Take a Big Sip of Water and Speak Up a Little Louder

Obama‘s secretary entered the oval office and said, “We got another letter from Kenya. They’re having a very serious water shortage.”

“There’s always a shortage there,” he said. “It can’t be that bad.”

“I think it’s urgent this time,” she said. “The stamp is paper clipped to the envelope.” Sickipedia

“It’s not just an issue of quality,” my friend Elley told me. “There’s a lack of it in Kenya. People want water but it’s not always accessible.”

Elley Ho is a voluntourist who loves to travel to help people in rural communities in countries like Peru, China, Nepal and Africa. Not long ago, I interviewed Elley about her work as a photographer and educator. Here’s a story we pulled together about her recent trip to Africa:

How to Make Your Vacation Last a Lifetime

When we were working on this story, she kept mentioning the water issue she saw in Africa. Each time she talked about it, she paused. I could tell it had an affect on her. Elley didn’t go to Africa because of the water issue, but she came back from Africa with the water issue on her conscience. Here’s what she told me about her experience in Kenya:

Every morning, 60 children walk through several miles of maize fields to attend a rural school in Kenya. From 8 am to 1 pm, they’re in school with no snack or water. Paying attention in class can be difficult.

Elley Ho - water - sleepy and thirsty kids in class

This rural school outside Narok, Kenya was one of the sites we visited during the filming of the 2013 Getty Images Creative Grant Project. The school received support from NGOs to build the infrastructure, but they still struggle with not having adequate supplies for the kids.

When we were there, we learned that these kids don’t have access to food or water during school hours. Our gracious driver overheard their stories of struggle and took the initiative to offer each and every child a squirt of water as a treat.

I saw their expressions and their joy. They’d get a squirt of water and they’d be so excited. They were like baby birds holding their mouths open waiting to be fed.

Elley Ho - water - more happy kids getting water

The kids enjoy school. They have to walk 4-6 miles to school every day by themselves. They’re living in all directions. There are no books on the desks. I didn’t see any visual presentations or computers. The kids all look at the teacher as she talks. Some kids have the energy and an intense desire to learn. 

Elley Ho - water - more kids asking for water

It’s flat everywhere. I didn’t see much around, except for bushes and a few trees. It’s a very dry area with no signs of water sources. The river was completely dry. During the dry season it’s just a ravine. But during the wet season, the river floods and some of the kids can even drown. They risk their lives to get to school.

So how do toilets work when there’s no water to flush, you might be wondering?

They dig a gigantic hole. You can’t even see the bottom of the pit. I can’t imagine what would happen if a child fell in.

I often saw flies on people’s faces, on their eyes, nose and lips. The flies are trying to get water too. The kids don’t even notice that the flies are there because they’re so used to it.

Elley Ho - water - maasai girl with flies on her dry face

I was surprised to see that water was such a big need. When people saw me, they saw my water bottle first. I imagined all the water bottles I’ve thrown away in my life and I wished I could have given them to these kids. 

They want bottles because they never buy water. To me it was just garbage, but they don’t have the money to buy them. I gave a boy a water bottle. He was so proud and began showing off with it even though it was empty. He wanted it just because it was cool to him.

When Elley said this, it reminded me of film The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Elley Ho - water - school boy who happily received my plastic bottle

At one point we saw a crowd of people fetching water from a pipe. People were trying to fill containers with the water. I suppose I expected them to be fighting over the water, but they weren’t. Instead, they were orderly and respecting each other. They yielded to each other to let the next person have a turn. They acted like a community instead of competitors. That part seemed foreign to me.


Some Americans worry about becoming sick from the BPA in plastic while Kenyans are just trying to get enough water to get through another day.

A lot of people grow their own crops, such as bananas. Then they barter among each other. The food helps to keep them hydrated.

Elley Ho - water - happy kids getting water

The water isn’t even a necessity for them. It’s a luxury. They have mugs that look like they come from home because they’re all different. I imagine that they get some water during mealtime at home, but they might not have it every day.

When they saw me, they didn’t look at my face. They looked at my water first. Kids came up to me with their cups and mugs because they wanted my water. 

Elley Ho - water - all kids want is my water

If you grow up in a place where water is out of reach, I guess you don’t feel the thirst. Maybe their system just shuts down a bit. They talk softer. The body seems to adjust.

Once when I was interviewing a little girl and I could hardly hear her. I kept asking her to speak up. 

“Let me give her some water,” a boy said, “so she can talk a little louder.” He gave her a sip of water from a rum bottle. The boy probably didn’t understand the label and had no idea that the bottle was made for alcohol.

Once she had some water, she was able to speak up just a little louder.

If you live in a home with running water, it’s hard to imagine the fact that 3.4 million people die each year from a water related disease. If your kids or grandkids play at water parks and in swimming pools in the summer, it’s hard to believe that 1 out of every 5 deaths of children under 5 is due to a water-related disease.

Drink Distilled Water Daily to Detox and Defend Your Body

Before leaving her hotel room in Kenya, Elley looked back to double-check that she had everything. All she could see were the empty water bottles she was leaving behind. I probably should have taken them to the children. But just like America, they’re going to end up in a garbage dump, she thought.

water bottle cartoon

Although you may not have personal experience with the world water crisis yet, we’re all at risk with this mounting issue. According to the World Water Council, “the crisis is not about having too little water to satisfy our needs. It is a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people – and the environment – suffer badly.”

So now what?

Take a big sip of water and speak up a little louder for the conservation, protection and management of our water sources.

