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‘There’s no point ending up the richest person in the graveyard’
Why to Put Smácht on Your Diet?
The 3 top killers in the modern world today are cancer, heart disease and diabetes. All are directly related to diet. Half of us will die from heart disease or diabetes. A third will die from cancer. In fact Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young in their must read book ‘The pH Miracle’, go as far as stating that
‘eight of the top ten causes of death in America today are (diet related) – not to mention that diet is obviously the cause of the obesity of 60% of Americans’.
This makes for depressing reading and the cynics in my courses say ‘sure you have to die from something so what’s the problem with eating what you like?’ The answer is that you can greatly improve both the quantity and quality of your life by having the Smácht to make a few simple and doable dietary changes. You owe it to yourself, your family and those who depend on you.
How to Put Smácht on your Diet.
‘VOWS’ is a simple acronym to help you do just that. It stands for Vegetables; Omega 3 and 6 Oils; Water; and Supplements.
‘If you want to live to be a great age eat seven vegetables a day. If you want to live to one hundred eat ten vegetables a day’. Dr. Dílis Claire.
Ten years ago I attended a 4 day Tony Robbins seminar in London called ‘Unlimited Power’. For 12 unrelenting hours each day Tony pounded the stage delivering the most energetic and high content material I’d ever witnessed. He
rarely needed to take breaks – his energy never once faltered or wilted. I longed to know how he did it and was rewarded on the final day. He shared with us that the secret to unbelievably high energy and vitality levels was ‘Alkalisation’.
He explained that he modelled what the greatest endurance athletes in the world did. Stu Middleton, the first man to run a thousand miles in ten days, in turn modelled Tony’s diet.
When you think about it some of the strongest animals and mammals in the world have diets rich in vegetables and plankton such as elephants, horses, gorillas and whales.
The Young’s, Robert and Shelley, have proved scientifically what these athletes knew instinctively for generations – that ‘Acidity’ is the greatest enemy to our health.
‘Forget cholesterol and carbohydrate counts. Forget calories and fat grams. Forget blood pressure, blood sugar, hormone levels. It turns out that the single measurement most important to your health is the pH of your blood and tissues – how acidic or alkaline it is. The pH level of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. The entire metabolic process depends on an alkaline environment. Chronic over acidity corrodes body tissue, and if left unchecked will interrupt all cellular activities and functions. In other words, overacidity interferes with life itself. It is at the root of all sickness, dis-ease, and disease. There is only one ‘disease’. And that one disease is acidosis’.
And if that fails to motivate you: Overacidity is also what’s keeping you fat.
The SHAG should be to achieve a blood pH balance of 7.365.
Vegetables, particularly green vegetables, are extremely alkaline. As such they should become your best buddies and account for at least 50% or higher of the surface area of your dining plate.
When Dr. Claire suggested this at our Galway Smácht meeting many people had difficulty envisaging how they could practically eat seven vegetables a day. Her response was great. Initially she extolled the virtues of good soup. This alone could give you three to four of your daily quota. Then she advised making smoothies or juices containing delicious and alkaline rich vegetables. She lauded celery hugely – suggesting that glasses of raw celery sticks should be within easy reach all the time. In addition she suggested cooking with turmeric, garlic, ginger and cinnamon.
The above sounds great – if you’ve access to a kitchen and an orderly life. As for me however, I live my life between hotels and fast food restaurants. Her suggestion was to improvise and use supplements of wheatgrass or barley grass. Wheatgrass, which can be bought in powder form and mixed, with alkalised water for best effect, is so easy to take and has become my tipple of choice on all my seminars. I rarely get tired anymore and have developed massive reserves of energy which I ascribe hugely to simply drinking wheatgrass.
The Young’s explain that wheatgrass ‘contains more than one hundred food elements, including every identified mineral and trace mineral and every vitamin in the B-complex family. It has one of the highest pro-vitamin A contents of any food, and is rich in vitamins C, E, and K. Wheatgrass juice is 25% protein, a higher percentage than in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, or beans. In addition, it has high amounts of an anti fungal, antimycotoxic substance called Laetrile.
Other alkaline rich foods outside of vegetables include some fruits such as avocado, tomatoes, grapefruit and believe it or not lemons and limes. Nuts and seeds are a mighty alkalising food source and also a wonderful way to snack easily. Almonds, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are alkaline rich. I carry a mixed bag of these with me in the car and to all seminars and graze frequently on them. It’s also powerful to mix these with porridge for your breakfast.
Chickpeas, lentils, beans and sprouts are also great and can be mixed with olive oil, garlic and tahini to make a scrumptious hummus. You can plaster this onto your oatcakes and it makes for a very alkaline rich and low glycemic load snack.
You may recall from science class at school that the rapport between acid and base (alkaline) is scientifically measured on a scale of 0 to 14 known as pH which stands for ‘potential hydrogen’. Anything below 7 is acidic and anything above is base.
