The Truth About Bottled Water

I started reading Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry and it’s been both an eye-opening and learning experience. In short, plastics are just terrible for our health and our environment. This book outlines every single detail about that truth and how to live without it. As impossible as it seems, it is something that can be done.

plastic

One chapter that I want to share with you all, is the chapter about bottled water. How convenient is it to have bottled water? I always have a bottle around me during the majority of the day. We have bottled water at work, in the vending machines, at fast food places, and even at home. It’s just an every day necessity.

Bottled Water

There are a lot of myths about using bottled water but the facts are 1) they are less regulated than the water that runs from our kitchen faucets and public drinking fountains; 2) most people can’t taste the different between bottled and tap; 3) the inconveniences created by our dependence on bottled water outweigh the few conveniences it provides; and lastly 4) the reliance on bottled water companies undermines our public water infrastructure. If you didn’t already know, plastic is not biodegradable. When we throw away a plastic bottle is never actually goes away.They go to landfills after landfills and they are just covered up by a plastic tarp and will eventually descend into the ground. They are still there, just not seen. Then, neighborhoods and communities are built on top of them and the vicious cycle starts all over again. It’s rather disturbing actually. So as a personal life mission of mine (whether you choose to join me or not), I want to take a mini-pledge to stop using bottled water.

Landfill12-15-25-1

 

Here’s how I’m going to do it:

One way to drop the water bottle habit is to purchase a water filtration system for the kitchen sink. It is less expensive in the long run, especially on our planet. Seems easy right? The most popular is Brita, but they have do not have a recycling procedure so those plastic cartridges are getting tossed out. That seems counter-productive. The best thing is to test your water from your water company and see if there are any contaminants in it. For instance, if you live in the country you might have pesticides from farming in your water and if you live in the city (like me!) you might have lead from the old pipes that they typically have.

shopping

 

Finding out what’s in your water is the first step in determining what kind of filter you need and if you even need one at all. You can go to the EPA’s Local Drinking Water Information page (water.epa.gov/drink/local/) to find out what’s been detected in your water. Then you need to test it. You can order a test kit from a certified lab such as National Testing Laboratories (www.ntllabs.com). Then, determined what you want to filter out. The Environmental Working Group provides a useful Water Filtering Buying Guide (www.ewg.org/tap-water/getawaterfilter/), which explains the different types of filters. And lastly, check to see if the filter cartridge can be recycled, because that’s after all what the purpose is. One that I know of for sure that can be recycling is the Zero Water system (www.zerowater.com) which can be purchased at Target, Walmart, BB&B, and Kohl’s. Needless to say, it’s possible to have a successful water filtration system.

Beautiful-Water-Bottles-Ello-Thrive-Glass-Water-Bottle-728x536

Now, that you have your filtration system, what are you going to put it in? Not another plastic bottle, that’s for sure. A glass water bottle is the perfect solution. A few brands of glass water bottles are Love Bottles, Faucet Face, Life Factory, and Bkr. These companies do have bottles with plastic lids so another option would be to go the stainless steel route. They keep your water colder longer and are completely plastic-free. Some popular brands are Klean Kanteen and Pura Stainless, but I always see attractive ones at World Market, TJ Maxx, and Ross. I would check there first.

For more information on breaking the bottled water habit, check out Beth’s book or these useful websites and articles:

  • Organization: Ban the Bottle (www.banthebottle.net)
  • Article: “Message in a Bottle: Despite the Hype, Bottled Water is Neither CLEANER nor GREENER Than Tap Water.” (www.emagazine.com/archive/1125)
  • Book: Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter H. Gleick

Source

Summertime Food Challenge

RealFoodHeader

If you’re anything like most people in my generation, eating healthy is something that can only be processed in baby steps. If I came home to a house full of organics and greens, I would probably have a stroke. I started cooking with whole wheat and organic vegetables just a few months ago, but I still miss my snacks. It’s hard when they are so convenient to grab and run out of the door. Most people, including me, need to be weaned away slowly from eating the bad stuff, by incorporating fruits and veggies in every meal and tossing out the sugary stuff. Processed foods are just that. They are full of sugar and are one of the reasons why our country has seen more obesity in children than ever before.

