Cleanse Experience - Vida Cleanse by Yesenia
 

Cleanse Experience

WHAT TO BRING

Getting ready for your Wellness trip? Be sure to bring what you need to have a safe, comfortable time. For a relaxing and refreshing stay, here are the “must-haves” for your packing list:

Comfortable clothes – Not every moment of a retreat will be dedicated to exercise – there will be plenty of time to relax and socialize. Bring unrestrictive clothing that you feel comfortable in, so you can focus on your wellbeing, not how you look.

Good shoes – It’s tempting to buy a pair of brand new workout shoes before your trip but be sure to break them in first. Your shoes should provide protection and support during workouts, hikes and daily wear, without distracting your focus.

Clothing that matches the weather – Check both day and night weather at your wellness spa location. Bring versatile separates that you can layer up or down, depending on the time of day.

Watch – Even if you’re not the type who normally wears a watch, be sure to bring one along. With your phone back in your room, you’ll need a trusty timepiece to let you know how much time is left in your workout and when to start getting ready for your next activity.

Medications – Don’t forget your meds! Being away from home might make it difficult to get replacements.

Bathing suit – Soak Soak Soak, it’s smart to bring a bathing suit for swimming, sauna time or other water workouts.

A small backpack (VC will provide one too) – You aren’t going to want to haul a purse around at your retreat, so bring a light backpack for your room key, extra sunscreen, sunglasses and water bottle. If you want to travel even lighter, wear a waist pack.

Sunscreen – We sell sunblock here, if you have a favorite brand or sensitive skin, it’s best to bring your own.

Reusable water bottle – Hydration is your best friend during any wellness spa stay. Bring your water bottle and refill it often.

Sports undergarments – You’ll work up a sweat during your stay, so be sure to bring moisture-wicking underwear and at least two sports bras (for women), so you can use one set while the others are being laundered.

A journal – In addition to written exercises that are part of your retreat curriculum, use your journal to write down any emotions that come up during your stay, track your progress, and take notes on what you learn.

Friends & family mementos – If you’re headed to the Vida Cleanse solo, bring along photos and notes of encouragement from your loved ones. These mementos can remind you that you’re supported and give you a boost if you start to feel homesick.

What to bring:

  • Comfortable clothes
  • Robe (hotel will provide one)
  • Hiking shoes (tennis shoes are ok)
  • Swimsuit
  • Sun Protection/ Hat
  • Book or magazines
  • Camera
  • Yoga wear/ hiking
  • Comfy pajamas
  • Light sweater (check weather)
  • Flip flops
  • Headphones / ear plugs / charger
  • Water dispenser / thermos
  • Positive Energy

Things NOT to bring:

  • NO jewelry or valuables
  • NO scented lotions or perfume
  • NO cigarettes or alcohol
  • NO food
  • Limit Cell phones use especially around the pool and guests.
  • NO work/the least amount of work the better.
  • Negative Energy

THE SIDE EFFECTS OF FASTING

Bad Breath – Very common while fasting, this is the body working the toxins out. Generally, teeth brushing doesn’t get rid of the odor.

Bloating – Also quite common. And your body releases toxins, toxic gases can contribute to bloating. Try increasing your water intake, take a sauna.

Black Tongue – Not uncommon while fasting. It was Altavista bacteria in the mouth. It will subside as you begin your normal routine again adding a liberty to the day as well as lymphatic stimulation treatments.

Gas – Very common try to use the slant board for at least 15 minutes a massager abdomen. adding an internal abdominal massage usually does the trick.

Headache, Nausea and Vomiting – Headaches and very common while fasting, and occasionally can experience nausea and vomiting. Try soaking in our mineral pools, use of the Violet room. A cranial sacral massage usually house with most of those side effects.

Diarrhea – Frequently occurs with fasting and having and having colonics. Stay well hydrated, continue to have your colonics they are very hydrating to the body while detoxing especially if you’re eliminating more than usual.

Insomnia – Your body has excess energy as you are not utilizing your energy to digest solid. Try if you relaxing teas to de-stress. Warming up your potassium broth soup softens the evening. Don’t forget to soak in are amazing mineral pools. Meditation calms our thoughts.

