23 Best BPA Free Water Bottles: Glass, Stainless Steel & Eco-Friendly

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Eco-Friendly, Reusable Water Bottles: Non-Toxic, BPA-Free

It’s high time that we ban disposable plastic water bottles except in the case of emergencies. They’re a scourge on our planet and they’re not good for your health either. I understand that I may be preaching to the choir here, dear reader, but just in case you want to read about how heinous disposable plastic water bottles are for your health and for our planet’s, you can click here to jump to the bottom of this post and get more info. But if you’re here to check out the very best BPA-free water bottles that are healthy for you and eco-friendly to the planet  first, here they are.

All of the reusable water bottles presented in this post are either glass or stainless steel, which means they’re non-toxic and BPA-free. They’re also free of the BPA alternatives bisphenol S and F, otherwise known as BPS and BPF.  Some studies have found those chemicals to be just as harmful as BPA. In this post, the glass water bottles are listed first, followed by stainless steel water bottles below.

Here’s a quick video on why we need to ditch the disposable plastic water bottles:

 

Reusable Glass Water Bottles

Overall, glass water bottles seem to be the safest bet for your health and the environment. Glass is inert, meaning it doesn’t leach into the food or beverage it contains, and it’s non-toxic. Glass is also easily recycled. The only two downsides to glass are that it breaks and it can be heavy.

Fortunately, there are a number glass drinking bottles available today that come in protective silicone covers to prevent them from breaking. Silicone is non-toxic, and it’s not considered a hazardous waste. However, it doesn’t decompose, so it needs to be recycled. Usually you have to recycle it in a specialty recycling center.

1. Eco-Friendly Glass Water Bottle by Kanrel

Eco-Friendly Glass Water Bottle by KanrelThis reusable glass bottle by Kanrel is dishwasher-safe and made with strong, non-toxic glass. Each Kanrel bottle is hand-crafted and has a protective silicone cover. This bottle is a great way to keep yourself hydrated, while reducing the amount of plastic in our environment.

What customers say:
Customers say the bottle is leak-proof, so you don’t have to worry about carrying it in your bag with other things.

About the brand:
Based in Ireland, Kanrel is focused on reducing the amount plastic waste in our environment. They also put a special emphasis on improving the quality of drinking water, which has led them to create a range of BPA-free glass bottles for a variety of uses. Kanrel is a member of 1% for the Planet, so they donate 1% of sales to environmental causes.

Price: ~ $36.56 – $55.52

Buy Now on Amazon

 

2. BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by purifyou

BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by purifyouThis water bottle by purifyou comes in 12, 22, and 32 oz. sizes. It’s made with high borosilicate BPA-free glass, which makes it more heat-resistant than other types of glass. This makes it great for transporting coffee, tea, or soup. The protective silicone sleeve provides extra protection from drops and knocks.

What customers say:
Customers who’ve used other reusable bottles say they like purifyou the best because the glass is extra thick, yet still lightweight. Others report that it’s leak-proof and easy to carry with the ring on its lid.

About the brand:
purifyou is a family-owned business that’s focused on creating healthy, eco-conscious products. They donate a portion of their profits to build wells in under-developed parts of the world to give others access to safe drinking water.

Price: ~ $14.97 – $89.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

3. Silicone Sleeve Glass Water Bottle by Lifefactory

Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by Lifefactory

This 22 oz. glass water bottle by Lifefactory is easy to hold and 100% BPA-free. It has a flip cap that makes it easy to pop open and drink, and the wider neck makes it easy to add ice or fruit. This bottle comes with a silicone cover to protect the glass. The bottle is easy to clean by hand as well as being dishwasher-safe. Plus, it has a convenient handle that makes it easy carry when you’re on the go.

What customers say:
One customer mentioned that other glass bottles they’ve used felt fragile, whereas this bottle felt much more sturdy. Another said she trusts these bottles with her kids, and that they make beverages taste better than drinking from plastic.

About the brand:
Lifefactory produces a range of glass containers, bottles, and glasses. They focus on using safe materials to produce healthy, smart alternatives to everyday plastic items

Price: ~ $14.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

4. Reusable Glass Water Bottle with Petal Sleeve by Contigo

Reusable Glass Water Bottle with Petal Sleeve by ContigoThis BPA-free glass drinking bottle by Contigo is durable and non-toxic. It comes with a silicone cover and measures 2.8” x 2.8” x 9.8” inches, making it easy to carry.

What customers say:
This bottle feels very sturdy as it survived surprising impacts on surfaces like granite and cement without breaking. Plus, the rubber strap makes it easy to carry and it keeps the cap close to hand when drinking on the move.

About the brand:
Contigo is an eco-conscious company that’s focused on eliminating the need for single-use plastics. Their innovative designs mean their customers get high-quality products geared for the modern world. Contigo offers a range of reusable water bottles, travel mugs, and thermoses.

Price: ~ $11.42

Buy Now on Amazon

 

5. Reusable Glass Water Bottles by Estilo

Reusable Glass Water Bottle by EstiloThese reusable glass water bottles by Estilo come in a pack of four, and they’re made with sturdy, BPA-free glass. The lids are made from high-quality, food-grade stainless steel. Plus, they have a convenient carry strap, so you can take your bottle with you on the go. This reusable water bottle is also dishwasher-safe.

What customers say:
Reviewers on Amazon like the value of these bottles for the price, and said they’re super durable – not breaking when dropped repeatedly.

About the brand:
Estilo produces other glass containers, including swing-top bottles, two-gallon drink dispenser jugs, and more.

Price: ~ $16.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

6. Glass Water Bottles by Brieftons

Glass Water Bottle Set by BrieftonsThis six-pack of glass drinking bottles by Brieftons provides an ideal way to store liquids without using plastic. Their simple design makes them easy to clean and they’re also dishwasher-safe.

These bottles are made from a highly durable soda lime glass, which can handle hot liquids and is resistant to small impacts. And, as an added bonus, they come with a bottle cleaning brush.

What customers say:
Customers appreciate the solid, leak-free seal in the cap to prevent leaks and spills when carrying these bottles in your bag or car. Another customer vouched for the fact that you can pour hot tea into these bottles for drinking on the go.

