Monthly Archives: July 2015

Clean Eating & the Price of Eggs

Wayne Dyer said in his blog post: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” This simple observation of Dr. Dyer’s is really quite profound. I am going to use this idea as it applies to our eating habits.

Two posts that I read this week have stuck with me. My wonderful assistant, Juli, & her friends were lamenting the price of eggs. They have gone up & are expensive. The other was a comment by Samantha Adams: “My new motto is count chemicals, not calories.”

organic_eggs_egg_carton2

 

Using Dr. Dyer’s observation let’s look at the “price of eggs”. One afternoon several years ago I was buying produce at Jimbo’s when I overheard a woman complaining that a head of organic romaine lettuce was $2 & she refused to spend that much. I looked in her cart & saw 2 Green & Black organic candy bars…$3.89 a bar at that time. If we are willing to spend $4 for one candy bar then why aren’t we willing to spend money on organic produce? Today’s average price per egg is $0.22, it has 58 calories, 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein & NO SUGAR. The average price of a 3 ounce Snickers bar is $1.00 & it has 215 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein & 20 grams of SUGAR. Look in your cart & see what your Snickers is 🙂 Let’s begin our grocery shopping list with the mindset that organic produce is the healthiest food item we can eat & compare each purchase to our “Snickers”.

The Dirty Secrets of ‘Clean’ Labels  Samantha Adam’s quote can be found in this very good article about the ingredients found on labels. The authors explore how & why the big corporations & the FDA have changed labeling. Why these changes? “It boils down to one thing: Consumers don’t trust companies anymore,” says Lynn Dornblaser, director of Innovation and Insight for the market research firm Mintel. Mintel recently surveyed grocery shoppers. Only 38% said they trust what companies say about their products on food labels. “That’s 62% who don’t,” she says.” Wow, 62%! This is great news. Companies are only hurt when their bottom line~$$$~is affected. Then, & only then will they make changes in our favor. This is why your buying habits matter. You vote every time an item is scanned at the checkout counter. 

Label

 

 Again using Dr. Dyer’s observation; what are you looking at when you buy products with labels? Are you checking the Nutritional Facts Label for sugar, calories, fat or fiber? Maybe that isn’t how we should be looking at these labels.

I happen to agree with Samantha, I only look at the ingredient list. I am looking for chemicals & “things I can’t pronounce”.  When I buy peanut butter I expect to see only peanuts on the ingredient list with maybe a bit of sea salt. Jiffy Creamy Peanut Butter’s ingredients: MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.  After reading this ingredient list who cares about the calories, fat & sugar content! Would you want to put all this into your body? Focus on that ingredient list. Simple is always better. Another tip is to compare the ingredients in the popular brand to the grocery stores generic brand. Generic brands are cleaner; fewer preservatives & chemicals.

What is clean eating? Clean Eating — Why You Should Be Doing It  “Healthy eating should be easy, right? But with seemingly simple or so-called “health foods” containing ingredients we can’t even pronounce, the whole process isn’t quite as straight forward as it used to be. That’s where clean eating comes in. It’s not a diet or a fad — it’s a way of life and one we all should consider giving a try.” This is a very good article. Eating “clean” is not a fad or a diet, the author says it is a lifestyle. If we change the way we look at what we eat then what we eat becomes our Lifestyle choices. Choices meant to last a lifetime. So choose wisely. 

If we change our lifestyle to focus on a strong immune system & being as healthy as we can be the rest will follow. We know that a healthy lifestyle includes a balanced way of eating, exercise & stress reduction. Instead of changing your eating habits to fit into a bathing suit or to reduce the risk of a specific disease, change it to be as healthy as your can be. Each day be mindful of your food choices. Cut out the processed foods as much as you can. Eat more fruits & vegetables, buy organic, & within those parameters eat what you like. If you don’t like broccoli then look for another cruciferous vegetable in that group that you do like. This lifestyle is yours, not mine, not your best friends & certainly not the Kardashians 🙂

With this healthy lifestyle comes having fun, enjoying your family & friends plus eating out. Let’s change the way we look at eating out. It is not “bad”. It is simply a night without having to cook & cleanup. Enjoy it! The following day you continue with your healthy lifestyle. No guilt over what you ate or drank the night before.

