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Real Dirt on Clean Water

Everyone knows that water is essential to life. But what’s coming out of your tap or bottle may not really be your healthiest choice.

Sure, your water may look clean but is it?

Fountain and Lights by Elise Hearn

Fountain and Lights by Elise Hearn

Most people think that governmental agencies ensure that our water’s clean. And while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Clean Water Act to safeguard our water supply, it only set standards and testing requirements in our municipal water treatment facilities for 114 different contaminants out of literally hundreds more.

In fact, the Environmental Working Group obtained test results from a database of over 20 million records from state water officials to determine the quality of drinking water in 45 states. The results revealed 316 contaminants were present in our water supplies. Among them were 202 chemicals that aren’t regulated by any safe water standards.i

Checking the quality of your local water is easy to do. Just visit the National Drinking Water Database.

So yes, your water looks clean. But really, it’s not.

Why Filtration?

The simple answer? You either use a filter or you are the filter.

Only 2% of all treated water is used for drinking water. The rest is used on your lawn, shower, laundry, or used for farms or industry. It’s simply too time-consuming and expensive to test and remove the thousands of chemicals that may be present in any particular water source.

And even if your water was perfectly clean before it left your municipality, it still has miles to travel in pipes before it gets to your home. Who knows what it runs into along the way?

What are you really drinking?

Here’s what may be in your water, and some of its hazardous effects:

Industrial Pollutants (such as benzene, nitrates, and petrochemicals): Long-term exposure may cause increased risk of cancer, as well as blood, nervous system, kidney, and liver problems.

Agricultural Pollutants (pesticides such as atrazine, lindane, alachlor, and others): Long-term exposure may cause increased risk of cancer, as well as eye, liver, kidney, spleen, blood, and nervous system problems.

Heavy Metals (such as lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium): Even at low levels, long-term exposure may cause behavioral problems and learning disabilities. The EPA estimates that between 10 and 20% of total lead exposure in young children comes from drinking water.ii

Disinfection By-products (such as: trihalomethanes, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane,and bromoform): Long-term exposure may cause increased risk of cancer, as well as liver, kidney, or central nWater Bottlesrvous system problems.

With all these problems with tap water, you might think that bottled water is the answer—but you’re wrong. What most people don’t know is that there’re no regulations regarding the quality of bottled water. That’s right, none. Bottling companies don’t even have the same regulations to follow that your local municipal water supply does. That means that despite the clean look of your bottle, in many cases the water it contains isn’t any better than tap water.

The bottom line is that you can’t control what happens to your water before it gets to your house. But you can control what happens after. If you want to make sure you have r

Get Clean Water

Get Clean Water

eally clean drinking water, you really have to use a filter—a good one.

Why Get Clean® Water?

Because it’s safe, powerful, green and smart—and it outperforms both Brita® and PUR®*, hands-down:

Safe:  It reduces 59 harmful contaminants—at least 21 of which Brita doesn’t even touch—including up to 99% of water-borne lead.

Powerful:   It’s incredibly thrifty, delivering over 80 gallons of purer water from every hardworking, environmentally friendly filter—twice as much as big-name brands—for just a little over a penny per glass**.

Green:   It uses a unique refillable filter system, so there’s less waste in landfills.†

Smart:   It features a convenient smart-meter that shows you exactly when to replace your filter, so there’s no more guessing. And on top of all that, it’s ‘Gold Seal’ certified to tough ANSI/NSF Standards 42 and 53 by the Water Quality Association (WQA).

Ready to feel better with good Clean Water?  Visit my site  Elise.MyShaklee.com for purchasing options and more information!  Good health is a choice we make all through the day, make Shaklee Products part of those choices. Stay Well! Elise

i http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/executive-summary.php

ii http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/lead1.cfm

* Comparison of current WQA and NSF certified reduction claims conduced on May 26, 2011, referencing Brita® pitchers using OB03 cartridge and PUR® pitchers using CFR-950Z cartridge and is valid only for the named products marketed at that time. Product data claims obtained from the NSF and WQA website certification listings. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. “Big name brands” defined as Brita and Pur.

** Compared to Brita and Pur pitcher filters at 40 gallons.

† Compared to traditional carbon production.

Source: Shaklee Corporation 04/10/13

Throw away that Heart Shaped Box!

It is that time of year when we are accosted with ads for candy, diamonds and more candy.  This year is the year to throw away that Heart Shaped Box and do something Out of the Box!pictures_of_hearts

Now what could that be, you might be asking yourself since you were wanting to have a few choice pieces from that heart shaped box.  Well, thinking of new and fun things to do just takes a few minutes of looking around your local area to see what opportunities await your senses.