About the brand:
Brieftons aims to offer healthy products to customers at affordable prices. In addition to glass drinking bottles, they produce a range of kitchen appliances.

Price: ~ $19.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

7. 32 Oz. Glass Water Bottle by Xtremeglas

Glass Water Bottle by Xtremeglas

This large reusable bottle by Xtremeglas has helpful time markers on the side to remind you to stay hydrated throughout the day. The durable glass and protective silicone sleeve will let you get long-term use from this bottle. It also has a stainless steel lid.

What customers say:
One customer bought this as a gift for a co-worker, which inspired more of their colleagues to get one.

About the brand:
Xtremeglas is a veteran-owned business based in Indiana. They make a range of well-crafted glass water bottles and bottle accessories.

Price: ~ $24.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

8. 18 Oz. Glass Water Bottles by Vremi

18 Oz. Glass Water Bottles by VremiThis reusable water bottle by Vremi comes in a six-pack. The slim design means they’re lightweight and easy to carry, and they’ll fit easily into your car’s cup holder.

The glass is durable, and can be used to store a wide range of cold drinks and liquids, including juice, tea, water, and more.

What customers say:
For one customer, this purchase completely solved their issue with constantly buying plastic water bottles. Customers say that having more than one bottle makes not using plastic easier. Another customer said the bottles are well-sealed, so they don’t worry about leaks or spills.

About the brand:
Vremi was started in their founder’s kitchen and has evolved to be a producer of a range of home products, including high-quality glass drinking bottles.

Price: ~ $18.49

Buy Now on Amazon

 

9. Custom Etched Glass Water Bottle by Crystal Dae Dreams

Custom Etched Glass Water Bottle by Crystal Dae DreamsThese special etched glass water bottles are created by Amy Hjelt of Crystal Dae Dreams in her studio in Bellingham, Washington. Amy re-purposes unused bottles and engraves them with elegant botanical motifs. They come with a fully-sealed lid in black, silver, or white. Plus, Amy takes custom orders.

What customers say:
Customers say these bottles are exquisite and make wonderful gifts!

About the brand:
Crystal Dae Dreams is a small business owned and run by artist Amy Hjelt. She takes inspiration from nature, and uses her imagination to create stunning engraved glass bottles, which make ideal gifts and help you stay hydrated with style. She offers custom engraving too. Simply contact her via her Etsy store.

Price: ~ $14.98

Buy on Etsy

 

Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottles

The other best option I found for safe, reusable water bottles that are also eco-friendly are those made with stainless steel. Stainless steel is considered safe for water bottles, as well as other containers like cooking pots, because it’s one of the most inert metals, therefore it leaches a very minimal amount of metal. It should be noted that it has been known to leach nickel, chromium, and iron into the liquid or food it contains.

Depending on how strict you are about avoiding metals in your food and beverages, stainless steel is second only to glass. In my research, I didn’t find anywhere near the controversy of using stainless steel food containers that I did with plastic and even aluminum. (You can read more about aluminum below.) In addition, stainless steel is eco-friendly because it can be recycled.

10. Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Hydro Flask

 

Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Hydro Flask

This bottle by eco-conscious company Hydro Flask has a wide mouth for adding ice, and it comes in a few different sizes. The powder coating provides an easy-to-carry, scratch-proof protective barrier.  The 40 oz. sizes large enough to share with a pal or your dog on a long hike.

What customers say:
Customers love that this bottle is 100% BPA-free. They also love that it doesn’t leak or even cause condensation, so other things won’t get damp if you carry it in a bag.

About the brand:
Based in Bend, Oregon, Hydro Flask is a big advocate for getting people into the great outdoors. Through the “Parks for All” initiative, they’ve provided multiple grants to support programs such as the National Parks Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids, The Trust for Public Land’s Woonasquatucket River Adventure Park, and the City Parks Foundation’s Partnerships for Parks.

Price: ~ $29.95 – $59.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

11. Classic Stainless Steel Bottle by Klean Kanteen

Classic Stainless Steel Bottle by Klean KanteenThe iconic design of this bottle hasn’t changed in ten years, and with good reason. Klean Kanteen goes beyond the usual standard for hygiene and safety, using their own innovative chemical safety assessment on all of their bottles to ensure that no chemicals leach into the liquids they carry. In addition, this bottle is coated in a special chip-resistant finish, so it will still look great in years to come.

What customers say:
Klean Kanteen fans say their drinking bottles have amazing durability, remaining scratch-free for a long time. Plus, they’re easy to clean. They also like that the lids can be switched out for different styles and replaced without having to get a whole new bottle.

About the brand:
Klean Kanteen is a family-owned business that’s intent on reducing the impact of single-use plastics on our environment by offering high-quality, eco-friendly alternatives. They’re a member of 1% for the Planet, and they partner with other non-profits, including 5 Gyres, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and American Rivers.

Here’s a video from Klean Kanteen:

Price: ~ $16.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

12. Wide-Mouth Insulated Water Bottle by Klean Kanteen

Wide Insulated Water Bottle by Klean KanteenThis 20 oz. wide mouth insulated bottle by Klean Kanteen is made with high-grade stainless steel and is vacuum insulated with a durable, double-wall construction. It has a loop handle on the lid for easy carrying. It comes in different colors, including brushed stainless steel, lavender, blue, red, black, and green.

What customers say:
This bottle gets hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon, and customers say it keeps drinks hot all day. Customers also say the quality is top notch.

Price: ~ $25.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

13. Socially Conscious Insulated Water Bottle by S’well

Socially Conscious Insulated Water Bottle by S'wellThis stylish drinking bottle by S’well is vacuum insulated, non-toxic, and BPA-free. It will keep your drinks chilled for up to 12 hours. The sleek design comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns, including wood-style, marble, white, black, and more.

What customers say:
Customers like the slim design of this bottle, which make it easy to hold and carry. Others say it helps to remind them to stay hydrated.

About the brand:
S’well was started in 2010 by Sarah Kauss. Her mission: to rid the world of plastic bottles. A socially-conscious company, S’well is a UNICEF USA partner and has committed $800,000 to help provide clean and safe water to the world’s most vulnerable communities. In addition, S’well supports water programs in Madagascar, where nearly 50% of the population lacks access to clean drinking water.

