Saturday, November 20, 2010
There has been some controversial debate about acid and alkaline-forming characteristics of our foods and their supposed effects on the pH value of the blood and tissues. When entirely burned, foods leave an ash or residue that is either acidic or alkaline or neutral.

Breads, cereals, fish, meats, eggs and poultry usually leave an acid-ash residue due to the high amounts of chlorine, sulphur (in the case of meats and eggs) and phosphorus (in the case of meat and whole grains). Alkaline-ash foods are those in which the elements potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium predominate, including most vegetables and fruits- even fruits with a high acid component like citrus and tomatoes, because these acids can be completely metabolized in the body into carbon dioxide, water and energy. As for nuts, almonds chestnuts and coconuts are alkaline-ash foods, while brazil nuts, peanuts and walnuts yield an acid ash. Most legumes are alkaline ash foods except for lentils which yield an acid ash. Neutral ash foods are the pure fats like butter and lard, because they can be completely burned, and refined carbohydrates like white sugar and cornstarch,  because they contain no minerals. Milk products yield an alkaline ash due to high levels of calcium. Phytates in whole grains complicate the picture because they bind with alkaline ash minerals and carry them out of the body.

Under normal conditions, the blood, saliva, and extracellular fluids are slightly alkaline, while the urine is slightly acidic. The pH value of these fluids is maintained by a series of complex feedback mechanisms in the body and, in general, is not dependent on dietary excesses of either acid or alkaline foods. After a meal rich in proteins, the blood will become more alkaline for a short period, which is in effect a balancing reaction to the secretions of large amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Following this the blood then undergoes a short-lived increase in acidity, which is again a balancing reaction to the heavy secretion of alkaline enzyme rich solutions from the pancreas. These reactions are completely normal and should in no way be interpreted as justification for avoiding high protein "acid-forming" foods.

Dr. Weston Price found that the Eskimo, living on a diet composed almost exclusively of "acid-forming" high protein foods, showed no signs of acidosis. When he analyzed the diets of healthy primitive people, free of tooth decay and disease, he found that they were high in both acid-ash and alkaline-ash foods, with acid-ash foods predominating.

An unbalanced diet consisting mainly of "alkaline forming" fruits and vegetables, while possibly useful in the short term as a fast, can lead to serious deficiencies in the long run- and for diabetics and hypoglycaemics a diet composed exclusively of fruits and vegetables can be dangerous even in the short term.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Foundation of my approach to diet and exercise is evolutionary biology. This informs a logic known as natural selection, which in turn helps us understand what humans ought to eat and not eat, how much, how often, and even when not to eat at all (fasting).
In addition, we can also understand how to move around such as to properly condition our bodies for natural, animal-like physical health.
Here's a 5-point summary of what forms the essence of the approach:
  1. Eat real food (meat, fowl, fish, natural fats from animals, coconuts & olives; veggies, fruits, & nuts) that you shop for and prepare yourself most of the time. Add a little dairy if you like it and can tolerate it. Find the range of balance that works best for you in terms of fat, protein & carbohydrate ratios. I say 'range' because I think you ought to mix things up; seasonally, or whatever method works for you. Especially: cut out grains, sugar and vegetable oils. Consider supplementing with omega-3 fats.
  2. Allow yourself to go hungry every day, at least a little (first meal of the day is a good time -- don't eat until you're truly hungry). Every once in a while, go hungry for a whole day.
  3. Get plenty of sunlight; and, probably supplement vitamin D.
  4. Run very fast sometimes, play hard when you can, and push and lift heavy things around when you have the urge. Do it briefly and intensely; not too often and not too long. Once to twice per week for 20-30 minutes each is plenty. But always push yourself for that brief time. Always try to workout hungry, just like animals.
  5. Get lots of sleep.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Even the best of us don’t manage to pull off a workout every time we want to — something comes up, we have to put it off, we just can’t seem to get out there. It happens.
But one of the biggest problems isn’t just “falling off the wagon” mentally, as it were — it’s physical, too.

