52 weeks of good health....

every week I will share with you a tip to improve your eating habits or lifestyle to help you reach maximum energy levels and increase overall physical and emotional health.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's All About Balance

My last two posts have been about what you should eat less of (meat and animal products) and what you should try to consume more of (vegetables and fruits). This week, I'm going to give you another reason why you might want to try to make those changes!

Have you ever heard the phrase, "you are what you eat"? Well, most of us consume a lot of animal products, which are very acidic in the body and too few alkaline producing foods, such as fresh veggies. Did you know that disease can only live in an acidic body? The acidity and alkalinity are measured according to the pH...

I'll admit freely, that I am not very good at science...so bear with me, while I try to explain how the body's pH levels work;
  • pH is the measure of alkaline or acidity in a solution, it is measured on a scale of 0-14 (the lower the pH, the more acidic the solution; the higher the pH, the more alkaline). A solution is considered neutral, if the pH balance is 7. The body is always trying to balance the pH, in the body's fluids and tissues (the stomach is a different matter).
  • an acidic pH can occur when we consume too many acid forming foods (as I mentioned above...check the link below to see which foods are the most acidic), from emotional stress or from an overload of toxins.
So, why should we care if our bodies become too acidic? Well, it decreases the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients; it decreases it's ability to repair damaged cells; it decreases it's ability to detoxify heavy metals; and it makes us more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

I bet you're now wondering how you can find out what your body's pH level is and what you can do to change it, if it's too acidic.....

Testing your pH is actually super easy! All you need is to do is:
  • purchase saliva test strips at your local health food store.
  • test first thing in the morning (before brushing your teeth, since toothpaste causes a very alkaline reading) and before you eat or drink anything...even water, or 2 hours after you've eaten anything.
  • test a couple times through out the day, since your reading can change and take an average of the readings.
  • before testing, fill your mouth with saliva then swallow. This will rinse your mouth of any acidic bacteria that might be lurking.
The main thing you can do to improve your pH balance is to take a good look at your diet. In general, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green veg, peas, beans, lentils, spices and herbs, seeds and nuts (although there are some exceptions).
Acidic forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs and legumes. Check out this link: http://www.essense-of-life.com/moreinfo/foodcharts.htm for food charts.

Now, this isn't to say that you should avoid all acidic foods...just everything in moderation! Approximately, 70% of our diet should come from alkaline foods and 30% acidic in order to maintain a balance (some say, 25/75...others say, 40/60...you'll find what's best for you). Eat veggies throughout the day, take a green supplement (a green drink a day has so many health benefits!), and avoid acid forming and acidic foods and your body's pH level will gradually be balanced. When pH balance is achieved, your body will start to restore it's overall health.

In good health,

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