Asante Africa logo

Popular restaurant rating apps are missing some stars

Why did the man go up to the roof of the restaurant after complaining about a long wait for his food? Because they told him his meal was on the house. Jokes4Us

We all have our own standards and expectations on food when it comes to eating out. When you read a reviews on restaurant apps, you get a feel for how difficult it must be for restaurant owners to please everyone.

If you regularly use restaurant ratings, you’re probably familiar with some of the popular ones:

  • HappyCow is great when you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian meal
  • OpenTable is useful if you want to make reservations online
  • TripAdvisor is helpful if you want to know how travelers rate a restaurant
  • Yelp is a quick way to find a decent restaurant nearby that’s open now
  • Urbanspoon is nice if you like to read critic and blogger reviews
  • Zagat is a the app to use when decor and service matter as much as the food

Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses. But they’re all weak in comparison to Dine Green when it comes to searching for a sustainable restaurant. I’m always looking for the healthiest restaurant around.
farmacy cartoon

Hippocrates said “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” If you adhere to this philosophy, then you understand that every visit to a restaurant is just as important, if not more so, than a visit to a doctor or pharmacy.

If you knew your life depended on it, wouldn’t you say it’s worth walking the extra mile to have a healthy meal experience?

Next time you want to eat out, check Dine Green to find a restaurant making an effort to bring you a better all-around food experience while reducing its impact on the environment. The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) has developed the Dine Green certification standards and ratings which are grouped into seven major categories:

1. Sustainable Food

If you want to know if a restaurant is serving sustainable food, the best way to find out is to ask. But here are a few signs that may indicate the food is more sustainable than the average restaurant:

  • the majority of their foods come from local sources
  • their menu changes daily or from week to week since they’re serving fresh in-season foods
  • they offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices
  • meat portions are relatively small (by American standards)
  • they offer organic foods which tend to have less impact on the environment and better nutritional value

It doesn’t take a big staff or training team to explain these concepts to employees. Restaurants can express these values through their name, signage, website as well as their employees. But if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask. If they don’t know whether or not their foods are organic or locally sourced, you might as well assume they aren’t.

2. Water Efficiency

When it comes to eating and drinking, water is the #1 most important resource. Our bodies and all of our food sources depend on it. Like other businesses, restaurants can do their part in minimizing water waste by:

  • utilizing the right technologies in their restrooms
  • conserving water used for dishwashing

Current GRA standards cover these standards. But the final, and most important factor to consider is the quality of the water a restaurant uses not only for cooking, but also the quality of water they bring to your table if you ask for a glass of water. The GRA standard doesn’t include this yet, but it should. I carry a TDS water tester in my purse and it’s surprising how much water quality can vary from one restaurant to another even when they’re next door to each other. If a restaurant has low standards on its water, I avoid going back.

A $15 Water Tester is Worth More Than a $150 Water Filter

3. Waste Reduction and Recycling

The US is one of the most wasteful societies in history. About 40% of the food in the US ends up in landfills. InfoWarsRestaurants can play an important role in reducing food waste by taking actions such as:

  • offering smaller portion sizes for lower prices
  • composting food waste
  • donating to local food banks

4. Disposables

Disposable products make up a huge amount of waste in landfills. Restaurants can help to minimize their impact in several ways:

  • minimizing or eliminating the use of disposable paper products such as paper towels, coffee filters, paper cups and napkins
  • serving food on 100% reusable tableware including utensils, plates, bowls and cups
  • making drinks on site instead of serving individual bottles
  • providing incentives for customers to bring in their own to go cups, containers and bags
  • eliminating the use of Styrofoam
  • eliminating the use of plastic containers and bags
  • setting up condiments to be added in house (instead of individual packets)
  • cooking mainly with whole foods delivered in returnable packages or crates

As a customer you can also do your part by choosing restaurants that minimize the use of disposables. And as often as possible eat at the restaurant instead of taking the food to go.

5. Energy

How a restaurant manages their energy can be a difficult thing for a customer to notice or control. But as a customer you can look for the following things:

  • restaurant is mainly lit with natural lighting (at least in the daytime)
  • they offer outdoor or open-air dining seasonally as weather permits
  • they avoid using heating or air conditioning whenever possible, instead utilizing shades, awnings, windows and cross-ventilation to help regulate comfortable temperatures

restaurant electricity cartoon

6. Chemical and Pollution Reduction

Have you ever thought about the fact that you could choose a highly restaurant on one of the popular restaurant rating apps and be in one of the most toxic restaurants in town? A highly rated $$$$ upscale restaurant that appears to be clean may expose you to more toxins than a $ inexpensive burrito shop on the same street. Environmental and food toxins don’t necessarily make you sick right away, but through repeated exposure, they can lead to chronic or even fatal fatal diseases over time. Most of the most popular apps don’t take into consideration the following:

  • chemicals used to wash the dishes
  • chemicals used for pest control
  • bleaches used in deli papers, coffee filters and tea bags
  • bleaches, air fresheners and other chemical products used for cleaning
  • bleaches and chemicals used to clean table linens and napkins
  • indoor plants to help improve air quality
  • fresh air (no smoking inside or out)

Restaurants can also help to cut back on pollution by offering bike racks and choosing a location near public transportation (to help reduce transportation emissions).

7. Sustainable Furnishing and Building Materials

A large percentage of Americans don’t even question the food they’re putting into their bodies, so why would they care what materials were used in the restaurant or its furnishings? Unless you work in the construction or interior design industry, you may not even notice what materials are used on the countertops, floors and tables. But here are just a few reasons why sustainable furnishings and building materials matter:

  • they’re much less likely to give off noxious emissions that are harmful to humans
  • they’re less wasteful and have lower impact on the environment

Dine Green has what your body craves. Although Dine Green doesn’t yet have as many restaurant listings as some of the more popular restaurant rating sites and they don’t even have an app, they’re beginning to fill a big gap in the restaurant rating app market. As more customers become aware of how hidden restaurant standards can affect their health, more people will gravitate toward apps that guide them to restaurants with more transparency, more sustainable business practices and more commitment to the health of their communities.

