Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Distilled beverages

Tara and Ellie in Torres del Paine, ChiléGeorge Dubya calls himself the Decider, so I feel comfortable calling myself the Imparter. For the past 20 years, a significant chunk of my time and energy has gone toward researching issues related to physical and mental health and imparting the wisdom gained to those whose idea of good nutrition comes from Big Food and the FDA -- both of whom want us dead and, toward that end, spew lies they hope we'll digest without question. Which we do.

Yesterday, I asked my 23-year-old son to stop by the store and pick up a couple jugs of distilled water for me. Imagine my surprise when he refused to comply. That stuff will kill you, he said. Feeling like I'd taken a knee to the gut, I knew better than to argue. This was, after all, the boy who bore the full brunt of my passion for vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, phytonutrients, mucopolysaccharides, glycemic indices and the like, while friends' mothers counted calories and grams of fat, and patted themselves on the back for feeding their children Honey Nut Cheerios. I humbly accepted the spring water he offered and ushered him out the door so I could look into the downside of distillation.

Holy crap, he's right.

Distillation is the process whereby water is boiled, evaporated and the vapor condensed. Distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and, because of this, has the ability to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them. Studies validate the benefits of drinking distilled water when one is seeking to cleanse or detoxify the system for short periods of time. However, even fasting using distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure. Cooking foods in distilled water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value. Fuuuuuuuck.

Distilled water is a sponge and when it comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it acidic. The more distilled water a person drinks, the higher the body acidity becomes. Distilled water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive and tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Even metals are dissolved by distilled water. Fuuuuuuuck.

The most toxic commercial beverages that people consume -- soft drinks -- are made from distilled water. Studies have consistently shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks (with or without sugar) spill huge amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals into the urine. The more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases generally associated with premature aging. A growing number of health care practitioners and scientists from around the world have been advocating the theory that aging and disease is the direct result of the accumulation of acid waste products in the body. Fuuuuuuck.

Holy geez. I knew that soda leached calcium from the body, but always assumed it was due to the process of carbonation. I really had no idea that distillation of water was so detrimental. Now that I read about it, it makes perfect sense to me. As a biochemistry major in early college, I know that any time molecular structure is altered there's a price to pay.

I feel like crying (okay I am crying) that I let my guard down on this one. I've given my children distilled water for a long time, even in their baby bottles, and felt like I was giving them my highest and best. I am so pissed that I was duped. My guilt isn't pure enough to give absolution, however, because it's tainted by righteous anger. Pure water is in short supply in our ugly world and at least I've tried to find higher ground. When natural water supplies are ruined by toxic chemicals and pollution, when we can't drink tap water because of fluoride and other additives, when natural spring water is another lie put out there by Coca-Cola, what options do we have?

Still, I make no excuses. I've long known that to mess with Mother Nature -- to artificially alter the gifts of water, fruit, vegetable, grain, meat and dairy she offers -- is to look a gift horse in the mouth, and to reap the consequences of inferior knowledge and arrogance.

I find solace in that I have a boy who understands more than most people do. Finally, a new imparter has joined the ranks of the few.


Jay said...

Ah .. thank you for that! I have long struggled with the concept that carbonated water is Bad For You and leaches minerals from the body. So what you're suggesting is that it isn't the carbonation, per se, but the fact that many of these drinks are made with distilled water, yes? Therefore, can I assume that carbonated natural mineral water (ie, untreated water direct from the spring, but with added carbon dioxide) is OK? Please say yes!

Marie said...

Jay, I'm thinkin' yes!

Jay said...

Thank heavens for that!

*Reaches for another bottle of San Pellegrino*