Optimize your health by becoming more alkaline

I am always trying to learn more about ways in which we can become healthier and live disease free.  Recently, I have been studying a lot about the pH of our bodies and how they effect health.

The pH of your body is the acid-base balance that the body likes to maintain. Alkalinity means that the body has pH higher that 7. The human body is sightly alkaline with a blood pH around 7.4.Why our Body needs to be Alkaline.

If the body drops to a more acidic pH and is not returned to homeostasis through processes in the body, the cells of the body have a decreased ability to produce energy in the mitochondria.

Even a small shift towards being more acidic results in the impaired function of the electron transport chain which results in less energy production. This state of the body also results in a decreased supply of oxygen available which impairs the cells ability to repair and replenish themselves.

The low- oxygen environment associated with acidosis (a lower pH in the body)  promotes growth of harmful microorganisms! The body’s immune system works the best in a narrow pH range. Acid- alkaline imbalances can weaken the body’s ability to ward off infectious microorganisms. The decreases oxygen state enables microorganisms that previously would not cause harm to become pathogenic.

As you can see, the body works the best in an alkaline state. Here are ways to promote this state and optimize your health.

1.Reduce Stress 

Stress in the body results in an increased production of acid. This hyper-acidic environment results in many detrimental things: one of them being inflammation. Our bodies are so strong and can maintain homeostasis if the stress is managed and not too excessive. However, unmanaged, chronic stress is extremely detrimental. The hyper-acidic environment that too much stress causes, allows microorganisms to thrive.

To reduce stress I recommend removing tension from the body. Here are some tips to reduce stress:

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My last tip to reduce stress is to truly only focus on things you can control. Focusing all of your attention on becoming the healthiest person you can is one of the things you have a lot of control over. Quieting down your external environment will in return quiet down your internal environment.

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2. Eating

While we have evolved several buffering systems to balance our pH when we consume acid-producing foods, eating too many and not enough alkaline-producing foods makes it even harder to achieve pH homeostasis. A quote from one of my favorite books, The Primal Blueprint , ” As you might guess, heavily processed foods, sugars, grains, deep-fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners are acid-forming in the body, a precursor to many health problems and diseases. In contrast, by eating sufficient amounts of alkaline-forming foods- vegetables, local fruits, nuts, and seeds- you optimize your acid/base balance and improve metabolism to burn fat, build muscle, and reduce your susceptibility to environmental and dietary toxins.”

3. Appropriate exercise

Exercise impacts the body’s pH levels in various changes that can often be buffered by systems in the body. However, exercising at extremely high heart rate zones for extended periods of time results in a flood of stress hormones in to the bloodstream.  I am not saying that high intensity exercise is bad, I think there is a time and place for it. However, if the goal is to reduce all stress and inflammation in the body and keep our bodies more alkaline, then optimal heart rate zones are 55-75% HR max. To make this easier, to ensure you are not in too high of a heart rate zone, make sure you can still speak sentences when you are exercising.  I would suggest walking, hiking, cycling or just finding ways to move more often. Low-level exercise for longer duration promotes stronger capillaries (blood vessels) which provide oxygen and fuel to each muscle cell.

All in all, find things that make your body feel good and do more of those things. Most humans intuitively know that eating 10 cookies and drinking 3 beers does not make them feel good. Be smart with your decisions and focus on promoting optimal health!

Reach out if you would like a more personalized approach to this topic!

Stay fit, strong, healthy and happy !

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Em ❤

 

 

 

 

References:

http://mrhawkeyeviews966.blogspot.com/2018/03/why-our-body-needs-to-be-alkaline.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324271

https://alkalineforlife.com/

Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

 

A new state

Hello!!! I am finally back on my blog. I was extremely busy the past couple of months moving my life to a new place, by myself, again! I recently moved to Redmond, Washington!

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As college came to an end, I was faced with a major decision. Where should I move? Part of me wanted to move back to Colorado (my home state) and part of me wanted a new adventure. I lived in California for four years and while I appreciate everything I learned from that experience, I needed a change.

