One can not discuss clean foods without discussing a clean temple or body. In deed those who are concerned about clean food are typically concerned about their health as well. So, one can not overlook the other impacts effecting our temples or bodies.
It goes without saying that water is another resource we consume. The reason we discuss these other areas because the body is capable of and typically does absorb these other resources in one way or another. Its is said that you should not put on your body what you will not put in your body because of this reason: absorption.
It also goes without say that we breathe in the air around us. Again because we take this resource in, it impacts our overall health also.
Lastly, but not least is the importance of keeping out those things that do not contribute to a clean spirit / temple / body. So, we look at all these things here because all the things we take within our body can impact our health
Biological not Scientific Growing / Farming Practices
No Science or GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
No Chemicals (pesticides, etc.)
Read the labels and promote transparency in food production and processing.
Free of chemicals
Natural if you must
Typically plant based
Little to no processing
Read the labels
Use of air purifiers
Promotion and support of Climate Change initiatives that contribute to clean air.
Purchase of purified water
Use of water purifier
Promotion and support of Climate Change initivties that contribute to clean water.
Consult a spiritual leader of your choice
Benefits of whole foods
Whole foods are nutritious
Nutritious foods (not supplements) are the best foundation for optimal health and designed by nature, whole foods give us all the nutrients we need without any additives. By regularly eating a variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein foods, we’re covering all bases. And it’s advised that even these “protein foods” should come predominantly from plants; tofu and tempeh are great meat replacements and absolutely count as whole foods.
Building your diet around whole plant-based foods means you will naturally consume:
Most, if not all, the vitamins and minerals you need for your body to function perfectly; Vitamin B12 is the main one to watch out for.
Dietary Fibre, which helps to keep your digestive system on track
Unsaturated fats; minimal trans and saturated fats; and absolutely no cholesterol
Plenty of protein
Phytonutrients - the chemicals that act as a plant’s immune system. These include antioxidants, which help fight disease in humans too.
Whole foods can fight disease
Replacing processed and animal-based foods with more plants generally means more fibre and less saturated fat. This can have a great impact on your overall health but also means a lowered risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
And back to phytonutrients – while not strictly essential to keep us alive and kicking, they can: reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and even help to prevent certain types of cancer. They are found in loads of different plants, but often in really colourful fruits and veggies (like tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens). So, while carrots may not help you see in the dark, it’s probable they do prevent cataracts.
Whole foods are better for the planet
Plant forward diets are not only great for your health but also have a proven impact on the environment. For us Brits, a well-planned plant-based diet requires about a third of land, freshwater and energy of the typical ‘meat-and-dairy’ based diet.
Eating whole foods takes the “processing” step out of the field to fork supply chain, reducing the distance traveled and the energy used to process and refine.
Source: All Plants
Here's What "Green" Cleaning Product Labels Really Mean
Plus, the seals and certifications to look for when shopping for cleaning supplies.
Green and Eco-Friendly
Cleaning products labeled "green" claim to be safer for your heath, as well as the health of the planet. "Eco-friendly" refers to products that reduce their impact on the environment. However, both are marketing terms that are not strictly regulated.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created "Green Guides," in an attempt to guide environmental marketing claims so products don't mislead shoppers. According to the FTC, many companies are guilty of "greenwashing," or marketing their products as "green" even if only certain aspects of the product's life cycle are green.
So what's an informed shopper to do? Depending upon if you're looking for products that are better for you or the environment (or both!), find a related third party seal or certification, below, that indicates the product adheres to a certain set of standards. Then, keep an eye out for it when shopping.
"Non-toxic" claims that the product or ingredient has not been linked to any adverse health effects, either in the short of long term. However, like the buzzwords above, it is not regulated, so any product can use this terminology.
This label means that the company vows to not test the product on animals. However, there is no government-sanctioned cruelty-free label.
