Why We Ditched Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water and What We Got Instead
Several years ago Kent and I bought a whole-house water filter to remove chloramines (chlorine + ammonia) from our water, so these wouldn’t come through our skin when showering, and also because chloramines leach metals like copper and lead from your pipes into your water! While the amounts would likely not be as high as what the people in Flint were exposed to, I didn't want any of that stuff in our water, thank-you-very-much. (Read more about Why the Flint water scare should be our wake up call.)
At the same time we bought a reverse osmosis drinking water filter (the kind that doesn't waste a bunch of water as it filters), having read that this was the purest drinking water you could get. This sounds like a good thing when you consider that our water supply is full of scary stuff these days like pharmaceuticals, lawn fertilizer and crop pesticides, not to mention Fluoride, Chlorine and a whole bunch of other junk I don't want going into our bodies. It's not that far-fetched at ALL to think that a little bit of each of these toxins, building up over time, could definitely have detrimental effects on our health.
However, it wasn't long after we got that system that I realized the big downside: reverse osmosis strips out almost everything from your water, it even takes out most of the minerals!
I've heard it said that reverse osmosis drinking water and distilled water are like the “white flour” of water.
The Weston A. Price Foundation says:
As the remarkable properties of vitamins have revealed themselves to investigators, so too have those of the various minerals in our food and water. The seven macrominerals– calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur–now share the research spotlight with a longer list of essential trace minerals. These are needed only in minute amounts, but their absence results in many disease conditions. The number of trace minerals known to be essential to life now exceeds thirty, and some researchers believe that for optimum health we need to take in every substance found in the earth’s crust. Along with familiar trace minerals, such as iron and iodine, the body also needs others less well known, like cobalt, germanium and boron.”
So, after having spent so much money on this system, we decided to just do our best to get minerals into our diets in other ways:
By adding plenty of sea salt to our food, drinking raw milk, and getting in lots of bone broth. Since pretty much everyone is deficient in Magnesium, I take these Magnesium tabs and also supplement with every-other-day Iodine — I tried remembering to use this Magnesium 20 minutes before showering, but rarely did. Getting the kids to take any supplements is like pulling teeth these days. We also tried to get the kids, and us, to remember to add these Mineral Drops to our water, but none of us actually did it very often, and adding even one drop too many made the water taste bad.
Over time it began to really bother me that our water had no minerals…
- At night when brushing my teeth sometimes I'd have a taste of our water in the bathroom that didn't go through the RO system, and it just seemed more “alive” to me. Sounds weird, but that's the only way I can describe it. I just wanted the taste of real, fresh water from our faucet again, but without all the scary toxins that are in regular tap water!
- The kids don't drink raw milk as much as I'd like them to, and while they'll occasionally drink some kombucha or kefir soda, mostly we all drink water around here. So I'd watch them drink a big glass and think, “Too bad that's not full of all the good stuff.”
- Read more here about How I Stopped Painful Leg Cramps at Night (They came with menopause, yippee) & Why I Love Our New Water Filter!
- This week our youngest had the flu, he ate very very little and would only drink water. It drove me nuts knowing he wasn't really getting much of anything. My friend Jill suggested we have him take a mineral bath to boost his electrolytes, and that really helped him turn the corner and start to feel better (I put in some epsom salts and also some of these mineral flakes and tried to get him to stay in there as long as I could so he could absorb all the good stuff through his skin), but since we're ALL mineral deficient, how often do we take mineral baths? Uh, never or very rarely…
- There are higher-end RO systems that are set up to add the minerals back in without you having to remember the drops, but it still just doesn't seem natural to have to add anything back in. And really, how can adding in specific minerals ever really make up for the many trace minerals and naturally occurring minerals in fresh water anyway?!
So Jill did some research…
My friend, Jill and her husband were moving and needed to find an affordable countertop filter option (the Berkey is expensive and a pain to always refill, plus it's lunky and takes up SO much room), so she found this countertop system that they love, which she wrote more about here: The best water filter on a budget. That got me looking into similar under-sink options, and I was so excited to find a really affordable filter that goes under the sink and it also doesn't have an annoyingly-slow flow rate like some filters do! This one filters out all the same bad guys, but leaves IN the minerals! (I verified this with the company over several emails.)
We also got the refrigerator kit you'll see at that link (to hook the filter up to our fridge water), some extra tubing, and an extra CeraMetix replacement filter to have on-hand — then when the time comes and we need to put in a new one, we'll buy another right then, so we always have one when we need it.
Note that we have not installed this yet, because, well, have you ever read the book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” to your kids? About how one thing leads to another which leads to another? Well now, after having bought the filter, we've decided to fix a bunch of worn out and broken stuff in our kitchen, and that's a whole other post, so SOON it'll be installed, and SOON I'll tell you about our new kitchen! (We're in the picking-out-colors-and-everything-else stage, and this is NOT my gift.)
Update: See our kitchen remodel video here, and yes, the water filter is installed and it tastes great, plus I love knowing all the minerals are still in there. 🙂
This chart shows how the CeraMetix filter is the best:
p.s. If you're on well water, you're not off the hook…
Yes, you don't have to worry about the stuff municipalities add to the water like Fluoride or chloramines, but you have other ground water issues to be aware of like pharmaceutical toxins and things like herbicides/pesticides and/or glyphosate from local farms.