Some stars are missing in all these apps. We can all benefit from restaurant apps, but because of the way they’re designed, some of the best restaurants may not be getting all the stars they deserve. Take Chez Panisse, for example. Shouldn’t they earn one or two stars for their Edible Schoolyard Project? How many stars do Whole Foods Market cafes deserve for their quality standards and environmental stewardship? How many stars does Chipotle earn for their food with integrity? And how many stars would you give Workshop Cafe for their great work atmosphere?

Like Working In Starbucks? Workshop Cafe is 10x Better

In addition to the Dine Green features listed above, here are a few more things I like in a restaurant:

  • food prep and cooking area is visible to customers
  • music sends out good vibes helping people to feel positive energy while they eat (and the volume is low enough that you can carry on a conversation without shouting)
  • restrooms have outstanding ventilation
  • pets are welcome

My friend, Steven Wright, prefers restaurants that serve “breakfast any time.” Last week we went out to dinner and he ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. FoodFunnies

Green Restaurant certified logo

5 Essential Appliances For Easy Healthy Meals

Why did the blonde put her iPhone in her blender?
Because she wanted to make apple juice. Wattpad

Lots of people want to eat healthier, but aren’t sure how. If you want to make more healthy meals at home, I recommend investing in these essential appliances. When you learn to use these tools effectively, you can easily make healthy meals at home every day.

1. Water Filtration System

The taste and nutritional value of the juices, teas, soups, pasta and other dishes you make all depend on the quality of the water you use.

Any water filtration system is better than none, but some systems are better than others. Distilled water is the purest. It’s H2O. In addition to hydrating your body, another main function of water is to help detoxify your body.

Tap water, bottled water and well water typically add noxious substances to your body. Because they’re already contaminated, they aren’t as effective as distilled water in helping to rid your body of toxins. Doesn’t it make sense to use pure H2O to ensure you aren’t adding more toxins to your body through the water you consume?

Drink Distilled Water Daily to Detox and Defend Your Body

You may have heard a myth that you shouldn’t use distilled water because it’s acidic or it pulls minerals from your body, but consider the source. “Often it is heard that the body needs the minerals found in water. Not so. Our food supply is the proper source of minerals.” J. Edward Smith

2. High-Power Juicer/Blender

rainbow fruit smoothiesBegin your day with a juice drink. This is a great way to help flush your body and cleanse away anything left from the prior day or two. The first thing I drink every morning is a smoothie made with fresh fruits. I often have a blend of citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, mandarins, lime or lemon. You can drink it at home or take it to go, but it’s best if you drink it as soon as possible.

Over the years I’ve tried several different juicers, all of which had high ratings at the time. Many of them are cumbersome and difficult to clean. I’ve also purchased countless blenders in all the top brands, many of which were used to make smoothies numerous times a week by several family members. Very few blenders survived more than a year. They simply aren’t built to last. Despite the disappointment with most juicers and blenders I’ve owned, I never lost hope that eventually I’d find ones that were easier and more dependable.

One day several years ago I saw a guy demonstrating a Blendtec in a Costco. I had no intention of making such a large purchase that day, but the demo and the samples were so compelling that I decided to cave in to this impulse buy. He had what I wanted. The Blendtec has turned out to be the best juicer/blender I’ve ever owned. It works pretty much like a blender, but it’s much more powerful and much easier to clean.

With the Blendtec, you can make countless combinations of juices, smoothies, soups and sauces using whole fruits and vegetables. Unlike a juicer, it doesn’t extract the pulp, so you end up with less food waste.

I love drinking fresh juice not only for the health benefits, but because of how much I enjoy the tastes and because of how good I feel after drinking them.

3. Refrigerator/Freezer

Choose a refrigerator with lots of clear drawers. Most homes and apartments in the US come equipped with a refrigerator, so most people don’t shop for them very often. But if and when you do have the chance to shop for a refrigerator, look for one that has lots of clear drawers that can easily be pulled out and placed on your countertop. This makes it easy to store produce. Many whole fruits and vegetables can be stored without any additional packing, except for what nature gave them, so if you have lots of drawers to organize them, you can keep a fruit drawer full of oranges and apples, for example. You can use the largest drawers to store larger vegetables or fruits such as cauliflower, cabbage or watermelon. My husband and I eat lots of produce every day. I store a lot of it (without any packaging) in drawers .

Become familiar with the shelf-life of various fruits and vegetables. Even if you regularly eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, it can be helpful to check to how long they typically last. StillTasty.com is a great resource to check when you want to see how long something will last. I just did a quick search for carrots, and came up with a dozen different ways to consider processing and storing them, including juicing, freezing, canning and more. It’s a great resource. I often get great ideas just by checking this tool. It’s especially helpful if you have a surplus of one type of food. I’m always open to trying new apps. I recently discovered EatByDate.com. It has a nice clean interface and might be a good tool for people learning to eat healthier, but it’s not very helpful for more experienced cooks.

If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator for lots of fruits and vegetables, clear out the sodas, beers, condiments, packaged foods or whatever else is using up your refrigerator space. Chances are, you’ll be better off without them.

4. Cooktop

Is your kitchens well stocked with lots of pots and pans, including many you rarely use? If you live in a standard American home or apartment, you probably have a cooktop with four burners, but you rarely use more than two at a time. You probably have a big oven designed to hold a huge turkey and all its fixings. But you only cook like this a few times a year, if that. Even if you like to bake, you could get by with an oven half the size.

chinese food cartoon Funday MorningSimpler is better. In order to compete with other brands, companies add new designs, materials and features to cooktops and cooktop/oven combinations. Whenever you have choice, go for simple.