Here’s founder Sarah Kauss talking about S’well:

Price: ~ $15.24 – $33.25

Buy Now on Amazon

 

14. Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Tree Tribe

Eco Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Tree TribeThis stainless steel drinking bottle by Tree Tribe is designed to provide you with a lifetime of use. (It comes with a lifetime guarantee.) It’s leak-proof, BPA-free, and designed from tough, food-grade stainless steel. Plus, it has a cool, sustainable bamboo cap.

What customers say:
Customer like that this bottle is 100% plastic-free. They also say the bottle never leaks and is practically dent-proof.

About the brand:
Tree Tribe is committed to reducing the amount of harmful plastic in our environment by creating tough, hygienic, and eco-friendly bottles so you never have to buy plastic again. An eco-conscious outdoor lifestyle brand, the company plants 10 trees for every product they sell. I also featured them in my post about wood and bamboo framed sunglasses.

Here’s a little more info on Tree Tribe:

Price: ~ $27.24

Buy Now on Amazon

 

15. BPA-Free Stainless Steel Water Bottles by Healthy Human

BPA-Free Stainless Steel Water Bottles by Healthy Human

Here’s another cool drinking bottle that can ensure your beverages never touch plastic again. It’s also made with stainless steel and has a steel-lined lid. This bottle will keep your cold drinks chilled for up to 24 hours, and your hot drinks hot for an impressive 12 hours. These bottles come in an extensive range of colors and finishes.

What customers say:
Customers say these bottles are tough yet comfortable to carry around with their wide three-finger handle at the top.

About the brand:
Healthy Human produces a range of stainless steel water bottles and tumblers. They aim to help people live healthier, happier lives. They’re also against plastic straws and make reusable stainless steel straws.

Price: ~ $14.99 – $36.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

16. Brushed Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Futurepace Tech

Brushed Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Futurepace TechThis stainless steel bottle is vacuum insulated and will keep your chilled drinks cold and your hot drinks warm for hours after filling. In addition, its food-grade stainless steel interior means that no taste or odors from your previous drinks get transferred.

What customers say:
Customers attest that this bottle will keep cold drinks well-chilled, even if left in direct sunlight inside a hot car. Other customers say they like the leak-free seal that works even when the bottle is laid on its side.

About the brand:
Futurepace Tech says they create simple, elegant solutions to cut down on plastic waste. And, they encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy life.

Price: ~ $14.50

Buy Now on Amazon

 

17. Custom Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by KTBG Creations

Custom Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

If a personalized water bottle is what you’re after, check out these styles by KTBH Creations. They’ll customize your stainless steel water bottle with a unique monogram of your choosing. Their bottles are 17 oz., so they’re the perfect size to take to work, the gym, or in the car. Plus, they have double-walled insulation to keep your cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, or hot drinks warm for up to 12 hours.

About the brand:
KTBG Creations offer a range of customizable items, including bottles, earrings, cups, shirts, and necklaces. They make great gifts for family and friends.

Price: ~ $13.00

Buy on Etsy

 

18. Insulated Water Bottle by HvDrink

Colorful Reusable Stainless Steel Water BottlesThe wide-mouth bottle is non-toxic, BPA-free, and easy to clean. It’s vacuum insulated, so it’s great for carrying either hot or cold beverages. It comes in a range of fun, bright colors, including purple, hot pink, black, red, turquoise, yellow, green, navy, and silver.

What customers say:
Customers love the solid,  non-slip bottom, which prevents the bottle from being knocked over easily. Others commented that is keeps ice frozen for up to 24 hours.

About the brand:
HvDrink makes a range of insulated drink bottles and flasks that are perfect for keeping your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot for long periods of time. All of their bottles use innovative vacuum insulation, and they come in a variety of fun colors.

Price: ~ $17.99 – $28.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Contigo

Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle In addition to their eco-friendly glass drinking bottles noted above, Contigo makes these vacuum insulated stainless steel bottles. Featuring a hygienic spout system, they’ll keep your drink sealed from contaminants when not in use. Plus, they have the added benefit of being leak-free. This bottle also has a handy button-open feature, so you can pick up and drink one-handed. And, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

What customers say:
These bottles easily fit in the drink holder in your car or on your bike, and they’re comfortable to hold in your hand.

About the brand:
Contigo creates high-quality products, including stainless steel and glass water bottles and travel mugs.

Price: ~ $14.88 – $19.96

Buy Now on Amazon

 

20. Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by MIRA
Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This double-walled bottle is vacuum insulated, so it will keep liquids hot or cold all day long. It comes in a variety of colors with different styles of lids. Plus, it’s got a powdered coating that provides a slip-free way to grip the bottle, even if you’re wearing gloves.

What customers say:
This bottle managed to keep one customer’s ice frozen for six hours, even under the hot Jamaican sun. Others remarked that it’s super versatile and definitely worth the price.

About the brand:
MIRA creates high-quality drink containers and food storage cases. All of their products are BPA-free and made from recyclable stainless steel. MIRA supports the Community Water Center, an organization that provides access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water to Californians.

Price: ~ $14.95 – $19.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

21. Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Glacier Point Bottle

Insulated Stainless Steel Water BottleThese vacuum insulated bottles by Glacier Point Bottle are designed to last a lifetime, and they come with a lifetime guarantee to underscore this point. The powder coating makes them highly resistant to scrapes and bumps and easy to carry whether you’re sweating in the summer sun or have gloves on in winter. These bottles also come with a bonus sport cap.

What customers say:
Customers say these bottles keep drinks cold, even in the scorching Arizona sun. They’re also relatively lightweight.

About the brand:
Glacier Point Bottle designs smart alternatives to plastic bottles that come with a lifetime guarantee.

Price: ~ $15.99 – $19.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

22. 32 Oz. Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Takeya Originals
32 Oz. Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This 32 oz. insulated bottle by Takeya is your ticket to staying hydrated. The high-quality stainless steel interior means no odors or flavors get transferred from beverage to beverage. Using vacuum insulation, cold drinks stored inside will stay chilled for up to 24 hours.

What customers say:
Customers like the spout lid that’s combined with a wide opening, making it easy to add ice when desired. They also say it’s lightweight, sturdy, and well-insulated.

