Sunday, April 10, 2011

Truth Revealed: Digestion and PH

Hey there best friend, my reader!

This weekend, I bought two new books I felt followed the same CLEAN principles, with some minor differences. They both offer great recipe's and provide lifestyle changing advice on nutrition based on solid facts, and I'm going to share them with you. (If you want to see which books these are, scroll to the bottom or keep reading to find out.)

Remember when I spoke about the alkaline vs. acidic levels in our bodies, and what foods cause these levels to rise? Well, I'm about to get into that detail right here, right now. 

Premièrement, I feel it's imperative that I explain our digestive system prior to getting into the nitty gritty.

Basic Digestive Anatomy 101 

See the pretty picture? 
It even talks about what I'm saying now.
Digestion, is obviously the way our system breaks down our food so that it is much easier absorbed into our bloodstream.

The broken down food interacts with chemicals and eventually turns into a thick liquid called chyme. Chyme then travels down the small intestine, where 95% of the nutrients get absorbed by tiny hairlike villi along the walls. It then passes the large intestine, and gets eliminated through the back door. Buh-bye!

Got it? Good, now pay attention to what I'm about to say next.

If waste foods (processed, microwaved, canned foods, refined sugars, cow's milk and dairy, excess animal protein and white flour based foods) clog the villi on the small intestinal wall -where all the nutrients get absorbed- then guess what happens? We don't get the nutrients!

Wanna know what else happens when we don't get the nutrients our body was supposed to receive? We wind up overeating.

Let me explain.

When the tiny villi get clogged by wasteful food (see above if you already forgot) that it can't metabolize and utilize efficiently, then our bodies don't feel nourished, no matter how much food we stuff ourselves with. Hold on, there's more.

If our bodies can't utilize the foods we eat then that also promotes the production of excessive mucus or yeast (that's candida, ladies). Of course, yeast further prevents the small intestine from absorbing nutrients leaving you starving for vitamins, minerals, and especially protein, regardless of what you eat.

So where does the overeating come in, Jen? 
Would you hold your horses, I'm getting to that.

It's simple. When we aren't absorbing these nutrients, our bodies keep telling us were hungry, even though you just stuffed your face. Le result: weight gain.

There. We covered digestion, and now we can move on to PH levels. Alright, back to chemistry class we go.

The Alkaline-Acid Principle

Based on my research (see below for list of books), you're PH levels are the key to proper nutrition. Apparently, it is the key to fighting aging and weight gain.

PH scale ranges from totally acidic 0.0 to totally alkaline at 14.0, making 7.0 neutral.

What's important for our health and beauty is the way foods are broken down and the residue they leave. We should strive to eat the 80-20 ratio: 80 percent alkaline-forming foods, and 20 percent acidic-forming foods. What are alkaline forming foods? Good question:

Very Alkaline Foods (in a nutshell):
Ripe fruits (very important to eat when ripe)
Other Veggies (excluding starchy varieties)

Very Acidic Foods (in a nutshell):
Animal protein
Artificial sweetners
Dairy products
Drugs (antibiotics/steroids)
Processed foods
Refined sugar

The most acidic food is animal protein. 

A few quick facts
High-acid environment is prone to fatigue and premature aging.
It's also a stressor, which increases cortisol levels*, and impairs sleep as a result.

*Cortisol primary functions are to increase sugar levels and suppress immune system.

When the body has too much acid, alkaline calcium compounds (stuff found in Tums) are extracted from our bones in order to reduce acidity. It's our body's survival mechanism. The long-term effects of that can lead to osteoporosis. That's why it's important to balance your PH levels.

Here's something else I bet you didn't know:
Cancer is impossible to develop in alkaline environments!

How do you like them apples!?

Note: Alkaline also comes from maintaining a positive attitude. In other words, being stress-free. So DO deep breathing exercises, DO yoga, DO light stretching, DO meditate, DO activities that make you happy.

I hope you enjoyed this mini chemistry lesson, and I hope that it gears you towards a happier, healthier you.

Don't forget to check out my list of books below, if you're interested in learning more.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I'll cover how to pair certain foods for optimal PH balanced results.

See you next time

  1. The first book is called the The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier who is a professional ironman triathlete and formulator of Vega (his own product line for athletes and health enthusiasts).

    What I like about this book are the recipes he has for pre and post exercise routines for building energy and assisting recovery. Great for before and after my jogs.
  2. The second book is called The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder is also a very informative read -much more illustrative with graphics and charts, and broken down in very simple terms so that even if you don't understand the first thing about nutrition you'll get what she's saying. I, personally, need to be taught like I'm a four year old, otherwise I get confused. It's true.


