FOOD | HEALTH AND WELLNESS | LIFESTYLE

A BALANCED DIET = A HAPPY HEALTHY GUT

April 10, 2017

I’ve always considered myself “healthy,” but I’m quickly realizing that what I thought was healthy isn’t actually that healthy. Over the last year I’ve made quite a few changes in my diet, health & wellness and my overall lifestyle choices. (P.S. I’m not sure I told you guys, but one of those changes was going gluten free last year, and I can’t even begin to tell you how it’s changed my life. I’ll share that in a future blog post.)

I started by making these changes little by little. Less sugar, more low impact exercise, less alcohol, more veggies, cutting out gluten, etc. I still have lots of work to do, but it’s been a fun process for Tyler and me to work on together. Along with these changes I’ve continually tried to educate myself on what to put into my body and what I need to cut out.  One change being to eat and live a more alkaline balanced diet to help improve our gut health and improve my skin, which I’ve struggled with for the past couple of years.  By aiming to eat a truly balanced diet, my skin has done a complete 180. Dairy, which happens to be extremely acid-forming in our bodies, has been one of the main culprits of my issues for years, and I was just trying to ignore the fact.

What does is it mean to have an alkaline balanced diet?

The foods we eat are either alkaline-forming or acid-forming. Far too often we eat more foods that are acidic, which causes the pH level in our body to go down. In case you’re wondering, acid in the body is a bad thing. **pH level is measured on a scale of 0-14 – we want our pH level to be at a 7 or above. Anything below 7 means that our body is too acidic. When this happens, our body then has to pull minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium from other parts of our body like our vital organs, bones, teeth and muscles. That’s when we become receptive to a poor immune system, digestive problems, acne & random breakouts, headaches, depression, joint pain, disease, cancers, bladder and kidney infections… (All things we don’t want to happen!)

Acid-forming Foods 🚫

  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • All Meats
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Milk, Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Coffee
  • Black Tea
  • Alcohol
  • Dried Fruit
  • Breads, Pasta
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Carbonated Water

Alkaline-forming Foods 🙌🏻

  • Almond/Goat Milk
  • Avocado
  • Kale, Lettuce, Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Lemon, Lime
  • Quinoa
  • Asparagus
  • Tomato
  • Cauliflower
  • Almonds
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Herbs

**Note: Please don’t freak out by the lists you see above. You can still eat the foods you see in the acid-forming column. In fact, it wouldn’t be good if you only ate alkaline foods. Just try to include more of the greens and other things in your diet that you see in the alkaline list. It’s all about moderation and balance. If you can eat 80% Alkaline, 20% Acidic, your body will be beyond happy… aka, healthy and glowing!

Dr. Stephan Domenig says, “… the pH of your body’s fluids, especially your blood, affects every cell in the body. Keep your body’s pH in balance and you will stay healthy.”

Signs that your body is telling you it’s too acidic

  • Lack of energy and focus
  • Acid reflux
  • Stiff neck
  • Bladder & kidney infections
  • Low energy & chronic fatigue
  • Acne & allergies
  • Yeast & fungal buildup of bacteria on tongue
  • Poor complexion and dry, dull lifeless skin
  • Constipation and bloating
  • Bad breath
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Headaches, confusion and sleepiness

Health benefits of eating a balanced diet 

We’ve been making improvements to our daily routines little by little, especially after discovering the book The Alkaline Cure, and I recommend this quick, easy, and informative read for anyone who is looking for the following health benefits…

  • Weight loss (this is just an added bonus to eating more balanced)
  • Improved digestive health
  • Increased energy
  • Increased fertility (sperm prefer an alkaline environment)
  • Improved skin tone and hair luster (get ready to GLOW!)
  • Stronger bones
  • Better moods
  • Enhanced brain function/focus
  • Stronger immune system

Alkaline diet + gut health

The rundown

So, the question is how do we eat a balanced alkaline diet? If you’re like me and only want the cliff notes, here’s what I took away from reading this book and how I’m incorporating it into my daily routine.

QUENCH YOUR THIRST… HYDRATION IS KEY

  • Why is Hydration key? Water is one of the most important ingredients to an alkaline diet (or any diet for that matter). It helps spread the nutrients we need throughout our bodies and flush out the bad stuff like toxins. (It’s also the easiest and least expensive cleanse you’ll ever do. Drink your water!)
    • Tip: Drink warm lemon water in the morning before you eat (it’s alkalizing). Do it before you even brush your teeth to make it a habit.
    • Stock up on lemons and always have them in your house.
    • If you’re traveling, ask room service for lemon water. (The first thing I do when I wake up in a hotel is reach for the phone to call room service for lemons and warm water… sounds outrageous, but your insides will thank you.)
  • Don’t drink liquids during your meals… Drink liquids at least 30 minutes before or after your meals. Why? Because… Fluids dilute your stomach acid, which is crucial to the digestive process and getting nutrients to your precious cells.
    • Tip: There’s a time for drinking and a time for eating and it’s not at the same time.
    • Tip: Focus on drinking more water throughout the day instead of during meals.
  • Don’t drink sodas, that’s a no-brainer.
  • Limit alcohol, again, a no-brainer.
  • Try to remove caffeine from your diet.
    • Tip: Just have one cup of coffee per day if you absolutely “need it.” I bet if everyone challenged themselves to cut out caffeine for 2 weeks, you wouldn’t actually “NEED IT.” We need the morning comfort and habit of drinking that cup of coffee. So challenge yourself to drink herbal tea (not black tea, black tea is acidic). Find great substitutions such as herbal tea, steamed almond milk, etc.

