As the end of 2017 draws closer, I find myself thinking about my plan to commit to full-on Plant Paradoxing in February. This will entail about 6 weeks of strictly following Dr Steven Gundry’s diet – or rather Way of Eating, since his intention is that once on it one does not really ever stop. I have already read the book forwards and backwards. I even wrote 4 blog posts about it. It’s a devastatingly seductive read, and it makes a whole lot of sense. Unfortunately, you have to be willing to accept that many things you thought were healthy and true are not. It’s hard to argue with patient outcomes, though, and Dr Gundry has thousands showing improvement if not complete recovery from conditions as varied as heart disease to cancer to autoimmune conditions.
I have none of these conditions. I’m just a health food junkie. Or maybe Groupie. But his book has prompted me to make a commitment to see if it’s true that by eating according to the Plant Paradox principles I can feel better than I do now (which is not that bad anyway). If I feel better, I can do more, live longer. Now that I’m past the big 5-0, ways to extend my health span are increasingly on my radar.
While the big work for me starts in February, I’m experimenting now with ingredients and recipes and trying to trouble-shoot in advance the rough patches I may have with the program. One is alcohol. Dr Gundry will allow me 1 glass of red wine per day, which is great. Problem is I often have 2. Sometimes 3. Sometimes, none. Sooooo, I will need a substitute that is something other than plain water, of which I drink litres of anyways.
Normally when I do my annual detox/cleanse in February, I skip alcohol for a month (and also avoid gluten, added sugar, processed foods, red meat and caffeine). For one month it’s fine, and I will do this again with the Plant Paradox for the first month. Normally I am happy enough to sub in a sparkling mineral water for wine or a cocktail during this month. But for the long term, I will need a go-to beverage other than plain water some of the time, usually around the dinner hour, when I’m thinking I deserve a little something special.
Sparkling mineral water is not necessarily inexpensive (though compared with a bottle of NZ Sauv Blanc or any other decent wine in Thailand it actually is), and when I buy it I sometimes wonder if I’m being taken for a fool. Having said that, I do love my San Pellegrino and other European mineral waters. Perhaps it’s time to learn a bit more about what they contain and whether there are any real health benefits inside those bottles.
A LITTLE INFO ON MINERAL WATER IN GENERAL
The carbonation and the mineral “profile” of the water depends on the aquifer from which the mineral water comes and the particular rocks the water slides over before reaching the surface. Some mineral water is naturally carbonated and some not. Carbonation can also be added to mineral water. The minerals also change the taste of the water. The mineral content varies from water source to water source. In general though, among other minerals, you will find calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and sulfur compounds.
It’s the minerals in water that make it “hard.” “Soft” water has fewer minerals and fewer health benefits. Since the dirt that grows our food is increasingly being depleted via fertilizers and chemical insecticides of essential minerals for our health, it is harder to get enough essential minerals in our food. Drinking them from unpolluted sources, I think, makes good sense. Dave Asprey, of the Bulletproof Diet, likes San Pellegrino because it tastes good – And he likes mineral water in general for its high sulphate content – for him it’s yet another way to bio-hack his health. The potential of creating an excess of calcium in his body (calcium is one of those “Goldilocks” minerals in that too much or too little is not good for the body – you need the right amount relative to other minerals and vitamins) by drinking mineral water – despite also supplementing with K2 to keep his free calcium at healthy levels – worried Dave Asprey so much that he got a cardiac calcium scan done after a few years of drinking 1.5-2.5 litres of San Pellegrino a day to see if his calcium levels were too high – they were fine. (I also like supplementing with sulphur compounds, which is why I drink MSM-laced water with fresh lime twice a day.)
I also think it’s a nice plus to purchase mineral water in a glass bottle, to avoid the BPAs.
A USEFUL MINERAL WATER COMPARISON APP FROM GERMANY
There is a nifty comparison app on the Gerolsteiner (a popular German brand of sparkling water) website indicting the mineral content in 1 litre of common brands of mineral water from around the world. They even offer this info on a handy mobile app.
There are so many mineral waters from around the world included in this app that I think it will be useful to me going forward, and maybe for you too. Personally, I am interested in taking in more sulphates and magnesium and less calcium and sodium. With this app I can compare imported mineral waters on the spot in the grocery store. The Gerolsteiner website states that for brands other than their own, the mineral content is based on the information reported by the product manufacturers, or an average thereof if the manufacturers reports vary.
If you have an idea of what minerals you want to take more (or less) of, this app can help you decide what to buy when you have options.
WHAT ABOUT THAILAND MINERAL WATER OPTIONS?
Only one Thai brand of mineral water turns up on the Gerolsteiner app: Purra, produced by Singha Corporation. Producers of bottled mineral water in Thailand are under no obligation to disclose the source or contents of their water, and so this is presumably the reason that more Thailand brands do not appear on the app. (And in my opinion a good enough reason to favor Purra when reaching for still mineral water in Thailand).
There are many other brands of mineral or spring water in Thailand, such as Aura, Mineré, Mont Fleur, Aro and Seizan, which come from aquifers in northern Thailand. Also ThaiBev, in March 2017, launched Chang soda water, a mineral water which according to its marketing materials, contains “beneficial minerals accumulated in the natural aquifer in Ayutthaya province for 1.6 million years.” I did not, however, find any information about the specific mineral content of Chang soda water.
For more about bottled water options in Thailand and the difference between mineral and filtered water, you can read this article on the Chiang Mai Locater site.
Well, since Purra is the only Thai brand that appears on this water app, for the moment that makes is the easy first choice for me. Meanwhile, I will stick with the European imports and make use of the Gerolsteiner app when I want something sparkling to go with my meals in the coming months of Plant Paradoxing ahead.