You only need one or two burners to make a quick healthy meal. This is one of the many lessons I learned in China: two burners are better than four. How many times do any of us use three or four burners at once? Not often, right?  Yet most cooktops sold in the US have four burners. Four burners take longer to clean than two. Our kitchen in China had a cooktop with two large gas burners (not four) that put out big flames. Directly under the two burners were two large drawers, one to hold the wok and a ceramic soup pot and another to hold a rice maker. The few cooking utensils hung on the hung on the wall near cooktop. This simple design made it so easy to cook and clean up. The kitchen in our upscale Chinese apartment did not have an oven. Yet we were able to have healthy meals every day without one.

You can make a quick healthy meal in one pot. One of the biggest lessons I learned from Zhu, our cook in China, is that you can cook just about anything in a wok. Before I moved to China I didn’t know anything about preparing Chinese foods. I had owned a wok for years and used it from time to time, but I had no idea of how powerful one kitchen tool could be. Zhu would clean, chop and prep all the ingredients first and then move on to the cooking.

Most foods, when prepped appropriately, can be stir fried in minutes. Once you learn the technique, you can quickly and easily prepare foods in a hot wok.

Although some ingredients may take a few more minutes, you can see how easy it is to prepare tasty dishes. If you want to make several different ones, you can make them simultaneously in the same wok or skillet. That way you only have one pot to clean up when you’re finished cooking. If you plan to use it for your next meal, store it on your cooktop to save time.

Stir-fry cooks come from all woks of life. PunOfTheDay

5. Food processor

What’s your idea of a quick and easy meal? A food processor is to a healthy eater what a microwave is to a Standard American Diet (SAD) eater. Depending on what you’re making, food processors can cut your food prep time in half.

Get a BPA-free food processor with high ratings and good reviews. I’ve owned a number of different food processors over the years. They all have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. I recently purchased a Cuisinart 9-cup food processor not only because it’s BPA-free and has great reviews, but also because it fits between my countertop and cabinets. I also like the sleek design and the fact that it came in a brushed stainless. It only takes a quick wipe to make it look clean, which isn’t always the case with other finishes and colors.

Make a big pot of soup every week. When you have distilled water, a refrigerator full of fresh ingredients and a food processor or Blendtec, you can make a big pot of soup on your cooktop that you can enjoy for several meals in the upcoming week or or month (if you freeze some).

4 Super Smart SOUP Recipes You Can Savor Year Round

Donate your toaster, can opener and other unnecessary gadgets to make room for your Blendtec and food processor. If you keep them on your countertop in the location where you’ll use them most, it makes it much easier to get to them and you’ll use them much more often.

One final word of caution. Never leave a pot of alphabet soup on the stove when you go out or it could spell disaster. PunOfTheDay

Food Trust logo

4 Super Smart SOUP Recipes You Can Savor Year Round

Do you want to prepare more meals at home, but feel like you don’t have enough time or skill or whatever? If so, it might be time to soup up your kitchen. It’s is one of the simplest ways to make a meal with minimal effort. The next time you need to pull together a quick and healthy dinner, make soup.

SOUP is a Simple Organic Universal Pleasure.

Here are four of my favorite SOUP recipes: Simple SOUP, Organic SOUP, Universal SOUP and Pleasure SOUP.

Simple SOUP

Soup is relatively easy to make. Everything goes into one pot, or sometimes two if you make noodles on the side. As long as you have a number of ingredients on hand, you can almost always pull together a tasty soup. With just a few vegetables, beans, spices or herbs, you have the makings for a good meal. If you add barley or another whole grain, you can make a well-balanced complete meal in one pot. If you like rich soup, add extra carats.

pee and ham soup

You can make soup one day and have the leftovers the next day or two, or freeze portions of it in separate containers and eat it sometime in the near future.

Soup clean-up is relatively easy compared to other cooking methods. After a meal you only have one pot and a few bowls and spoons to wash. If you have leftovers, you can put the lid on the soup pot and store it in your refrigerator for the next day.

Sometimes singles avoid cooking because they don’t want to bother to cook for one. Anytime you need to cook a meal for one person, soup is a great option. It’s worth taking the time to make a good pot of Single SOUP that can last for numerous meals.

Organic SOUP

One of the biggest benefits of cooking at home is that you have a much better idea what you’re eating. When you eat out, the menu may list the majority of ingredients, but restaurants need to control their costs, so the majority of them use conventional foods which are likely to contain traces of pesticides or herbicides which can be toxic over time. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know that other quality and cleanliness issues can sometimes be an issue as well.

hair in soup cartoon (large)When you make soup using organic ingredients, the soup can be as delicious as it is nutritious. Soup made with medicinal ingredients such as ginger, garlic, turmeric or miso can be surprisingly tasty and healthful. As with any food you eat, carefully consider the source and avoid ingredients that come in packages. Another advantage of making your own soup is that you can customize it to suit your own taste and nutritional needs.

One great thing about soup is that you don’t need to plan recipes in advance. You can buy first and plan later. The best way to shop is to buy what’s fresh, local and in season. If you want to try some new recipes with what you have on hand, type the main ingredients into any search engine, such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing.  This is a great way to discover new recipes and websites.

If you’re in a hurry and want to filter out everything except recipes, use Yummly. You can type in any combination of ingredients such as “vegan soup garlic sweet potato,” for example. This is an easy way to explore tastes from other cultures or to add new spice to some of your tried and true recipes.

