Health Tips, Thoughts and Inspirations
The content of this blog will vary, dependent on the topic I feel led to share with you. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to those who choose to read it.
First of all, you may be wondering what IS a pH level? Your pH is the balance of acid and alkaline in your body. If it is too acid or too alkaline, it will have serious affects on your health. Fortunately, this is simple to test and can be done in the privacy of your own home. Using pH litmus paper (available at most drug stores/pharmacies and also at Restoring Wellness), you can do both a urine and saliva test to determine your own pH level. The paper will change color to indicate whether your system is overly acidic or alkaline. A healthy pH level is between 6.5 - 7.5. Be sure to test before you eat a meal, rather than after.
With our current SAD (Standard American Diet), being acidic is more common than overly alkaline. Why should you care about this? One of the biggest reasons is that cancer, along with other states of dis-ease, cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. Even if you are eating a basically healthy diet, your body isn't able to absorb the nutrients from your food if your pH level is off. Thankfully, you can bring your body back into balance with a change in diet which is great news! It doesn't require expensive medications! But it will require looking at your current diet and determining where the changes are needed.
Some of the symptoms that may be experienced if your body is in a state of acidosis are: frequent sighing, insomnia, water retention, recessed eyes, arthritis, migraine headaches, abnormally low blood pressure, acidic or strong perspiration, dry hard stools, foul-smelling stools accompanied by a burning sensation, alternating constipation and diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, halitosis, burning sensation in the moth and/or under the tongue, sensitivity of the teeth to vinegar and acidic fruits, and bumps on the tongue or the roof of the mouth.
What should you eat? Raw foods maintain the correct acid/alkaline balance in the body and are also richer in nutrients and easier to assimilate. Increase your raw food consumption to at least 50%. Limit protein intake to no more than 80 drams a day and grains to 8 servings or less. Slow down while you are eating and chew your food to aid digestion. Digestion can have an impact on your pH level also. If your body cannot process your food intake, it will strain the digestive system and in turn your entire bodily function. In this case, enzymes are a must along with probiotics. Both are available in my on-line store and at my office. /store/c1/Featured_Products.html
Alkalosis (less likely) can create symptoms such as sore muscles, creaking joints, bursitis, drowsiness, protruding eyes, hypertension, hypothermia, seizures, edema, allergies, night cramps, asthma, chronic indigestion, menstrual problems and a calcium build up in the body, as in bone or heel spurs. It is often the result of excessive intake of alkaline drugs such as sodium bicarbonate (Tums) for the treatment of gastritis or peptic ulcers. It can also be caused by excessive vomiting, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis. If this is the case, you will want to adopt a diet that is 80% whole grains and includes beans, breads, brown rice, crackers, lentils, and nuts. Do not use antacids! They are masking the problem rather than healing it. To deal with heartburn or acid reflux, consider trying Gastro Health Support from Healthy Reflections, listed in my store. /store/p3/Gastro_Health_Support.html
If you find that you need to balance your pH level, consider printing out a list of the foods that will help your body return to a more healthy state found at Energise for Life. http://www.energiseforlife.com/acid-alkaline-food-chart-1.1.pdf It's worth it to put in the effort now and avoid more serious health issues later!
Is it possible to eat healthy within my budget? The answer, thankfully, is YES! It can be done! It takes planning, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Eat food in season and check our your local farmer's market. Foods that are in season are less expensive since they are more easily accessible and also more healthful for your body. When possible, shop at your local farmer's market. It will cost less than the same item in the grocery store. Why? The produce you find at your farmer's market hasn't traveled hundreds (or more) miles. The costs and environmental issues connected with food that has been shipped a great distance are eliminated. It supports your local growers, rather than the "middle men," keeping the money in your area. And of course, it has been allowed to ripen naturally, which also increases its nutritional value. If you have children, take them with you to help pick out their favorite vegetable. When it's something they have chosen, they are more likely to eat it. If you visit the market towards the end of the day, you may be able to get whatever is left for a lower price because the farmers do not want to pack it up and bring it home. But remember to be fair! This is their living!
2. Shop the sales and buy extra. For food that has a longer shelf life, watch for sales and buy extra when it is on sale. This will work well for frozen vegetables or fresh foods that you can freeze yourself. If you don't like the prep work, watch for frozen vegetables that are on special.
