Organic Food On Table

How The Health Benefits Of Your Organic Food Diet Get Compromised

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The popularity of organically grown food has increased immensely over the last decade or so. The reason for the partly shift away from traditional fast food is that it has become more and more important for many people to lead a healthy lifestyle. Apart from exercising on a regular basis and working in a profession that is enjoyable and fulfilling, people pay attention in particular to the individual quality of food that ends up on their dinner table. This is not only a question of whether or not a tomato is GMO-free, consumers want to be confident that what they eat isn’t contaminated, for example with chemicals like pesticides, herbicides and nitrates.

Although organic food is considerably more expensive than regular food, I honestly believe that it’s worth every dime you spend on it. But is an organic food diet sufficient to living healthily and eradicate the potential harm of environmental toxins from our lives? Or can the health benefits that come with an organic food diet get compromised by other factors?

Sources of Toxic Substances in our Everyday Lives

The short answer to the first question is ‘No’. Eating organically grown food is a step in the right direction, but aside from our nutrition, there are other sources of toxic substances that we get in contact with daily. Therefore, the answer to the second question is ‘Yes’. The health benefits of your costly organic diet can get compromised and here is how:

Drinking Water

Tap and bottled water can contain an endless number of toxins. Among the most common are pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture, which through rain end up in our groundwater, heavy metals, first and foremost lead, that originate from different industries, and various acids as byproducts of treating wastewater with disinfectants like chlorine.

The only way to reduce your exposure to toxins that can be found in your drinking water is by either buying bottled spring water that is proven to be toxin-free, because it gets thoroughly tested on a regular basis, or by applying a drinking water treatment system in your home. From experience, I know that the second option will save you money in the long run; it’s what I’ve been doing for years. Depending on your circumstances, you have many possible choices to find the product that’s best suited for you.
water splashing


The human body can survive weeks without food, at least a couple of days without water, but only seconds or minutes at most without air. An adult human being breathes 12 to 18 times per minute. This also means that depending on where you live and where you go to work etc., chances are that you inhale toxic air pollutants all day long.

The US Environmental Protection Agency currently monitors 181 of these air pollutants all over the country and found that, due to more emissions, the density of toxic pollutants is higher in urban areas. In conclusion, you have the highest chance to reduce your exposure to them by living in the countryside. If that is not up for debate, try to avoid doing any activities that increase your respiratory rate, like running and cycling, in or close to the city. Also, spend as little time as possible in underground parking garages and the subway and, if you don’t mind the funny looks, wear a face mask, whenever you are in the city.

woman breathing

Personal Care Products

American women use 12 different personal care products per day on average, which account for 168 unique ingredients that come in contact with their bodies. Men use about half as many. Of course, not all of the 168 ingredients are toxic, but about 12.2 million adults living in the US are exposed to substances that are known or probable human carcinogens every single day, due to their use of tooth paste, lotions, deodorant, hair gel, shampoo and more.

From now on, check the list of ingredients first and primarily avoid all products that contain parabens, diethanolamine (DEA), phthalates, acrylamide, formaldehyde and phenol. Also, don’t get confused if ingredients are listed as ‘fragrance’. It’s just a clever way that manufacturers came up with to disguise problematic substances. And last but not least, don’t blindly trust a label that says ‘organic’ or ‘natural’, because these aren’t protected terms.

lotion on skin


Giovanna Luongo, a scientist from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Stockholm, could prove the presence of more than 40 different chemical residues (quinolines, benzothiazoles and benzotriazole) in a set of garments, which she acquired not only in Sweden, but also on the global market. According to Luongo, ‘The hazards posed by the identified substances were primarily skin sensitization and irritation, but also reproduction toxicity, and proved or suspected carcinogenicity’.

Furthermore, Luongo points out that any of the residues has the potential to get absorbed by the human skin and eventually enter the body. What was once harmless could then be converted into a harmful toxin or become dangerous, because it forms a compound with other substances.

If you’ve expected that fashion made from organic cotton was less stylish than commercial clothes, you were wrong. You can find a list of 13 trending organic clothing brands that offer apparel free from toxic pesticides and fertilizers here.


Household Cleaners

From baking soda, vinegar cleaner and hand-wash dishwasher detergent to furniture polish, multipurpose cleaner and carpet stain remover, $655 is what the average American household spents on housekeeping supplies in 2015, having in stock a whole arsenal of cleaning products.

Only a fraction of these cleaners a free from chemicals that are harmful to our health, if we inhale, touch or ingest them. In case of contact, acute symptoms include rashes, burns, headache and respiratory complaints. Long-term consequences can be chronic diseases like cancer.