This was our dinner last Tuesday from our garden. The edible flowers are Nasturtium & Borage. We were tired & going for simple.

My Plate 1

This was dinner the following night! We took a drive along the coast & found a cute little cafe that made awesome vegetarian pizzas. Delicious & no guilt. Enjoyed every bite.

I have seen that the worse guilt over what you eat comes after you have been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc. The next guilt trip is when your friends & family start telling you what “Super Foods” you should have been eating. At this point you vow to start fresh & throw out all your favorite foods & everything in the pantry. Then, you discover that you are too tired from chemo, medications, surgery or whatever to make those healthy “Super Food Meals”. More guilt. Now you not only question every bite you eat but you are now STRESSED OUT!

The first item on your healthy lifestyle should be stress reduction. This is more important than what you eat. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide…. During & after your treatment focus on stress reduction through gentle exercise such as Yoga, QiGong, Tai Chi, or swimming. Learn a relaxation technique: meditation, mindfulness, QiGong or simply take a walk, garden or read. Check on SDCRI’s Resource page for ideas & contacts in the San Diego & North County area.

When YOU are ready to address a cleaner eating lifestyle, check this/our website for information on how & where to start. Craft a lifestyle that you are comfortable with & that you can see yourself doing from now on. Next week we will look at your plate & see how it can be “cleaned up” without falling for “natural/healthy/superfood/fad” items.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten about quality of life. Society is more focused on quantity. My motto? “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson In my version I will be holding a cup of coffee in one hand & dark chocolate in the other……Mary

Updates & New Recipes

My favorite posts to write are the updates. Each week there are many new health & nutrition articles in the news. This week I want to share an update on coconut oil, avocados, sunscreen, coffee:), & restaurant food vs. fast food. I will also share some new recipes that I think you will like.

Coconut oil is always in the news & posted on Facebook as a “super-food”. If you Google it you will find websites with lists for the many uses of coconut oil. Some of them are just comical! So, what is the story with coconut oil?

I mentioned coconut oil in the post on Healthy Oils/Fats a few weeks ago.

  • Monounsaturated: 6% | Polyunsaturated: 2% | Saturated: 92%
  • Flavor: Light coconut flavor
  • Uses: High heat. Baking, stir fry, roasting & for popping popcorn!
  • Problems: None. This saturated fat is not a problem because it is a medium-chain triglycerides which in research is seen as heart healthy. 
  • Health benefits: There is not a lot of research that suggests it is a “super food”. It is a good choice when cooking but shouldn’t replace better choices such as Olive Oil. Here is a good article: What are the health benefits of coconut oil This is a fair assessment of coconut oils health benefits. 

I added the link above to give you a fair assessment of coconut oil. Here is another article, dated 7/7/15, on the Forks over Knives website that our NUT Elf, Suzi, brought to my attention.  Is Coconut Oil Healthy or Hazardous?  The article begins as follows: We are not quite sure why people think there is something magically healthy about coconut oil. We think it is because it tastes good, and therefore the misinformation is easier to swallow. For several years now, coconut oil has been marketed as the new wonder oil, a cure-all with health benefits ranging from antimicrobial properties (such as fighting viruses and bacteria, including HIV), to fighting cancer (by supporting our immune system), to reducing heart disease (by reducing cholesterol and benefiting our arteries), to promoting weight loss, to treating hyperthyroidism, to many other things. Its uses are also varied—it’s a cooking and baking oil, an ingredient in many packaged foods, and a component used in biodiesel fuel, soaps, and skin products. I like this article because the authors, two M.D’s, bring up information that you don’t see on other websites or in other articles. Click on the link above to read the entire article. Here is the last paragraph: In light of this information, coconut oil seems better served in our cars and on our skin, and really should never be used in our food. Having said that, if you enjoy the taste of coconut, or if a little bit of coconut is helping you stay on this healthy new diet and lifestyle, then using a little bit of the whole plant food, not the oil, once in a generous while, is okay.” I agree with all the research & information the authors site. But~I would say that coconut oil can be used “once in a generous while” in place of Crisco. I use coconut oil to season my cast iron pans, I use it when making my families old biscuit & pie crust recipes that call for Crisco & my husband uses it once in a great awhile to make popcorn taste “buttery”. My oil of choice is Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is the only oil in my cupboard for general cooking. 

