Category Archives: Health and Wellness

The Alkaline – Acid Ratio

 

Get that Healthy Balance !

Natural health and a preventative lifestyle is all about Balance. Balance of the healthy/unhealthy ; Balance of the carbohydrates/protein/fat  ; Balance of the active/sedentary ; etc. However the vital balance that measures and manifests a lot of the physiological outcomes is the acid – alkaline balance.

Where does this understanding begin ?

It begins with our first few chemistry lab tutorials !  That’s where we learnt about pH or the potential of hydrogen; tinkering with those test tubes.
phscale

Our blood pH when measured has an optimal pH of around 7.35-7.45 for homeostasis*. This is to ensure that all vital functions occur normally and we experience natural health. Various  factors can lead one to the acidic part of the spectrum. The very nature of urban lifestyles for one. Food, stress, water, the air we breathe, sleep cycles etc. all impact the same. When this acidic pH keeps on going up, the body starts becoming a platform for various disorders ranging from acne to cancer. Acidity too is an acidic pH of the gut.

No  disease, including  cancer  can  exist  in  an  alkaline  environment.

– Otto Warburg

(1931 Nobel Prize winner for cancer discovery)

On the other hand, a very high alkaline pH can cause alkalosis. Symptoms are nausea, vomiting and muscle irritability. And here’s where choosing the quality of food for balance truly helps.

How?

What makes a food give an acidic or alkaline reaction in the body is its mineral content. The “acid minerals” are sulphur, phosphorus, bromine, fluorine, copper, silicon, iodine and choline, which predominate in meat, eggs, refined sugar and refined grain products. The “alkaline minerals” are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, which predominate in virtually all fruits and vegetables and some nuts and seeds.

Ways to tackle –

Raw Vegetables and fruits sit right at the top of the ladder in the food chain for more alkalinity. When they are subjected to heat, i.e. cooked, there is an increasing build up of acid..

The alkaline list according to pH is:

 Strong Alkaline

(healthiest)

 Medium Alkaline

 Weak Alkaline

 

Fruits

Watermelon, Limes, Grapefruit, Mangoes, Pineapple,  Papayas, Oranges Dates, Figs, Melons, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Berries, Apples, Pears, Raisins, Oranges, Bananas, Cherries, Peaches, Avocados, Apples,
 

Vegetables

Lemons, Amla,, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cucumber, Carrots Okra, Beets, Celery, Lettuce, Sweet Potato, Peas Tomatoes, Fresh Corn, Cabbage, Potato

Amongst veggies, the best are all the green leafies due to their higher chlorophyll and fibre content. The highly alkaline ones are Spinach, Amaranth (green math), Fenugreek leaves (methi), Dill leaves (shepu), Radish greens, Cauliflower greens, Turnip greens (shalgam ke patte), Mustard leaves (sarso), Colocasia leaves (Allu/Arbi leaves)

green-leafy-veggies_7-foods-you-should-eat-every-day

A word of caution…

Extreme practice to be highly acidic or highly alkaline is not advised. The body does need some acidic pH for the stomach digestion and various other metabolic functions. An 80% alkaline – 20% acid diet is most balanced.

Which side do the juicy red tomatoes fall on?

Tomatoes contain malic, oxalic and citric acid. When these two come in contact with the gastric juice of the stomach, its production increases rapidly. This increased acid travels up and irritates the gastric lining. However, this happens only for some individuals with a weak gut .According to top ayurvedic experts, raw tomatoes are a strict no-no as it disturbs the delicate balance/doshas of the body.

However one cannot deny in food science, the immense benefits of lycopene as an antioxidant, vitamin C and other nutrients. Recent research also suggests that Lycopene ironically increases when tomatoes are cooked* up to 80 degree, but deteriorates post 100 degree Celsius. Hence a mixture of raw and cooked tomatoes is advised in moderation as an ingredient/mono in a recipe but not as a daily staple.

So, let’s leave the acid to the labs and enjoy a fresh colourful alkaline platter.

Health and wellness,

IMG_20170506_151139_HDR-01

 

*Homeostasis – the tendency of the body to maintain equilibrium between the various physiological processes.

