pH 101: Acid-Alkaline Balance & Your Health

From Kris Carr’s Blog…

pH 101: Acid-Alkaline Balance & Your Health

BY: KRIS CARR

September 2, 2014|16Comments|

Hiya Gorgeous,

You may have heard about pH or the acid-alkaline balance in your wellness travels. I was oblivious to this concept when I began my health journey. But my overall well-being changed when I started to connect the dots between pH balance, inflammation and what I was eating and drinking. I’ve covered this topic in all of my books but I realize that I haven’t blogged about it for years. Since many of you are new readers (and some of ya could use a little reminder) I thought I’d tackle pH again today. Let’s dive in.

So what the heck is pH?

Remember high school science class? Well, if you don’t, here’s a little refresher course. The body maintains a delicate acid-alkaline balance. Everything from healthy cells to cancer cells to soil quality and ocean life is affected by pH. The term pH stands for “potential hydrogen” which is the measure of hydrogen ions in a particular solution (don’t worry if you’re not science-savvy, I’ll make this easy to understand!). In our case, that “solution” refers to our body’s fluids and tissues.

The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is and ranges from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral. Below 7 becomes increasingly acidic, above 7 increasingly alkaline.

As with most health-related barometers, balance is everything. Proper pH varies throughout your body for many reasons. For example, your bowels, skin and vagina should be slightly acidic–this helps keep unfriendly bacteria away. Saliva is more alkaline. While your urine is normally more acidic, especially in the morning. In addition, your body regularly deals with naturally occurring acids that are the by-products of respiration, metabolism, cellular breakdown, and exercise. So clearly the goal is not to think of acid as “bad” and alkaline “good”. Again, it’s a delicate balance.

By far the most important measurement is your blood. For optimal cellular health, your blood pH must be slightly alkaline with a pH between 7.365 and 7.4. A basic understanding of how our bodies maintain an alkaline blood range is important for good health. Your body doesn’t just “find” the balance it works extremely hard to create it. When we make poor lifestyle choices or are burdened by a toxic, chemical rich environment, our bodies have to work harder to create homeostasis.

When there’s even the slightest chance that you could become overly acidic (due to food and lifestyle choices, environment, chemicals etc.) your remarkable body will mine alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium from your bones, teeth, and organs to neutralize the acids. It’s sorta like having a supply of inner Tums. This is fine every now and then. But pillaging your reserves over the long term can lead to osteoporosis and other health challenges.

14 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism


By Linda Melone

14 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Faster Than You Can Say ‘I Want To Lose Weight’

Posted: 07/30/2014 8:30 am EDT

via Getty Images

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By Linda Melone

Feel like your metabolism is stuck in slo-mo? Coaxing your body to burn calories more efficiently doesn’t require daily Spinning sessions or hours at the weight rack (though being in shape and building more muscle definitely helps). From adding an extra ingredient to your smoothie to watching a funny YouTube video, you can fan your metabolism’s flames in just minutes a day by adopting these research-backed habits.

· 1 Drink Before You Eat

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Drinking two glasses of water before every meal helped dieters lose an average of 15.5 pounds (five pounds more than the non-water drinkers) over three months in a study presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference. Taking quick hydration breaks throughout the day also boosts your metabolic machinery, says JJ Virgin, celebrity nutritionist and author of The Virgin Diet Cookbook, and research shows staying properly hydrated keeps you feeling energized. Try to consume half your body weight in water ounces, Virgin suggests; a 150-pound person would drink 75 ounces a day.

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· 2 Don’t Stop Yourself From Fidgeting

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When your annoyed coworker tells you you’re bouncing your leg, perhaps you can explain that you’re just doing some non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) — the expert term for fidgeting. Research shows that NEAT may help you burn an additional 350 calories a day. "Small bursts of activity, like running up stairs, pacing while you’re on the phone, or shifting around in your seat all count," says Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and author of Beat the Gym. "It adds up quickly, so take advantage of any chance to move more throughout your day."

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· 3 Add Whey Protein To Your Smoothie

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When you’re tossing fruit, ice and other smoothie mix-ins into your blender, take an extra second to add one more metabolism-boosting ingredient — whey protein powder. "Whey protein increases calorie burn and fat utilization, helps the body maintain muscle, and triggers the brain to feel full," says Paul Arciero, a professor in the Health and Exercise Sciences department at Skidmore College who has studied whey’s effects on the body. All types of protein rev up your metabolism — protein has a thermogenic effect, meaning it makes your body produce more heat and, in turn, burn more calories — but whey may be the most effective non-animal protein. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that fat oxidation and the thermic effect was greater with whey than with soy or casein.

