Posted on

Health Tuesday – Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Get up, Get up , Get your body in Motion

I was inspired this morning on a Facebook Live with fellow blogger Ryan Biddulph. He is a blogger who blogs about . . . blogging, and how you can create a great life . . . blogging. He is a successful writer, blogger, author of many books dedicated to living a traveling lifestyle by his own rules.

The Facebook Live event asked the question, What do you do in the morning to get motivated?

BUT

It did not sound exactly like that. The actual topic was:

“1 way to get a competitive edge as a new blogger that has absolutely nothing and everything to do with blogging.”

And the answer led to the topic for this post. What do you do in the morning? And is it setting you up for success or failure?

Your Morning Ritual

Every day has to start. Do you have a morning ritual. And how does this morning ritual start you for the day? So I will go through my own ritual and ask some of the questions you may want to ask yourself.

First Question: When do you wake up? This may or may not matter you you. For me, it is essential. We must start early to get the juggernaut of our family moving. My wife is the early riser – usually waking between 4:45 and 5:15. I alarm myself for 5:06 – with an expected 2 snooze hits to make sure I am up by 5:30.  On weekends, I allow myself to sleep in until 7.

First Question of the Day: For me, what day is it? Each day has a little different schedule, so remember what day it is is important. This is how I have to start out or else who knows where I will get to. And there are days I am so out of it that I cannot even figure it out. Memory kicks in at some point.

Run to the bathroom: you figure it out, but essentials and teeth brushing are a must for me. Part of this is my morning stretches – including leg stretches, back and arm. I have been stretching out my legs since my first knee injury and surgery. The doctor noted that it was essential to keep my legs strong so bracing would not be needed for life.

Turn on the House: As I noted, my wife is the early riser. I come down and turn on the rest of the lights , start the coffee pot before my shower.

Shower time: I pick out my clothes the night before. This is mostly because we have a baby in our room and I do not want to turn on the lights and wake him up. Wash hair and body and then shave in the shower.

Meditation: I spend time centering myself under the hot water. There is usually music playing in my head. Often I recite the Medicine Wheel of Protection.

Get Out Get Dressed and Get Going: This is usually the end of the ritualistic stuff for me. I must shower in the morning more than anything. My eyes will not work properly without the water running over them. And I have tried splashing my face. Its just not the same. A quick brush through the hair and I am ready to go.

Coffee: I hate to say it, but I drink at least a cup of coffee every morning. I do not know if I would fall apart without it. I haven’t tried skipping it in more years than I can remember. And I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why I should try it. After the second cup I am wired and ready to go.

Not a Morning Person

I would not consider myself a morning person. I prefer to get myself in position and ready to go through rituals. I tend to be grouchy. Or better described as anti social. However, I am extremely productive in the morning. If not for all the rest of the people in my life, I would prefer to wake up and lock myself in a room and write for 3-4 hours. But I have yet to figure out how to make that work. But following a morning ritual also helps to get me in the right mindset to face the day.

But is there more that I might be able to do? Does this ritual prepare me for being able to get the kids up and off to school, write a blog post, connect with followers, weed my garden, take out the trash . . . ?

For myself, I see 2 places that I can improve:

Diet: There are a lot of improvements and healthier choices I can make.

Exercise: Though I am only 51, I often wake up feeling like I am 80. My stretching helps, but I need to add a little more structure. Will it be pushups and calisthenics? Maybe adding a walk or a run? I would love to start bike riding again.

So . . . What is your morning ritual?

Step 1: Write it down.

Step 2: Analyze it.

Step 3: Consider what you may want to change.

 

 

Posted on

Fermented Foods

Today is Health Tuesday. I am designating different days of the week for writing topics. This is mainly because I have been neglecting this page and need to encourage myself to keep on keeping on.

Eat Well Move Well Live WellToday’s advice comes to us from a book I am reading: Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well by Roland and Galina Denzel. It is a wonderful book of good natural health advice. Unlike other books, this is not necessarily read cover to cover. At the end of each chapter, it suggests different chapters to move on to. So expect some of these random topics to end up here. If you are interested in the book, the picture is linked to Amazon for you to purchase.

