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August 2021 Newsletter

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

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1 Aug 2021 TPZN
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The Project Zen

Hello and welcome to the first of our monthly newsletters. Let me introduce myself as I would like us to become friends.

I am Sarina, the founder of The Project Zen [TPZ]. What is The Project Zen?

It is a community and a business in its very early stages. The reason for me starting TPZ is to help improve the health of the planet; To help improve our living and working spaces; and to help individuals improve their own health.

My journey to this point has not been quick nor easy. 51⁄2 years ago I was working full time in the IT department of local government and I spent evenings teaching German. Around me were a lot of stressed, worried and depressed colleagues. This was the case in many departments. It was not uncommon for me to hear about someone being away from their work on long term sick with stress or depression.

At the same time, I read and heard daily news reports about the various problems worldwide being caused by climate change. Climate was and still is changing at an unprecedented rate, because of the combined actions of humans. At the same time, I heard about many people trying to do their best for their communities, for their environment and for themselves.

I want to be one of those people and that is why I started The Project Zen. I want to be around people that have these same values.

6 years ago, I decided that I would go back to learning, to get a grounding in the sciences and to build on that knowledge, so that I could be useful in the best way possible. So that I could reliably and with understanding, sift the data that is everywhere around us. Last November I graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a master’s in applied health sciences.

I have picked a few topics I find interesting and I hope you will too. If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues, please contact me, the details of how are at the end.


What are your views on bottled water? Do you buy it regularly? Do you live in an area where tap water is safe to drink, but you still buy bottled water? I read an article that came out on 5th August 2021 in ‘Euronews Green’ that you might find interesting.

Tap water is thousands of times better for the environment than bottled water, according to scientists. In fact, it takes three times as much water to produce a plastic bottle as it can


This might not come as a surprise, but researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) have crunched the numbers to work out just how much better it actually

is. The research focused on Barcelona, Spain, which is home to around 1.35 million people - nearly 60% of whom consume bottled water at least some of the time.

They used a ‘life cycle assessment’ which estimates the environmental impact of an item over its entire lifespan. That includes the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, use and disposal.

In the US alone, water bottle manufacturing takes 1.5 million barrels of oil every year - more

than it would take to power 100,000 homes. And that is without the fossil fuel or emissions’

costs of transporting them to shops.

Are there any health risks to tap water?

Bottled water use has risen in recent years, in part because of factors such as taste, smell,

marketing campaigns and lack of public faith in the quality of tap water. ISGlobal researcher Cristina Villaneuva says there have been substantial improvements in the quality of tap water in Barcelona over the last few years.

“However, this considerable improvement has not been mirrored by an increase in tap water consumption, which suggests that water consumption could be motivated by subjective factors other than quality.”

One problem is the perceived presence of chemical compounds. In an innovative move, they also compared data about the life cycle of tap water to a framework that is used to measure health.

They found that any risk to health was small and adding a domestic filtration system reduced that risk even more.

“Our results show that considering both the environmental and the health effects, tap water is a better option than bottled water, because bottled water generates a wider range of

impacts”, says ISGlobal researcher Cathryn Tonne.

What are your thoughts about bottled water? Feel free to let me know.

SLEEPING PROBLEMS - some of these ideas may help

If you are a constant coffee drinker, or you enjoy smoking or having an alcoholic drink, then

try taking your last one of-the-day at least 6 hours before bed. Although you may think

alcohol helps you fall asleep or the cigarette helps you relax – a human body does not get

quality sleep with alcohol or nicotine and for many, it only lasts for a short while before they

are awake.

Relaxing before going to sleep is a good idea. Perhaps reading or listening to a book will

work for you. You can benefit if part of your evening routine includes getting off the

computer, I-pad or smart phone at least an hour before bed – more if you can manage it.

However, vigorous exercise during the last 4 hours before bed does not count as relaxation

for sleep purposes. While we are talking about exercise, if you can include some form of

regular exercise during the day, that should also help. Even mild exercise is beneficial. You

will know what you can manage.

Eating a light supper and making the lunchtime meal the heavier one so that you are not

trying to sleep with a full stomach will help.

A bedroom that is too cold, too warm or too bright can obstruct falling asleep. Try to avoid

watching television or eating in your bedroom. You should primarily keep this as your sleep


The last suggestion I shall include is Regular Times – a regular time to go to bed and a

regular time to get up. Your body will appreciate getting used to a routine.

I count myself as very fortunate as I my sleep issues are few, but I know from chatting with

family and friends that there are many people with persistent sleep problems.

I found this infographic that illustrates some of what I have written about that you might like

as a wee reminder.


Did you know that there are different types of INSOMNIA?

A. Transient Insomnia – a person normally sleeps fine but something is preventing sleep, like noise, jet lag or even trying to solve a problem or come up with an important idea.

B. Short Term Insomnia – this often comes about when a person is dealing with emotional problems or suffering a serious illness. This can last from a couple of weeks to a month or two. Even exam worries can cause short-term insomnia.

C. Chronic Insomnia – Sometimes when a person is suffering from the misuse of alcohol or

drugs or is experiencing long-term anxiety and or depression. Mental illness can cause

long-term insomnia.

Sometimes medication can also cause sleep problems.


Last year, in 2020, scientists in Italy found that eating normal cashew nuts reduced the pain

of arthritis. They also found that cartilage in the body took longer to degrade and inflammation was not as severe. I am not talking about the roasted, salted variety, as these

have fewer nutrients and the salt can cause other health issues.

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis have low levels of potassium and Vitamin B6 in their

systems, possibly because of the extra inflammation in the body. This aggravates the condition more, and the situation becomes a bit like a vicious circle.

Often foods that should have valuable nutrients in them have been processed to the point

where they contain little or none of them.

Cashew nuts contain many vital nutrients, such as potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and

magnesium. You can see why the scientists thought about checking out the effects of

cashew nuts on people with arthritis.

If you suffer with this condition and are not allergic to nuts – think about taking a portion of

cashew nuts at least 3 times a week. This is a natural way to help your body with very few

side effects, as it is a natural food that has no other additives.

If you don’t like eating raw cashews by themselves, perhaps try them in a salad – which is

something I enjoy doing.

Congratulations you have read the first issue. I hope you enjoyed it.

Do you like quizzes? There is a daily quiz question on our FB page. If you would like to be

entered into a draw for a prize of a potted Aloe Vera plant, also at the beginning of its

journey, please email the answer to this question:

Draw Question: A cloche can help protect plants from what?


Web page:


Sources Used:

Processing Losses of Potassium from Food as Affecting Arthritis, by Charles Weber, MS: accessed August


Bottled water is 3,500 times worse for the environment than tap water, say scientists: accessed August 2021


NHS Grampian publication: Guidance for NHS Grampian Clinicians on the management of insomnia and the

use of hypnotics. Version 3/ 2018

Infographic: Accessed August 2021

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