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Natural Aids For Weight Loss

A woman eating a bowl of salad

The basic principle of the alkaline diet is to cut down on foods that lead to acid forming in the body and tipping the body’s pH towards acidic levels. These include processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, meat and wheat. Too much of these foods can lead to a body that is too acidic with the attendant symptoms of bloating, weight gain and feeling sluggish as well as skin complaints, dull hair and in some cases more serious issues in the long term.

Honestly Healthy, eat with your body in mind, the alkaline way by vegetarian chef Natasha Corrett and nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson is a new diet and recipe book that looks specifically at alkaline diets.

According to Vicki Edgson “we maintain that you should look to eating 70% alkaline. Eating alkaline is a choice which isn't difficult at all - If you choose foods from nature, such as vegetables, some fruits in season, nuts and seeds, and occasional wholegrains, and cook them yourself, thereby avoiding all the flavourings and additives found in commercially-produced foods, you will feel the benefits in a very short time.

“The benefits of the alkaline approach are endless – improved digestion, banished bloating, weight loss, clear skin, bright eyes, increased focus and attention, better sleep, lighter mood and greater energy.”

Heather Leeson, a nutritional therapist at Positive Nutrition in Rathmines, Dublin says, “The science of the alkalising diet is a little controversial. However, many of its principles such as eating more vegetables, particularly leafy green veg and limiting red meat, caffeine, sugar, refined grains, processed foods and artificial sweeteners are very healthy principles for all of us to adopt.

“We should all be eating more green vegetables, and alkaline foods such as spirulina, wheatgrass and broccoli are great, especially when made into a smoothie. Green leafy vegetables are in general what most people are missing. On initial appointments in our clinic I estimate that only about 15% of the people I see are eating enough vegetables.”

Heather has a few words of warning though, for anyone thinking of converting to an entirely alkaline diet. “On an alkalising diet it is more difficult to get a good variety of protein and also enough omega-3 essential fats,” she says. “It is also difficult to get sufficient levels of B12. And because the diet is so low in fat, some people are more likely to become deficient in fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D. We tend to recommend alkalising diets less for weight loss and more for bone health.”

Water can play a role in helping to keep the body at the correct pH. According to Graham Botfield, a qualified and registered nutritional therapist and technical advisor to Wisdom of Nature: “The body’s acid-base balance is important as excess acidity is a cause of inflammation. Furthermore, the pH level of water is very important for the body’s well-being. The consumption of acidic water, which contains an inferior level of minerals, chlorine, sulphates or nitrates, as well as acidic food, can hinder the body.

“Modern water filters contain some or all of the following elements that turn tap water into spring water,” says Graham. “A ceramic filter that removes substances such as iron rust, sediment and germs; activated carbon to remove chlorine, THMs (trialomethane chemicals), organic chemicals, nitrates and sulphates; silver activated carbon (colloidal silver) that removes chlorine, organic chemicals and kills bacteria and parasites such as salmonella and Escherichia Coli; and silica sand that removes acidic components giving the water a better taste. Zeolite removes heavy metals (lead, copper and cadmium) and softens the water. And some filters have coral stones in the mineral tray that release minerals and oxygen to help adjust the pH level of the water, to make it slightly more alkaline.“

If you think your diet is too acidic you could consider following a more alkaline diet for a period of time. Ask your local health store if they sell pH strips. Testing your urine pH before and after undertaking an alkaline diet, and seeing how you feel on the diet, can give you an indication of whether an alkaline diet is of benefit to you.

Check with your professional healthcare practitioner before you start any new diet, especially if you have medical issues.

Honestly Healthy, eat with your body in mind, the alkaline way by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson is published by Jacqui Small

Alkalising supplements and foods

Whether you decide to try a more alkaline diet or not, there are a number of supplements you can take to balance your blood pH levels.

pH-balancing supplements are particularly helpful for anyone who is on a diet as dieting can increase the body’s acid pH level.

Alkalising minerals you can take as supplements are magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Seaweed is full of minerals and there are lots of different kinds available in Ireland.

Greens supplements such as fruit and vegetable powders can be easily added to your diet.

If you are making a juice packed with green vegetables and fruit why not add some of the following: spirulina, wheatgrass, hemp protein powder, probiotic powder, raw flax seeds, maca or omega oils?

GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE:

  • 1/4 fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 apple, quartered and deseeded/handful fresh or frozen berries
  • avocado, peeled and stoned
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • handful fresh coriander (optional)
  • 1 inch piece fresh root ginger

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Add in extra water to thin out the smoothie.

Recipe from Positive Nutrition

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