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Finding glass bottled water in super markets

Here we go! After an absence of about 9 days from blogging due to life happening, I finally managed to write my next blog post. I am really behind with my 365 project, but I will catch up during my holidays in October when I will be off to Germany for 2 weeks and can spend all the time I want for blogging and other things that sometimes don’t fit into a busy schedule.

Street view down to Covent Garden Market.

Image via Wikipedia

But back the actual issue of me trying to find glass bottled water in a Marks & Spencer on Sunday last week while having a little walk through London in the Covent Garden area.

It was a great day and it was just great to be out with my baby and discover some new areas that I did not manage to see in the past 6 years in London. After some extensive shop hopping we were looking to get a bottle of water as a refreshment and went into Marks & Spencer. In my opinion, Marks & Spencer stands for the more environmental kind of super market with a lot of good ideas to minimise the impact on the environment. However, it was very difficult to find some glass bottled water. We found all kinds of plastic bottled water from all different brands, but nothing really bottled in glass. We asked a very friendly customer service agent who gave us a really astonishing look when we were asking for water in glass bottles. But he managed to find us the only water in a glass bottle that was in the lower corner of the last row on the bottom shelve, which was San Pellegrino.

To my shock it was the only glass bottles water. I was really under the impression that are more companies that still fill their beverages into glass bottles. Having been glad to find at least one brand of mineral water in a glass bottle, we enjoyed the healthy refreshing water and continued our walk.

However, the next challenge was coming up on the horizon. Recycling. It took us several streets to find a recycling bin that would take glass bottles. We did not really want to use any available bin. Anyway, there are not many bins around in London when you compare it some other major metropolis in Europe, but there is a relatively small amount of recycling bins in London as well. Still much to do when we really want to make a difference.

I really hope that in future we will have more people asking for glass bottles water and make retailers change their product offer, because at the end we as customers have a great power with our buying decisions.

I will also have a look in a German supermarket when I am back home and will try the same thing, os watch this space for a comparison!

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Phytonutrients – eating colourful

Healthy eating is probably one of the most discussed topics in the past 2 decades. The media and scientists constantly come up with new things to avoid and other things to do. Additionally, we have been taught about vitamins, antioxidants, 5-a-day and many more, which became words most of us understood and know. In recent years, some of you might have heard about a new term in healthy eating – phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals, which according to Wikipedia “are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may affect health, but are not established as essential nutrients.”
But what does it mean for our diet? It means that it is recommended to eat a balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables. In the UK, the NHS recommends to eat 5-a-day, which is based on a suggestion from the WHO (World Health Organisation) to eat at least 400g of fruit and vegetables each day. The 5-a-day project is widely spread and you can find labelling on many products in supermarkets and even in some restaurants. However, according to the BBC the average for the UK is about 2 to 3 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, which is still considerable short of the target. In the US, the National Cancer Institute suggests to eat even more plant-based food and recommends 5 to 9 portions a day to prevent diet related diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer, and diabetes. According to the movie Food Matters, some nutritionists believe that the most common diseases that amount to about three-quarters of all death are based on an unhealthy lifestyle and could be healed by turning to a health and balanced diet. But the pharmaceutical industry does not want us to know as there is no money to make from healthy people.
Additionally, Nutrilite Health Institute looked at the intake from fruit and vegetables in regards to phytonutrients and recommends to eat colourful to get the best out of your fruits and vegetables intake a day. To make it easier fo the consumer, they grouped most fruit and vegetables into these 5 colours: red, purple, white, green and orange. Please find below a list of examples for each colour group:

Red Fruits & Vegetables

  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Red Apples
  • Pomegranate
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes

Purple Fruits & VegetablesVegetables by rightee, on Flickr

  • Black Currants
  • Eggplant
  • Plums
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
Green Fruits & Vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Soy beans
  • Green Tea
  • Green Peppers

White Fruits & VegetablesVegetables by jackol, on Flickr

  • Pears
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • White Kidney Beans
  • Horseradish
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions

 Orange Fruits & Vegetables

  • Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons
  • Passion Fruit
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Papaya

For more information about the phytonutrients and the health benefit of each group, please visit Nutrilite. If you are not sure if you are eating enough fruit and vegetables in the correct balance, please visit Nutrilite.com/color to make a free online ‘Daily Phytonutrient Snapshot’. Really great tool and I promise that it will surprise you.

But how can we eat even more fruit and vegetables when we are not even managing 5-a-day? Is it possible to have a busy, but healthy lifestyle? I can recommend to use plant-based vitamin supplements that will give you vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients additionally to your healthy and balanced diet, but it has to be said that it is no substitution, merely a little aid to make it easier for people who have a busy lifestyle.

Let me know, what you think about the subject. Are you eating your 5-a-day or even more? How do you make it fit into your lifestyle? Are you taking supplements?

Are you still drinking plastic bottled water?

Over the past month, I developed an interest for the challenges that are surrounding the big subject of water. Inspired by the documentary movie Tapped that not only shows some very astonishing facts about tap water, but also gives you an inside into the industry that stands behind plastic bottled water and their practises in the US.

Images of bottled water

Image via Wikipedia

Tapped is a movie that really made me think, especially when they show you that some of the plastic containers used to store water can leak chemicals into the water that we are drinking. Most of the research until 2009, the year the movie was shot, only focused on plastics containing the chemical bisphenol-a (BPA). These were found to leak substances into the drinking water and the water industry would not even take these plastic containers off the market.

However, PET bottles that are most commonly used for bottled water seemed to be safe and no health concern. This might have changed as a recent study at the University Frankfurt in Germany shows:

They discovered estrogen active substances in most plastic bottled waters, but not in glass bottled waters. These substances might have a negative impact on sperm quality and quantity, interruption of fat metabolism, increased appearance of diabetes 1 and 2 as well as increased risk of cancer. However, more research will be needed to establish which compounds in the plastic are leaking. Unfortunately, the manufacturers are not contributing at the moment and the compounds of the plastic bottles are still an industry secret.

This all adds up to the already bad press about plastic bottles and their carbon footprint. Here are some sites you might want to check out about it:

Overall, this was quiet an eye opener for me and I will certainly try to avoid plastic bottled water, change to glass bottled water if on the road or just use reusable bottles and fill up from the tap. Please check out friendsofglass for more info why glass is a great alternative to plastic. Additionally, you can find some interesting examples of reusable bottles here:

Simply Stainless Bottle

Image by lululemon athletica via Flickr

I am sure you can find an alternative that suits your needs. Watch this space for info on tap water….coming soon!

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