Infographic: Medications That Deplete Nutrients and How to Supplement Appropriately.

WellnessFX, a company I love and have talked about in the past, has released an infographic highlighting six medications that can deplete nutrients in one’s body. The medications are antacids, diabetes drugs, statins, antibiotics, antidepressants, and oral contraceptives. Based on which medications one is taking there are different nutrients that should be supplemented – CoQ10, Probiotics, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, and Iron. Check out the infographic below for the full picture.

6 Medications that Deplete Your Nutrients and How to Supplement Infographic
6 Medications that Deplete Your Nutrients and How to Supplement Infographic. This infographic thanks to WellnessFX.

Revisiting the Zen Water Vitality 4 Gallon Six Stage Water Purification System

Back in April I wrote about a water purification system I was using from Zen Water. I liked it, but also criticized some design flaws. It has been a few months and I figured I’d recap the issues I saw then, any new issues that have arisen, and give an update on my overall happiness with the product.

If you decide to buy one, use this link. 🙂

Design Flaws

This is a photo of my Zen Water Vitality Purifier.
This is a photo of my Zen Water Vitality Purifier.
  1. The boxing was flimsy and disintegrating.
  2. The unit seemed to be somewhat “dirty” when it arrived.
  3. The instructions were on laminate but included instructions for all models – which was unnecessarily confusing.
  4. There needs to be some clearer warnings about things you shouldn’t (e.g. washing ceramic filter with hot water).
  5. The plastic tanks and lids don’t fit perfectly (potentially allowing little nasty airborne things to get in…). I suggested that either making the components fit perfectly or having the lids slide over instead of sit on the tanks would seal out most bacteria, molds, etc.
  6. The bottom tank is not done with a smooth plastic surface which makes it difficult to tell how much water is left.
  7. The magnetic faucet fields like plastic junk.
  8. Another flaw I’ve noticed is that the faucet tap is placed into the bottom tank sidewall, rather than tapping in under the tank – this means that unless you tip the unit (not easy) some water will always stay in there.
  9. I am unsure what caused this, but the mineral stone container at the bottom eventually got blackish blotches all over it. They washed off simply enough and didn’t appear to be any sort of living organism…my guess is that the minerals tend to accumulate over time on the container.
  10. In a similar way, I’m unsure if this is an issue but there appears to be some sort of clothish filter in mineral stone dispenser and in the filter which I am concerned may be a breeding ground for things…and which seems to be becoming discolored…but isn’t replaceable without replacing the entire component.

Increasing Profitability

One more feature they could add that would significantly increase, imho, their ongoing profits is a notification program for when things should be replaced/maintained. They have the date of purchase, they can then count off (programmatically) the number of days till a maintenance task needs to be performed or the unit needs a part replaced, and then shoot out an email to the owner informing them of this need (and of course including a link to purchase the replacement part).

I imagine a lot of people either continue using the parts long past when they should have been replaced (and are operating at reduced efficiency) or simply set the unit aside and let it gather dust once it doesn’t perform at its highest standards, not bothering to replace parts…at least, this has been my experience with some products and an experience I have observed in others.

So What About It?

I like it. I really wish they would make the changes I’ve recommended above, most of which are really simple. Still, even with these flaws, I haven’t come across another system I’d prefer to have.

What Next?

Next step is in a few weeks to borrow a microscope and take a look at the water pre-filter and post-filter. I’m especially interested to see if there are any creatures living in my water. Haha, don’t worry, I’m sure there are creatures in your water!

Visual Warnings to Self Regarding Sugar

Introduction

I’ve shared before that I have a massive sweet tooth. I don’t particularly like really rich foods (e.g. chocolate on chocolate on chocolate on…ad infinitum) , but I do like candy…umm, lets make that I have an addiction to candy.

Overall, I’ve been doing well with this. I gave myself permission to cheat a little when I go grocery shopping, but primarily I eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, b/c while they still have lots of sugar, they also have other elements that are more filling. I can just continue eating many types of candy all day (slight hyperbole), but chocolate, especially mixed with peanut butter, seems to satiate me fairly quickly.

But yesterday the craving got the best of me…So I decided to find some infographics to print off and post on my wall to remind me of why I want to stay away from sugar…and I figured I’d share what I found.

Fourteen Sweet Facts About Sugar

Infographic made by OnlineSchools.
Infographic made by OnlineSchools.

SugarGram: A Handy Dandy Guide to Candy (and Other Sugary Foods)

This infographic is from visual.ly.
This infographic is from visual.ly.

