What contaminants are lurking in your water?

“Is my water safe to drink?” –this is something we all wonder on occasion. We like to think our water is clean and free of contaminants, but what exactly is in tap water?

Sometimes we can taste the heavy metals in our tap water, a strong chlorine smell, or even feel the dirt and silt as we’re gargling the water down. Sometimes we don’t taste, smell or feel anything in the tap water, but this doesn’t always mean it’s safe to drink.

Contaminants or waterborne pollutants aren’t always detectable by our human senses, so waterborne illnesses sometimes are attributed to other external factors instead of the water source. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that water sources near agricultural or industrial plants may contain pollutants from these facilities like pesticides, fertilizers, lead, or other chemicals. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies potential health risks from contaminated water—such as increased cancer risk, reproductive issues, and impair organ function, to name a few.

In an article by the New York Times, scientists like Dr. Griffiths, the former chairman of the EPA’s Drinking Water Committee noted that there are thousands of chemicals, viruses and microbes that the EPA has not even begun to assess, which leaves a big question mark on whether or not our water is safe. There is a slew of contaminants that can be harmful to your health. Constantly ingesting these contaminants can lead to chronic illnesses, cancer, and other health issues. To better understand what’s in our water, let’s start with the most common contaminants in tap water.


Lead can contaminate water through lead service lines that connect the home to main water lines, or from other plumbing systems soldered with lead. Some drinking water fountains, lab faucets, sinks, hoses, and spigots are connected to lead-lined water tanks. Aging pipes and corrosion of household plumbing systems can lead to lead pollution in water. The CDC notes that lead is a toxic metal and can be harmful to human health even at low levels so the maximum contaminant level is set to zero. Despite this, some water goes unregulated; this is evident in the case of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

For those of you who don’t know, the residents of Flint have been served lead-polluted water for several years now. In fact, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) points out that “nearly 9,000 children were supplied lead-contaminated water for 18 months”—a severe detriment to the health of those children and many other residents of the area. Make no mistake—Flint is just one case where lead poisoning is widespread. Many cities across the country are faced with varying levels of lead in their water.


Water treatment facilities add chlorine as an antimicrobial agent. Chlorine deters the growth and presence of bio-contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and mold. Failure for municipalities to regulate sufficient amounts of chlorine in water mains can lead to waterborne illnesses and bacterial contamination. Flint faced a similar issue where levels of fecal coliform bacteria were discovered in city water. Adding more chlorine, however, is not the be-all-end-all. Chlorination of water can elevate levels of total trihalomethanes (TTHM), by-products of chlorination known to cause cancer. In a 2008 study, scientists determined that the presence of chlorinated disinfection by-products in drinking water was an issue of public health, posing health risks such as cancer in males and adverse developmental effect on infants.


Fluorides are compounds of the element fluorine with another substance. They can naturally occur in the ground, air, water and even plant and animal sources. Fluoridation of water began in the US in 1945 when scientists noticed that people living in areas with high fluoride levels had fewer cavities. That should be a good thing, right? Natural drinking water sources in the US also have fluoride in them, but some areas contain more fluoride than others. In fact, long-term exposure to high levels of fluoride can result in a condition known as skeletal fluorosis–fluoride build-up in the bones. Fluoride tends to collect in parts of the body with high levels of calcium resulting in joint stiffness, pain, and this brittleness can cause weak bones and fractures in older adults.


Mercury is a toxic element that can be found in waterways near refineries, factories, landfills, and cropland. High levels of mercury exposure can lead to kidney damage, brain damage, and damage to a developing fetus. Other health effects include effects on brain function, vision, hearing, or memory issues.


Cadmium naturally occurs in zinc, lead and copper ores, in coal and other fossil fuels, and in shales released during volcanic activity, which come in contact with water sources. However, cadmium can release into the water during the corrosions of galvanized pipes, discharged from metal refineries, and be a result of runoff from waste batteries and paints. When consumed long-term, it can cause kidney, liver, bone, and even blood damage.


Your body needs copper to stay healthy, but too much is harmful to your health. High levels of copper in your drinking water can not only leave an unfavorable metallic taste, but it can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues, and headaches.


Zinc is an essential nutrient for the body—of course in the right volumes. However, ingesting zinc in high levels of zinc can cause stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. You might experience the taste in tap water (it’s chalky in appearance). Contamination usually occurs from hazardous waste sites.


Benzene is released into water from atmospheric deposition, petrol spills and other petroleum products, and chemical plant effluents. Based on a study by the WHO, benzene has been detected in 50-60% of potable water samples from 30 treatment facilities across Canada. It can also be formed naturally through volcanoes and forest fires and is a natural part of cigarette smoke, crude oil, and gasoline. Benzene is also used as a solvent in dry cleaning, paints, printing, etc. Benzene enters water as discharge from industrial factories or leaching from landfills and gas storage tanks. Repeated exposure at low levels of benzene produces toxic levels in the blood and blood-forming tissues.


Sources of asbestos contamination in drinking water include the dissolution of asbestos-containing minerals and ores, industrial effluents, atmospheric pollution, and A/C pipes in water distribution systems. This substance was used in cement pipes to distribute water across the US. As the water pipes decay, the substance is released into the water. According to a water sanitation study by the WHO, most of the US population consumes drinking water containing asbestos below 1 MFL, and suggests that most raw and treated waters in the United Kingdom contain asbestos up to 1 MFL. Asbestos is a known carcinogenic contaminant and may lead to cancer in humans.


VOCs, also known as Volatile Organic Compounds include a slew of chemicals. Organic chemicals are widely used in various industries and products like paints, varnishes, wax, disinfecting, and even cosmetic products. Since there is such a wide variety of pollutants, health risks also vary greatly depending on levels of exposure and length of time exposed. Some effects include eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, liver, and kidney damage.


Radon is a known cancer-causing substance found in water from wells. Approximately half of the drinking water in the US comes from groundwater that is tapped by wells. The water moves through the soil and natural uranium releases radon to the water. As a result, water from wells usually contain more radon than surface water (lakes and streams).


Bio-contaminants include microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and mold. These contaminants can develop organically in water (they LOVE water). Moist areas become the perfect breeding ground for bio-contaminants, which can lead to illnesses and other waterborne diseases. Without antimicrobial agents like chlorine, water is left vulnerable to bio-contamination, which is why the treatment of water with chlorine is so widespread in certain areas.

Bio-contamination perhaps proposes a more serious risk for most of the world. In an article by the Guardian, Microbiologist Joan Rose experienced first-hand the tragedies that can come from bio-contamination in water. In Walkerton, Canada’s worst-ever water pollution incidents, two pathogens entered into the water supply and many of the small town’s residents fell ill and some even died. This was caused by runoff from local agriculture. Incidents like this stem from overall pollution and increased waste around the world. Most waste goes into water, which introduces different waterborne diseases, viruses, and pathogens which are making people sick at alarming rates.