From Chapter 17 – Ferment Your Foods

One of those Lost Ways that modern society has forgotten is the food preparation technique of fermentation. And I say forgotten mostly because most of us do not prepare and store our foods. We buy it by the cans or fresh from the store, because we can. But by forgetting about it, we also have lost the knowledge of a very powerful source of nutrition.

Yogurt

Of these, the least understood in importance is that of Yogurt. Yogurt replaces healthy bacteria in your gut. This should be done just because – helping your basic digestion. But it becomes a magic health food source when your gut is under attack. This happens for many reasons. But most often we see it when we are on antibiotics. Usually you take these to help you fight off other diseases. But they also kill off some of the good bacteria that help your digestion process.

I found out a lot about this a few years ago when I ended up in the hospital after I was bitten by a spider. I was on heavy antibiotics for 3 weeks, which caused a variety of problems (diarrhea). In addition to eating a lot of greek yogurt, I also took the advice of a friend, Sol Luckman. He suggested making my own Kefir.

Kefir is yogurt-like variation that is a regular staple in other parts of the world – especially the Middle East. I drank it for about 2 weeks. It is thinner than yogurt, but thicker than milk. The taste (depending on how you flavor it, is like stronger, not name brand yogurts.

I also have used yogurt (primarily plain Greek yogurt) while on cleansing diets. It can be eaten plain (yuckish), added to smoothies, substituted for mayonnaise. The list is endless. I liked smoothies, made with Greek Yogurt, coconut milk, fruit, and sometimes honey.

Probably the best takeaway I have gotten from eating yogurt is to STAY AWAY FROM PROCESSED YOGURT. Yoplait, Danimals, Activia, and Go gurt ARE NOT FOOD. They are so filled with sugars, colors flavors and the like that they cease to be indentifiable as food.

First batch of PicklesVinegar

Vinegar used to be an absolute staple in all kitchens. Its uses range from being a base for salad dressing to a perfect substitute for Cascade in your dishwasher.

For fermentable foods, here is where you find your pickles, sauerkraut and Kimchi. If you have been following Astrogardens, earlier this summer, we pickled the cucumbers from our garden. As we found, early on, the recipe was pretty sour. As they sat, the tartness has settled somewhat and made the pickles a tasty treat.

Another pickled substance we see here in Pennsylvania is called Chow Chow. To make it, you put a bunch of vegetables in a jar and put a sugared vinegar solution over it. Frankly it is repulsive. But if you think about it, this was a great way for farmers to preserve a lot of vegetables that they would not otherwise use. It has carrots, celery, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I discovered the magic of ACV back in about 2010. I was looking for a natural cure for allergies. Two books I was reading at the Time (The Vinegar Book and Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About) extolled the use of ACV to help. So I decided to try it out.

<PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – THIS IS NOT A CURE AND I AM NOT SUGGESTING YOU USE THIS AS A MEDICINE. I am not a doctor and not part of the CDC and cannot recommend anything as a cure>

3 times per day, you drink 1-2 Tablespoons of ACV. You can try this plain if you are brave. But it is pretty intense. i usually add it to a glass of water or in ginger ale or 7up.

For the sake of my allergies, I stopped taking my antihistamine (generic Claritin) or using my albuterol inhaler during this test.

RESULT: Within a few days, my nose was not stuffy, my eyes were not red and runny, I did not have shortness of breath.

Since then, I have not taken ANY over the counter medicine for allergies. I still take ACV, but not every day.

The chapter ends with offering advice on going forward. I will list them with my own advice as well.

  1. Yogurt. Try some in the next week. What can it hurt. If you are even more adventurous, try making some at home.
  2. Other Fermented Foods. Try something new this week. Will it be pickles? Kombucha? Go out on a limb and buy some Chow Chow? Maybe something more than just an olive in a martini.
  3. Books. Check out a book on Fermentation. I suggest The Vinegar Book. But you may also want to look into both Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well and Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About
Posted on

Little Things – Sunday October 7, 2018

This year, a new Television series began that I will not be watching – but my family does. It’s called A Million Little Things. I think it is about a group of friends and how their lives are intertwined and enmeshed. There may have been a suicide involved and everyone getting together to talk about it.