Your Body on Sugar

There is a really excellent infographic over at Prevention (by TantikaTivorat) entitled “Your Body on Sugar.” I didn’t include it here, b/c unlike most infographics which are meant to be shared (note the way they include links to the creating site in the infographic), this one doesn’t have the same sort of attributions.

A Few Links to More

Here are a few other infographics which were informative but I felt either covered the same ground as the infographics already mentioned or just didn’t impress me enough with the info they provided.

Also, here is an interesting site that compiles tons of stuff regarding sugar – The Truth About Sugar.

Light Therapy Lamps / Boxes.

I Blabber

I’ve had issues with sleep at least since I’ve been in high school. I wake up groggy,[1] feel tired throughout the day, experience overwhelming sleepiness at times throughout the day, and then have insomnia at night. Yes, it is as much fun as it sounds! 😛

Someone is struggling with insomnia. The image is thanks to the generosity of Jacob Stewart who placed the image under a Creative Commons license.
Someone is struggling with insomnia. The image is thanks to the generosity of Jacob Stewart who placed the image under a Creative Commons license.

In 2011-2012 I tried to get things figured out, went in for a sleep study, all that sort of good stuff, but came away with nothing conclusive – other than that I didn’t have sleep apnea (I didn’t think I did).

For the last two years I’ve lived with it – especially since numerous other health issues took precedence…but this year I’ve experienced significant relief from my other health issues[2] and sleep remains my greatest remaining obstacle…and probably a contributor to my other remaining health issues.

I saw a sleep specialist yesterday (Monday, 4/2). It went well. She did a thorough job and I felt like the office was run professionally. It did set me back $100 for the co-pay, which was painful…but I survived.

They scheduled me for a sleep study tonight which would then be continued tomorrow with a six hour daytime nap study…but this morning I was informed that they had spoken with my insurance company and the co-pay would be $1200. Not exactly what I was looking for, so we canceled the study for the time being.

Getting Down to Business

NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp
NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

Honestly, if I could sleep at night and be wakeful during the day, $1200 would be a no-brainer…but there isn’t a guarantee that the sleep study will demonstrate anything…and it seems to me that the treatments for a number of sleep disorders are fairly similar – namely (a) stimulant medications, (b) light therapy, (c) melatonin supplementation, and/or (d) behavioral changes.

I’m already on (a) and this exacerbates my OCD symptoms…so I don’t really want to increase the dosage.

I’ve already been told about (d) innumerable times and have made significant modifications to my sleep hygiene…I don’t see room for much more improvement on this front.

Philips BLU Light Therapy Device
Philips BLU Light Therapy Device

Which leaves (b) and (c). I’ve used (c) at various times without significant positive effect, though my more recent research has raised some new elements regarding timing of dosing which I may try…but (b) has always fascinated me, so I’m going to pursue that first.

I searched Amazon for light therapy “lamps” or “boxes” and I eliminated all that lacked a four star or greater rating. There were several different companies represented in these results which had a fair slew of reviews: Verilux, Philips, NatureBright, Omega, and Sphere Gadget Technologies.

I eliminated Omega and Sphere Gadget Technologies b/c I refuse to buy products from companies that don’t have websites – especially companies selling products of this sort. Sorry folks.

Making a Decision

This left Verilux, Philips, and NatureBright. You can see a comparison chart I made of the various models offered by these companies here.

HappyLight Liberty Natural Spectrum Lamp
HappyLight Liberty Natural Spectrum Lamp

NatureBright had one unit that ranked high (4.5 stars) and Verilux had two, whereas all the Philips units where rated well (4 stars) but not high.

The most popular product out of those mentioned was the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp which had 1,819 ratings – no one else came close, one of Philips trailing fare behind at 747 ratings.

The NatureBright products, in spite being so highly rated where also the lowest priced – so I bought (and am awaiting delivery of) the above mentioned unit.

As one can see on the comparison chart there are a few features this unit may lack (I won’t be sure until I get my hands on it) that some of the other units included – a rechargeable battery (this isn’t important to me), a dimmer (this is important), an alarm clock (not important). But with a 30 day return policy – I figure I can give it a try and always return it and replace it with another unit if I’m not happy…

My second choice at this point is probably the Verilux HappyLight Liberty Natural Spectrum lamp – the price is in the middle of the range across manufacturers, it has the 4.5 rating, and most importantly in comparison to the Philips products – the lamp is replaceable. Granted, the lamps should last for twenty-five or fifty years, but I still prefer to have the option to replace them.

