What’s In Your Water? (Filter Guide)

In 2019, the Environmental Working group, an authority on environmental health matters, released a peer-reviewed study estimating that chemical pollutants in drinking water could result in more than 100,000 cancer cases in the USA alone. Read the report here.

It’s vital to know your water is safe. You can have your drinking water tested with Doctor’s Data labs (click here for more info). Below is all you need to know about the water you drink and how to make sure it’s as clean and healthy as possible.

Do you know what’s in your water?

      • City water usually has high sodium levels
      • Soft water replaces calcium and magnesium with sodium
      • City water is chlorinated to kill bacteria
      • City water is fluorinated to prevent tooth decay, though many cities are stopping this but Edmonton continues to flouridate
      • City water may contain calcium hydroxide or other alkaline substances to change pH of water so it doesn’t corrode pipes
      • Chlorine and other additives used to treat water can react with other organic chemicals to produce toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons, chloramines including chloroform and other trihalomethanes.
      • Water pipes may contribute chemicals or metals – especially copper and lead.

What’s in a typical supply of:

Tap Water

      • Sanitation process may not clean up tap water supply of animal wastes, local fertilizers, and insecticides, and chemical wastes.
      • Tap water can also have lead, radon, nitrates, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, organic solvents, bacteria, viruses, parasites, industrial chemicals, pesticides, asbestos, chlorine, fluoride, and sodium.

Well Water

      • No sanitation process. It’s important to test well water annually.
      • May contain heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, radon, asbestos, hydrocarbons, bacteria.

Spring Water

      • Mineral content varies widely depending on region; water from lakes, streams, and spring water from east coast and pacific north west areas are low in minerals, central North America is high minerals
      • May also be polluted – is important to test

Filtered Water

  1. Activated carbon (eg. Brita)

  • Clears bacteria, parasites, most viruses, Cl2, and heavy metals, particulate matter
  • Cannot use hot water in filter – releases contaminants
  • Not for inorganic minerals i.e. fluoride, rather it is best for removing organic chemicals and chlorine, micro-organisms and metals
  • Carbon is granulated – has direct pockets between carbon particles to trap bacteria and remove from water but bacteria may multiply, silver is used to kill bacteria
  1. Solid Carbon Block (eg. Berkey filter)

  • Traps more chemicals, organic pollutants, radon, asbestos than granulated carbon filters
  • Change regularly to avoid dumping more bacteria and chemicals into drinking water
  • Will filter 400-1,000 gallons until they need be to changed.
  1. Reverse Osmosis

  • Under pressure, water flows through special membranes with microporous holes (size of water) allowing water to pass through and reject larger molecules.
  • Removes 100% of all organic material and almost all minerals – minerals need to be added back in
  • Are energy efficient as they only require pressure from the tap water
  1. Distilled Water

  • Vaporizing water (i.e. steam) in one chamber and then condensing in the 2nd chamber, removes all minerals, organisms and chemicals
  • Should be pure water but there may be organic chemicals that evaporate along with the water
  • Similarly devoid of minerals; may need to be added back.

What do we drink at Natural Terrain?

Of all the options (tap, brita, solid carbon, well, spring, distilled, reverse osmosis), we recommend solid carbon (Berkey) and reverse osmosis.

  • Solid carbon filters (eg Berkey filter) – removes bacteria, chlorine, most chemical pollutants
  • Reverse osmosis removes nitrates and Fl, be aware of possible need to re-mineralize water

The Environmental working group has also released an updated water filter guide that helps you to understand the different types, and even helps you decide which is best for you and your water. Check out this link for the guide.


Photo by Imani on Unsplash

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of your physical, mental and emotional health. How you feel during the day, is largely a result of how you sleep at night.

Sleep plays a role in controlling your hunger hormones: ghrelin which causes appetite and leptin which suppresses appetite. It affects your memory, concentration and focus. People with better sleep have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.

The body has a natural sleep cycle called the circadian rhythm. It is largely controlled by natural sunlight. The darkness stimulates the brain to release melatonin which initiates sleep. Sometimes the circadian rhythm can be disrupted which causes sleep issues.

Sleep is one of the pillars of health and it is very important to make sure that you are sleeping optimally. Sleep issues can occur with falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up at night, light sleeping, not feeling refreshed in the morning or snoring loudly. If you have any of these issues, book an appointment so we can help you on your path to health and wellbeing.

Environmentally Responsible Cleaning Recipes Part 1: Household Cleaners

A big part of our practice is working with Environmental Medicine, which we define as working with one’s environment with the intention of creating the conditions for health for yourself and the planet. We address the quality of the air, food, and water, as well as other products we put in or on our bodies.

Environmental medicine is powerful and important, and big gains in health can be created by small changes. This is the first part of a series of articles written to help you make little environmental changes that can move you towards health, by making your own household cleaners.

General Household Cleaners

Lemon Oil Furniture Polish
1 cup mineral oil
1 tsp. lemon oil

Mix the above ingredients together and store in a pump dispenser of your choice. Spray directly onto furniture and buff surface to shine. Use sparingly to prevent build up.

Olive Oil Furniture Polish

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white vinegar
4 cups (1L) water

Mix ingredients and store in a pump dispenser. Place bottle near heat before use as polish will work better warm (e.g. place bottle in a pan of warm water). Apply to furniture and rub dry with a soft cloth.

Carpet Cleaner

2 cups baking soda
4-5 bay leaves, crumbled
½ cup cornstarch
1 tbsp. ground cloves

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Shake the cleaner onto your carpet. Leave overnight and vacuum thoroughly the next day. Note: this is more or less a carpet freshener (it will pick up dirt and dust and remove stains left by moisture)

Carpet Deodorizer

½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup borax

Mix cornstarch with borax. Sprinkle on carpet and leave for 1 hour. Vacuum.

Silver Polish

Aluminum foil
4 cups (1L) water
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. salt

Put a piece of aluminum foil in an enamel or stainless steel saucepan. Pour in water. Add baking soda and salt and bring to a boil. Add your silverware and the tarnish will disappear from your silverware and coat the foil. Polish the silverware with a dry cloth as you remove it from the pan. Note: This formula works very well on heavily tarnished items. The only problem is that may leave a dull coating on surfaces. We do not recommend you use this method on patina design as it may remove the accents.

Brass and Copper Cleaner

2 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. vinegar

Mix above items into a paste. Rub on copper items and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and shine clean with a soft cloth. Note: This formula works okay with a lot of elbow grease. It was not effective on badly tarnished items. To quick-clean copper or brass, saturate a sponge with vinegar or lemon juice, sprinkle on salt and scrub vigorously. Leaves a nice shine!

Glass Cleaner #1

4 cups (1L) vinegar
4 cups (1L) water

Note: This works fairly well, but not as well as commercial cleaners. For best results, clean windows first using isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) to remove the residue from previously used cleaners.

Glass Cleaner #2

2 tbsp. borax
3 cups water

Mix ingredients together in a bucket. Clean windows using newspaper. Note: This works well, but be careful not to smudge any woodwork with the newspaper.