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Water is an essential part of our daily lives.

We often hear we need to drink more water. Keep hydrated! Eight glasses a day! Take a water break! But how do we get the most out of the water we drink? And what if the water from the tap just isn’t tasty at all?

26.5 pounds of water, 24 pieces of recyclable garbage when you’re done!

For years, Laurien and I used to load up on packs of water from the grocery store with each grocery run including two enormous 24-packs of bottled water jammed under the cart. We paid around four bucks for them and lugged them home (they typically weigh more than 25 pounds). The taste was decent and the convenience of having cold water ready to grab and go was nice. But the empty bottles stacked up, steadily accumulating on bedside tables, countertops and the floor of our car.

Still, it seemed the pros outweighed the cons when it came to bottled water for us. We tried a Brita pitcher in the past, but filling it up was a constant chore. It never seemed to hold enough water. We tried filling up the reusable two-gallon jugs at our local grocery store, but more often than not we’d forget to bring the empty jug back to refill on subsequent grocery runs. We even installed an under-the-sink filter for the cold water line on the kitchen sink, but the taste wasn’t noticeably improved and we still preferred bottles. It wasn’t until we started researching alkaline water that we really considered a more heavy-duty filtration system.

I have had issues with heartburn and acid reflux since a young age. Any time I don’t eat enough in the morning or have too many refined sugars, my stomach turns into the pit of a fiery volcano. I used Tums and acid reducer tablets to cope, but I wanted to find a solution that didn’t require medication.

One day while doing our routine water bottle purchase, Laurien and I saw a newer product: alkalized water. It was a brand called Essentia, claiming to have a pH of 9.5 or higher. I thought it seemed like the kind of thing that might be able to help balance my chronic acidity, but the cost was about seven times higher than the store brand bottled water! That’s when I decided to do some research.

Is alkaline water really beneficial?

If you do a little online searching, most of the sources you will find will say there isn’t enough research to conclusively say that alkaline water has any health benefits. Most mainstream sources for health advice, like WebMD or Mayo Clinic, are extremely slow-moving when it comes to health trends and extremely skeptical of any health claims, be they from supplements, herbal tinctures, or even alkaline water. But I was able to find a handful of studies suggesting alkaline water can be beneficial to health.

The one that interested me most was this 2012 study on the effects of alkaline drinking water on reflux disease. The study concluded that the alkalized water was able to instantly denature pepsin, a stomach enzyme primarily responsible for triggering acid reflux. It sounded like the perfect solution, and from there I started researching the best way to get a steady source of alkaline drinking water.

There are many ways to get your hands on alkaline drinking water.

I already mentioned that you can buy alkaline water bottles at your local grocery store, but there are also ways to make it yourself at home! Many of the DIY methods I found involved a process called electrolysis that uses electric currents to separate acidic elements from tap water. They look cheap but complicated, and they create a great deal of acidic wastewater as a byproduct. This looked difficult, so I decided to look for water filters that would alkalize the drinking water. I started by researching reverse osmosis filters because after nearly a decade in various beverage industry jobs, I knew this to be the gold standard in water filtration.

Reverse osmosis is a process where water is pushed through a series of thin membranes in order to filter out all solvents from the water. Typically, minerals are added back into the water after it has been filtered to make the water healthier and tastier. Reverse osmosis systems can remove more than just chemical contaminants like lead, chlorine and fluoride. It also is effective at removing protozoa, bacteria and viruses, making it one of the safest and most effective filtration methods in use today.

With the excessive flooding in our area this spring, many people were worried when KC Water failed to meet treatment standards for the protozoa cryptosporidium. Although the cryptosporidium levels weren’t high enough to trigger a boil warning, they did warn that residents with compromised immune systems, infants and the elderly were at risk of sickness if exposed to the contaminate in small levels. Luckily for us, we already had our reverse osmosis system in place so we didn’t have to worry about the contaminants at all! It really gives us peace of mind, especially when we’re cooking or filling sippy cups for our two babies here at home!

The hunt for the perfect reverse osmosis system!

After a little digging, I found a great reverse osmosis system manufactured by Express Water that offered everything I had been looking for – and at a price tag of under $200! It was relatively easy to install in our kitchen. The hardest part was drilling a hole in the steel sink for the tap that’s included with the kit, which isn’t too difficult. To do it right you’ll need a good drill bit for your sink’s material. For stainless steel, I used a step bit like this one and drilled down to the 1/2″ step. For porcelain sinks, a 1/2″ diamond hole saw bit is highly recommended.

I had the whole thing installed in about 30 minutes. The instructions that came with the kit are simple and easy to follow with great photo illustrations! The whole tubing system is also color coded, so even if you’re averse to plumbing projects like I am, it’s easy to get all the connections right. I recommend making extra sure you’ve got all the membranes tightened down fully, as the system can leak slightly if they’re not cranked down all the way. When you’re turning the water on at first, do so slowly to be sure that there are no leaks before walking away and letting the system fill.

Even though the system is a relatively quick install, it will take about half a day before the water is ready to drink. The instructions suggest letting the reservoir tank fill up four times, fully draining the tank after each fill. This allows water to flush through the membranes and rinse them enough to be fully effective. Once your system is fully flushed, you’ll have great tasting water any time.

Alkalized Water

I found that the water consistently tests at a pH of 10.1, and it has really helped lower my instances of acid reflux. I try to drink a glass before bed and another when I wake up in the mornings to keep my stomach calm. If you are looking for a way to neutralize frequent stomach acidity, or if you just want great tasting water in your home, I highly recommend this system. Feel free to comment with any questions!

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