FEED YOUR BODY THE RIGHT WAY

  • Make the most important meals of your day breakfast and lunch… Your body, just like you, gets tired and slows down by the end of the day.
    • Tip: Eat smaller portions and easily digestible foods as best you can.
  • Trade in some of your acidic foods (grains, sugar, coffee/caffeine, dairy, alcohol, meats, etc.)
    • Tip: Eat more veggies, (some) fruit, tea, and more veggies.
  • Fruits.  Just like everything, eat them in moderation, and stick to things like berries, oranges, watermelon, pomegranates & grapefruit. Eat them alone or with other fruits and on an empty stomach. If you eat them after meals, they sit on top of the food you’ve eaten prior, ferment in the gut and can cause an upset stomach, indigestion and heartburn, and actually produce more acid.
    • Tip: If you’re going to eat them, which you should, eat them first thing in the morning for breakfast or as a mid-morning snack, and keep in mind that they contain sugar. Do not eat them with other foods if you want to receive all the benefits & nutrients from the fruit. For more, check out The Major Rule for Eating Fruit.
  • Try not to overeat – again this seems like a no-brainer, but your body can only process and hold on to so much. The remaining sits there and ferments… Gross. That’s when you get those icky feelings like acid reflux, burps, hiccups, gas, bloating etc… You get the gist.
    • Tip: Slow down and be nice to your beautiful body.
  • Eating & chewing our food seems like a thoughtless process, but it’s something that most of us are not doing correctly (myself included!) A lot of times we’re eating on-the-go or rushing through a meal before we run out the door (I’m so guilty of this.) When we do this we’re not giving our bodies enough time to absorb what we’re eating, and we can actually lose nutrients this way.
    • Tip: Take your time and chew your food. This allows our stomach to tell the brain when it’s getting full before we get to that uncomfortable and stuffed feeling.
    • Try to chew 30 times per bite. (I still can’t do this very well and laughed when I read that, however, it’s something I’ve started thinking about when eating).

LOVE YOUR BODY 

  • Take baths. Relax. For the Alkaline Beauty Bath:
    • Tip:  Add 1 Cup Baking soda to your bath and test the pH to make sure it’s at 8.5 (PH Strips sold here.) Soak for 30-60 minutes. As your skin wrinkles and softens it allows acids to get out.
  • Add 30 minutes a day of low impact exercise. You don’t have to beat your body up with intense workouts to see results – be kind to your body.
    • Tip: Walking, biking, yoga, Pilates, dancing, or even taking the stairs whenever you can is much more effective than excessive intervals which can be acid-forming.
    • Again, it’s all about balance, so if you absolutely LOVE intense workouts like Barry’s or Crossfit, etc., just do them in moderation.

** I don’t stress myself out about trying to eat the perfect “balanced” meal, but I do try to keep these things I just listed in mind when choosing items on a menu or meal planning at home.

Okay, so what’s next?

Sure, this will take some lifestyle adjustments which isn’t always easy, but hey, life’s not always easy. But, seeing results on the outside and feeling good on the inside is so rewarding knowing that YOU did this and you have only you to thank.

I’m obviously not a nutritionist or a doctor, but I wanted to share what I found to be interesting and helpful information from reading this book.

See Acid/Alkaline Food Chart below to see what foods you should be choosing more of, and what you should be cutting out or eating only on occasion.

Check out the links to daily recipes below!

Alkaline Food Chart

Alkaline diet + gut health

Alkaline diet + gut health

 

Alkaline recipes to try

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Find more healthy recipes in the links below and also in the book, The Alkaline Cure.

Nutrition Stripped

Laura Lea Balanced

Find The Alkaline Cure at the iBooks Store

8 comments

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8 Comments

  • Reply Laura April 11, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Such a great post! Thanks so much for sharing. Perfect timing for me since I just started getting into the book ‘Medical Medium: Life Changing Foods’ by Anthony Williams-it’s awesome and another book you might enjoy for food information and great recipes!
    xo,
    Laura

  • Reply Ally April 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply Karla April 11, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    I can’t wait to read your gluten free post! Have you read Dr. Perlmutter’s books Grain Brain and Brain Maker? Highly recommend. What are your thoughts on coconut oil?

  • Reply Lydia April 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    This is wonderful. Thanks for putting it together and making it so easily readable. I’ve heard a lot about Alkaline diets but I was always intimidated because it sounded too complicated- PH levels of blood and all that- I just didn’t want to have to learn everything (it sounded as dense as calculus!) But you made it really easy to understand. I will definitely be considering going alkaline after this.

  • Reply Brittany Royal- Killam April 13, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Huge thanks for laying all this out on the process and the effects of an unbalanced ph. I have shopped for the green drink ingredients as well as ordered the book. Next week starts my journey to a better me! Thank you for being an amazing inspiration!! XO – BKillam (St. Thomas)

  • Reply Brooke April 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post is the best. Love that you included recipes and everything! I’ve been wanting to go more alkaline to improve fertility. The chart will be so helpful.

  • Reply Lezlie May 14, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you so much. Such a simple explanation. Turning 63. Time to change😍😍😍. I’ll find an alkaline beer.

  • Reply Wendy Weber July 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    I have read many articles on this topic but this is by far the best organized and easiest to follow! Thank you! I will be sharing it with my parents and in-laws in hopes that we can all make some changes together and work towards added years of family time here on earth.

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