Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Balance Your Acid/Alkaline Levels

Eating the right foods for you can lead to a more balanced life where your intuition and instincts become clear. To achieve balance when eating you need to understand and apply the acid/alkaline balance in your diet. Maintaining a balance of acidity and alkalinity, which is referred to as pH, in our body is a primary role of nutrition. pH ranges from totally acid at 0.0 to totally alkaline at 14.0. 7.0 is neutral. Our ideal pH range is from 7.35 to 7.4. People who eat a standard American diet (SAD) become unbalanced and have an acidic pH of 6.3 or lower.

Acidity creates inflammation in the body and leads to an unhealthy appearance outside. It creates puffiness, asymmetry, contraction of tissues, stiffness, tissue degeneration, water retention, itchy skin and more. To correct this imbalance you need to eat a ratio of foods that are more alkaline than acidic and drink alkaline water.

What determines if a food is alkaline or acidic? The primary determinant is the mineral content of the food. Foods rich in alkaline minerals create alkalinity. Alkaline minerals include calcium, magnesium, silicon, iron, sodium and manganese. Foods rich in acidic minerals create acidity in the body. Acidic minerals include phosphorus, chlorine, iodine, nitrogen and sulfer.

We need both alkaline and acidic foods to create vibrant health and balance. Acidic foods are not bad, we just need to be sure we are eating a balance of both acid and alkaline foods. If you eat something acidic then you should eat something alkaline. For example if you eat brown rice, which is acidic, then you should eat something alkaline such as greens. Most people are too acidic due to eating an abundance of acid-forming foods including meat, eggs, nuts, seeds and grains. People who are too acidic need to reverse this condition. To reverse an acidic condition the best foods to eat are greens- chlorophyll-rich green-leafy vegetables. Eat 2 salads a day, drink a green vegetable juice and/or use a green superfood powder. After you are balanced then you have to maintain the balance by eating a balance of acid and alkaline foods.

There is controversy in regards to what percentage alkaline foods to acid foods we should eat to maintain optimal health. Most say that when healing you should eat 80-90% alkaline and to maintain a proper balance you should eat 60-70% alkaline. I believe that due to our bio-individuality we all need to experiment with what works best for each of us.

If you have any of the following symptoms of being too acidic increase your alkaline foods and notice the change: tense muscles, stress headaches, anger, short temper, chronic negative thoughts, addictions to coffee, cigarettes, smoking marijuana, cocaine or other legal or illegal drugs.

If you have any of the following symptoms of being too alkaline increase your acid foods and notice the change: laziness, spaciness, lack of drive, excessively passive, feelings of being too cold.

The following are some foods to help guide you in making the right food choices to adjust your acid/alkaline or pH levels:

Chlorophyll-rich green-leafy veggies are the best source of alkaline minerals.

Fruits vary in alkalinity and acidity.

Alkaline fruits: olives, figs, papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, lime, oranges, citrus fruits, grapes with seeds, pomegranate, blackberry, raspberries, kiwi.

Neutral fruits; melons, apples, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, mango, mangosteen, strawberries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, pumpkin, noni.

Acidic fruits: banana, avocado, plums, dates, mulberry, grapes without seeds, prunes, dried fruit.

Root vegetables- vary from neutral to acidic.

Radishes, onion, and burdock root are neutral.

Potatoes and carrots are acidic.

Nuts and seeds (grain and rice products are in the category of nuts and seeds)

All nuts and seeds are acidic. Almonds are the least acidic.

Soaked nuts and seeds are more alkaline. Soak nuts and seeds in water to deactivate acids and enzyme inhibitors. They are alkaline when they sprout and grow green leaves.

Meat is acidic.

Dairy products are alkaline if you can digest them well. Most people do not have the enzymes needed to digest dairy products well.

Unpasteurized goat’s milk, cheese and kefir are easier to digest and contain high quality alkaline minerals.

Eggs are acidic.