Fatigue / Low Energy – Energy dips are common wealth fasting and can be exacerbated if you are detoxing from caffeine comma sugar or cigarettes. if you have candida or have been under Pronounce tres your energy maybe more extreme. Try increasing your water intake, dehydration can be distinguished as fatigue.

Skin Rash/Breakout – Your skin is an organ of elimination. Therefore, rashes and breakouts are common due to toxic releasing through your skin. Try booking a body wrap or an exfoliation treatment to help detoxify the body.

Sunburn – Although we stress protecting your skin, with 300-plus days of sun in the desert, sunburns can happen. Try fresh Aloe plant, per requested at frontdesk.

PREPARATION WILL MAXIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS

Preparing for your time at Azure Palm Hot Springs Vida Cleanse Detox Juice Fast is crucial to your detoxification success and will impact how you both respond and feel during the fast. Our guests who adhere to the following suggestions find they benefit the most from our program.

For maximum results we suggest that three to four days prior to your juice fast you change your normal diet by:

  • Eating fruit, raw and steamed vegetables, salads, juices, and herbal teas.
  • Taking two (2) tablespoons of olive oil at bedtime.
  • Drinking 8 ounces of prune juice in the mornings and taking herbal laxatives or laxative teas nightly.

Foods to avoid: All grains, pasta, bread, meat, cheese, fish, dairy, processed food, caffeine and alcohol.

You may eat sprouts for protein.

Begin Healing Your Body and Achieve Remarkable Results

Juice fasting is a tremendous way to begin healing your body. By giving your system a break from traditional solid foods, you free up the energy required to break down and digest those foods so it can power the five organs of detoxification – skin, lungs, kidney, colon, and liver– allowing your body to release and remove waste and toxins.

Drinking nutrient rich foods in the form of juice will flood your body with vital micronutrients, allowing it to quickly absorb these immune boosting vitamins, minerals, and enzymes into the bloodstream and deliver them where they are most needed. Not only will this increase the health of your body internally, but it will increase your energy, help facilitate weight loss, and improve the condition of your skin.

Juice Fasting is something that we should all do periodically, at least every six months. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Vida Cleanse.

Tips for a 5-7 days before:

If you like to be prepared, you can plan out your juices for the week and what you’re going to throw in them. It’s good to have a rough idea of the types of juices or green smoothies you’ll be making during the fast, and shop accordingly. This avoids waste and saves money.

Also, stock up on herbal teas. You can have as many herbal teas as you like during the day, and it’s a great excuse to buy some more exotic blends, especially any herbs that are beneficial to and aid detoxing.

Another great drink to have during the day is lemon in hot water with some ginger. Blend up a small piece of ginger with a glass of filtered water and you have a lovely ginger juice to go with your hot lemon drink. Very alkalising and detoxifying.

The great news is that you can juice or make green smoothies as often as you like during the day, or when you get hungry. Here is an example of my shopping list (I will have a few fruits in there, but I aim to keep the sugar content down as much as possible during the fast.):

Shopping List
Kale
Mint
Basil
Parsley
Ginger
Lemons
Limes
Tomatoes
Beetroot
Carrots
Cabbage
Lettuce
Apple
Orange
Blueberries
Strawberries
Kiwifruit
Watermelon
Baby Spinach
Chia Seeds
Spirulina
Chlorella
Bee Pollen
Young Thai Coconut
Himalayan Sea Salt
Good quality Probiotic capsule
Probiotic Drink
Dry Skin Brush

 

I’d also strongly recommend booking a colonic or two. sauna sessions and massages. They are great at helping move the detoxification process along as some of you may find (as I do), things just stop working altogether! And during a detox its crucial things keep moving.

Buy a dry skin brush (i provide one for you) from your local health food store, or sometimes a good chemist will sell them. These help stimulate the lymph system and remove dead skin cells daily.

Let your friends and family know of your planned juice fast, and ask for their support during this time. They may think you are crazy, but you’re in a great position to set an example and be a walking advertisement for all the benefits of doing juice fast! It might even inspire them to go and do one themselves!

Try to scale back your social engagements, it will be way too tempting to be out and surrounded by food and possibly alcohol.

Have some guided meditation CDs on hand, as these will come in handy during those moments of wanting to give in! Also get online and chat to others who are also juice fasting at the same time as you. Moral support is so important during this time and really does help.