Although the majority of manufacturers don’t list all of their products’ ingredients on the label, because they are not required to, here is a list of chemicals you should be aware of: Chlorine bleach, ammonia, fragrances, monoethanalomine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), ethoxylated alcohols, butyl cellosolve, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), trisodium nitrilotriacetate, triclosan, sodium hydroxide, nonylphenol ethoxylates.

Make sure to stay away from household cleaners that contain hazardous substances by following these rules:

  1. If you can’t pronounce it, put it back on the shelf. As you can see above, most of the ingredients you should try to avoid have long and complicated names no one has ever heard before.
  2. Except for specific cases, there is no need for a huge variety of products. Stick to soap, water, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and a well-tried sponge combined with a little blood, sweat and tears.
  3. Carefully read labels and look out for words like ‘Danger’, ‘Warning’, ‘Poison’ and ‘Caution’, and phrases like ‘may cause skin irritation’, ‘vapors harmful’ and ‘may cause burns on contact’. Skip these products.
  4. If you find a product that says ‘no solvents’, ‘no phosphates’, or ‘plant-based’, that’s great!

Here is a great resource that lists eco-friendly all-purpose cleaners, plant-based bathroom cleaners and much more.

spray bottle

Organic Food – Only The Beginning

Drinking water, air, personal care products, our clothes, and household cleaners, all of these things expose us to environmental toxins in our everyday lives. It becomes obvious that following an organic food diet can only be the beginning to protect our health in the long run.

6 salt with water glass

RO Water Remineralization 101 – Full How-To Guide

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Reverse Osmosis Water

If you aren’t visiting our blog for the first time, you already know that reverse osmosis is the most commonly used technology to purify water.  In the process, water passes through a semipermeable membrane at relatively high pressure leaving almost all dissolved solids behind.

Various industries use ro water for their applications, but it can also be found in supermarkets in form of bottled drinking water and many people have an ro water filter system installed under their kitchen sink.

Apart from the fact that the use of such a system increases the amount of water that gets wasted, there aren’t any drawbacks that come with it, except…

The Little Problem with Reverse Osmosis Water

Up to 99% of all Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are removed from water during the filtration process. This does not only include harmful substances such as chemical contaminants (e.g. medication residues), but also minerals that are essential for the human body like calcium and magnesium.

In other words, reverse osmosis water is severely demineralized. This could cause problems since according to the WHO in case of “calcium and magnesium water may provide up to 20% of the required total daily intake”. What’s more, due to industrial agriculture, deficient diets, impaired digestion and high stress levels some people may already suffer under mineral deficiency.

Please Note
The goal of this post is not to frighten anybody and we absolutely don’t know whether or not drinking ro water over a long period of time will cause any health problems, we simply want to point out the issue and provide all the necessary information you need.By the way, there is no reason to worry about mineral deficiency in regards to other minerals, because the WHO also states that “For the majority of other elements drinking water provides less than 5% of total intake”. These elements include iron, zinc, copper, iodine, phosphorus and chloride among others.

How to Add Minerals Back to Reverse Osmosis Water

A logical solution to demineralization would be to add essential minerals back into the water after filtration. You might now think that this must be a rather complicated process – but it’s not. But before we give you 5 options on how to remineralize, let’s take a closer look at calcium and magnesium, which hold the highest percentage of the required total daily intake (TDI) that is provided by water.

calcium stonesCalcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and accounts for 1.5 – 2.0% of our total body weight. Most of it is stored in the skeleton as a primary structural building block. Other functions of calcium are the regulation of enzymes and hormones, blood clotting, nerve transmission and muscle/vascular contraction.

A decrease in bone mineral content, resulting in weaker bones and ultimately an increased risk for fractures are the consequences of longterm calcium deficiency.

The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 20mg/l and an optimum of about 40-80mg/l of calcium in drinking water for a maximum beneficial health effect.


Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular cation. 20 – 28g of magnesium are stored in our body. About 60% of it is found in the skeleton and 1% in extracellular fluid. 300 enzymatic reactions depend on magnesium and the mineral is also essential for the development of our bones.

The WHO points out that magnesium deficiency has been implicated in hypertension and type II diabetes. A low magnesium intake has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The recommended minimum amount of dissolved magnesium in drinking water is 10mg/l and the optimum amount being 20-30 mg/l.


Now that we know how important calcium and magnesium are, how do we manage do get them back into our drinking water?

Alkalinization Stage for your RO System

If your ro system does not already feature an alkalinization stage, one probably can be added to it without too much effort. Browse the market for models using food-grade quality minerals only, such as the ROALK5D 10-Stage ro system. Depending on your water demand the minerals will last for 6 to 12 months.