Why Exercise is Different

This isn’t like adopting some good dietary habits, keeping them up, and then occasionally having a really lazy week where you eat terribly, before starting to cook well once again.
It may sound obvious, but it really bears repeating — there is no friction when it comes to getting back into eating well. Besides adjusting a bit for tastes you’re “used to”, nothing with your body will suddenly start protesting in a way you can’t deal with. You could change your diet — for the better — tomorrow, drastically, and you’d probably be pretty damn fine.
But with exercise it’s just not like that.

The Path

A lot of us are on a path towards complete fitness. I suppose you could think of it kind of like a mountain, only it’s really one that never ends — the peak is always up there in the clouds, just out of reach, but damn, is it ever nice towards the top.
Each time you put off working out, though, you increase the chances that you’ll take a step backward down that mountain. In our article introducing this “procrastination” series we said that just missing a day or two — or even longer, or a big stretch — shouldn’t be an impediment to starting again, that you won’t suddenly lose all those good results just because you’ve missed a workout.

What You Will Lose

But here’s the problem — what you will lose is that peak level of fitness you were cultivating, the one that let you track your body, pay attention to how well you were doing the workouts, the feeling that you could push things further, run harder, train with more intensity.
Every day you put off working out and procrastinate, is another day that getting back to that ‘peak’ level, where you really know what your body is capable of, becomes a little bit harder. And just like the old proverb goes — a stitch in time saves nine — if you really procrastinate and stop working out for months at a time, then getting back to that level is going to be a bigger mental & physical challenge than it needs to be.