All in all, not my cup of tea. I am more into the other new series Manifest – where people get off of an airplane and they have been transported in time ahead 5 years. More in my favored SciFi/Zombie Apocalypse theme.

I bring it up because the title hearkens to a piece of wisdom that I would like to delve into here. And that wisdom is that we do not usually advance in large steps. More often it is the culmination of little things that get us to the next place we go in life. Whether that is waking up – and all the little things that get you out of bed and down to start you day. Or it is all the little processes that you go through to make your breakfast.Our life is made up of little

The Little Things

I was led in this direction this morning when I came across an article in Prevention magazine. I generally look at Prevention as a yuppy granola liberal rag. Often good advice, but with an edge – just a little bit of liberal propaganda underneath. But knowledge is power. This article made me stop and read. It was entitled:

70 Super Simple, Totally Doable, Teeny Tiny Ways To Be A Little Bit Greener

Reading them I found a long list of good little ideas that can make the world a better place. And I say “long” because it was one of those web pages that you have to flip through to see one at a time. I like lists, so once I started, I was hooked.

Afterwards, I was making breakfast. And advice was coming back to me:

I was making bacon. Oooo everyone loves bacon. And this is extra special “applewood smoked” bacon. Now let’s put some thought into that. Doesn’t that sound tasty? Bacon and apples? But what part of the taste of apples does applewood impart? My guess is, nothing natural. Its kind of like Clove cigarettes. Back in the 80’s, they were all the rage. But actually smoking them was kind of like standing over and breathing a pile of burning manure.  And where the heel do they get the millions of apple trees now required to smoke all that bacon? I caught them. Its all marketing. And I would be willing to bet that it is not even apple wood they are using, More likely they are spraying some chemical. But since I do not know for sure, maybe its time to err on the side of health. Still tastes good though.

So what did I do? I shredded an apple and cooked it on the bacon in the oven. I thought it tasted pretty good, despite not liking to mix my sweets with salts. The kids thought it was disgusting and I had to cook some more for them.

Eggs – I cracked about 8 eggs and threw them in a pan to scramble. As I was looking at it, I remembered some of the advice I read. Use Cast Iron pans instead of teflon coated pans. as I looked down at the eggs, I realized that I had not. It was my regular old scratched teflon pan. I had left the 25 lb cast iron job in the cupboard. I love it, but using it is a lot of work. Note to self. Time to buy a smaller cast iron pan for little jobs like this.

And the choices we make every day are just like this. Can we improve the world making little changes in the way we do things? How else to you expect it to happen. No one can snap their fingers and all of the sudden get rid of all the smog in Los Angeles or Beijing. But if today we decide to walk to the store to pick up a couple of things rather than firing up the Ford F150 gas hog, think of the difference in the footprint left upon the world?

Then think of the difference if instead of and F150, you had chosen a Prius. Most decisions are small. Some decisions are big. Others are bigger. And some may not be worth it.

For my part, I would like to start posing these questions – daily if I can. These little pieces of advice may not make a difference, But hopefully they will be like a small ripple in a pond or a lake or an ocean. Possibly imperceptible to the naked eye. But changing currents beneath the surface.

 

Posted on

My Latest Book Find – Getting Out

Getting Out by Ryan Westfield

Getting Out (The EMP #1)Getting Out by Ryan Westfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s great when you find the right book at the right time. And as I am writing a blog myself that focuses on prepping, its so much fun to see all the things I am researching and writing about put into action in a good story. Water, food, clothing and shelter are just the start. next you must consider what to do about every other person out there trying to do the same thing you are. Staying alive.

It is a not so gentle reminder about how fragile our life is. How we take for granted all the trappings of life. And it makes you really think about what you might do if things fall apart and the shit hits the fan. Are you ready for it? Or will you get left along the roadside unable to fend for yourself?

And guess what. Its a series too. Looks like I have my reading list set for a few weeks!

View all my reviews

Posted on

Water Around the World: Is it Safe? and How does it taste?

