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Nod To Mod

The summer is a time for relaxing, adventure and a bit of excess. Once again, the rhetoric of “after the summer, I will get back into gear” echoes from the mouths of many.low acid

Often, when you are in “excess mode” you think “what’s one more?” (dessert, drink, hamburger)…can it really hurt me? But when do you know enough is enough?

When your body starts talking to you…it’s time to listen.

Our bodies have a natural pH balance (the measure of acidity). In simplicity, it’s the way our body regulates the imbalance of things we ingest to keep our bodies in harmony. Your pH can be measured in your stomach acid, urine, saliva and your blood.

Generally, our normal body pH is 7.0. A pH below 7.0 is acidic.  Anything below a pH of seven is considered “acidic”, and anything above seven is “alkaline” or base. However, it is not the same in all parts of the body. Every body part has its own pH levels and its normal functioning depends upon maintaining normal pH.

Blood pH
The pH measurement of blood is found in the range of 7.36 to 7.42.

Urine pH
The pH level of urine may range from 4.5 to 5.0-6.0.

Stomach pH
Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid therefore the pH of your stomach varies, from 1-2 up to 4-5. When you eat, the stomach releases proteases and hydrochloric acid to aid in digestion. The proteases break down proteins and work best in an acidic environment or low pH, so after a high-protein meal, your stomach pH may drop to as low as 1 or 2. Buffers quickly raise the pH back to 3 or 4. After the meal has been digested, your stomach pH returns to a resting level of about 4 or 5.

Sometimes, when we overindulge, we can cause our bodies to try to work harder to maintain the acidic balance in our stomach. An overly acidic stomach pH can occur from an acid forming diet (alcohol, processed foods, high fats, etc), emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients.  The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals.  If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate there can be a buildup of acids in the cells.

Acidic pH levels in your stomach can start to have an adverse affect on your body and cause things such as bloating, heartburn, irregular bowels, weak nails, etc. These are signs that you may not be feeding your body well.

I can attest first hand to this scenario. After a summer diet high in excess food, alcohol and advil (to counteract the two prior items), I started to feel very sick with severe stomach aches and heartburn. After an endoscopy, it was determined I gave myself an ulcer. Go figure. The girl who is known for living and breathing good health. I fell into the trap of excess…assuming a little “more” couldn’t hurt me since I was so conscientious in every other aspect of my diet/life.

Once again, a nod to my father and the premise he has always preached…”Everything in moderation.” Even if you over-index in one or two aspects of your diet, it can have detrimental affects on your well-being. In my case, too many summer cocktails and too many Advil to counteract the morning after. Ok, and maybe a little excess stress stirred into the mix. Your body is a miraculous mechanism that will give incredible insight to any imbalances. It’s important to listen to the message.

It’s ok to indulge but know when enough is too much.

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Drinking Your Greens

The explosion of green smoothies and juices is everywhere.  Within the last couple months, 3 new juice places have opened within one mile of my house and grocery stores and Starbucks are now selling pre-packaged juices.  Are they as good for you as they seem and what are the differences?  My friend, Elizabeth Girouard, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, wrote an excellent article that answers many of these questions and explains why we all should give green drinks a try.  We have posted a portion of her article below.  Read on to learn more.

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I am often asked:  What’s the rage with Green Smoothies? 

This is a great question.  Many of my Healthy Eating Challengers still start off their days with a Green Smoothie – and here are a few reasons why!

Green Smoothies are:

1)  an easy way to get in more than 3 servings of vegetables

2)  easier to digest since the blender starts the digestion process for you by breaking  down the veggies’ cell walls.  This means your body can quickly assimilate the nutrients.

3)  a great vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient and anti-oxidant infusion to start the day.

4)  a nutrient dense powerhouse that can improve your immunity to colds, flus and other potential bugs.

5)  able to help alkalize our bodies which reduces our susceptibility to disease

6)  filled with dark leafy greens that have a lot of chlorophyll which delivers oxygen to our bodies that can increase our energy levels.

7)  able to help diminish cravings and reduce hunger as it is providing nourishment to your body.

8)  able to help you lose weight as you are adding in more vegetables and crowding out the less beneficial foods for your body!

Other related questions that I often receive are:

What’s the difference between juicing and blending (smoothies)?  And, is one better than the other?  And, does juicing increase my blood sugar?

Read the rest of the article at: http://tinyurl.com/pwr8w5h

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Granola Bars: Homemade and Amazing

I have referred to my daughter’s cooking in past blogs and I can’t resist sharing her latest treat with everyone.  These granola bars with blueberries (or any berry of your choice) and yogurt drizzle are not only healthy, but incredibly delicious.  They are a good source of protein, omega-3, biotin, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.  I never considered making my own granola bars until I tasted these and I have a feeling you will agree.

There is only one caveat – resist the urge to eat the entire batch at once.  We wrap them individually and keep them in the refrigerator so we don’t finish them off as fast as we make them.

Note – the yogurt drizzle contains sugar (the only non-healthy item in the entire recipe) so you can choose to skip it altogether as we sometimes do, or just lightly drizzle the bars with it.  As an additional note, the directions below will make much more yogurt coating than we have ever needed or used.

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Ingredients for the bars:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown rice krispies
1/4 cup whole roasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (I typically use peanut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (rounded) cup fresh blueberries or 3/4 cup dried blueberries

Ingredients for the yogurt drizzle:

1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions for bars:
  • Skip this step if using dried blueberries.  Roast fresh blueberries in 350 degree over for 30 minutes or until they pop and shrink.  Best to coat baking sheet with parchment paper – then blueberries won’t stick
  • In a large bowl combine the oats, rice krispies, almonds, chia seeds and salt.
  • Combine almond or peanut butter with honey and microwave for about 40 seconds or until mixture is pourable
  • Add vanilla to warm honey mixture
  • Add honey mixture to the dry oat mixture and combine – it will be thick!
  • Add dried blueberries
  • Coat a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper and pour mixture into pan and press down evenly and until tightly packed
  • Place in freezer for one hour, then cut into bars
  • Bars should be stored in refrigerator to keep fresh and hold their shape better.

Directions for yogurt drizzle:

  • Combine water, vanilla and then whisk gelatin in and let thicken for about 5 minutes
  • In another bowl, combine yogurt, honey and salt
  • Microwave yogurt mixture for 15 seconds, mix and repeat till warm, but do not let it boil
  • Add gelatin mixture to yogurt mixture and whisk together
  • Add in powdered sugar and whisk until thick, but pourable
  • Drizzle bars with the yogurt
  • The bars will be sticky now – we usually just wrap them (one or two together) with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later eating. The yogurt will harden in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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