The EPA lists pharmaceuticals as potentially risky contaminants in water. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications get into lakes, rivers, and streams, whether they are flushed down the toilet or down sink drains. A Harvard Health Letter indicates that water quality experts and environmental advocates are becoming increasingly concerned with the effects of this on human health. Compounds such as estrogen have been linked to sexual changes in fish. The potential health risk for humans of pharmaceutical remnants in water is currently unknown and being monitored as a public health matter.

Our aging water infrastructure has health consequences.

In the U.S., water safety standards are currently based on decades-old studies. Despite all these efforts to regulate levels of contaminants, 27 million Americans are served by water systems violating health standards established by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Additional contaminants that emerge from the water mains and pipes in aging homes are never reported in municipal water quality reports. As a result, 19 million people become ill each year due to contaminated water. In fact, a 2012-2014 study found that nearly 21,000 municipalities across the U.S. issued Boil Water Advisories (BWA) for microbial contamination. On a global scale, over 3 million people in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and  Canada have received BWAs.

These issues contribute to an environmental crisis

Since the LARQ Bottle launched in 2018, more than 95,637,301 single-use plastic water bottles have been saved from entering the landfill. Unfortunately, during the same time nearly 1,000,000,000,000 (that’s a trillion with a capital T) single-use plastic bottles have been tossed away–likely due to inaccessibility to clean drinking water.


COVID-19: What to know before going out

We’re just about ready to return to normalcy, but is it safe?  As businesses start to reopen, there’s one thing you need to remember: COVID-19 hasn’t magically gone away. 

That doesn’t mean you should cancel that cross-country road trip, or refrain from going to that outdoor restaurant, but it does mean you should continue to take all the precautions necessary to stay healthy. Luckily, we’ve all had months of practice–we just have to tweak our methods a bit for social gatherings and other encounters as businesses and restaurants begin to reopen. 

Thus far, this reopening includes hair salons, barbershops, dentist offices, some nonessential retailers, outdoor dining, and a few more. At the time of this post, there are over 8 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and over 2 million of those cases are in the United States of America. However, we’re seeing a spike in cases amidst the reopening of businesses all over the United States. Experts are predicting another spike in the number of coronavirus cases, and awareness and mindfulness should be top of mind. 

There’s a caveat with reopening that with more contact, we might end up right back where we started. The CDC wants everyone to know that “In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.” The number one thing to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus is to minimize exposure, which means staying in unless absolutely necessary. 

But in the cases where you just need a break from your apartment (we hear you), here’s how to resume going out during COVID-19 safely:

  1. Wear a mask
    By now, you should have a mask you can wear to protect yourself and others from contracting the virus. Even though things are reopening, you should still wear your mask unless you are eating or drinking. Since coronavirus is believed to be spread through the air, be sure that your mask fits snugly on your face. Gaps can introduce airborne contaminants to your airways.

    Touching a surface that has COVID-19 on it and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes, could be another form of contracting the virus. Wearing a mask will keep you from touching your face, reducing the likelihood of contracting the virus from contaminated surfaces.

    Yes, it’s going to be hot under that mask, but the far worse outcome is contracting and spreading the virus to others. 
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly
    You’re probably familiar with the 20-second rule when washing your hands, but here’s a refresher. Wash your hands for at least 20-seconds with soap and warm water. Be sure to get under your fingernails, and lather up to your wrists. 20-seconds is about the length of singing “Happy Birthday”, as a rule of thumb. Washing your hands thoroughly will prevent the spread of coronavirus as well as protecting you and the people you live with from contracting it.

    If you’re about to head to a restaurant or picking up food, make a habit of washing your hands thoroughly before and after your meal. 
  3. Sanitize regularly
    As you start to go out more, sanitizing is more important than ever. The CDC recommends hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wearing a mask can prevent you from touching your face as you’re touching other surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and other high-touch surfaces, but get into the habit of also using hand sanitizer between touching public surfaces and belongings like your car door, steering wheel, cell phone, and other personal items. When you get the chance to, wash your hands thoroughly, but in the meantime, hand sanitizer is your best bet! 
  4. Stay 6 feet away from others
    Prolonged exposure near others will increase your risk of getting infected or infecting others. When you’re out, stay at least 6ft away from others.  Coupled with wearing a mask, this will minimize the risk of getting infected, especially when having a conversation or in more crowded areas.

    Keep this in mind when eating at newly reopened outdoor restaurants. These establishments should already be spaced according to this guideline, but you should ask a waiter or waitress if you suspect the spacing is too close. When you’re eating, drinking, and socializing without masks on, it is imperative that you keep this 6-foot rule. 
  5. Stay home when safe
    If you feel sick or are exhibiting any symptoms, stay home, and avoid going out until your symptoms subside.
  6. Socially distance outdoors
    Studies show that well-ventilated areas are less likely to spread coronavirus than those that aren’t. Avoid gathering indoors altogether. But if you are gathering indoors, opening a few windows will help disperse any airborne contaminants. In addition, wear a mask and try to keep a distance between people that don’t live with you.

    Luckily, gathering outdoors is so much nicer anyway. Wear a mask when you’re not eating or drinking and keep a 6ft distance from others. You should also bring your own utensils and reusable water bottles or drinking glasses instead of using your friends’. 
  7. Use disinfectant wipes
    When getting gas or going to an ATM, be sure to use a disinfectant wipe if available. If not, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after fueling up. When you get home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

    Additionally, when ordering takeout or getting food delivered, use disinfectant wipes on the outside of the bag or dispose of the bag it came in immediately. Then, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before eating or drinking.

  1. Precautions apply to pets too!
    Although it may be tempting to, refrain from petting that super cute labradoodle you encounter at the park. Likewise, keep your pet on a short leash to prevent contact with strangers and other dogs. This can keep your pet and others safe. Although there isn’t sufficient evidence to say that the virus can’t be transmitted from pet to pet, it’s better to err on the side of caution–for your sake and theirs. 
  2. Get tested
    Coronavirus testing is becoming more readily available and accessible in certain areas. Some don’t even require insurance, citizenship documentation, and are completely free. Check your local area for more information. If you’ve been in a large crowd recently, or are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, find a testing center and get tested immediately.

    In addition, there are also antibody testing available in certain areas. It’s believed that some people remain asymptomatic as their bodies can fight off the virus, but these people can still spread it. It can be reassuring to know if you’ve got these special antibodies, but it’s also good to get tested if you have the means, to be extra careful not to spread the virus to others.
  3.  Keep your social circle small
    Spending time with friends and family is a healthy way to cope with all the uncertainty going on in the world today, so it’s no surprise that people are eager to get back to their social lives. However, the more people you interact with, the higher the risk of getting infected or infecting others. Keep your in-person social circle small to minimize your level of risk. 
  4. Assess your risk
    Of course, it’s your choice whether or not you want to take the risk of exposure no matter what you’re going out for. Consider the three D’s when deciding whether or not to go out: diversity, distance, and duration.

    Diversity refers to the number of households you’re interacting with outside of the people you live with. As stated previously, the wider your social net is, the more likely you could get infected. Pay special attention to whether or not the people you plan to interact with have been to any high-risk areas in the last 14 days. These can include large crowds, social gatherings with people from other households, doctor’s offices or hospitals, hair salons or barbershops, malls, and offices.

