Water Is The Most Important Liquid
Here at Tea & Weed, we are big fans of drinking water. Whether it’s for steeping a nice cup of English Breakfast or to quench cotton-mouth from that hit of Unquestionably OG, I take my water seriously and am here to tell you why you should too!
Hopefully by now, we have all heard about the importance of becoming and staying hydrated. We’ve also heard a lot about how high a percentage of water our bodies are made of, but has that ever affected the amount and quality of water we consume? It should. While the exact percentage depends on a variety of factors like age, gender, and body type (fatty tissue contains less water than lean tissue), percentages for adult men average around 60% and adult women around 50%, with younger and more fit people getting up to 70%. The linked page shows how the percentages break down in different parts of the body, like bones (31%) vs brain (73%), and has a list of the functions water assists and, essentially, why you should care. (Healthline)
This article is going to give you my personal water choices in order from worst to best, followed by my own opinions on why the worst choice on this list, tap water, ranks so low.
Best Sources of Drinking Water
Here are the best sources of drinking water, ranked from worst to first.
5 – Tap Water
I have very fond memories of growing up in Jersey City, NJ and playing outside all day every day. The first thing I would do when I came back in was to go to the bathroom, stick my head under the tap and with my face resting on our uniquely-shaped faucet turn the cold water on and enjoy cheekful after cheekful of delicious, crisp, cold water. Years later, I lived in California and would enjoy drinking hose-water in the summertime to the same effect (though the taste wasn’t as good).
Tap water, despite all the confusion and debate around it, is still good enough to drink. But yes, it does contain certain things you might not want constantly circulating your body and fueling 73% of your brain, such as Chlorine and Fluoride. Read more about this after the list.
4 – Home Water Filters
Brita, ZeroWater, Clearly Filtered, Reshape, Ehm Ultra… We all know someone who has used these pitcher-filters in their home. They are good ways to further filter the tap water you receive! But the types of filters and brands used can get pricey if you want the most filtered out, and you will need to change the filter every so often to keep particle-reduction optimal. You will also need to refill very often, especially if you use it to fill up your own water bottles. There are also filters that can treat your entire home, or even a single faucet. These options are even better if cost isn’t an issue. Check out Healthy Kitchen 101- Types of Water Filters.
3 – Bottled Water
Bottled water is good for on the go people who don’t have an idea of how much water they need for a specific activity. It is clean, good tasting water (usually), but causes a ton of waste and plastic isn’t really something we should want associated with what we put in our bodies. I’m sure there’s data somewhere to refute this, but simply put: plastic is made from petroleum, and petroleum causes cancer. After a certain period of time inside, and even faster if directly in the sun’s rays, the plastic will leach chemicals into the water you’re about to ingest. So from time to time and in specific circumstances, bottled water is okay, but you’re paying a premium for future waste, so please recycle.
2 – Water Store Refills
This is the type of water I choose to buy. While some might scoff at the idea of a water store, I believe it’s a wise investment for you and your families health. The shop I visit has a variety of water types that start with their giant in-house Reverse Osmosis filter, and then can go through separate processes to get Alkaline, Structured Spring Mineral, Oxygenated, and Kangen, and they are all delicious! Alkaline and Structured Spring Mineral waters have added minerals to better imitate natural spring water. Oxygenated is just that, but is only recommended for immediate consumption, after strenuous activity, because the oxygen will leave the water within 24 hours (I fill my 40oz HydroFlask with this every time I get my 10 gallons). I pay $3 for 5 gallons of Reverse-Osmosis water and $6 for 5 gallons of Alkaline water at the above-pictured The Waterplant in Studio City, CA.
Kangen is a machine that electronically ionizes the water and separates the anions from the cations into alkaline water in a pH of your choosing (usually 8.5-10 pH), and the electrolysis makes the water hydrogen-rich. (What is Kangen Water?) It also pours out the basic (below 7 pH) water, which is good for watering plants or cleaning. The human body has many different pH levels throughout it, our blood is often 7.3 or 7.4 pH and our stomach acid is around 2 pH. Unfortunately, a lot of what we consume is acidic, especially if you drink coffee, soda, alcohol, and consume dairy or meats. Again, this too is debated so much it makes it tough to find clear answers, but alkaline water is a good way to try to balance the acidic parts of our diets. Of course, minerals also can be purchased to turn purified or distilled water alkaline, as well as just adding some pink sea-salt and lime!
1 – Straight from the source: Aquifers and Wells
This is the number one choice because you can get clean water stocked with healthy minerals and untouched by man from deep underground aquifers. The problem? Getting the water from those deep underground aquifers. I’m not sure it is even possible, but damn would I love to taste it someday.
What’s Wrong with Tap Water?
The county we live in most likely has a water processing plant that filters, processes and cleans the water that we get through our faucets. This process uses positively-charged chemicals to remove negatively-charged particles (Coagulation and Flocculation), filters of different pore sizes like sand, gravel, and charcoal to trap the floc that has settled into a sediment and contains “dust, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals”. (cdc.gov) This water then has other chemicals added, like chlorine or chloramine to keep it clean as it flows through our pipes on its way to us. Sounds pretty good, right?