*Disclaimer : This is a general advice based on experience and expertise. Any individual chronic condition may need review.

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Let it Rain on my Parade -A Monsoon Health Special

water falls.......

water falls…….

 

The season of heavenly showers and an escape from the tiring draining heat of the summer sun is what many of us look forward to. However this beautiful season brings along with it a relentless overdose of infection.

 

Diseases like jaundice, typhoid run rampant at this time of the year as humidity runs high & the digestive tract is weak. Bitter, astringent vegetables and cooling foods such as barley, brown rice & oats are the stomach’s best friends 

chai with mint infusion

chai with mint infusion

juicy cherries

juicy cherries

Eat lots of vegetables and fruits to keep the glorious flow of antioxidants on the go but watch your supplies and where they come from and keep an eye out for the larva too. . I recommend taking the opportunity to grow your own kitchen garden comprising of basics like basil, mint, coriander, baby spinach etc. 

 

Seasonal Cravings in this season do steep up for oily foods like Bhajias, Pani Puri or Ragda But skip the street vendor and go the DIY@home way. Ideally in a baked form. And satisfy your oil cravings with nuts and oilseeds. For all the fish lovers, let nemo breed and go sushi on a vegetarian diet. Avoid both meat & dairy as they both harbor more germs this season and hence perish faster too.

 

Since monsoon diseases are mostly waterborne, water should either be purified boiled or distilled. Ice from non-distilled water, Kulfis & Golas should be a strict No No. Hot beverages like an herbal infusion or a warm soup will liven up the senses. A dash of ginger cardamom & cinnamon prevents susceptibility to cough & cold infection. A glass of radish juice will also aid the same. Masala lovers open up the spice box and update with some asafetida, garlic, cumin, mustard, turmeric, coriander and holy basil which have antibacterial properties.

 

This season you will be exposed to less sunlight but do grab some rays and vitamin D when the sun lord beckons.Barometric changes are most likely to shower down on you so do hold up the health umbrella and enjoy the season

 

Why I love the sun kissed life……..

Cause leave alone Health, life  and living aint possible without the Sun. As an earnest student of Nutrition I ask my teachers why Sunlight  has not been accorded the No 1 nutrient in our text books.  My early childhood memories though vivid often always take me back to sun kissed mornings on the beach ,in the park ,on the street. Is it a mere coincidence that my moments spent in the sun have largely  been happy and fresh.

Unfortunately I see now more and more people shy away from it under layers of tinted glares, sunscreens etc unless their Vitamin D or calcium levels are scanned .  Yes sunlight helps in improving both but Low or High D, sunlight is the constant element to vitality and growth. Just like a plant which needs the energy of the sun to grow,  all living beings need that ray of light caressing their bodies ;their thoughts ;their souls. Water itself glows best and becomes a living body when it basks in the suns glory .The Sun does embalm the true spirit of life- always back up again day to day tirelessly, unflinching in its role duty and purpose.

Talking about therapeutic effects , Hippocrates,  the father of modern medicine, built the sanitarium of Hippocrates on the Island of Cos with a large solarium attached to heal with sun rays. Anjali Joseph , Phd of Healthcare design has presented the effects of sunlight on hospital patients  well in her paper http://www.healthdesign.org/sites/default/files/CHD_Issue_Paper2.pdf.

Also a good read is by http://stanleybeamansears.com/2013/01/how-important-is-natural-daylight-to-the-recovery-of-hospital-patients/    both concluding the need for light in patients lives.

Edinburgh University research suggests sunlight helps reduce blood pressure, cutting heart attack and stroke risks and even prolonging life.UV rays were found to release a compound, nitric oxide that lowers blood pressure.Researchers said more studies would be carried out to determine if it is time to reconsider advice on skin exposure. Dr Richard Weller, a senior lecturer in dermatology at Edinburgh University, said: “We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer.

 The same translates to our soil and my choice of foods. If sunlight aint caressed what goes into my stomach I would rather avoid it. There are produce that don’t need intense sunlight and may need some shade -Just like Us ! But its all good.