About the brand:
Takeya is an active fitness brand that’s based in Huntington Beach, California. They produce a variety of BPA-free, insulated bottles to help people avoid plastic while still staying hydrated.

Price: ~ $19.13 – $29.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

23. Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Iron Flask

Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Water BottleThis cool reusable bottle comes with three different lids, so you can customize your liquid flow depending on your activity. Using double-walled vacuum insulation, this bottle will keep your drinks hot for up to 12 hours or chilled perfectly for up to 24 hours, no matter the temperature outside.

The strong stainless steel design means this bottle is built to last. In addition, your beverages will never touch plastic because the lid is also made with high-grade stainless steel

What customers say:
Customers love that this bottle comes default with three lids. They also say it’s well worth the price.

About the brand:
The Iron Flask creates the perfect solution for carrying hot or cold liquids. It works as a water bottle, coffee thermos, or as a canteen for soup, baby food, and other hot or cold drinks.

Price: ~ $23.95 – $36.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Why You Should Only Drink from a Glass or Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Still not convinced you need to get a stainless steel or glass drinking bottle? Here are a few more compelling reasons for you!

Plastic Water Bottle Pollution

1. Plastic water bottles could be harmful to your health.

Plastic water bottles contain BPA and phthalates, two industrial chemicals that can interfere with the body’s hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, and which have been linked to brain problems, such as depression, as well as cancer, diabetes, and obesity. (Wikipedia)

Yeah, you heard that last one right. Plastic might be making you fat.

Plastic Water Bottles Can Make You Fat

Belly Fat

If the cancer, hormone disruptions, and brain problems aren’t enough to freak you out, both BPA and phthalates are known “obesogens” – toxins that disrupt the function of your hormones, as well as your healthy intestinal bacteria, causing imbalances that lead to distorted hunger cravings, a slower metabolism, and an increase in fat cells and fat storage – all of which can lead to weight gain. In addition, obesogens have been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. (Prevention)

  • Long term exposure to even low doses of BPA cause a rise of insulin production. Too much insulin is a risk factor for obesity.
  • In a study published in the journal Nature, Harvard and Brown University epidemiologists compared levels of BPA in the urine of almost 1,000 U.S. women who reported gaining weight over a 10-year period. The women with the highest levels of BPA reported gaining about half a pound more per year than the women with the lowest levels. Other studies show that BPA may accelerate fat-cell differentiation, disrupt pancreatic functioning, and cause insulin resistance, all of which can lead to obesity.

Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap water, there are no legal limits for phthalates in bottled water – the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals. (NRDC)

BPA, Other Endocrine Disruptors, and Babies

Baby Drinking from Plastic Bottle

BPA is especially harmful to babies. Just as you wouldn’t expose fetuses or babies to alcohol because their livers are not yet fully developed enough to filter out the toxin, you shouldn’t expose babies to BPA for the same reason.

  • A young, developing child without a fully matured means to deactivate BPA could be carrying concentrations of the compound that are more than 10-fold higher than the levels in adults. The results suggest that children are very likely to be the most severely affected by exposure to BPA and related endocrine disruptors. (Environmental Health News.org)

Plastics Are Polluting Your Body Like They’re Polluting the Planet

Unfortunately, 90% of Americans already have BPA in their bodies. This is an added reason not to continue overloading your system with it.

“BPA-free” and “phthalate-free” plastics are not better.

According to a study in the National Institutes of Health journal Environmental pHealth Perspectives, coauthored by University of Texas-Austin Professor of Neurobiology George Bittner, “almost all commercially available plastics they analyzed leached synthetic estrogens.” This was even when they were not exposed to microwave or dishwasher heat or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. (Mother Jones)

  • 81% of Americans have detectable levels of BPS, a “BPA-free” alternative, in their urine. And once BPS enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA.

 

2. Plastic water bottles are contributing to one of the largest environmental catastrophes of our day.

Have you heard of the Pacific Garbage Patch? It is a gyre (or vortex, or whirlpool) of garbage with exceptionally high relative concentrations of plastic, chemical sludge, and other manmade debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. (Wikipedia)

This video from that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains it well:

The Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of the state of TEXAS.

Now, we challenge you to go tell a Texan that their state is insignificant. You don’t have to be a Texan to know that Texas is frigging huge. Now imagine telling all the citizens of Texans that you plan to cover their entire state two times over with chemical sludge and plastic junk.

They’d boot you outta there faster than you can scream, “The Alamo!”

The Pacific Garbage Patch is a foul, disgusting, and embarrassing representation of the amazing human mind becoming completely unhinged.

All because we must have our plastic and we like to drink water from “disposable” plastic bottles…

Dolphin Swimming in Plastic Pollution

Here are some ugly stats about bottled water and its impact on our beautiful, beleaguered planet:

We are using a lot of plastic water bottles.

  • 1,500 is the number of water bottles consumed in the U.S. alone every second.
  • In just one week, from bottled water alone, the U.S. produces enough discarded bottles to circle the planet five times. (Environmental Investigation Agency)

We are not recycling them enough.

  • 167 is the average number of plastic bottles used per person annually in the U.S. Only 38 (23%) of those bottles gets recycled.
  • Because Americans recycle only 23% of PET plastic, 38 billion water bottles are thrown away annually. This equates to $1 billion worth of plastic that could have been recycled and used as carpeting, synthetic decking, playground equipment, and new bottles and containers. (The Huffington Post)

We are wasting money on plastic water bottles.

  • The average cost per plastic water bottle is $1.45. Americans spend $242 per person per year on bottles of plastic water that are harming our health, animals’ health, and the environment.

We are polluting our environment and killing other species with them.

  • Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, which do not biodegrade; instead, they break down into smaller fragments over time. Those fragments absorb toxins that pollute our waterways, contaminate our soil, and sicken animals, which many humans then eat. (The Huffington Post)
  • Plastic bottles and plastic bags are the most prevalent form of pollution found on our beaches and in our oceans. (Huffington Post, Ocean Conservatory)
  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than one million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Marine debris is manmade waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways. (SeeTurtles.org)

The Problem with Aluminum Water Bottles

You may see aluminum water bottles on the market. While they’re not plastic, aluminum bottles don’t cut it either. Aluminum is already in a lot of products we use, and exposure to high doses can pass the blood brain barrier, leading to neurotoxicity. In addition, aluminum water bottles are often lined with materials that contain BPA or other chemicals. (Why would they line them with plastic? We can only guess to prevent the leaching of aluminum into the beverage itself.)

