I love this time of year when my energy explodes and motivation soars! Do you find that? Just the fact that I can go outside (comfortably) every day is huge for my mood and also my activity level.
After some hibernation time through the winter, I like to use this renewed life source and push myself to do a little more. I've started a 12 minute workout (using an App called '12 Minute Athlete') 4 mornings a week, and so far I like it a lot! It's not always about the type of activity you are doing, but more importantly that you are moving your body on a regular basis.
When looking for new activities, try to find a balance of strength and resistance, increasing your heart rate, and also promoting relaxation throughout the week. For example, yoga once a week, strength training twice a week, and a weekend bike ride with your family or a friend. By balancing your acitivites you will avoid burnout - something many of us feel on a daily basis anyways.
pH Levels in the Body
Perhaps this topic has been in the news or been showing up on your facebook feed lately, as I've recently had a lot of questions about body acidity.
For anyone who remembers science class or has a hot tub, you will know that pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity which runs on a scale from 0-14. Neutral, neither acidic or alkaline is a pH of 7.
Our bodies work best in a pH of 7.0-7.4, neutral or slightly basic. When in the optimal pH zone, metabolism works efficiently, hormones send proper signals, the immune system does its job of fighting invaders or breaking down misbehaving cells, and the body can repair and heal itself. The only exception is the stomach, which needs to contain acid in order to break down food.
When the body's pH is pushed outside the optimal range of 7.0-7.4 it has to work hard to bring it back to neutral. Your body may become too acidic from a poor diet of processed foods, coffee and sugar, not enough activity, overexercising, and stress. To neutralize the acid we begin borrowing minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium from the bone and organs.
If we have to constantly struggle to maintain the body's pH levels, we are put at risk for a number of health concerns:
- joint pain
- sluggish digestion
- premature aging
- imbalanced bacteria or fungal levels
- frequent infections
- kidney stones
- high blood pressure
- chronic inflammation
- poor nutrient absorption
- premature aging
Furthermore, it may be difficult to repair the body or to lose weight without addressing the pH imbalance in the first place. Acidity is a common obstacle to healing.
How to Check Your pH Levels
Test your pH using litmus paper, which you can find at the health stores. Find the matching colour on the test kit to determine the pH level. Repeat daily or weekly depending on your level of health.
- first thing in the morning (before brushing your teeth)
- fill your mouth with saliva and swallow
- fill mouth with saliva then spit onto the litmus paper
- repeat a second time later in the day 2 hours after eating
- ideally, saliva pH will be between 7.0-7.4 all day
- first thing in the morning
- collect a small sample of first morning urine in a clean container (glass)
- dip the test strip in the urine
- repeat in the evening
- ideally morning urine will be between 6.0-6.5, and evening will be 6.5-7.0
I'm acidic, Now What
1. Reduce acidic foods
- processed or boxed foods, sugar, coffee, tea, alcohol, and protein
2. Increase alkalinizing foods
- leafy greens, dark coloured fruits, quinoa, almonds, brown rice
3. Choose less acidic foods
- fish and lamb more often than chicken and beef
4. Drink lemon water
- squeeze the juice from half a lemon into water and drink before you eat anything first thing in the morning
5. Watch your oils
- use olive oil over canola, vegetable oil
6. Cardio Workouts
- keep them to 35 minutes or less once or twice per week, more than that will increase stress in the body
7. Stress management daily
- negative emotions are acidic
- find your match when it comes to relieving tension and promoting relaxation: journaling, walking, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are good options
Keep in mind that being acidic is just another way that the body shows signs of imbalance. When the scales are tipped out of balance, you are at a higher risk for disease. Tracking your pH is another way to measure how far you've traveled on your health journey. It is not your destiny to be ill, the body has the capacity to heal itself when you give it the right environment.