Alkalinity: Balance & Simplicity Pt. 1

Why is “going organic” such a big deal? What does a body that is alkaline mean? What’s the deal with pesticides?


Alkalinity neutralizes acid in the bloodstream, leading to increased oxygen levels, metabolism, & energy. The pay-off to creating an alkaline environment in our bodies is immense when we realize that organic, clean foods can truly change the energetic makeup of our bodies.


Foods that are alkaline-based are fantastic for reducing inflammation that is a result of both environmental & dietary issues. We’ll look at a few different substances & foods that cause inflammation, and then foods that promote alkalinity. A mix of alkaline foods, exercise, stretching, & mindfulness all contribute to lowering the effects of diseases.


Balance is key!


How Do Pesticides Work?

Pesticides are environmental pollutants that work as acetylcholine esterase inhibitors. An insect’s nervous system works by using acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter (how one nerve communicates to another).


Pesticides disrupt and confuse the insect’s nervous system leading to death through heart failure essentially. Our bodies use acetylcholine and acetylcholine esterase as neurotransmitters also. Pesticides have the same damaging effects on our lungs, heart, and nervous system. Our decision making skills and memory rely on acetylcholine and acetylcholine esterase and pollution and pesticides get in the way of these processes.


Pesticides are also fat soluble and sink into the nervous tissue easier because of the presence of fat around this tissue. They are also attracted to your lymphatic system which is where your immune system is located. Knowing all of this, it makes more sense that cancer, heart and lung disease, and strokes so common in our day and age.


Organic whole foods infuse the body with alkalinity, building up our immune system, nervous system, and our organs. Eating mindfully and organically can reverse the damage that pollutants and pesticides have caused. Some people argue that organic food is too expensive. However, organic foods are more nutrient dense, leading to feeling fuller and more energetic than processed foods would. Plus, eating organic cuts out the cost of constant medication and doctor’s visits.


The pay-off is immense when we realize that organic foods can truly change the energetic makeup of our bodies.


Inflammatory Foods


Dairy

We don’t always tend to think of dairy as a pollutant to our bodies. Dairy plays a big part in inflammation in our bodies.


Inflammation itself is not a bad thing. It is our immune system’s natural reaction to a wound and triggers healing. Chronic inflammation due to food allergies, however, is a different story.


Dairy is one of the biggest food allergens. Between lactose intolerance, casein proteins in milk, and the presence of growth hormones and antibiotics given to dairy cows, our bodies have a lot to fend off when it comes to dairy. This inflammation can manifest as sinus issues, constipation, skin problems, and digestive issues.


Allergy tests are available to take, or I like to recommend an elimination diet which tends to be more foolproof. When testing to see if you are allergic or just simply have a slight intolerance to a certain food group, eliminate it from your diet for two to three weeks. Then slowly reintroduce dairy (or whatever other food you are suspecting is causing an allergy or intolerance) to your diet and see if the symptoms return. Dairy also increases acidity in our bodies and we know the goal is to maintain alkalinity.


Sugar

It may seem obvious that sugar and refined carbs lead to inflammation, but how?


Excess production of AGEs- Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that form when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream. Too many AGEs leads to oxidative stress and inflammation.


Increased gut permeability- Bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles can more easily move out of the gut and into the bloodstream, potentially leading to inflammation.


Higher “bad” LDL cholesterol- Excess LDL cholesterol has been associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.


Weight gain- A diet rich in added sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to weight gain. Excess body fat has been linked to inflammation, partly due to insulin resistance. (Mary Jane Brown, PhD, 2017)

Sugar increases blood pressure and insulin which is hard on our hearts. Its inflammatory effect is also damaging to our cells which may lead to a greater risk of cancer. Modern diets often see an abnormally high level of refined carbs and sugar, which can lead to an imbalance in gut bacteria.

This may partly explain the development of obesity and one of the links between excessive sugar consumption and type two diabetes. I also find that when I don’t exercise self-control when it comes to sugar, that it spills over into my decision making.

The two main things that usually happen are that I get a foggy brain and also tend to be less restrained in other areas, as I’ve already let myself go overboard in one way. A lot of our decision making springs from the decisions we make regarding what goes into our bodies.


Our bodies are precious. We can find out a lot about our mental and emotional state by how we treat them. If we are not disciplined in the area of caring for our bodies, it will be much more difficult to exercise restraint in other areas of our lives.


Wheat

We’ve all heard about the gluten-free movement. Some people totally discredit it and believe it has no merit. There are, however, those with celiac disease and those with gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance is far less severe, whereas those with celiac disease actually experience an autoimmune reaction when they ingest gluten.


What exactly is gluten?


It is basically the proteins present in wheat that give the dough its elastic texture. There is no nutritional value in gluten, and in those with celiac disease, it causes inflammation in the intestinal tract and throughout the joints after consuming wheat.


A few symptoms of gluten intolerance are fatigue, headache, digestion and bloating issues, depression and anxiety, and abdominal pain. A blood test to determine if there are antibodies present can alert to celiac disease.


It can be more difficult to pinpoint gluten intolerance, so I would suggest an elimination diet where you remove gluten entirely from your diet for 2-3 weeks and then slowly reintroduce it, keeping a food journal the entire time to record symptoms. Celiac disease is actually fairly uncommon. However, I believe that the pesticides that are sprayed on most of the crops greatly contribute to inflammation and the disruption of our nervous systems.


Processed Meat

What is the difference between CAFO (Caged Animal Feeding Operations) vs. Grass Fed?