And in this corner, weighing in at....

Hello dear readers. Yes, you!

I see you come less frequently and I would like to apologize for that as it is my fault. I've been paying less attention to you, I know. I haven't been communicating as often as I used to while I was on the detox. Sometimes a girl just needs to break free from all communication, you know? A cyber detox, if you will ;)

So I'll spare you the boring details of what I've been eating because I'm sure by now you're tired of hearing me say; veggies, fruits, and gluten-free. I will, however, tell you that my friends have really been commenting on my weight lately. From co-workers, to family members, everyone seems to feel that I have lost in the face, stomach, and everywhere else. Since I had never really weighed myself properly during this detox, I figured now was a good time.

First thing Saturday morning, before eating anything, I woke up at my parents house (yes, I'm back-boo), and weighed in. I squinted at the numbers trying to make out what they said, but because I normally wear contacts I couldn't see a darn thing. I ask my dad to read the scale for me and I couldn't believe what he said; I have lost a total of 8lbs (3.2kg's or something -for my Euro readers). I was shocked to find out how much I lost. I guess I hadn't realized it while I was staying at my brother's place over the last month.

Primo, he doesn't have a scale, so I couldn't monitor the weight loss -mind you, that was a good thing otherwise I would have been obsessed with checking. And secondo, you'd think my clothes would have been a good benchmark, but with today's fashion everything fits loose or stretches, i.e. flowy tops or jeggings.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. From weighing in at 118lbs, I am now 110lbs! I haven't been 110lbs since I was 22? Maybe 24? I feel amazing, but I still have some work to do though. I need to tone up. That's where my Tracy Anderson workout video and marathon training comes in.

Speaking of which, I jogged today with my Mickey (my brother). What a beautiful day it was too; 12 degrees and sunny. We went in the morning around 9:30-10AM, right after we did some 'dynamic stretches'. What? Yah, that's what I said. They're a series of stretches that are supposed to strengthen your muscles while you stretch, so: walking lunges or jumping knee bends.

I wish I could say I jogged more then I did on Tuesday, but I didn't. I pretty much covered the same distance, 3.5KM at 28 minutes. At least I'm consistent, right? Then I did interval jogs until I reached 4KM where I officially gave up. My brother, on the other hand, jogged to timbuck-effen-too and came back around 12:30. I watched him jog up Wilderton without stopping. I don't know how he does it, but I'm impressed. I also hate him at the same time. How the hell am I supposed to run the half???

I'm so f*****.

Anyway, zats eet for now.

I'm back home now, hopefully I'll be able to maintain my nutrition and fitness while I'm here. I did buy a book though that seems quite interesting and is similar to the CLEAN philosophy; eating raw.

Stay tuned, kids. And thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Marathon Training: breaking record

Jesus. I had alcohol last night at L'Assomoire. Let me tell you something, wine kicks in. Fast. Much faster then vodka. Good to know for next time. I was feeling tipsy after my first glass. Of course, it didn't help when the waiter kept bringing us shots either.

On another note, I went jogging yesterday morning! That's right. Me. Jogging. I found my Mickey; my brother. We woke up at 6:45, ate an apple with almond butter (yum) and dressed up for the rainy weather. It wasn't by any means fun. In fact, I couldn't wait until it was over when I got to the first corner down his street. I toughed it out though. We jogged through Jarry parc so that kept me distracted enough to almost forget I was jogging. My breathing was much better this time too. I think it's because my brother gave me a neck warmer, which I covered my face with. Helped me control the oxygen I was letting in; there was less burning in my chest.

I ended up jogging 28 minutes for a total of..... (drum roll please) 3.55km!!!!!!

Stop laughing. I broke my record. It's more then I did on Sunday (2.02km). And might I add, I burned 175 calories, not bad, yah? Well anyway, I was impressed I went longer.

I might hit the road tomorrow morning, but we'll see. It's really hard dragging me out of bed to go jogging in the morning. It's really hard drag me out of bed, period, let alone to go jogging. Pffff!

Well, that's all I've got for today. Keeping it short and sweet.



Monday, April 04, 2011

Volume 2 - Chapter 1: The Rocky Challenge

So based on your votes here's what I'm doing next:

What: The Ottawa Half-Marathon
When: May 28, 2011
Where: Ottawa, duh
Why: Because I love Rocky, and I want to run like Rocky to the the beat of the soundtrack. In fact, just call me Rocky from now on. Jen DouRocky. yah!

The Low-Down:
I have to be able to run 21km by May 28th. That's 54 days from today. Is that realistic? I dunno.