I made the decision to move to Washington after accepting my dream job at Pro Club. 🙂 YAY!

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When I moved out here one month ago, I did not know anyone. It was a new solo journey! Obviously I was a little scared, but I also knew it would be good for me and make me grow as a person. I ultimately want to relate and understand as many people as possible. By living in multiple places (Colorado, California and now Washington) I am able to surround myself with different people and new environments!

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It has been one month since I moved here and I am very happy! It is so interesting to see how people react to my story of moving out here alone. A lot of people say things like “you’re so brave” or “wow, crazy for a girl to do that all alone” I don’t get it. I feel like you may as well take risks in life in the chance that it will be for the better. To me it is not being brave, it is realizing that life is short and I may as well experience as many things as I can 🙂 

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I have learned both in studying and through personal experience that the environment impacts our health in so many ways! I want to be in the best environment possible to maximize that aspect of my health. I want to create a life in an environment that makes me happy!

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I love being out of my comfort zone and forced to try new things and meet new people. I think everyone should follow their dreams and do whatever is necessary to be happy. So far, I love Washington!

Come visit! XOXO

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Embem ❤

Staying positive

I recently turned 22 years old! I am an Aries, which if you know much about horoscopes and my personality, you would agree, my sign fits me quite well! I am competitive, ambitious, and VERY optimistic. 

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In my twenty two years on Earth, I have experienced open heart surgery, tragedy, and the death of people close to me.

I have also experienced miracles, beauty in my surroundings, and more blessings and opportunities than I ever imagined.

Throughout my life, I try to always remain positive. Being negative does nothing for my soul. Having a negative attitude toward things will only make the situations worse. I am a firm believer in the power of a positive mind. We seem to forget  that we are in control of our reactions to stimulus we encounter.

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If something bad happens to you, what do you do? Do you complain and pout and make the situation worse? Or do you try to learn from it, become a better person, and move on?

Even though life can be unfair, being able to say you can breathe on your own, walk on your own, and speak on your own, means you are blessed. I challenge you to truly think hard about the way you react to stimulus in your life. Take a deep breathe and realize that you are in control of your emotions.

XOXO,

Emily

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Fitness meets Nutrition- Q&A with Nutrion Grad Student

Hey Hey! A healthy lifestyles not only involves exercising, but also consuming foods that are beneficial for your body! I reached out to Marta Tabatabai, a friend of mine who is very knowledgable about nutrion to do an interview for us! What an amazing person! If you have any more questions for her, reach out to me @fit_by_embem , or her on instagram: @cauligirleats_ 

Hey girly! I hope you are doing well! Can you first introduce yourself and tell people what you are currently studying?

Hey I am Marta and I am currently a graduate student at the nutritional science program at CSU Chico. I am passionate about helping people live a healthy lifestyle by sharing a positive approach to nutrition with evidence based advice. 

 

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How did you become passionate about nutrition?

I have always loved the science behind nutrition that I learned in my animal science classes as an undergrad at Cal Poly. I took an intro to nutrition course thinking I wanted to go into the healthcare industry. I really loved it and at the time I was training for a half marathon and saw how nutritious food could be used as fuel.  I always grew up with lots of healthy options at home, my parents always had cut up fruit and vegetables at the house. I decided to dig more deep into the science behind nutrition and take some metabolism courses. I was amazed at how complex our bodies are and how nutrition can have such an impact on our health!

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Do you have tips for eating healthy while not spending a lot of money?

I think the biggest thing would be to plan out meals ahead of time. Go to the grocery store prepared to know what you are going to get. A lot of times people will go and grab things that they do not need. Getting seasonal produce is cheaper. Frozen vegetables and fruit are an option also! Canned beans and dried grains are very affordable options! Also buying things in bulk and freezing them (buying a large pack of chicken) and defrosting only what you are using. By preparing meals ahead of time, you set yourself up for success and you end up saving money by not eating out!  