Instead, keep an eye out for the Leaping Bunny logo. Originally created as a third-party certification for cruelty-free beauty products, the well-recognized logo can now also be found on household cleaners. Brands like Cleancult, Dr. Bronner's, Mrs. Meyer's, and Caldrea have earned the Leaping Bunny seal of approval, meaning they comply with a rigorous set of standards. Search its database to find more brands.
The use of the term "organic" can be particularly confusing—while the word "organic" on packaging isn't strictly regulated, the USDA does have its own "Certified Organic" seal. Products with the seal have met certain standards, such as never using GMOs and avoiding synthetic fertilizers.
This USDA seal is most commonly used on food, but it can also be applied to household cleaners. So if you really want to make sure your multi-purpose cleaning spray is organic, check for the USDA seal rather than the word.
While the word "natural" isn't very regulated for cleaning products, there is a USDA seal for "Certified Biobased" products. Are you noticing a theme here?
If you look closely on the USDA seal on the product, it tells you what percent of the product is biobased, according to results from the USDA and American Society for Testing and Materials. For example, taking a look at some products in my cleaning cabinet, I noticed a Mrs. Meyer's dish soap that's 88 percent and an Everspring dish soap that's 97 percent biobased. The idea behind promoting biobased products is that they reduce our reliance on petroleum-based products, in turn lowering our need for fossil fuels.
Credit: Green Seal
Green Seal is a non-profit organization that awards products (and services) that have proven to meet certain standards for sustainability with a certification, known as an "ecolabel." When certifying a product, the organization looks at the entire life cycle of that product, from raw material extraction to disposal.
The set of standards varies for each type of product. For example, the standards for paper products like toilet paper states that the product can't contain chlorine or colorants, must be biodegradable, and more. When you see a product with a "Green Seal" ecolabel, you know it has passed a strict set of standards.
Since many of the terms and buzzwords don't actually have set standards to back them up, ECOLOGO (like Green Seal) is another third-party certification you can look out for. ECOLOGO Certified products have a reduced environmental impact in some or all of the following categories: "materials, energy, manufacturing and operations, health and environment, product performance and use, and product stewardship and innovation." The specific standards vary for floor cleaners, disinfectants, carpet cleaners, and more.
Source: Real Simple
Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, the quality of the air you breathe can have a big impact on your health. Studies have tied poor outdoor air quality to lung cancer, strokes and heart disease.1 In fact, air pollution causes about seven million deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.2
However, the air inside your home can be even more polluted than the air outside, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says. And research shows we spend most of our time indoors,3 which is all the more reason to start cleaning our indoor air.
There is a myriad of reasons your indoor air can be polluted. Some sources, such as furnishings and building materials, can release pollutants more or less continuously, according to the EPA.4 Other sources, like smoking, cleaning or renovating, can release pollutants intermittently. Unvented or malfunctioning appliances can release potentially dangerous levels of pollutants indoors (which is why it’s so important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home).
And if you think spraying scented air freshener will clean your air, think again. That scent is also a form of indoor air pollution, and most air fresheners just release more potentially harmful chemicals into your home.5 The health issues caused by those chemicals cost about $340 billion a year in treatment and lost productivity expenses, according to a study published in The Lancet.6
Read on for some tips on improving your indoor air quality without the use of chemicals.
1. Open Your Windows
It's the simplest (and cheapest!) thing you can do to improve your indoor air quality. Open your windows for even just five minutes a day to alleviate the accumulation of harmful air pollutants in your indoor air.
2. Spruce Up Your Décor With Houseplants
Several types of houseplants filter out common volatile organic compounds from your indoor air.
Having indoor houseplants can help improve indoor air quality, according to a study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science.7 For example, spider plants are effective at reducing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.8 (Here are more houseplant suggestions.)
