Nutrition and body well-being from inside out are overlooked in modern days. We focus on outer appearance and sometimes miss that treating the inner causes is by far more successful on the longer run than treating the outer consequences. |
During the past years, I became increasingly interested in holistic approaches and methods to improve mind, body and spirit. Today I would like to share useful information I have come across and collected over time related to body wellbeing. Please take what you need from this article. It’s an invitation to reflection and an encouragement to deeper research or even a visit to a nutritionist should you need and choose to do so.
Our blood tells us!
Our body is a vehicle and representation of everything we eat, drink, ingest or absorb regardless of form. Whilst I am not by far in favor of extremes or dramatic life changes, some balance and moderation is always good when it comes to food, drinks and other substances we expose to.
Through our digestive system, our blood is a health barometer and a representation of all meals and liquids that come into our body. A blood microscope analysis takes about 5 minutes and shows: how we function, the level of toxins collected in the body, the state of health for the red cells and the oxygen transportation (Wikipedia on Red cells), existence of any bacteria, mushroom (yeast), level of fat and hydration, clogged cells due to toxicity, etc
How the body works
In chemistry, the PH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral and our blood ranging between 7.3-7.4 (Wikipedia on PH). Everything above 7 and up to 14 is alkaline, everything below 7 and down to 0 is acidic.
When the blood and body are too acidic, they create an unfavorable environment where illness, bacteria and yeast thrive. Hormonal diseases, digestive and lymphatic problems, cancer, reduced oxygen intake, fatigue are only some of the issues that may appear.
Scientifically it was not proven that an alkaline diet will remove these risks. Moreover our bodies have strong regulatory systems that adapt to environment and whatever food we choose in our diet. However, what is true, is that a more alkaline diet will ease the burden on your digestive system and on your blood and body during the PH balancing process. When the PH is too acidic, the blood neutralizes it by extracting minerals from muscles or from good alkaline food if any ingested. Our mouth, digestive system and mind (producing thoughts) are acidic, our muscles are alkaline. That is why, too much acidity results in low minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium) and overall weakened muscles and body.
The aim would be to have a diet that mirrors the normal PH of the blood. Unfortunately our lives today make it difficult to easily access products that are alkaline. In simple terms, almost everything around us is acidic. Processed food, meat, dressings, alcohol, coffee, cosmetics are acidic. Same goes for rumbling thoughts, overworking, stress or usage of technology which produce acidity and bring blood PH below neutral.
So How can we Help our Body be slightly Alkaline?
1. Drink Alkaline Water! Water is vital to the correct functioning of the body, both from quantity and quality perspectives. The quantity depends on factors such as environment, health conditions, pregnancy in the case of ladies or exercising and the intensity of physical effort. As with everything, a book can be written only on this. In a simplified version, a formula for the quantity (in liters) is your weight in kg times 0.4. For example, a weight of 60kg, requires an intake of 2.4 liters of water per day (60kg x 0.4).
Alcohol, coffee or coffee containing teas do not count and intake of water should increase proportionately. Soup, herbal tea are good and so is bottled water sold in shops if the label shows PH level around 7. Tap water (where drinkable) is mostly alkaline. If not, adding lemon juice, sodium carbonate or buying a machine that alkalizes automatically would do the job.
