Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drink Like Gisele and Zac

If Gisele Bundchen or Zac Efron jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too? Well, I sure hope not, but you should be a copycat when it comes to toting your water.

Not necessarily because you want to be like Gisele or Zac, though.

There are many good reasons to use an aluminum or stainless steel water bottle. Affordability, safety, ease of use, and environmental concerns, to name a few.

Most aluminum (check the liner) and all stainless steel bottles are BPA free. BPA, aka bisphenol A, has been known to leach from plastic (think water bottles) into foods and beverages. It is a building block of polycarbonate plastic (it's even found in some sippy cups and plastic containers) and can cause all sorts of health issues, including heart disease, cancer, early onset of puberty (as BPA is a synthetic sex hormone that mimics estrogen), and neurological disorders. The liquid filling plastic bottles absorbs enough BPA to register significant levels in the urine of the person drinking it.* When the bottles get hot, say in a car, the levels of BPA leaching is considerably higher. Any beverages that come in plastic should be avoided, not just water.

So basically, drinking from plastic bottles can pose some degree of health risk. This is easily avoidable by using just one aluminum or stainless steel bottle, over and over again, day after day. That's the investment, one bottle (about $20 - $30), and the time it takes to wash and fill it.

But what to put inside? Well, to put it frankly, tap water is held to tougher standards than bottled water. In fact, some bottled water is even just filtered tap water. Every bottle of water is supposed to say where they bottle it. Look, and you will see the name and location of the spring, OR you may see something like purified water. You know, filtered tap.

You may not even need to filter your water. Depending on where you live, your tap water may be better for you than most bottled water. Hopefully, your tap doesn't have added fluoride, but that's another story (though you can easily find out). To find out more about your tap water, click here. If you need to, you can easily filter your own water. C'mon. Even I'm doing it. You just need to attach a purification system to your faucet, and remember to check and change the filter as needed. Too much work? You can buy a pitcher with a filter. I know that Pur makes them. Easy, and a small price to pay for your health.

And purifying your tap water will save you money. Pur states that "the cost of water from a home filtration system is approximately 78% less per gallon than bottled water."

If not for your health, do this for the planet. The environmental impact plastic bottles have on the earth is huge. Even if we recycle plastic, remember that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make plastic water bottles each year. And while you may remember to recycle (good for you!), it's estimated that nearly 90% of those water bottles end up in landfills.

Lastly, think about this. How often do you look around, see half empty bottles of water, and call out around the house, "Whose water is this?" I bet that most of the time, that water ends up getting dumped into a plant (that's probably over watered)! If everyone in the family has their own reusable bottle, each with a different design, then this just won't happen. This saves money, water, and probably a few nerves.

The two most commonly used brands of reusable bottles are SIGG and Klean Kanteen.

SIGG bottles are made with aluminum and have non-toxic liners (older bottle liners, from 2007 and previous, had trace amounts in them, but that is no longer the case). SIGG says that the liners will not leach into your drinks, and after over 100 years of making bottles, I think it's safe to believe them. Klean Kanteens are stainless steel bottles that serve the same purpose, but without the need for a liner.

To wash your bottles, simply rinse with warm, soapy water, and allow to air dry with the top off. SIGG also sells a special cleaning brush that you can use for all aluminum or stainless steel bottles. While Klean Kanteens and other stainless steel bottles can go into the dishwasher, it may cause the outside of the paint to chip. Not a problem, just not so pretty. Also, the dishwasher can't really get deep into the bottle, so best to just hand wash them yourself.

My current bottle is a the Om bottle by SIGG for lululemon; it has the manifesto written across it. I like the positive statements, as they are a constant reminder throughout my day of where my focus should be. My son's had a couple different SIGGs, one with bugs on it, pirates on another, but he got his new favorite today. It's called Tiger King and looks martial arts inspired. We were going solely to get bottles for my boyfriend and his two beautiful daughters, but in the end we left with four bottles instead of three.

Have a healthy day.

*Findings from a study done by researcher at the School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, with 77 participants.

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