3. Opt for Essential Oil Diffusers
Some essential oils, like tea tree oil, have antibacterial properties and can be added to homemade household cleaners or even applied topically to your skin to treat a small cut.10 But did you know these oils also can reduce airborne bacteria? Essential oils like eucalyptus, clove and lavender have been proven to help reduce the number of dust mites in your house, too.11
4. Opt for Beeswax Candles
Bear with me on this one, because it’ll get a little scientific. In addition to the oxygen we need for our bodies to function properly, the air we breathe also contains other gases, and some combination of various chemicals and miniscule particles.12 Many of these chemicals and particles are pollutants that pose a health risk after entering the body via the lungs. Some studies even show a link between inhalation of ultrafine particles and the development of diabetes or cancer.13
The good news is that some plants help remove these harmful pollutive elements from the air.14 Ions released by certain plants can bind to potentially harmful particles in the air and neutralize them.15 Some people argue that pure beeswax candles can help neutralize these particles in much the same way as plants, cleaning the indoor air.16 Still, more research is needed to understand whether beeswax candles can truly clean air.
It is important to note that burning any kind of candle still sends soot up into your air. To avoid that completely, consider LED candles, which will pollute the air less and reduce the risk of a fire.
5. Take Your Shoes Off
The dirt outside can carry some really yucky stuff: pesticides, pollen, fungi, bacteria or feces, for example. When you walk inside your house, any or all of that could be on the bottom of your shoes, so it’s best to take them off when you get inside. It’ll help keep your air cleaner — not to mention your floors.
6. Keep Your Pets Groomed
Pet dander — your pets' skin cells — is found nearly everywhere in a home with pets. Even more than pet fur, dander can cause you to develop asthma-like symptoms or exacerbate your asthma if it already exists.17 If you have a pet, be sure to keep dander to a minimum by cleaning them regularly, brushing them outdoors if you can and vacuuming floors and furnishings regularly with a HEPA filter.
7. Run the AC
If you have central air conditioning, you already have a whole-house air filtration system at your disposal. It works by pulling air out of your house, cooling it and pumping it back in. Most systems have a filter that you need to change regularly, and this filter can trap particles while it does its job. The more you change it, the better. Find out what kind of AC system you have and what its manufacturer recommendations are for changing your filters.
8. Clean With Non-toxic Chemicals
Many store-bought household cleaners contain toxic chemicals that can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation.18 If you’re going to use these, at least open windows while you do. But as a greener option, consider making your own household cleaners using ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, citrus juice or essential oils. Here are a few green cleaner recipes to get you started.
9. Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers can be an effective way to reduce harmful particles in the air. If your child has asthma, it may be worthwhile to have one in his room. Find out which one is right for you using the EPA’s guide.
10. Get Rid of Mold
These types of fungus can release spores into the air that can trigger allergy symptoms.19 It likes to grow in dark, damp places, such as your bathroom, laundry room and basement. But you don’t need to bleach it away. Here are five ways to kill mold without chemicals.
11. Air Out New Furniture
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that linger in the air, and they are everywhere in our homes. VOCs such as toluene and benzene are found in things like glues, paints, fabrics, construction materials and more.20 When you buy a new sofa or armchair, know this: It will emit VOCs, more heavily at first and then taper off. To reduce the harm to your indoor air, air out as much as possible to allow VOCs to escape. If you can, keep it in your garage for a week, or at least keep the windows in that room open most of the day for the first few months.
12. Use Cooking Oils With Higher Smoke Points
To avoid a kitchen filled with smoke and a lingering smell of burnt oil wafting through your house for hours, use a cooking oil that smokes at higher temperatures. Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point compared to avocado, peanut, safflower, canola, corn, and sunflower oil. If you prefer the taste of olive oil, you can use light olive oil, which has been refined and has a smoke point between 390 F and 470 F, compared to 350 F to 410 F for extra virgin olive oil, according to the North American Olive Oil Association.21
Source: Tree Hugger
Guide to Safe Tap Water and Water Filters
Drinking tap water should be safe, affordable, and taste good. Follow our guide to check your tap water quality and find the best filtration system for you.
