The holiday diet of rich, fatty and sugary foods leaves many people feeling not only a little heavier, but also a bit sluggish all over. Symptoms of the post-holiday hangover include slow digestion, weight gain, low energy levels and difficulty concentrating. Fortunately, there is a solution that doesn't require cleanses or extreme dieting.
Stop Aging, Start Living: The Revolutionary 2-week pH Diet that Erases Wrinkles, Beautifies Skin, and Makes You Feel Fantastic written by Jeanette Graf, M.D., with the help of Alisa Bowman in 2007, is a realistic guide to the alkaline diet and lifestyle published under the guise of an anti-aging manual.
Susan Spleth is busy part-time graduate student who lives in Lakewood and works full-time in Denver. She is in her 20's and she uses the guidance of Stop Aging, Start Living to help her digestion and overall immunity. She was turned on to the book by a friend who used the book’s diet and skin care recommendations to clear her skin without medication.
"She was able to get rid of her blackheads," says Susan, who is hoping she will have similar results.
Susan noticed that when she followed Dr. Graf's advice closely, including drinking an "alkalizing cocktail" every morning, her skin started to shine. Susan’s experience confirms Dr. Graf’s observation in her dermatology practice that patients with healthier eating habits, and therefore healthier digestive systems, have healthier skin.
Susan has been inconsistent about drinking the alkalizing cocktail over the busy holiday and college finals season. She was able to stay healthier this year due to the diet and supplement recommendations in Stop Aging, Start Living.
The alkalizing diet works by using foods to keep the body within the optimal pH range of 7.35-7.45. Foods that were easily accessible to our ancestors such as leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, and root vegetables help maintain a perfect body pH. Foods that were rare treats for our ancestors like animal protein, dairy, sugars and alcohol have an acidic effect on pH.
The American diet is full of acidic foods and drinks, especially during the holiday festivities. An acidic environment in the body slows down cell function, causing problems like weight gain, poor complexion and difficulty concentrating. It also causes a decrease in helpful digestive bacteria like probiotics, which is why many people experience bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea around holiday celebrations.
Fortunately, you don't have to abstain from celebrating or become a vegetarian to maintain a healthy pH. Stop Aging, Start Living contains delicious and quick alkalizing recipes as well as guides for maintaining a healthy pH throughout the workday, parties and travel.
Here are some highlights from Dr. Graf's book to get you back on track:
• 3-1 Ratio: Eat a ratio of three alkalizing foods (leafy greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits) to every one acidic food throughout the day. Use the WebMD.com portion guidelines to determine your ratio for every meal.
• Take a calcium supplement. Because calcium is basic, the body uses it to balance an acidic environment. Even men need a calcium supplement daily to maintain healthy bone density and body pH.
• Do something that makes you feel good everyday. Stress hormones are acidic, so keep them to a minimum by engaging in enjoyable and relaxing activities like practicing yoga, watching a funny TV show, or talking to a friend.
• Get more fiber. Our ancestors ate far more fiber than we do today. The American Dietetic Association recommends 25 grams per day for adult women and 38g per day for adult men. Consider starter the day with a fiber supplement.
• Have a positive attitude. Guilt and other negative emotions cause acidity in the body. So even if you do indulge in a chocolate martini over a slice of cheesecake every once in awhile, enjoy every bite!