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· 4 Brew A Cup Of Coffee

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Caffeine’s ability to speed up the central nervous system makes it a powerful metabolism booster. "In addition, coffee beans provide antioxidants and real health value," says Amy Goodson, RD, a dietitian for Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine. "Provided your cup is not laden with cream and syrup, coffee can be a great way to give you energy as well as some antioxidants." Coffee has been shown to improve energy levels during exercise, especially endurance activity, and help people work harder longer, which therefore burns more calories. Drinking coffee after a workout can also be beneficial. Consuming caffeine after exercise increased muscle glycogen by 66 percent in endurance athletes, enabling them to more quickly replenish energy stores used through exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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· 5 Swap In Green Tea

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If you’re like an average American and drink three cups of coffee a day, consider swapping in green tea for one of them. In addition to giving you the metabolism-boosting caffeine jolt you crave, green tea is a rich source of antioxidants called catechins. And, in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking green tea combined with a total of three hours of moderate exercise a week reduced abdominal fat in subjects over a three-month period. "Unsweetened, brewed green tea was shown to increase calorie burn by about 100 calories per day," says Michelle Dudash, RD, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families. For best results, Dudash recommends fresh-brewed green tea only — it takes just a couple minutes to make. "Bottled green tea tends to have a lower concentration of the beneficial compounds," she says, not to mention that many are loaded with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

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· 6 Snack On Yogurt

Getty Images/Flickr RF

Probiotics, the healthy bacteria found in yogurt, pickles, and other fermented foods like sauerkraut, may help you lose weight — if you’re a woman, shows a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Overweight men and women followed a 12-week weight loss diet; half of the volunteers also took a probiotic pill every day. Women in the probiotic group lost more weight than those in the placebo group and continued to lose weight during the 12-week maintenance period afterward (the probiotic didn’t make any difference for men).

Consuming probiotics in food form has other waist-friendly benefits: "Yogurt, like other full-fat dairy, also has a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that studies show can improve fat burning," says Virgin. Avoid fruit-on-the-bottom varieties, which can have as much sugar as a candy bar.

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· 7 Take A Laugh Break

Shutterstock / WilleeCole

Go ahead, minimize your Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. Taking a quick break to look at funny cat videos on YouTube or take a Buzzfeed quiz doesn’t just feel good — you’re also burning calories in the process. A study from the International Journal of Obesity showed a 10 to 20 percent increase in energy expenditure (calories burned) and heart rate during genuine laughter. This translated to an increase of 10 to 40 calories burned within 10 to 15 minutes of laughter.

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· 8 Add Some Heat To Your Meal

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When you want to add flavor to your food, pass on the salt shaker (you’re probably eating too much salt anyway). Instead, reach for hot sauce or chili powder. Chili peppers contain the chemical capsaicin, says Dudash. "The capsaicin in the chili peppers has a thermogenic effect,” she says, causing the body to burn up to an additional 90 calories immediately following a meal. One study shows capsaicin activates brown fat, which increases calorie burning. "The dosage is high, though," says Dudash. "At about 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne per sitting, you’ve got to really enjoy the heat!"

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· 9 Eat A Mini Meal

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It’s 3 p.m. and your belly is rumbling. (We’ve all been there.) If you wait until dinnertime to eat, you may be so starving that you wind up overdoing it. Eating a small mid-afternoon meal will prevent that — and it will also keep your metabolism stoked, says Goodson. "Think of your metabolism like a fire. In order to get a fire going you start it with a decent amount of wood, then you add a few pieces of wood every few hours to keep the fire burning." Eating small meals raises your metabolism every time you eat. The key is to include a lean protein and complex carb each time, not processed or junk food. A few no-effort options: cottage cheese and fruit, peanut butter and an apple, or Greek yogurt with berries.

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· 10 Add Seafood To Your Salad

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Annabelle Breakey via Getty Images

Having a salad for lunch or dinner fills you up with belly-flattening fiber and nutrients, and adding one more ingredient will really stoke your metabolism: salmon. You already learned the metabolism-boosting effects of protein, but with salmon in particular you’ll also get a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. In a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, supplementing diets with fish oil for six weeks increased lean muscle and decreased fat. Other studies have shown similar effects. Scientists speculate this reaction may be due to fish oil’s ability to reduce levels of fat-storage enzymes in the body.