Drinking tap water should be safe, affordable, and taste good. Follow our guide to check your tap water quality and find the best filtration system for you.
The word is out: bottled water can be bad for our wallets, our health and our environment. If you’re among the growing number of people kicking the bottled water habit and making the move to tap water, you may be curious about your local water supply. Consumer standards are actually more stringent for the quality and safety of tap water than for bottled water.
We need to make tap water safe and affordable for everyone. Sign the petition for safe water for all!
The best way to find out about your local water is to read your water quality report, a document that your water utility is required by federal law to provide to you every year telling you if your water has any contamination. This guide will help you understand how to interpret what your report tells you.
Beyond basic safety, many people prefer to filter their tap water to remove minerals and particulates, which may affect the taste. We’ll walk you through the different types of tap water filters and help you pick the best one for your needs.
Is Your Water Safe? Your Water Quality Report
Annual water quality reports, also called consumer confidence reports, are intended to help consumers make informed choices about their drinking water. They let you know what contaminants, if any, are in your drinking water and how these contaminants may affect your health. They list all the regulated toxins that were detected in your water over the preceding calendar year. This guide will help you understand what’s in your water quality report and how to interpret what it tells you.
Who Gets a Water Quality Report?
A water quality report is available for every customer of a community water system, which is one that provides year-round service to more than 15 households or more than 25 people.
When Is a Water Quality Report Issued?
You should receive your report by July 1 of each year.
What Does a Water Quality Report Tell You?
Every water quality report must contain:
The source of the drinking water, be it a river, lake, groundwater aquifer or some other body of water;
A brief summary of the state’s source water assessment, which measures how susceptible the source water is to contamination, and how to get a copy of the complete assessment;
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and health goals for drinking water contaminants;
A list of all detected regulated contaminants and their levels;
Potential health effects of any contaminant detected at a level that violates the EPA’s health standard;
An educational statement for people with weakened immune systems about cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants;
Contact information for the water system and the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline.
Worried about lead? Make sure you get the right water filter.
The crisis in Flint, Michigan has brought attention to the serious problem of lead in drinking water. Fortunately, a water filter that is either NSF/ANSI Standard 53 or NSF/ANSI Standard 58 certified can reduce lead in your drinking water. These certifications are established by NSF International, a public health organization that develops standards and providing certifications with the mission to improve global human health.
These certified filters come in different shapes and sizes. Certification requires that manufacturers state how much water the filter can treat before it must be changed. Some filters even include a device that will let you know when the filter needs to be changed. When changing filter cartridges, it’s important to use a certified cartridge. A non-certified cartridge may not effectively filter lead from the drinking water.
There are a variety of filter options that meet the NSF’s certified standard. Outlined below, these filters include: pour-through pitchers/carafes, faucet mounts, and even plumbed-in filters that are installed under your sink or reverse osmosis drinking water treatment systems.
On the NSF website at www.nsf.org you can search for specific suppliers and product codes to see if they are NSF certified. Their lead specific guide provides a list of all NSF Standard certified brands and models with details for each: www.nsf.org/info/leadfiltrationguide.
Why Is a Water Quality Report Important?
Your water utility is required by law to tell you about any violation of EPA water quality standards when it occurs (through the mail or media outlets such as newspapers and television) and again in the annual water quality report. You should not drink water that fails to meet EPA standards because it may be unsafe. Thankfully, public utilities have worked hard to improve water quality. As a result, more than 90 percent of water systems meet all EPA regulations.
The report must also disclose a list of all regulated contaminants that have been detected in the water supply. The Safe Drinking Water Act sets the maximum level of contaminants allowed in drinking water based on the filtering and treatment capabilities of current technology. The water quality report also tells you about potentially harmful substances found in your water at levels below their legal limit.
How Is a Water Quality Report Distributed?
