Q. Is it true that you are either acid or alkaline and that what are you are will dictate what type of food you should eat?
There are some food groups that are more acidic than others but it is a complete myth that you build up acid. Obviously, when doing interval sessions or sustained tempo sessions during which you are operating at, or above lactate threshold you produce lactic acid, but this will be changed back into ‘pyruvate’ in another part of an energy production pathway.
There is research that suggests that some people should reduce their consumption of acid based foods but for others, it’s suggested they reduce alkaline based foods. This all depends on your personality type and physical characteristics. SYMPATHETIC (usually acidic) types tend to have narrow shoulders/wider hips be tall/thin; have large bones; be underweight with good muscle definition; be pale with dry skin/hair and large pupils. Their dietary traits are: a low appetite; they do well on vegetables/grains (veggie); eat infrequently; prefer a high carb/low protein/low fat diet and eat to live.
The other type, PARASYMPATHETIC (usually alkaline) tend to have broad shoulders/narrow hips; be shorter/wider; be strong with good endurance; be overweight with poor muscle definition; be flushed with clear moist skin and small pupils. Being the opposite to their sympathetic counterpart, they tend to have a an excess appetite; do well on meats/fats (carnivore); eat often; enjoy low carb/high protein/high fat and live to eat!
Q I’m trying to lose weight but when I ran the marathon last year, I put on weight because I was so hungry. How can I balance the output with the input?
Improve the quality of your foods. When you restrict calories you can also reduce vital nutrients. Remember that cell production take up an enormous amount of energy. Your body needs nutrients. Sometimes, restricting calories puts stress on the body which can lead to weight-gain. You need 51 nutrients to reach a satiety (feeling satisfied, full). Here are some simple ways to make sure that food is nutrient-dense:
- Eat whole, natural foods that are fresh and totally unprocessed.
- Eat naturally-raised meat and fish, and whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows (preferably raw and/or fermented).
- Use only traditional fats and oils including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil, and the tropical oils – coconut and palm.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic for optimum nutrition.
- Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or ‘sour leavening’ (a sort of fermentation for grains) to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
- Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish.
- Use unrefined Celtic seasalt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
- Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder (a natural sugar).
Q What are Probiotics? Should I take them and if so what’s the best way to take them?
The probiotic drinks that are now available like Yakult are meant to introduce good bacteria into the gut.
Eighty four per cent of your immunity is located in the gut wall so you can pretty much guarantee that if your gut isn’t healthy then you won’t be either as all the systems in the body work in synergy. There are around 750 trillion bacteria in a typical gut. But the Western diet filled with dead food and alcohol, and medication (antibiotics) kill off these bacteria, which ward off pathogens, fight allergens and help us digest food.
So, the question is how do we replace it? Probiotics are the expensive way and often don’t contain the right, or enough bacteria. The easiest way to remedy this is to use the products that have kept our guts healthy for millions of years, such as:
- Organic full fat raw unpasteurised dairy products.
- Lacto fermented vegetables and drinks like Sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables. These are also easy to produce yourself with home-brewing kits.
Ryan James is a fitness and nutrition lecturer with Premier Training: www.premierglobal.co.uk