Those foods which are acidic in nature and to be avoided are:
Sugar. Very much an enemy. In any of it’s formats, sugar breaks down into acid. And this means unequivocal disease and fatness. In addition to this it plays havoc with your blood sugar levels. We have allowed ourselves be deluded by the fact that sugar is a stimulant – a necessary precursor of increased energy. While it will give an immediate ‘hit’ there will be a corresponding ‘low’ which cumulatively deprives you of energy.
The message is simple. Wage an immediate and unrelenting war on sugar in all it’s guises. Resist also the temptation to substitute it with artificial sweeteners. They are equally acidic. Dr. Dílis does recommend a green herb called Stevia which I must confess I found quite palatable.
Processed Foods: Invariably all of them are loaded with two of the least expensive bulking commodities in the world – sugar and salt. In addition to that, most of the nutrient rich food will have been destroyed by the processing process.
Fruit: For those of you brought up on the medical adage that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ be aware that most fruits are acidic. Sure they’ve got many useful components such as vitamins and fibre but as the Young’s say ‘sugar is sugar and acid is acid’. The exceptions are lemons and limes which are wonderful in water, salads or cooking.
Dairy Products: Many of us were also reared on the notion that ‘milk was the epitome of strength and health’. I can recall laughing at Tony Robbins when he mentioned that cows milk is impregnated with growth hormones designed to raise a calf from ninety pounds at birth to a thousand pounds at maturity two years later. I ceased guffawing when it dawned on me that that same milk is also used on humans who are born at an average weight of seven pounds and are expected to weigh only 160 pounds twenty one years later. Cows milk was never intended to be made for humans.
The reality is that all dairy products break down into lactic acid and directly impact your blood pH. In addition, milk breaks down into a sticky mucous that causes all sorts of problems to your digestion.
Salt: There is almost universal acceptance that salt is lethal for your general health. The Young’s do however make a clear distinction between two types of salt – table salt and sea or mineral salt. Table salt is lethal whilst sea or mineral salt is actually alkalising and essential for good health. The way you distinguish between the two is to place a teaspoonful of either salt into a glass of clear water and leave overnight. The table or processed salt will still be there in the morning. The natural salt will be absorbed into the water.
And if you’re in any doubt as to the burden that processed salt puts on your system consider that for every gramme of processed salt in your body it requires 23 grammes of water to neutralise it.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fats and Oils: Another myth perpetrated by many diets is that you must eliminate all fats. Do yourself a favour and take a trip to Milan and sit and indulge in the shape and physique of the Italians who pass you by. They look amazing. And they’ve been brought up on a diet of olives and vegetables.
Patrick Holford in ‘The Low-GL Diet Bible’ argues that there’s evidence that eating the ‘right fats’ can actually help you lose weight. ‘The reason is very simple. Your body and brain depend on omega-3 and omega-6 essential fats. In fact, excluding water, one quarter of your brain is made up of omega-3s. So almost nothing works well without them. Your brain can’t function, leading to lower IQ, poor memory and a tendency to depression. Your hormones go up the creek, possibly leading to mood swings, PMS, sugar cravings and weight gain. Your skin dries up, and your heart and arteries suffer’.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or krill. They are also to be found in olives, nuts and seeds. There are many excellent supplements in your health food shop.
Isn’t it interesting that Eskimos do not experience heart disease. Is it a coincidence that EFAs are a main part of their diet?
Water: I once heard Enda Mc Nulty, the all Ireland winning Armagh footballer, and now mind coach to the Leinster rugby team say that a 2% decrease in hydration resulted in an immediate 20% decrease in performance. The bad news is that hydration is one of the body’s poorest warning systems.
This is alarming because your muscles and heart are 75% alkaline water. Your blood is 94% alkaline water. And your eyes are 98% alkaline water. You expend as much water in cold weather as warm weather and as much sleeping as when you’re awake.
If you feel thirsty it’s likely that you are dehydrated and dipping well below your natural energy reserves. It also means that you’ll get fat. Metabolism falls by as much as 3% with even mild dehydration. It also triggers a process where your tissues begin to retain water in order to neutralise the acid build up. This makes your muscle tone flabby and flouncy.
The Young’s pull no punches when they say that ‘lack of water is the number one cause of daytime fatigue. Most people exist in a chronic state of low-level hydration for most of their lives. No wonder so very many of us are fat and sick and tired!’
It’s not just any water however. Water also has a pH factor and most tap water or bottled water just barely gets to a pH of 7. It is possible to increase the alkalinity of water three ways. The first is to sprinkle lemon or lime juice into it. Secondly it’s possible to buy pH drops in your health food shop. Thirdly, there are a whole range of ionising or electron adding machines that will transform the quality of your water. These are expensive however, ranging from €1000 to €3000. As one cancer survivor revealed to me though ‘it’s a small price to pay for your health’.
Supplements: Patrick Holford argues strongly for the inclusion of certain supplements in your diet to aid the energy function. In summary he recommends that you use a high-strength multivitamin to ensure you get the optimal intake of B vitamins and 1,000 mg of vitamin C. In addition he advocates the taking of the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc. Magnesium is crucial to the functioning of fully 75% of the enzymes in your body and is absent in many diets. Chromium works with insulin to help stabilise blood sugar and is an excellent way of suppressing hunger cravings.