Other factors that potentially make us more acid include:

Hearing or saying harsh words

Loud music and noise

Being in a traffic jam

Feeling jealousy or wanting revenge

Hearing a baby crying

Overworking and Over-exercising

Watching a stressful movie

General stress and worry

Other factors that potentially make us more alkaline:

Giving and receiving a smile or hug

Laughter and jokes

Classical or quiet music

Hearing a compliment or blessing

Receiving a relaxing massage

Staying in a cozy and clean environment

Being in nature

Watching children laugh and play

Sincere friendly conversation

To measure your pH level at various times during the day use litmus paper. You can measure your saliva and/or urine. Read more to learn when to test your urine and saliva and what the results mean.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Eat Your Greens

As most of you know I eat a primarily raw food diet. My diet includes a variety of raw fruits, veggies, superfoods, nuts, seeds and sprouts in the form of juices, drinks, smoothies, salads, raw soups and more. It is loaded with enzymes, provides me with an abundance of energy and is simple and delicious!!! It is not for everyone but everyone can benefit by adding more raw foods into their daily diet. Most importantly it is essential to add more greens to your diet. The book “Green For Life,” by Victoria Boutenko will explain why you should eat more greens and it also provides you with delicious simple green smoothie recipes that you and your family can enjoy.

In search of the perfect human diet, Victoria Boutenko compares the standard American diet with the diet of wild chimpanzees. These animals possess an extremely strong natural immunity to AIDS, Hepatitis C, cancer, and other fatal human illnesses. Chimpanzees share an estimated 99.4% of genes with humans, but their diet is dramatically different from ours. The most glaring difference is that chimpanzees consume significantly more green leaves than humans. Victoria developed a series of green smoothies that enable anyone to consume the necessary amount of greens in a very palatable way.

The benefits of eating greens:

Green vegetables are the food most missing in modern diets. Learning to eat greens is essential to creating health. When you nourish yourself with greens they naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick. Greens help build your internal rain forest and strengthen blood and respiratory systems. They are especially good for city people who rarely see fields of green in the open countryside. Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to liver, emotional stability and creativity.

Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and Vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.

Some of the benefits from eating dark leafy greens are:

blood purification

cancer prevention

improved circulation
strengthened immune system
promotion of healthy intestinal flora

subtle, light and flexible energy

lifted spirit and elimination of depression
improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
clearing of congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus

There are so many greens to choose from. Find greens that you love and eat them a lot. When you get bored of your favorites, be adventurous and try greens that you’ve never heard of before. Broccoli is very popular among adults and children. Each stem is like a tree trunk, giving you strong, grounded energy. Rotate between bok choy, nappa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion and other leafy greens. Green cabbage can be included as a green, either as sauerkraut, which provides the body with live enzymes. Then there are arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun and wild greens. These are generally eaten raw or in any creative way you enjoy. Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium from your bones and teeth, leading to osteoporosis. Cook (if you choose to cook food) these vegetables with something rich like tofu, seeds, nuts, beans, butter, animal products or oil. This will balance the effect of the oxalic acid.

IF you choose to cook food here are a few cooking suggestions:

Try a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, pressed salad and waterless cooking. IF you are going to use heat to prepare food the best way is a simple, light steam. Lightly steam greens to save as many enzymes and nutrients as you can. Kale is a great green to steam and then you can blend it with other veggies and an avocado to make a smooth veggie soup. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. I recommend boiling for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea, if you’re using organic greens. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight. Raw salad is also a wonderful food. It’s refreshing, cooling, soft and supplies live enzymes.

When most people hear “leafy green vegetables”, they probably think of iceberg lettuce, but the ordinary, pale lettuce in restaurant salads doesn’t have the power-packed goodness of other greens. Get into the habit of adding these leafy green vegetables to your diet as much as possible. Try it out for a month and see how you feel.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Green Your Life

Here are more tips to Green Your Life:

Become a Green Consumer

Shop wisely: Buy green products whenever possible, avoid excess packaging, and look for biodegradable products.

Take your own cotton or canvas bags to the grocery store and market.

Replace your usual paper products with recycle ones, or use reusable products like cotton cloths instead of paper towels.

Buy locally. It’s good for your economy and saves energy in transportation.

Replace your personal care products with green alternatives.

Maintain a Healthy Home

Choose furniture made of natural fibers, whole wood, metal and glass.

Avoid using aerosols, such as hair spray and spray paint.

Use low-VOC paints and low-VOC adhesives.

Don’t use chemical pesticides on your lawn or garden. Plan your landscape so it needs less chemical help- ask the staff at your local nursery for advice. If you have garden pests, call in an army of parasites and predators.

