We’re learning to question our food sources and eat what’s real and whole, but most of us don’t hold that same standard for water. With all the focus on foods in therapeutic diets it’s easy to overlook something even more foundational – water. Quality drinking water and healing diets potentiate each other.
When you’re working through any autoimmune conditions, severe eczema or other skin issue, neurological issue, or thyroid function, pure water can make a subtle and important difference in your symptoms.
Where does our water come from?
In the USA, water that comes out of the faucet cheaply and doesn’t give us diarrhea is what’s generally considered safe. I used to believe that the water company just added a little chlorine to keep germs out of the tap water, and that was it. I always used one of the basic pitcher filters to clear the taste of chlorine, and patted myself on the back for skipping bottled water.
Once I looked deeper, I learned that there’s so much more to the story.
Most of our waterways are used as waste disposal systems with the idea that “the dose makes the poison.” We’re learning from tragic PFOA cancer bubbles and intersex frogs that our dilution efforts don’t go far enough, and neither do most of our water purifying strategies.
Municipal water systems use filters and chemicals to draw out pollutants and sediment, and that helps keep us safe from disease outbreaks. Some of the cleaning agents are left in the water and a lot of things don’t get filtered out.
Pharmaceutical medications, including hormones from birth control pills, are on average filtered out by 50%. No one knows the long-term effects of drinking trace amounts of pharmaceuticals. For many pesticides and industrial wastes the ‘safe’ level is just a guess, and our tap water isn’t always staying within those levels anyway.
These processes don’t leave us with truly pure water.
Questions you can answer about your water quality
• Where does your tap water originate from? An aquifer, river, or lake?
• Which contaminants are being measured and which aren’t?
• What are the acceptable levels of contaminants and how were those determined? Are they based on children’s exposure or women’s sensitive hormonal systems?
• Is there anything leaching from the delivery pipes into your house? Lead is common, but there may also be copper.
If you’re on municipal water you might find some useful information by searching your zip code on the EWG Tap Water Database. Then you’ll review your water company’s quality and contamination report. You can search for it online and they will usually have a page showing you how to read it.
If you’re on a well, you’ll need to order your own testing, and retest it at least every two years. Many things that contaminate our water don’t have a taste or smell, so testing is the way you’ll identify any changes that could put your health at risk.
Choosing or creating the best quality water
For optimal healing and simplicity, choose water that is whole and unprocessed, just like you’d choose real food. The most pure waters are natural spring or well waters that have been tested to prove their purity. You can seek out delivery services for spring water, purchase it at grocery stores, or you might find a place to collect your own through the non-profit Find a Spring locator website.
If that’s not an option for you right now you’ll need to determine how to best purify your home water.
Once you understand your report or test results, you can choose the correct filter that meets your needs. You may choose between charcoal filter mediums, reverse osmosis, or other materials. It can be a lot to sort through, so start with your main concern.
One of the biggest factors that can help you choose is whether or not your water contains fluoride. Fluoride is a special molecule that is not easily filtered, so seek a system that works for it first.
Drinking water is no longer a source of toxicity for me
After repeatedly testing as borderline low-thyroid I stopped drinking fluoridated water. Period. I’m fortunate to live in a city that doesn’t add it to the tap water. When I travel I always look up the city water report before I arrive, to see if they fluoridate. Most do. I don’t even sip restaurant water in these places. I just budget in the cost of buying bottled spring water on those trips.
I’ve stair-stepped my way here, but for the past few years we’ve committed to collecting our own spring water for drinking. We have four spots that we can collect from, gathering water that lasts us 3-4 weeks. The closest place is a 30-minute drive, and the others are on the way to visit family or the beach, so we like to combine collecting water with other fun excursions.
When it comes to quality drinking water and healing diets, what’s the next step you can take to up-level yours?