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· 11 Stand Up When Your Phone Rings

Tom Merton via Getty Images

Think about it: Do you really need to stay seated while you listen in on a conference call or wait on hold with the cable company? This super-easy tweak nearly doubles the amount of calories your body will burn, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. A 150-pound person, for example, burns 72 calories an hour sitting and 129 calories an hour standing. Walking around an office slowly increases the burn to 143 calories an hour. "You recruit more muscle fibers and must use your postural muscles to stabilize yourself, which burns more calories," says Holland. Make it a habit to stand and walk around each time the phone rings and get up out of your chair at least once every hour.

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· 12 Pick Organic Produce

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At the grocery store, take a turn down the organic produce aisle. Pesticides found on conventionally grown produce, called "obesogens," are blamed for slowing metabolism and predisposing some people to gain weight. "One of the biggest hidden causes of weight loss resistance is toxicity," says Virgin. "Buy organic whenever possible and choose the cleanest, highest-quality cuts of meat," says Virgin.

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· 13 Take One Bite At A Time

kiankhoon via Getty Images

Although it may not directly influence metabolism, wolfing down your food makes it more likely you’ll eat more, says a study published by the American Dietetic Association. Another study found even among women who didn’t diet, reducing stress and practicing mindfulness can prevent fat gain. "It takes about 20 minutes before a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) tells your brain to stop eating," says Virgin. "When you engulf a burger and fries, you don’t give CCK enough time to relay the message to your brain, and you eat too much." In addition, says Virgin, speed eating also raises fat-storing insulin levels. "Just as important as eating the right diet is slowing down and becoming mindful when you eat."

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· 14 Switch Off Your Phone

Kohei Hara via Getty Images

Exposure to the type of blue light emitted by smartphones, computers, and tablets immediately before and after dinner increased hunger and impacted glucose metabolism in people who participated in a small Northwestern University study. The study authors aren’t sure of the reasons for the link, and say more research is needed — but even if the link between blue light and appetite doesn’t hold up in later studies, other research shows that limiting mealtime distractions helps control portions.

More from Health.com:
9 Foods That Boost Metabolism Naturally
Lose Weight Without Even Trying!
16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

14 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism Right Now originally appeared on Health.com

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17 Top Weight Loss Foods that Taste Good Too

Posted on: Thursday, July 24, 2014 7:30 AM
Author: Skinny Ms. (AL)
Subject: 17 Top Weight Loss Foods that Taste Good Too

By Skinny Ms.

17 Top Weight Loss Foods that Taste Good Too

Compiling a weight loss shopping list? Stock up on these fantastic ingredients, which will contribute to your overall health and may help with your weight management goals, as well. Check out these 17 top weight loss foods that taste good, too.

1. Walnuts
The omega-3 fatty acids and fiber found in walnuts keep you feeling full longer. Try this yummy Salad Recipe topped with apples and walnuts, and enjoy the benefits of healthy fats, lean protein, and lots of fiber.

2. Strawberries
These sweet, juicy berries may actually help you to lose weight by producing the fat-burning hormone adiponectin. Indulge in our Skinny Mini Strawberry Cheesecake without deviating from your clean eating plan.

Skinny Mini Desserts Banana Pudding

3. Bananas
One 7″ banana is only about 105 calories and contains loads of vitamins that convert food into energy. How about a Skinny Mini Banana Pudding at only 102 calories?

4. Eggs
Low in calories and high in omega-3’s and protein, eggs provide healthy fuel to burn throughout the day. Try our Crustless Vegetable Quiche for breakfast tomorrow!

MORE: 21 Low-Calorie Recipes for Weight Loss

5. Oatmeal
The body processes oatmeal slowly, meaning that it keeps you feeling full longer. It also has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. Check out our Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal recipe.

Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola

6. Flax Seeds
These delicious little seeds make your meal heartier by adding essential fatty acids and fiber. Sprinkle them on top of yogurt, use them in baked goods, blend them into smoothies – the possibilities are endless. Try our Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola with flax seeds.

7. Grapefruit
Grapefruit may help liquefy fat in the body. It may also help people feel satiated, limiting overall calorie intake. Enjoy it in this Zingy Pink Grapefruit Soda.

8. Yogurt
Did you know that a study of over 120,000 people found yogurt consumption to correlate with weight loss more than any other food tracked? We recommend low-fat Greek, which is full of protein but not calories. This Curry Greek-Style Yogurt Dip makes a great snack.

Chili Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Pilaf

9. Hot Peppers
Chilies and other spicy foods boost your metabolism, helping your body burn fat. Enjoy this Chili Lime Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Pilaf for dinner.

10. Soup
Eating a bowl of low-calorie, nutrient-packed soup before a meal can help you fill up faster. Check out our Fat Flushing Soup recipe.