Buy a journal so you can jot down daily how you are feeling before, during and after the fast. This will be great to get those thoughts, feelings and emotions out as well as to look back on after the fast.

Also please check in with your healthcare practitioner before starting a juice fast, especially if you are on medication, have a serious illness or pregnant.

Tips for during your juice fast:

Most people experience some sort of detox reaction during a juice fast. I remember mine vividly! I had a serious detox brain and could not even string a sentence together.

Other people sail through without problems, going to work, hitting the gym, running marathons….

It’s important to check in with your body on a daily basis during the fast. If you’re feeling tired that day, take it easy and try to schedule some nap time if possible. If you’re bouncing out of bed, then feel free to do your usual routine, including exercise.

What to expect when you’re fasting:

Tiredness, moodiness, anger, weakness, lightheadedness, insomnia, skin breakouts, irritability are among the more common ones. If you have a recurrent health issue (ie. eczema, acne, sinus issues), be warned that may get worse before it gets better.

It’s important to be patient and breathe through these periods, call on a friend or chat with someone who is going through the same thing. You might find that a lot of emotional stuff surfaces, too.

Just take deep breaths and know that these moments shall pass. By the end of the five days, you’ll be feeling incredible.

Journaling every day helps, too.

Why do these detox reactions occur?

By doing a juice fast, you are telling your body you are ready to heal and detoxify. It starts cleaning the house, but if you have a lot of toxins, your body will be working overdrive to dump those toxins, making you feel sick. Your bowels may decide to have you spend most of the time on the toilet or the complete opposite!

 

Tips for removing toxins:

  1. Colonics.

These are brilliant at removing blocked waste matter and toxins from the colon, as well as toning the bowel and creating a clean environment internally to allow good bacteria to flourish and colonize. Good bacteria cannot colonize a toxic environment, an important tip if you really want your expensive probiotics to work.

  1. Infrared Sauna

This is my favourite sauna, far better than a Swedish sauna, because it penetrates deeper into the skin’s layers and targets organs to detox from the inside out. Plus, there is no blasting steam, just a nice dry, comfortable heat.

  1. Massage

This is a wonderful way to move toxins out of the body. Not only does it feels great, it will help you sleep better, too.

  1. Exercise

As mentioned before, do this at a pace that suits your body’s energy levels during the juice fast. Gentle walks or yoga are great for the low energy days. If you feel up to it, do your normal exercise routine if that means a run or hitting the gym. Working up a sweat is also a great way to get toxins out of the body.

  1. Sun

Direct sunlight on our bodies gives us energy, and that really important vitamin, vitamin D, which boosts our immune system and helps prevent cancer. Sunlight also triggers our body to produce 200 antimicrobials that kill off bad bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Try to get at least 15 minutes to half an hour of sunshine a day, as the best way to get vitamin D into your body is on skin without sunscreen. (Try to avoid peak UV periods if you’re concerned about sunburn.) Roll up your sleeves or expose a leg or two!

  1. Dry Skin Brush

A dry skin brush is essential for a daily mini detox, and makes you feel good! It also makes your skin lovely and soft and helps banish cellulite. Do in the morning for a few minutes before you get in the shower. Start by brushing in long sweeps from the base of your toes, work up your legs, up to the middle of your body, working towards your heart. Then start from the tips of your fingers and work in long sweeps down your body towards your heart. Make sure you do your neck, and back as well. Your body should be tingling all over.

Please note: Do not store juices in the fridge to drink later, unless you own a Cold Press Masticating Juicer such as the Oscar Neo. Juices oxidize very quickly and will not be beneficial to you unless you drink them immediately.

 

How to eat after a juice fast:

On the last day of your juice fast, you may be desperate to eat anything–even the furniture–or you may be so nonchalant about eating, you could continue fasting for another year. (Ha!)

However, some people do continue the fast for another few days or weeks. Your body will signal when its really, truly ready to eat again. This does not mean a trip to McDonalds or a three course meal from the in-laws who mean well.

Breakfast: On your first day off the juice fast, I recommend a fruit bowl (and only fruit) for breakfast. If you prefer not to have the fruit, a simple, light salad with lemon juice, dressing would be a lovely way to break the fast.

Lunch: Continue with a salad for lunch, you may want to include some sprouts and fermented foods (cultured vegetables) here. These types of foods are pre-digested, which makes them easy to digest and the cultured vegetables are teeming with good bacteria.

