Monday, October 14, 2013
The second edition in our Healthy Gut series is all about staying alkalized. I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at work or a meeting with a green smoothie or green juice and people thought I was crazy for drinking a salad. It does sound crazy and a few years ago I would have thought it was weird too but now it is my favorite part of the day. I started drinking my greens after seeing the Food Matters documentary on Netflix which discussed eating raw and the effects of certain foods on our stomach. Then my sister introduced me to Kimberly Snyder and it was all down hill from there. I had never thought about what certain foods do to my stomach and the benefits of raw, leafy greens until then but I was hooked.
Growing up I had always heard the term "stomach acid" and because of that I assumed our stomachs were acidic. Come to find out, that's not true at all. Our bodies work very hard to maintain an alkaline balance in our bloodstream. So what exactly does that mean? It means our amazing bodies will do anything necessary to keep our bodies at a pH of 7.365. Our bodies are impressive but the unfortunate part is that if our diets are filled with acidic foods (meats, dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, sugar etc - sound familiar? me too...) then our bodies have to find a way to get alkalized. This means taking calcium, magnesium and potassium from your bones, tissues and organs just to neutralize all those acids. This is okay every once and while but years of an acidic diet can lead to major issues because acidity sets the state for bad bacteria and viruses to affect our health in every way.
Dr. Robert Young states in his book The pH Miracle that "The pH level of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. The entire metabolic process depends on an alkaline environment... if left unchecked [chronic overacidity] will interrupt all cellular activities and functions from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In other words, acidity interferes with life itself. It is the root of all sickness and disease."
Now the foods that promote acidity in the body are not necessarily bad foods, they just need to be balanced with alkaline foods. This brings us back to the green smoothie. The foods that leave an alkaline residue in our bodies are fresh, ripe, fruits and vegetables (except starchy vegetables like potatoes). I have found that a green smoothie in the morning was the easiest way to ensure I started my body off with what it needs to maintain a healthy pH. Kimberly Snyder promotes an 80-20 ratio of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming. I work hard to meet that but also know life doesn't always allow it.
I started working towards maintaining an alkalized body for my overall health but I had no idea how much day to day it would affect me. An alkalized body promotes health and longevity in every way. It enables us to fight disease, toxemia and the effects of aging. It even makes weight loss much easier. Kimberly Snyder explains that weight loss is harder "because when overloaded with acid, the eliminative organs, such as the lungs or the kidneys, become overwhelmed and cannot remove all the waste. So, much of the toxic, acidic waste gets stored in fatty tissues all over the body... The more toxins you have in your body, the more your fat cells expand to store the toxins." Not only that but acidity can also show up in premature aging, acne, under eye circles, unhealthy hair and more. It is amazing all the products we use to help those things when all it takes is going back to the source, our diet.
I know this much information can be overwhelming but my goal is just to get us thinking about the small adjustments that eventually lead to large changes. It's the small steps and it can be different for everyone. For some it can be making a green smoothie every day and for others it can be skipping meat one meal a day. Find what works for you! If you are curious about where foods fall on the pH scale check out this amazing chart to help. Also here is my favorite recipe for green juice and for a green smoothie.
sources: The Beauty Detox Solution, Crazy Sexy Kitchen