  • Aluminum has been implicated as a potential risk factor in Alzheimer’s Disease and for elderly cognitive impairment. Aluminum levels in the brain increase with age. In one study, they were over 20-times higher in the elderly than middle aged people. And a correlation was found between aluminum levels and “densities of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.” In addition, clinical intervention to lower brain aluminum by chelation has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. (U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health)

We think this is enough to just say no to aluminum water bottles!

Why risk your health when it’s so easy to drink from a reusable water bottle that is not controversial – for your health or the health of our planet?

Get in the habit of carrying your stainless steel or glass water bottle with you at all times like you carry your cell phone!

If you get in the habit of carrying your reusable bottle with you wherever you go, you won’t be tempted to use plastic water bottles when you’re thirsty. The stone-cold reality is that plastic water bottles could be harming your health and they are definitely harming our beautiful planet, as well as the animals with whom we share this planet.

It might seem like an investment to spend $15 or more on a water bottle, but if you consider the average American is spending $242 per year on plastic water bottles with all of their misgivings, then investing in a few reusable water bottles for you and your family is well worth it! Santé!

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14 Vegan Before and After Transformation Videos

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VeganTransformations600x130Stories of personal health transformations fascinate me because we live in a society that’s full of unhealthy, addictive temptations. Let’s face it – our whole economy is based around “wanting” – the creation of desire in human beings so we react and buy. Needless to say, this has gotten us into a lot trouble when it comes to food and eating. We all know about the obesity epidemic. And lifestyle-related health care costs are sky rocketing. Undoubtedly, the basis of this problem is the amount of addicting food products that permeate our culture.

As a person who struggles with food addictions, this is a subject I have thought about extensively. I am not an eat-a-few-corn-chips kind of gal. I am an eat-one-corn-chip-devour-the-whole-bag kind of gal. Thus, it’s best that I simply avoid corn chips altogether. I can’t go cold turkey from food, but I can go cold turkey from corn chips, and that works for me. To a person who doesn’t struggle with food addictions, this might seem trivial. But to the food and other self-acknowledged addicts among us – I’m sure you can relate! This is why I feel indebted to the people who share their own stories about overcoming addiction and other personal challenges. They make us realize we are not alone, and that if they can do it, we can too.

The Problem with Food Products, Which Are Not Food

We have a problem with addicting foods in our culture. In order to be competitive and economically viable, food product companies have gone to great lengths to ensure there’s a high degree of repeat wanting for their products. At the same time, as businesses, they have pressure to keep costs down while creating products that have a long shelf life. Factory farming, preservatives, and added sugar, salt, and hydrogenated fats are just some of the unhealthy byproducts of those economic drivers. The more addicting a food product is, the better it sells. And the lower the cost to produce it and keep it on the shelf, the more money the food product company makes. The result is fake food – products that barely resemble the whole foods that nature has been perfecting for eons.

Capitalism Gone Awry

I call this capitalism gone awry. It’s when business people, scientists, and technologists get too micro-focused on one metric – how much money can be made, while losing site of the broader ramifications of what they’re creating. I think one of the best aspects of the modern world is that we have easy access to information that gives us the bigger picture, if we care to look. We may not be growing our own food in our gardens, but at least we can get the background story on our food – where it comes from, what’s in it, what impact it’s having on our bodies, as well as on other people and animals. Finally, the medical establishment is starting to catch up, and we’re seeing more studies on the role that whole foods play in our overall health, well-being, and longevity.

Miraculous Transformations from Everyday People

Blue Butterfly In addition to scientific studies, one of the most vital ways that we’re getting the bigger picture on how whole foods make us feel is when people share their personal stories. The people profiled here overcame additions and other lifestyle-related challenges that held them back from realizing their full potential. At once, they are extraordinary. At the same time, they’re just normal people like you and me.

They make me think about Roger Bannister, who was the first person on record to run a sub-four-minute mile. He showed us that, yes, it’s humanly possible. And after he showed us, more and more people went on to run sub-four-minute miles. Today, it’s become a standard of athletic performance vs. an anomaly. Every person who overcomes a challenge like an addiction is a Roger Bannister in my book. They help us to set a higher standard for a more vibrant way of being. Without further ado, here are:

Vegan Transformation Videos from People Like You and Me:

1. Plant Based Guerilla

This video by vegan lifestyle guru the Plant Based Guerilla is a montage of vegan diet transformation that will help turbo charge your motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.

2. The Good Life Project (with Rich Roll)

In this video by the media company The Good Life Project, which focuses on helping people live more enriched lives, founder Jonathan Fields has a very candid conversation with Rich Roll. Rich talks about being a recovered addict and the positive influence that his wife Julie has had on his life. He also talks about how important it is to seize moments of clarity that can serve as a catalyst to help us change our lives for the better.

3. Rich Roll

Rich Roll’s book Finding Ultra is a must-read for anyone who needs that extra push to go all out vegan, and not to mention – get in great shape. This book had a huge impact on me. I had been a vegetarian for over 30 years, flirting with veganism, but never being able to remain consistently vegan. (I had a hard time giving up cheese!) Finding Ultra was one of those catalysts that turned me into a committed vegan. This means more than my saying, ‘Oh, that Rich Roll guy got me to give up cheese!’ I can truly say that this book is aptly named because it helped me to discover more of who I ultimately knew myself to be.

4. Raw Synergy

You’ve probably heard about the glow you get from eating a vegan diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. In this video by Alicia Grant of Raw Synergy, she shares her personal story about suffering from acne and then discovering the key to having healthy, radiant skin.

5. Jakd Fitness

Jakd Fitness aims to dispel the myth that vegans are weak, and how eating meat can actually get in the way of hitting your ultimate fitness goals.

6. Light Twins

With more men embracing a vegan lifestyle than ever before, it’s great to have as many male role models as possible helping them along the path. But whether you’re male or female, you’ll be sure to find some inspiration by checking out this video and others by the Light Twins.