    Distance pertains to the proximity of your interactions with others. Are you taking a bike ride with some friends that don’t live with you? Are you dining at an outdoor restaurant without adequate spacing between others? The rule of thumb is to stay at least 6ft apart from others, especially when people aren’t wearing masks. Whether that’s with the friends your dining with or people sitting or walking nearby, these are some things to consider.

    Duration is in regards to the amount of time spent with others outside your household. The longer you spend with others, the more risk you have in contracting or spreading COVID-19. If you’re having an extended conversation with someone or browsing a store in close proximity to others, this risk might increase. 

As we slowly transition back to normalcy, keep these tips in mind. When in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to stay home for the time being to stay safe.


How to prevent digital eye strain

Headaches? Eye strain? Trouble sleeping? Digital eye strain can be uncomfortable and affect your work and wellness. There are several causes of asthenopia, or eye strain, unrelated to underlying disease. The cause of this is attributed to the overuse of digital devices that emit blue light, prolonged driving, bad eyeglasses prescriptions, extreme fatigue, or lack of sleep. 

Blue light is produced by common devices such as televisions, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Your 8-hour workday in addition to a few hours of video gaming or Netflix, plus a couple of hours of scrolling through social media, is a lot of time exposing your eyes to blue light. This isn’t inherently harmful though, but with overuse, it can cause discomfort such as headaches, eye strain, and difficulty sleeping. 

Eye strain symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Tired eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Difficulty sleeping

Tips for eye strain relief

Overuse of devices can cause eye strain, make it more difficult to sleep, and cause eye strain headaches or migraines. Reducing your usage of digital devices will be a surefire way to reduce eye fatigue and eye strain, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. We know! So if you can’t take a digital detox, try these tips for eye strain relief. 

Blink often

Many people blink less frequently when working on the computer. Blinking helps the production of tears to prevent dry eyes. Remember to blink often when working on a computer or other screens to refresh your eyes. 

The 20-20-20 Rule 

Think of this as taking a break to reset your eyes. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet (6 meters) away from your screen for at least 20 seconds. 

Calibrate your display settings

In most modern devices, you might have the ability to set a “night mode” that will adjust your screen to warmer tones at night to reduce blue light emission. The warmer tones that reduce blue light may help you sleep better as blue light interrupts your circadian rhythm as you may have learned from a previous article on how to sleep better. You should also reduce brightness on your screen according to the amount of light around you. As it gets darker, reduce the brightness on your screen to reduce strain. 

Reduce glare

A bright light bouncing off the screen or sunlight shining in from a window can cause glare on any screen. You can lower the brightness on your screen, draw the shades, or change the position of your screen to reduce eye strain.  

Blue-light blocking glasses

These are special glasses that block blue light from your eyes. To note, the general overuse of devices won’t be remedied by using blue light blocking glasses alone. Refer to the previous steps as well to improve your overall comfort when using your gadgets at home. 


Improve your WFH posture with these easy moves

Working from home can have its perks, like working with your pet beside you, or not having to put on makeup or wear real pants (or any pants for that matter). However, working long hours in a less than optimal position can have negative effects on your posture and lead to back pain, neck pain, and even injury. Luckily, there are a few exercises to help you improve your posture while working from home, at the office, and beyond! And by “beyond”, we mean the couch. 

Do these 5 exercises throughout your workday

You want to do these exercises periodically to reduce strain on your body. It’s a good idea to look away from your tech devices periodically anyway to reduce eye strain from the blue light. Take the opportunity to do some light stretching in between work! Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds each. If you feel any pain, stop immediately–these exercises should not be painful but feel like stretching. 

  1. Stretch out your neck
    An ideal desk setup would have your monitor at eye level to reduce neck strain. Unfortunately, not everyone has this setup–varying from sitting on our laptops on the couch, in bed, or on a stand that isn’t quite comfortable. These positions can cause you to hunch or extend your neck forward which can cause poor posture and lead to neck pain. Throughout the day, sit or stand up to roll your neck to either side–slowly and comfortably to stretch your neck. Then, roll your head back and towards the front in a clockwise motion, and reverse. You should feel this stretch relieve some tension on the nape of your neck. 
  2. Roll your shoulders
    Ideally, your arms should rest at a 90º angle from your shoulder to your keyboard. If your keyboard or desk is too high, your shoulders may start to strain from being too high up. To stretch, drop your arms down every once in a while and shake them out. Then roll them slowly in circular motions. 
  3. Reach for the sky
    Simple but effective–this stretch lengthens your spine to relieve tension from being crunched up into that weird position you’ve found yourself in for hours. Interlace your fingers and reach your arms up (palms towards the sky). Then, bend to your left side and your right to stretch out your obliques. 
  4. Open up your chest
    Your chest can feel tight when you’re hunched over all day. With this stretch, open up your chest as you pull your shoulders back, with your hands placed on your lower back with elbows bent. As you deepen this stretch by curving your spine towards the back, you’ll feel your chest open up and some tension release from your shoulders. 
  5. Forward fold
    Taking a practice from yoga, this one will require you to stand up and then bend over, hinging at your hips, and reach for your toes. This stretch will relieve tension in your lower back. With this stretch, allow the top of your head, and your shoulders to relax toward the Earth to deepen this stretch. 


Yoga for better posture


These are a just a few simple stretches to squeeze into your busy workday. If your back and neck are in need of some more TLC, we highly recommend practicing yoga, which has been proven to strengthen your core and other muscles, relieve back pain, and improve posture. 


For the following moves, be sure to use a yoga mat for comfort and support. For kneeling positions, you can fold a towel under your knees for comfort. You can do these moves every day to improve your posture:


  1. Child’s pose
    For this move sit on your knees with your knees shoulder-width apart. Then gently fold forward, hinging at your hips and extending your arms flat onto the mat. You should feel the stretch in your shoulders, releasing tension from your upper back and arms. 
  2. Cat-Cow
    Get on your hands and knees, with your knees at a 90º angle and your back flat (table-top position). Then, as you breathe in, arch your back, dropping your belly down and look up towards the sky. As you breathe out, tuck your chin to your chest and round out your back towards the ceiling. Repeat this for 20 seconds. 
  3. High plank
    Plant your palms shoulder-width apart on the mat, as you lift into plank position. The key to this is to engage your core and keep your back straight. You may have the tendency to curl your body up or dip your bitt down, so if you’re doing this for the first time, have a friend tell you if your form is correct. You should feel some tension in your arms and your core. 
  4. Downward-facing dog
    You can easily maneuver into this position from a high plank. From the high plank position, lift your bum up towards the sky, keeping your legs straight while extending your arms keeping your back and neck straight. Sort of like an upside-down V. This will stretch out your hamstrings as well as strengthening your back and improving your posture. 
  5. Thoracic spine rotation
    For this position, lay on your left side on your mat and bend your knees up into a 90º angle with your left arm stretched on in front of you. Exhale as you rotate your body and reach your right arm to the opposite side. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the opposite side. 
  6. Hip thrusts
    Strong glutes help support a strong lower back and relieve lower back pain by aligning your hips and pelvis, which can lead to better posture. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Then, left at the hips, keeping your shoulders planted on the floor, squeezing your glutes at the top. Repeat 10-15 times. 


