7 steps of Savvy Nutrition, 14 tips of Balanced Body
Nutrition and body well-being from the 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 in the long 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 everything
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 are 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), the existence of any bacteria, mushroom (yeast), level of fat and hydration, clogged cells due to toxicity.
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 Everything above 7 and up to 14 is alkaline, and 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, and 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 the 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 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 good alkaline food if 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 alkaline products. In simple terms, almost everything around us is acidic. Processed food, meat, dressings, alcohol, coffee, and cosmetics are acidic. The 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?
- 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 and herbal tea are good and so is bottled water sold in shops if the label shows a PH level around 7. Tap water (where drinkable) is mostly alkaline. If not, adding lemon juice, and sodium carbonate or buying a machine that alkalizes automatically would do the job.
- Eat Greens! Almost all green vegetables are alkaline and good for digestion. Notice the difference in 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 are 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
- Eat Proteins from Vegetables! Our bodies need Proteins, but good alkaline ones which exist in vegetables. Meat such as pork, lamb, or beef has 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). An 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.
- Add good Fat to your meals! Fat is very important for the brain, and eyesight and they make you feel full. Fat is not necessarily meat or associated products. You can take your necessary dose of fat by 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 cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Bad fats (saturated) are found normally in animal products and cooking oils. Coconut oil, butter, olive, and 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 in the long run, especially for cooking.
- 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, and commercially processed products containing sugar among ingredients. The 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)
- 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 that 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.
- Limit Dairy products! Opinions differ quite a lot, but generally dairy is difficult for the 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), cow’s milk contains much more protein than human milk. This creates acidity and employs the body to neutralize it. Because it’s an acidic source of calcium, our body will extract its calcium to balance it and in return weaken 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.
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 8:00 pm to 12:00 am or between 12:00 am to 6:00 am. That translates into having eaten solid food for around 75% of the time and allowing your body to detoxify 25% of the time.
14 tips for a Balanced Body
- Size of the portion is one of the biggest problems of today’s modern world. Obesity, digestive problems, bad sleep, bloating, and 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 for 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
- 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, is a simple way to allow time to chew well and be present.
- 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 the food not being digested and transferred into the colon where they create a good environment for indigestion, flatulence and bacterial overgrowth.
- Don’t eat fast! Your meal should take about 30 minutes minimum. Eating fast allows one to put more food into the stomach and get ‘’stuffed’’ before realizing it. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register the chemicals from the food and tell you if you are full. Satiety is 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
- 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 a meal.
- Stay present! You may have caught yourself wondering when did you eat all the ice cream 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 is 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 distraction.
- Eat-in healthy combinations: Proteins (meat, fish, eggs) go well with greens (vegetables), and 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 a minimum of 2 hours between meals and around 3 hours in-between your last meal of the day and going to sleep
- Eat at regular hours. Your body remembers the time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and prepares its resources for these processes. In other words, some discipline and predictability to your lifestyle make it easier for the body to allocate resources and employ them for optimal functioning.
- 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
- 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 the 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
- Brush / clean your tongue. During the night, our mouth accumulates all kinds of bad bacteria resulting from digestion. Before putting these bacteria back into your body, you may wish to use a brush or scraper device to clean your tongue (which can be found online or at the pharmacy). Rinsing your mouth afterward 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 has a high alkaline PH
- 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 breathe better, regenerate and have an optimal release of toxins. Take a shower afterward.
- Exercise to increase your muscle mass and help the body become more alkaline. Practice love and a positive mindset as they are both alkaline as well 🙂
- In addition to 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. It’s 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 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.
The more you practice the 7 steps of Savvy Nutrition, the more you look and feel way better!