All very large community water systems, serving more than 100,000 people, must post the report online. All community water systems that serve more than 10,000 people must mail or email either the report or its web address to customers.
Water systems also must make a “good faith effort” to reach renters, workers and other consumers who use the water but do not receive water bills. Utilities should use a combination of different outreach methods to notify users, such as posting the reports online, mailing them and advertising in local newspapers.
Tap Water Filters and Filtration Systems
The United States provides some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, and more than 90 percent of water systems meet all EPA regulations. Some people may prefer to filter their tap water, however, because they prefer the taste, want to remove minerals and particulates or have concerns about lead piping and plumbing. This section highlights the types of available filters to help you to determine which one is best for your needs.
What to Consider When Buying a Water Filter
What impurities do you want to remove from your water? Are you concerned about health risks, or simply unappetizing tastes and odors? Different filters are designed to remove various impurities, so be sure that the filter you buy will do the job.
Once you have read your water quality report, determine what, if anything, you would like to filter out of your water. Depending on the water quality where you live, you may decide that you do not need to filter your water at all.
Water Filtration: What Are Your Options?
Water filters come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on your filtration needs, lifestyle preferences and budget, you may want to consider the following options, whose descriptions were adapted from a May 2010 Consumer Reports article:
Carafe, or “pour-through,” filters are the simplest water filters to use. The filter fits inside a pitcher that you can keep in your refrigerator. Carafes are inexpensive and easy to use. However, the filters have a short lifetime and can only filter a limited amount of water at a time.
A faucet-mounted filter is exactly what it sounds like — a filter that is screwed directly on to your faucet. These filters require minimal installation, but they slow the flow of water and can’t be used on all faucets.
Countertop filters are best for filtering large quantities of water without modifying plumbing. They’re less likely to clog than carafe or faucet-mounted filters, but can clutter countertops and can’t be used with all types of faucets.
Plumbed-in filters are installed directly into an existing water pipe. Often, they are installed under the sink (and are sometimes referred to as “under-sink” filters). They can be plumbed-in to the existing sink faucet, which may require drilling a hole in the countertop, or they can dispense water through a separate tap. These filters are best for filtering large amounts of water without modifying the existing faucet or cluttering the counter. However, they take up cabinet space and require plumbing modifications.
Point-of-entry, or “whole-house,” filters are installed directly in the water main and filter all the water in a house, including water for the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms. These filters have a long lifetime and are an inexpensive way to remove sediment, rust and, in some cases, chlorine from household water. But most won’t remove most other contaminants. They also require professional installation.
Water Filter Technologies
Different water filter products use different technologies. Some use more than one. If you are looking for a home water filter, you are likely to come across some of these terms:
Particulate/mechanical filter: These are simple screens that block large particles. They often function as “prefilters” in a multiple-step water filter.
Adsorption/Activated Carbon: Adsorption refers to a physical process where particles in water are removed because they stick to the surface of the material in the filter. These filters are usually made with carbon, often in granulated or powdered form. They are the most common filters on the market and come in different forms including pitchers and faucet-mounted systems. They are generally effective for reducing the most typical worrisome compounds that can be found in municipal water: chlorine, chlorine byproducts and dissolved volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) such as pesticides and herbicides. Carbon adsorption filters generally work well for reducing bad odors and tastes.
Softeners/Ion Exchange Units: Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to reduce hard metals — including lead — in water. When water passes through an ion exchange unit, hard metal ions are replaced by sodium ions, leaving the water “softer” as a result — but also saltier. This technology is often used in combination with adsorptive or reverse-osmosis filters. Potassium chloride water softeners work in a similar way to sodium chloride softeners, but without increasing levels of salt in the water; this makes potassium chloride softeners a better choice for some uses, such as watering plants.
Ultraviolet (UV) Treatment: This treatment uses UV light to kill germs that may be present in the water. UV treatment is the only treatment certified by the National Sanitation Foundation International to reduce bacteria.
