Health 101: Water
The principle behind the Health 101 series is simple:
Knowledge is potential power
No matter how good your intentions are, no matter how much you know about a topic—your knowledge will mean little unless you turn it into action. You might know you need to do something to improve your health, and you might even know how to do it, but unless you turn that knowledge into action, your dreams will remain just that: dreams.
The Health 101 series will be structured based on this mantra, and every topic will contain 2 main sections:
knowledge - this is where I will be giving you the nitty gritty info on a particular topic. This is particularly well suited for those who need to know what's going on and why they should even consider taking action in the first place;*
power -this is where you will get action steps that you can easily implement and that will help you level up in your health.
*for those of you who just want the simple instructions and want to skip the knowledge part, be my guest -there will be no pop quiz testing you. Feel free to jump to the Power part and get grooving with the action steps provided.
You would think the topic of water is pretty simple, right: pour it into a glass, drink it, done.
All I can say to that is 'I wish'.
The truth is that our tap water is far from the healthy liquid we think it to be, and we have been lied about the water we're drinking for most of our lives.
Here's some facts about water that you should know about (I know they're scary, and I'm not trying to use scare tactics here to get you to do certain things, but the truth is that being informed is part of the process):
our tap water is contaminated with fluoride, chlorine, lead, arsenic, copper, mercury, perchlorate, radioactive substances, PFOA (the nonstick element in Teflon), and many other chemicals;
most of these chemicals have cancer as a 'potential side effect', others are endocrine system disrupters, can cause heart disease or reproductive issues...and I'm going to stop there even though that's not the end of it, but you get the point;
the level of contaminants in your tap water varies from state to state; if you want to see what your water contains head to EWG and enter your zip code;
the best water filtration process that can eliminate most of these contaminants is reverse osmosis; the drawback to these systems (besides a higher price point) is that they remove most minerals too, and therefore those need to be added back into the water (usually done by purchasing mineral drops and adding them to the filtered water);
most activated charcoal filters (aka the Brita) only reduce chlorine and improve the taste, and are therefore largely ineffective;
plastic bottles can leak chemicals into your water, especially when left out in the heat; add to that the fact that many brands have been outed as using tap water as the water they put into the bottles, and you're left with lighter pockets and even more chemicals in your system.
How much water should I drink?
The recommended water intake varies depending on where you live and your activity levels. Here's how you can calculate how much water to drink per day:
multiply your weight by 2/3, and the resulting number is how many ounces of water you should drink a day
add 12oz for every 30min of working out you do that day
This might produce a number that is way above the 8 glasses/day that you've probably heard about before, but don't be discouraged: starting with 8 glasses a day is fantastic. Just keep in mind that you can slowly increase the water intake to reach the amounts mentioned above.
Baby steps trick: let your pee be thy guide. If your urine isn't clear, it means you need to drink more water. Easy peesy.
If you do one thing and one thing only: get a (legitimate) filter.
Look, I KNOW they're not cheap -it took me a while to convince myself to pay 300$ for my AquaTru 3 years ago, and even when I pressed the Buy Now button I had some serious doubts.
But looking back at the last 3 years I have to say I would do it over and over again: knowing that I haven't ingested lead or mercury or arsenic (which EWG told me is in my water at 400x the recommended amount) makes those 300$ feel like a damn bargain.
If you need some perspective think of it this way: drinking clean water could save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills down the line, so what's a few hundred bucks compared to that?
The price for the AquaTru went up since I bought it (it is now 450$), but I have a special treat for you: if you follow me on Instagram @pathtoswellness and DM me letting me know you are interested in buying this filter, I will provide a surprise discount for you (and no, I am not affiliated with AquaTru and will also not be making any money of any purchases).
Additional steps you can take:
check the EWG website to see the contaminants that are found in your water: usually this is a great motivator to invest in something that will clean your water;
turn drinking water into a game, and get your 8 glasses/day in a fun and easy way; some ideas include leaving glasses of water in strategic places and taking a sip of water every time you pass by them; adding elastic bands around your water bottle and removing one each time you finish the bottle; or turning drinking water into a competition with a friend or loved one, and setting up prizes for the winner.
ditch the plastic water bottles: go for a hydro flask or a glass water bottle.