If you can spare 10-60 minutes a day to deepen your yoga practice, you will see more improvement in your posture over time. Yoga with Adrienne has a full library of yoga videos you can follow along with for free with varying durations so you can fit in your practice no matter how busy you are. You can also follow yoga practices on the Down Dog app or Nike Training Club. Don’t get discouraged, keep at it, and you’ll get stronger and stronger with every practice, and see major improvements in your posture!



No Excuses: Why You NEED to Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Vacation season is upon us and you’re probably planning your next trip to a sunny destination to get your vitamin D on. Before you lay out in the sun for hours with your new book, remember to slap on the sunscreen all over so you don’t have serious regrets later in life. I’m talking about major skin damage from the sun from your seemingly insignificant time in the sun.

Think it’s no big deal? Think again.

At this point, you’ve probably heard every excuse in the book for why people don’t wear sunscreen. From tanning-related reasons to a general notion of sunscreen being completely unnecessary apart from using it at the beach. Well, I’m here to tell you, sunscreen needs to be worn every. single. day. Yes, I mean every single day.

Effects of frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun over time:

  • Increased risk of skin cancer
  • Sunburn
  • Skin discoloration (age spots, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, freckles, etc.)
  • Wrinkles and other signs of aging
  • Leathery skin from reduced elasticity

As you can see, there can be dire consequences resulting from not wearing sunscreen, especially when you are in direct sunlight frequently (even if it’s for a few minutes a day). So think twice before you go out for your run, to work, or out on the weekend without sunscreen. It is also recommended to limit sun exposure between 10 am – 2 pm when the sun is at its peak.

How does sun damage occur?

The sun’s UV rays (UVA and UVB) penetrate the outer layers first, and with prolonged exposure or direct sun exposure, the rays will continue to penetrate the dermis (the middle layer of skin), killing the skin cells and thus damaging your skin. The sun’s ultraviolet rays damage the fibers in the skin called elastin which causes skins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to bounce back after stretching. The skin will also take longer to heal from bruises or tears over time. The results of sun damage won’t be obvious when you’re young, but its effects will show later in life.

TLDR; exposure to the sun speeds up the aging process and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Now that you know all the risks to sun exposure, let’s dispell some of the myths about sunscreen:

“Sunscreen is sunscreen.”

I hate to break it to you but not all sunscreen is created equal. There are actually two types–chemical and physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens have shown to pose health risks because they are absorbed into the skin and studies have shown that they may cause disruptions in hormones. The four chemicals in sunscreen you need to avoid are Oxybenzone, Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate), Avobenzone, and Retinyl Palmitate. Not only are these chemicals potentially harmful to your health, but they are also toxic to coral reefs (more on that later).

So what kind of sunscreen should you be looking for?

Seaside Mint LARQ Bottle with Vitamin A swimsuit and REN skincare mineral reef-safe sunscreen

Physical sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium oxide that form a barrier between the sun and your skin. The Environmental Working Group (EWR) rates mineral sunscreens the highest in terms of efficacy (since they don’t absorb into the skin).

When purchasing sunscreen, always look for broad spectrum SPF which means it should protect you from UVA and UVB rays.

Did you know that the chemicals used in sunscreens are killing the coral reef and organisms that depend on it? Good news is that mineral-based sunscreens are considered reef-safe. About 14,000 tons of sunscreen is believed to be deposited in oceans annually, resulting in the greatest damage found in reef areas such as Hawaii and the Caribbean. You can stop the damage by swapping out your usual chemical sunscreen for reef-safe sunscreens for face and for body.

“I want to tan.”

The notion that wearing sunscreen will prevent you from tanning is absolutely false. No, it does not prevent you from tanning but rather from burning; you’ll tan based on your skin’s melanin, not on how much sunscreen you have on.

“I am not going to be out in the sun for that long. I’m just going to the grocery store.” or “I work in an office all day.”

Even if you’re working from home, you need sunscreen. Windows from your home, car, on the train or even your office windows that let in sunlight, will filter out UVB rays but not UVA rays. Always, always wear your sunscreen.

“I never get sunburnt.”

Even if you don’t burn easily after spending time in the sun, you still need to put on sunscreen to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays that can cause aging, skin discoloration, and skin cancer. The degree to which you get sunburnt is not a sign that you’re not going to get skin cancer.

“I don’t want flashback.”

Face sunscreens are notorious in the beauty community for leaving a white cast or having ‘flashback’ (when taking pictures with flash, SPF may make your skin look lighter), but there are a ton of sunscreens out there now that will appear nearly invisible–or that give you minimal flashback.

For people of color, it can be especially difficult to get sun protection without the white residue. Luckily, the beauty industry is taking note of this and there are great options for sunscreens that are virtually untraceable on the skin for people of color. Another great tip is to find tinted moisturizers or foundations that contain SPF 30-50 that match or blend into your skin tone.

“I have darker skin, therefore I don’t need sunscreen.”

It’s true that folks with lighter skin can burn more easily and have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than those with more melanin in their skin, but it is absolutely false that having darker skin will absolve you of needing to use sunscreen. Although skin cancer is less frequent in people of color, it is more fatal–as shown in a study conducted by The Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. The solution? Lather up no matter what.

“My SPF 100 sunscreen should last me all day.”

SPF 30-50 is considered an adequate amount to protect against UV rays. SPF higher than 50 is negligible because you’ll still need to reapply sunscreen every two hours. In fact, more SPF does not mean longer lasting sun-blocking power–it can actually mean that there are added chemicals in the sunscreen that can pose health risks. As a rule of thumb, always use between SPF 30-50 for sunscreen.

“I applied sunscreen on already and reapplying is too difficult.”

Realistically, people have a hard time reapplying because of the hassle of having to slather on more sunscreen, but if you’re in the sun for extended periods of time, this is an absolute must. Now, it’s more convenient than ever to reapply with powders, sticks, lotions, and sprays, so there really is no excuse.

“I went through my whole childhood without sunscreen and I don’t have skin cancer. My kids don’t need it either.”

Children should be taught to apply sunscreen whenever they are exposed in order to form a healthy habit and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Your child might be outdoors more often than you were growing up–you never know–don’t add to their risk of skin cancer. As parents, you should always pay attention to any birthmarks or moles your child has in order to distinguish a mole your child was born with between a new mole that may turn out to be malignant melanoma.

Doctors do not recommend applying sunscreen on infants under 6 months old. Instead, it’s recommended to limit sun exposure completely (stay inside), seek shade, or have your baby wear a hat. Consult a doctor if you are planning to be outdoors with your baby and are concerned about sun exposure.

“It’s cloudy outside.”

