grains

Thrive in 30 Learnings – Part 1

Hey there friends!

How are you doing today? I’m feeling much more refreshed than I did at this time yesterday morning now that I’ve got a few more hours of solid sleep behind me. Call me a big baby, but I haven’t a clue how some people survive on so little sleep. Yesterday at work I was having serious issues with trying to keep my eyes open!

As you may remember from this post, I’ve recently begun reading Brendan Brazier’s Whole Foods to Thrive, and have also been following along in the Thrive in 30 Challenge. If you aren’t sure what this is, check out what I wrote about here, then head over to the Thrive in 30 website to sign up for free. Don’t worry – if you’re worried that you’re going to have to become vegan for 30 days, that is totally not the case!

Back to the book…

I plan to do a recap of all of my learnings once I finish Whole Foods to Thrive, but I figured I’d talk a little bit about alkaline vs acidic foods today since some of you seemed pretty interested in the topic when I interviewed Jonnie from Thrive Juice Bar. I just finished lesson 4 of the Thrive in 30 challenge, and in both the video segments and Brendan’s book, he says talks about the following…

  • One of the Guiding Principles of The Thrive Diet is: “Raw alkaline-forming foods are the best defense against illness and disease.” The theory behind this is that disease arises when the pH of the body is disrupted from its neutral state. Your blood has a neutral pH of about 7.5, and consuming acidic foods can throw this off, lowering the pH number. By eating alkaline-forming foods, the balance is restored.
  • Acid forming foods are any foods that are processed. The more they’ve been changed from their original state, the more acid they create inside your body. When these foods are processed, they are stripped of some of their enzymes, so in order to digest them, our bodies have to produce the enzymes. This requires energy – energy that I’m sure you could find a better use for!
  • Other acid-forming foods are meats such as beef and poultry, dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter, and other things you might find in the aisles of a grocery store like pop, margarine, candy, and other highly processed goods.
  • The most alkalizing foods are high in chlorophyll, which is what gives them a green pigment. Think kale, spinach, collard greens.. you get the idea.
  • Calcium is also highly alkaline, and when we eat lots of acidic processed foods, the body needs to compensate. This can be through taking calcium from the bones to neutralize the pH balance. If you’re thinking this means osteoporosis, that’s exactly what it means. Brendan suggests that it’s not that we’re consuming too little calcium, it’s that we’re eating foods that are causing our bodies to be stripped of it.
  • Activity can also be alkalizing – Think yoga, stretching, meditation etc.
  • What other foods encourage an alkaline environment? Well, I should probably just tell you to buy one of Brendan’s books or sign up for the Thrive in 30 challenge to find out, but a short-ish list includes:
    • Veggies: Cucumbers, dark leafy greens, chlorella, sprouts, celery, broccoli, beets
    • Pseudograins: Buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, millet, wild and brown rice
    • Fruit: Lemons, limes, avocado, melons, papaya, pomegranates
    • Nuts and seeds: Flax, hemp, white chia, almonds.
  • Overall, eating a diet high in alkalizing foods and low in acid-forming foods helps to keep our bodies slightly alkaline, making us feel more energetic and healthy.

So, enough about the theory. How about actually using those nutrient-dense alkaline-foods? You probably already know how to use greens, but what about the pseudograins (which, by the way, are called pseudograins because many are actually seeds, not grains)? Well have no fear friends, because I’m here to do just that this morning! As you know from recipes like Kamut Power Blend and Fruity Quinoa and Amaranth Salad, I like my grains! This weekend I decided to cook a bunch up for the remainder of the week, throw them together, add some veggies, and hope for the best. The result was delicious, and SO versatile. This 5-grain mix keeps in the fridge really well, and you can add a ton of different veggie and protein combos to make it taste different every time. Here’s what you need:

The beauty of this blend is that some of the grains have similar cooking times, so you only need to use 2 different pots to cook them. Less clean up = bonus in my books!