Also, water temperature, flow rate and pH-level (before it enters the alkalinization stage) determine how much minerals are added back into the water.

Electrolyte Blends/Trace Mineral Drops

Electrolyte blends or trace mineral drops are an easy way to quickly add elements like copper, manganese, selenium, iron and of course calcium and magnesium into your drinking water. These blends aren’t too expensive and available at every well sorted supermarket.

But beware: Some blends have a more balanced mineral composition than others.

sea saltMineral-Rich Sea Salt

Another inexpensive way to meet your daily nutritional requirements is to add a knife point of a mineral-rich salt, such as Himalayan Salt, to each gallon of filtered water. Don’t worry, it won’t taste salty. Himalaya Salt can provide you with more than 60 different trace elements.

Attention: A processed and inferior table salt, which contains almost only sodium and chloride is not sufficient.

Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher

Alkaline water filter pitchers will re-filter the water before adding calcium, magnesium and other minerals back into it and thereby balancing pH-levels. Of course a pitcher is more expensive than Himalayan Salt or electrolyte blends, but they last much longer and retail for about $40.

green powder blendGreens Blends

Greens blends are derived from vegetables, grasses, herbs and more and contain minerals, fiber and also vitamins. They are not to everybody’s taste, but provide an all-round solution to remineralize your body especially after you’ve worked out.

Unfortunately, greens blends that come in powder form are costly and therefore no long-term solution for most people on a budget.

Your Turn

You now know about the key points of demineralization and have also learned how to add minerals back into ro water. It’s your turn to make up your mind and decide what you are going to do. If remineralization is important to you, there are 5 possible solutions you can choose from.


How Is Reverse Osmosis Different from Filtration

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Reverse Osmosis

There are many different methods to filter water and remove its contaminants. Reverse osmosis is probably the most widely known method of all. Utilizing it is also the most common way to process water and make it suitable for human consumption.

But how is reverse osmosis different from other filtration methods and why is it the most appropriate technology to process drinking water?

We will answer those 2 questions in the following blog post. You will also learn how reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration work and how they are different from each other.

What is Osmosis?

Osmosis is a natural process which describes the diffusion of water molecules through a semipermeable membrane from a lower concentrated solution to a higher concentrated solution. The simplest definition of a semipermeable membrane is one that lets the solvent (water) but not the solute (e.g. salt) pass through. This way the water is able to balance both solutions to the point where they have the same concentration of dissolved substances.

Osmosis Illustration

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the exact opposite of osmosis. As stated above, water naturally flows from the lower to the higher concentrated solution. By applying external pressure to the higher concentrated solution, water molecules are now pushed back through the semipermeable membrane and diffuse to the lower concentrated side. Again no dissolved substances can pass through the membrane resulting in purified water on the other side.

Reverse Osmosis Illustration

A negative aspect of ro is that the process does not only remove harmful substances that are dissolved in the water, but also essential minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are beneficial for your health. This aspect is called demineralization and it’s the reason why many ro filter systems feature an alkalinization stage to balance pH-levels and add calcium and magnesium back into the water.


Filtration describes many different physical, mechanical or biological methods which utilize a medium through which only a fluid can pass and thereby separating it from solids. A microfiltration filter has a pore size of around 0.1 micrometer. This means that all dissolved solids that are smaller than 0.1 micrometer such as viruses can pass the filter and remain in the water.

Ultrafiltration and Nanofiltration

Compared to a microfiltration filter, a ultrafiltration filter has much smaller pores of around 0.01 micrometer and can remove larger viruses.

A nanofiltration filter has a pore size of 0.001 micrometer and is therefore able to remove most organic substances, almost all viruses and other organic molecules and a range of salts.

Microfiltration Filter

Microfiltration Filter

Ultrafiltration filter

Ultrafiltration Filter

Nanofiltration filter

Nanofiltration Filter

Future Challenges

The biggest challenge with membrane filtration is to produce filters with a small enough pore size to remove all viruses that contaminate the water and are harmful to our health.

The Difference between Reverse Osmosis and Filtration

The predominant removal mechanism in membrane filtration is the exclusion by particle size. Theoretically speaking membrane filtration can achieve perfect efficiency regardless of other parameters such as (external) pressure and concentration of dissolved solids. In contrast, due to the diffusion of water through the membrane reverse osmosis is dependent on pressure, water flow rate and other conditions, which is the difference between the two of them.

The Most Appropriate Technology to Filter Drinking Water

Reverse osmosis is the most appropriate technology to filter drinking water. Why is that?