Avocados may hold the answer to beating leukemia 6/15/15 “Rich, creamy, nutritious and now cancer fighting. New research reveals that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer. 

Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo has discovered a lipid in avocados that combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells. Worldwide, there are few drug treatments available to patients that target leukemia stem cells.”

The lipid or fat in the avocado is what is being studied. It has been named Avocatin B. Clinical trials are being set up. “Not only does avocatin B eliminate the source of AML, but its targeted, selective effects make it less toxic to the body, too.” This is really great news for AML patients. “Professor Spagnuolo is among only a handful of researchers worldwide, applying the pharmaceutical industry’s rigorous drug discovery research processes to food-derived compounds, called nutraceuticals.” 

Eating the whole avocado continues to be a nutritious choice. Eating lots of avocados a day will not give you the results Dr. Spagnuolo is seeing. In this case the Avoctin B is being prepared into a “drug”. This study has the potential of being applicable to other cancers as well.  

clipart-sun-decorative_sunWhat sunscreen are you using? With the temperatures reaching triple digits in California & other states, you & your family should be using a sunscreen that not only has a high SPF but is toxin free. Here are two links to help you find one or to check on the one you are using.

 EWG, the Environmental Working Group, publishes a yearly Sunscreen Guide. Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens This link has 235 sunscreens listed alphabetically which have met EWG’s criteria. On this page, top right, you can do a search for your brand & see how it rates with EWG. This link: EWG’s Sunscreen Guide has information about sunscreens & has a “list of shame” for brands that have lied to consumers about how healthy their sunscreens are. EWG is the most important website that you should be using . Make sure you bookmark it on your computer.

7 Things You Should Know About Coffee: “How well do you know your morning brew? In truth, many of us are probably more focused on not falling asleep when we chug our average three cups of coffee a day rather than learning about the grind or the roast. But if you’re one of the millions of people who drink coffee every day—and you care about how much caffeine you’re consuming—you might want to know the following coffee facts.” By now you should know about my love affair with coffee 🙂 This article has very good information that coffee drinkers should be aware of. #7 is my favorite!!

#7. Half of us would choose it over sex and cocktails. “Nookie in the morning and martinis in the evening? No thanks—53 percent of participants in a recent study say they’d choose coffee over morning sex, and almost 80 percent would choose coffee instead of alcohol. In other news, 100 percent of us reading this are probably wondering if we’ve been doing date night all wrong.” A little humor!

Love my coffee! Continuing with the coffee theme: Coffee may lower inflammation and reduce risk of diabetes “New research finds drinking coffee may lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who drank coffee were about 50 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to people who did not drink coffee. Scientists believe that the reason for a reduction in the risk for type 2 diabetes could be the effect coffee has on the reducing the amount of inflammation in the body. We know that many chronic diseases are inflammatory. This research could help a lot of people. Here is the last paragraph in the article. “The researchers concluded that they cannot confirm whether drinking more coffee actually prevents diabetes, but they are one step closer to proving a cause-and-effect relationship. For now, physical exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight is the most effective way to reduce your risk for diabetes.” I am always dismayed when nutrition is not part of a scientists/physicians recommendations. Diet should have been before physical exercise in maintaining that healthy body weight. 

Restaurant Food May Be Less Healthy Than Fast Food  A new study finds that people eat more salt and cholesterol at restaurants than fast-food joints. If you eschew fast food but relish restaurants, you might think you’re doing your body a favor. But recent research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that in a lot of ways, eating out is even worse than driving-thru.” I think, based on my own experience, that we do fall for the “restaurant is good ~ fast food is bad” statement. In my case, I think I prefer to think that way because I want someone else to cook my favorite vegetarian meal, serve me at a table with real silverware & plates, and ask me if I need anything else. Eating this way makes it feel healthier than a drive through window or eating out of a Styrofoam container. It appears that I was wrong: “This study—and many others before it—found that eating at fast-food restaurants and full-service restaurants is worse for you than eating at home. Both types of establishments were associated with a daily increase in calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium. Eating at fast-food restaurants was associated with an extra 190 calories a day, while eating at full-service restaurants was linked to an extra 187 calories per day. Fat was packed on at about the same daily rate: an extra 10 or so grams.” There is some good news though: “But An also found some good news for restaurant-philes: eating at restaurants, compared to eating fast food, was associated with an increase in omega-3s, vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and zinc, plus a reduction in sugar. “From that perspective, consumption in full-service restaurants isn’t all bad,” he said.” Hooray!