Its not only sunrise but even sunset has a similar calming effect. As the skies change color it gives us a a signal that our body s circadian rhythm has altered and it is time to bring down the curtains to the theatrics  of the day. Its time to Unleash the Melatonin the sleep hormone activated by darkness

Yes the scorching afternoon heat does bring its effects in harsh summers. A signal would be to shy away if the skin feels discomfort, head starts to ache , throat becomes parch- all signals given by the body itself.

Having also studied the excessive effects of sunbathing or suntanning into skin cancers and dangers related to its excess intake who better than Appollo; the glorious Greek Sun God of Medicine who has two inscriptions at Delphi giving the best advice on the Sun and its light  saying :

All things in moderation

Know thyself

So just like George Michael swoons ” don’t  let the sun go down on me “. Never Ever.

Kachraa saaf- Diwali home cleaning and health

“Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.” ~Unknown

Oh ! How I want to live that. Drained as I am after an onslaught of  running through barely worn clothes blankets and linens; also cleaning out corners rarely used , I  am still overjoyed.

Overjoyed cause just the traditional ritual of Diwali Cleaning year after year has had some  positive influences on my home, life and health. It is a family affair. Not just washing the walls and cleaning the furniture but  going  beyond. Clothes, books, paintings,  forever teeny weenies that I thought shall always treasure , largely unused medicine cabinet, unused or overused toiletries (out-mainly due to the ingredient list of toxic chemicals) Thankfully the Indian market is now opening up to a natural wellness lifestyle  and Is supporting me in my conscious decision to move away from some  excess and move towards things that me and  my family first essentially need. Not too easy but a start nevertheless. Okay ! I  still retain my favorite 10 year old now rarely used high heels,my dearest talented friend Guls  dupattas and many of the many trinkets  but a lot  of the rest can GO. So I can start afresh.

As my family and very supportive occasionally grudging staff clean out room after room over guzzlers of nimbu and nariyal pani , comes the most visited room in the entire house- the kitchen. Hmmm where do I start? Inspite of being a nutritionist (ahem ) why does my kitchen  contain more junk than I can fathom .No its not just the rolls of snack boxes or the crockery which keep on piling up its also 3 bottles of organic oregano, 2 bottles of homemade pizza sauce chilling in the fridge ,5 packets of whole wheat pasta that I dived into 6 months ago . Hey whats that white salt still doing in a nook !? Havent we replaced regular salt to mineral rich sea salt long time ago.  Everyone  looks straight at me. Okay we need to clean out much more than a routine Diwali cleaning is the signal I get . Advice  Taken ! if ALL Participate 😉

Thats why I enjoy my field of work . It has a similar analogy. Kachra saaf. Clean  bodies . Detox as the word goes. Even we pile up so much of excess in our bodies that the grime and slime start forming and corrode the walls within. Sometimes once a year aint enough. It is important to do regular checks, flush out , throw out the excesses. Having the house cleaned has a wonderful feeling that comes along with it: it makes me feel bright, fresh and cheerful.  That feeling of Chi-beneficial energy actually multiples when I do that to my body. Have often felt that the body is our temple . So lets begin treating it like one..

HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL

Some Pink Lemonade ?

As I look back at the history of the lemonade only one thing flashes in my mind – fond memories of my moms kitchen  and practically every kitchen in India that  I sneaked into to watch the most popular sherbet  easily served ;our very own nimbu pani. As a kid somehow I always grew up with the idea that I could make enough money selling this refreshing drink at a fun fair stall a la characters of Archie comics.

Here’s the  variation to the Pink Lemonade.  This is a slight twist to what I enjoyed at my popular neighborhood cafe, then Tangy Tomato and now Chilies.

Recipe for 2

Making time : 7-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Water
  • 1 teaspoon Unsulfured brown sugar/jaggery syrup
  • 1 small Lemon
  • 5-10 drops of Beet juice
  • soaked Sabja Seeds
  • Rock salt (to taste)
  • crushed ice
  • Crushed mint leaves (optional)

Method

Soak sabja seeds in a bowl and let it rest for 10 mins to swell .

In the meantime take water in a bowl, add the sugar and stir it continuously till dissolved.