Some Perspectives about Water from Some World Travelers I have Known

I grew up in Southern California in the 70’s and 80’s. We were always in a drought condition, and would be yelled at for watering the lawn and washing your car.  Tap water tasted like hell, but we always knew it was safe to drink.

We also used to go camping a lot. We would go to the Mountains and the Desert. Our trailer had a sizable water tank that we could drink from. we would also bring a 5 gallon Sparklett’s bottle for drinking. All of this to know we were safe.

montezuma's revengeI wasn’t aware of unsafe drinking water until my Mom starting using the catch-all scare tactic – Montezuma’s Revenge.  The name alone was enough to have us worried. We were told that if you drank unsafe water, you would get it. There was never an explanation about what it was, but diarrhea and barfing were part of it. And that fear alone was usually enough to keep us from drinking from streams or ponds while out in the wilderness hiking.

When we got older, my younger sister studied up on Giardia – AKA the Thunder Shits – which became the new name for it. Either way, the rules were simple. Do not drink from streams while hiking. And when you are in Mexico DON’T DRINK THE WATER! Else Montezuma may come for a visit.

With this in mind, I have always been extra careful with the water I drink.

So when it comes to water – whether it is at home, or when you are away, what things do you think about? I have traveled a little bit – through at least 30 of the United States, Northern Mexico (OK TJ and as far as about 60 miles into Mexico), Montreal, Canada and then a month in Jolly Old England. And with the exception of Mexico, all of the water I have encountered was considered to be “safe”.

That does not mean it was drinkable taste wise. Desert water usually sucks. Many mountain springs taste wonderful, but others have such high mineral content as to taste awful.  Swampy areas (The Caribbean and East Coast USA) taste swampy or like a swimming pool (that is a swimming pool filled with swamp water and Chlorine). They leave much to be desired. As far as big cities go, it is said that New York City has great tasting water. I do not remember myself, though I have been there many times.

So I have asked some of my friends on Facebook who travel a lot about their thoughts are on drinking and traveling.

Iceland Hot SpringsPaul Constantine – who I went to high school with. He has traveled as a tourist extensively:

When you asked this question the first country that came to mind was Iceland. The country is loaded with huge waterfalls and numerous rivers. The water is clean and cold. You can drink right out of the streams. You can’t do that in most parts of the world without getting sick. They use their hot springs as bathing areas.
Most of Europe is like being in the the U.S. you have better water quality in the country side and less desirable water near the major cities. I usually drink bottled water to avoid getting sick.
Natural Springs in BulgariaRoland and Galina Denzel – Also a high school friend and his wife who is from Bulgaria.
I live in an area with hard water, so it’s always interesting to me how ‘slick’ showers feels when I travel. It makes me wonder about the drinking differences.
Many of the places we travel don’t have consistently safe water in the city, so they (and we) drink filtered or bottled, but it’s great when we go to the villages where they get water from wells. The water tastes pretty amazing. This city boy kind of cringes at first, but I’ve never gotten sick from the mountain springs in Bulgaria. They come bubbling straight out of the ground and taste so pure and clean.
Sheldon Forrest – American expat and regular world traveler.
Usually my rule of thumb is anywhere outside Canada, the US, or Europe, to drink only bottled water (plus juice, plus beer/wine). I seem to recall the tap water in Japan was ok, but I relied on bottled water in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and of course India.
Ganges RiverIt was suggested to me to immerse in the Ganges at Varanasi, the holy city, only the water there is totally septic…because it is too far downstream at that point with too much waste entering along the way…but I did immerse at Rishikesh (where the Beatles went to meet the Maharishi in ‘68) because, being in the Himalayan foothills, it is much closer to the source, and it is translucent enough that you can see fish swimming in it, meaning it is water that won’t kill fish, like in Varanasi. Got all the spiritual benefits with none of the health problems.
UgandaThere is absolutely nowhere in Latin America or Africa where I would drink tap water.
NOTE: Sheldon wrote this to me from Paris as he was preparing for a trip to Africa, where he has been for the past couple weeks. This picture is of water buffalo (I think) in Uganda.
Bridget Goodman – Southern California Expat living in Khazakstan.
1) Kharkiv, Ukraine, 2001: Instructed not to drink the tap water, only bottled. Water from shower head either icy cold or burning hot, no in between. Sometimes no hot water for a week, sometimes no water for a day or two.
2) Lviv, Ukraine, same time period: told that because of old pipes there is only water available from the tap from 6-9 am and 6-9 pm.
3) Astana, Kazakhstan, present day: No one drinks tap water. 5-gallon water dispensers in nearly every university office. Frequent leaks and outages mean sometimes no water for a few hours to a day, and then when it comes back the water comes out brown for a while. That’s why I usually have a bottle in the bathroom and one in the kitchen filled with tap water on reserve in case I need to wash hands, brush my teeth, or heat water for a “bucket bath”.
But, final story: going into the hills of Almaty on the way to Big Almaty Lake. Our driver found a place to stop with a natural spout. It was the purest cleanest tasting water I have ever had in my life.
Hope that’s enough.
These different stories about water around the world tell us a lot about the variability of safe drinking water around the world. Consider areas of the world like China and India – with huge populations of people. What about people living in Latin America and Africa. Do they just have a natural resistance to their local waters that allow them to drink it? Or what adaptations have they made to their lives to accommodate for their water. Does it show in higher rates of death and sickness?
These are questions I do not know how to answer. But they make the idea of having safe water to drink seem a whole lot more important than we think about. Is it a mark of civilization that we place such a priority on safe drinking water?
I remember reading the play An Enemy of the People by Henrick Ibsen when I was in high school. It was written in 1882. In the story, a whistelblower discovers that a new costly waterworks project has been compromised by a polluting factory (a paper pulp mill if I remember correctly). He discovers the problem right before the water works is brought online. But before he can tell the town, the people in control stop him – in order to protect themselves from the costly repairs that it will take to make it safe. They demonize the whistleblower to cover up the problem. Seems a whole lot like what has happened in Flint Michigan if you ask me.
Posted on

