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.

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