 

  1. [1]Used to be depressed, which would dissipate 10 minutes into a shower…but that has gone away, now it is just groggy.
  2. [2]When you operate normally at say 40% health and you experience a boost to say 75% health, you still aren’t ‘healthy’ but it sure feels a heck of a lot better. :) Better enough that I can ‘live’ with the nuisances of the remaining 25%…

Disarming My Smartphone.

The Backstory

(Probably more than you need or want to know…but hey, I’m writing and you are reading – you can skip this section and I’ll never know)

I have a rough time sleeping (I go to see a sleep specialist on Monday and have been through a sleep study previously). I oftentimes can’t sleep through the night (waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning and unable to fall asleep till 5 or 6) and oftentimes struggle with excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

I’m in pretty good physical shape at this point – which is pretty amazing, especially considering all that I went through over the last few years with my health…sure there are still aches and pains and various nuisances…but I can live with them – the only one that really still frustrates me is this sleep issue – particularly the EDS.

I use my smartphone as my alarm clock – and I use Sleepbot to monitor my sleep – so I want to have my smartphone near me while I sleep…but this can sometimes be counterproductive. If someone sends me a SMS or FB message in the middle of the night I may hear it. If some stupid app I’ve recently installed and haven’t turned off notifications on (b/c I didn’t think they would have any!) decides the best time to notify me of something is at 2  or 3 am I may be woken.

The Recommendations

So I began searching for an application that would allow me to selectively mute my phone while still maintaining my availability. This would be simple enough if I didn’t need to be available for emergencies pretty much 24/7 (being in the pastorate and IT, where work oftentimes occurs off-schedule and with some urgency).

I did a little search around but didn’t come up with anything great. I find Google’s app store abysmal in its search functionality…even more inferior than its web search (which I use but loathe).[1] So, where does one turn when a google doesn’t turn up the answer? No, not Bing (sorry Microsoft!), Quora. You can see the question and answers here.

The main options offered where (a) CynagoenMOD’s ROM (but this would require placing the stock ROM – essentially the OS of the phone), (b) IFTTT (the programmability is nice, but it lacks, at least easily, all the features I need), (c) Locale (but it is fairly expensive for an app), (d) Tasker (but involves more programming than I was interested in), (e) Agent, (f) Do Not Disturb, and (g) Dindy (this is the app I’ve settled on).

My Choice: Dindy

An Android, open source application that can block phone calls and text messages at night.
An Android, open source application that can block phone calls and text messages at night.

I chose Dindy first because I’m a sucker for open source. If I have to choose between two products with the same featureset and one is open source and the other closed – I’ll go with the open source app almost every time.[2]

The killer feature I was looking for is the ability to let calls through if it is an emergency. In essence, if a phone call is made repeatedly (over a short period of time), it will be allowed through even if the app is set to reject calls. This way if someone really needs to get a hold of me, they can.

A secondary crucial feature is its ability to send text message responses to calls and texts I receive informing the person that I am unavailable and what they should do if it is an absolute emergency (e.g. call several times in a short span of time).

The one bummer is if the phone call comes from a land line you can’t send back a text message – so the person doesn’t know they need to keep calling…but honestly, whenever folks have an emergency (and oftentimes when they don’t :P) they blow up my phone with repeated calls…so I don’t think this will be a huge issue.

There are other features like the ability to whitelist and the ability to create different contexts with different messages – like if I am “away” from the phone, in a meeting, driving, or so on.

But there were two other apps that were close contenders with Dindy, lets talk about what I liked about them (that Dindy doesn’t have ::cough:: hint to developer 😉 ::cough::) and what they lacked that led me to utilize Dindy instead.

Do Not Disturb

An Android app which can selectively block calls, available in free and premium editions.
An Android app which can selectively block calls, available in free and premium editions.

This application comes at a free level, but really you’ll want the premium level. The cost is reasonable for an app. – $2.50. You can try the premium features in the free edition for two weeks for free.

Do Not Disturb lost a few points for not being open source (I don’t hold this against closed source projects, I have no beef with folks making closed source apps…but I trust that open source apps will be around longer, b/c someone else can pick up development if the original developer drops out…whereas closed source projects oftentimes are acquihired or simply shuttered)…

where DND really took a hit was in its lack of multiple modes besides day and night. Dindy provides me with the ability to create an infinite number of contexts – each with their own settings – with DND I’m restricted to two.

