Thursday, May 21, 2009

What is means to be Alkaline

Nowadays most people are concerned with their body's pH balance. I know at least four - and they all attended my "Acid-Alkaline Balance Cooking Class" last night. This is an extremely important measure of what is going on inside your body, from the size and flow of your blood cells to the quality of your skin and your digestion. This may sound extreme, but it is important for your body to find it's natural balance before a whole range of health problems and diseases creep their way into your life. The good news is, is that you have control over this. Enough control that it merely comes down to your daily diet and lifestyle choices. Of course there is the small percentage dedicated to your genes - but for the most part YOU ARE IN CONTROL!

A little background on pH:

Your body is measured on a scale of “potential hydrogen” or pH. When your pH level is low (1-6 on pH scale) your body is considered to be in an acidic state. When your pH levels are high (8-14 on pH scale) your body is considered to be more alkaline. In order to reach an optimum pH level that is considered "healthy" or neutral – you want your pH levels to be around 7.

What causes high acid levels:

- stress, tension
- poor sleep habits
- environmental toxins
- household chemicals and cleaners

- coffee
- alcohol
- red meat or a high protein diet
- refined
- dairy
- processed foods and refined carbohydrates
- eating to few fruits and vegetables

What does an acidic state lead to:

- low energy
- poor health
- weight gain
- toxicity
- osteoporosis
- bladder infections
- kidney stones
- lethargy
- colds/flu
- infections (weak immune system)
- poor skin, hair and nails
- poor concentration
- diabetes
- mood swings

Choosing an Alkaline based diet means:
- drinking more filtered water daily (have 1-2 glasses of lemon water every morning: 1 wedge of lemon squeezed into warm water)
- consuming more fruits and vegetables ( juices, smoothies, whole fruits and whole vegetables)
- drinking herbal teas
- eating a more plant based diet
- eating whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, cold pressed vegetable oils, avocados

What lifestyle habits can help:
- going to bed at a regular time
- eating breakfast everyday
- clearing your environment or your home of toxic chemicals
- taking deep breaths (belly breathing)
- having warm baths with Epsom salts and essential oils like lavender, mint, eucalyptus or lemon
- taking time to walk outside and enjoy nature
- taking time for yourself (journaling, reading, singing, yoga, pilates...whatever makes you happy!)

As you can see there are so many things that YOU can do to counteract high acid levels in your body. When it comes to diet especially, it is extremely important to make the right choices and choose foods that contribute to a more alkaline state (which means for the most part a plant based diet). That does not mean that you can't eat any foods that are considered acidic (even grains and nuts are considered to be acidic)- it just means that for the most part you should focus on consuming more raw or steamed green veggies, big colourful salads, fresh raw, ripe organic fruits, smoothies, juices etc...!

So here is a simple recipe to get you going!

Green Beans Almondine


1 cup of water
1 cup almonds, chopped (and lightly toasted or raw)
2 lbs. organic green beans, ends trimmed, and strings removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
1 Tablespoon Bragg’s or Tamari
1 T. toasted sesame oil

1. Place the green beans in a large steamer basket and steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender - but still crispy. Place under cool running water to halt the cooking and maintain a bright green colour. Transfer the steamed green beans to a large bowl.
2. Season the green beans to taste with salt and pepper, toss gently, and set aside.
3. In a non-stick skillet, warm the olive oil or grapeseed on medium heat and add the green beans and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the tamari and sesame oil.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir well to combine. Sprinkle the toasted or raw almonds over the green beans and toss well to thoroughly coat the beans with the mixture.

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