7. Lissa’s Raw Food Romance

Lissa of Raw Food Romance changed her body and her life by adopting a raw food vegan diet. For outsiders, a raw vegan diet might seem extreme. But when you listen to Lissa speak in her sincere and no nonsense way, you’ll be convinced that the standard American junk food diet is the real extreme, and raw food vegan should be the norm.

8. Full Raw Kristina

Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram infuses positive vibes, authenticity, and sheer vibrancy into everything she does. Quite simply, we need more people like her. Whenever I watch her videos, I want to immediately start taking better care of myself and eat more fruits and vegetables!

9. Simnett Nutrition

A certified nutritionist, Derek of Simnett Nutrition is all about being a super strong and fit vegan. Some people want to lose weight when they go on a vegan diet; others want to build muscle mass. Derek shows you how to get it done.

10. Elle Tayla

Elle Tayla’s story is hard to watch on YouTube, as she struggled on and off with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. With the support of family and friends, good old self-reliance, and discovering a high-carb, low-fat vegan diet, she found her way back the health.

11. Infinite Waters

Renaissance Man Ralph Smart of Infinite Waters is a self-described “Infinite Being.” Watch his videos, and you’ll realize that you are too.

12. Sarah Nourse

Sarah Nourse and her husband went vegan after hearing activist Gary Yourofsky speak. With humility and generosity, Sarah shares her story about how in just six months, she and her husband lost weight and changed their lives for the better by embracing a vegan lifestyle.

13. The Urban Black Vegan

A recovered diabetic, The Urban Black Vegan was inspired to change his life after watching the groundbreaking movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. He’s on a mission to help people in his own community and beyond fight lifestyle-related chronic diseases and to get on the path to health.

14. High Carb Hannah

High carb Hannah drank too much, smoked, and overate. She chronicles her 70-pound weight loss and the life transformation that resulted from eating a whole food, plantbased diet.

Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channels of these inspirational heroes, and best of luck on your own journey to health and vitality!

(As with much of the content you find on the Web today, take these videos as anecdotal, personal stories and consult with a medical professional if you have questions about making major dietary changes!)

 

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Important Stats on Why We Should All Be Eating a Plantbased Vegan Diet

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Farm Animals

You don’t have to look too far today to find an overwhelming amount of data on why we should all be eating plantbased diets. Whether it’s for your health, for the health of the planet, for the next generation who will inherit this planet, or simply for compassion for animals, eating a vegan diet is one of the best personal consumption choices you can make in your lifetime. We’re not alone when we say – humans converting to a plantbased diet as soon as possible could be the salvation for all of us.

Here are just a few stats on how going vegan can save you, your family, and the world:

The Personal Reasons to Go Vegan:

  1. Eating the equivalent of two slices of ham each day (or 50 grams of processed meat) – can increase your risk of cancer by 18%. (World Health Organization.)
  2. Vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. For example, vegan women have 34% lower rates of cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)
  3. Women placed on plant-based diets for just two weeks were found to suppress the growth of three different types of breast cancer. Similar results were found for men relating to prostate cancer and prostate enlargement. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)
  4. Vegan diets contribute to greater weight loss than vegetarian, pescatarian, semi-vegetarian, or omnivorous diets. (Obesity Society.)
  5. 55-year-old male and female vegans weigh about 30 pounds less than non-vegetarians of similar height. (Loma Linda University.)
  6. Vegans have a 57% reduced risk of death from heart disease. (The British Medical Journal.)
  7. Vegans have a 68% lower rate of diabetes than meat eaters. (Adventist Health Study 2, VeganHealth.org.)

The Altruistic Reasons to Go Vegan:

  1. Every day, people eating a vegan diet save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) – and they save one animal’s life. (Cowspiracy.com, University of Twente, the Netherlands, Scientific American, The Environmental Working Group, Langdon Street Press.)
  2. Vegans produce the equivalent of 50% less CO2 than meat eaters, and they use 0.09% of the oil, 0.08% of water, and 0.05% of land simply by eating a vegan diet. (Cowpiracy.com, ShrinkTheFootprint.com, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, OneGreen Planet.com, John Robbins – Food Revolution, Earthsave.org.)
  3. Livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Cowspiracy.com, Worldwatch Institute, The Independent.)
  4. Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day, which has the global warming potential of 86-times that of CO2 in a 20-year time frame. (Cowspiracy.com, Philip Ross – International Business Times, Science Magazine.)
  5. Reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately, whereas CO2 can take centuries to dissipate in the atmosphere. (Cowspiracy.com, United Nations Climate Summit, D. Archer, The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate.)
  6. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296-times the global warming potential of CO2, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. (Cowspiracy.com, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.)
  7. Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the U.S. (Cowspiracy.com, Michael Jacobson – Center for Science in the Public Interest.)
  8. Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction. (Cowspiracy.com, World Bank.)
  9. For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. (Cowspiracy.com, UN Food and Agriculture Organization.)
  10. There could be fishless oceans by 2048. (Cowspiracy.com, Science, National Geographic.)

With that, how about checking out some vegan recipes on UniGuide? Enjoy!

Vegan Recipes

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9 Stats on Why a Plant-Based Diet Is Good You and Everyone Else

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Acai Bowl with Bananas and Strawberries

People who eat a vegan diet:

    1. Have a 57% reduced risk of death from heart disease. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
    2. Have 68% lower rates of diabetes than meat eaters. (Adventist Health Study 2, VeganHealth.org)
    3. Have lower rates of cancer than meat eaters. For example, vegan women have 34% lower rates of cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)
    4. Can lose more weight than people on vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, or omnivorous diets. (Obesity Society)
    5. Can weight about 30 pounds less than non-vegetarians of similar height. (Loma Linda University)
    6. Help reduce greenhouse gas emissions because livestock and their byproducts account for at least 14-18% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
    7. Save the lives of nearly 200 animals per year, in addition to alleviating their entire lives spent in emotional distress, isolation, and suffering. (PETA)
    8. Could save the world $1 trillion per year in healthcare costs, unpaid care, and lost working days. (PNAS and NBC News)
    9. Save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), and they save one animal’s life. (Cowspiracy.com, University of Twente, the Netherlands, Scientific American, The Environmental Working Group, Langdon Street Press)
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12 Motivating Vegan Athlete and Fitness Pros – Video Picks

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As more people adopt a plant-based, vegan lifestyle, it’s interesting that many people still consider it to be an extreme way of living. This is why we appreciate the vegan athletes, body builders, and personal trainers who share their stories about being strong, healthy vegans. They exemplify the health potential of a vegan diet as well as the holistic benefits it has on a person’s entire lifestyle. Here are some of our favorite inspiring vegan athlete videos.