Dinner: Lightly steamed vegetables tossed with lemon juice, dulse flakes and himalayan sea salt would be a nice option for dinner. Or maybe a miso soup or a raw vegetable soup with garlic and some cayenne pepper. Continue eating light foods such as these for two days.

The key is light foods, no meat, refined sugar or dairy or wheat and they must be organic. You do not want to stress your organs and tax your digestion by eating heavy foods right away. Keep up your fluids and keep taking your probiotics. (This should be part of your daily routine anyway.)

On Day 3 continue to eat light meals but you may start to re-introduce nuts and seeds, for example breakfast could be some mixed soaked nuts with soaked chia blended to make a morning breakfast porridge and add some homemade raw almond milk. Add back in the good fats such as Coconut Oil, Avocado, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil or Flaxseed Oil. Add in some gluten free grains, such as Quinoa, Amaranth and Millet to your meals.

On Day 4, continue to eat as above, but you may introduce some light animal protein (if you wish) such as steamed fish, chicken or eggs to your meal. Ensure the fish you eat is high up on the food chain and all eggs and chicken are organic and locally sourced.

On Day 5, you may reintroduce dairy and meat if you desire. However if you do, any dairy should be raw (not pasteurized) and any meat should be grass fed, organic and locally sourced. Keep in mind food combining principles also when planning meals.

Now that you have done a fast this is a great opportunity to not slip back into any bad habits consuming processed foods, wheat, dairy, meat or sugar. Heck, why not give up the coffee and alcohol too! These are strongly addictive foods and substances and will have you back on that vicious cycle before you know it. (Don’t I know it!)

And finally, the most important part is to congratulate yourself! What a huge achievement and truly special way to honor yourself–to allow yourself to become a healthier, stronger, more vibrant version of you!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What to do when I am there as well as when I return home?
A: We want you to leave here with a new set of tools to live a healthier lifestyle when you return home. We start you off with a full orientation class on your arrival day. Here you will learn exactly how to do the cleanse during your stay. Our classes are designed to center you in preparation for your week as well as to acquaint you with the classes.

Q: Will I be hungry?
A: Until your body switches to release load you may feel hungry pain. You’ll find that if you follow the program you will be drinking every hour which satisfies the body’s need for intake. So long as you stay on schedule and on track with your juices and supplements, your body will soon adjust. Remember, you are receiving all of the nutrients you need in liquid form during your cleanse.

Q: What if I am on medication or taking supplements?
A: The majority of our guests successfully continue with their prescribed medication while completing Vida cleanse. Please consult with your prescribing physician should you have any questions regarding your medication. We ask that you refrain from taking any additional supplement other than listed on the Vita cleanse program. As our plan has been carefully designed and includes everything you need for a successful cleanse.

Q: Will I lose weight?
A: An average of 5-10 pounds based on an individual’s metabolism. Then off to move more quickly. The program is not designed for weight loss but the release of toxic waste and the effect on your metabolism positively affect weight loss.

Q: What should I do about breaking my fast on my trip home?
A: Upon checkout Vida cleanse will have a nutritious smoothie. Along with some additional information on how to post cleanse. Should you require additional food for your journey recommend Clark’s Nutrition or Nature’s Health Food & Cafe, Palm Greens and MOD Cafe.

Q: What results can I expect from my detox program?
A: Commonly reported results include increased energy and vitality, increased Clarity and alertness, your skin and brighter eyes. You will have a vibrant look with bright eyes and improve skin tone. Your sleeping will improve. Many of our guests eliminate their dependency on caffeine, sugar, and nicotine and other substances.

Q: How can I continue to feel great when I return home?
A: We recommend that you continue your good health habits by eating a whole plant based diet. Adding more fiber and hydration to your body. The most important rule for weaning yourself off your detox diet is to keep it simple. “I always find it helpful to break a cleanse with easy-to-digest foods.” These can include steamed or puréed vegetables or lightly sautéed greens, as well as proteins such as nuts, legumes, whey and eggs. One of her favorite post-cleanse recipes is a green soup made from puréed string beans, zucchini and celery, which nourishes the body with natural sodium, potassium and electrolytes. Add cooked carrot to the blend for an extra boost. YUM!

