Water, the essential ingredient for life, is the most important thing that we drink. It makes up 70% of our bodies. Yet we take it for granted, and most of us really don’t pay attention to its quality, nor the quantity that we imbibe. Potable water is becoming more scarce and expensive every day around the world. As big corporations attempt to privatize control of water sources from the public utilities, the average person must pay more and more for what was once a “free” public resource. So as with food, water too is becoming a political issue. We must keep this in mind when we consider the implications of what we eat and drink and how we vote. Our health is directly related to the quality of water that we drink. Even in the most developed western countries, water quality varies greatly. Whatever the source, it’s important for you to know where your water comes from, and what is in it. To find out this information, you need only contact the agency that manages your water supply. They should be able to provide you with a detailed analysis. This should indicate any (but not all) contaminants measured, including the usual metals and chemicals they test for in addition to nasty micro-organisms that might be present. Unfortunately these reports don’t always include all contaminants, and in fact may omit some that aren’t routinely tested, like mercury. I’m aghast that my water district doesn’t test for mercury, yet they draw water less than a mile from an abandoned mercury mine (on the EPA’s superfund list!). Therefore I have no idea how much residual mercury is present in my water supply. You might have a similar situation where you live. I remember years ago I lived in Las Vegas, and one summer nearly everyone in town came down with severe diarrhea. It turns out a nasty organism was making it past the treatment process, but there was no public acknowledgement of this fact. When I went to the doctor to get the remedy for it, (flagyl), nearly everyone in his waiting room had exactly the same problem. It was major health crisis, but the powers that be preferred to keep it quiet, rather than risk a downturn in tourism to Vegas. So you can never be sure what you are drinking. Therefore, I recommend you filter all water you drink using a three-stage process if possible. I use PUR filters because they’re guaranteed to filter out 99.7% of the mercury in the water. They also filter out the nasty micro-organisms like Giardia. You might think this is an over-reaction, but it’s just being smart, and preparing yourself for a world in which most food and drink is contaminated. To be clear, I’m not concerned at all about the usual bacteria found in our water supply. I don’t subscribe to the “anti-bacteria” marketing hype that big business is foisting upon us. I find those products to be abhorrent and counter productive. By killing the most common (helpful) bacteria, it allows the worst kind of bacteria, the most resistant to thrive. It’s the man-made contaminants that should concern us most. The more water you drink from one source, the more likely you are to eventually have health problems if the water isn’t pure enough. Water is important for cleansing your body of excess elements. If you were going to do a water fast, you certainly should be aware of the quality of what you’ll be imbibing exclusively for the fast. The quantity of water that we drink is important too. The recommended daily requirement varies according to a number of factors. But the image of celebrities with the ever present Evian bottle in hand is a reminder to always keep yourself well hydrated, especially when exerting yourself, and when it’s hot. Be aware of your hydration level. There are signs that we are becoming dehydrated, but they’re easily ignored. Dry mouth, lack of perspiration, headache, dizziness, dark urine, weakness, nausea and vomiting. If you develop the habit of always having a drink handy, you’ll avoid the problem. Another issue is how much to drink while having a meal. I know people who rarely drink while eating a meal. This seems foolish to me for a number of reasons. Not only can it lead to dehydration, but it impedes digestion. Drinking helps your digestive juices get diluted and disbursed through the stomach. It also helps you expel any air/gas trapped amongst the food you’ve just eaten, thus preventing that “bloated” feeling later as the gases make their way thru your digestive system. It’s reached a point now where most people rarely drink plain water anymore. It’s got to be bottled, flavored, carbonated, sugared, colored for most people to drink it. Not only is this more expensive and bad for the environment (too many plastic bottles), but it’s obviously less healthy than drinking straight water. Even “pure” bottled water, is mostly just city tap water that’s been treated with chlorine and other chemicals. So why buy your water pre-bottled, unless there is no other choice where you live. Even for convenience, why buy a bottle to take with you in the car, when you can just fill up a non-plastic container over and over from the tap? This is where awareness of what you’re doing is important. You make so many choices everyday that affect the rest of the world. By supporting the commercial “water industry,” you empower them to take control of more public water resources, to further market their products world wide (imagine the wastefulness of ships full of bottled water going around the world!). Our bodies need water everyday. The form in which we drink it, determines the economics and politics of our future water supply. We must keep our water from being controlled by a few corporations for profit. Assignment: Contact your local water supplier and obtain a recent report of the water quality in your area. Check to see that it contains measurements of those contaminants you are most concerned about locally. Question the water supplier about other contaminants not listed in the report. Decide for yourself if they’re being completely honest and report back to us what you find, and whether you are going to do something about it, like installing/using a filter. You could also take a sample into a laboratory for testing if you don’t mind paying for it. I recommend all homeowners, and those drinking well water do this!