Frank Medrano

Dylan Kendall

Rich Roll

Lifelong Fitness with Jim Morris

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Coffee, Crested Butte, and Maker’s Mark

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CrestedButtePurpleHouse
Crested Butte, Colorado

Even though I’m a repeat offender when it comes to kicking junk food and then eating it again, I am definitely a believer in the power of healthy food to heal. I’m always striving to eat a healthier diet, though I fall off the wagon a lot. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with the way governments are run today is the diets of politicians. You can tell there’s a lot of heartburn, blood sugar roller coasters, and gas going on. I’m convinced that if Putin were a raw food vegan, he’d be a completely different guy. Though, they say Hitler was a vegetarian, so it seems that going meatless isn’t a cure for being a sociopath.

Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking if Congress were debating whether the Paleo diet (Republicans) was superior to the vegetarian diet (Democrats) instead of whether Obamacare is the scourge or the savior of the American people, we’d be in much better shape as a nation, both literally and figuratively.

Oh, to think of the money we’d save on healthcare if people just ate better…

But some habits are hard to change. I think the “die” in “diet” is actually short for “die hard.” I wholeheartedly agree with Margaret Mead, who said, “It’s easier to change a man’s religion than his diet.”

I’ve been running into this issue with my mom. She’s been battling debilitating health and neurological problems as a result of contracting Valley Fever in 2008. Two of the worst aspects of her illness have been that she’s lost much of her vision and her sense of balance. Because of this, she’s a fall risk, and she’s had a couple of nasty falls that landed her in the hospital. Now she spends much of her day in a wheelchair or otherwise sitting because we can’t risk her falling down. Being sick for so many years and sitting for such long periods has rendered her incredibly frail and weak.

I know she would benefit from eating super healthy, whole foods and I’ve done my damndest to get a cornucopia of plant-based protein smoothies into her, as well as greens, avocados, sprouts, fresh juices, goji berries, nuts, and seeds. God knows I’ve spent a hell of a lot of money at Whole Foods and even the farmer’s market. But in many ways, it’s been a fruitless pursuit (no pun intended :o) because she so often ends up taking just a few sips or eating a few bites and then pushing it away. Meanwhile, I have a supercharged, pulsating compost bin.

My mom was never a health food nut to begin with. She’s not necessarily a junk food junkie either; she just eats the typical American diet. Her sister in Michigan believes in the healing properties of See’s Candies and fudge from Mackinac Island in the way Julie Piatt and Rich Roll might see the healing powers of their Superfood Energy Balls and Cacao Mint Avocado Tarts. At 86, my Aunt Joan is the picture of health, and the irony of seeing her baby sister so ill has torn her up. But when she sends boxes of sweet, sugary love from the Midwest, it does put a smile on my mom’s face.

If you’ve ever tried to get a really sick person to eat healthy food and failed at it, and you continue to witness them losing weight and wasting away, you can’t help but opt for Plan B – which is getting them to eat something–anything–that has calories in it.

This is why, for my mom, and only for my mom, have I allowed for temporary lapses in my personal values and judgment. In fact, this one was a bloody sacrifice of all that I hold to be true, holy, and correct: On a trip to Salida, she asked me to take her to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru.

‘Are you really going to make me do this?’ I asked. ‘This is all you want to eat? McDonald’s?

She sat slumped down in the passenger seat, in her now baggy clothes, with the black eye patch that prevents her from seeing double askew on her face, and she nodded her head in affirmation.

I relented because I realized how unfair it was for me to hold her hostage to my own dietary ideas just because I can drive and she can’t. If she was still able to drive, she could very well cruise right on through the Mickey D’s Drive-Thru, free of judgment and interrogation.

‘I can’t believe I’m doing this,’ I said. ‘I’m glad no one knows me in Salida. Anyone reading my blog about Earth- and animal-friendly things would think I’m a total hypocrite. What do you want?’

“A Big Mac with fries and a coke, and two hamburgers.”

‘A Big Mac, fries, and two hamburgers? You’re going to eat all that?’

“Hamburgers for the dogs,” she said.

I looked in the backseat at my mom’s Australian shepherd, Daisy, who was standing alert, panting with excitement, clearly knowing exactly where she was and what kind of treat she was about to get. And then I looked at my dog, Roo, leaning back in the car seat, disinterestedly looking out the window. I thought, Her life is about to change.

Trying to wrestle back some parental control from the indulgent grandmother, I said, ‘Well, for God’s sake, don’t give Roo the bun.’

Maker’s Mark

In addition to McDonald’s, my mom hasn’t lost her taste for whiskey. It just goes to show, you can take the Irish out of Ireland, put them on a ship, skip forward to three generations later, and the whiskey DNA still courses through the body as bright and Kelly green as the Irish countryside.

MakersMarkMy mom has lost nearly everything. She’s a bookworm who can no longer read and has trouble operating any device that will play an audio book. And she’s an introverted nature lover who can no longer hike through fields of Rocky Mountain wild flowers of her own accord. Depriving her of the last few things that she can still enjoy simply because they’re “not good for her” seems like cruel and unnecessary punishment.

“Valley Fever was bad for my health,” she once said. “Whiskey, by comparison, is as bad as drinking a Shirley Temple without the cherry.”

After she had a bad fall last fall, which was literally, her last fall before having to be in a wheelchair, she was in a skilled nursing facility outside of Denver for a few months for rehabilitation. On one visit, I wheeled her outside to enjoy the sunshine.

‘How was the food today?’ I asked.

“Not too good,” she said. “It’s boring. And it would be nice if they served a glass of wine with dinner every now and then.”

