My mom, who grew up in France, sometimes jokes about how here in California, you can find a class on just about anything, including “How to Breathe,” and “How to Drink Water.” So I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when I found myself buying a device to “restructure” my drinking water at the Green Festival in San Francisco this last Sunday.
Standing in front of Salmon Creek Falls near Big Sur, CA
The idea behind structured water is that it is much more easily absorbed by our bodies. Purified and filtered water may be free of contaminants, but it is lacking the structure found that occurs in Nature. Human beings are meant to drink from springs and rivers where the water has been tumbling and “structuring” itself in a way that makes it ideal for hydration.
What kind of world have we created where we need to take steps to ensure that the water we’re drinking is actually hydrating us?
In all seriousness though, the question of what kind of water is healthiest to drink is a tough one to answer. In a conversation with my friend Kevin , he brought up the interesting idea of water having a “memory.” This relates to the principles of homeopathy. In homeopathy, the “active ingredient” is virtually non-existent, having been diluted thousands of times, and then some. There is no actual trace of the original ingredient left in the water, but there a memory which is enough to register in our bodies and start the healing process.
So what memories are in the tap water that most of us drink? What imprinted into the water from the treatment facility plant? Ewww…..I’d like to imagine that the memory of the pure mountain spring is still there as well!
Beyond that, chemicals such as chloramine and fluoride added to the water are a tangible reality. Done in the name of health and sanitation, these are actually quite toxic to the body’s ecology. Chlorine destroys all bacteria, including the good bacteria that helps us to digest our food and to maintain a healthy immune system. Fish and reptiles living in chloramine treated water will die; sort of makes you wonder about how it’s affecting us!
Chloramine is not something that evaporates on its own and filters that remove chlorine may not remove chloramine. According to the SF water district, boiling water for 20 minutes will remove the chloramine. However, this further destroys the ideal hydrating structure of the water. A better solution is to add citrus slices to your drinking water. According to the Berkeley Ecology Center , a few slices of orange added to a gallon of water will neutralize chloramine in about 30 minutes.
Fluoride blocks iodine absorption and can slow thyroid function, making us fat and tired. The argument that the fluoride in our water is beneficial for dental health is seriously flawed. The kind of fluoride in our drinking water is different from the kind that has been proven to fight cavities and is a byproduct of the aluminum industry. For more information on this topic, please read The Fluoride Deception .
For years I just used a Britta water filter. Then I learned about the problems of fluoride in the water supply so I switched to reverse osmosis. I would bring my jugs down to the health food store to fill up and then I would transfer the contents into glass bottles to avoid the contamination from plastic. On my glass bottles, a la Masuro Emoto I taped pieces of paper with positive affirmations: Joy, Creativity, Vitality, Gratitude. Masuro Emoto is a Japanese doctor and photographer whose photos show how water crystals become more beautiful when exposed to positive thoughts.
So I was feeling pretty good about myself until just the other day, when one of my participants in a Spring Detox workshop I’m teaching pointed out that reverse osmosis wastes three gallons of water for every one gallon that is produced. Yikes.
My grandfather swears by distilled water. Turns out distilled water is very wasteful as well. One gallon for every 5 treated!
Reverse osmosis and distilled water are also problematic because of the complete lack of minerals. They have become “hungry” water. Beyond the lack of “structure,” drinking distilled or reverse osmosis water for long periods of time can leach minerals from your teeth and bones. Short term use may be beneficial in helping to rid the body of toxic heavy metals. But for long term use, you must add trace minerals back in to this water when you drink it.
What about the taste? I was surprised when one of my friends admitted to just really liking the taste of her Oakland tap water best. Turns out most people do prefer the taste of their own tap water compared to that of bottled waters in taste tests. I would completely avoid drinking bottled water if possible. The plastic is awful for the environment as well as for our bodies; and yes, plastic does leach into the water–especially when left all day in a hot car. Check out The Story of Bottled Water for more information.
Here’s the bottom line: If you can’t get your water from a pristine spring on a regular basis and store it for relatively short periods of time in glass, then the best thing to do is to get a filter that removes the toxic additives including chlorine and fluoride, leaves the beneficial minerals and doesn’t waste water in the process! Then you can bless the water with positive intention, put slices of organic citrus fruits into it, and have faith that it will provide you with the hydration you require!
Although I’m not completely on board with everything that Dr. Andrew Weil recommends, I do like his suggestion for the KDF-55 water filters from a company called The Water Exchange. I’m going to order one and let you all know how it goes! They also make filters for your shower which is worth considering since we do absorb through our skin as well…But that’s a whole new blog topic!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this water issue. What are you drinking and why? Please share….
Yours in Health,
Sylvie Nalezny, MA, CNE