Look for a cooking class, something fun that you two can do together.  Cooking a fun, different meal together can lead to a whole new side to your relationship.   Who knows what talents you both might have when working together in the kitchen.  Experiment with different spices, different vegetables, different recipes.  Have fun and laugh.  This could be the start of many new traditions.

Volunteer in your area or the surrounding areas.  There have been so many storms IMG_3620 Old Barn 150dpi 5x7and fires this past year that many people are still struggling with repairs to homes and businesses.  Reach out to one of the local churches or Habitat for Humanity for their volunteer programs.  You may have talents in building or painting that would be of help, or you could partner with others to move much needed supplies to a stricken area.  Bringing a hot cup of coffee and a hot meal to those working to repair their lives can make a big difference in the day of a survivor.  And the benefits to yourself are immense

Plan a day trip to one of the local “tourist sites” that most locals never visit.  Many people live in a town with a wonderful museum, park, factory or historic site that they have never visited.  So “play tourist” for a day and visit something local.  Tour that dairy farm outside of town that makes that wonderful cheese you both love.  Wineries and Vineyards are popular tours, look for a new wine to share with that meal you cooked from your cooking class!  Our area is full of Revolutionary and Civil War battle grounds, so if you are a history enthusiast, visit your local historic sites.  Have fun doing something out of the ordinary!

Get creative, have fun, plan the budget so you don’t get in trouble with the costs, laugh as you explore new things together!  Elise

The Wonders of an Ice Cube Tray

Going up as a kid in the 50’s meant that refrigerators did not have ice makers.  There were no fancy buttons and doors on the front of the refrigerator to dispense ice to the hot and dusty children.  No, back then we had metal ice cube trays that were fun to operate since there was a lever in the middle to release the ice.

It made a wonderful cracking noise when you finally got the ice to release.  The lever was attached to a grid section of metal leaves that was separate from the tray.  The grid section was put in the tray, water was added, tray with grid was placed in the freezer section, hours went by and the frozen tray was removed.

Now the fun part was getting the lever to release the ice. If you put a bit too much water in the tray, as I always managed to do, the ice was up and over the grid, making it hard to release the ice cubes.  After much tugging, groaning and maybe a little run under some water, the lever would move, ice would shatter from the top of the cubes and drinking cool water and iced tea would begin.  Wonderful time!

Now that we have automatic ice makers, we have almost forgotten how wonderful ice cube trays are.  When we were kids, Mother would add orange juice or apple juice and occasionally Kool-Aid to the trays for a cold summery addition to water, juice or sweet iced tea.  Remembering those flavored cold additions to our beverages as a child got me to thinking about what we could do today.  Kids are still kids when it comes to liking cold drinks after play.

I went to the store, found some plastic ice cube trays, and have been making my own filtered ice all summer!  I had forgotten the fun of popping the ice from the tray, even in plastic.  My favorite benefit of not using the in-freezer ice maker is the taste of the ice, or should I say, the lack of taste of the ice.  I use a Shaklee Get Clean Water Pitcher which is an amazing filter system, getting out a multitude of pesticides, herbicides, 99% of the lead and more, leaving me with water as it should be, clean and “taste free”.  The automatic ice maker, with the puny in-refrigerator filter always gave the ice a “whang” (Southern for icky taste!).

Now that I make my own ice, with my 3 ice cube trays, I fill the dispenser each day and let the crusher on the freezer do it’s magic as I really like crushed ice.  The true flavor of my iced water,  iced tea and iced coffee come through each time.  Yummy!

But even more fun are the additions to the clean, filtered water in the trays!  Mother was always adding juice to the trays so her punches for parties would not water down.  Same thing with iced tea.  Now I suggest that you make a pot of your favorite tea and then make several trays of frozen tea cubes for use in your iced tea.  Make tea, freeze, remove from trays to store in a freezer bag or container with air-tight lid.  Makes the tea even better.

Freeze your favorite lemonade to add to iced tea or other beverages.  Think of all those “adult” beverages that are make in the fall and winter at the various tailgate, harvest and holiday parties we throw.  That little extra touch makes the drink that much more special and the ice cube tray an essential in any kitchen!

Just think of all the things you can freeze in the ice cube trays!  Cut little pieces of strawberries and blueberries in orange juice for use in morning protein shakes or other beverages.  For a savory cube for some of those adult beverages you could add celery or small onions, yellow & red peppers.  And for those fall stews, fill those trays with you chicken, beef or vegetable stocks for a quick infusion of flavor in future meals.  Freeze and store most any liquid for use at a later date in convenient, easy to use cubes!  Just label the containers since frozen broth in iced tea would not be ideal.