7 WAYS TO AVOID DETOX SYMPTOMS ON A CLEANSE

If you’ve ever done any kind of fasting or detoxification protocol for any length of time, you may very well be all too familiar with the various kinds of unpleasant symptoms that can manifest during such cleanses. Even just going cold turkey for a few days from things like drinking coffee, diet soda, eating refined sugar, or smoking tobacco can trigger such reactions.
Some of the most common detox symptoms when doing a fast or detox include headaches, nausea, body aches, nasal or sinus congestion, sore throat, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, or even full blown flu-like symptoms. Such symptoms are known by various names including healing reactions, cleansing reactions, healing crises, Herxheimer reactions, detox symptoms, or in some cases, die-off.

The Underlying Causes of Detox Symptoms

Many people who endure these sorts of disagreeable sensations want to know more about exactly what’s going on in their bodies when they’re happening, and what they can do to prevent them from occurring in the first place. What’s happening when we experience these sorts of detox symptoms while we’re implementing a cleansing protocol is essentially threefold:
Because we’re being proactive about cleansing ourselves, during this time, the cells of our bodies suddenly have an opportunity to release an even greater than normal quantity of stored toxins, pathogens, impurities, metabolic wastes and other materials that do not belong inside us.
Several of the body’s innate pathways through which it normally and naturally eliminates such undesirable materials become overwhelmed, stagnated, and effectively incapacitated by the unusually large quantities of toxicity being released on a cellular level throughout the body. This puts undue pressure on the remaining pathways. In some cases, there may also be pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts that have been feeding on substances we’ve been regularly ingesting, (for instance candida that feed on an overabundance of sugars in the diet) which may die when we deprive them of their preferred food, which releases toxic substances into the bloodstream. Such a die-off can contribute to and exacerbate the problem of the already compromised and overburdened elimination pathways.

The Body’s Modes of Elimination

Our bodies are innately equipped with an ingenious and highly interactive system of organs and processes through which it has been naturally designed to mobilize and purge toxic materials from itself on an ongoing basis.
These are the body’s primary organs and pathways of elimination:
Colon
Liver
Kidneys
Lymphatics
Lungs
Skin
Blood

Each of these pathways is synergistically interconnected with and interdependent upon the others, and if they’re all functioning properly chances are we’ll enjoy good health. However, if one or more of these pathways becomes sluggish, congested, overwhelmed, or is otherwise functioning less than optimally, this puts an unnatural burden on the others, which often results in unpleasant symptoms. For instance, if our liver is congested, especially during a cleanse, we may notice some skin eruptions like a rash or adult acne. Or if we’re experiencing constipation while doing a detox protocol, we may develop flu symptoms like swollen lymph glands, a sore throat, or perhaps a cough or lung congestion.

Supporting the Body’s Detox Pathways

The key to avoiding detox symptoms during a cleanse is to be proactive about supporting our body’s own inherent ability to cleanse itself. We can do this by employing various holistic methods that assist, empower and clear our natural detoxification organs and pathways to more effectively do their job of mobilizing and offloading toxins and wastes.

Here are 7 suggestions for doing so while on a cleanse so that detoxing can be attempted and completed with minimal to no discomfort:

1. Promote good regularity
Keeping the bowels moving during any cleanse is crucial. Two of the best ways to help get things moving if constipation is an issue are to take supplemental magnesium or a source of Vitamin C that is whole food based (not synthetic ascorbic acid).

2. Enemas or colon hydrotherapy/colonics
Many people are unaware of the powerful healing and detoxifying effects of doing a simple warm water enema, which is an age old cleansing practice that can easily be done in the privacy of your own home.
Another option is to have a colon hydrotherapy session, where the lower bowl is gently irrigated and flushed by a licensed professional using modern equipment.

3. Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal (AV) is known as the “universal antidote” which when ingested is renowned for its powerful ability to safely draw toxins, pathogens and wastes into its massive surface area, hold them fast, and efficiently remove them from the body right along with the feces during a bowel movement.

4. Salt baths
Adding sea salt, magnesium chloride flakes or oil, baking soda, or a combination of these to a warm bath, and soaking in it for at least a half hour is an excellent way to draw toxins out of the body via the skin. An epsom salt bath is particularly helpful for this purpose as it both detoxifies and helps remedy magnesium and sulfur deficiencies that may exist. Adding powdered bentonite clay to baths is also very beneficial. And if a whole body bath is not feasible, simply doing a foot bath can also be helpful.
This article provides much more detail on cleansing, detoxification baths.

