I believe getting water that's free from trace irritants, pharmaceuticals and metals are important.
The Berkey system seems to remove the pharmaceuticals and fluoride but keeps the minerals in.  My health hacker buddies love it. I like the idea of keeping fluoride away from my pineal gland.  🙂

After a bunch of research, this is the system I picked up:

– Big Royal Berkey: http://amzn.to/1KgzsBh
– Fluoride/Arsenic Filters: http://amzn.to/1NDASts

– Glass Water Level Spigot: http://amzn.to/1Jcb1kE
– Wire Stand: http://amzn.to/1JccYxu (check diameter before ordering)


Berkey removes chloramines, pharmaceuticals, BPA and much more from your water.

Testing Highlights:
1) Bisphenol-A: Removed to greater than 99.9%. Many customers had the desire to pour their bottled water into their Berkey, and had wondered if the system would remove this endocrine disruptor.

2) Chloramines: Removed to greater than 99.9%. With many water municipalities switching to chloramine disinfection instead of chlorine, there was a growing chorus of existing and potential Berkey customers wanting the answer to this question.

3) Pharmaceuticals: Removed to greater than 99.5%. This has been a hot button also. Many studies and articles have come out over the past five years showing how these pharmaceuticals are being flushed down toilets and are not being removed from our water supply by the local municipal filtration plant. The filters were tested for 17 different types of pharmaceuticals and they were all removed. No additional types of pharmaceuticals were available for testing at this lab, however, the results should be similar to others.

4) Petroleum contaminants: Removed to greater than 99.9%. With the unfortunately too common event of oil spills and petroleum contamination of waterways and water sources, this has been on the mind of customers for some time, especially since the Gulf oil spill.  The black Berkey would protect them from these contaminants.

5) Methylcyclohexane-methane: Removed to greater than 99.9%. This was the contaminant that was involved in the March 2014 West Virginia oil spill.

6) Pesticides: Removed to greater than 99.9%. These had already been tested for before, however, more pesticides were included in this round of testing.

7) Heavy metals: Removed to greater than 99.1%. These had already been tested for before, however, a couple more heavy metals were included in this round of testing.

8) Coliform and e-coli: Removed to greater than 99.9%. These had already been tested for before and shown to be removed to over 99.9999%. This could be considered as confirmation testing.
More tests

RISE Breath

Breathing Techniques

Intro to Breathing Techniques:  For millennia, kung fu artists and yogis have practiced a daily routine of building up positive energy and discharging any negative energy in the body.  Modern medicine and neuroscience suggest that breathing techniques can help with everything from stress reduction to sports performance, weight loss, DNA function, deeper sleep, improved mood and cognitive performance.


In general, we want to breathe with the RISE Method, especially in moments of stress.

Relax.  Relax the abdomen and pelvic region
Inhale. Inhale deeply through the nose
Sound. Observe the sound of the breath and the sensations in the body
Exhale. Exhale through the nose

Some notes on each part of this breathing technique:

Relax: When we get stressed, one of the things that happens is we tense up the belly and the pelvic region. The first step of RISE breathing is to relax the belly and let the stomach out so that the lungs can expand fully.  When the lungs expand fully we get more oxygen.  When the belly expands fully we stimulate the relaxation nerve of the body, the vagus nerve.

Inhale: The second step is to inhale deeply through the nose. Inhaling through the nose allows the body to filter and humidify the air to a more comfortable level for the lungs. Breathing through the nose stimulates a relaxing mode of the nervous system called the parasympathetic mode.

Sound and sensation: The third step is to either observe the sounds of your breath or your environment, observe the sensations in the body or make a sound. The reason to observe the sound or observe the sensations in the body is because when we get stressed, we lose track of the present moment. This keeps us from being mindful about what’s happening right now. When we observe the sounds of the breath, we’re immediately brought back to the present moment. We can also, in this step, observe the sensations of the breath, the coolness of the breath in the nose, the warmth of the breath in the lungs and any other sensations in the body.

Exhale: The fourth step is to exhale, either through the nose normally, or through the mouth if you want to be more mindful. Exhale fully and deeply, without force or pressure.

When we breathe deeply into the belly and take time for these conscious breaths, science suggests that it decreases cortisol and increases antioxidants in the body. Include a link to the University of Camerino study.

During any tense or stressful moment, taking the time to be conscious of the breath will help defuse stress.

The RISE Method is copyright Rob Hartman.  All rights reserved.