Keeping Up Something, Anything

That’s why so much fitness advice, implores you to just get active, even if you’re “off the wagon”, so to speak. If you still manage a short run or a brisk walk or some sports, even in the funk of your exercise procrastination, you’ll be that little bit closer to re-starting that long, wonderful, lifetime climb up the mountain.
Friday, November 5, 2010
There is a dead simple way to find out if your approach to exercise and diet is the right one for you. Ask yourself this one simple question: Does your body look dramatically better than it did 3 months ago?
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. If you spend any amount of time in the same gym day after day, week after week, as the months go by you start to get familiar with the people coming out of the spin class, and the rest of the crowd that frequents the weight room or the cardio theatre. What I noticed back then, is that even the people I would see at the gym everyday looked exactly the same month in month out. There was no change.
We know that it possible to make visible changes to your body in just 3 months. If you are consistent for a whole year, you can create an outstanding physique with massive improvements in your health and performance. So here is the kicker. If you have been exercising for years and you don’t have the body of your dreams, if you haven’t made dramatic changes, then what you are doing is not working. Maybe it’s time to take an honest look at how hard you are pushing during your workouts, what your diet looks like and how consistent your training is. If you have been spending 45 minutes a day on the elliptical trainer for the last 4 years and you look the same (or worse) than when you started you are long overdue for a change.
People in general don’t like change. They tend to resist it. It makes them uncomfortable. Easier to go to the gym for an hour and watch Dr.Phil on the TV while your legs move up and down at a leisurely pace on the stair master and your mind wanders in a numb semi vegetative state. As a general rule if you are watching TV or reading a magazine while working out, chances are you are not focused on putting your max effort into the training – and the end result will not get you closer to your goals. Remember it’s 3 months of killer effort to start seeing noticeable changes – 1 year of consistent training to completely transform yourself physically. There are no short cuts, but if you are putting in the time, why not reap the rewards and actually make those changes?
The kind of changes you can achieve are mind blowing. I’m not talking about dropping a dress size here – I’m talking about a complete body transformation which will have positive effects on every aspect of your life. Your self confidence will go through the roof, your energy will blaze through – it’s worth every drop of sweat to increase the quality of your life to such a high degree. That’s the goal and thats the journey. 
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hi everyone,
Since nursing I have been alarmed at the advice still being given about fat’s relationship to heart disease and weight loss. It seems that “low-fat diets” are still widely accepted as healthy. And even more alarming is that many people are still being advised to choose margarine over butter.
Over the past 20 years, low fat diets are thought to not only help you lose weight, but also be a healthy sustainable way to eat.  After much reading and researching, I personally do not agree.
The message should purely be, “trans fats are bad, and all other fats can be enjoyed in moderation”. When I say moderation I don’t mean limited, I mean adjusted or modified to suit the rest of your dietary intake. Remember the rule, energy in verses energy out. And, never forget about the other main variable with regards to “energy in” – carbohydrates!
Carbs have their role with providing our brain with food, muscles with glycogen and supplying us with essential vitamins and minerals. By choosing low GI (slow releasing and high fibre) carbs such as fruits, vegetables and the occasional whole grain foods will make you feel fuller for longer.  This in turn limits the blood sugar “highs and lows” which would then result in the over consumption of carbs and therefore surplus energy from this macro-nutrient being stored as body fat.
Fat’s have many roles too and should not be thought of as just extra calories, they are too important for that. Fats are needed for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E, nerve conduction, cell membranes, hormone production and transport, mental health, memory and mood, and to fight inflammation to name a few! So why would you want to miss out on all that goodness.
By avoiding fat, your metabolism will actually become less efficient and it may actually make you fatter. Its all about balance and, portion control!
Consuming a wide variety of fats will ensure a healthy metabolism. Oily fish, nuts, virgin oils for salads (eg olive, flax) and virgin palm or coconut oil for cooking and spreading.
So what about saturated fats? Well they do pose a dilemma because your body will use them IF it has no other source of energy but it will store them if it does have other energy, such as excessive carbs (with one exception – medium chain fatty acids). Medium chain fatty acids are those found mainly in Coconut and Palm oil. These oils are saturated yes, but their chemical makeup means they cannot be stored as fat! That’s right, the liver will utilise this fat for a pure and very efficient energy source. These oils are used by athletes throughout the world to increase performance and they can actually boost your metabolism as they have been shown to tip the thyroid gland into a slightly hyperthyroid state. One warning here is, this type of fat can help you lose weight, but only if you moderate other sources of energy. Always think about what you need the energy for. It won’t be the coconut oil making you fat, it will be what you eat in addition to it.
I personally use coconut oil for my cooking, and I like to take a tablespoon full in the morning to boost my energy. I would highly recommend this oil to supplement your diet especially if you are training a lot or need extra energy. It has many other health benefits too such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing which can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid (breast milk is the only other natural source), capric acid and caprylic acid. 
So what about cholesterol? And rising death rates from heart disease? – I blame trans fats. From the Second World War there was a steady increase in their use and from this time to now there has also been a steady increase in obesity and heart disease. Yes there are other factors too, but remember that many processed foods contain the highest concentration of trans fats. Extensive food processing has been phenomenon of the last 20 years or so.
In conclusion I would reinforce the advice to reduce the consumption of processed foods. And I would even agree that you should limit fat intake if you are eating a lot of carbs and you want to lose weight. But I totally disagree that a low fat diet is going to be more healthy or necessarily help you lose weight in the long run. I would advocate that fat shouldn’t be feared as it is an essential part of a healthy diet and, is necessary for a healthy body, mind and HEART.
Let me know your thoughts on dietary and essential fats, and also your experience with coconut oil?
Until next time, bye for now
Katie

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Katie
Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
Hi.. Im Katie. I am 20 years old. I am a student nurse. I love learning about healthy eating and living healthy lifestyles. There are so many lies and myths about the food we eat today and I am determined to spread the word. If you have any questions don't be shy to ask. Email me at k_rotgans@hotmail.com P.S I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose conditions. I am just hear to educate myself and others. Any symptoms I address please see your doctor.
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