Food is life. By re-connecting with complete foods, our true sources of nourishment, we can build endurance, optimize performance, and recover more quickly after strenuous exertion. Protein is the building block of muscles. However, all animal proteins, like meat and dairy, are acidic in nature. Over time, an acid-forming diet that does not contain enough whole grains and vegetables can reduce the body’s ability to function at optimal levels. By including alkaline foods in our diet and considering animal products as a condiment, the body can maintain muscular strength by reducing the inflammation that eats away at muscles.
Ayurvedic medicine, the ‘science of life’, is a centuries-old healing modality from India. It describes an ‘anjali’, or a handful of animal foods to be just enough for a given person at a meal (Svoboda, Dr. Robert. Prakriti. p. 22). Imagine eating only as much chicken or cheese as can fit in the palm of your hand. Nutritionists recommend a similar modicum, explaining that grains such as wheat, rice, barley, rye, buckwheat, quinoa or amaranth ideally represent 40 to 50 percent of a meal’s composition
An overly acidic system sends signals such as: slowed recovery from illness or injury; extreme fatigue after a day of exercise; decreased resistance to infection; allergies, digestive troubles, insomnia, and fungal conditions. This kind of imbalance affects the intestinal and digestive systems as well as the circulatory, immune and respiratory systems. (Lark, Dr. Susan. The Chemistry of Success).
Factors contributing to excess acid production in the body include:
- Emotional, physical, or environmental stress of any kind
- Weak digestion or food intolerances
- Insulin/blood sugar imbalance
- Insufficient vitamin/mineral intake from complete food sources
Mineral-rich grains and vegetables contain healing qualities that maintain the acidalkaline balance of our system: turmeric, millet, carrots, dark leafy greens, and black beans. By consuming more of these foods, we reduce inflammation, thereby enhancing muscle strength and optimizing energy throughout the day.
Most importantly, take time to savor your food and be well.