5. Dry skin brushing
Brushing the skin of the entire body while it’s dry with a special natural bristle brush made specifically for this purpose is a fantastic method both for exfoliating the skin as well as stimulating and supporting improved functioning of the entire lymphatic system.

6. Castor oil packs over the liver
A clean cotton or wool flannel cloth, soaked with castor oil, applied over the liver, (and covered with an old, heavy towel) covered with a heating pad and left on for about an hour is phenomenal for encouraging improved liver function. A castor oil pack not only helps the liver to better do one of its main jobs, which is blood filtration/cleansing, but it’s also tremendous for catalyzing the lymphatics, which are integral to cleansing the body on a cellular level.

7. Rebounding
If you have access to a rebounder or mini trampoline, bouncing on this piece of equipment is one of the best things you can do during a cleanse to support your body’s ability to naturally offload toxicity. Even just bouncing gently without leaving the mat is beneficial, as this action directly stimulates and mobilizes the body’s entire lymphatic system, assisting it in the transport, processing and elimination of wastes and pathogenic materials.
And finally, always be sure to drink plenty of the purest water available to you, which is absolutely vital for anyone following any detoxification protocol to help prevent detox symptoms, and be as gentle with yourself as possible during your process of inner purification.

pH THE ACID-ALKALINE BALANCE

You may have heard about pH or the acid-alkaline balance in your wellness travels. I was oblivious to this concept when I began my health journey. But my overall well-being changed when I started to connect the dots between pH balance, inflammation and what I was eating and drinking. I’ve covered this topic in all of my books, but I realize that I haven’t blogged about it for years. Since many of you are new readers (and some of ya could use a little reminder), I thought I’d tackle pH again today. Let’s dive in.

So what the heck is pH?

Remember high school science class? Well, if you don’t, here’s a little refresher course: The body maintains a delicate acid-alkaline balance. Everything from healthy cells to cancer cells to soil quality and ocean life is affected by pH. The term pH stands for “potential hydrogen” which is the measure of hydrogen ions in a particular solution (don’t worry if you’re not science-savvy, I’ll make this easy to understand!). In our case, that “solution” refers to our body’s fluids and tissues.

The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is and ranges from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral. Below 7 becomes increasingly acidic, above 7 increasingly alkaline.

As with most health-related barometers, balance is everything. Proper pH varies throughout your body for many reasons. For example, your bowels, skin and vagina should be slightly acidic–this helps keep unfriendly bacteria away. Saliva is more alkaline, while your urine is normally more acidic, especially in the morning. In addition, your body regularly deals with naturally occurring acids that are the by-products of respiration, metabolism, cellular breakdown and exercise. So clearly the goal is not to think of acid as “bad” and alkaline “good.” Again, it’s a delicate balance.

By far the most important measurement is your blood. For optimal cellular health, your blood pH must be slightly alkaline with a pH between 7.365 and 7.45. Our bodies are programmed to maintain this range no matter what, since even the slightest dip or rise in pH can have seriously dangerous consequences. Now here’s the possible problem: The Standard American Diet (SAD) is rife with acidic substances and foods—meat, dairy, highly processed food products and refined sugar. Environmental toxins can be acidic, too, and sadly, those are pretty dang hard to avoid.

Some research claims our bodies can self-correct in the presence of such acidic materials with no negative health impact—but other studies suggests our bods have to work harder to neutralize the acidic load, resulting in a gradual decline in health. The jury’s still out and further research is needed, but we do know that high acid diets are associated with gout and kidney stones, so it seems likely there’s something to the whole pH and food connection. To that I say, why not tip the scales in the alkaline direction?

The Relationship Between pH & Your Health

Think of the standard American diet (SAD). Most folks are shovelin’ in the acid multiple times per day with tons of sugar, processed foods, factory farmed animal products, etc. One of the biggest pitfalls of the SAD is the toll it takes on the body, especially the digestive system, liver, and kidneys. Inflammation, allergies, arthritis, skin problems, constipation, bowel issues, stress (physical & mental) and chronic disease LOVE this diet. Excess acidity also sets the stage for bad bacteria (like yeast and fungus) and even viruses that wreak havoc on our health.

