NUTRITION: ALKALIZE YOUR BODY THE EASIEST WAY POSSIBLE!
I've written about Alkaline and Acid balance a few times before as it's something that I'm very passionate about. Most notably this post on the 80 Best PH Balancing foods which highlight how the foods rate on the PH Scale. This scale ranges from 0 to 14 where 0 is very acidic (it can burn a hole through metal) and 14 is highly alkaline, 7 is neutral. Neither are desirable as our blood is slightly alkaline falling in at 7.4 which ultimately means we want to consume a diet that is rich in alkaline forming foods.
If you’re not getting enough minerals from the foods you eat and drink to neutralize the acid in your body, it will find any alkaline mineral store that’s available. It will grab some minerals from your mouth (tooth decay), magnesium from your muscles (muscle pain and cramps), and your largest mineral bank, calcium from your bones (joint pain and osteoporosis). The pH of your blood is that important that it will let your body fall apart before it allows its pH to veer off course. This is why the alkaline diet is so important and why I like to continue to highlight it!
The purpose of the alkaline diet is not aimed at trying to make your body more alkaline, and this is where so much confusion lies when it comes to this lifestyle. It’s about giving your body nutrient-dense foods high in alkaline minerals like organic leafy greens and fresh vegetables, salads, low-sugar fruits, healthy fats like avocados, omega oils like chia, olive, flax, nuts, seeds, smoothies, green drinks, and healthy whole grains, so that your body doesn’t have to rob its own resources and do all of the regulating. Our bodies work so, so hard for us day in and day out which is why we have to aid it in keeping it balanced and slightly alkaline.
I love this way of eating because it's very realistic and is not dogmatic in it's principles. It's quite simplistic in highlighting foods that we should be consuming the majority of the time, while still allowing a small place for more acidic foods. Personally my more 'acidic' forming foods consist of organic coffee, raw chocolate, and organic/hormone free animal protein excluding red meat.
Today I wanted to share a few tips that will help alkalize your body beyond the foods you are ingesting because we are not simply the foods we eat but the thoughts we think, and our entire lifestyle. This also is not about deprivation or cutting out everything you enjoy in life! It is about adding more of these foods, practices + habits. As the holidays roll in these might help you balance our all the treats, festivities and dinners.
1. Breathe. Did you know that 70% if the toxins and acids in your body are removed through you lungs? Breathe is an essential element to life, and yet today we’re using less and less of our lung capacity. Think about it – when you’re stressed is your breath deep or shallow? You’d be surprised how often we hold our breath. While sitting, breathe slowly through your nose for a count of 7, and hold your breath for a count of 7. Then for another count of 7, exhale through your mouth. Repeat this three times, and this will help calm your spirit, relax your nerves, and will reduce the acid load in your body by getting rid of all that carbon dioxide gas, one of the largest acids in your body. It's seems simple but it's more powerful than almost any practice in your body.
2. Hydrate – and coffee doesn’t count! Drink 500ml-1 L of water every morning with either 1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar or the juice of half an organic lemon (both alkaline-forming to your body). Then, drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. I aim for 3-4 liters of water a day.
3. Go Green. A recent government survey showed that on an average day, only 6% of us eat the recommended amount of greens! When I read this I couldn't believe it! Simple- eat your greens. Aim to have greens at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try adding spinach/kale to your smoothies or if you eat eggs make a omelet and put it a whole handful of greens. For lunch and dinner make sure you are eating some form of salad as either the starter or a main.
4. Alkaline Minerals. The fastest way to alkalize your body is by increasing your dietary intake of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate. Acid drains our bodies of magnesium, which interrupts our enzyme function causing muscle cramps, spasm, and muscle pain. Worst of all, it has been estimated that a modern acid diet robs our skeleton of almost half its calcium over 20 years!
5. Drink Smoothies. Having a fresh, organic, green smoothie daily is an awesome way to pack nutrient-dense alkaline superfoods into your body. Always go with a green like spinach or kale as your foundation, a small amount of fruit (banana or berries) and some healthy fats to slow the metabolization of any sugars in the fruit like coconut oil, raw nut/seed butter, or chia seeds. My favorite liquids are coconut water, coconut milk, and hemp seed milk.
6. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Sweating will help your body release the toxins and acids that have built up over time, even exercise as simple as a brisk walk! Whatever you do move your body. If you sit at a desk all day make sure every hour you are getting up to stretch, go to the bathroom, get a glass of water or do some jumping jacks in the bathroom. I aim for 45-90 minutes a day depending on what I'm doing with 1-2 days off a week.
7. Go 80/20. In other words, eat 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods. It's not about being perfect!! To be successful with this lifestyle you have to enjoy the process. It’s not about deprivation, its moderation. So as long as you are maintaining the 80/20 rule you can still enjoy the foods you love.
I can’t say it enough; being healthy is not about trying to be perfect, or cutting out everything you enjoy for the rest of your life! It’s about progress, no matter how big or small the steps. One step at a time, it's all a journey.