Most of the Chlorine added dissolves upon being pushed through our faucets, and it is highly recommended to make sure your faucets have a fine mesh that breaks up the water to help the chlorine better dissolve from the water and into the air.
Chlorine, as necessary as it is to keep waterborne pathogens from reaching us, can mix with minute amounts of very-common organic compounds to produce Trihalomethanes (THMs) that produce free-radicals in our bodies that damage cells. Damaged cells, you may or may not know, is the main cause of cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans are consuming 300-600 times the amount of chlorine that is safe to ingest (Food Revolution), and the US Council of Environmental Quality reports that the cancer risk is 93% higher for people who drink chlorinated water than those who do not.
Chloramine is a chemical produced from combining Chlorine and Ammonia, and puts a coating on the inside of pipes in order to reduce the amount of lead that is leached into the water. This appears to be another noble endeavor, but if you’ve ever smelled cat urine, attempted to buy ammonia and bleach at the same time, or watched King Of The Hill, you already know how volatile ammonia can be. The Washington State Dept. Of Health says “When bleach is mixed with ammonia, toxic gases called cloramines are produced.” Exposure to this gas can cause coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, watery eyes, chest pain, wheezing and pneumonia. Household bleach is typically made up of 5 to 6 percent Sodium Hypochlorite, which is just chlorine in its liquid form.
Sounds like something we should be drinking, doesn’t it? Need more? Okay, one more…
A woman took her kids to tour the local water sanitation plant and took this picture in an area where they add chemicals to the water. Sodium Fluorosilicate, Sodium Silicofluoride, Sodium Hexafluorisilicate… all names for a compound known as Fluoride, the simplest anion of the element Fluorine, which is the “most electronegative element”, making it extremely reactive with all but three of the other elements. (Wikipedia) Humans are 99% made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus, with trace amounts of potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium making up the other 0.85%. Now, while fluoride is NOT fluorine, it is an inorganic fluorine compound, I still don’t really want these dangerously-labelled chemicals in my water for just a 25% chance at reducing cavities (CDC- Community Water Fluoridation), especially when countries that do not fluoridate their water have also dropped in “decayed, missing, or filled teeth” since these numbers were tracked in the late-70s. (Harvard Public Health) See that skull and crossbones above? A Class 6 toxin is “liable to cause death or serious injury from inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin”. (Global Spill & Safety) Why is a small amount of something that does that okay to ingest? Honestly, I really don’t know.
If strengthening our teeth is the only purpose for fluoridated water, why can’t we just use it on our teeth? Well, we are doing that as well. Many dentists recommend using toothpaste that contains fluoride to strengthen our enamel and prevent cavities, and condemn consumers of “natural” toothpastes that do not contain fluoride and the idea that fluoride is an unnecessary toxin. Edmond Hewlitt, DDS and professor at UCLA School Of Dentistry says “Fluoride is a naturally occurring element, it’s nature’s cavity fighter.” This sounds like it really is a good chemical IF the fluoride put into our water were in fact naturally occurring, but it isn’t. It is a byproduct of the fertilizer industry, in order to make them money by selling a waste-product, instead of having to spend money on disposal of “highly toxic hydrofluosilicic acid“.
There are also plenty of websites that oppose this thought, but they really seem to scoff at the reader for the idea without much explanation other than calling fluoride “as American as pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving“, which to me is a red flag for the hegemony of attacking one aspect of people in order to dissuade them from something unrelated, thus convincing them to continue a behavior that could be responsible for allowing them to fall for such a tactic in the first place. All that tells me is that this guy was commissioned by Big Industry to write something to oppose the rising opponents to fluoride. Read this quote from fluoridealert.org (two links above) and then tell me you don’t know anyone who suffers from at least one of the following:
“The maladies from this forced pollution of your body include (but aren’t limited to) lowered IQ, impaired mental development (brain retardation) and dementia; damage to your kidneys, pineal and thyroid glands resulting in hyperactivity and/or lethargy, chronic fatigue and disrupted immune system; arthritic symptoms and digestive tract (gastrointestinal) problems.” -John Rehill, The Brandenton Times
Sounds like you can diagnose most Americans with something from that list, doesn’t it? Personally, I’d rather not take the chances. Assuming it’s already partially calcified, I would like to find out what it’s like to operate with a fully functional pineal gland. At 16 I found out I had Type 1 Diabetes (disrupted immune system) and Celiac disease (gastrointestinal problems), and often would get tired at work (lethargy, chronic fatigue). I already have two diseases, and hopefully after drinking clean water, taking vitamins and minerals, exercising and controlling my diet, I won’t develop any more. Luckily for us, we’re still able to control such things in our lives. <3
People can get water from a number of sources, but the easy methods have their drawbacks. Water from the tap, while easiest to get, usually comes full of chemicals that you don’t want to ingest. The best places to get your drinking water is from natural sources like aquifers and wells. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done for the average thirsty human. The next best option is to get your water from a company that delivers or fills 5 gallon jugs and lets you choose from a number of options, including Alkaline, Structured Spring Mineral, Oxygenated, and Kangen drinking water. Seek out a Water Store in your area to find rates and the available drinking water options.
If you enjoyed this guide to the sources of drinking water, you might also like to read our list of healthy snacks you can buy from gas stations, our guide to kombucha, or our list of best places to shower on a road trip.