We can potentially tilt the pH scale in the alkaline direction with a diet filled with mineral-rich plant foods. By eating a more alkaline diet (leafy greens, wheatgrass, veggies, sprouts, avocados, green juices and smoothies) as opposed to an acidic diet (high in animal products, processed carbs, refined sugar, energy drinks, etc), we flood our bodies with alkalinity, vitamins and other nutrients. Healthy food creates healthy cells. Conversely, junk goes in and junk comes out.

Look at your plate, peek in your glass. What direction are you moving in? On the pH scale, Soda = 2. Coffee = 4. Cucumber = 7. Get the picture? Burger, fries, diet cola, muffin, candy bar? Acid bath. Green drinks, salads, sprouts? Alkaline bonanza! Your goal is to make more energy deposits than withdrawals. Do you have to be perfect? NO. And it’s not even possible to eat a 100 percent alkaline diet and maintain good health anyway. Foods like beans, grains and nuts are overall quite healthy and essential to a plant-powered diet—yet they’re also slightly acidic. It’s the highly acidic foods we need to be careful about (but no one’s saying don’t have cake on your birthday. Please do.). Again, your goal is to fill your well more than you deplete it. Our bodies forgive the detours and exploration, as long as they don’t take place 24-7.

Testing Your pH

You may be tempted to start testing your pH like a mad woman to make sure you’re on track, but it’s really not necessary. I tested my tinkle a lot when I first learned about pH, but these days I’m comfortable skipping the strips, knowing that I’m doing what I can to contribute to my pH balance with the three diet and lifestyle practices below.

But if you’re still curious, you can test your urine at home with litmus paper strips (available online for about $10). Keep in mind that the pH of urine always varies, depending on what you eat and when, and that you should test your second urine of the day for the best snapshot of what’s going on inside.

Testing your urine can show you how well your body is excreting acids and assimilating minerals. For optimum sparkle, your urine should fall in the 6.8 to 7.5 pH range.

TOP 3 WAYS TO SUPPORT PH BALANCE

1. Start your day with a tall glass of lemon water and stay hydrated.
While lemons are acidic in their natural form, lemon water is alkaline-forming in the body. Drench your cells in alkalinity each morning with two cups of lukewarm, filtered water with ¼ fresh-squeezed lemon. Yes, there are fancy (and expensive) water ionizers out there, but you can also alkalize your water by simply adding lemon.

2. Eat more raw foods and drink green juices and smoothies.
Organic green juice, green juice, green juice and green smoothies! As mentioned above, leafy greens, wheatgrass, veggies, sprouts, certain fruits, nuts and seeds, certain grains and seaweeds flood our bodies with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and phytonutrients—and alkalinity. Unhealthy cells (like cancer cells) or viruses, bacteria and other nasty microorganisms hate oxygen. They prefer an acidic diet high in animal products, processed and refined foods, and synthetic chemicals.

3. Exercise, manage stress, sleep better and avoid nasty chemicals and cigs.
It’s not just diet that affects your pH. Lack of exercise and an overage of anger, drugs, cigs and stress can create inflammation and acidity in the body. Stress isn’t a laughing matter or a badge of courage. The work-hard, play-hard, deal-with-it-later approach is a big pH no-no. Emotional stress releases acid-forming hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that flood your system and muck up your soil. Whether it’s through more yoga, cat naps, meditation, breathing exercises, strolls in the woods or stress management counseling, reducing the negativity in your day-to-day is a powerful way to improve your cellular health.

ALKALINE VS. ACIDIC FOODS

How do we know if a food is alkaline or acidic, and by how much? The most common method is to incinerate a sample of the food and analyze the mineral content of the ash. Not something you can do with a chemistry set from Toys “R” Us. At any rate, if the ash is high in alkaline minerals, the food will probably have an alkalizing effect. That’s the theory, anyway. Because lab results and experts often disagree, the many books and Web sites that give alkaline and acidic food charts also disagree. Usually the disagreement is minor. In some cases, though, it’s much bigger.

Whether a food is mildly alkalizing or mildly acidifying doesn’t really matter very much. There are definitely shades of gray. What’s far more important is to understand what’s highly acidic and thus also inflammatory in order to make better choices. And I’ve added some resources to help you do just that.