Reaching Into the Universe

Healthy food basics: Water

water flowerImagine being treated to a sumptuous, healthy meal made of high quality, organic, sustainable whole foods… and served a glass of tap water with it. Is this water worthy of drinking with, not to mention cooking, this meal?

In Healing With Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford traces the difficulty of finding high quality water in modern times. Between air pollution contaminating rain and industrial and agricultural pollution contaminating groundwater, most water needs purification before it is fit for consumption. This includes not just drinking water, but water used in cooking as well.

Tap water has been purified to meet certain standards, but is not the highest quality of water available. Concerns around chlorination and fluoridation can remain with even the best municipal water supplies, the quality of which varies widely. How well recycled water can be cleaned is a question at best. For example, according to an Associated Press report, “at least 46 million Americans are supplied water that has tested positive for trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals.”

Water should be as pure as possible. Getting there can be difficult, however. Neither reverse-osmosis or distillation alone suffice, as many synthetic chemicals are smaller than water molecules and slip through the r/o filter. Distillation works based on boiling point, so any contaminant that can vaporize with water, such as VOCs, can find its way into the end product. Reverse-osmosis filters and water distillers are best combined with other filtration methods.

Any filter is likely to be better than no filter, however. Even a simple countertop filter will improve tap water. Most people find that they can tell the difference between filtered and unfiltered water, and having better water available can help people increase their daily water intake.

Aquasana makes one of the best options: their AQ-4000 product has the cheapest cost of use (despite the moderately higher upfront cost) and hands down removes the most contaminants according to one comparison. If you are going to choose a refillable pitcher option, I prefer Pur to Brita, again due to better filtering. The Pur DS-1800Z is nice: its spigot dispenser makes it easy to pour water even while filtering is in process, and its large capacity makes refills less frequent.

Water is important for health. Pitchford reports that in some cases, switching to pure water “actually seems to be the decisive factor between recovery” or further illness. Upgrade your water supply and start supporting yourself with greater health.

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  1. I drink plain old tap water, but this might not be possible in my region if folks go ahead with natural gas drilling. I hope they don't, which is why I'm working with a local organization to help stop it. When we moved to this region it never occurred to me to ask around about natural gas development, but now I've seen it's a serious threat, I wish I'd known about before we moved. Anyway, others reading your post should look into the longterm safety of their drinking water supply! If natural gas drilling or other heavy industrial processes are happening in your area, your water might not be as safe as you thought it was…

    Also: It's awesome to read your new blog, Josh! I love that you're writing about sustainability and health!

  2. Thanks! Yes, the entire blog is about health and sustainability (two sides to the same coin), on all levels…

    IIRC, the tap water in Ithaca isn't fluoridated… but it's still not a bad idea to filter it, for a variety of reasons. Since posting this, I've brainstormed some refinements and will probably be editing the post in the near future.

  3. I’ve been wondering about this for awhile, whether Agave is actually good for you. I had read it wasn’t because of it’s high fructose make up but then I read that was all false. Miami Condos

  4. Agave is “less bad for you”… too much of ANY sweet flavor, regardless of its source, can create imbalance. Regarding the agave controversy, and some perspective on its relation to good health, check out

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