2. Eat Greens! Almost all green vegetables are alkaline and good for the digestion. Notice the difference on how you feel after eating veggies vs. eating meat or other processed food. Heavy meals induce a state of fatigue and burden as the system and blood is fully employed for digestion. On the other hand, vegetables make you feel light and energized, whilst in addition they contain chlorophyll and help the production and transportation of oxygen into the cells
3. Eat Proteins from Vegetables! Our bodies need Proteins, but good alkaline ones which exist in vegetables. Meat such as pork, lamb or beef have a PH between 3 and 4, below the PH level of our blood. In exchange, some vegetables such as broccoli, beans, peas, lentils, sprouts, mushrooms, corn, spinach or artichoke contain a good proportion of proteins and can be a good replacement for meat. In a simplified manner, the formula of ideal protein intake (in grams) is your weight in kg times 0.8 (For example if you weigh 60kg you should eat around 50 grams of protein per day). Ideal diet would include meat or fish only once a week, eggs maybe twice a week and the rest of the necessary taken from the greens. (Source for 1,2,3: orally collected information during nutrition program at The Life Co Center in Antalya, www.thelife.com)
4. Add good Fat to your meals! Fat is very important for the brain, eye sight and they make you feel full. Fat is not necessarily meat or associated products. You can take your necessary dose of fat from adding alkaline ingredients to your food such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado or nuts and seeds that contain Omega-3s. Good fats (unsaturated) help reduce the cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Bad fats (saturated) are found normally in animal products and cooked oils. Coconut oil, butter, olive, avocado oils are relatively good for cooking. However, seeds, nuts and other vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, sesame, canola, etc contain polyunsaturated fats which are unhealthy on the longer run especially for cooking. (https://authoritynutrition.com/healthy-cooking-oils/)
5. Eat natural Sugar! Added sugar contains no nutrients and is bad for the teeth, overloads the liver, can be addictive and can cause illnesses like diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease. As with fats or carbs, sugar can also be categorized between ‘’good’’ and ‘’bad’’. Processed sugar or similar sweetener products are generally not recommended, including cakes, sweets, commercial processed products containing sugar amongst ingredients. Best intake of sugar and energy comes from fruits and vegetables. Agave, stevia and coconut sugar are also good replacements. You may also create cookies and desserts from alkaline products such as almond milk, coconut and banana (PH around 9) (http://www.shape.com/latest-news-trends/good-sugar-vs-bad-sugar-become-more-sugar-savvy)
6. Have your dose of rich Salt! Salt helps the body with minerals and balances the acidity. Processed salt contains limited amounts of minerals. Himalayan salt is a good modern option which contains 84 minerals. It has been preserved under ice and lava for millennia and kept free from pollution, so it’s a good source of healthy minerals.
7. Limit Dairy products! Opinions differs quite a lot, but generally dairy is difficult for digestive system, especially as we grow older and have fewer lactase enzymes (after the age of 4). Most of the world (depending on the ethnic group) is intolerant to dairy or highly allergic. In addition to different chemical substances that can end up in the milk such as pesticides or antibiotics (http://www.all-creatures.org/health/howmilkanddairy.html), the cow’s milk contains much more protein than the human milk. This creates acidity and employs the body to neutralize it. Because it’s an acidic source of calcium, our body will extract from its own calcium to balance it and in return actually weakening our bones.
Cheese is also not necessarily good and comes down to common sense. Besides the fact that it consists of milk, it may also contain mushrooms (like yeast) or other bacteria. Goat milk and cheese are a better replacement as their DNA is closer to the human one. Even better, you can make at home your own cheese from caju fruits and different spices like salt and garlic.
How to detox your body?
In the body we have around 5-6 liters of blood (7% of the body weight) that transports nutrients and oxygen to the body, cleans the waste in our cells, fights disease and moves hormones and chemicals. When our digestive system activates, it employs the blood for breaking food into vitamins, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The more time the blood is employed for digestion, the less time and resources are available for the other functions of cleaning the body, transporting oxygen to the cells and taking out the residuum and toxins.
Giving some break from eating can enable the blood to perform its other functions and improve health. For example fasting has been in some traditions for ages. It’s a process of cleansing the body based only on liquid and no solid food. A simpler way to fast is once or twice a week between 18:00pm to 12:00am or between 12:00am to 6:00am. That translates in having eaten solid food for around 75% of the time and allowing your body to detoxify in 25% of the time. (Source: orally collected information during nutrition program at The Life Co Center in Antalya, www.thelife.com) .
14 tips for a Balanced Body
1. Size of the portion is one of the biggest problems of today’s modern world. Obesity, digestive problems, bad sleep, bloating, fatigue can be caused by what you eat and more important by how much you eat. The ideal size of your portion is the size of your fist, which is how big your stomach is. Everything in addition stretches the stomach to accommodate the amount of food consumed. Except green vegetables which contain water and shrink after chewing, most of the food maintains its original weight and size from the plate into your stomach. To help yourself, use smaller plates and utensils for eating, as well as non-transparent dishes which have been demonstrated to facilitate eating higher quantities of food
2. Chew well! About 20-30 times for one bite. The more we chew, the more the food gets exposed to saliva and digestive enzymes. This facilitates digestive processes and avoids indigestion and bloating. Putting the fork down after having taken a bite, its a simple way to allow time to chew well and be present.