I have been sharing recipes with our NUT Elf ,Suzi. She or I have tried all of them. Delicious! These recipes are also on the Recipe page for your convenience.

Suzi asked me if I had ever used cauliflower in a pizza crust before. She wanted a healthy crust. I had not used cauliflower but my daughter made her pizza with a zuchini crust. It is always a huge hit. Mollie Katzen’s recipe is from her Moosewood Cookbook : Zucchini Crusted Pizza Once you have the crust you can add your own toppings. We also discussed making Spanakopita. This is my favorite recipe again by Mollie Katzen. It is easy to make.

Food Babe’s Summer Squash Casserole Our organic garden is producing more than we can handle! We have been sharing with neighbors & my husbands co-workers. In return we have received that always abundant summer squash. This is a very tasty way to serve it.

I shared my easy sorbet recipe with you. I said that I use whatever frozen fruit I have on hand. Here is one to try now that watermelon are in the grocery stores. A perfect summer treat. One-Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet Make sure that you explore the recipes on this site. Lots of tasty ones. Healthy & easy to make. 

One more “ice cream” recipe. Mint Chocolate Chip “Nice” Cream I haven’t tried this one yet. Surprising ingredients 🙂

Another favorite lunch or even dinner in my house is toasted sprouted bread with avocado, heirloom tomato, goat cheese & fresh basil. Simple to make & wonderfully nutritious & delicious. Suzi sent me a link to a website that has 4 Healthy Toast Recipes. Brilliant ideas & so easy. 

Here is another link that Suzi shared with me. She said in her email that she doesn’t have a lot of experience with Quinoa and thought she would share a helpful website on the subject. 16 Ways To Cook with Quinoa : Quinoa is more versatile than you think. While it’s delicious in salads or as a simple side dish, the healthy grain-like seed is also terrific in dishes like these crispy quinoa sliders. The crispy, light little quinoa patties are extra-flavorful thanks to fresh summer zucchini, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chives. Here, more innovative quinoa recipes.” Take a look.

Trish breakfast

 

My friend Trish posted this picture on Facebook. Her homemade breakfast with her sisters . She said it was couscous, heirloom tomato, basil, & avocado. She told me that you can use quinoa, red rice, black rice or millet as well as couscous. Simple & nutritious. We forget to do “simple”.

I want to finish with information regarding home delivered produce.

Suzi lives in an area in Nevada that has very little local organic produce. She finds the prices of the organic produce she does find, even when it is in season, is extremely high. We compared the price of local organic strawberries. Hers are shipped from California: $6 a basket. Mine are locally grown: $3.50 per basket. Because of this problem she found this website & may give it a try. Check it out.

Home cooking you have time for

All you need for three incredible meals, delivered weekly.

  • Pre-measured and prepped ingredients.
  • Easy-to-master, original recipes.
  • Typically ready in 30 minutes or less.

Another option would be a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for you to buy local, seasonal, produce directly from a farmer in your area. The cost varies by season & farm. Wherever you live, Google CSA box & the name of your community. Here are two links for San Diego. 

Be Wise Ranch : They have pickup points throughout San Diego, North County & Beach communities. Their produce can be bought by you at:

  • Jimbo’s in Escondido, Carlsbad, Del Mar & 4S Ranch
  • Major Market in Escondido & Fallbrook
  • Baron’s in Rancho Bernardo & Point Loma
  • Cream of the Crop in Oceanside
  • People’s Food Coop in Ocean Beach
  • Whole Foods in La Jolla & Hillcrest & Encinitas
  • Boney’s in Oceanside
  • Fraizer Farmers in Vista

Seabreeze Organic Farm They are located in Carmel Valley. Delivery Schedule link for you to look up your area. 

That’s it for this week. Enjoy the recipes & let me know what you tried & if you like them……Mary

 

***All images were given credit when it could be found.

Water: Part 2

Last weeks post discussed why our bodies need water. This week I will look at water quality, filters, containers & bottled water. We, in the United States, take our drinking water for granted. We simply turn on a tap in our home & there it is. 750 million people around the world, 1 in 9, do not have access to safe water.

