This year, it’s time to get serious about your health and not only make resolutions, but to get permanent results. In order to achieve permanent results, it’s important to not only take action on a goal, but it’s equally important to get a full understanding about the body and how it works. When you have this understanding and respect for the human body, you’re more likely to succeed.
For many of you who know me, you know that I’m a very spiritual person who not only believes the Word of God, but lives it, as well. My spiritual journey is what has helped me get closer to understanding and respecting my body, and loving it for all it does for me every day. We are all uniquely and wonderfully made to function at our best on a daily basis. Read that again. If we’re not functioning at our best, it’s because of our own doing. Thankfully, because of grace, mercy and the will to choose, we have the ability to reverse certain conditions in our body for the better, and one of them is acid-base balance.
Acid-Base Balance is the body’s balance between acidity and alkalinity. Simply put, it is the regulator of homeostasis (balance) in the body’s blood chemistry. When there’s an imbalance, there’s a potential for disease and disorder in the body. Our bodies may appear on the outside to be very simple: we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to touch, legs & feet to walk. But on the inside, everything is very intricate in the way the body functions. I won’t get too detailed here, but just know that any imbalance in your body chemistry can be a cause for disease.
There are foods that are more alkaline (good) and there are those that are more acidic (bad). The most alkalizing foods are green vegetables, but you will find some fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and oils are also alkaline. Acidic foods are: All meat, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, most grains, some nuts, canned, processed and microwaved foods; condiments such as vinegar, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, white sugar and artificial sweeteners; as well as alcohol, coffee, black tea and a few others.
So, how does all of this affect your weight? Our bodies will go through a spectacular range of processes to keep the blood at a pH of 7.4 (balance), which is slightly alkaline. When we eat an acidic diet, such as the Standard American Diet (S.A.D. – an appropriate acronym), our bodies have an arsenal of actions to counterbalance the excess acids that would otherwise kill us by damaging our vital organs and tissue. One of those actions is to retain fat to use as handy, safe storage pockets to store excess acid! WOW! Isn’t this amazing! Even when we’re not doing our best by eating the right things, our bodies still do right by us by protecting us from harm.
But, at some point, we must take responsibility and do better. Because although the body does some miraculous things to keep us from harm, they can have a downside, as well. Holding onto fat in order to use it for acid storage isn’t quite that beneficial in the long run. I am thrilled that my body is innately smart enough to save my heart from dangerous acids by storing them in extra pounds on my backside. At the same time, I won’t be as excited about that tropical vacation when I have a fat rear end. How about you? These coping strategies extend our lives, but if these strategies go on unchecked, they create a whole host of other problems that I’m sure I don’t have to mention here.
Here are 5 simple things you can do right away to create a more alkaline balance in your body to promote weight loss:
- Reduce or omit dairy from your diet. As much as the Dairy Council promotes “Got Milk?”, I continue to say “Got Nut Milk?”. It’s easier today, than ever before, to incorporate healthy almond milk into your diet. Allergic to nuts? Give soy milk a try. Fact: the casein in dairy is a well-known cancer-causing agent. The less dairy you consume, the better.
- Cut back on, or eliminate, meat from your diet. If you’re a meat-lover, don’t fret. You can reach your weight loss goals and still eat meat by sticking to a portion that is no bigger than a deck of cards, lean and not charred on the grill. The ultimate goal here is to reduce your consumption of meat, and not just red meat.
- Get off the bean. No matter how many times you’ve heard that coffee is good for you, I’m here to say that it’s not. Yes, the coffee bean is high in antioxidants. But it’s also very acidic, especially when you add the cream (dairy) and sugar. Do yourself a favor and wean yourself from the bean.
- Drink your veggies. This is my ultimate favorite! Fresh juice is fantastic and good for the body and soul. You can also drink your veggies in the form of smoothies. Adding fruit helps to ease into this transition.
- Eat more salads. Get your leafy greens on by eating more salads. Explore different leafy greens outside of your norm: Arugula, watercress, bib lettuce, butter lettuce, mache, mesclun, chard, just to name a few. There are many varieties of leafy greens to explore and they each have different nutritional benefits.
Remember, knowledge and wisdom is the key to life. Here’s one of my favorite scriptures to prove it: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverbs 24:3). Your “house: is your body. You live in it day in, and day out. By understanding how it works for YOUR good, it is established, as the scripture promises above.