MORE: 50 Foods Under 50 Calories

Mediterranean Three Bean and Corn Salad

11. Beans
Beans are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full longer, and they give you enough protein to act as a meat substitute, while keeping the fat count low. Try this Three Bean and Corn Salad for a quick meal.

12. Green Tea
Green tea is not only a drink, but an ingredient in foods as well. It can kick your nervous system into gear, encouraging increased calorie burning. Our Green Tea Mango Smoothie makes for a delicious breakfast or snack.

13. Olive Oil
Olive oil not only helps us maintain and lose weight, but it reduces bad cholesterol levels and contains plenty of nutrients, including vitamin E and carotenoids. Use it in these 3 Easy Vinaigrettes.

14. Avocados
Though they’re fatty, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help the body get rid of other fats. Eat them plain or enjoy in a dip, such as this Creamy Dip.

15. Watermelon
True to their name, watermelons are full of water. Eating foods with high water content is not only deliciously refreshing in the warmer months, but helps you feel full more quickly as well. Our Watermelon Salad recipe makes a great meal-starter.

MORE: 7 Fat-Flushing Drink Recipes

Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters

16. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. Have a few squares a day to avoid overindulging in less healthy sweets, or try it in these Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters.

17. Salmon
This fish is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which come with many health benefits including weight loss. Our Wild Salmon Vegetable Salad will hit the spot.

The Skinny Ms. Recipe Collection eBook will have you covered day and night with recipes for weight management and overall healthy living. Visit us on Facebook and Pinterest for frequent updates.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/294164-weight-loss-and-strawberries/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/9-foods-to-help-you-lose-weight

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/natural-foods/natural-weight-loss-food-olive-oil-ga.htmvgX3hcnI5A8

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Sugar Vs. Fat: Which is the Bigger Weight Loss Saboteur?

By Skinny Ms.

Sugar Vs. Fat

You’ve heard of low-sugar and low-fat diets, but which one is actually better for you? We all want to reach and maintain our goal weight, but there is a right way to do it so that we improve our overall health as well?

We’re offering a look at sugar and fat, how they affect our health, and how to modify their use in order to reach your optimum health and weight loss goals.

Sugar

In the United States especially, sugar is being referred to as “the new controlled substance.” Sugar addiction is very real. In some studies, sugar has been found to be more addictive than illegal drugs like cocaine.

More importantly, sugar can wreak havoc on your health. Consuming sugar – both refined and unrefined sugars – causes the “roller coaster effect,” which results in an immediate blood sugar spike followed shortly thereafter by a crash. The result leaves you feeling awful and grabbing for more and more food – usually, more sugar – to try to balance your blood sugar and get rid of that terrible feeling. This cycle can go on and on, leaving you in poorer health, feeling miserable, and gaining weight. It can also increase your chances for serious illnesses, like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypoglycemia.

MORE: Love Affair With Sugar

Fat

Unlike sugar, fat is something we can’t and shouldn’t eliminate from our diets. The human body requires a certain amount of fat to function properly. So, it isn’t the existence of fat in your body that causes trouble but rather the existence of too much and the wrong kinds of fat that causes problems.

With fat, the main thing to remember is which fats and how much of them you choose to put in your body. Opt for healthier fats, like the kinds that are unsaturated, trans-fat free, and high in Omega-3’s. Fish, nuts and seeds, and higher-fat fruits and vegetables (think bananas, coconuts and avocados) have better fats in them than soy, canola or palm oils. Even real butter, when used in moderation, is a healthier option.

So, what’s the verdict? Aim to moderate, and make smart decisions. If sugar is too much of a temptation for you, you may want to try cutting it out of your diet altogether. There are many books out there that can help you go on a “sugar detox” and eliminate sugar from your diet.

If you feel that you can incorporate sugar into your diet without going overboard, try using alternative, natural sweeteners. Skinny Ms.’s dessert recipes are all sweetened with natural, unrefined sweeteners such as agave, honey and Stevia. Remember, the key is to enjoy them occasionally, not constantly.

Choose healthy fats, and eat them sparingly. Coconut, hazelnut, and sunflower oils, and even real butter, are better to use in cooking and baking rather than soy-based (“vegetable”) oils. Low-fat dairy is still a good idea to incorporate into your diet regularly as well as lean protein like nuts, beans, fish, chicken, and lean red meat.

Most of all, remember that the majority of your nutrition should come from quality, life-giving fruits and vegetables. And remember to always drink plenty of water! According to The Institute of Medicine, women should drink around 9 cups of water per day. Take a look at the many ways drinking more water benefits your health.

You can further benefit your health and reach your weight loss goals with exercise as well. Check out our 10-Minute At-Home Fat Blasting Workout.

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