Water quality

To find out what’s coming out of your tap, ask your local water department for a copy of the "Consumer Confidence Report," which must be provided annually to the public. It details what contaminants are present in water, past violations and health effects of detected pollutants. Water quality data for community systems are also available at www.awwa.org, or call the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline 800/426-4791 for information.

For general questions on lead and drinking water, call 800/426-4791 or 800/424-LEAD. If your home has lead-soldered pipes, or if your water supply is contaminated with radiation, trihalomethanes, or other industrial and agricultural chemicals that you are unable to filter out, bottled water might be better.

You can use resources such as Consumer Reports, which has done some testing. You can also check with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to see if the model you are considering is "NSF certified" at www.nsf.org or 1-877-8-NSF-HELP. You can also purchase their publication "Water Wise-The Consumers Guide to Safe Drinking Water," which lists all certified filtration systems and the contaminants they remove.

A note on reverse osmosis systems: Be aware that for every gallon of water purified 2-10 gallons are wasted. Further information is available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_osmosis.

If you prefer a gravity flow system, consider a micro-filtration system. These filters will work even in times of emergencies without water pressure and do a fine job of removing most contaminants.

When you drink water from plastic bottles, which I recommend as an occasional strategy only, be careful about your internal environment as well as remembering to care for the natural environment. Polycarbonate plastic is generally marked with the #7 recycling symbol, but not all plastics marked #7 are polycarbonate since research suggests certain plastics contain estrogenic materials, although it has not shown conclusively. The safest #s to use are 1,2, 4,5. Remember, when using any disposable water bottle that they are made with plastic designed and intended for one-time use. Water bottles that are sold in sporting good stores are usually made from a plastic that is more durable and are designed to be used over and over. Also, the opening of the bottle is wider making it easier to clean. I recommend to eliminate your risk of exposure altogether by carrying a reusable stainless-steel bottle filled with filtered water from home.

When you get a drink from a restaurant or other public place, think twice before you put ice in the drink, especially if you are suffering from immune system problems. Ice is often made from unfiltered tap water. There are growing concerns of bacterial contamination in commercially prepared/dispensed ice (i.e. ice machines) due to lack to cleaning and maintenance.

7 day plan for healthy eating on the LOC program

Follow these suggestions day by day to transition from a diet based on animal protein, sugars and chemicals to low-fat, plant based eating.

DAY 1:

For Breakfast - replace whole egg dishes with egg white (or egg beater omelet and white toast with wheat toast spread with canola oil based butter substitute, or olive oil; replace coffee with a roasted grain beverage

For Lunch – Order a hummus and veggies sandwich on whole wheat with and a piece of fruit.

For Dinner – replace meat with fish; replace potatoes with brown rice; try a vegetable soup, add several different colored vegetables or a salad

For Snack – Black bean dip with baked tortilla chips

DAY 2:

For Breakfast – Oatmeal with strawberries and walnuts or cream cheese alternative with capers and diced onions and smoked salmon on a bagel

For Lunch – try Chinese food; be sure to make or ask for a low-fat, no sugar veggie stir-fry or vegetable fried rice (consider adding small pieces of tofu or tempeh)

For Dinner – try whole-wheat pasta with marinara sauce and vegetarian "ground beef" or pasta with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes - hold the Parmesan cheese!

For Snack –Pinto bean puree with fresh vegetable in whole-wheat chapatti

DAY 3:

For Breakfast – whole grain waffles with 100% maple syrup or better yet, agave or rice syrup

For Lunch – try a Middle Eastern meal, make or order tabouli with hummus or babbaganoush ( grilled and mashed eggplant) and pita bread

For Dinner – vegetarian hot dogs with vegetarian baked beans and cole slaw

For Snack – rice cakes with fruit spread

DAY 4:

For Breakfast – try oatmeal and raisins with a grain beverage; try green or white tea

For Lunch – try a Japanese restaurant, order fish and rice or sushi

For Dinner – cheeseless vegetable lasagna or a pasta with vegetables, olive oil and garlic or a fresh marinara

For Snack – organic fig bars or roasted pumpkin seeds with currants or raisins, start making a it point to purchase organic foods whenever possible

DAY 5:

For Breakfast – tofu scramble with whole wheat English muffins topped with fruit spread

For Lunch – grilled veggies in pita with soy cheese or avocado

For Dinner – try a veggie pizza with optional soy cheese; use organic vegetables and fresh chopped tomato

For Snack – almonds or cashews, an apple, or a handful of berries

DAY 6:

For Breakfast – low fat granola, naturally sweetened with dried fruit; try Red (Rooibos) caffeine-free tea

For Lunch – try a making a mushroom barley soup from scratch or try using a Fantastic Foods dried soup bowl or ordering from a restaurant. Be sure to ask if the soup you order is vegetarian.

For Dinner – grilled, baked, oven-poached, steamed, cold-water fish or gingered salmon with grilled, skewered or steamed vegetables and red potatoes

For Snack – pumpkin or sunflower seeds with goji berries or dried unsulfured apples or apricots.

DAY 7:

For Breakfast – toast with nut or seed butters such as almond butter or peanut butter with unsweetened jam

For Lunch – order a veggie wrap with some carrot and celery slices and low fat chips

For Dinner – seitan stroganoff on pasta, steamed leafy greens (e.g. kale, collards, chard) with a mild garlic-lemon-olive oil dressing as a side dish.

For Snack – rice cakes with nut butter or seed butter and fruit spread