Let your imagination run wild!  What will you freeze for your next party?  Your next family reunion?  Your Thanksgiving dinner?  Miniature frozen salads?  Miniature ice creams?  Miniature pop-icicles?  You can find the metal trays from my childhood online at several retailers.  Or look in your favorite kitchen shop or variety store for the plastic versions.  Enjoy the Wonders of the Ice Cube Tray!

Hurricane Season, Again!

Hurricane season is here! And a Hurricane is heading towards the US as I write. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico and send rain, winds and high surf up the West Coast of Florida, the Florida pan-handle and the Alabama coast. Depending on how long the storm is over the warm Gulf waters, the storm could increase in intensity before landfall. So now is the time to get ready!

And are you prepared? Just what does “prepared” mean when we talk about hurricanes and other severe weather during the summer and early fall? Can we truly prepare for a disaster? Well, yes we can and it is that preparation that often makes a difference in how we survive the storm and then cope the following days.

Severe storms come in different forms all over the world. From Hurricanes to Tornadoes to Severe Thunder Storms to Ice Storms and Blizzards, severe weather affects everyone at some time in the year. And let us not forget wild fires and forest fires along with earthquakes. All of these are catalysts for changes in our behavior and lifestyle for a few days to months. How well you are prepared for these changes ahead of time affects how well you manage after the event.

Every Severe Weather Event is different.Having been through 4 Hurricanes in a row, each 3 weeks apart, in 2004, I can tell you from experience that each storm was very different.Starting with Charley, who banged on my home with 100+ MPH winds for over 30 minutes and dumped more rain than I can imagine in the two days of him being around the state. Each storm hit from a different direction, bring winds at different speeds and angles, hitting the house. Rain came in at unusual places, like down drainpipes and air vents.

I was not as prepared as I should have been, but I had the basics down even then:

My vehicle was fueled and ready to roll should I have to evacuate. Back into your garage so exiting will be easier should you need to leave.

I had cat carriers ready for the trip along with cat food, litter and their Vet papers.

My important papers were together in a water proof box in my safe place (interior powder room on the ground floor).

Food and water were ready as were clothing should we need to move quickly.  Protein Shakes, snack bars, peanut butter, crackers, apples, bananas and utensils were packed. I also had cleaning supplies in small quantities.

I even had plastic buckets for putting the furniture up high off the floor should flooding become an issue. Soft goods were moved to the top floor in plastic Space Bags when possible.

Doors and windows were covered as much as I could by myself, and the garage door was secured and braced.

I had a portable battery operated TV (now useless since the Digital Revolution has taken over, so much for progress!) along with flash lights and extra batteries. Now I even have a wind-up radio with weather band and AM/FM channels.

Cell phones were charged since you can text if voice is down.  Have a car charger too, just in case the power is off for more than a few days.  Solar charges are great to have, more expensive, but very useful in an emergency.

NOAA radios are a must. You need to know the changes in the path of the storm, since they do wobble around, not on a straight path.

Have tarps, plastic sheeting, ropes, duck tape, hammer and nails, ladder and anything else that might help you secure your home after the storm has passed. Be Careful.

So my main message is to be prepared for those coming storms whether they are cold weather or hot weather storms, fires or earthquakes. It takes a few hours each year to update your food and water supply, refresh your clothing, add paperwork as necessary and refresh your plan!

Be Smart: Get ready and be safe. You can survive if you think and act ahead of the storm.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

Cleaning our homes and work spaces is an ongoing project.  It is a reward to look at our sparkling clean kitchen or bathroom for that minute or two before some decides to cook another pot of spaghetti sauce or take a long hot shower!  So much for our sparkling looks now.

But looks can be deceiving.  We have heard that one before.  But with clean it is true.  The advertizing people have done a good job of convincing us that clean must smell like something, pine, floral, lemon or the breeze.  What does a breeze smell like?

Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes.  Most products on the market do one or the other.  Some do both.  I have discovered a type of cleaning and disinfecting products that are effective in killing germs and cleaning surfaces at the same time.  These cleaners are called Quartenary Ammonium Compounds.  Long name, but they are effective.

These Quartneary Ammonium Compounds or “Quats”, cleaning products disinfect as well as clean the surface.  Chlorine bleach disinfects but you have to clean the surface separately adding another expensive step to the process.   Quats are also have a neutral ph so they do not damage surfaces being cleaned and disinfected like chlorine bleach.  They are also effective order control agents when used according to label instructions.  For more general information on Quats see an article by Roger McFadden who is Technical Director for Coastwide Laboratories.

