Small, thoughtful changes can make all the difference

Meryl Gwinn. File photo
Meryl Gwinn. File photo

By Meryl Gwinn

Recent rains have brought some much-needed relief from our epic drought.

They also posed a sharp illustration of the absence, however intermittent, of a basic need like rainwater. Times like these call attention to life’s important essential elements and hopefully leave you considering personal choices.

Below are some ways we might be more responsible for our health at home:


Firing up leftovers? Microwaves work by causing water and fat molecules to vibrate, making food hot. Our bodies have a hard time understanding how to respond to these super-fast moving particles, and the nutrients in microwaved food have proven to have a marked negative effect on human blood.

What comes out of the convenience machine is denatured matter that could possibly harm your system. Admittedly this is a controversial subject, and the microwave debate centers mainly on whether electromagnetic waves produce free radicals, which can interact with food, changing its chemical structure. But why take an unnecessary chance.

If you must, reheat food in the oven or stovetop, or better yet avoid leftovers period. Fresh, living food contributes to an anti-inflammatory diet. Life equals life.


Don’t voluntarily pollute your home’s air. Switch out paraffin candles with beeswax or soybean. Petroleum-based candles—the most popular kind—emit chemicals like toluene and benzene. Petrol is non-renewable and the object of a consistent history of invasion and disruption of the world’s people and resources. Opt for organic incense or essential oils which are 100 percent pure and medicinal.

Since many common items like hairspray, cleaning products and fake fireplaces all emit a certain amount of volatile organic compounds, ventilation is key. Open windows for cross-ventilation, and adopt purifying plants like peace lilies or English ivy to help filter stagnant air.

Breathe easier and observe respiratory conditions, allergies and asthma improve.


Our water travels. The Northern Sierras, the Colorado River and local groundwater supply our drinking water. The grime: Mountain springs might flow through sulfur, zinc or arsenic-laden formations and groundwater can pick up industrial contamination. This waste water is treated at facilities by separation, ferric chloride and bleach to name a few methods, but the end quality, although worthy of EPA standards, may be suspect.

At The Waterhouse in Dana Point—a gem for pure, remineralized water and home filtration systems—I recently tested municipal tap water for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and compared the result to standards reported by the World Health Organization. Over 400 TDS was read. Healthy water will read around 50 TDS, evident of necessary minerals, where dead or distilled water will read near zero.

Tap water is a cocktail of some natural occurring elements and about 300 other possible contaminants. Water from a No. 7 plastic water bottle yielded a 600+ TDS reading, which could reflect contaminants leaked from the container. Such contaminants could include bisphenol A, a chemical—believed by many to be a hormone disruptor—common in sports bottles, baby bottles and 5-gallon water jugs.

Plastic products are marked with a number that describes its material. Plenty of research supports avoiding numbers 3, 6 and 7, as they denote the presence of harmful chemicals that may be leached. Bottles marked No. 1, 2, 4 and 5 are deemed “safer” plastics. Purchase a quality water filter for drinking and maybe one for your shower.

Chlorine bleach and other chemicals are rapidly absorbed by the skin. Carry and utilize glass in your home and be mindful of how you use one of our most important elements. Visit The Waterhouse at 24671 La Plaza to be enlightened on all things water and water filtration systems.

Although “toxic” may be the buzzword of the century, don’t let cynicism render you inactive. Tiny changes can make all the difference. The human body is incredibly resilient and able to heal given the right environment, food and care. The earth, with all its plants and cyclical perfection has the same intention, assuming we don’t take too much for granted.

Namaste. May all beings everywhere be happy, healthy and free.

Meryl Gwinn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and has studied yoga, health, food and humans around the globe. Gwinn welcomes reader feedback at

In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community Picket Fence Media provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of Picket Fence Media. Information included in this column should not take the place of medical advice. Readers are encouraged to speak with a health care provider or pharmacist for questions regarding the use of ingredients listed. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at

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