Time to “Roundup” the Victims

Monsanto's Roundup cleverly displayed at out local grocery store

This news is so major I am even willing to link an article from CNN

As Jordan Sather of Destroying the Illusion notes:

Juror awards near $300mill to a man who got cancer from Monsanto’s Roundup.

Work to in understand the Deep State/Nazi infiltration of the food, agriculture, and the “health” industries. Your favorite products may be slowly killing yourself and our planet.

This is a MONUMENTAL decision, paving the way for thousands of similar cases against Monsanto.

Or do I mean MonSatan? Their ending may finally be near!

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/10/health/monsanto-johnson-trial-verdict/index.html

Posted on

Tap Water

I just came across an article that gets right to the point about Tap Water in Natural News:

https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-03-whats-in-your-water-6-reasons-why-you-should-never-drink-from-the-tap.html

Please check out the article, but I wanted to comment on each of the reasons:

  1. Fluoride – addressed in a previous article. Not a good idea to ingest neuro toxins.
  2. Chlorine – While necessary for purification, not necessary for your body.
  3. Arsenic – Arsenic and Old Lace. Enough said.
  4. Heavy Metals – music style aside, not good unless you want to permanently stunt growth and damage the brain. Lead is bad. Mercury is bad.
  5. Hexavalent Chrome – also mentioned in a previous article in regard to Erin Brokovich. I grew up working in a chrome plating plant. I remember during the 70’s when my Dad’s plant began a process to change from Hexavalent Chrome to Trivalent Chrome. And the reasons came down to issues with waste water treatment. Pollution is a bad thing for all of us who ant to live here. But only in the last 100 years were we able to scientifically see just how bad and consider what we need to do about it. In the case of decorative chrome plating, by and large the industry has gone away. It is too expensive and too dirty to make sense economically or socially. Look around while you are driving. How many chrome plated bumpers do you see? Check out people’s wheels. Most have changed to other alloys or hubcaps. Its been a global change that people have not really seen. Chrome was bad and has gone away. People found alternatives.
  6. Pharmaceutical Drugs – One of my major pet peeves. What do you do with drugs that you have and are no longer taking? What are your options? 1) thrown them in the trash, 2) wash down the sink, 3) flush down the toilet. Are any of these OK? I came to the conclusion that none are. Again, maybe it was my experience working around my father’s chrome plating plant, treating the waste water. We had a process for filtering the water, settling out the sediments and the neutralizing the acidity. At a certain point, it was deemed acceptable to dump into the sewer – all according to the standards set by the state and municipalities. But I knew there was NO WAY I wanted to be downstream of it. I had dealt with acid burns and fumes. And how much more effort would the sewage treatment plants do with Gray Water. The answer is, almost nothing. Filter, settle, Flash Chlorine and then dump it in the ocean. And we were lucky to know it was going to the ocean and not upstream of some other community’s drinking water supply.