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What are some things people should always pick up at the grocery store? (top 5)

  1. Spinach! It is so versatile! You can easily add a handful to anything (scrambled eggs, curry, a smoothie)
  2. Nut butter! I have to throw that in there! I love any type of nut butter!
  3. Apples! They are easy to pack in a bag, they do not get squashed easily, and they last awhile! The crunch is very satisfying! They are also full of fiber!
  4. Carrots- They are a great snack and they can pair perfectly with your favorite dip!
  5. Chickpeas- They are also very versatile- you can roast them and have them as a snack, you can use them as protein in a dish, or make your own hummus

How do you balance going out and still being healthy?

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about having a balance that works for you! Every individual is different. When I go out to eat, I tend to pick what is going to be the most nourishing and satisfying in that moment. For example, if I am really wanting a pizza, I will allow myself to have that! If I deprive myself of it, I feel restrictive and not satisfied. I also really enjoy eating lots of veggies and healthy foods! There is always an option to get something healthy that is more exciting than a plain green salad! I tend to cook most of my meals at home with foods that I know provide me with energy and make me feel good. So, if I go out to eat and I feel like having something just to nourish my soul, I will have that!

Thoughts on intermittent fasting? (what is it and what you think of it)

From my understanding, it is fasting for a certain time whether it be hours or days and then allowing yourself to eat in the other time. I believe the most common one is fasting 16 hours and eating 8 hours. I personally wouldn’t advise it. I don’t think enough research has been done yet. I also think it goes against our bodies internal cues to regulate hunger and fullness. Our bodies are really good at regulating how much fuel we need and when we need it. I don’t think restricting to a time window is the healthiest option physically and mentally.

Thoughts on intuitive eating? What is it and what you think of it)

Intuitive eating is a concept that was come up by two dietitians in the 90’s. It is comprised of ten principles:

  1. Reject the diet mentality
  2. Honor your hunger
  3. Make peace with food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Respect your fullness
  6. Discover the satisfaction factor
  7. Honor your feelings without using food
  8. Respect your body 🙂 
  9. Exercise and feel the difference
  10. Honor your health with gentle nutrition

 

It basically is about letting go of any external cues that influence what we eat. Whether it be from social media or from a friend doing a fad diet. It is about being in tune with your body, realizing what foods satisfy you, nourish you, and make you feel the best! It is about being mindful when you eat, so you can tune into your hunger and fullness signals. Also, respecting our bodies and the way we naturally are. 

I honestly think that it is what we are naturally born to do! It is what children do! If someone hadn’t dieted, they wouldn’t think this was any different. This is something that everyone can adopt and is a great way to live a balanced lifestyle.

 

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Biggest piece of advice?

My biggest piece of advice would be to add some more fruits and vegetable into your diet. Also figure out a fun way that you enjoy to cook them! You do not have to eat plain kale with minimal dressing. You can figure out if you like roasting veggies, or maybe having them with some sauce! Play around in the kitchen and see what works for you!

 

Lastly, what are some meal ideas you would like people to try?

Breakfast idea: Overnight Oats!

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Overnight oats recipe:

1/2 cup oats

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 greek yogurt

1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder

Sprinkle of cinnamon

Enough milk to cover it all

*stir it all up, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and top with fruits, nuts, nut butter, and whatever else you like!

 

Lunch: Pesto Avocado egg salad!

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Recipe:

2 sliced hard boiled eggs

1/2 of an avocado

1 tbsp pesto

sprinkle of Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)

*Mash avocado, mix in pesto, slice eggs in both directions, add eggs and seasonings

 

Dinner: Curry!

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Ingredients:

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

2 cups broth of choice

1 cup coconut milk

4 cups small cubes of butternut squash

1.5 cups green lentils

dash of turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

4 big handfuls of spinach

 

Directions:

-saute onion and garlic in olive oil till translucent on medium high heat

-add in curry powder, ginger, broth, coconut milk, squash, and lentils and bring to a boil

-once at a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes

-turn off heat and stir in turmeric, salt, pepper, and 4 big handfuls of spinach

*the dish may not need salt if the broth has salt in it

-enjoy over brown rice or another grain

 

THANKS MARTA! 