According to Water.org “In most developed nations, we take access to safe water for granted. But this wasn’t always the case. A little more than 100 years ago, New York, London and Paris were centers of infectious disease. Child death rates were as high then as they are now in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It was sweeping reforms in water and sanitation that enabled human progress to leap forward. It should come as no surprise that in 2007, a poll by the British Medical Journal found that clean water and sanitation comprised the most important medical advancement since 1840.” ***1840 & still… 2.5 billion people ~about 1 in 3 -~don’t have access to improved sanitation.”

The Environmental Protection Agency & each states Department of Public Health requires a Drinking Water Quality Report. In California it is required yearly. The most recent, 2013 City of San Diego’s Annual Drinking Water Quality Report gives you an idea of what they test for and how it is rated. Click on the link for the entire report. Here is an excerpt that I feel is important to understand.

“Why is There Anything in My Water? The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. ***Note that this includes bottled water sources. Department regulations also establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that provide the same protection for public health.” 

Contaminants that may be present in source water include: ***This is true of water that is collected anywhere in the United States. 

• Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.

• Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, that can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.

• Pesticides and herbicides that may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.

• Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals that are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems.

• Radioactive contaminants that can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

To check your cities water quality you can either Google it or you can use EWG’s National Drinking Water Database. Just type in your ZipCode. 

Water filters: We now know how “safe” our tap water is by checking the database. To make sure it meets our own personal standards we can filter it further at home. I recommend that you do this.

Reverse Osmosis: Forces water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure. It filters out all disease causing organisms and most chemical contaminants. The problem is that they use three times as much water as you actually collect from them. 3 gallons wasted for 1 gallon of filtered water. They are usually paired with an activated charcoal filter to eliminate chlorine.

Carbon Filter:  Removes some chemicals such as chlorine, benzene, radon, solvents, volatile organic chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides and some man-made chemicals. Carbon filters remove bad tastes and odors from the water.

Black Carbon Filter: Wellness Mama: “Recognized by the EPA~Environmental Protection Agency~ as the best option for removing chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and VOCs. ~Volatile Organic Chemicals~ Quality carbon block filters will remove chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, fluoride (with filter attachment), heavy metals, nitrate, nitrites and parasites. Most are gravity based and can safely transform any type of water into safe drinking water including rain water, pond water and even sea water (though these types of water will clog the filters much more quickly and are not ideal!) It will even filter water with food coloring to create clear water” For her entire post about filters & water click on the link above. Very helpful information.

Distillers: Heats the water to the boiling point; the water vapor is collected as it condenses. This method kills disease-causing microbes and filters out most chemical contaminants. Gasoline components, radon & other gases may remain in the water unless the distiller is specifically made to remove them. Distilled water may taste flat or neutral because the natural minerals and dissolved oxygen have been filtered out through distillation. Taste is very important if your going to drink to keep hydrated during treatment or exercise.

Alkaline Water SystemsI want to give you evidence based information about alkaline water. This system can cost as high as $4,000 for a home system. I think the best explanation I have seen is from Andrew Weil M.D. 

When asked about an alkaline system: “I am often asked about the health benefits of alkaline water and the notion that it is somehow protective of health and can prevent disease by balancing the body’s pH. The usual selling points are that alkaline water is energizing, hydrates the body more effectively than regular water, improves the taste of food when used in cooking, promotes “regularity,” helps the body absorb nutrients more effectively, and on and on. I’ve even seen claims that it can cure obesity, high blood pressure and breast cancer. None of these claims is true. Furthermore, the human body needs absolutely no help in adjusting its pH. Normally, the pH of blood and most body fluids is near seven, which is close to neutral. This acid-base balance is under very tight physiologic control because all of the chemical reactions that maintain life depend on it. Unless you have serious respiratory or kidney problems, body pH will remain in balance no matter what you eat or drink. As for water, you should consider the fact that alkaline water is common throughout the western states but to my knowledge it has not protected anyone from the diseases common in our population. Bottom line: The health claims for water ionizers and for alkaline water are bogus.” ***This is exactly what I heard from a research scientist that I asked about the validity of the Alkaline Diet & the Alkaline Water health fad. By the way, tap water is already alkaline. City water districts check for this because if it wasn’t it would be corrosive to the pipelines, city streets & sidewalks not to mention your patio.