I am excited since I only just realized that I have been using a Quats for years.  I knew the product worked well around my house, especially with the kitties.  But I never really understood how amazing the product is!  I have been using Shaklee’s Basic-G® Concentrated Germicide. It is a registered EPA germicide and is effective against 56 pathogens comprised of viruses, bacteria and fungi.  Since Shaklee’s Basic G carries the EPA registration number on its label you can be certain that is has been proven, under scientific conditions to be effective against various bacteria and other pathogens listed on the label.  MSRA and Influenza A are just 2 of the pathogens that Basic G is effective against.

Since chlorine bleach has so many negatives, it is easy to see why the Basic G type products are so popular with consumers.  Remember, chlorine bleach products may be cheap in upfront costs, but they are not detergents so they don’t clean, only disinfect.  Chlorine bleach products react with other chemicals that might be present when cleaning to product toxic gases.  Attack hard surfaces causing damage especially on flooring.  And worse, they have unpleasant orders and while they lose their strength rapidly make them not so cheap after all.

The one quart container of Basic G from Shaklee dilutes to 64 gallons of non-toxic cleaning solution when diluted according to directions.   In its concentrated state it is a toxic substance and must be handled as such.  But once diluted properly, Basic G has cleansing functionalities along with the disinfecting so there is no need to mix with other solutions.

So when you really need to clean your home, purchase some Shaklee Basic G along with the accompanying Spray Bottle for dilution, read the label carefully and clean, disinfect and deodorize your home.  I am careful around the kittes, but use the diluted spray around their litter boxes making certain the solution is dry before the kitties return.  I also use Basic G in my vacation home,  when I travel in staying in a hotel room or cruise ship cabin.  Shaklee even has some wipes that you can carry with you as you fly to help keeps the germs away.  The wipes are from the Get Clean line and  are called Germ Off Fragrance Free Disinfecting Wipes.

Stay safe as you travel and have a safe, germ free home.

 

 

Surviving a Winter Storm

Surviving a Winter Storm for the past few days has been a testament to all that I have been posting about for several years.  I followed my plan and it has worked.  Just wish all the snow and ice would melt now so driving would be easier!

Mountain Snow

Planning for any severe storm takes a few minutes of thought and action as well.  This time I had to make certain that the kitties were taken care of since I am looking after a few extra kitties and need more food and water.  The little ones come first as do children.  Thinking ahead of time as to what response would be to a power outage helped me see what needed to be done before the storm so that during the storm I would be ready to respsond.

I like hot tea and the occasional cup of coffee.  Warm water is often in my cup in the winter since I find cold water in winter makes me well, cold!  Remember that hydration is important in winter.  So in anticipation of the power being out for an extended period, I took steps to make certain I had warm water for tea.

I boiled my filtered water from my Get Clean Water Pitcher, then poured it into several insulated travel mugs.  I put these insulated mugs into an insulated lunch bag.  Then that bag fit down into an insulated cooler.  The water remained hot for about 18 hours and then as still pleasantly warm after that.  Warm enough to make a cup of green tea!

To maintain heat, I had positioned fire wood near the door in case it was needed.  The open doorways would have been covered with sheets to help retain the heat in the great room.  Yeah, the bathroom would have been a bit cooler, but the pipes are in the wall that back up to the great room so the pipes would have been warm.

Fortunately, I did not loose power!  However, the road were all closed around the city, so the food in the house and the medical supplies were in place to keep us healthy.  At least when it is very cold outside, the warmth of good food tastes even better.

So make a plan for your family in anticipation of your next severe weather event.  Know what you are going to do it the roads are closed, power is out and you need to keep warm, feed your family and pet and keep the house safe.  Trim those over-hanging limbs to keep ice laden branches off roofs and power lines(professionals needed here for the trimming!).  Cover outside spigots so they don’t freeze and break the pipes.  Have emergency light sources such as hand-cranked lights and radios.  Candles can be dangerous and are limited to a few hours of light.  If you use a gas grill for cooking, keep it outside!

Food and Snacks, extra clothing and blankets, water in reusable containers, vitamins and first aid kits are needed too.  Use your common sense, think and stay safe!

Habits and Change

Be Healthy

So how has this week been? Changing one bad habit for a good is not easy is it! We humans like the easy way, the way with no pain and no thought. We just want to keep going on the same path like cows who move from field to field, never straying from the old paths.
But last week we talked about doing some good for ourselves, developing a few healthy habits that will give us a healthier, longer and happier life. Now that is a goal worth a little effort isn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being ill. Days of fever, headaches, muscle aches and such are not my idea of fun. Vacation is my goal, not illness. Taking days off for illness does not refresh my spirit.
Change is good for us. Breaking those old habits that are keeping us in unhealthy ruts take time, patients and determination, but are rewarding when accomplished. Changing a mindset is important. How we think about something impacts how we take care of ourselves.