Open up the windows and circulate fresh air through your house as often as possible.

Have your air-conditioning and heating systems professionally inspected annually. Make sure your furnace, stove, and other combustion devices are vented directly to the outdoors.

Select nontoxic bedding- most mattresses and bedding are made with a stew of chemicals, including chemical flame retardants and formaldehyde.

Conserve water. Fix leaky faucets and install low-flow toilets.

Become Energy Efficient

Turn down the heat at night to conserve fuel, or install a programmable thermostat.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Select a fuel-efficient, low-emissions car.

Walk or rid a bicycle instead of driving.

Community Action

Many household chemicals fall into the category of “suspected carcinogen.” If you know a product contains toxic chemicals, vote with your pocketbook and don’t buy it. Action is needed to keep these toxic chemicals out of consumer goods. Contact your representatives in Congress and tell them your concerns.

Help organize a neighborhood Dumpster Day or large-item disposal day.

Promote recycling. Start a paint exchange with your neighbors, or organize a Zero Waste even. Check out the Zero Waste Campaign at www.grrn.org./zerowaste.

Contact a local environmental group and offer to work on local air and water pollution issues.

Start a community curbside composting program that sells compost to gardeners and nurseries.

Help make your community bicycle-friendly.

In the Workplace.

Bring your green habits to the office. First steps include using less paper, recycling, and conserving energy and water. Talk to your facilities manager about nontoxic, environmentally friendly cleaning solutions. Two website offering good ideas are www.eya.ca/gwp and www.gov.ns.ca/enla/envin/p2/pdf/g_office.pdf.

Tips are from the book Green Clean by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin which I highly recommend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Healthy Home

Did everyone go to the Green Festival? It was fabulous. I always feel so energized during and after events like that. I love being surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about what they do and their beliefs. I honestly spent most of my time at the Green Kid Zone since I had my almost one year-old with me (he will be one on October 19th). I taste-tested many delicious foods and was introduced to the latest green products and companies. If you missed it this year be sure to mark your calendars next year. Here are a few tips on Greening Your Home!!!

Could the products you use to clean your house be exposing you and your family to health risks?

Many conventional cleaning products leave the indoor air polluted with toxic petrochemical VOCs. On top of this manufacturers attempt to mask the smell with toxic synthetic fragrances. When these cleaning products are used on a regular basis in an enclosed space such as the home, the VOCs build up. When the chemicals evaporate they are transported to the brain. Cleaning product VOCs have been implicated in headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, watery eyes, and respiratory problems. Asthma can even be caused or worsened by domestic cleaning products.

Repeated exposure with certain chemicals can cause harm to a fetus including developmental defects such as autism, brain and nervous system damage and cancer. The chemicals cross the plancenta, travel through the umbilical cord and affect the developing fetus.

The following are easy, safe alternatives to protect you and your family.

Use household plants as natural filters:

They can eliminate between 40%- 90% of toxins in the air. Photosynthesis is the process through which plants use water and light to produce their own food. They take in carbon dioxide and other substances from the atmosphere and release oxygen. This results in cleaner air. The following plants are most effective:

-Areca Palm

-Lady Palm

-Bamboo Palm

-Rubber Plant


Use alternative all-purpose, glass and cabinet cleaners:

Ammonia is the main ingredient in these conventional products. This is poisonous if ingested and if combined with chlorine it produces a toxic chlorine gas.

-Use chlorine free scouring powders or baking soda

-For windows and mirrors mix white vinegar with water

-Buy products produced by:

-Seventh Generation

-Earth-Friendly Products

Use alternative drain and oven cleaners:

The ingredients in these conventional products emit dangerous fumes and can be harmful when they enter the body through the skin or via inhalation.

-to unclog the sink pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let mixture bubble for 15 minutes, then let hot water run fro 1-2 minutes.

-to clean the oven use Seventh Generation Natural Citrus Cleaner and Degreaser

Alternative cleaning products for all household cleaning purposes can be purchased at Whole Foods, My Organic Market and at most supermarkets. Look for the following brands:

-Seventh Generation (seventhgeneration.com)

-Howard Naturals (howardnaturals.com)

-Vermont Soap (vermontsoap.com)

-Sun and Earth (sunandearth.com)