That said, DND does offer the ability to disable WiFi and data at night (saves battery) and to automatically (if desired) go mute during meetings (based on my calendar). Pretty sweet features.

Agent

Agent offers several automated "agents" that perform different functions - one being selective call blocking. It is closed source but free.
Agent offers several automated “agents” that perform different functions – one being selective call blocking. It is closed source but free.

The other application – which is quite the slick operator – is called Agent. It does quite a bit more than muting – it also takes action when your battery gets low, automatically remembers where you parked, and automatically goes into mute mode when you are driving (and, of course, all of these are configurable).

It also provides reporting capabilities which tell you what agent has been up to – when it has turned on and off certain functionality. Pretty sweet.

In addition it allows (unlike either DND or Dindy) disabling of auto-sync and of bluetooth (to save battery life).

Where it lost out to Dindy was in its lack of full customizability. It is limited to three contexts (meeting, driving, sleeping) and doesn’t allow for customizing how many calls the individual has to make before they are let through (I have it setup to allow through on the second call – which is what Agent has as the default, but Dindy’s customizability is really nice…and I like having options).

Dear Dindy

So, to recap, here is what I’m hoping Dindy might add in the near future:

  • Integrate with my calendar to allow automatic muting for meetings (bonus points for allowing keyword based filtering of which meetings like DND offers).
  • Include the ability to turn off wifi, data, bluetooth, and data sync as part of “going silent.”
  • Auto detect when I am driving and go silent.
  • Allow me to schedule the days/times I want Dindy to go silent at night (I forgot to mention that Dindy lacks and both DND and Agent offer this feature), so I don’t need to remember to start Dindy’s mute mode manually each night.

Dear DND and Agent

You both have great projects. Should you implement the features I mention that Dindy is currently missing, let me know. 😉

PS Google, Microsoft & WordPress

  • Google: I know you want to move to the new WebP project, but it makes my life difficult when you have your images in WebP format.
  • Microsoft: I am pretty unhappy you aren’t integrating WebP into IE.
  • WordPress: Please add WebP as a default allowed file format for uploading.
  1. [1]I’ve written several times on the past on alternative search engines as well as on my belief that social search engines could provide a way to give much better results.
  2. [2]Though if it is not under active development and the closed source app is, I’ll go with closed source…I’m interested not only in what the app can offer today but also what it will offer in the future.

Bill Gates and Mosquitos

Bill Gates has a long history. I remember reading a biography of him when I was a teenager. At that point Gates was both respected and hated. Microsoft had an iron fist on much of the software market in so many ways and used its weight to crush opposition. Since then Gates seems to be a different man – a much more caring and philanthropic man.

It may have been an article in Newsweek I read a few years back that talked about Melinda Gates (Bill’s wife) and the significant influence she has had upon him positively in these regards. Whatever the reasoning, I have a lot of respect for what Gates is doing these days in a variety of fields – not the least of which is battling disease.

As part of this battle Gates has launched a “Mosquito Week” on his blog to go alongside the well-known “Shark Week” that debuts each year on television (and which I never watch) in an attempt to raise awareness of the threat mosquitoes pose.

He includes a fascinating infographic which I’ve embedded below. HT to Andrew Vogel for posting it via Facebook and thus bringing it to my attention.

An infographic from Bill Gates on the deadliest animals in the world.
An infographic from Bill Gates on the deadliest animals in the world.

I Want More Sugar?

Stumbled (literally) upon this infographic about sugar consumption…pretty fascinating and scary. HT to Tom McKay at PolicyMic. Check below the infographic for links to a few interesting articles I found.

An infographic w/more disturbing info. than we probably want to know about our sugar consumption.
An infographic w/more disturbing info. than we probably want to know about our sugar consumption.

Further Reading

Zen Water Vitality 4 Gallon Six Stage Water Purification System Review

Introduction

I have a number of health complications – both physical and psychological.[1] I struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD),[2], Dysthymic Disorder,[3], Major Depressive Episodes,[4], Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD),[5] Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, and Insomnia. On the physical side I’ve had some severe issues with my legs which lasted for several years as well as pain and weakness which has extended throughout my entire body.

The Zen Water Vitality 4 Gallon Water Purification system.
The Zen Water Vitality 4 Gallon Water Purification system.