If you’re making soups for a special someone who doesn’t yet appreciate the value of organic foods, tell him or her that it’s Orgasm SOUP. Almost everyone appreciates the value of a good meal or orgasm. When Harry Met Sally

Universal SOUP 

In most cultures, people eat soup. It’s a universal dish with many benefits. When you’re making soup, you can add extra ingredients from the refrigerator that need to be eaten. It helps to cut back on wasted food. People rarely ask about every ingredient in the soup as long as it tastes good.

When you make soup, many people will eat things they normally wouldn’t if they were prepared alone or in large recognizable pieces. Soup flavors all blend together, fading away the distinct tastes of individual ingredients. This is a great way to get family members to add more variety to their diet so that they get all the nutrients they need to maintain good health.

Soup is a great appetizer. In many parts of Asia, it’s common to begin a meal with a small cup of soup. Soup helps you feel partially satisfied before eating more. If you want to lose weight, begin your meals by savoring a small bowl of soup. It can help to curb your appetite.

Soup can be the main dish. Throughout Asia, you can find noodle and hot pot restaurants that feature soup as the main course for lunch or dinner.

alphabet soup cartoon GlasbergenMany of the world’s centenarians eat soup year-round. Hong Kong has the highest percentage of centenarians in the world. Many of them eat Cantonese slow-cooked soups, such as fish skin noodle soup, or wonton soup. These soups don’t include butter, cream, oil, or fatty meats. They enjoy the mild pleasant flavors of the fresh ingredients.

You can put just about anything in soup. Hong Kong and Chinese people are known for eating bird’s nest soup made from swallow’s nests. Hong Kong people are the biggest consumers of this healthful delicacy, which can cost anywhere between $30 to $100 USD. The nests are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. When dissolved in water, it has a gelatinous effect. Bird’s nest is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the immune system, aid in digestion, improve focus, reduce symptoms of asthma, and more.

Chinese centenarians are likely to be familiar with long-simmering herbal soups. Herbs are carefully chosen to regulate various body functions. In China, there are many books on this subject.

The Japanese are notorious for living longer than people in most other countries. Miso soup has been a staple food in Japan for centuries. In traditional Japanese restaurants, you can order miso soup with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Miso is a combination of soybeans and yeast, which is aged for months, and sometimes even years. The resulting fermented paste can be used not only for soup but for many other dishes as well. Miso helps to alkalize the body and boost your immune system. Miso contains antioxidants and other anti-aging properties that can help to preserve the beauty of your skin.

Soup is an inexpensive way to stretch your food dollars at different times in your life when you need to. Back in my college days when money was tight, I’d often make University Soup. Making soup from inexpensive foods like potatoes, garlic and onion can help to keep your food costs down. Believe it or not, many people are living off America’s waste. Dive! 

chicken doctor people soup prescription

By the way, The Onion is a great ingredient to keep around.

Pleasure SOUP

Soup is a great food year round. It can warm you up when you’re cold, be your main food when you’re dieting, or help you gain strength when you’re not feeling well. Just the smell of simmering soup can help you feel better. Cold soups are great in the summertime.

Soup is a warm comfort food for people of all ages. Even babies and old people without teeth can eat many different types of soups. Whenever necessary, you can add certain ingredients to your soup to achieve certain physical results. If you add extra beans or broccoli to your soup, the fiber can help relieve constipation, for example. Although it may not be your favorite, Plunger Soup brings out pleasure in the end.

When you include a variety of herbs, vegetables and other wholesome ingredients into the pot, soup turns out to be one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Soup’s Most Important Ingredient: Water

When you’re making soup, the quality of the water you use is just as important as all the other ingredients. Pure H2O is ideal.

Drink Distilled Water Daily to Detox and Defend Your Body 

When you make soup, be sure to use a safe pot made of stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron. Never use anything that contains a teflon coating or aluminum. Mother Jones

Avoid eating canned or packaged soups. Most are loaded with salt, preservatives, and other chemicals that have little to no nutritional value and may even harm your health if you eat them too often.

SOUP is a simple, organic, universal, pleasurable way to show you care.

Organic Soup Kitchen logo


Drink Distilled Water Daily to Detox and Defend your Body

Have you ever tried to drink more water to help minimize brain fog, headaches, or other some other nagging condition? At the advice of your doctor or an article you read, perhaps you tried to increase your water intake only to find that it didn’t taste good or feel right. It’s probably because you drank tap or bottled water.

Your body has a natural craving and thirst for pure water . . . every day.

In municipal water supplies (tap water), bottled water and even well water, you may find:

. . . and a multitude of other unregulated chemicals and toxins depending on the source of the water. Tap Water cartoon by Creative Loafing, shows need for distilled water

“Hard water then is your greatest enemy. It will destroy fond hope you have by striking you down when you should be enjoying the fruits of your labors. Crippled joints, repeated surgeries, enlarged hearts, hardened arteries, gall stones, kidney stones, hearing problems, forgetful minds, all draw your activities from the great out-of-doors into creaking rocking chairs and finally into bed-ridden old people’s homes.”  The Choice is Clear by Dr. Allen E. Banik

Drugs in Drinking Water shows need for distilled water

Mike Keefe InToon.com

Any water filtration system is better than none, but some systems are better than others. Distilled water is the purest. It’s H2O. In addition to hydrating your body, another main function of water is to help detoxify your body.

” Often it is heard that the body needs the minerals found in water. Not so. Our food supply is the proper source of minerals.” J. Edward Smith

You may have heard a myth that you shouldn’t drink distilled water because it’s acidic or it pulls minerals from your body, but consider the source.