I'm not gonna lie, jogging has never been my thing. In fact, I'm such a rookie that I suck. No, really. I'm horrible. I used to hate walking to the corner convenient store for the love of baby jesus. Could you imagine me running? Okay, I'm not that bad anymore, but still.

The Training
I have to create a schedule in order to see how often I'll need to jog during the week, and how much distance I should cover. I found a training schedule online that should help. I'll have to run 4-5x a week. Do I really have to jog that often? Ugh, I'm already not looking forward to this.

On Sunday, I went for a "jog" for the first time since last Fall. I say "jog" because I only managed to run (don't laugh) for 16 minutes. That's it. Pretty bad, huh? And after 16 minutes of jogging, I covered a whole 2.03KM. Ouu, eh? I was so done at the end of it. toast. fini. blegh. How come I suck so badly?

The Brother
I'm nervous about this challenge, and I'm doing it alone too. My brother has already had a head start on me. He's run three half-marathons so far, and he's currently training for the full 42km's in Ottawa, in May. That's the same one I'll be running at for the half.

The Whining
So listen, does anyone know how I should breathe while jogging? My lungs burn... do you understand burn? It's like a wheezing, burning feeling. I don't want it to burn. Does anyone know how to make it stop? So uncomfortable. I think that's why I couldn't go on. It's usually my breathing that stops me.
More Whining
Last fall, when I was jogging more regularly, it was either that, my knees, or my shins that were my biggest obstacles. Weird how they never bother me during the same run, it was always one or the other. Never simultaneous. What's up with that? Is it because I suck? It's so frustrating too. I think the longest I've jogged was 45 minutes, and that was on the treadmill. Is that bad?

The Cry for Help
Will I make it? Does anyone have some tips, advice, or motivation for me?
Does anyone want to jog with me? C'mon, be my jogging partner. Please? Anyone?
Does anyone want to coach me? Who wants to be my Mickey!

Make me "eat lightnin' and crap thunder"

Here's a little Rocky Flavor



This is the end, beautiful friend (almost)

The detox is finally over and now I can look forward to eating normally again... Or so I thought!

On Sunday, as my first free-from-detox meal, I made a hearty vegetarian lasagna, and it was dee-licious. I mean it. I went to Marché Jean-Talon on Saturday and bought fresh spinach lasagna, yum! What a difference fresh pasta makes.

My ingredients were fairly simple. I used zucchini's, eggplant, and spinach as my filling; a homemade tomato sauce with mushrooms; and finally topped off my layers with a béchamel sauce (apparently the traditional way to make lasagna, si mon-nombo?).

It was scrumptious. Divine. No. Wait. It was scrumptiously-divine

And now here are the after-effects:
Since my meal contained dairy, wheat, and sugar I felt tired and, of course, bloated almost immediately after I ate it. That was a first since the detox. I won't even tell you what today was like. Okay, fine, I will. We both woke up feeling fatigued, and that feeling pretty much continued the rest of the day. My eyes didn't look so hot either. I had bags big enough to carry my lunch in. Also, my washroom visits weren't fun either, but we won't get into that...I'm just saying.

So was wheat the culprit? Or was it the fact I had everything at once that bothered me? Tum, tarum-tum, tummmm!!

(10 minutes later)

Ooopsy Daisy, looks like I made a big booboo.

I just read the After The Cleanse chapter and I wasn't supposed to jump into the pre-Clean diet right away (!!!) What I was supposed to do is consume one liquid meal, instead of two, and then eat three solid meals a day by the end of the week. Eesh. The author says I should continue to follow some recipes from the book. I probably should have read this chapter before making the lasagna, hehe. Silly me.

Anyway, so once I'm back on three meals a day, I should then include one type of food from the Elimination Diet's "exclude" list into my daily meals (not 3 like I did in my lasagna...mii). For instance, wheat or dairy. Then I'm supposed to observe what happens. Do I feel tired, does my tummy hurt, etc.

Dang, and I thought this thing was over. I guess I shouldn't have had alcohol on Friday night either...

You heard me. I CHEATED, okay? Boooo, I know. But in all fairness, I thought Saturday was my last day. I figured whatever changes my body went through this wouldn't, couldn't, possibly reverse it. Right?

What? Don't judge me. You don't know me (LOL the Mauri show).

Well, unfortunately for me, it's not over. Not to worry though, I'll just bounce back. Starting with my smoothies in the AM. I like them smoothie's anyway. Very filling too. I could last all the way through to lunch without feeling like I'm starving. So stay tuned as I continue to investigate the after-detox grub.