Nutrition and body well-being from inside out are overlooked in modern days. We focus on outer appearance and consequences and sometimes miss to treat the inner causes.
During the past years, I became increasingly interested in holistic approaches and methods to improve mind, body and spirit. Today I am sharing information collected over time related to body wellbeing. Please take what you need. It’s an invitation to reflection, deeper research, even a visit to a nutritionist should you need / choose to do so.
A blood microscope analysis is an easy 5 minute test, very rich in information. It shows how we function, the level of toxins, state of red cells and oxygen transportation (Wikipedia on Red cells), existence of bacteria, mushrooms (yeast), level of fat and hydration, etc.
Depending on the result you may consider some diet changes or better understanding of your body needs. Whilst I am not in favor of extremes or dramatic life changes, I do believe some balance and moderation is always good when it comes to food, drinks and other substances we expose to. Here are some tips to start with.
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 being at 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 some of the issues that may appear.
Scientifically it was not proven that adopting an alkaline diet will remove these risks. However, a more alkaline diet eases the burden on the body. When the PH is too acidic, the blood neutralizes it by extracting minerals from muscles. That is why, too much acidity results in low minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium) and overall weakened muscles. Our mouth, digestive system and mind (producing thoughts) are acidic, but our muscles are alkaline.
The aim would be to have a diet that mirrors the blood PH. Unfortunately this is quite difficult in our days as 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.
1. Drink Alkaline Water! Water is vital to the correct functioning of the body, both from quantity and quality perspectives. The quantity depends on many factors (environment, health conditions, physical effort); a simplified formula indicates a daily necessary equal to weight in kg times 0.4. (a weight of 60kg requires an intake of 2.4 liters of water per day).
In terms of quality, alkaline liquids are the best. Alcohol, coffee or coffee containing teas are acidic. Soup, herbal tea, tap (where drinkable) and bottled water are mostly alkaline. You may add lemon juice or sodium carbonate to make water alkaline or buy a machine that does it automatically.
2. Eat Greens! Almost all green vegetables are alkaline and good for 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 the system as the blood is fully employed for digestion. On the other hand, vegetables make you feel light and energized, whilst containing chlorophyll and helping the production and transport of oxygen.
3. Eat Proteins from Vegetables! Animal protein such as pork, lamb or beef have a PH between 3 and 4, below the level of our blood. In exchange, some vegetables such as broccoli, beans, peas, lentils, sprouts, mushrooms, corn, spinach or artichoke are fully alkaline and contain a good proportion of proteins that can replace meat. In a simplified manner, the formula for ideal protein intake (in grams) is your weight in kg times 0.8. (a weight of 60kg requires 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 proteins taken from the greens. (Source for 1, 2, 3: orally collected information at The Life Co Center in Antalya, http://www.thelifeco.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 the necessary dose of healthy fat from alkaline ingredients such as olive and coconut oil, avocado, 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 in animal products and cooked oils. Coconut oil, butter, olive and avocado oils are good for cooking as they contain unsaturated fats. Seeds, nuts and other vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, sesame, canola contain polyunsaturated fats which are unhealthy when cooked. (https://authoritynutrition.com/healthy-cooking-oils/)
5. Eat natural Sugar! Added / processed sugar contains no nutrients and is bad for the teeth, overloads the liver, is addictive and can cause illnesses like diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease. Best intake of sugar and energy comes from fruits and vegetables. Agave, stevia and coconut sugar are good and can be creatively used for healthy cookies and alkaline desserts. (almond milk, coconut and banana make a great dessert with 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 differ quite a lot, but generally dairy is difficult for digestive system. After the age of 4 and as we grow older we have fewer lactase enzymes, resulting in improper digestion of diary. 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 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 extracts from its own calcium to balance it and weakens our bones instead.
Cheese comes down to common sense. Besides the fact that it contains milk, it may also have traces of mushrooms (like yeast) or other bacteria. Goat milk and goat cheese are better choices as their DNA is closer to the human one. Even better, you can make your own cheese from caju fruits and different spices like salt and garlic.
Considering above 7 steps in your daily nutrition will generate a good basis for a healthy digestion, an energized body and avoidance of several illnesses. It requires a bit of effort and some planning, but your cells will thank you for the great treat.
In the body we have around 5-6 liters of blood (7% of the weight) that transports nutrients and oxygen, cleans the waste in the cells, fights disease and moves hormones and chemicals. 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.
Taking breaks from eating can enable the blood to perform its other functions. One option is fasting, known for ages in some traditions and based on liquid and no solid food. A simple way to fast is twice a week between 18:00pm and 12:00am. That translates in having eaten solid food for around 75% of the time and allowing your body to detoxify for close to 25% of the time. (Source: orally collected information The Life Co Center in Antalya, http://www.thelifeco.com/)
If you have reached this paragraph, then you have an idea how to quickly check your health and start making improvements from inside out. Here are few more complimentary tips for your stomach and general body wellbeing.
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 importantly by how much you eat. The ideal size of your portion is the size of your fist. This is how big your stomach is. Everything in addition stretches and forces the stomach. Except green vegetables which contain water and shrink after chewing, most of the food maintains the original weight and size from the plate into your stomach. Use non-transparent dishes! transparent or white ones have been demonstrated to facilitate eating in higher quantities.
2. Chew well! About 20-30 times for one bite. The better we chew, the more the food gets exposed to saliva and digestive enzymes. This facilitates the digestive process and avoids indigestion and bloating. Putting the fork down after having taken a bite is 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 well and transferred into the colon where it creates a good environment for indigestion, flatulence and bacterial overgrowth. You may use smaller plates and utensils for eating, it’s a simple trick to ”control” your bites upfront.
4. Don’t eat fast! Your meal should take about 30 minutes minimum. Eating fast allows to put more food into the stomach and get ‘’stuffed’’ before realizing. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register the food chemicals and tell you if you are full. Satiety is actually not a result of your stomach being full but rather of your brain acknowledging food chemicals. The level of substances and 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 you have eaten all the ice-cream or all the popcorn. When we don’t fully focus 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 a high awareness level and putting all concentration in one place, will relief your stomach and bring long-term benefits. Some soothing music may be wonderful to accompany 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 (meat) and carbs (starches) 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 closer 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. Our body is home to good and bad bacteria and probiotics rebalance these bacteria and 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 bad bacteria resulting from digestion. Before putting bacteria and toxins 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 of the day, drink 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). Brush towards your heart. This will gently remove the dead cells eliminated during the night 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. http://findyourself.eu/how-about-meditating/
Most of the things our bodies need can be found in natural products with no additives or chemicals and with healthy levels of alkalinity. Even toothpaste recipes exist from mint, coconut oil and sodium bicarbonate or sunscreen from carrot juice and coconut oil. It’s a matter of how far you want to go and the lifestyle you would like to adopt for you and your family.
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/or have 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.
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