False. Sure, the clouds are covering the glorious sun, but it doesn’t mean that the sun’s UV rays are blocked too. UVA and UVB rays are able to penetrate through those wimpy clouds and cause skin damage and all of the above. And yes, you can get sunburnt on a cloudy day.

Please please please wear your sunscreen–and make it reef-safe at that. Share this post and be an advocate for sun safety among your family, friends, and beyond!


Cut the Noise in a Digital World: Meditation and Mindfulness for Beginners

With all the noise and chatter that is this digital age–where your mind is constantly being overstimulated from work, social media, and general responsibilities of adulthood–it’s easy to lose sleep or fixate on things that are happening around you, which can almost always lead to unnecessary stress. At LARQ, we value wellness and strive to find ways to lead healthier lifestyles, whether it’s from drinking enough water to getting enough exercise, and even mediation.

During this time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to unplug from the world. Whether stress is related to your adjusting to working from home, missing your loved ones, or even your overconsumption of social media (probably all of us), you can care for your personal wellness with one simple practice: meditation.

Meditation is a form of emotional wellness. Caring for the mind, managing stress, and promoting happiness.

We often think that meditation may be a waste of time, but it can be the best form of self-care you can give to yourself. Meditation doesn’t come easy the first few times around, but with practice, meditation can be a lifelong tool you can use to manage your stress.  Take a moment to focus on being calm and mindful instead of thinking about that report due tomorrow.

Allowing yourself to pause for a few minutes a day can help you maintain your stress levels and give you the ability to recenter yourself during stressful situations.

An additional benefit to meditation is to practice quieting the chatter in your mind in order to sleep. Many people suffer from restlessness and inability to sleep, which can, in turn, lead to more stress. Your mind naturally wanders, but when you learn to meditate, you will find it easier to shut off those restless thoughts and doze off into a peaceful slumber.

Don’t get us wrong, it does take a bit of practice in order to find your rhythm. The trick is to be patient with yourself and give yourself the time to focus on your practice.

How to Meditate

Find a peaceful space

For some this can mean a bedroom, living area or even outdoors. Whatever makes you feel the most at peace. When you’re first starting off, it’s important to meditate in a quiet area. This will help you focus on your thoughts instead of external factors.

Set a time limit

It can be 1 minute, 3 minutes, or even 30 minutes. Take the time you have or need. (Tip: Set your alarm tone to something soft–the sound can be jarring)

Sit in a comfortable position

Whether it’s cross-legged, on your knees or on the edge of your bed, get into a position you find suitable for the time you’ve allotted for your meditation.

Focus on your breathing

Close your eyes, and begin by taking slow and controlled breaths; breathe in through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth. Then breathe comfortably–focus on your inhale and exhale, the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out.

Be present

Focus on being present. What’s happening around you? Is there a breeze blowing against your skin? How are you positioned? Are there sounds around you?

Allow your mind to wander

As David Gelles writes, “The goal isn’t to stop thinking or to empty the mind. Rather, the point is to pay close attention to your physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions in order to see them more clearly, without making so many assumptions, or making up stories.” It’s okay to let your mind wander, just remember to come back to the present moment.

End on a positive note

Thank yourself for taking the time to complete your practice. Reflect on what you’re grateful for that day and plan to incorporate meditation into your daily routine.

It’s okay to take a pause every once in a while to center yourself. Meditation is a great daily reminder to be mindful, be peaceful, and relax in a noisy digital age.


This is how much plastic you’re eating per week

A 2019 study commissioned by the WWF and performed by the University of Newcastle, Australia revealed that people could be consuming approximately 2000 tiny pieces of plastic per week–which equates to about a credit card’s worth of plastic! That also equates to about 70,000 pieces a year or 100 pieces per meal–scary, right?

These tiny pieces of plastic are known as “microplastics” which are defined as broken down plastic no larger than five millimeters. Your next question might be, “how is anyone consuming this much plastic?” 

Aside from the infamous “island of trash” located in the Pacific Ocean, there are many parts of the ocean where trash accumulates and interferes with marine life. According to a 2016 study by the World Economic Forum, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. The microplastics degrade and release toxins into the ocean and are ingested by marine life. For us seafood eaters, this has indications for the number of microplastics we’re consuming and in turn, toxins we’re absorbing. In fact, microplastics can be found anywhere from your food to your bottled water, to beer, and even in the air. Plastics also leach toxic chemicals into food through packaging or contact with heat and trace amounts are found in beer bottles. It’s almost unavoidable at this point, posing unknown health risks to humans. Chemicals used to produce plastic such as phthalates and Bisphenol-A (BPA) are known toxins that could lead to certain diseases and cancers. Studies have shown that nursing or pregnant women should avoid exposure to plastics in the same way one should avoid alcohol and cigarettes due to the potential absorption of these chemicals by their offspring. This includes avoiding bottled water, food that’s packaged in plastic, takeout containers, fragrances (which usually contain phthalates), and using non-plastic food containers. 

In a study by Nature Geoscience in 2017, data indicated that 79% of all the plastics produced by humans have ended up in nature or landfills. According to this study, most of the particles found in plastic water bottles were polypropylene–the type of plastic used to make bottled water caps. This finding suggests that the process of bottling water is contributing to most of the plastic. In fact, plastic found in bottled water was twice the amount of plastic found in tap water or beer, which shows that although bottled water is marketed to be “cleaner” than tap water, it is certainly is not the case. Americans buy 50 million plastic bottles of water annually. Globally, about 1 million single-use plastic bottles are purchased per minute. If we don’t act now, this number is expected to increase by 20% by 2021. Considering this, it’s a worthwhile cause to reduce or eliminate bottled water from your daily life altogether and invest in a sustainable water bottle. And that is why we created the LARQ Bottle–a sustainable water bottle that self-cleans and purifies water simultaneously using PureVis™ UV-C light, solving your most glaring issues with traditional reusable water bottles. 

In addition to plastic bottles, any plastic waste that can be avoided should be avoided. The ocean and waterways are littered with plastics straws, takeout boxes, plastic grocery bags, and other plastics. Which begs the question: couldn’t we just recycle these plastics? –the answer is no, we can’t. Most single-use plastics are not recyclable for a variety of reasons, whether it’s due to the chemical composition of the plastic or due to the lack of infrastructure to do so efficiently. Only a meager 9% of all plastic ever produced has actually been recycled. 

In this day and age, it’s difficult to avoid plastic altogether, but we can all make small changes and increase awareness about the issue of plastic to pave the way for a better, more sustainable future. 


17 Fitness apps that will help you achieve your fitness and health goals

Calorie and nutrition trackers

Whether you’re trying to get stronger, build muscle, lose weight, or hit all your nutrition goals to be healthier, your diet is a huge part of your fitness and health journey. Ever heard the phrase, “you can’t outwork a bad diet”? Well, that rings true in all aspects. No matter how hard you work out at the gym, if you’re eating poorly, you won’t achieve the results you want or need for your health. Luckily, there are apps that will help to calculate your macronutrient or micronutrient goals, log your daily caloric intake, and track your progress throughout your journey.

