Wednesday 27 February 2013

Alkalizing My Body and Overhauling My Diet

   I was diagnosed with chronic Gastritis a few months ago during an over-night trip to the hospital with horrible stomach pain which I get from time to time. The next day I began researching gastritis, its causes and management. It's an inflammation of the stomach lining caused by an acidic diet and overuse of NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as Ibuprofen. Guilty as charged on both counts. 

   After I looked into an alkalizing diet I discovered mine was way too acidic. Meat is highly acidic to the blood's PH levels and was part of my decision to go vegetarian. Canned & processed food is also highly acidic. This was my next foe to vanquish. Rich Roll a vegan ultraman competitor said it best, "At the grocery store, stay to the outside perimeter where all the fresh foods are." "The isles contain mostly processed foods" It's common knowledge that these foods contain additives in the form of preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, artificial flavouring agents and colourings. None of these things were meant for the human body. In fact some artificial sweeteners have actually been shown to be carcinogenic. 

Cold brewed for 24 hours!
   Coffee, my favorite drink was also a culprit. As a chef for years the coffee flowed like water in kitchens, mostly to stay alert during long, late nights. Through my research I learned of cold brewed coffee. Basically it's regular ground coffee steeped for 24 hours (we use a french press) and then the grounds are filtered out. What you're left with is a coffee concentrate. Cold brewed coffee has been shown to be up to 67% less acidic than regular brewed coffee and because of this needs no cream or sweetener, but actually tastes almost sweet on it's own. Simply keep in a container in the fridge and add boiling water in a ratio of approximately 1/3 coffee concentrate to 2/3 water. Try it sometime, you'll be amazed that even cheap coffee will taste great. You can see Chris' blog for how we make ours!

   So now that I've explained what I removed, what did I add? Good question me. Well it's very simple really. One of the best alkalizers are salad greens and green vegetables. So that's what I added. The only issue to watch for is that greens contain low level toxins called alkaloids. These are naturally occurring and are the plants natural defense system against insects and predators (like humans). As long as I rotate through different greens this will never be an issue and I reap the benefits of the different vitamins and mineral profiles unique to each plant. I originally tried the green smoothie which is gaining in popularity. After a few weeks of gagging down many different recipes I decided this was just not for me. Luckily I found a great back up plan. Liquid chlorophyll. What works best for me is a liter of water mixed with the juice of half a lemon and approximately 2 tablespoons of liquid chlorophyll concentrate. Here are just a few of the benefits of liquid chlorophyll. It's anti-carcinogenic, an anti-inflammatory, a powerful antioxidant, an antiseptic, a natural breath deodorizer and contains vitamin K, C, folic acid, iron, calcium and protein. Wow. 

    I mentioned fresh lemon with my chlorophyll water and there are a few good reasons for this as well. When I was thirty I was working as a cook and sweating over a 500 degree grill for 8-10 hours at a time. Cola was free so I drank a lot. Constant sweating and soft drinks with no water lead to kidney stones and two surgeries later I would do anything not to go through that again. The doctor said lots of water and fresh lemon. Lemon are very effective at dissolving mineral deposits which lead to kidney, gall and pancreatic stones. It helps to purify the blood and detoxify the body. It reduces phlegm and helps respiratory problems. Contains potassium for nerve and brain functions. It assists with digestion and after being digested has an amazing alkalizing effect on the body's PH levels. Lemon also has antibacterial properties to help control bad bacteria, such as colds and flu. It strengthens liver enzymes and helps correct calcium and oxygen levels in the liver. Finally it dissolves uric acid which can cause pain and inflammation in the joints. Need I say more. Now 
go get some lemons.

   Chia seeds are another amazing addition to my diet that I was introduced to. Apparently they are for more than just growing a delightful green coat on a clay pet. Chia is very high in fiber  11 grams per ounce. The soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar by slowing down carbohydrate to sugar conversion, lowers cholesterol and works as a prebiotic feeding the good bacteria in your digestive tract. The insoluble fiber helps to cleanse the intestinal tract. They are a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, but because the body has to convert the plant based form of omega 3 it's not quite as effective as the ones found in fish oils. Chia is a good source of protein and is composed of over 20% of it, but only about 35% of that protein is digestible. It helps hydration and provides long lasting, sustainable energy. This is one of the reasons it's used by many athletes. Chia seeds contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc, and even boron which aids in calcium absorption. They also contain as many antioxidants and fresh blueberries. Finally they are gluten free and have a very low glycemic index value of one!

   So that's it for now. I'll continue to write about what new things I try and find work for me. I cannot recommend what I do for anyone else. This information is just what I have been able to research and discover through my personal experience, but by no means is a complete picture of these foods or what they can do for the body. If your interested do some of your own research and see what you can find.

Good luck!    

1 comment:

  1. You ROCK Ryan! I love Liquid Chlorophyll and I'm jumping on the lemon train :)