Reverse Osmosis: Reverse osmosis is a process where water is forced through a membrane that filters out molecules physically larger than the water molecules. Although reverse osmosis works well for reducing minerals, it is not effective for chlorine or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are more likely to be concerns in municipal tap water. However, many reverse-osmosis units are combined with pre-filters and carbon filters to address this concern. Reverse-osmosis filters are expensive and very inefficient — they waste from one to three gallons of water for every gallon that they filter.
Distillation: Water distillers heat water so that it turns into steam, which is then collected and returned to its liquid form. Contaminants are left behind when the water evaporates. Thus, distillation is very effective for removing most minerals and bacteria. However, some distillation units do not remove VOCs. Distillation also requires more energy than other methods, to heat the water.
Consider Which Filter Is Best for You
Each product has its own pros and cons. Individual products may use multiple technologies and are often marketed as two (or more) stage filters. Carafe, faucet-mounted and countertop filters typically use a combination of adsorption and ion exchange resins, while plumbed-in systems may use those technologies in addition to reverse osmosis.
Filters also come in a wide range of prices. Most carafes and faucet-mounted filters cost between $20 and $50, while countertop, under-sink and whole-house filters can range from $50 to $900.
When considering the price of a water filter, remember that the total cost includes your initial purchase price as well as any installation, maintenance or replacement fees. Filter parts need to be changed periodically to prevent clogging, so be sure to consider how much replacement parts cost, as well as the manufacturer’s estimated life span for the product.
Also consider the amount of water you use. Some filter types have larger water capacities than others. Carafes, for example, can filter a few cups or gallons at a time, while faucet-mounted or under-sink filters work directly through a tap.
Most importantly, make sure that the individual product reduces the specific contaminants that you want to remove from your water. Generally, products will include claims on their packaging or advertising regarding which contaminants they reduce and the percentage reduction rate. See the table below for more information about common contaminants of concern and which type of filter will reduce the contaminants.
Water Quality Concerns and Filtration Methods*
Contact your local water utility to find out which disinfectant is used in your drinking water. Water filters certified to reduce chlorine do not necessarily work for chloramine.
Chlorine Byproducts (Trihalomethanes)
Trihalomethanes are a type of VOC (volatile organic compound), so products certified to reduce VOCs will reduce this contaminant.
Taste and Odor
Carbon, Distillation, Reverse Osmosis
Distillation, Reverse Osmosis
Not all public drinking water systems add fluoride to the water. Check to see if your community does by reading your annual water quality report.
Some Carbon/Charcoal Filters
Check that the system you select is certified to reduce chloramines. Systems that reduce chlorine do not necessarily reduce chloramines.
Distillation, Reverse OsmosisTwo different forms of arsenic can be found in water, so it is important to know which type of arsenic you want to filter before choosing a water treatment system.
*Information taken from National Sanitation Foundation’s Contaminant Guide. Please note that filters and treatment systems should be certified by a third party agency. Check to ensure that the brand of filter you choose is certified to address your water quality needs.
Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products and Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
Consumers are increasingly concerned about pharmaceutical residues and other hormone disrupting chemicals in drinking water. These chemicals are not regulated, but studies have shown that they are showing up in trace amounts in drinking water. According to the National Sanitation Foundation, there is no testing available at this time to measure the potential ability of home water treatment systems to reduce pharmaceuticals.
Verify the Quality of Your Filter
Make sure that your filter is certified by an independent certifying agency. Not all filters live up to the claims on the package, so make sure that the product you are buying does. The packaging should display certification from an independent certifying agency such as the National Sanitation Foundation International or Water Quality Association.
Check the internet for product reviews, and make sure the reviewer is impartial. The best reviews and ratings come from organizations that do not sell the products, such as Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, a nonprofit organization that provides consumers with unbiased product tests and ratings.
Source: Food & Water Watch