Your Compassionate Transformation™ Assignment:
Choose one of the 5 steps above and start to alkalize your body. Practice each step fully for 2 weeks each. In as little as 10 weeks, you’ll feel and look better, for sure!
There’s only 9 days left until the start of the Life Detox Program™. So, if you feel like you’re in a constant physical & emotional battle with food, and you’re tired of struggling with the stress of being overworked, overwhelmed and overweight, the 7-Day Life Detox Program is just what you need.
Learn how you can begin to rid yourself of unhealthy people, places, and things (including unhealthy food) so you can get back to living the healthy and whole life that you deserve! Take advantage of the limited-time special pricing before it increases in at midnight tonight!
Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, parsnips, bay leaf, oil and salt and pepper and then transfer to a large roasting pan. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 1 hour; discard bay leaf. Meanwhile, whisk together juice, honey and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thickened, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in pecans and set aside.
Transfer vegetables to a platter, drizzle honey-pecan mixture over the top, garnish with parsley and serve.
Here is a collection of strategies and tips for cutting your grocery bill. Start with strategies that you can implement gradually. Remember your goal: A lower food bill AND a healthy, wholesome diet.
The following tips have been arranged in descending order from most difficult to least difficult. Therefore, you can see the changes along the way and be willing to make more frugal choices as you get more comfortable with this way of eating and shopping. Start with a few things and keep adding. Soon you will see a HUGE difference in your food budget (and possibly your waistline!).
TIP #10: Use Everything- When you are cooking, think about how you can get every last food mile out of what you are making. Meat bones and vegetable trimmings can be made into wonderful stocks. Leftover vegetables and meats can be thrown into the same stock for soups and stews, or put into pot pies, casseroles, you name it. Try to get everything you can out of your food dollar.
TIP #9: Cut down/Out on the Junk Food- If you can completely give up the soda, chips, cookies, candy, etc., good for you! Most fail at doing this “cold turkey”, so I suggest you gradually cut down on these items. If you just have to have a baked good, make it yourself from scratch. Homemade cookies, cakes, and pies are much tastier than store bought and they don’t have the additives and preservatives either.
TIP #8: Make It Yourself- Ban those convenience foods! If you can’t totally cut out the junk foods, make them yourself. A large, homemade pizza costs about $3 – $5 to make, compared to frozen pizzas which are typically $3 – $5 for the small size. And delivery pizzas can cost $8 – $20 each. Bulk buy the ingredients and make the dough from scratch. Pressed for time? Buy the pizza dough pre-made and just add the toppings!
TIP #7: Eat Less Meat- Does spaghetti really have to have all those meatballs? Does pizza really have to have all of that meat on it? Try to think of meat as an accent to the meal rather than the main course. If this is too difficult, try cutting portion sizes of meats and adding more side dishes to compensate.
TIP #6: Stretch Meats- You may be able to get away with extending your meat by mixing in extra veggies, grains, or even TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). TVP is made from soybeans and there are quite a few restaurants that use it, so it may be more familiar than you think (it’s also very healthy). You can hide it best in ground beef dishes, like chili, meatloaf, and tacos.
TIP #5: Fill Up On Healthier Foods- Try fruits and popcorn as snacks, rather than junk convenience foods. Drink sparkling water, with a splash of lemon or splash of 100% fruit juice between meals, instead of soda or Kool-aid. Buy whole grains, like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta, instead of their refined counterparts. Munch on fresh veggies w/dip between meals. Whole grains and healthier foods fill you up and nourish you. You will eat less and crave less because your body is nourished more. Think of wholesome foods as an investment in your health.
TIP #4: Buy and Use In-Season Veggies and Fruit- They are fresher and cheaper. When tomatoes are in season, make tomato sauce and can it. Make strawberry shortcake when strawberries are at their best and cheapest, usually in June and July. Cook with more root vegetables in the winter, when thy are at their best.
TIP #3: Learn the Sales Pattern- Not only are there better seasons to buy some veggies than others, but meats and other food staples tend to go on sale according to season, holiday, and what store you are shopping at. Learn the sales patterns of your favorite stores and stock up.
