Monthly Archives: November 2010

Food For Thought Sundays – Your Body’s pH

First things first, congrats to Sarah from Bake + Bike for coming up with the winning name for Sunday’s series on nutrition! There were tons of great suggestions, but I ended up choosing “Food For Thought Sundays” because that’s exactly what we’re doing – giving food some extra thought! Plus, it has a nice ring to it. Sarah, you will get some loot for winning too!

Now on to today’s Food For Thought topic: pH levels in your body.

This is something I mentioned briefly in last week’s post and got a lot of responses about. I figured it worthwhile to dedicate a whole post to what it’s all about and why it’s something we may want to consider.

I’m sure most of us have conducted a pH test at some point, be it in a chemistry class or in the home. We use the above pH scale to determine if a liquid is acidic (0-6) neutral (7) or basic (8-14). We’re used to testing the pH in things like drinking water or swimming pools… but did you know our body has a pH balance as well?

The blood, saliva  and spinal fluid of a healthy person is actually slightly alkaline at 7.4 on the pH scale. However, that is not the case for most people. We are living in a culture where the majority of people are acidic.

This can be a big problem as acidic bodies are more prone to cancer. I wanted to link this statement to studies proving this. But there are so many out there I can’t pick just one. Kris Carr’s experience is at least the most entertaining proof.

Put simply, high body acidity makes it harder for cells to carry oxygen, which is a ripe environment for abnormal (cancerous) cells to grow. It also prevents the body from absorbing minerals and nutrients.

Thankfully, our body’s pH is something we can control! The most obvious place is with food.

There are hoards of people out there who base their diets on eating mostly alkalizing foods. Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet book is another one that goes into great detail on this.

The idea is that the typical North American diet consists mostly of acidic foods that lowers our body’s pH. We should be concentrating more on alkalizing foods that will help get it up to that coveted 7.4 range. That doesn’t mean ban acidic foods altogether, just make sure there’s at least 50% alkalizing foods in there as well.

Click here for a more detailed food list. It’s really interesting!!

Last weekend, I was able to test my own body’s pH simply by using paper test strips on my saliva. You can buy kits meant specifically for this at many health food stores.

Much to my surprise, my spit tested out as neutral! Even though I eat what I would classify as a more acidic diet.

Here comes the second part of the whole pH thing: stress can create more acid in our bodies.

I think the main reason why I’ve remained neutral despite my diet is that I’m a fairly low-stress person. Apart from my occasional bouts of anxiety, I don’t experience any serious day-to-day stress. I’m lucky in that I’ve always been even-tempered and easy going. I truly believe that managing stress levels can affect your body’s pH just as much as the food you eat.

If this is all new information to you, it may seem a little weird to take such serious consideration of your body’s pH. But this is something I’ve been fascinated by for a couple years now. As a person who comes from a family riddled with cancer, it seems like the best bet for giving myself a fighting chance. Plus, it’s never a bad thing to have a little extra motivation to eat my fruits and veggies ;)


Question of the Day: Does any of this surprise you? Where would you say you fall on the pH scale?


Fitness Friday – An Introductory to Foam Rolling

Happy Fitness Friday!!

I would like to have a word with whomever chooses the screenshots at YouTube. I don’t think any form of automation can choose this degree unflattering shots with such precise consistency.

Today, we’re talking foam rolling. Yay for embarrassing yourself on the internet!! ;)

Speaking of embarrassment, there are still many copies left of the Blogger Charity Calendar. That’s right, I am now a calendar girl. Click here to check it out!

Also, I’m still taking name suggestions for my new Sunday series on nutrition. Click here to submit your ideas, I’ll be choosing a winner on Sunday!

As Madeline would say, make it a great weekend!

Edit: I forgot to leave the link for more foam rolling moves! Clickyclicky.

Foods That Make You Trigger

I received a comment a while back that really made me stop and think. After blogging about some form of chocolate or peanut butter treat, someone said they never buy it because it’s one of their trigger foods.

For some reason, this comment resonated with me. The term “trigger food” is one I’ve used and see all the time. And yet, to have it used so commonly really stuck with me.