‘Should we break you out of jail and take you to dinner?’ I asked.

“It’s too much trouble,” she said.

‘No, it’s not, Mom,’ I said. ‘What do you want to eat?’

“Pizza,” she said.

I called my older brother, Ted, who lives south of Denver. ‘I’m going to break Mom out of jail. She wants pizza and would also like a glass of wine.’

“I’ll order a couple pizzas,” he said. “What kind of wine does she want? Red or white?”

‘What do you want, Mom?’ I asked. ‘Red or white?’

“Bourbon,” she said, without skipping a beat.

‘Got any Maker’s Mark, Ted?’ I asked as my brother was laughing over the phone.

I find that my two brothers and I vacillate between trying to get my mom to eat better and do her therapy to all out spoiling her and giving her whatever she wants.

All three of us exhibit similar behavior when it comes to my mom’s wheelchair–that is, we’re in denial that’s she’s in one. Ted sees no need for wheelchair ramps and has hauled her in her cumbersome, heavy metal wheelchair up and down flights of stairs. Patrick has pushed her through muddy fields in the drizzling rain, with one arm on her shoulder to keep her from falling out, and the other simultaneously holding an umbrella while pushing the wheelchair, so she won’t miss my nieces’ and nephew’s lacrosse games.

And since Patrick ordered her a lightweight, carbon fiber, all-terrain wheelchair, all bets are off. There is not a rocky, rooted, dirt, or sandy trail that will curtail me from pushing her on it.

What’s interesting is, in her illness, my mom has seemed to lose all of her previous anxiety over her own personal safety. I used to live in a motel-style building, where the apartment doors all opened up to the outside. I was on the third floor, and the hallway outside my door was actually a long balcony with a metal railing, overlooking a courtyard three stories down. I never realized just how slanted the hallway was until I wheeled my mom out my door without putting on the wheelchair brake. I forgot something in my apartment, and went back to grab it, and my mom rolled backwards across the hallway, with the metal railing the only thing preventing her from falling three stories down. Realizing what I had done, I lunged to grab the wheelchair. I was beyond horrified. But what was most astonishing is the placid expression on my mom’s face. There was no fear. She simply didn’t give a rat’s ass.

CrestedButtePano830

Crested Butte

I’ve been in Colorado nearly a month now, tasked with the heart wrenching job of packing up my mom’s things as we transition her to a longer term skilled nursing facility. For a change of scene, I decided to take her on a day trip to Crested Butte, which is 68 miles from her town of Buena Vista. Closed in winter due to its elevation, County Road 306 takes you over Cottonwood Pass, which rises above 12,000 feet over the Continental Divide. The western side is slow going because it’s a dirt road. Local residents lobbied not to pave the road in an attempt to keep traffic down. It’s rugged, dusty, and beautiful. I can’t remember seeing Colorado so green and full of insects and wildflowers. It seems to have soaked up all the rain that brown, drought-ridden California missed.

CrestedButteFlowers2It was one of those perfect Rocky Mountain summer days, sunny and about 75-degrees, with sunlight sparkling off of Cottonwood Creek. “Creek” is a misnomer because it’s a powerful river in its own right, which twists and turns alongside the windy mountain road. I pulled over partway up to let the dogs out for a bit. This time, I couldn’t talk my mom into getting out of the car, so she waited as I walked the dogs down a sandy dirt road along the river. Every 30 feet or so, was another rugged mountain man in sunglasses and a baseball cap, some wearing waders in the water, and others standing on the river bank, all fly fishing in quiet meditation. They made me think of a row of disciplined knights stationed along a watchtower during peaceful times. The vegan in me doesn’t get the allure of fishing, but the woman in me gets the allure of fishermen. Every one of them looked at me as I strolled by, and then slowly turned his eyes back to the river. One of the things I appreciate about the Rockies, which is in stark contrast to San Francisco, is that the men look at you like they ain’t never seen a woman before.

CrestedButtePorchColorful Crested Butte was surprisingly busy with tourists and it was hard to find a place to park, so I ended up driving a bit outside of town to find a place in the shade under some trees for the dogs. By now, I’ve gotten pretty good at the routine of pulling my mom’s wheelchair out of the back of my RAV4, wheeling it around, putting on the brakes, and then helping her out of the car seat and into the wheelchair. On a good day, she carries her weight better than other days. But by now, I’ve developed some arm muscles because of all the lifting. Undeterred by the bumpy dirt path into town, I pushed her from the car to Elk Avenue, one of the main drags in Crested Butte.

‘What are you in the mood for, Mom?’ I asked.

“Coffee and something sweet.”

She had already had two cups that morning. I started to give her the lecture: Are you sure you want to drink that? You know it’s dehydrating and your cells need more water right now and it will mess up your sleep tonight and you’ve already had two cups… but I stopped myself and wheeled her up to Rumors Coffee shop.

When you take my mom out to eat, even for the smallest snack, you load up on napkins because  inevitably there will be a disaster zone of spills and food everywhere. But even though she spills a lot of it, she still loves her coffee. People look at her with curiosity, I’m sure they wonder what she has, but by and large, they go out of their way to assist us, holding open doors and offering to help. Sitting on the porch of the coffee shop in the shade with my mom, on a beautiful summer day was sublime. Then she announced she was tired and it was time to go.

Driving out of town, there was a little traffic jam of about six cars on Elk Avenue. The car in front of me stopped abruptly as the driver yelled out to a friend walking on the street “Hey, Mitch!” Mitch walked up to the window and they chatted, as the five cars behind waited. Getting impatient, I drove around the car and the buddy named Mitch, picking up speed to pass them.

A bearded, longhaired hippie dude with no shirt on rode up next to me on an old beach cruiser. Evidently having seen my license plate, he said, “Hey California!” He smiled with big white teeth. “Where’s the fire? Chillax a little. You’re in Crested Butte. Slow down and enjoy life!” He laughed and rode away.

On the drive home, we opted to take the fully paved route through Gunnison. All the windows were down and both dogs had their heads out. I put on some of my mom’s favorite tunes–Cat Stevens, The Eagles, and Kris Kristofferson. She turned her head, with the Rocky Mountain wind blowing on her face, and fell asleep.Save

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