Rethinking Our Water
Water is a topic that is close to my heart. I've always had an affinity for water, having been a swimmer all my life, and feeling happiest whenever I could be around water. I never really gave drinking water too much thought. I always assumed that municipal tap water was totally fine from a health perspective. It wasn't until I was ready to start trying to conceive that I took a DEEP dive into every single aspect of diet, nutrition and lifestyle to make sure that I was giving my future child the best possible start in life. Naturally, I began asking questions about tap water, which was what I was drinking at the time. Is it safe to consume tap water? Is it contributing to good health? Are there any concerns about consuming tap water in the short and long term? What about during pregnancy? It turns out I had a lot to learn.
There is so much to the topic of water that I will list some of the best resources I'm aware of for those who are interested. There are brilliant water scientists who can explain things in much greater detail than I can. I would highly recommend learning as much as possible about water, not only about its physical properties but also its spiritual properties.
What is Water & Is It Safe to Consume Tap Water?
First of all, it's important to understand that water is a living, conscious energy. Most of us in the Western world aren't accustomed to thinking about water in this way. In school we learn that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen and it's important to drink 8 glasses a day. I don't know about you but that was the extent of what I learned about water in school. No one ever taught me that water has memory, is sensitive to its environment, or that whether water is structured or not has tremendous implications for our health. Our bodies are made up mostly of water. Knowing this it's actually very strange that we don't spend a large amount of time in school learning about this mysterious and life-sustaining substance.
Let's start with tap water. On the one hand it's true that we are lucky to live in a country where our tap water is safe to drink. You won't encounter viruses, bacteria or other pathogenic organisms in your tap water. From that perspective tap water is safe-- but that's where tap water's safety begins and ends. What happens to water to make it "safe" in this way? It's chemically treated, mainly with chlorine. Over the long-term, exposure to chlorine can have multiple negative effects. As chlorine disinfects it also creates harmful and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) byproducts including haloacetic acids (HAAs) and trihalomethane (THMs). Both of these have been linked to higher rates of cancer, particularly cancer of the bladder and rectum. Other issues that have been linked to chlorine in tap water include heart problems (particularly heart attacks), higher rates of asthma in children, cellular damage, gut dysbiosis, fertility issues, hormonal imbalances and thyroid issues.
As for drinking chlorinated tap water during pregnancy, I wouldn't recommend it. Studies have suggested that children born to moms drinking chlorinated tap water had higher rates of cleft palate, heart defects and other birth defects including major ones that involve the brain. In addition to chlorine, municipal tap water also contains fluoride which is another chemical that has a harmful side. A recent study found that moms consuming fluoridated water during pregnancy had children with measurably lower IQ scores at 3 and 4 years of age. This seems to be more relevant if the child is a boy. Hypotheses have been put forth to suggest that there may be a link between ADHD and fluoridated and chlorinated water during pregnancy and in the early years of a child's life.
In addition to chlorine and fluoride, it is a well known fact that our drinking water contains trace amounts of several pharmaceutical drugs. Some of the more common drugs found in our tap water include: metformin (diabetes drug), various antibiotics, the birth control pill, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, ranitidine (reflux drug), blood thinners, and cholesterol medications. You may think that trace amounts don't matter when it comes to our health overall, but I would disagree. Water that is contaminated with pharmaceuticals (which is only ONE of the categories of contaminants found in our tap water)-- to any degree what-so-ever-- isn't benefiting anyone's health and there is good reason to suspect that it could be harmful.
If not tap water then what's a better option?
The two recommendations that I have are pure spring water in glass bottles (don't fall for "BPA-free" marketing. What they use instead is only slightly safer for your health, but remains in the environment for significantly longer; not really a win) and The Berkey water filter.
For spring water you can use a company like Cedar Springs, who will deliver spring water in glass bottles to your home if you're in the GTA. My family and I used Cedar Springs (in glass bottles) for years. If you live outside of a major city and have access to natural springs in your area then that's fantastic (and I'm very jealous). There is a great website called Find A Spring that you can search to see if there is a safe spring in your area. We camp and rent cottages across Ontario each summer and we always check this website to see if we can harvest pure, clean spring water on our travels. Often we can and it is always a highlight for me.
The Berkey is what I currently use at home and I absolutely love it. After spending countless hours researching and learning about water, this was the filtration system that I found to be the best, both from a practical/functional perspective, as well as from a cost perspective. What I like about this filter is that it removes just about every harmful thing from your water including chlorine (and its byproducts), fluoride, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, heavy metals, VOCs and other things you definitely don't want in your water. An additional benefit is that ionic minerals (the good kind that you body requires for proper function) are kept in the water, unlike reverse osmosis and distilled water, which need to be remineralized before consuming. My family and I are always camping or cottaging and we take our Berkey everywhere we go because it can purify any fresh water source. I can't say enough positive things about this filter.
Some Other Thoughts
1. I strongly advise against buying bottled water or using plastic water bottles. The plastic is harmful from start to finish-- both for your own health and for the environment (keep in mind your health is directly impacted by the health of your environment). I feel similarly about filters like Brita. It's just too much plastic and when your water sits in a plastic container all day, it's potentially picking up physical plastic which you will then consume. It is also imprinted with the energy of plastic. Keep in mind that water has memory and can be imprinted. If you're using a brita filter then I recommend moving the water into glass vessels as soon as the filtration part is complete.
2. I'm a very big fan of shower and bath filters. When we take a warm shower or bath for ten minutes, we are ingesting the equivalent chlorine that's found in 1.5L of tap water. That adds up when we do it every day. Shower filters can be fancy or not-- Berkey makes a shower filter, if you're looking for a fancier filter. For baths, Santevia makes a bath filter that removes most chlorine. We use this at my house whenever someone bathes.
3. Water has consciousness and will pick up on (and take on) the energy that surrounds it. Be aware of this. I've gotten into the habit of directing sincere gratitude toward my water as often as I walk through the kitchen during the day. Nothing fancy, just a heartfelt thank you. After all, it's an incredible blessing to have clean and pure drinking water available to us. It's not something that we should ever take for granted.
4. Keep your water away from EMF (electromagnetic frequency) exposure. EMFs come off of devices likes our phones, computers, tablets and wifi routers. EMFs have a negative effect on water, much like they have on our cells. It's best to keep your water at least 5 feet away from any sources of EMFs.
5. Look into structured water. The books below all touch on this topic to varying degrees. This is a hugely important part of creating the healthiest water possible. This is something that I am still looking into and will update as soon as I have come up with a structuring system that is both affordable and practical.
(Highly!!!) Recommended Reading:
The Water Codes by Carly Nuday
The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto
Cancer and the New Biology of Water by Thomas Cowan, MD
The Fourth Phase of Water by Gerald Pollack
Dancing with Water by MJ Pangman
Mythic Medicine Podcast with Carly Nuday as well as with Isabel Friend
A New Path by Arthur Haines