What’s In Your Water?

What’s In Your Water?

Category : Blog , Nutrition

Everyone carries around a water bottle. We have plastic and stainless steel in various colors and sizes. Some are so big that people have a hard time carrying them. I joke about girls at the gym with water bottles bigger than they are tucked under their arm. We have a culture obsessed with trendy water bottles, but do we wonder what is in the water?

When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s if we were thirsty we got a drink out of the hose. We never obsessed about how much water we were drinking. When I am in the Grand Canyon water is life and it is scarce. We plan our itinerary around water. We research the most current up-to-date information from other trusted hikers and websites to determine how far we hike and where we will camp for the night. We plan for 4 liters per 8 hours because of the physical activity and heat. We also have electrolyte tablets we take with our water to replace the sodium and other minerals that are lost when we sweat. We will talk more about that later. The amount of water you should drink will always depend on your health, body weight, and activity for that day. I recommend drinking 32 oz for every 50 lbs on a normal day to replace what is lost through the skin, lungs, and kidney output for normal activity and drinking more when exercising or in the heat. Another reason you need to drink more water is to compensate for consuming dehydrating drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

Chronic dehydration causes many symptoms. It can affect our brain and cause mood disturbance, and memory issues and can cause headaches/migraines. It affects our stomach by causing ulcers and digestive problems. Dehydration will affect our joints and the discs in our back and muscles causing pain and spinal disc issues. It can also affect our circulatory system causing high or low blood pressure or heart palpitations. Every cell in your body is made up of water and requires proper hydration for each cell to perform optimally. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Thirst also comes in the form of hunger pains. My family gets irritated with me when they say “I’m still hungry” and I tell them to get a drink of water. Proper hydration affects how our bodies function.

Our bodies are mostly oxygen, water, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. We have minerals that should be in our water called electrolytes. These electrolytes together help the water get into the cells. Magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and trace minerals are all in spring water the way they should be. We get a lot of these minerals from the food we eat however it can be necessary to replenish our body’s supply.

When I am backpacking I have a filtration system. This is how I can safely collect and drink water. It filters everything including minerals. (I’ll share a link to the best backpacking water filter, in my opinion, if you are in the market.) Because I am not getting electrolytes from my water I have to be even more diligent to get replacements from my food and supplemental tablets. A condition called Hyponatremia is a condition characterized by abnormally low levels of sodium in the blood. It is caused when the sodium in your blood becomes diluted with too much water and can be deadly. This is why mineral replacement in the Grand Canyon is crucial. Many people have serious issues because they drink water but don’t replace their electrolytes and become very ill. I have learned something interesting with two daughters who are surgical scrub technicians in the operating room. When performing surgery a saline solution must be used not plain water because water without the saline can cause cellular rupture.

16 oz water
1 packet of True Water Flavor
1/4 – 1/8 tsp high-quality mineral salt, NOT TABLE SALT

Daily hydration at home is also important. Sitting in a sauna, being outside, exercising, swimming, donating blood, or whatever it may be I rehydrate. I am not a fan of sports drinks because they have so much junk in them and I like to save my toxins for Diet Mt. Dew. As a better option for sports drinks or expensive packets, we make our special concoction with 16 oz water, 1 packet of True Water Flavor, and 1/4 – 1/8 tsp high-quality mineral salt, NOT TABLE SALT. We like Redmonds Salt, Celtic Salt, or Himalayan Pink Salt, but make sure it is a mineral salt. Table salt is a whole discussion in itself. The short of it is that table salt is bleached, doesn’t contain minerals, and is a toxin. We only use mineral salts at our house. Other great options for replenishing are the gold standards of coconut water and fruit, especially watermelon and potassium-rich foods. I wouldn’t recommend carrying a watermelon in the Grand Canyon though.

I originally began researching on the Utah.gov website Utah Department of Environmental Quality but as I read: “The most common disinfection used in Utah is chlorine, which is added at the treatment plant. Chlorine kills germs, but it does not harm humans directly.” I knew that the website was not going to give me the information I was looking for. Also because this government website didn’t have transparency about contaminants or additives like fluoride I started to look for more reliable resources. The Environmental Working Group tap water database reports 37 total contaminants in my zip code like lead, arsenic, uranium, chlorine, fluoride, and mercury to name a few. Most are proven to be cancer-causing agents while others like fluoride and chlorine are highly debated topics. At our house, we have become very spoiled with our filtration system. We have had it in each home for the last 20 + years. Our reverse osmosis drinking water system from Best Water in Utah removes all of it. Our soft water system even removes chlorine. Our daughter moved away to college and she called upset that her shower smelled like chlorine and her water tasted awful. It was a case of, you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. We found on Amazon a shower head filter and a carbon filter water pitcher for her drinking water. As we drink filtered water at home, we run into the same issue of needing to replace lost minerals like I do while hiking. Adding minerals back into our filtered water helps us get the minerals our bodies need to function at their best. The benefit of removing these 37 known contaminants and any chlorine or fluoride is that I know my family’s drinking water is safe. Not to mention the taste is awesome. Getting clean water for your home doesn’t have to be an expensive whole-house system. You can start with a simple charcoal pitcher for your drinking water similar to my backpacking filter which is very affordable.

We hope that this has been helpful and encouraging and not overwhelming. Anytime you make little steps toward a healthier lifestyle you and those around you will benefit. Enjoy the summer and stay hydrated.

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Shared links and Sources:

EWG Water Filtration Guide

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

EWG Water Database, look up your own zip code

The Importance of potassium- Harvard

REI Platypus GravityWorks water filtration system for backpacking
Water Pitcher, we bought for college

AquaBliss Shower head filter
The Best Water in Utah is what we have for drinking and softening at our house.

True Water Flavor

Redmonds Salt




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