Green Guilt

Green Guilt

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.Drinking filter

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.

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