“As far as acidity goes, distilled water is close to a neutral pH and has no effect on the body’s acid/base balance. Distilled water is safe to drink, and the kind of water I use myself.” Dr. Andrew Weil

Although I do drink plain distilled water sometimes, I mainly use it for soups, tea, and smoothies I make with organic fruits and vegetables.

Tap water, bottled water and well water typically add noxious substances to your body. Because they’re already contaminated, they aren’t as effective as distilled water in helping to rid your body of toxins.

“I mixed this myself. Two parts H. One part O. I don’t trust anybody.” Steven Wright

Dear Diary, This is the day I decided to drink distilled water. 

Why not use pure H2O to ensure you aren’t adding more toxins to your body through the water you drink? My husband and I currently use the Megahome Countertop Water Distiller. It works well for 2-4 people because it can make a gallon of distilled water in about five hours. I usually make 2-3 gallons each day for the two of us. It’s on my kitchen countertop next to the sink. It’s the first thing I reach for every morning when I make fresh juice and coffee.

CLICK NOW TO BUY a distiller for your home today.

Have you ever tried drinking distilled water to cleanse the inside of your body?

Try this simple experiment.

Take a few minutes to jot down any physical issues you’re having. Then start drinking and cooking with distilled water every day. Note the benefits you experience within 30, 60 and 90 days. You’ll need about one gallon per person each day. Ever since I started drinking distilled water and using it for tea and cooking, I’ve noticed that I feel better and have much more energy throughout the day.

Now that I feel the difference, I won’t to go back to tap. When I go out, I take with me a glass water bottle filled with distilled water, or I take tea that I made with distilled water. I also carry a small TDS-EZ Water Quality Tester with me everywhere I go to check water before I decide whether or not I’m going to drink it.

If you believe in showering the outside of your body on a regular basis, you can certainly understand why it’s even more important to shower the inside of your body with pure H20 every day.

A $15 water tester is worth more than a $150 water filter. 

If you have access to a sunny spot, you might want to get a solar powered distiller such as the Eliodomestico. This beautiful distiller would make a great addition to any garden, patio or balcony.

Eliodomestico solar water distiller

Gabriele Diamanti, award-winning Eliodomestico designer, developed this open-source distiller project.

Or if you’re handy, you might want to do some research on how to make your own DIY Solar Still.

This blog post is not intended to be a forum to debate what type of water people should be drinking. There are plenty of other places you can do that. I’m simply sharing why I choose to drink distilled water in the hopes that it might help others who want to cleanse and heal their bodies.

H2O is water and H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. What is H2O4? Drinking. Ha ha. ASU


Dear Diary, this is day I decided to drink distilled water

Margie opened her door and welcomed me with a big smile as if I were a friend she hadn’t seen for a while. Her sunny one-bedroom apartment was tidy. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview this lively 91-year-old.

People in Loma Linda, CA, live 4-7 years longer, on average, than other Americans. This is why I wanted to visit this quiet haven outside Los Angeles, to meet with Margie and other 90+ year olds. Loma Linda is America’s longevity hot spot. I came here to ask the same question as many other researchers.

What is your secret to longevity?

water bottle - DropInTheBucket.orgMargie spoke openly right from the start. “I’m wearing a wig, but these are my own,” she told me as she smiled and pointed to her teeth.

As I asked about her diet and health habits, she recalled different people and life experiences.

“I have the same birthday as Hitler,” she said, “April 20, and I went to his bunker.” She told stories about living in Germany for six years with her husband who was a marine and passed away 15 years ago. Then she talked about homeschooling her two sons.

She told me about her 95-year-old brother (a farmer) and four sisters, ages 93 (a teacher), 89 (a nurse and dietician), 83 (a teacher) and 76 (a nurse educator) all still living and all vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists. She had one other sister who passed away at the age of 40.

She talked seamlessly about the past, present and future. “I’d like to get rid of my computer,” she said. When I asked about the wood elephants lined up in her windowsill, she had a story for each one. She got one in Germany, one in Africa, and another one at the local Goodwill.

Although I had to repeat myself a sometimes because of her hearing, she spoke with the energy and enthusiasm of someone decades younger.

“I’d like to move to New Zealand,” she said at one point. “The fruit they serve here at the Villa doesn’t have any flavor and I can’t afford to buy fresh organic fruit,” she said. “I just read a book about . . . ” and on and on she continued.

Here’s a summary of the health tips I extracted from her stories. These are some of the things she doesn’t do which she believes may have contributed to her longevity:

  • she never eats meat
  • she doesn’t drink milk (she says it causes colds)
  • she never drinks alcohol
  • she doesn’t smoke
  • she doesn’t drink caffeine (she believes that black tea is especially bad because it’s hard on the heart)
  • she avoids sugar most of the time
  • she doesn’t use fluoride toothpaste (she mentioned that baking soda and salt are safer)

When’s the last time you did a check up on your dentist? 

Here are some of her habits she believes may have contributed to her longevity:

  • she has been a vegetarian her whole life
  • she worked hard on the family potato farm for many years and she has always included a wide variety of potatoes in her diet
  • she used to be a primary school teacher, but she still loves learning, being around people and telling stories
  • she drinks homemade smoothies made with fresh or frozen fruit such as berries, banana or apple
  • she loves grapefruit juice
  • she eats soy products
  • she keeps busy and has something to do every day
  • she takes enzymes regularly (because her sister who’s a dietician advised her to do so)
  • she has access to great doctors in Loma Linda (but some of her prior doctors are dead now)
  • she is spiritually active (as a Seventh Day Adventist)
  • she has a community of friends she meets with every day (having common meals and social time with others who live in the same retirement villa)
  • she does her best to sleep well every night
  • she has been drinking distilled water for about 44 years

None of these things surprised me because many of her lifestyle habits are consistent with others who live into their 80s, 90s and beyond. But her distilled water story did stand out.