But Doritos.

And Oreos.

Wait, fries.

And you can forget about Fruit Loops.

They are all so great, but can lead to a poor lifestyle later down the road. If we focus on our health now, we can cut out the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other issues early on.

I searched for ways to make it easier to cut out processed foods and ranand found that’s it’s not as hard as it seems. I know, it seems impossible right now, but humor me. Very rarely am I offered a hamburger and say, “No thanks, I’ll just take a salad.” With summertime peeking around the corner and laughing at me because of my unhealthy body, there is no better time to start eating better. Plus, this challenge will force me to stay on track all summer long.

I found this 14-week real food challenge from 100 Days of Real Food. I highly suggest you read each week’s challenge through the Lisa’s website. She gives a great breakdown each week and shares recipes and tips on how to complete each week’s mini-pledge. I’m tackling it and I hope you will, too. It’s better when you have some to be accountable to.

Here’s an overview that I made of the program.

RealFoodChallenge copy

Not too bad, right?

Also, I found this great shopping list for beginners full of clean-eating items that I am going to stock my pantry with since my pantry basically looks like this:

Say goodbye to the Little Debbie cakes and frosted animal crackers. Say hello to a beach body that’ll last longer than just summer.

Are you ready to take the challenge with me? Follow along with me on Instagram as I post a weekly update on my food challenge. Good luck!

Friday Favorites

pretty tulips

[ONE] I love basically anything that’s lemon flavored. I can’t wait to mix up some of this lemon curd for whoopee pies this summer.

[TWO] I’ve been obsessed with clutches and this one from Sole\Society is too cute.

[THREE] Need a laugh? This Facebook page of this beagle will turn any frown upside down.

[FOUR] A great gift guide for Mother’s Day – which is May 10th BTW. ;)

[FIVE] The prettiest notepads I ever did see.

Earth Day 2015

Earth Day is about soaking up this beautiful planet we’ve been given, so go plant a tree, recycle your glass bottles, and spend some time outside on this beautiful day. In honor of today, here’s 10 easy things you can do to help make the world a little greener.

1. Unplug electronics that you don’t use everyday – and even some you do, like hair dryers. Even though they aren’t in use, electronics still use up energy if they’re plugged in.

2. All those reusable bags you’ve been collecting – spread them out! Keep some in your car. Give a few to your neighbors. Have some at work.

3. Make a pledge to cut down on (or quit altogether) buying bottles of water. Get a reusable bottle!

4. Teach a kid about reusing, reducing, and recycling. Lessons today will turn to action tomorrow! Lead by example and get kids in the habit of distinguishing what goes inside the regular trash bin versus what goes in the recycle bin.

5. Turn off the lights! So easy to do — try and make it a regular habit when you leave a room.

6. Be more conscious of your water usage. Do you turn off the water when brushing your teeth? Do you wash laundry or run the dishwasher only when you have a full load? Have you fixed that leaky faucet? Those little drops of water can add up to buckets a day!

7. If you have to use your car today, try and do everything at once, starting with your furthest destination, then making your way back home with stops along the way rather than coming and going several times.

8. Change the light bulbs in your house to Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). You’ll not only save energy, but a little bit of money on your electric bill, too.

9. Eat vegetarian for the day with produce purchased from local organic farms – or better yet, grown in your own backyard.

10. Plant a tree. Plant a garden. Plant something so the world looks a little bit greener today.

Remember, planet Earth is the only thing we all share in common. Let’s protect it and keep it beautiful. Check out EarthDay.org for more exciting news about the planet.

Tuesday Tips

If you’ve been wondering what the heck oil pulling is, this post is for you.