Oxygenated water: When my Grandson, Winston, was 6 years old he & I were shopping at a Natural Foods store. He saw a 4 pack of bottled water that said it was oxygenated; priced at $10.00. Winston said; “Granny, when you open the top the oxygen will escape. People could just take 5 deep breathes for free! ***Out of the mouths of babes!! This system is the same as ionization. Reread the paragraph about Alkaline Water. 

There are many types of filters. Under the sink, faucet filter, family size free-standing filters, & personal water bottle filters. The selection of a filter should fit your lifestyle, your income & what you consider safe water for you & your family. To help with this selection check these three websites:

Don’t forget to add taste to your criteria. I took back two different brands because the water tasted so bad! 

Now you have your water filter and you are going for a hike or an appointment. The container that you carry your water in should also be safe. What’s the point of filtering the water and then putting it into a plastic container! Your personal water bottle should be either glass or stainless steel. Make sure you read the labels. Some stainless steel containers have an aluminum layer on the inside, or a ceramic layer over the the aluminum. If the ceramic layer cracks then you have the potential of leeching the aluminum into your water. There are many beautifully made glass water bottles with a protective covering that are great. I use Klean Kanteen for my hiking water containers & I have glass bottles by One Vessel, that I carry with me. These are just 2 examples of many great companies out there.

Plastic Bottled Water: There are so many reasons not to buy bottled water to carry around with you. Even if the plastic is BPA free there are other considerations. Here are just three reasons to reconsider buying them.

  • Safety: Bottled water varies in the safety department just like tap water. We should be aware of: where it was sourced, how it was filtered, how, & how far it was shipped. If you leave your bottle in a hot car or in the sun the potential for harmful chemicals leeching into the water increases.
  • Pollution: Chemicals in the air from the production of plastic & chemicals in the bottle itself. What happens to all those billions of plastic bottles? Recycled? My research showed that only 30% of plastic bottles are recycled***Shameful. 
  • Cost: It is expensive. Buying a filtering system & re-usable containers will save you a lot of money. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Jul 15, 2013 – “For example, in California average tap water costs about $1.60 per thousand gallons (about one tenth of a cent per gallon), while it has been reported that average bottled water costs about $0.90 per gallon.” ***You don’t need to be Einstein to figure that one out.  

Two good links to articles about bottled water.

  •  EWG : “EWG found 38 pollutants in 10 brands of bottled water, including chemicals linked to cancer. Our tests show that the purity of bottled water cannot be trusted.” ***Good article to read if you still use plastic bottled water.
  • The 6 Worst Brands of Bottled Water You Can Buy Dr. Mercola: “Bottled water is perhaps one of the most environmentally unfriendly industries there is. Americans consume about half a billion bottles of water every week!The environmental ramifications of this practice are enormous.” 

I saw this article from CBS on July 9th“Safer” chemicals in plastics may be hazardous to kids :  “Two chemicals used to strengthen common household items like plastic wrap and processed food containers have been linked to high blood pressure and diabetes in children, according to a new series of studies.” Good article. It also pertains to adults. 

Now you know everything there is to know about water. Well, almost everything. Climate Change will most certainly change the sources of water, the availability & the safety as well.

See you here next week! …..Mary

 

Water: What should your daily intake be?

If you ask anyone, part of your health care team or even a person on the street, what your daily intake of water should be, you will get the same answer. 8-10 cups a day. Where did this guideline come from & is it correct?

There are many reasons why this is a tricky question for anyone to answer. I will address the most important reasons as well as why we need water, what the consequences are of not having consumed enough & measures to take to prevent dehydration.

The history of this guideline is very interesting because it is difficult to pin it down to one person. It may have been just a footnote in the 1945 & 1948 U.S. Dietary Guidelines or it may have been popularized by a book written in 1974. Regardless, these recommendations are no longer part of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines because researchers don’t know how much water an individual should drink daily.

This is a good article to read. How much water should we be drinking? Science doesn’t have a clue. 

As a Registered Nurse I would record a patients intake & output, I&O, to make sure they were not losing more fluids than they were taking in. Why was this important?

