I’ve just spent the past 10 days with my family down the coast over the Christmas period. It was a lovely family break and I appreciated the time spent together so much. One thing I noticed though was the change to my routine…in so many ways.
Firstly, I needed to restore and recover after a busy year and particularly busy few weeks. So there were more sleep ins and less early starts. I like setting up my day with exercise but I felt like I really needed sleep and subsequently I do feel recharged. Secondly, because the weather was very hot, by the time I did rise I didn’t get outside I didn’t run as much as I would have liked – running makes me feel great and is a great way to get my heart pumping and metabolism going, so i missed this.
Thirdly, meals became events! Instead of me throwing a healthy salad together, lunches would be made as group – it would often be with the whole family and brothers and their friends, all with varying appetites and different food requirements to myself. (i.e. Christmas ham rolls and salad!!) There were also the pre-dinner snacks and drinks and then of course drinks with dinner. My 5 days alcohol free per week became about 1-2! I do believe in the benefits of feeding the soul, and this was special family time, but for me I know now more than ever that I need my own routine to make me feel good.
Despite the restorative sleep, I didn’t feel as good doing less exercise and sometimes it’s great to remember this. I think the disruption to my food as well as my exercise routine has affected me more than normal, perhaps this year because I have been in such a good pattern for the previous 12 months.
I did however embrace some Yoga practice with my Mum, and almost every other day I swam in the beautiful ocean! The funny thing is, as much as I’ve loved my holiday and my time away from all the craziness of the past month, I’m really looking forward to getting back in to my routine at home.
Given the past month of ‘silly season’ madness combined with the fact that many of us have all just had our Christmas day feasts I thought it was an apt time to talk about alkalinity. In previous posts I’ve mentioned about the importance of alkalinity but I haven’t ever really explained what that really means for us humans or why it is important.
Technically, the body needs to be in a alkaline state to survive. Of course, thanks to modern medicine and because we have become a robust population and these days we can survive for a period of time in less than optimal conditions…but who really wants to do that! Eventually, our bodies will say they’ve had enough and it will start to show in many number of areas both inward and outward. When our body is in an alkaline state, “we happily burn body fat as one of the reasons we store it is to protect our tissues from damage from acidic conditions. As we know, Acid burns, and so when your blood and tissues (eg. your muscles) are too acidic, we tend to hang on to our body fat as a way to protect our blood vessels and vital tissues from damage” (drlibby.com).
The measurement of this is referred to as ‘pH’ which means the acid-to-alkaline ratio and in scientific terms this is the “the potential of hydrogen” in our blood.
When it comes to body fat loss, it is the pH of our blood that can make the biggest difference. Your body will keep it between 6.8 and 7.8 with the optimal pH being 7.4. After we digest our food, the end result will either push the pH of our blood to be more acidic or alkaline. I’ve read a booklet called the ‘Easy pH Kit” which gives you a test to check your own pH and also tells you some foods which are more and less acididc and alkaline than others. You can buy it from most health stores for around $29 but the most interesting thing to note is that vegetables are virtually the only food to push our blood to the alkaline end of the scale so most people can safely double the amount of green vegies they usually eat!! Almost all other foods push our blood to be more acidic, although to varying degrees. Therefore, including green foods and drinks in most of our meals can make an enormous difference in our capacity to burn body fat.
With our modern lifestyles being so busy and stressful, we are often time-poor and don’t always make the right food choices, or often can’t. It’s happened to me before when I’ve had 5 minutes to run and buy some lunch, I’ve bought like white rice sushi or a salad sandwich thinking it was healthy, in fact it was high complex carbs and acid forming…so I have learnt how much it can help and does pay to be organised.
Your body will always work hard to keep the body in the ideal pH range, but if it is focussing on that all the time, it leaves it less time to deal with other important bodily functions (like digestion). So, if we can all find ways of keeping our own systems in an alkaline state naturally (or as close to as is possible) then that is a great start.
In practical terms, this might mean juicing a big bunch of green leafed vegetables for your breakfast or just after. Try kales, or spinach, silver beet, celery, parsley, carrot and lemon. If this is too sour for your taste-buds at the beginning then you can add the juice of half an apple or some pineapple and add less of the fruit as you get used to the taste of the greens. The other thing is to try to always make a variation of a salad or eat green vegie leftovers perhaps with a can of tuna or some chick peas for lunch five days out of seven and try not to rely on bread – even though it is the easy option.
Dinner might be your opportunity to steam, blanch or stirfry some vegetables or to include a big bowl of salad, keeping in mind any leftovers will be handy for lunch the next day.
I find when I am really busy as well as exercising a lot, that I will have my lemon tea to start the day, then exercise, then have my muesli mix and then mid-morning I will have a green drink. At the moment I am a little in love with vital-greens as it is quick and easy, sometimes I even have this in the afternoon when I am feeling like something but don’t know quite what it is…the green drink hits the spot.
It is a complex concept, but all you need to keep in mind is that alkalinity promotes body fat loss, energy and vitality and to achieve this state, base your diet on green foods. Investing in alkalinity means some of our other acid-promoting ways have much less impact on our health.