RO removes up to 99% of ions, molecules and larger particles such as bacteria and viruses, which is more than any other technology can remove. It provides exceptional pure water and is also a very cost effective technology, if used properly. Although it also removes minerals that benefit your health, it is the best method to process drinking water.

PureWaterInc has produced a YouTube-video comparing water purification by filtration, reverse osmosis and distillation. If you still have questions or are unsure, if you’ve understood everything correctly, take a look at the brief video. It might help you out:

gloves in toolbox

How to Make an RO Water Filter at Home

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Make your own Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

You would like to have access to filtered reverse osmosis water in your house. You would like to install a filtration system, but at the same time you want to save money and therefore not buy an expensive all-in-one solution. So you are thinking about making your own reverse osmosis water filter at home. Let’s stop here for a moment.

The problem with doing this from scratch is that you need pre-treatment filters, a pump to increase water pressure (if psi in your house is too low), a reverse osmosis membrane, a filter housing, piping, adapters, valves and more.

Reverse osmosis membranes cost between $60 to $100 depending on their capacity. In regards to pre-filters, there are a few options to choose from. Granulated Activated Charcoal (GAC) is the most common type of filter. It removes unwanted particles such as lead and other contaminants. Solid or powdered carbon blocks are the other type of basic filters that remove water contaminants usually to a higher degree as well as chlorine and fluoride. Carbon filters cost about $25.

Adding the costs for housings, valves and water lines, it’s unlikely that you do any better than the mass-marketed filtration units in terms of money that you would have to invest. In addition to that, finding a semipermeable ro membrane suited to your needs, that fits in a housing that is working under pressure and does not cause any water leakages is pretty difficult.

Well, that doesn’t look very promising. So what are the available alternatives?

Buy a Filter System and Connect It yourself

One possible alternative to building your own reverse osmosis system from scratch is to buy a regular 3 to 5-stage filtration unit that doesn’t come with valves, water lines etc. and install it for example under your kitchen sink using component parts you bought at your local hardware store, such as:

  • T-valve
  • Water lines (¼″)
  • Quick connect with shut-off function
  • Water tank

It’s semi-DIY but at least you safe the cost for installation.

How to Connect the System

In order to connect the system:

  1. Attach the t-valve to the cold water line of your kitchen sink. By using a t-valve you will still be able to turn on the cold water at your sink.
  2. Tee off the ¼″ water line to your filter system. Add the quick connect between the system and the valve to allow water to be shut off, when system is not in use.
  3. Once the water went through the whole system, you have 2 outputs. Let the wastewater flow into your kitchen sink. Collect the filtered water in a tank, if you want to store it. Make sure that the tank is BPA-free and food-safe.

The following video is a great demonstration of how to do the setup.

Hardly Any Advantages

To save money it’s always a great idea to make things yourself instead of buying them. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to build a well-functioning reverse osmosis water filter system that is not leaking any water and comes cheaper than a commercial ro unit that can be bought in stores or online. What’s more is the extra time and effort you have to invest have not even been taken into account yet.

We recommend you read some of our reverse osmosis reviews. Maybe you can find a filter unit that suits your needs and fits your budget. We also created a list of the best countertop ro systems that usually are a lot cheaper and don’t need to be installed, which is a time saver.

Portable Water Filter

You might be interested in another type of homemade water filter that is cheap, easy to build and portable. However, this self-made filter does not utilize a reverse osmosis process. You are going to need:
water bottle with lid

  • Large plastic water bottle with lid
  • Plastic straw
  • Cotton batting
  • Activated charcoal granules
  • Large and fine grain gravel
  • Large and fine grain sand
  • Coffee filter
  • Jar

Proceed as follows:

  1. Cut off the bottom of the water bottle.
  2. Create a hole in the lid large enough to fit in the plastic straw halfway.
  3. Place the bottle with the straw onto the jar upside down.
  4. Place the cotton batting at the bottom of bottle as the lining for your water filter.
  5. Place a first layer of activated charcoal granules on top of the cotton batting followed by a layer of fine grain sand. Next comes a layer of large grain sand, then a layer of fine grain gravel followed by a layer of large grain gravel.
  6. Alternate the layers until the bottle is filled up.
  7. Place the coffee filter on top.

coffee filterIn order to clean your water, pour it through the coffee filter. Contaminants will be absorbed as it moves down the bottle to the straw. The filtered water will than trickle through the straw and into the jar.

Obviously, you can’t process a great amount of water using this filter and every once in a while, you need to replace the cotton batting, charcoal granules, gravel and sand. Still, it’s a cheap and easy way to get access to filtered drinking water, if your budget does not allow for a more pricy reverse osmosis system.