TIP #2: Try Store Brands and Generics- Keep going down in price until you notice a difference in the quality. You may discover that most brands are created equal and some generics are pretty good too. Some basics, like flour & sugar, really don’t change from brand to brand, so go with the lowest price and /or what’s on sale.
TIP #1: Make a Grocery List, And Stick To It- Plan your meals for the week and shop only for the foods that you need to complete your meals. Be sure to check your kitchen for foods that you may already have that are needed for your meals. This will prevent you from buying certain foods unnecessarily.
As most of you already know, I am a firm believer in the health benefits organic foods. But if you must buy conventional produce, there are ways to reduce your exposure to the harmful chemicals they contain. Thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables will help, although all pesticide residues cannot be removed by washing. You can also remove the outer layer of leaves or peel vegetables if possible. Another alternative is to grow your own vegetables, although this takes space, time and climate considerations.
Another option is to buy organic produce selectively, as certain foods tend to have higher or lower amounts of pesticides.
The following foods tend to have the highest levels of pesticides:
Vegetables: Spinach, Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Celery
Fruits: Peaches, Apples, Strawberries, Nectarines, Pears, Cherries, Raspberries, Grapes
The list below includes foods that tend to be lower in pesticides:
Vegetables: Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Radishes, Broccoli, Onions, Okra, Cabbage, Eggplant
Fruits: Pineapples, Plantains, Mangos, Bananas, Watermelon, Plums, Kiwi, Blueberries, Papaya, Grapefruit, Avocado
Unfortunately, there are still many people that do not have access to organic foods, whether it is for demographic reasons or economic reasons. If either of these reasons pertain to you, please, please, please do not make this an excuse to avoid fruits and vegetables altogether. Non-organic fruits and vegetables are better than none at all. It is my hope and intention to get each and every one of you to venture outside of your box to try something new, whether it is eating an organic apple for the first time, or incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. So, remember your ultimate goal: Eating Healthy without Breaking the Bank!
Usually, when someone thinks of vegetarian food, they think “Am I going to be full?” or “I don’t like tofu”. Well, this recipe is one of our family favorites and will be included in the upcoming cookbook CD that I’m writing entitiled “Getting Lean by Living Green”. Enjoy, and feel free to let me know how you like it once you try it!
- Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add peppers and onion and saute until onions are transleucent. Add potatoes and sausages and cook about 8 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown (stirring occasionally).
- Combine hot pepper sauce, turmeric, and 1 Tb water in small bowl. Crumble tofu coarsely over totato mixture, and drizzle hot sauce mixture on top. Sprinkle with Creole seasoning. Cook 3 minutes, or until tofu is heated through, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat. Stir dollops of cream cheese into scramble.
- Transfer to platter, sprinkle with green onions, and serve
Most authorities, and many dietitians/nutritionists, recommend people not use salt at the table or the stove. I have found that this is precisely the wrong approach. Most of the sodium we eat (77%) is in the food as we buy it—mostly processed/packaged and restaurant foods. The remaining 23% is about evenly split between naturally occurring sodium and that which we add at the stove/table.
So when it is recommended that people stop using salt at the stove/table, how much does that affect your sodium intake? Very little (about 10%). All the while, you as the consumer, are left believing that you’re doing something good for yourself and that you have complete control over your sodium intake, when actually you do not. If you’re buying mostly processed/packaged foods (out of convenience and ease) from food industry giants like Campbells, Kraft, Prego, Stouffers (this includes LEAN CUISINE) to control your sodium intake, you’re not doing much at all. Even if you don’t salt your food at the table, you’re getting more salt in your diet than you should.
Let’s return the control back to YOU, the consumer. I recommend that you buy as much unprocessed, whole, and/or reduced sodium foods as possible and salt those foods YOURSELF. Even if you buy a bland, low-sodium soup or pasta sauce, you can add your own salt (along with other herbs and spices to further cut back on the use of salt). Then, over time, slowly reduce the salt you add to those unprocessed, whole foods, allowing time for the tastebuds to adjust. Who’s in control now? That’s right it’s YOU, not the food industry giants that have absolutely no concern about your health and welfare.
And as for the GREEN and COMPASSIONATE living moral to this story: Buying unprocessed, whole foods will, in turn, mean that you’re buying foods with less packaging (good for the environment), and you’re most likely buying more fruits and vegetables and eating a more plant-based diet (good for you AND the environment).