Back to the drugs. Consider what happens when these pharmaceutical drugs end up in the environment. Are they being filtered in any way? Does the chlorine kill it off? Even worse, it you thrown them in the trash. Then they go to a landfill. Pray no one finds them. And guess what, once water gets to them, they will be leaching into the groundwater. I thought it was important when disposing of some stronger anti seizure medications. I lived in fear that some kid would find them and try them out for fun. But just as bad would be if they polluted the environment.

 

Posted on

Fluoride in Your Water

Fluoride in our water supply is one of the most frightening health issues facing our world today. Our schools teach kids about brushing your teeth with Fluoride toothpaste. Dentists bathe children’s teeth in toxic Fluoride slurry at age 6. How many people ask about why we are using a toxic chemical for cosmetic purposes?

Right now, the political questions against adding Fluoride to the water include:

  • Science does not agree on the benefits of adding Fluoride. In fact the studies in favor of adding fluoride are over 50 years old. The testing methods used do not pass today’s safety standards.
  • The Fluoride used for water fluoridation does not have FDA approval, with control of strength and dosing
  • Forcing mass medication of the population breaks civil liberties
  • The chemicals are not high purity and pharmaceutical quality products. The fluoride used is industrial by-products from aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing. Other toxins and heavy metals (arsenic, lead and chromium) are present.

The medical community and the government (think FDA and AMA) continue to stand by the aged model. More and more research is revealing the negative impact of fluoride on the brain.

As noted on FlourideAlert.org

Fluoride’s ability to damage the brain is one of the most active areas of fluoride research today. Over 300 studies have found that fluoride is a neurotoxin (a chemical that can damage the brain). This research includes:

 

  • Over 100 animal studies showing that prolonged exposure to varying levels of fluoride can damage the brain, particularly when coupled with an iodine deficiency, or aluminum excesss.
  • 53 human studies linking moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence;
  • 45 animal studies reporting that mice or rats ingesting fluoride have an impaired capacity to learn and/or remember;
  • 12 studies (7 human, 5 animal) linking fluoride with neurobehavioral deficits (e.g., impaired visual-spatial organization);
  • 3 human studies linking fluoride exposure with impaired fetal brain development.

And despite these studies, our government continues to add fluoride to our water supplies under the auspices of “protecting our teeth”.

Europe and other nations are not in lock step with the fluoride program in the USA. In fact, China, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Hungary and Japan are fluoride free.

Only time will tell if they start to listen.

Last year I took one of our infant foster children to the pediatrician. While there, I was visited by a specialist in the office who proceeded to extol the virtues of drinking fluoridated water to help the baby’s dental health. “He needs at least one glass of plain tap water every day. That will provide him the proper amount of fluoride he needs each day.” To say that I was disturbed by her advice is an understatement.

Since learning about Fluoride and other toxins in the water, I drink only filtered water. I use a simple water pitcher filter. It is cost effective. The taste is much better, but it does not filter out Fluoride. To remove Fluoride, you must use either a reverse osmosis filter or an Activated Alumina filter. These are a little pricier, but in the end something that I want to try.

I seek out Natural Spring Water for drinking when I can find it. I also stopped using fluoridated toothpaste years ago.

Will it help?

 

NOTE: All the facts and figures and quotes here I found on other websites, including:

FlourideAlert.org

waterforlifeusa.com

 

Posted on

What Do You Know About Your Water Supply?