Margie Francisco 91 years old 20130728_113511

Dr Lorraine with Margie in Loma Linda on July 28, 2013

About 44 years ago, she came down with a debilitating strep/staph infection from well water in Idaho and was in and out of the hospital 32 times to treat cellulitis. This is when she decided to switch to distilled water to avoid going through anything like this again. She made a decision and stuck to it because she didn’t trust the water.

When it came time for me to leave, Margie slowly ascended from her chair and said with a smile, “this old grey mare ain’t what she used to be.” She didn’t want me to leave without seeing more of her recent artwork. She waved me into her bedroom and pulled a painting off the wall.

“You need to see it up close,” she said. “I used acrylics to paint these flowers.” Although I was impressed with the quality and detail of the painting, I was even more fascinated by her dexterity and strength as she leaned over her bed to pull a framed painting off the wall. Most Americans don’t make it to this age and of those who do, not many would be able to do this seemingly simple stretch-balance-strength task. I love being around lifelong learners with a positive attitude. I could have talked with her for days.

The day I met Margie, July 28, 2013, is the day I decided to drink distilled water. I made the switch immediately, beginning with bottled distilled water.

Over the next few weeks I did some research and learned that drinking distilled water is a great way to cleanse your body. Dr. Weil is one of my virtual doctors. When I’m looking for health advice, I often check to see what he has to say about a subject. Dr Weil drinks distilled water and uses it for cooking as well.

Got a virtual doctor yet? If not, now’s the time. 

So are you ready to chug some H2O? Water is as important to your health as sleep, but remember stop drinking liquids about an hour before you go to bed so you can sleep all night without having to get up to pee. BitofFun

After doing some research on distillers, I ended up choosing the Megahome Water Distiller. It didn’t take me long to conclude that this is the most important appliance in my kitchen.

Drink distilled water daily to detox and defend your body.


Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine logo

A $15 water tester is worth more than a $150 water filter

Do you feel like you should be drinking more water, but just can’t seem to? If so, there might be something in the water that’s turning you off.

Good water is that clear liquid that looks transparent and doesn’t make you sick immediately, right?


href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002PBRC26/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002PBRC26&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwdrlorrainn-20">Blue Gold: World Water Wars

In every corner of the globe, we’re polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water as population and technology grows. Click here to buy Blue Gold.

It might be water, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Don’t judge it by the way it looks. It may contain clear odorless poisons such as chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, mercury, prescription drugs, and many other toxins that can eventually cause a slew of side effects and lead to disease. Because small traces of such poisons can accumulate over time, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause.

It’s no wonder some people say they don’t like water. When you don’t like the taste, trust your gut feeling and don’t drink it. Or better yet, use your water tester to check the purity. The purer the water, the better it tastes. And you’re less likely to ingest invisible particles that may harm you.

A good water filter is the most essential appliance in your kitchen, but a water tester is the most important gadget in your purse or laptop bag. For just a few dollars, you can make a big investment in your health. If you have to choose between the two, start with a tester.

I first learned about testing water when I lived in Shenzhen, China. One of my expat friends urged me to test the water before drinking it. Since it was such a small investment, I decided to get one.

I quickly got into the habit of checking water everywhere I went. I was surprised at how much it varied from place to place. According to the manufacturer, 50 and lower is safest to drink. In Shenzhen, I typically got readings from 20-180. At this time, I was shocked when I saw readings in the high 100’s.

But then my husband and I traveled to Indonesia, known for some of the dirtiest water in the world. The bottled water at the Ritz-Carlton in Jakarta tested at 284! I thought that was shocking until we took a trip back to the US. When we arrived at Dallas airport, I tested the table-top water dispenser at the American Airlines Admirals Club. It was just as high as the water in Jakarta!

Dear Diary, this is the day I decided to drink distilled water

For the past several years, I’ve been carrying a water tester with me in my purse wherever I go. I use my HM Digital TDS tester to check the water before deciding whether or not to drink it. It only takes a few seconds. I turn it on, dip it in the water, and get an instant reading. I never know what to expect.

A water tester is more important than a water filter

A water tester is more important than a water filter

I was pleasantly surprised when I tested the water recently at New Lun Ting Cafe in San Francisco. It had a reading of 43. Compared to local tap water, that’s not bad. The closer to zero, the purer the water. I asked the waitress about it and she told me what I expected.

“We have a water filter,” she told me.

But you’d be surprised how many restaurants don’t. I often get readings over 100, 200 and sometimes even over 300! Some of the highest readings I’ve seen were along the Pacific coastline in California in and around Santa Maria, Ventura and Solvang where the water in restaurants tested in at a 350-450. I can’t help but wonder what the water was like before they started fracking in this area? CaliforniansAgainstFracking.org

Feel free to check out some of my Yelp reviews for specific readings at various locations. I don’t want mystery particles swimming around in my body!

Think about how often you drink liquids outside your home. If you travel or eat out frequently, you can use a tester to check the water you use for drinking, cooking, and even bathing. It can help you decide whether or not you want to want to make a cup of tea, order soup at a restaurant, or fill up a bathtub and soak in the water.

You’ve probably heard before that your skin is your largest organ. It absorbs the water you bathe in. Since you can’t see all the sh*t that’s in your water, so wouldn’t it be nice to have a gauge to help you give you a rough idea how much sh*t it might contain?

Your body is made up of more than 50% water. It carries oxygen and essential nutrients throughout your body. You need water daily to flush pesticides and other impurities out of your body, not put more in.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually see all the sh*t that’s in your water?