Follow her on instagram for more awesome tips and recipes- @cauligirleats_ 

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Will I Ever Compete Again?

Competing in an NPC bikini competition was a huge goal of mine once I turned 16. From the ages of 16-20, I competed in 5 bikini competitions. I am going to take you through a day in my life when I competed and then explain why I will never compete again. Please consider that competing is a sport and not a lifestyle. I would maintain this schedule for 10-12 weeks.

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On a typical Monday morning with 4 weeks until competition, I would wake up at 5am to head to the gym for 45 minutes of fasted cardio. I would wear 3 layers of clothes with a sweat wrap around my stomach to help me lose any extra body fat I still had. After cardio, I would drive home and shower and then eat. My first meal would be 1 cup of egg whites, ¼ cups of oatmeal and 1 tbsp peanut butter, all of which I would weigh out and then put on my excel spreadsheet food log. I would measure everything I ate and ensure I was hitting my exact macros. This means that I would eat a certain amount of protein, carbs, and fats everyday: 120 grams protein, 110 grams carbs, and 35 grams fat. These numbers were monitored by my coach and would change as I got closer to my show. 

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After I ate,  I would head to class. Every two hours I would eat 3-4oz of chicken, broccoli, and if I was lucky, rice! At 3pm, when school was out, I would head to the gym, I would either lift with my trainer or do my workout on my own. A typical workout would be 1.5-2 hours. After this workout, I would head home, shower and eat my last chicken meal. Before bed I would get egg whites and 10 almonds. I remember being so excited to eat almonds. WTF !!! This was my life for 10-12 weeks. On weekend, I would drive two hours to attend posing class and to hear how my progress was. I would send photos of my body to my coach every week, along with my weight and how I was feeling.

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Competing taught me a lot about myself. It taught me that I am strong. Really strong. I had to overcome many obstacles through competing. So many people would judge me for what I was doing. Everyone assumed it was a beauty competition and that I just wanted to strut around in a swimsuit. This was not true.  I competed to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. This sport requires so much dedication and commitment I cannot even explain the mental strength I gained through my experiences.

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Competing also taught me how hard it is to lose weight. A lot of people do not understand that when I compete, I lose 20 lbs. I understand how hard it is to lose weight and how frustrating it is. I truly empathize with my clients and understand what they are going through. Losing weight is hard, but if you want something bad enough, there are no excuses! You wake up everyday and tell yourself you are a bad ass and that you can do it! 

I loved competing and loved seeing my body change. But, I  will never compete again. I am very content with my body the way it is now and I continue to push myself hard but I now strive for balance. 

Body image is something that I have struggled with. Competing is literally what your body looks like and someone is always judging you. It was really hard for me to love my body when people were constantly criticizing me. Being in season was amazing because I was always low weight and pretty lean. However, coming out of season, I would see the weight gain and get mad at myself. Fluctuating between on and off season was not good for my metabolism, my mental heath, or my physical health. In season, I could not enjoy time with friends and family and had to be really selfish with my time. I would NOT miss a workout for anything!  I would not eat sweets on my birthday, and would eat chicken breasts if I ever went out to eat. I was very dedicated.img_7436.png 

 

Now my mindset is completely different and I am proud of how far I have come. I push for a balance in my life. I love exercise and being healthy, but I also love tequila and chocolate. If I want to go out to eat, I no longer calculate my macros and I just enjoy my food and the time I am spending with others. I still track my food but I allow myself to be a human and do not get mad at myself if I miss a workout or eat ice cream. My metabolism is fast again and I have energy to hike, go out, and to be myself. I am stronger than ever both inside and out 🙂 

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I am grateful for the 5 years of my life that I competed, it made me the confident person I am today. However, I chose this healthy lifestyle and am happier than I have ever been!

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If you would like to hear even more about my experience, shoot me an email! If you are considering NPC Bikini Competitions, I would love to chat with you! If you are looking for a trainer or wellness coach, hit me up also!

Thats all for now!

XOXO, STAY FIT, STAY FAB- EMBEM