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
- red and yellow bell peppers
- sunflower seeds
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!