Don’t assume that bottled water is better or worse than other water. Once you start testing various water sources, you’ll be shocked at how much readings vary from one bottle to another, one restaurant to another, and even one building to another.

What do you call people who spend $2 for a bottle of Evian water? Just spell Evian backwards: N A I V E.

Clean water is one of the most essential elements to sustaining life, second only to oxygen. You can live without oxygen for 2-5 minutes, and without water for only 2-5 days.

If you don’t already have a portable water tester, I urge you to buy one today so that you can start making an informed decision about the water you choose to drink.

Water is the only drink you really need. Before you leave home, check to make sure you have your keys . . . and your water tester.





Sip warm water when you eat

When you sit down in an Asian restaurant in Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, or Singapore, you’re likely to be greeted with a short cup of warm water. This typically comes as a surprise to Western tourists who expect cold water. It turns out these Asian longevity hot spots are hot in more ways than one.

Boil your water. www.DrLorraine.net

When you’re seated at a Western restaurant, you’re typically served a (sometimes very tall) glass of ice water that cools your hands and insides. Drinking ice water causes the blood vessels near your stomach to constrict and solidifies the fats you’re eating, possibly making it more difficult for your body to disperse unwanted fats.

Some experts say cold water interferes with the gastrointestinal tract’s ability to properly digest food and retrieve the vitamins and minerals your body needs, and may therefore result in indigestion.

Traditional Chinese doctors advise against gulping too much water with meals. It dilutes your digestive “fire.” They suggest sipping warm water which helps with digestion.

Drinking warm water before breakfast is especially beneficial. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to help to flush your kidneys and bowels. Dr. Robert with Acupuncture Associates drinks warm water and lemon with every meal. You use hot or warm water to wash your dishes. Doesn’t it make sense to cleanse and rinse your own body with warm water as well?

Another advantage of asking for hot water in restaurants is that it may be safer than cold water at the same establishment. Boiling kills bacterial organisms in the water, thereby reducing your chance of taking in any viruses or fungi that can infect your body. See this USA Today article for tips on purifying water.

Ice machines and portable water dispensers can accumulate bacteria and mold if they aren’t cleaned well on a regular basis. This City of Houston Health and Human Services article describes some of the risks of consuming mold that can grow in ice machines and on bar guns and soda nozzles.

If you like cold water, drink it between meals. It can help to cool you down on a hot day, or bring your body temperature back to normal after exercise. Some say cold water burns a few extra calories and may even temporarily raise your metabolism, but it may not be the best thing for your body in the long run.

When you’re at home, you can prepare water any way you want. But even when you go to restaurants, you can be specific about the type of water you want. Ask them to hold the ice, or bring a cup of hot water, for example. It’s okay if it makes you sweat a little. That’s another important way your body eliminates toxins.

Drink distilled water daily to detox and defend your body

Regardless of the temperature, water is one of the most essential elements of sustaining life and maintaining good health. It’s necessary to purify your blood and eliminate toxins that build up in your body.

Test it out for yourself. Drink iced or cold water with all your meals for a month. And then sip warm or hot water with all your meals the following month. Find out what temperature feels best for you. Your body type, lifestyle, diet, local climate, and even your beliefs affect your results. Trust your own gut feeling.

Drink Pure Water

Clean water is one of the most important factors to maintaining good health, second only to oxygen. We can live without oxygen for two to five minutes, and without water for two to five days. Our bodies are made up of more than 50% water. It carries oxygen and essential nutrients throughout our bodies. We need it daily to sustain life and flush away pesticides and other impurities.

Many centenarians are relatively poor, yet they’ve aged well, in part, because they’ve had access to naturally clean water sources for much of their lives. Some have lived in secluded rural areas so remote that roads are sometimes impassable. Many don’t have material things that others consider necessities. But just because they’re poor by worldly standards doesn’t mean they’re unhappy. On the contrary, they’re rich and satisfied in different ways, with things that are more essential to life, like water.

Do you assume that good water is any water that looks clear, tastes okay, and doesn’t make you sick immediately? Be careful. Don’t judge water by the way it looks. It may contain clear odorless poisons such as chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, and many others, that can eventually cause a slew of side effects, and lead to disease. Because these poisons accumulate over time, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause.

Avoid drinking from plastic bottles unless they’re Bisphenol A (BPA) free. BPA mimics estrogen which can cause cancer or dozens of other negative health effects. Consumer attorneys Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman spell out some of the health problems associated with BPA. Don’t presume that bottled water is more or less safe than tap water. If you do buy bottled water, choose purified or distilled. It’s less likely to contain harmful additives.

World Water Day March 22

Purchase a small water testing device so you can regularly test the quality of the water you use for drinking, cooking, and bathing. HM Digital makes an affordable handheld TDS meter , as shown above, for example. If necessary, install a water filter in your home, and have the quality checked by a professional at least twice a year.

If you spend a time outside your home each day, take one or more (glass or stainless steel) water bottles to go. Develop strategies to ensure that you consume safe water wherever you are.

Although many people who live in developed countries take water for granted, water quality is declining worldwide. Nearly one third of the world’s population, billions of people, don’t have access to adequate water sanitation. And it is a growing concern for every nation. If you haven’t already seen Blue Gold: World Water Wars or Flow, watch one or both of these documentaries soon.

Free Water: How to Get Some

Check out this great video on how to build a rain barrel. It was produced by Greg Nagel & Roger Linville through St. Johns Riverkeeper, an organization whose mission is to work on behalf of the community for clean and healthy waters in the St. Johns River, its tributaries and its wetlands, through citizen-based advocacy.

Got a rain barrel tip or story you want to share? Please leave a comment.