Factory farms, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), are a disaster for the environment and our health. Nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, are crammed into CAFOs, where they are literally imprisoned and tortured in unhealthy, unsanitary and unconscionably cruel conditions.


Sickness is the norm for animals who are confined rather than pastured, and who eat GMO corn and soybeans (and horrifyingly even a mixture of expired cookies, candy, and other animals remains) rather than grass and forage as nature intended. (Organic Consumers Association)


These caged animals are living in horrible conditions and developing scar tissue due to stress and injury. They are being pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics and then we are in turn eating this meat. This causes major inflammation in our own bodies as the animals have been poorly treated and riddled with disease and sickness and we are choosing to consume this.


Fear has a certain neurotransmitter.


So if we are eating this meat from the abused animal, the locked-in-fear tissue is getting into our body and transferring this directly to you- exacerbating the anxiety that you may have.


Grass Fed means that the animal had the ability to roam freely and forage for food on its own. In the case of chickens, they are natural foragers and when they are confined to small spaces they are in duress and start displaying signs of stress with habits like feather pecking and turning on each other. Cows that are grass fed are much healthier as their digestive systems are meant to digest grass rather than grains.


Grass fed meat has higher levels of nutrients and vitamins in comparison with CAFO and GMO-grain meat and lower levels of fat as well. Not to mention grass fed meat has little to no stress and inflammation present.


While it may seem like a minor issue choosing grass fed over CAFO meat, I believe that being intentional in this area has great health benefits. If we do choose to eat meat, it is truly important that we are at least mindful of how the animals are treated.


Some may say this is over the top or not necessary as we were meant to eat animals, but keep in mind that all of the stress and trauma that they endure, we are putting into our bodies. All of this has an energetic effect on us whether we want to believe it or not.


Kindness and gentleness starts at the root level and this is one way where we can become mindful of how creatures great and small are treated.


Caffeine

Caffeine is one of those things that tends to be most people’s proclaimed lifeline.


Of course there is nothing wrong with enjoying an occasional cup of coffee or tea, but many rely on it to the point of addiction.


So how does caffeine work?


It has to do with adenosine and brain chemistry. Adenosine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and can function as a central nervous system depressant. It typically promotes sleep and then each hour that we are awake, the levels of adenosine rise.


When adenosine is created in the brain, it begins to bind to adenosine receptors, slowing down neural activity and creating drowsiness. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors, but speeds up the activity in the brain rather than slowing down nerve cell activity like adenosine. The nerve cells cannot tell the difference between caffeine and adenosine since they both bind to the same receptors. Adenosine is blocked which mimics an awake feeling.


Your dopamine and serotonin levels also get a jolt and can become out of balance as well. When this happens, there are all types of mood shifts occurring which can result in anxiety and depression. When the caffeine wears off, your brain is flooded with the backed up adenosine causing that dreaded crash.


I believe that it also is hard on the adrenal glands as well, causing an overproduction of cortisol and epinephrine. Essentially, it puts our bodies under stress and activates the fight-or-flight response in our bodies.


We can quickly see how this might be a problem.


Then there is also the issue of coffee bean crops being sprayed with pesticides if they are not certified organic.


These are just some of the issues with caffeine. Some people experience an intolerance to caffeine, while others seem to be largely unaffected.


Basically, listening to your body and judging how you feel when you drink caffeine is a good place to start. Keeping track of sleep patterns and energy levels can help determine if caffeine is being disruptive.


Unfiltered Water

Do not underestimate the power of drinking filtered water!


Tap water has been known to have a list of harmful things present. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the type of water you drink:


1.) When drinking tap water we run the risk of drinking recycled water from our toilets and waste systems. Safe water has been distilled, giving us a purer form of water for our water-based bodies.


2.) Our nervous system can change the water in our body. Knowing this, it is important for us to keep hydrated with pure water because the hydrogen bonds in water are responsible for healthy DNA transcription and cellular function.


3.) It is a lot easier to detoxify our body with safe water because we are not using our energy to get rid of toxins found in unsafe or unpurified water.


4.) There is no chlorine in purified drinking water.


5.) Toxic water can also be contaminated by things such as discarded antidepressants and antibiotics, opening our bodies up to a random cocktail of harmful drugs.


Here's a little list of both alkaline & acidic foods:


Alkaline Foods to Incorporate

Fresh, organic greens like spinach & kale

Chia, almond, sesame seeds

Chlorella & spirulina

Melons, apples, lemon

Mushrooms, legumes, & sprouts

Quinoa


Acidic Foods to Minimize

Dairy

Red meat

Refined & artificial sugar

Processed foods & sodas

Caffeine

Alcohol

MSG & yeast extract (yeast extract is MSG!)


The bottom line is that nutrition should be simple and strengthening.


Do not feel pressure to change everything about the way you eat at once. A gradual shift into energy giving foods and a decrease in the energy draining is just fine.


Stressing yourself out over what to add and take away defeats the purpose.


Greens everyday, no processed foods (organic as often as possible!) very low caffeine, sugar, & alcohol intake, mindful of the meat you eat, fresh water, and elimination tests with dairy and gluten to determine any sensitivities- this is a good (again go as slowly as you need to!) start.


Again, it’s always about balance so there is still room for us to indulge every once in awhile. However, the majority of what we are supplying our minds + bodies with should be life & energy giving!


It’s truly about simplifying and creating an alkalizing atmosphere in your body.


Simplicity & balance are key and your mind and body will thank you for the fantastic energy levels you will experience!


Peace, Lo

lauren@laurencrawfordwellness.com




2019 Lauren Crawford Wellness