3. Plan your menu around the weekly specials. Before planning your menu for the week, check the current items on sale. Are they things your family will eat or be willing to try? It's can be fun to try new things and it will also help you to be creative! Planning your menu may seem daunting, but it will save you money and the nightly stress of "what's for dinner." Overwhelmed by the idea? Check out the Plan To Eat app at www.plantoeat.com. You can download your own recipes, plan them out, and it will organize your grocery list for you. I love this tool!
4. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Again with the planning....I don't know how many times I have gone into the grocery store without a list and ended up coming out of there with a big bill and nothing to make for supper. It's frustrating, isn't it!? I have been amazed at how much less waste there is when I do the planning beforehand. Throwing food away is throwing money away.
5. Try less expensive cuts of meat or compare the cost of getting directly from a local farmer. Meat can be expensive. The less expensive cuts can still be prepared in a way that makes them tender (and delicious!) using the slow cooker. Skin-on chicken thighs will cost less per pound than skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Not only is it better for you to get it with the skin and bones still intact, it also has more flavor! Don't be afraid of healthy , natural fat. If you can find someone local to buy your meat from, you can ask them if it has had any hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.
6. Modify leftovers. Not a fan of leftovers? Alter them a bit and it's something completely new! For instance, you can remake leftover chicken into salads, soups, or wraps by incorporating more vegetables, greens, a side of rice, stretching that chicken into lasting a few meals.
7. Meatless Mondays (or any day that works). Change things up! There are plenty of meatless recipes that could fit into your budget! Search the internet for something that looks appealing and easy. Beans and whole grains, like quinoa, freekeh and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves. Eggs are also a great source of protein and can be eaten at times other then breakfast.
8. Grow your own food. This may not always be a possibility depending on where you live, but it is inexpensive and rewarding to grown your own food when you can. Greens are easy to grow! Check this website for more easy to grow veggies. http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/easy-edible-plants/easy-edible-plants_7. Square foot gardening has also become a popular concept, making it possible for more people to grow their own produce in a small area.
9. Eat at home. Making homemade meals rather than eating out or ordering in will not only save money, but you will be eating healthier since you control what is put into the food. Oftentimes, when we eat out there are also beverages ordered along with it that add to the cost quickly.
10. Focus on nutritional value per dollar. When you factor in the vitamin/mineral content of a fresh avocado, apples, and sweet potatoes versus a bag of chips, 12-pack of pop, ramen noodles, or whatever packaged food it is, what are you really getting for your dollar? However, there are some fruits and veggies that can be more cost effective than others. Some of your best "deals" in the produce section can be kale, broccoli, leafy greens, spinach, carrots, watermelon, plums, bananas, and pears.
What are your tips for eating healthier on a budget? Please share in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!
Recently, I went through a time in which I was tired of trying to live healthfully. I was tired of planning healthy meals, tired of being concerned about my family's choices, tired of attempting to help them to make better ones, tired of searching for local food options, scheduling (and doing!) workouts, researching the latest health news and supplements. To sum it up, I was tired of the fight. I even began to think that it wasn't worth it. The cost, the planning, and even (at times) the stressing over it.
As He often does, the good Lord reminded me of why I'm on this path. I remembered the sight of my husband hooked up to tubes that were pumping chemotherapy into his body. The news that he had cancer, having to tell our children, the surgery, treatments, the emotional and mental toll it took on not only him, but our entire family. Although it was "only" two rounds, the lasting effects on his body that we are still dealing with have been something I wouldn't want anyone to go through. Healing continues through detoxing and nutrition, but it has been a long road. I am thankful beyond words that he has been cancer free for 5 years, and I want to do everything I can to make sure this continues.
I hear many comments about the high cost of eating healthy. "I can't afford produce." "The organic stuff costs too much money." "It's too much work to change." "It's too hard." "My insurance won't cover a natural health practitioner (or supplements), but will pay for a visit to the clinic." Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do about insurance companies. However, what does it REALLY cost when our health takes a nose dive? Medical bills, prescriptions, missed work and/or school, the worry and stress of it all. It counts up quickly. If our bodies have been out of balance for a longer length of time, it leads to more serious health issues which can be devastating in ways that extend far beyond the financial.
Are there unhealthy habits (and the costs that go with them) that we can replace with healthy ones? We can spend more at the grocery store (or with a local farmer) now, or we can spend it at the doctor's office later. I know where I want to invest my money. What will you choose? What is it your health worth? Remember to count the cost.
Next week: Eating healthy on a budget