I began asking about the water I drink after a trip to Miami, FL. Our local water in Reading, PA never bothered me. In fact, I thought it tasted pretty good. I grew up in Southern California, where the water is undrinkable. We always bought Sparkletts bottled water (the green cap with Fluoride for our teeth J). But the water in Miami was so vile tasting I spit it out of my mouth at a restaurant. And think how many people in the area were consuming it every day.

After that trip to Miami that I finally had had enough and would no longer drink it our local water. We had previously affectionately called the tap water Schuylkill Punch. We laughed during droughts when people would say things like, “Be sure to flush twice.  Philly needs the water.” It reminds us about who is living upstream that we are drinking from.

Water has been in the news in the past couple years because of the tragic water supply in Flint, Michigan. The water is polluted. The aging public water system caused it. Most of the city’s pipes are over 50 years old and are made with Lead. The City knew it was in major need of an update. The Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other. The biggest problem is that the city has not invested in the upkeep of their water supply. Now everyone must drink bottled water because what comes out of the tap is completely contaminated. And who knows for how long.

Here in the USA, we take things like this for granted. Most areas have public drinking water available. Most of us never question it. We turn it on. We shower, we wash our hands. We wash our dishes, we cook we wash our clothing. And we drink it.

In other parts of the world, this is obviously not so. Industrial pollution, over population, farming runoff. You name it. I always think about the Ganges River – where millions of Indians make a pilgrimage each year to bathe in its holy waters. But they should pray hard before-hand because the water is nasty polluted with Human waste.

The failure of the Flint water supply is one of those examples of how your life can be turned on its head. In Flint, it was caused by bad government, misappropriation of taxes, call it what you want. But the people had the expectation that their water was safe and would continue to be safe. Now that it has happened – and it was near an election year, it made national headlines. For the people, it is the apocalypse. They must drink bottled water. They must decide whether they want to try cleaning their clothing or their bodies or their lives with the water that comes to their home.

Consider how many other municipalities have had problems with their water that we never hear about. California made headlines after the fact in Hinkley – where the water supply (and the air) became contaminated with Chromium. It took an unlikely lawsuit and a paralegal named Erin Brockovich to bring peoples’ attention to it. And unlike Flint, where the water came out of the tap looking like it came out of a swamp, Hinkley’s water looked clean. It was the cancer that made people question it.

What do you know about your own water supply?

Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County, Pennsylvania

I began this mentioning that when I moved to Pennsylvania, I thought the water tasted pretty good. The comparison was the swill that was aqua ducted from Mono Lake, up in the Sierras, down to the LA Basin. And with all the traveling, all the filtering, all the chlorine and other chemicals to make it clean enough to drink, it left much to be desired.

A little research here in PA told me most of our water comes from the Schuylkill River at some point. It is re routed through a couple lakes, piped all over the place, filtered Chlorinated, fluoridated and then pushed through our pipes. For our municipality, the water comes from the Tulpehocken Creek, downstream from Blue Marsh Lake. It draws directly from the local watershed and not necessarily from the sewage treatment plant north of here – isn’t that something to be proud of. But we do get farm runoff. And remember the name of that lake includes the word “Marsh.” Funny thing is that the Tulpehocken creek, about a mile past our local water supply intake, empties into the Schuylkill River. The water we get is at least that much more pristine.

For homework, consider where your water comes from.

This is usually easy to find out.

The information about my local water was just a Google search away. The Website for our Borough noted the Water company that provides our water. That water company’s website has an annual public disclosure statement telling the sources of the water as well as results of their testing for purity.

And for this, governmental agencies are very good. They go out of their way to test and show results in ways that will make them look good. They set the bar and stay under it. This does not mean that our water is ACTUALLY clean and safe. Just that they can prove it following the EPA guidelines and standards. They admit to including additives (Chlorine and Fluoride). They test for the bad things (Lead, Chromium, Nitrates). They publish it for all 2 of us whoever look at it online (which is about two more people than actually went to their offices to see the test results that they were forced to publish before.

  • Find your water source
  • Review the test results for your water supply
  • Question their testing techniques

For my family and my garden, I want to know what goes into our bodies. And stay tuned for more discussions about water. It is somewhat of an obsession of mine, and there is a lot I want to visit.