Quite the mouthful right? Thankfully, with the assistance of good doctors, friends, family, and lots of research many of these issues are fairly controlled and don’t destroy my life as they have at times in the past. Still, there is always elements of them hanging around – they never seem to vanish entirely, and there is still the occasional flareup…and in the case of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness/Insomnia, I am still struggling to find any effective method of treatment.

For these reasons I pursue various health measures which may seem somewhat unnecessary to others, but which help me manage these symptoms – or at the least help me eliminate potential causes/contributors to my health issues.

One of these measures was acquiring a Zen Water Filter Purifier. In this article I will discuss and review the Zen Water Filter Purification System – specifically the Vitality 4 Gallon product.

Product Presentation

The Zen Water website is nice enough and the assembled purifier looks presentable enough, however, Zen Water could make some small improvements to their presentation which would add considerably to the professional appearance of their company.

Namely, when I received the package and opened it up I was greeted by a confusing mass of components, especially the various filters in flimsy, dilapidated, and disintegrating boxes. Spending just a little more to make these boxes stronger would go a long ways towards improving first impressions.

Besides this there was some “dirtiness” to the entire unit – including plastic shavings (apparently from the machining process) and what appeared to be a layer of mineral dust (caused by packaging the filters in flimsy boxes).

The instructions are one, laminated, double-sided page and while they include some images, it is unfortunate that they decided to include multiple models assembly instructions instead of just sending the instructions for the selected model. How much more will it cost to print a single-sided page for each model instead of lumping them together?

Product Assembly

The product was not too difficult to assemble, but there are a number of steps which aren’t entirely intuitive and which one can easily overlook – for example, you should not wash the ceramic filter with hot water – but this isn’t stated in a bold and attention grabbing way and many will utilize (naturally) hot water in scrubbing the ceramic filter down before noticing (if ever) those instructions.

Product Quality

The product looks nice once assembled and from a distance, but it has several distance weaknesses. First, the plastic tanks and lids don’t seem to fit perfectly – which to me indicates that various airborne nasties will enter into the tanks. I’m sure this isn’t a huge deal (I’m breathing them) – but making sure that the tanks and their lids had a perfect fit would be really nice.

If making them fit perfectly is difficult for Zen Water to accomplish with their currently manufacturing equipment, I’d suggest making the lids a little larger so they slide down over the tank, sealing out air in that manner.

Ideally, I’d also like to see some sort of “snapping” mechanism between the lids and tanks – the purification system is too prone to spills when children are utilizing it.

Additionally, the bottom tank is not done with a smooth plastic surface (the top tank is) which makes it very hard to tell how much water is left in the tank. I’m not sure why this design decision was made – I don’t think it has any functional purpose and I would suggest it be replaced with a smooth (or at least smoother) design that allows better visibility.

Finally, the magnetic faucet feels like a piece of junk plastic and I am concerned that with time this component will break down. Using a stronger material might add slightly to the cost – but overall the Zen Water looks like a “premium” product (from a distance) – but that impression is ruined up close as soon as you touch the magnetic faucet.

Ohh, and I forgot, according to the FAQ page there is no BPA in their products, but this is b/c Brita (a competitor!) says there is none in styrene acrylonitrile. I’d like to see some better sourcing than a competitors promotional claims!

Filtration

The most important part of the system is the filtration. How does it work? Is it better than other products of comparable price? The filtration system consists of six steps

Ceramic Filter

The Why page of Zen Water states that this filter “Traps contaminants, bacteria, spores, cysts, and parasites. Reduces organic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.” The 8 Stage Filtration System page tells us that the ceramic is “highly compressed” and has “diatomic properties.”

When I googled for “diatomic properties,” “diatom,” “diatomic,” “diatomic filter” and so on the results did not provide clarification as to what exactly having diatomic properties has to do with filtering. Most of the results seemed to have to do with fish aquariums!

The site also states that the dome “consists of millions of pores that measure 0.2 to 0.5 microns in diameter, while most bacteria is 0.5 to 1.0 microns in size.” For the time being, I’ll take their word on that…Though I’d like to look into what sort of bacteria are smaller than 0.2 microns – it is great if it filters out lots of bacteria – but does it filter out the ones that are most harmful?

Silver Impregnated Granular Activated Carbon

The 8 Stage Filtration page tells us that this filter is “extremely effective in the removal of chlorine, bad tastes and odors, radon, solvents, pesticides and herbicides, volatile organic chemicals and hundreds of other man-made chemicals found in water.” I don’t really doubt this, as carbon is used in almost every water purification system I see sold to consumers.