Sadly, no one can assume their water is pure these days.
- Again, here's the water filter we got for an under-counter system. Here's the picture under our sink so you can see how big it is:
- No room under your sink? Here's the above-the-sink model Jill got and loves. (Takes up much less space than the big bulky Berkey-type filters, and you don't have to refill them.)
- Here's a newer post: A Drinking Water Scare Right Here in Our Town
More posts you might like:
- Jill's post: Best Water Filter on a Budget & Why You MUST Filter City Water (Flint Water Scare is Our Wake Up Call!) Also at that post Jill tells about the very worst of the dangerous contaminants in publicly treated water. This is the on-the-counter model they have — they looked into the popular Berkey water filter, but it was out of their budget, plus it's so bulky on your countertop! Don't miss the tips there for extending the life of the filter, and learn why how pitcher filters and water bottles are NOT a safe option…
- How to Eat Carbs Safely and Lower the Glycemic Index of the Foods You Love (Also: Why Dieting Backfires!)
- Wish I'd had some of this around this week: How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup for a Natural Cold and Flu Remedy
- More details on how this filter works:
- The NilusOne Drinking Water Filter utilizes the filtration technology as outlined below to effectively address the chemicals and heavy metals present in water without stripping the water of its essential minerals. Minerals are typically removed with a combination of reverse osmosis and deionization steps or alternatively with the use of distillation. The NilusOne Drinking Water Filter uses none of these processes while providing extremely clean drinking water and keeping the minerals intact.Ceramic Shell with AquaMetix® Block Core:The CeraMetix® is the most advanced ceramic filter available for pressurized systems. Utilizing our CeraSyl™ ceramic shell and combining it with our AquaMetix® Block core provides the highest chemical reductions possible from a single stage filter element. For pressure use only.All of the features of the CeraSyl™ plus the following->99% Chloramine reduction (reduces the combinations of chloramine, monochloramine, and ammonia – 3ppm challenge
>99% Chlorine reduction
>99% Lead reduction
>99% Herbicides and Pesticides reduction
>99% Glyphosate reduction
>98% Pharmaceutical compounds
>98% VOC's reduction (see below)
>98% THM's (Trihalomethanes) reduction
>98% Heavy Metals reduction(see below)
>95% Chromium reduction
>85% Fluoride reduction – All types – Fluorosilicic acid/hydrofluorosilicate, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride
Meets or exceeds NSF/ANSI Standards 42 & 53Independently tested for the aboveThis 2.65″ x 9.75″ Imperial CeraMetix filter cartridge combines class leading ceramic micro porous outer shell with AquaMetix® core block technology. The ceramic shell and AquaMetix® block core combines mechanical filtration and physical adsorption processes to reduce a wide variety of drinking water contaminants of both aesthetic and health concern. AquaMetix® is made from the highest quality coconut shell based activated carbon and other superior adsorbent materials. Utilizing a unique compression molding manufacturing process, the base materials are melded into a solid block having a very uniform pore structure that ensures filtration consistency and high performance. The dense pore structure and vast surface area of the compressed carbon and specialty adsorbents is designed to improve taste and odor as well as to reduce chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds, MTBE, lead, mercury, asbestos, arsenic and fluoride. The cleanable ceramic shell is designed to remove suspended solids, pathogenic bacteria and cysts. The CeraMetix® elements have been tested in accordance with NSF protocols for cyst, turbidity, particulates, lead, chloramines and chlorine reduction (Class 1).Pathogenic Bacteria
>99.9999% – Cholera, Typhoid, Salmonella, E. Coli, Fecal ColiformCysts
100% – Cryptosporidium Parvum, Giardia LambliaSediment
100% – Absolute to 0.5 micronMetals
Reduces Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium (III & VI), Iron, Mercury, MTBE, Nickel & Zinc
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs include: 2,4,5-TP (Silvex); 2,4-D; Alachor; Atrazine; Benzene; Bromodichloromethane; Bromoform; Carbofuran; Carbon Tetrachloride; Chlorobenzene; Chlorodibromomethane; Chloroform; Chloropicrin; dibromochloropropane(DBCP); O Dichlorobenzene; P Dichlorobenzene; 1, 2 Dichloroethane; 1,1 Dichloroethylene; cis-1,2 Dichloroethylene; trans 1,2 Dichloroethylene; Dichloropropane; Dichloropropylene; cis-1,2-dichloropropylene; Dinoseb; EDB; Endrin; Ethylbenzene; bromochloroacetonitrile; dibromoacetonitrile; dichloroacetonitrile; trichloroacetonitrile; 1,1 dichloro-2-propanone; 1,1,1 trichloro-2-propanone; Haloacetonitriles; Haloketones; Heptachlor; Heptachlor Epoxide; Hexachlorobutadiene; Hexachlorocyclopentadiene; Lindane; Methoxychlor; Pentachloropheno; Simazine; Styrene; Tetrachlorethylene; Tetrachloroethane; THMs/TTHMs; Toluene; Tribromoacetic acid; Trichlorobenzene; 1,1,1 Trichloroethane; 1,1,2; Trichloroethane; Trichloroethylene; Xylenes.