Help! I Just Drank Casper’s Friendly Urine

Welcome to beautiful West New York, New Jersey. This is what my drinking water looks like:

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Even outside of Flint, Michigan – it is apparent that are countless fuck-ups when it comes to drinking water.

I’m beginning to wonder – hey water authorities, you know it’s suppose to be clear, right?

Here are things I won’t do with my town-supplied water:
1. drink it
2. cook with it
3. give it to my dog

Here are things I do do with it:
1. bathe (but only when I really start to smell)
2. brush my teeth (but only when they really start to smell)

What’s G00d.

Your drinking water (and bathing water) may be harmful to you, and more likely – to your micro-biome. This is true even if it’s perfectly clear!

In the worst case scenario, your drinking water can poison you and slowly make you crazy.

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But most likely you were already crazy to begin with.

We still don’t understand much about the effects of certain chemicals in our drinking water on our health. There are just too many chemicals to even begin testing! Why do companies want to poison us so much??

What’s worse – most of us aren’t even aware of what’s in our drinking water. And that’s partially because it varies so much based on so many factors. And partially because who gives a fuck.

Obligatory Gratitude

At this point I should note the following: I’m really thankful that our drinking water is treated. I realize that a sad micro-biome is less serious than let’s say oh…. typhoid.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to limit those aspects of water treatment that might cause us intestinal distress, or worse – the feeling of drinking the urine of a friendly ghost

Filters exist! And should probably be used in many areas. Filters even exist for your shower head. So now, you can shower EVEN WITHOUT your tin foil hat.

A Resource!

I want to learn what’s in my water. But I can’t because for some reason my town isn’t in this otherwise AWESOME database.

It’s the Environmental Working Group’s National Tap Water Database. All you need to learn more about your water is your zip code and the name of your water utility.

Since my town wasn’t in the database, I captured the info for my hometown where I grew up. While I don’t understand any of it, I’m going to assume based on the little red circles that I should expect a second head or extra big toe to pop up at any moment.

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How am I not a mutant?

BTW, I checked a few towns on top of this. And even though my search was brief, I uncovered MANY towns whose water supply looks much worse than this. Sooooo many more red circles…

As I mentioned, I don’t know what’s in my town’s drinking water. But I’m not going to assume it’s anything good. Because:
1. It’s gray; and
2. when I use it for my humidifier, my ENTIRE APARTMENT smells like chlorine.

..so that scares me.

In Sum

You might not give too much thought to your drinking water. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to have throw a filter on your tap.

I don’t filter my water, just because our sink is weird. I buy jugs of water from 7/11 because I’m a class act. Eventually I’ll buy a Brita jug.

If you’re a total nutbag, you can even filter your shower water. Who knows – you might be right. Your shower water might be killing you.

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14 Days of Probiotic Foods

We are beginning to understand a thing or two about what a healthy gut environment looks like. But that’s about it – a thing or two. So how can you use this limited information to improve your life?

We know of a few strains of bacteria that are probably “good” in general. And we don’t even know for a fact that they are “good” in and of themselves. It could simply be that the presence of these strains is a sign of a healthy gut, which is healthy for other (unrelated) reasons.

But we know at least this. For patients afflicted with C. Diff, fecal transplants save lives. And fecal transplants have shown some very interesting results in studies on humans and rats. So a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut is essential. We just don’t know exactly what a healthy gut looks like.

What does your gut look like? 

We also don’t know what your gut looks like. Partly because we don’t care, but mostly because you haven’t shit in a cup and sent it to us. And even if you did send us a cup full of feces, we wouldn’t look at it. We’d probably just call the police.

Even if we did know what your gut bugs looked like – what would we do with that information? Sure, we could see if you had an overgrowth of something terrible. Or a deficiency of good stuff. But is there an ideal to aspire to? Is it the same for everyone? Is it even the same at every stage of life? We simply don’t know.

So we’re working with limited information. Which is why incorporating probiotic foods is, in general, your best bet for a healthy gut.

Probiotic Supplements versus Fermented Foods

When you buy a probiotic supplement, you could be getting one strain of bacteria, or five strains or whatever. Sure, these strains have been studied – but the question is, do we even know enough about gut bugs to know what to look for? How likely is it that these supplements capture the bigger picture of what we want in the gut?

The other issue with supplements is that they only contain bacteria. And there is more to your microbiome than that. Even if you have the right gut bugs, they might thrive better when delivered along their perfect fuel.

Fermented foods, unlike supplements, are whole. Fermentation goes back a long way in human history. We have evolved with these foods, and they have evolved with us.

When we look at the diversity of fermented foods that we can eat, we realize that if we begin to regularly incorporate fermented foods into our diet, we can increase the chances that we are putting a variety of healthy bugs into our gut.

Beware of Yogurt

Yogurt is great. But many yogurts that purport to contain “healthy” bacteria also contain a ton of added sugar. It is very possible that too much sugar in the diet fuels an overgrowth of “unhealthy” bacteria. Plus, added sugar is generally a bad idea – especially for breakfast. There are better ways to shape up your gut.

Fermented Foods

Yogurt can be good, just pick something without added sugar. And given the overuse of antibiotics in modern society, you probably won’t get everything your gut needs from yogurt alone.

So try to include a variety of other probiotic foods and beverages into your diet. Including:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Pickled anything
  • Miso Soup
  • Tempeh
  • fresh sourdough breads (but watch out, for the same reason as yogurt)
  • Kombucha

14 Days of Probiotic Foods

I challenge you to incorporate at least one of the foods from the above list into your diet every day for the next 14 days. And try mixing it up if you can.

If you don’t regularly eat any of the foods on this list, it’s likely that increasing your intake will put you in the direction of a better, stronger, and more diverse gut microbiome. Especially if you have a long history with antibiotics, as most of us do.

After the 14 days is up, continue to regularly incorporate these foods into your diet. I am confident that as time marches on, we’ll learn so much more about the nature of our insides that this post will look silly. But until then, it’s the least we can do.

Happy Cultivating 🙂

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