The page continues, “Our activated carbon is impregnated with silver to disinfect and inhibit the growth of bacteria in the water filter system.” Wikipedia says the powers ascribed to silver at true.

Mineral Sands

The 8 Stage page states that these sands “have superb absorbent qualities to removal granular impurities.” So, I know that absorbing impurities is good and I know that granular means very small – but what exactly sort of impurities are we talking about? I have no clue.

Ion Exchange Resin

I could be incorrect placing this under Mineral Sands – it isn’t mentioned on the 8-Stage page but is mentioned on Why Zen Water. Supposedly “[s]oftens and purifies water by removing toxins and heavy metals.” Wikipedia says Zen Water’s claims are true.

Silica Sand

Again, this doesn’t appear on the 8 Stage page but does appear on Why Zen. Supposedly “[a]ids in digestion and boosts metabolism. Improves circulation and immune system. Helps strengthen collagen for radiant skin, shiny hair and stronger nail[s].”

Wikipedia seems to indicate some positive and negative effects from silica sand – though the negative appear primarily through air exposure and the positive primarily from water exposure. The emphasis from a Google Search seems to be on the dangers of air-borne silica sand rather than any benefits. Further research needed.

Micro-Infusion

In addition to purifying, the mineral sand and stones also “[i]nfuses water with micro-nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.” I believe this claim is true based on my knowledge of minerals and their presence in water (growing up I experienced the strong presence of both sulphur and iron at times in the water I drank).

Far Infrared Balls

The 8 Stage page claims that these balls “ionizes and helps activate water molecules in human cells and blood.” A search of Google Scholar did not readily turn of research papers on this topic and most of the regular Google Results appeared to be selling the products and not providing substantive information about the balls.

These balls apparently do emit infrared, but whether this is something that actually has an effect on the water or human health, I do not know.

Natural Zeolite

According to the 8 Stage page, natural zeolite is “formed when volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater” creating a “highly porous structure” which is capable of capturing particulate contamination down to 4 microns in size. This sounds well and good – but didn’t the ceramic already take care of everything down to 0.5 microns?

It “has a negative natural charge which gives it the capacity to absorb cations, such as heavy metals and ammonium, and some organic contaminants and undesirable odors.” Further “[i]t has been widely reported that zeolite reduces radioactive elements.”

I wish Zeo Water could include citations for these claims – but a search of Google Scholar does show that zeolite appears to have some filtration properties including reducing radioactive elements. I searched for “zeolite radioactive” and same up with results from articles from the Journal of Hazardous Materials (2,006, 2009), The Journal of Geology (1982), Applied Radiation and Isotopes (2000), and so on.

Mineral Stone

There isn’t a lot of information on their site about the mineral stone I could find, but on the box there was a bunch. Here is the information from the box (don’t ask me what all of it means, but feel free to tell me :)):

  • Contains over 40 kinds of inorganic substance with high absorption.
  • Bionic (?) capacity makes water tasty and generates minerals.
  • Ingredients:
    • SiO2 – 70.44 ratio
    • AI2O3 – 14.47
    • Fe203 – 2.01
    • FeO – 0.75
    • MgO – 0.83
    • CaO – 2.19 – “Neutralization of acidic blood”
    • Na2O – 4.59
    • K2O – 2.69 – “Balancing for the saturation of cell, contraction of muscle, reviving for the paralysis of nerves, balancing for the acid/akali humors”
    • TiO2 – 0.47
    • (P2O)5 – 0.09
    • MNO – 0.09 – “Prevention of anemia, controlling for the oxidation of fat, activation of enzyme, balancing for the oxidation of fatty acid”
    • (H2O)+ – 1.37
    • (H2O) – .41
    • GE 11.22 PPM
    • pH 7.3-7.8
    • Zn – “Activation of ferment, promotion of reproduction, tranquility and stimulation of brain cell”
    • Fe – “Activation of insulin in pancreatitis”
    • F – “Becoming strong teeth, prevention of [and here my writing fails me], activation of ferment and physique growth”
    • Se – “equilibrium of pulsation, calmness, prevention of cancer, cure of neuralgia and skin disease, promotion of vigor”
    • HCO2, Free CO2 – “Removal of headache, promotion of digestion”
    • Ri – “Prevention of cancer”
    • Ra – “Activation of physical function-stimulation of the inform cell”
    • Ge4+ – “Germanium, prevention of cancer, bio vigor effect”

Magnetic Tap

I did find an article entitled “Water Purification Using Magnetic Assistance: A Review” in the Journal of Hazardous Materials (2010) but I really haven’t done enough research to know if this article even applies.