3. Take Smaller bites! Taking little pieces and breaking down the food sufficiently is one of the most critical processes of the digestive system; overeating or eating in big pieces results in food not being digested and transferred into the colon where they create a good environment for indigestion, flatulence and bacterial overgrowth.
4. Don’t eat fast! Your meal should take about 30 minutes minimum. Eating fast allows to put more food into the stomach and getting ‘’stuffed’’ before realizing. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register the chemicals from the food and tell you if you are full. Satiety is actually not a result of your stomach being full but rather of your brain acknowledging the chemicals. The level of chemicals increases 10 to 30 minutes after eating and decreases in the next 3-5 hours giving the sensation of hunger (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/stomach-full-stop-eating-3080.html)
5. Contrary to common knowledge, drinking water during eating is not recommended. The water dilutes the gastric acid and burdens the process of digestion. Water intake should be done 30-40 minutes before or after meal.
6. Stay present! You may have caught yourself wondering when did you eat all the icecream or all the popcorn. When we are not fully focusing on one process we easily end up not realizing what we do. Overeating or not chewing well are very common when we watch TV or engage in conversations. Keeping your levels of awareness high and putting all the concentration in one place, will relief your stomach and bring short and long term benefits. Some soothing music may be a wonderful way of accompanying your meals without distracting.
7. Eat in healthy combinations: Proteins (meat, fish, eggs) go well with greens (vegetables), greens go well with carbs (bread, pasta, rice, cereals). Proteins and carbs (starches and fruits) do not digest well at the same time and fruits ideally should be eaten alone. Allow minimum 2 hours between meals and around 3 hours in-between your last meal of the day and going to sleep
8. Eat at regular hours. Your body remembers the time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and prepares its resources for these processes. In other words, some discipline and predictability to your lifestyle makes it easier for the body to allocate resources and employ them for optimal functioning.
9. Buy and eat seasonal fruits and freshly collected vegetables as they maintain best their vitamins and minerals; replace eating anything processed with everything from the garden. Don't avoid garlic and onions as they are natural bacteria killing and try replacing processed fat with coconut oil and Omega 3/6/9
10. Treat your stomach! If you feel your digestive system needs some help you may want to talk to a doctor or nutritionist. Having a close look at what you eat may change your life for better. Probiotics are also good helpers, they are good live bacteria that help the gut stay healthy and improve the digestive system. The impression is that bacteria is bad in general, but actually our body is a home for good and bad bacteria and probiotics rebalance your intestine flora accordingly. (http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics)
11. Brush / clean your tongue. During the night, our mouth accumulates all kinds of bad bacteria resulting from the digestion. Before putting this bacteria back into your body, you may wish to use a brush or scraper device to clean your tongue (can be found online or at the pharmacy). Rinsing your mouth afterwards with coconut oil helps eliminate the acidity, cleans even better and has a good taste and smell; for a continued good start, I would recommend drinking a glass of warm water and lemon juice that have high alkaline PH
12. Brush your body 10 minutes after waking up (a big natural brush that can be found in body shops). These will gently remove the dead cells eliminated during the night from your body and allow the skin to breath better, regenerate and have an optimal release of toxins. Take a shower afterwards.
13. Exercise to increase your muscles mass and help the body become more alkaline. Practice love and a positive mindset as they are both alkaline as well :)
14. In addition to the daily movement, meditation as a routine is a great tool to manage the rumbling mind and balance overall wellbeing
Most of the things our bodies need can be made from natural products with no additives or chemicals. Even toothpaste can be done from mint, coconut oil and soda with no aluminum; or sunscreen for example from carrot juice and coconut oil. Its a matter of lifestyle and caring for yourself.
Always ask your body how it feels after ingesting different things and make observations on what works for you. If you have pain, feel tired and low energy after eating or drinking, then something is not working well for you, you may need to read, learn or observe more about it.
If you would like to read more articles in the area of self-improvement, personal development and coaching or psychology please contact me at email@example.com or visit Personal and Business Coaching – Camelia Mihai, Geneva, Switzerland
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