MyPlate Calorie Counter

MyPlate is an app by LIVESTRONG, that provides more than just nutrition help. They’re focused on meeting health goals, not necessarily fitness goals by offering users customized meal plans, recipes, and workouts to help you along your way. MyPlate tracks daily calories, exercise, and progress towards your health goals, develops customized meal plans for your target macros, includes free recipes to inspire you to eat healthier, and short workouts and estimated calories burned per workout.


Available on: iOS and Google Play


This calorie counter app is beloved by many for its interface, vast user-uploaded meals that make calorie counting a little easier, and ability to scan packaged foods and upload its nutrition into the app. Their premium version offers features like a macronutrient chart that shows you your macros by the gram or percentage in your diary, food analysis, CSV export, and more. However, the free version is tried and true and is great on its own!


Available on: iOS and Google Play


For all you keto dieters out there, FatSecret helps you count your calories and your macros to ensure you stay on track. You can even connect it to your Apple Health app and Fitbit to sync your fitness stats with the app and keep everything in one place.


Available on: iOS and Google Play

Carb Manager: Keto Diet App

Another one for you keto-ers and low-carb dieters out there. It tracks net carbs, macros and micronutrients in over a million foods, includes keto-friendly or low carb recipes, meal plans, shopping lists, and can be integrated with your Fitbit, Garmin, and other apps like Apple Health and Google Fit. You’ll be good with using the free portion of Carb Manager, but there is an option to upgrade to Premium which includes more recipes, exclusive premium recipes, personalized meal plans, unlimited logging and more. We’d recommend starting off with their free version if you’re just starting out on your keto journey and upgrading to the more robust Premium once you feel the need to kick things up a notch!

Free, Premium for $39.99 USD for 1 year

Available on: iOS and Google Play

Strength training apps

Working those muscles? Us too. If you need a little guidance when it comes to weightlifting or strengthening and toning up, it’s important to keep in mind good form to avoid injury. Strengthening your muscles is not only going to help sculpt your body, but it will also help you build muscle tone that will help you get stronger and to burn fat. Ready to get really really sore?

Nike Training Club

Leave it to Nike to create a completely free fitness app that is actually really amazing. NTC is a beautifully designed app that’s easy to use and includes a huge library of workouts for all fitness levels, workout preferences, variable equipment (or no equipment so you can work out at home), and features workouts led and guided by their Nike Master Trainers and sometimes celebrity athletes. Each workout is guided by voice, includes video instructions on how to do each move, and sets the interval time for you so all you have to do is follow along. It really is like having a personal trainer with you. Nike is constantly expanding their library so now you can find everything from yoga to HIIT and boxing to bodyweight training.


Available on: iOS and Google Play


Fitbod is a strength training app designed to guide you through your workout at the gym. It takes the planning out of your gym session so you can focus on getting those reps in and getting stronger. Their method is unique because it personalizes your workout plan based on your strength-training ability, studies your past workouts and maximizes the equipment available to you.


Available on: iOS only

Fitness Buddy

Similar to Fitbod, Fitness Buddy is another great app for guidance at the gym. What we love about it is the animations (with real people) that show you how to do each move with the ability to select the type of equipment available to you. The app also includes curated workouts you can do at the gym or at home too! We’d recommend it for anyone who’s just getting started with weight training or cultivating an at-home gym.

The free version is pretty straight-forward and easy to use for guidance at the gym with free weights as well as machines. With premium, you get curated gym workouts, custom workout creator, exercise videos nutrition plans and more.


Premium: $9.99/mo; $29.99 billed annually

Available on: iOS and Google Play

Yoga apps

Whatever your fitness goals are, yoga is always a good idea to include in your workout routine. Why? Well, yoga focuses on strength and balance as much as it does on flexibility. It’ll help improve posture so if you’re working at a desk all day, you need yoga in your life. You’ll also find the practice of yoga particularly relaxing–maybe not at first as your body is getting the hang of the positions, but it is a nice change from your usual cardio or gym session.

Asana Rebel

Asana Rebel uses the foundations of yoga to bring robust yoga-inspired fitness to your workout regimen. You can find meditative yoga tutorials as well as fat-burning HIIT workouts using yoga moves you never knew could burn so much. The free version contains loads of yoga videos to follow along and do wherever you are–upgrading to premium unlocks even more variety of videos and workouts if you ever get bored of the free ones or want to deepen your practice.


Premium: 3 months $43.99

Available on: iOS and Google Play

Daily Yoga

If you’re looking for an all-around yoga app, look no further. Daily Yoga features a ton of guided yoga classes, meditation, work out plans, and even mixes in HIIT, pilates, and vinyasa to help you burn fat. You’ll stay motivated too with workouts and challenges that you can complete that will show up in your practice profile. It becomes really addicting once you have a few days logged and minutes. The app is free to use but you can upgrade to their Pro subscriptions for added features and more workouts.


Premium: $12.99 – $19.99/mo

Available on: iOS and Google Play

Meditation and wellness

Mental health and wellness are of the utmost importance when it comes to overall fitness. Studies have shown that exercise alone can help improve mental health, ease anxiety and reduce stress, but what about when you’re not working out? Meditation is great for your health and can help you develop a calm and mindfulness most of us desperately need. It’s not a cure-all for all mental health issues, but can be a solution and a practice that will help you make the days more bearable.


We love Headspace because of how it is set up. You can ease into your meditation practice if you’re a total newbie and you will feel better and better each day. It does take practice to truly be able to focus on meditation, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to use your practice whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s a great tool to have and Headspace will help you get there.

The free portion of Headspace includes the foundation of meditation and mindfulness that will help you get you accustomed to the practice. You can upgrade to the premium subscription plan that includes the basics, mini-meditations for busier schedules, themed meditations, mindfulness exercises and more extras that will deepen your practice.


Premium: $12.99/mo ; $7.99/mo billed annually

Available on: iOS and Google Play


If you’re looking for a meditation app that also helps you get more restful sleep, Calm is it. The downside is, this app doesn’t offer a free version past its 7-day trial, but it’s a great app that we couldn’t exclude from this list. They’ve created a platform that masterfully combines methods to help you meditate and sleep better–something we all need–and even includes their unique Sleep Stories, which are basically bedtime stories read by well-known voices to help you drift off into a deep slumber. What are these well-known voices you ask? Let’s see… there’s Matthew McConaughey for starters–need we say more?

7-day free trial, then $59.99 billed annually

Available on: iOS and Google Play

Running & cycling apps

Charity Miles

OK, folks–if you’re running you need to use Charity Miles. With Charity Miles, you can select a charity ranging from categories like health, children, animals, environment, education, veterans and more to fundraise for. You can turn your evening jog, walk, dance or cycling session into a fundraiser for the charity of your choice by connecting in the app and tracking your activity. Every mile you log means money for your selected charity. If you needed the motivation to get moving, we hope you’ve found it here.