Ongoing Costs

The initial purification system which includes the filtering components runs around $80. You have to replace each of the filtering components on occasion – the micro-ceramic filter dome around once a year, the 5 stage mineral filter cartridge every six months, the mineral stone case every 3-5 years. Not horrible – but how much will it cost? In the same order as they are listed above: $14.95, $17.50, and – who knows? The mineral stone case isn’t listed on the site! I’d say the costs aren’t bad, but I sure would like to know where to get replacement mineral stone cases and how much they will cost.

Conclusion

I’d like to write more and refine this article – but it has already consumed too much time – so I’ll put it out as-is. I think I’ve been able to include enough information to make it useful.

Let me conclude by noting that I am satisfied with the product – though there is certainly room for improvements. It does filter very slow, you basically need to leave it filtering overnight, but it is all gravity fed and doesn’t use electricity or make noise.

The water that comes out tastes good (in that pure/mineralized sense) and unlike water left alone in a cup for a few days, it doesn’t begin smelling like dead fish (at least that is what I think stale water smells/tastes like).

I’d love to hear from others who have/are using this product and their thoughts. It is available via Amazon and has an average review of 4/5 stars from 367 customers – pretty good.

P.S. I’m really confused as to why their site has an “8 stage purification” page but then on the actual page says “6 stage” and only includes six stages?

  1. [1]Ewww, that sounds bad.
  2. [2]Particularly scrupulous elements and including features of other disorders like trichotillomania.
  3. [3]An underlying, low-level, long-lasting depression.
  4. [4]I don’t think I’ve had one of these in a number of years though…other than struggles in 2013 related to life circumstances.
  5. [5]I do not struggle with ADHD, which includes the Hyperactive component.

How Some Famous Creatives Worked.

This is a fascinating infographic from Info We Trust regarding the daily habits of some famous creative individuals. I’ve included my own observations based on the data below the image. You can click on the image to see it full-size.

The routines of some famous creative individuals.
The routines of some famous creative individuals.
  • Length of Work: Gustave Flaubert (5.5), Ludwig Beethoven (8), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (12), Thomas Mann (8), Sigmund Freud (12.5), Immanuel Kant (11), Maya Angelou (9), John Milton (8), Honore de Balzac (13.5), Victor Hugo (2), Charles Dickens (5), W.H. Auden (11.5), Charles Darwin (10), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (6), Le Corbusier (8.5), Benjamin Franklin (8).
    • Note that several individuals (4) worked relatively short days – Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Dickens, and Tchaikovsky.
    • Others (6) worked exceptionally long days – Mozart, Freud, Kant, Balzac, Auden, Darwin.
      • Note that Mozart and Kant both spent four hours working at their ‘real work’ – the rest was their ‘desired work.’
      • Freud may have utilized an addiction to cigars to power through the days.[1] Similarly, Balzac used up to fifty cups of coffee a day to power through his lengthy work hours. Auden meanwhile utilize a stimulant (benzedrine, similar to amphetamines) to work long hours, crashed hard afterwards with vodka, and slept only with the use of a barbiturate (seconal). Finally, Darwin utilized snuff during the work day, reading makes up two hours of his work day, and solving problems while awake at night in bed consumes another two.
      • Overall, this indicates to me that the individuals in general either required addictive substances to retain focus and allow for the longer creative hours or that they worked in the sense we would consider work less hours, but then were productive in other areas for numerous other hours.
    • Some (6) worked average days – Beethoven, Mann, Angelou, Milton, Le Corbusier, Franklin.
  • Sleep: Flaubert (7), Beethoven (8), Mozart (5), Mann (9), Freud (6), Kant (7), Angelou (7.5), Milton (7), Balzac (8.5), Hugo (8), Dickens (7), Auden (7), Darwin (8), Tchaikovsky (8), Le Corbusier (7), Franklin (7).
    • None of these individuals slept less than 5 hours nightly. Only Mozart and Freud sleep significantly less than 8 hrs.
    • Seven hours per night appears to have been the average (8), though a decent number slept 8 (5).
    • Only two slept more than 8 hrs.
    • Only three napped during the day – none for longer than an 1.5 hours.
  • Exercise: Flaubert (1), Beethoven (2), Mozart (0), Mann (.5), Freud (1), Kant (1), Angelou (0), Milton (4), Balzac (.5), Hugo (2), Dickens (3), Auden (0), Darwin (1.5), Tchaikovsky (2), Le Corbusier (.75), Franklin (0).
    • A significant number did not exercise at all (4).
    • Most seemed to prefer walks (9).
    • A few emphasized strenuous exercise (4).