Nutrition for Post-Traumatic Growth

I’ve been researching nutrition to support the process of post-traumatic growth. A few thoughts on this are:

  1. Reduce inflammation: Inflammation puts the body into a sympathetic, or “fight vs. flight” state. Each person has different foods that might inflame their digestive tract. If you have heartburn, you have inflammation.
  2. Take care of the basics. Breathe. Hydrate with filtered water. Go to the bathroom every day.
  3. Feed your vagus nerve. Eat a good amount of foods with choline.
  4. Get minerals and electrolytes via food, including magnesium.

Autonomic nervous system activity of preschool-age children who stutter

Present findings suggest that preschool-age children who stutter, when compared to their normally fluent peers, have a physiological state that is characterized by a greater vulnerability to emotional reactivity (i.e., lower RSA indexing/less parasympathetic tone) and a greater mobilization of resources in support of emotional reactivity (i.e., higher SCL indexing/more sympathetic activity) during positive conditions. Thus, while reducing stuttering to a pure physiological process is unwarranted, the present findings suggest that parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system activity is involved.
Based on this research, I theorize that strengthening the vagus nerve and teaching self-regulation may reduce stuttering.

Acetylcholine: The forgotten neurotransmitter

Imagine what driving a high-performance race car would be like if there were no brakes. I bet you wouldn’t want to  go very fast, to take turns or to accelerate because without the ability to slow down, you’d be sure to wreck. In order to go fast when we want to, we need to trust that the braking system is working to the best of its ability. That’s why makers such as Ferrari and Tesla spend tens of millions of dollars researching not just ways to accelerate, but also ways to decelerate.

Most people living a modern life seek more rest, deeper sleep and better sex, which are some of the body’s ways of “decelerating.”  The common thread to all these decelerating functions is our forgotten neurotransmitter.  According to the National Academy of Sciences, recent advances in helping treat war veterans and addicts may be bringing this neurotransmitter into the spotlight[1].  The neurotransmitter is called acetylcholine, and it is the human brake fluid.  Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter of the nerve that relaxes the body, the vagus nerve. The combination of the vagus nerve with acetylcholine is what makes the braking system of the body work.

Recently, the National Academy of Sciences found evidence to support war veterans taking choline to help heal the brain from the trauma of war[1].  But anyone who experiences a lot of stress could benefit from this brain-healing compound. Stress causes holes in the brain to form, which causes our brain to go into different ways of thinking that are more reactive, more explosive and less conducive to healthy relationships and strategic planning. Frankly, the modern stress that we experience is killing us. To reverse the effects of this stress and really bring us into a more peaceful, restful place, let’s all consider taking a little bit of choline.

What does choline have to do with acetylcholine? Before we go there, a brief history of neurotransmitters: In the early 1900s, the first neurotransmitter was discovered. A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger that travels throughout the internet of our body, the nervous system. There are dozens of neurotransmitters, each signaling bits of data, forming the sensations of our bodies and directing the actions of our bodies. This brings us back to the forgotten neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, and its building block, choline.

Choline is the predecessor to acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that reduces vigilance and relaxes the body.  It lowers the heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and restores calm and relaxation to the body. It’s responsible for some of the relaxation and health activities such as resting, sleeping or preparing the body for sex by causing an erection or moistening the vagina. It helps us salivate and blush, and overall it brings us into a rested state and calms us down. Choline is helpful not just for the vagus nerve, but it also helps us clear the liver.

Unfortunately some studies show that we are not consuming enough choline to make the acetylcholine that our bodies need.[2] Choline is similar to a B vitamin and is sometimes found in supplements, but like I said, most people aren’t getting enough of it. There are a couple of ways that we can get a good amount of choline. The most accessible is eating eggs: The yolks are high in choline. Women usually need to eat two eggs a day to absorb enough choline, and men usually need three.[3]  For those of us who are a little more adventurous, beef liver is also high in acetylcholine. Three to four ounces can suffice.  If you’re a vegetarian or want another option, sunflower lecithin is high in phosphatidylcholine.  And finally, some nutritionists recommend taking choline-inositol supplements. Check with your doctor prior to adjusting your supplements.

Consider taking some choline with your next meal! Here’s to a happy, healthy braking system that will help you perform at a higher level.






I often use these sunflower lecithin pills (amazon) or this sunflower lecithin powder (amazon) in a shake. Some nutritionists prefer using choline-inositol pills (amazon).

Interesting Science: Does Media Multitasking Improve Multitasking?

In a recent study titled: “Media multitasking is associated with distractibility and increased prefrontal activity in adolescents and young adults.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27063068

This suggests that daily media multitasking is associated with behavioral distractibility and increased recruitment of brain areas involved in attentional and inhibitory control, and that media multitasking in everyday life does not translate to performance benefits in multitasking in laboratory settings.

Summary: Media multitasking does not translate into better multitasking; may decrease attention span and reduce inhibitory control.