Add the lemon juice and lastly some salt  till the liquid is one.

Add  juice, extracted from the steamed beets and add to the lemonade for color. Even cranberry or raspberry can be used for color.

And Voila! Your alkaline refresher is ready to be sipped. At a party/post workout/at home on a hot summer day

Enjoy…..with some chilled ice and mint.

Why I love Lemon -a sweet and sour journey

Anything Lemony would do for me !!  Why the humble lemon?

I love the color, fresh and sunny  coyly reaching out for attention when i buy my veggies . I love the divine smell, the refreshing tang it adds to my daily life ; a comfort ingredient  for me  ;as it always takes me back to memories of my life with my maiden family- the simple light me ups- Nimbu pani, the lemon rice , lemon pickle. Mom- I want more!

Citrus  limon as the binomial name goes  is also one of the top 5 alkalizing superfoods in my list and  plays  an important role to alleviate a lot of the health troubles for me ,my family and my patients some suffering  from Skin and Stomach disorders to Obesity to Diabetes. Its rich in  ascorbic acid(vitamin C) and limonene which has been extensively studied for its ability to combat tumor growth in over 50 clinical studies. 

Lemons have an acidic pH, which is attributable to their citric acid content. The acidity of a fresh lemon can vary between 2.2 and 2.4 on the pH scale, depending on the fruit’s state of ripeness. However the pH nature of lemons changes during the body’s metabolic process and they become highly alkaline-forming. Adding just 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice to a glass of water is an easy way to give your body that  boost of alkalinity. Just be  careful to avoid rubbing  it directly to your teeth as it does tend to discolor them.

It can be used in many ways :

  •  Rind/ Peel – Pickle it, Zest it, Candy it  (avoid the pith-the inner fibrous membrane just  below the zest)
  •  Juice it – The best way.                                                                                                        ” When life gives you a lemon…..squeeze it, mix it with six ounces of distilled water and  drink  twice daily “ –Jethro Kloss in his book Back to Eden .                                                                Drink it as a diluted shot, have a lemon tea, mohito or use it  with your creative culinary  flair in  your salads, staple and gourmet recipes
  •  Seeds-Lemon seeds do naturally contain salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in  Aspirin, though this is in small amounts. I have not done many trials yet to establish the  edibility/nutritional benefit of these seeds

This natures disinfectant also extends its benefit to my home as I use it for lightly bleaching the floors, in clothes ,on nails to keep them clean to deodorize bathroom, kitchen and garbage odors.Lemon is a also a natural mosquito repellent –  A tip: take a fresh left over lemon peel and rub it onto your skin. The smell of the lemon will keep away the mosquitoes. A saviour for my  son on his outdoor camps.

I Feel blessed this yellow fruit is indigenous to my country India- easily available and relatively reasonable 

Viva le limon.

A recipe of the refreshing all naturel Pink lemonade in my subsequent blog https://kajalbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/some-pink-lemonade 

 

 

Super ChocoNut Boosters

( Glutenfree, Sugarfree, DairyFree, Grainfree , Stovefree )

After my long sermons on sugars , got many requests for sugar free desserts for both adult and kids alike. This energy dense bite is a great substitute for chocolate  or even a dessert. The dates are rich in iron and fibre and the nuts carry the healthy fat with fibre . Easy to make, store, convenient to carry and a must have in the fridge .

Making TIme : 8 mins

Makes 12 bites

Ingredients:

power of 5

power of 5

  • 1 cup  pitted ideally Medjool/locally available dark dates (10-12 large)
  • 1/4 cup soaked cashewnuts /walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup  mini dark chocolate chips (optional)

Process

1. Add dates into processor and process until a  paste forms.

2. Add in the nuts ,cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon. Process until thoroughly combined. Pulse in the chocolate chips. The dough should be sticky when pressed between your fingers. If it’s not sticky enough to shape into balls, add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time) and process until it comes together.

3. Shape dough into small balls (about 12) and freeze for 20 minutes or so until firm. .

Healthy delites

Healthy delites

 PS: The vanilla flavor can be switched to an orange or lemon zest.

Heres to an energetic week ahead !!