You look hot, you feel sexy, you win games, you win guys. What’s there not to love? But is there something you’re missing? Think being thin, buff and athletic means your healthy? Think again! Let’s talk about getting pHit.
Think way back to bio class. Remember the Acid / Alkaline scale?
This is a super important concept to understand and apply to your overall health.
Here’s the short and sweet ~
In order for you to live, your blood must maintain a pH of approximately 7. (7.35 to 7.45 to be exact, but let’s not get too crazy with the numbers, k?) Blood pH out of that range = dead. Got it? Your body will do anything, and I mean anything, to maintain the proper blood pH. So, let’s say you do something that creates acidity in your body (more on that in a minute). You’re body must, in order to keep you alive, keep your blood pH in the neutral zone, so it’s going to steal whatever alkalizing materials it can from where ever it can to neutralize the acidity. Because if it doesn’t you will die, and your body just isn’t gonna let that happen ‘till all other options have been exhausted. Good thing, right? Your body must maintain a neutral blood pH at whatever cost.
Now that you get the basic concept, you probably have a couple of questions. What creates acidity? Where does my body steal the alkalizing material from? And, what can I do about all this?
First things first ~
All sorts of things can throw our pH out of balance. As a society we tend to be more acidic, although it is possible to be too alkaline as well. Here are some of the most common acidifiers in our lives:
Stress, alcohol, junk food, caffeine, cigarettes, fat stuff, processed stuff, white stuff, meat, dairy, diet junk food, bottled water and exercise.
Those last few got your attention, didn’t they?
Before we get into the how and why of the above items, let’s talk about how your body deals with acidity. As I said, your body is going to do anything it must to maintain a blood pH that is neutral. So, if your system becomes too acidic your body will respond by using it’s own alkaline reserves to neutralize the acidity. What are your alkaline reserves, you ask? Well, mostly the minerals necessary for healthy hair, nails, teeth, bones and muscles. We’re talking about calcium, magnesium and sodium. What happens if your body is constantly stealing from your alkaline reserves to neutralize acidity? Brittle hair, weak nails, dull skin, muscle cramps, sprains, strains, exhaustion, slow recovery time, and eventually gall stones, kidney stones, osteoporosis and heart disease. Doesn’t sound like too much fun, does it?
So how and where does all this acidity come from?
If you’re a health nut you probably aren’t too worried about the cigarettes, processed stuff, white stuff, or junk food (I hope, otherwise you may want to reconsider calling yourself a health nut, k?).
What about diet junk food? You know what I’m talkin’ about… the low cal, low fat, processed goodies, that allow you to eat “junk food” while staying thin. That’s not food. What you’re really eating is a wrapper full of chemicals and isolates processed to look and taste like food. It’s junk and it creates acidity. This most definitely includes artificial sweeteners and diet soda.
What about meat and dairy?
Dairy is always the kicker… “I thought it was supposed to give me strong bones??” you’re asking in a panic, aren’t you? Are you ready for this? Brace yourself. Dairy is in fact loaded with calcium. However, the process of digesting diary creates acidity, which requires minerals to neutralize it, resulting in what is probably a net gain of about zero in the calcium department. AND the lower fat the dairy product, the more acidity and the greater need for alkalizing minerals to do the trick. I know I’m blowing your mind here, but bear with me. I’ve seen the commercials on TV too. Are they lies? Well, no. Dairy is a great source of calcium. They’re not claiming your body will absorb it, utilize it or get healthier because of it, are they? And remember, they’re in the biz of selling milk, not making you healthy. You just can’t believe everything you see on TV, ya know?
Okay, now take a deep breath after that shocker and keep reading.
It shouldn’t surprise you too much that meat is acidic. Red meat is most acidic, then white meat, then fish in general, with white fish being the least acidic.
What about stress, alcohol and caffeine? Probably not too shocking either.
And bottled water? Okay, drinking a bottle of water is not gonna drop your pH into the acid bath like eating a bag of jelly beans will, but, if you have a choice, filtered tap water poured into a glass, stainless steal or BPA free plastic bottle is generally more neutral than bottled water you buy at the store. You can also get a fancy-schmancy ionizing system for your house if you’re so inclined.
And what about exercise? Yup, it’s true. Exercise creates acidity. Now, don’t quit exercising, silly. We’re just getting to the good stuff, so keep reading.
What to do about all this acidity?
Your number one goal should be to shoot for a diet that is 60 to 80 percent alkaline and just 20 to 40 percent acid. FYI ~ the Standard American Diet (SAD) is the reverse of that. Now that’s SAD.
What foods are alkalizing, you ask?
Almost all veggies, especially the green ones. The closer to raw, the better.
Most fruits, although they’re a bit more acid than the green veg.
Beans, like lima, soy, and any dried beans. Soaking them overnight before you cook them will add to their alkalinity (a good thing).
Most seeds and nuts, though peanut butter tends to be acidic, especially if it’s sweetened.
Potatoes, though watch for the high glycemic index of white ones.
Sprouted grains, can’t live without my Ezekiel bread!
Lemon water is super alkalizing so never drink while eating, it will slow down the digestive process.
Getting acid toxins out of your body will also help maintain a healthy pH. Our bodies detoxify through urine, bowels, sweat, and breath. Keep hydrated, eat lots of fiber, do a cleanse from time to time.
Manage your stress by having fun, meditating, doing things you love and surrounding yourself with happy, healthy, positive people.
Want to check your own pH? It’s super simple. You can buy pH strips at most health food stores that can be used to test your saliva or urine. Test your 2nd urine of the day. The first has all the toxins that were processed overnight, which is normal and generally acidic. Do some experimenting. Test yourself in the morning after a night out on the town and compare it to a morning after eating a healthy dinner. Write down your results and test yourself over time as you make changes to your diet. Have fun with it :-)Share