I hope someone will work on further expanding this data set. This infographic is fascinating – but far too limited to derive significant conclusions about the type of schedule that creatives have utilized historically. For example, I feel that Winston Churchill and JFK would need to be included (both of whom took lengthy afternoon naps), it would be interesting to see more religious individuals (e.g. Calvin, Luther, Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa), and also an analysis of the existence (or non-existence) of social relationships (this shows that they ate meals, but not necessarily how much time was spent interacting with family/friends). 

  1. [1]Also, 2.5 hrs. were spent reading – most likely a leisurely activity for Freud in some senses.

HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle Review

The Sportline Hydracoach Intelligent Water Bottle is for quantified self nerds like me who like to measure everything going on in their bodies and analyze it – which then allows for biohacking to optimize oneself for health, cognition, energy, etc. It runs around $30 on Amazon. As far as I am aware, it is the only product of its type. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the product is under current development (at least the official website is horribly outdated).

A photo of the slimline Hydracoach.
A photo of the slimline Hydracoach.

The included user manual (which is well-done, better than most product manuals these days) states, “The HydraCoach will provide immediate benefits by monitoring your personal consumption rate and motivating you to drink steadily through the day. Serious athletes to everyday health conscious individuals can now interactively manage their own fluid consumption to maximize the benefits of hydration while proactively preventing the ill-effects of both dehydration and over-hydration (Hyponatremia).”

First is a matter of laziness on my part – but one I suspect many will identify with. I don’t like to wash a water bottle until it needs to be. Unfortunately, this water bottle after a few days begins to taste swampy. I don’t usually drink out of water bottles – so I can’t verify whether this is always the case with water bottles…but I know it doesn’t seem to be the case with regular cups.

This in and of itself isn’t too big of a deal – but the difficulty of cleaning the water bottle is. The bottle itself is fairly easy (though it can’t be washed via dish washer!) but the mouthpiece, tubing, and so on are a bit of a pain and ideally require soaking. When I haven’t taken the time to soak these components I’ve been greeted by the unpleasant swampy taste even after washing (with soap) the bottle and other components. I suspect this is because the mouthpiece and so on contains various components in order to track water flow that unfortunately tend to gather various little invisible critters/fauna that begin to grow and reproduce therein…and that these aren’t easily removed via a regular washing.

If you can live with this (I am) the next big issue is the upper cap which fits onto the bottle. Other than those special components it seems just like any other water bottle cap – but it refuses to act like one. When I attempt to screw it on it usually resists. I try over and over and eventually, magically, it decides that this time it will twist on. I am sure there is some trick to this – but I don’t know what it is and I don’t see any marking that say, “hey, start twisting the cap onto the bottle at this position.” So, this is very annoying. One may be tempted (as I was) to push the lid down, thinking maybe it just needs a little extra force to lock into place – nope…all one will accomplish is dousing oneself in water when attempting to drink.

All this said, none of these issues are ‘deal-breakers’ in my opinion. The device has shown me that I consume a lot less water than I thought I did (and I think I consume more than most). It also does help one monitor how much one is drinking throughout the day – thus allowing for better pacing. Still, there is much to be desired in the device – as it lags far behind currently available technologies. The website mentions 2007 at one point – and I’m guessing that is when this product was released and I don’t think it has been updated since then.

Here is what I’m hoping to see in the next generation device or from a competitor’s product:

  1. The device should use wireless technology (or at the least some form of tethering [USB]) to communicate with smart devices (phones, computers) data and to allow for configuration.
  2. The device should integrate with third-party fitness products such as FitBit so that I don’t have to manually enter my data each day into my third-party fitness product (in my case this is FitBit), it should happen automagically.
  3. Since the programming can be done via smart devices in a future rendition it would be possible to decrease the size of the display on the unit and to rid it off all buttons.
  4. It should be able to automatically calculate when a day begins and ends and automatically move on to the next day – instead of needing me to tell it each time I want a new day to begin.
  5. It should be dishwasher safe.
  6. Ideally, there should be an easier way to maintain its cleanliness so that the water doesn’t become swampy.