The idea of a trigger food is that it creates an uncontrollable urge to eat. The type of food is different for everyone. But I’m sure we can all relate to grabbing a small handful of chips. Then another. Then another. And without even thinking about it, half (or all!) the bag is gone.

Not a salt person? Ever have a chocolate bar disappear before having the intention to even eat it all?

A trigger food can mean different things to different people. For people with a history of binge eating, it can mean a lot. For people who are trying to lose weight, it can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.

I’m of the school of thought that there is no such thing as bad food. Just bad food choices. What I mean is that everything is okay in moderation. And yes, there is such as thing as too much of a good thing!

I hate to live in a world where cookies are absolutely off limits. Or crackers are something I’ll never allow myself to eat again. That is not a healthy way to live life, and it’s important to open ourselves up to indulgences every once in a while.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I do have trigger foods. Ones that I’ve more or less deemed completely off limits. Yes, even in my quest for balance there are some things I’ve taken an all-or-nothing attitude about. And in these cases, I really do believe it is for the sake of my mental sanity. For there are some foods, trigger foods, that I really do have no control over. Ones that will leave me feeling bad about and sorry for myself. Ones that I’m really better off just not having in my life. No matter how delicious.

First up, pretzels. In all forms.

Pretzels always sound good in theory. They’re fun to bake with. A nice addition to any trail mix. But I have absolutely no control over them. Soon after the bag is opened, I’ve devoured 1000 calories in a salty food devoid of any nutritional value.

I almost didn’t buy Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels because I knew they’d be a danger food. Sure enough, I munched on them until the bag was gone. Happy that I got to experience their deliciousness. But finishing a bag in three days is just not healthy or welcome for me. So long pretzels! (and good riddance)

Another one: small crackers.

I don’t buy them. I don’t know how to portion them. It irks me that most small crackers are 10 calories a piece. You see, I have a serious munching problem. When I’m in my kitchen, even if I’m not hungry, some food container is being opened to munch on. I’ve gotten smart about keeping carrot sticks around to do this with. Because it’s going to happen no matter what (I’ve tried many times to stop, all in vain). These days I’m all about the big crackers. Ones I can sit down and make an actual snack out of.

The absolute worst trigger food for me is cereal. Of all kinds. Granola, bran cereal, even puffed cereal. If it’s in my kitchen, I will eat it by the handful. Entire boxes have disappeared with nary a bowl or milk being involved.

I’ve tried numerous times, each time with fail, to kick my cereal habit. I’ve finally realized that it is just one of those foods that trigger an automated response from me. One I am not comfortable with. Thus, you will never find me in the cereal aisle. I know this sounds pretty depressing. It is sad to come to the realization that cereal is not good for your mental health.

I am however happy to report that I’ve overcome some trigger foods!

Me and trail mix used to have a rocky relationship. Now when I buy a big bag, I immediately portion it out into little baggies. For some reason my mind (and tastebuds) don’t like messing with those little baggies and it now goes untouched until intentional consumption. Same goes with other dried fruits and nuts.

The biggest success for me so far has come with chocolate.

I have memories of eating half a large chocolate Easter bunny in one sitting as a child. It’s one of those foods I just can’t get enough of. It’s taken some practice, but I can now have just a small square of chocolate, or a small amount of something like M&MS or Mini Eggs and feel completely satisfied.

This post is not supposed to be about deprivation. Believe me, I do allow myself “trigger foods” occasionally and thoughtfully enjoy them. But it’s about living day-to-day in a world where eating is often connected to a mental or emotional response. It’s about recognizing foods that make us feel bad, and deciding if they’re worth having around at all.

If anything, writing this post made me realize that my list of trigger foods is pretty small. Way smaller than it would have been when I set out to lose 30 lbs two and a half years ago. Maybe I will make amends with the remaining foods someday. But for now, I am completely content keeping them banned from my cupboards :)

Question of the Day: How do you feel about trigger foods? Too strict? Any that you don’t let in your house?

P.S. Deb is still accepting orders for our Charity Blogger Calendar! Click here to learn about it and get your own!!