The USGS Water Science School: “According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%. Each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters per day. Some of this water is gotten in food. This article makes a good point here; it varies according to age & gender as well as how & where someone lives. I would add it also varies according to their health status & diet. The article continues…..Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going:

  • A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material.
  • It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration
  • The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream;
  • It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination This is an important point for those of you who are having chemotherapy & or radiation. Actually any medications be it Rx or over the counter.
  • acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus
  • forms saliva Another important point to remember. Saliva is the first part of our digestive process. 
  • lubricates joints Don’t you feel more limber during Zumba or Yoga when you drink water during the day?

Next, I want to look at dehydration & what it means.

Dehydration: “By Mayo Clinic Staff. Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.”

Symptoms of Dehydration: These are taken from multiple sources. The severity of these symptoms decides whether it is a medical emergency or not. Thirst quenched by a glass of water is fine. Severe thirst is not.

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry cough
  • Feeling very tired, extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Irritable; more than usual 🙂  
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches; alone or along with nausea
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Shaky
  • Constipation
  • Flushed skin
  • Dry skin; if you pinch the loose skin on your arm it will stick together & very slowly return to normal.
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Weight loss; rapid
  • Dark colored urine 
  • A decrease in urination

Causes of dehydration: This can be as simple as forgetting to bring water while hiking, shopping, or waiting in line at the DMV 🙂 This list is put together from many sources & from my nursing experience.

  • Vomiting: Can be a side effect of chemotherapy or other medications.
  • Diarrhea: Can also be a side effect of chemotherapy or other medications.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Having a fever
  • Increased urination: Can be due to medications such as diuretics, or blood pressure medications. Check with your healthcare team or ask your pharmacist. You may need to be checked for diabetes if you have excessive thirst &/or urination.
  • Age: As seniors become older they lose the “thirst reflex”. Children can become dehydrated quickly due to their size. Both age groups should be monitored and given water even if they don’t think they are thirsty. Babies need pure water between feedings. Fill those sippy cups with water not Koolaide, Garoraide or juice during the summer! This advice is for any age group.
  • Chronic illnesses/disabilities: Due to medications or debilities which may cause the person to be unable to access enough food & water. Caregivers need to monitor this situation.
  • Environment: Do you live in a dry, hot climate, do you work outside all day, or do you live in a hot, humid climate. Many factors in your environment can contribute to dehydration.
  • Exercise: Here is a recent article that is very informative: This is what drinking too much water during exercise does to your body Yes, you can get too much water.

How to prevent dehydration: Chemotherapy patients are monitored by their health care team. If their blood work shows they are dehydrated or they present with obvious symptoms they receive hydration; an IV solution so they can continue treatment. Sometimes this can be prevented by the following tips. This applies to everyone else too 🙂 

  • Drink water when you are thirsty. Don’t wait. Bring water with you when you know you will be waiting for an appointment or you are going to be delayed for any reason. 
  • Avoid drinks that are caffeinated &/or high in sugar: Coffee, tea, sodas & juices. Drink these in moderation. Don’t drink them thinking they will hydrate you.
  • Drink water before you exercise, before you venture outside in the hot, humid or dry weather.
  • Work with your healthcare team to manage any symptoms or side effects; diarrhea, constipation & nausea.
  • Avoid alcohol: Beer, wine, whisky etc.
  • STOP any activities if you become overly fatigued, dizzy or confused. Get help. Drink water.
  • Avoid a high protein diet: Studies have shown that athletes & people who regularly consume a high protein diet without an increase in fluid consumption become dehydrated. 

How much water/fluids do we need each day?

I like the Mayo Clinic’s answer to how much water we need to drink.

Mayo Clinic: How much water do you need? “Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. Note that fluid intake is measured by the amount of beverages & foods you consume. So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.” This estimate includes food. In this same article the author notes that the 8-10 cup guideline is a good one because it is easy to remember. 

Pure water is the best way to hydrate. Next is eating a plant based diet due to the water in most fresh fruits & vegetables.

Even though I started out saying that the 8-10 cups a day may not be the correct answer based on all the reasons discussed in this post, I think it is generally a good place to start. Tailor it to your unique set of circumstances. 

With climate change we are seeing rising temperatures & dry heat here in California. Even the coastal areas are experiencing warmer, drier temperatures. Stay aware of your environment & hydrate accordingly. 

Next Week: Water: Part 2, I will write about water quality, containers & filters. I will also address the alkaline, oxygenated & other water health claims…..Mary