Available on: iOS and Google Play


If you’re looking to track your progress and runs, map routes and discover new ones, Runkeeper does all that and more. Runkeeper lets you schedule your runs and helps you stick to your goals. If you’re training for something like a marathon, the app lets you set distance, pace or weight goals so you can stay motivated and on track. They even have audio cues to let you know what your pace, distance and time is without having to look at your phone. Keep in mind that the free version offers tracking and logging of activities and basic stats (that’s really all you need), but the Runkeeper Go–their premium version–includes the aforementioned progress insights, stats, tailor-made workouts, weather insights, live tracking and more.


Premium: $9.99/mo

Available on: iOS and Google Play


Strava is a unique running and cycling app built as a social platform for athletes. Not only does it allow users to map routes, view popular routes, and track new ones, but it also includes a social aspect where users can share trails and routes, photos, cheer each other on, and meet new people. The complex GPS mapping system connects with your phone, GPS watch or head unit, heart rate monitor or power meter to record your stats and track your performance so you can focus on getting better.

The free portion of the app allows you to track fitness activity, record your run, map cycling routes, and analyze training with stats. With their premium upgrade called Summit, you can get a customizable workout and training plans, get live feedback on your training, and extensive performance metrics. There are three Strava Summit packs you can opt into for a fee: Training, Safety, and Analysis–depending on your needs you can sign up for one, two, or all three. Each offer different use cases like race analysis with the Training Pack and live GPS tracking for the Safety Pack.


Premium: 1-pack $24/year; 3-pack $60/year (17% discount)

Available on: iOS and Google Play

Boutique fitness studio locator apps

As boutique fitness studios are becoming more popular, we wanted to include a few apps that will help you find a studio or fitness class you love. Not all of us enjoy lifting or going for runs and that’s totally okay. There are a ton of different workout methods you might enjoy that hit all your cardio and strength training needs without having to lift heavy weights at the gym or running on a treadmill. Some of these include kickboxing, pilates, yoga, barre, cycling–you get the gist. The following apps make it easy to find something you love and reinvigorate your enthusiasm for working out again.


Mindbody allows you to explore an immense library of fitness classes, studios and even salons and spa treatments around you easily and acts as a platform for reservations without the need for pesky memberships or complicated sign-up processes. The app even connects to your Fitbit if you want to track your workouts and heart rate from the classes you take all in the app! We love that it allows you to easily reserve classes instead of having to call or drop-in.

Available on: iOS and Google Play


Classpass offers membership to users to access a wide array of fitness studios across the US without having to sign up for a bunch of different studios. If you’re still on the search for a workout method that you enjoy, or if you’d like to try out a bunch of different fitness classes, Classpass might be for you. You’ll also save money this way since you won’t be paying drop-in rates at all the fitness studios you’ll be trying.

Available on: iOS and Google Play


You can find group fitness classes to attend last-minute at a discounted rate on Zenrez in major cities across the US. The platform includes fitness classes like boxing, barre, Zumba, Pilates, TRX and many more. They’ve built a network of fitness studios all over to make it easier for people to discover new fitness studios in their area. We love Zenrez for this reason. It’s easy to just jump into a class on a whim and try something new for a change. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favorite thing.

Available on: iOS only


Productivity tips for working from home and staying healthy

Amidst the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a lot of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely are under quarantine. We can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to self-quarantine whether you are exhibiting symptoms or not. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as governments all over the world, are advising curfews, lockdowns and at the very least, self-quarantines. These efforts will reduce exposure significantly and is currently the best method to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Whether you enjoy working from home or absolutely hate it, it’s a reality a lot of us are facing now. At this time, we stress the importance of balance and mindfulness. This means doing what is necessary to take care of loved ones–children, elder family members, and those with immunodeficiencies–as well as yourself. It also means keeping your sanity by cracking a window or taking a walk outside (alone), or video chatting with friends to keep your sanity. Furthermore, it means setting yourself up for optimal productivity so that your performance doesn’t suffer after working from home for an extended period of time. Sound like the type of thing you need right now? Keep reading. 

Spring Cleaning

What better catalyst to clean than a widespread virus? Sorry, but there’s a little truth to this. Whether you were not well-versed in the advised methods of handwashing or if you were a germaphobe since the womb, cleaning the entire house should be the first and foremost task on your to-do list. Clean home, less to worry about. 

A little known truth is that cleaning and disinfection products require a “dwell time”. This means that the surface being cleaned should be well saturated and you should allow time for the product to work on the surface. Not necessarily wiping off the excess or using the surface right away. Read the manufacturer’s label before cleaning to ensure you’re following the proper method for maximum efficacy. 

If your home hasn’t undergone a great dusting in a while, now’s the time. Do a full sweep of the home and invest in an air purifier. Air purifiers filter dust, pollen, and smoke from the air and improve air quality.


Working remotely has its perks like being able to work from the comfort of your bed, or getting to cuddle with your pup all day. On the other hand, some things become distractions and can impede your performance for work. Here are some helpful tips on how to stay productive when working from home. 

Get organized 

If you don’t typically work from home, this is imperative. At the office, you may have your usual routine set up and a way of doing things. Things might need to change or adjust for working remotely at home. Make sure you have all the essentials to keep you focused like a designated work area–be that a desk and a chair, or your kitchen bar. Do you usually have a whiteboard you work from at work? Get one for the home, or transition to a notebook instead. 

Another piece is putting a checklist of what you need to get done, or using your calendar more frequently to make sure you’re on top of your tasks. Leverage tools like Google Calendar, Evernote, and even a good old notebook or notepad to keep everything organized. 

Minimize distractions

Distractions can come from anywhere. Avoid turning your TV on while working (as tempting as it may be). If you’re not accustomed to listening to podcasts or music at work normally, don’t change that when you start working from home. If you normally have silence at work, invest in some good quality noise-canceling headphones to keep yourself focused. It’s always a good idea to clean up your workspace too. Clutter can cause distractions and cloud your mind. For some people, it induces stress–and nope, we don’t want that at all. Take some time to reorganize your space. Move to a different area of the home with the least distractions. Adjust as you go to make your work from home a better place to work. 

Check your posture

Fatigue is often distracting and can link to poor posture when working. Hence, why no one recommends working from your bed. Ever get neck cramps throughout the day or back pain that you can’t stop obsessing over? Yeah, not great for productivity! If possible, try to make your at-home workspace more ergonomic. That is, make sure that when you’re sitting, your feet are planted fully on the ground at a 90 degree angle. Sit up, keeping your spine and neck aligned. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle when typing and your eyes should be looking straight ahead at your monitor. Additionally, be sure to take frequent breaks (especially if your current desk situation is sub-optimal). And we don’t mean to take breaks to go on Instagram. Take breaks to do some stretches to mitigate any chronic pain that can stem from a long workday with bad posture. 


Your personal wellness is just as important as your professional output. As we’re adapting to at-home confinement, things can get a little lonely and hectic. That’s why we’re huge proponents of health and wellness–especially during this time. Remember to take care of your bodies even though gyms are closed. Drink lots of water, and do more things that make you happy (at home). 