Mighty Grains Mix

For the grains:

  • ¼ cup mixed red and white organic quinoa, uncooked
  • ¼ cup farro, uncooked
  • ¼ cup brown or wild rice, uncooked
  • ¼ cup spelt berries, uncooked
  • ¼ cup amaranth, uncooked
  • 3 1/4 cups low sodium vegetable broth, or water, or a mixture of both

For the herb vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1/8 tsp Herbamare (or sea salt)
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

In one saucepan, combine farro, spelt berries and rice with 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth. In another saucepan, combine the amaranth and quinoa with 1 ¼ cups broth, and cook both over medium heat. The quinoa and amaranth should take about 15 minutes to cook and absorb the liquid, whereas the other grain mixture should take about 30-35 minutes (cooking time is reduced if you soak the spelt berries and farro first).

While the grains are cooking, whisk together all dressing ingredients except for the herbs. When the dressing has a smooth consistency, stir in the herbs, then pour over the grains. Mix thoroughly, then cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight to allow flavours to meld.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups, and serves 5 as a side dish (about 3/4 cup each).

Nutrition per serving: 177 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 29g carbs, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 5g protein.

Now, this is pretty spectacular on its own, but if you want to really make it a mighty mix, you can add a ton of veggies to make it more colourful and exciting. For example…

My current favourite blend of:

  • red onion
  • celery
  • red and yellow bell peppers
  • sunflower seeds

SO good.

Alright kids, time for me to get a move on and get myself to work! Today I want to know:

  • Do you make a conscious effort to eat alkaline-forming foods? What sort of benefits/changes have you experienced since deciding to do so?
  • Any comments on the whole acid vs alkaline thing? Questions? I’ll do my best to get them answered for you!

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting! That’s for the informative post. I don’t make a conscious effort to eat alkaline-forming foods. It’s hard enough just to my greens, get veggie variety, and not go overboard on treats.

  2. says

    thanks for the very helpful info, angela! i’m very keen to check out brendan’s book. i have tried to educate myself about acidic vs alkaline foods, but i’m pretty sure i’m too acidic, even with all the greens i consume. always room for improvement! thanks a lot for sharing the highlights!
    glad you’re feeling more awake today – i’m with you: i need my normal sleep hours, too!

  3. says

    I just made a multigrain oatmeal, but combining multiple grains into a salad sounds great!! I like what’s you’ve done here.

    I have heard about this alkaline/acidic food stuff, and to be honest, this is the part of the book that makes no sense biologically to me. Your blood pH is strictly controlled by buffers. Your stomach is filled with acid. Short of drinking draino, or having severe breathing or metabolic problems, your blood pH should not be changing. I doubt the body contributes to it… BUT, I am all for eating veggies and grains, so whatever one needs to feel motivated eat the good stuff. :P

  4. says

    YUM. That recipe looks amazing. I definitely don’t make an effort to eat alkaline-forming foods but now I feel like maybe I should!! thanks for sharing the insight :)

  5. says

    I needed to bookmark this so I can go back and really read through it when I have more time! I loved “Thrive” and I was looking into this challenge a bit but havebn’t gotten a chance to really dive in. I am all about the acid-alkaline balance. I wrote about it a while back and do think it makes a difference! Great ob on this post! I will pass it along!

  6. Amber says

    I really do pay close attention to what foods are acid and what foods are alkaline. The reason being, I have had chronic Gerd for almost 8 years. The foods that are alkaline certainly make a difference for someone like me. There are times when my medication doesn’t do the job and if i resort to alkaline foods and use trace minerals it helps get me back on track. It helps bring me back to a less acidic state. yes I would love to be completely acid free.

    • says

      Wow, that’s really interesting!! I know that a lot of people (including myself sometimes) question how effective the claims are, and if consuming more alkaline-forming foods is just a lot of hype, but it’s great to hear that you’ve experienced real results. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • says

      Yep definitely! Any whole grains or pseudograin would probably work. I found my farro at Whole Foods one day when I was looking for orzo, and I’m glad I did because it’s really tasty! You could also try wheat berries and millet which are both really easy to find.

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