That is why I asked “How Many M&M’s do you eat?” last week. Thinking about taking more than one Alfalfa Complex tablet sends some people into panic mode! Funny really when they eat handfuls of candy at a time, handfuls of popcorn, bunches of grapes and more.
It is all about how we perceive a task. Our thinking that handfuls of one thing is okay while handfuls of another is impossible to accomplish even when the items are the same size, holds us back from reaching optimum health and wealth.
Change your thoughts Change your life.
When you Change the Way you Look at Things the Things You Look at Change!
Stay Well, Elise

Know what you are Eating

Pesticides and herbicides are used on non-organic fruits and vegetables to help the crop  have more product per acre.  However these same chemicals are not so good for the people who eat them.  The more we know about the effects of these commonly used pesticides and herbicides on people, them more I don’t want to eat them!  And you might want to do the same if you are concerned about the health of yourself and your family.

Strawberries

Dr. Andrew Weil has a partnership with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health.  Dr. Weil has complied a list of fruits and vegetables that should be organic when purchased.

Vegetables

The List tested fruits and vegetables that had been washed as a family would normally wash produce.  These fruits and vegetables all have high levels of pesticides and herbicides and should be only purchased if organically farmed.  Included in his list of “dirty foods” are celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries(domestic), nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, collard greens/kale, cherries, potatoes and grapes (imported).   To learn more about these “dirty” fruits and vegetables, check out Dr. Weil’s articles.

Always wash your fruits and vegetables before preparation and eating!  Buy local and organi whenever possible.  Keeping yourself and your family healthy takes a little more planning, but is easier than being sick!  Stay Well, Elise!

Phthalates Linked to ADHD in Study

A recent study by Korean researchers found a link between Phthalates and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).  Dr Yun-Chul Hong, MD, PhD, senior author of the study said that this study is the first documented association between Phthalates and ADHA in school age children.  In this study of 261 Korean school children, age 8 to 11, the higher the level of Phthalates in the urine, the worse the ADHD symptoms.

Phthalates are often found in toys, cleaning materials, personal care products such as shampoos, air fresheners and lotions and plastics.  While this study is not the final word on the relationship of Phthalates and ADHA, is does gives reason for more study and caution in using products with Phthalates.

Children are particularly sensitive to chemicals in since there bodies are so small.  They do not have the same ability to deal with toxic exposure as adults.  So be careful and mindful when choosing products for children.  Stay Well!

Severe Storm Preparedness Part II

So what did you discover when you looked at your family’s needs?  Think through your plans.  Where is your safe place in your home?  Interior room with no windows is the best.

Talk with your family about what to do and where to go when a storm appears.  Even if the storm is not a hurricane, winds can get very high in severe thunder storms as well as winter storms.  So your safe place will come in handy.  Let the kids get involved so they will know what to do and not feel so frightened.noaa

Emergency kits need to have non-perishable food for 7 days or so, hand operated can opener, water for 7 days which is 1 gallon per person per day, medication needed for several weeks, cash since ATM’s may not work, clothing for several days, toiletries and hygiene items, diapers and such for baby,  crank flashlights, battery powered lights, battery powered radios,  blankets, pillows, first aid materials, important documents in a waterproof container; small hand tools with nails, screws, pliers, rope, tarps, plastic buckets, cell phones with extra charged batteries, regular plug in phone(non electric), camera for documenting damage immediately, games and books to keep everyone engaged and out of harm’s way. Don’t forget your pets, have food and water for them along with carriers, proper ID tags on their collars, and their immunization records.  Make certain your vehicles have full fuel tanks.

Does your home have large windows that are not protected by storm shutters? If so, do they work?   Steel, wood, fiberglass and more can protect your windows from flying debris.  And in high winds anything can fly into your home.  So protect your windows and doors.  So purchase what you need now, practice on the windows then store the shutters away for quick access.  Be safe on the ladders!

Is your home in a flood plain? Do you have flood insurance?  Normal household insurance does not pay for flooding.  Is it possible to have flooding from unexpected areas due to heavy rains?

How much stuff is in the yard or on a porch?  Where are you going to store that stuff during the storm?  Have your trees been trimmed and thinned recently?  Did you know that if two people can pick up something, so can the winds from strong storms!  So look around the yard, porches, patios and the neighbors.  Flying debris does not know that it did not come from your yard!

More to come next post!

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