Eat well 

One of the most important things you can do for your body right now is to eat well. We hope you’re not hoarding food because that will take away from someone who might need it more than you do, but it does mean being selective with what you put in your body. Adopting dietary habits that are geared toward nutrition will help boost your immune system and overall health. Need a reference point? Check out the Planetary Health Diet, an eating plan developed by a prestigious collective of scientists, nutritionists, and environmentalists as the optimal diet for both human and planetary health. If there are concerns to fill nutritional gaps, supplements are a great option to explore. 

Stay hydrated

Your body needs water, whether or not “feel” thirsty. Drinking an adequate amount of water will help your overall wellness and support your immune system. This is especially important in today’s world. Water flushes out toxins and other bacteria from your body that can cause illnesses. It also helps oxygen flow throughout your body. 

Whatever you’re drinking from, it’s especially important to clean it frequently–preferably at each refill. Why? Because bacteria can grow faster than you think in moist places. Yes, we’re talking about your mug, your tumbler, your water bottle, and yes your favorite baby Yoda glass. Check out this guide on how to clean your reusable water bottle to be sure you’re cleaning properly. If you’re not into all that cleaning or just want peace of mind that your drinking vessel is bacteria-free, we make these really cool self-cleaning bottles using PureVis™  technology. PureVis™ uses a non-toxic UV-C LED, which purifies water and sanitizes surfaces by eliminating bacteria and viruses. 


In this stressful period, meditation can be helpful to help you maintain your sanity. There are so many things going on on top of this global pandemic–events and weddings being canceled, resource crisis, and bleak thoughts about what the future holds. Here’s a reminder that we can stay positive and be proactive about what we do now to ensure the best possible outcome. That includes keeping a good attitude, practicing mindfulness, being compassionate to others, and taking care of your own mental health through practices such as meditation or yoga. 


In some areas, fitness clubs and gyms are closed as a result of recent developments regarding COVID-19. Even if you weren’t going to the gym really before, it’s important that you work this into your schedule more than ever. Since we’re not physically going anywhere, taking to the outdoors is a great way to work some much-needed vitamin D and exercise into your routine. Exercising releases endorphins that lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. 

No matter where you are in the world, be compassionate to others and remember to wash your hands. We hope these tips help you work from home better and stay healthy while you’re at it! 



Best practices for COVID-19 prevention amidst pandemic

The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, struck the world more quickly than anticipated. Initial cases originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and since have spread to well over a dozen countries worldwide. In the beginning, there was questioning whether the virus would spread to other countries, but now it is a matter of when it will spread across the globe. 

What people need to know about COVID-19 is that it is a virus and it spreads like any other virus like influenza. According to the Center for Disease Control. COVID-19 is believed to spread through respiratory droplets produced when a person sneezes or coughs. These droplets can be inhaled into the lungs of nearby people. The spread of COVID-19 comes from close contact from person to person (about 6-feet in proximity). It is currently unknown if these pathogens can be spread from touching surfaces that have the virus on it and then touching your face, nose, or eyes, but err on the side of caution in any case. 

Places to avoid

Elevated risk of exposure is more likely with people who interact closely with potentially infected travelers. People who have encountered the following areas should take extra precaution:

  • healthcare facilities
  • deathcare facilities
  • airports & airline operations
  • border protection
  • solid waste and wastewater management

It’s important to be mindful if you, or someone you have regular contact with, spends time in these places, or if you or someone you know has traveled to areas where the virus is spreading.

Being in heavily populated areas with close proximity to others can be a cesspool for germs to spread. In general, avoid densely populated areas or public places as well as areas that infected travelers might visit. 


Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. The best way to avoid contracting the virus is to avoid exposure to the best of your ability. If your current occupation makes it difficult or impossible to avoid contact with people, take these steps to prevent contracting illnesses like COVID-19: 

Clean your hands frequently

Believe it or not, people still don’t wash their hands as frequently as they should. Washing your hands more frequently can reduce the risk of respiratory infection by 16 percent! So, why wouldn’t you? 

But don’t just rinse–wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. That’s about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. If you get bored easily or feel weird about singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself 27 times a day, check out this list of 20-second song snippets to make handwashing thorough and fun. 

If you don’t have access to a sink and soap, use some hand sanitizer to clean your hands. The CDC recommends a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel completely dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands. 

Avoid close contact with others

As we mentioned before, COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through airborne respiratory droplets that may be inhaled into the lungs. Stay away from others when possible, wear an N95 mask if you are sick or in a crowd, and avoid situations in densely populated areas. 

Prevent others from getting sick

If you have a strong immune system, good for you, but you still need to stay home if you are sick to protect others who may have compromised immune systems. Self-quarantine yourself to ensure that others around you don’t get sick. If you think that you may have contracted COVID-19, you must notify a medical professional. Call your primary care physician or a nearby medical office to let them know your concerns before visiting so that they can take the necessary precautions. 

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Germs can spread like wildfire if we don’t practice good hygiene. This includes covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposing of the used tissue in a lined trash can. This will prevent respiratory droplets from being inhaled by neighboring people. Be sure to wash your hands immediately after coughing or sneezing for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

Wear a face mask

The surgeon general urges people to stop buying masks unless absolutely necessary. If you are sick or if you are caring for someone who is, please wear a mask. Mass purchases of masks have caused a shortage of these necessary resources from facilities that desperately need them. However, if you are indeed sick, you should wear a face mask to prevent respiratory particulates from entering the air and into someone else’s lungs. 

Clean and disinfect

Although there is no definitive answer to whether or not you can contract COVID-19 from touching contaminated surfaces, you should clean and disinfect common areas frequently as a precaution. Use cleaning products that eliminate bacteria. If you’re using a reusable cloth, be sure to wash it thoroughly before touching or reusing it again. Always toss disposable disinfecting wipes into lined trash cans promptly after using. 

Stay healthy

A strong immune system will prevent you from getting sick, so adopting wellness practices are always a good idea. Be sure to get the recommended six to eight hours of sleep per night, drink lots of water, and eat your fruits and vegetables. 

On the topic of drinking water, try not to share your drinks with others. Keeping your LARQ Bottle handy is especially helpful during this time because the UV-C will keep the water inside your bottle and the inner surfaces free of any bacteria or viruses. UV-C disinfection technology has been around for decades and used in water treatment facilities as well as hospitals for sterilization purposes. Our UV-C LED technology is projected at an optimum wavelength of 280 nanometers, which categorizes as germicidal. This triggers a photochemical reaction that destroys the DNA of bacteria and viruses, rendering them inactive and unable to harm you. We’ve harnessed this technology in our bottles, providing safe and effective water purification on the go. The bottle also activates the 10-second Self-cleaning mode automatically every 2 hours so you don’t have to worry about what’s growing in your bottle. If you don’t have a LARQ Bottle and are using another reusable option, be sure to wash your bottle frequently and properly as bacteria and viruses and grow exponentially between washes. 

Staying healthy will help you fight off illnesses in the event that you do contract something, so it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your health and overall wellness.