Oil1

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurveda natural dental care method that involves nothing more than swishing oil in your mouth for a certain amount of time. The idea behind oil pulling, as well as the name itself, is that swishing with the oil helps “pull” toxins from your system as you pull the oil through your teeth and gums. The oils typically used are coconut, sunflower or sesame oil. I started using refined coconut oil, meaning there’s no coconut taste. I despise the taste and texture of coconut, so this is perfect for me.

Directions for Oil Pulling:

  • Place 1-3 teaspoons oil in your mouth.
  • Swish and “pull” the oil around the inside of your cheeks and in between your teeth.
  • Continue for 5-20 minutes.

Oil2

I’ve had issues with sensitive gums since I can remember, so I knew I was a good candidate for trying this out. And the first time I tried it, it felt strange and that 20 minutes felt like an eternity! My jaw hurt for the first couple of days, but I soon got used to it. It was also difficult not to swallow any. But swallowing the oil is a big no-no – the oil is full of toxins, bacteria and germs. But it gets easier! Here’s what I found to be helpful as I do this daily.

TT42115

Ten Tips For Making Oil Pulling Work:

  1. Start first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  2. If using coconut oil, melt it first, or let it melt in your mouth. I sort of “chew” it until it melts.
  3. Use less oil if it feels like it’s too much.
  4. Keep the oil in the front of your mouth – don’t gargle with it. You will have a mouthful of liquid by the end from the oil and the extra saliva.
  5. If your mouth and jaw get tired, take a break and let it sit without swishing in the front of your mouth.
  6. Try doing a small task that takes between 5-20 minutes – folding a load of laundry, taking a shower, checking emails, packing your kids’ lunches, vacuuming the living room, etc.
  7. Be sure to do it long enough so that the oil and the enzymes in your saliva interact.
  8. Spit the oil into the garbage can, not in the sink to prevent it from clogging pipes.
  9. Swish really well with salt water afterward.
  10. Brush your teeth and floss as normal.

Oil3 copy

Benefits I’ve Noticed:

  • My gums feel healthier and they don’t get sore anymore.
  • My teeth feel stronger. I noticed after just the first few days – really!
  • Much better breath.
  • Less plaque.
  • My tongue feels cleaner.
  • My lips are super soft!
  • My jaw pain has lessened a lot.

More Benefits:

  • reduced headaches, insomnia, PMS, sinus congestion
  • general detoxification benefits
  • overall increased oral health
  • reduced inflammation in the body, including reduction of arthritis symptoms
  • pain relief
  • skin problems (eczema, acne, rashes) reduced

Bottom line for me: I love the benefits I’ve seen so far and plan to continue. What do you think? Is it too weird? Or are you wiling to give it a try? For those of you who have tried it, what benefits have you noticed?

Pinspiration: Fallen Tree Stumps

I’ve been obsessed with tree stump furniture for a while now. Have you seen the West Elm side table? It’s only like… $250… just pocket change, right? Last summer I rolled up a 50-pound stump onto my front stoop and within two days it was gone. I guess somebody wanted it worse than I did. I was devastated. I was sure looking forward to having a new coffee table.

Tree stumps give a “green” feel to a space that is very warm and inviting. Whether you paint them, stain them, or leave them in their natural state, there are a lot of really fun ideas for reusing stumps. Just make sure you hide it from your neighbors!

Fallen tree made into a fabulous side table on betterafter.net

A Tree Branch Lamp On Reddit And 8 Other DIY Ideas Using Fallen Trees After Hurricane Sandy

DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables --<br />
I have some of these in my home (though, must admit, that I bought them). They are a bit different. BUT, i've seen these in stores for several hundred dollars. How easy to make yourself!!!

Stump Tables – A big stump would make a wonderful coffee table for the living room Now that's a statement piece!

Wood Works log jewelry or soap dish...For the "Eibe" I don't know what to do with

Birch Tree Candle Holders. Anyone have a spare birch tree they don't want?

spiritedshannon.com

OMG...what an awesome ides! We have a piece like This we got from the Oregon Coast, was going to make a table out of it.....this is so much cooler!!! Thank you Pinterest, my husband will hate you for me finding this! Haha