Much Ado About Lemons
While working toward my certification with CanFitPro’s Nutrition and Weight Loss Specialist course I have been trying to apply what I’ve learned to my own diet with the goal of having more even energy through my work day (without caffeine) and smooth digestion. Tall order with such long work days!! But I’m pleased to find I do notice a big difference with the boost of nutrition, properly timed through the day.
I was finding the information on nutritious lemons to be confusing in that they are supposed to be alkalizing, thus anti-inflammatory in the body, yet feel acidic in my stomach. I love the taste of lemon in almost anything, but I was finding that daily consumption of warm lemon water first thing in the morning left me with gastritis (stomach inflammation) after a week. So here is the old “if a little is good then a lot must be great” approach showing up again: I had read on line that one should squeeze half a lemon in a cup of water. And guess what? It tasted really sour and felt really acidic on an empty stomach. Not surprising, but read on for some interesting thoughts about that! So now I’m ready to try again with a lot less lemon in my water to start with…hoping to tolerate and increase as my body becomes more alkaline.
I posed this question to our awesome CanFitPro teacher Fyonna Vanderwerf. I found her response was so thorough and interesting I felt you all might enjoy the information too. Here it is:
There is often misunderstanding of lemon’s pH outside the body versus inside the body.
Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7). This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this. It’s a citrus fruit.
Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of the body (pH above 7 is alkaline). Please notice the difference.
Why is it important for body tissue to be alkaline rather than acidic? Well, for chemistry enthusiasts, we know that in long-term acidic environments, normal cell structure and function are damaged. The exception to this is the stomach, where the hydrochloric acid secreted there is intended to aid in cellular digestion of food. But even the stomach is internally lined with special cells to prevent the acid from burning through the stomach’s layer (a condition otherwise known as “gastritis” or stomach ulcer).
Similar to the food we eat, human tissue – muscles, organs, fascia, cells and blood – simply break down faster in acidic conditions. The only difference however, is that ingested food becomes fuel for life in its metabolized state whereas broken down tissue dies and becomes toxic waste.
How does the body become acidic? Through unbalanced diets too rich in acid-producing or inflammatory foods, repressed or unexpressed negative emotions, persistent negative subconscious thought patterns, and overall wear and tear in human body functions.
You may have heard that the acidity of lemon juice reduces the healthy enamel on teeth. The answer to this lies in whether a person sucks on fresh lemons or limes all the time. If so, then yes, doing so will damage the teeth’s enamel.
But drinking lemon-water does not expose the teeth for excessive amounts of time to high citrus acidic levels in the mouth, thereby causing no harm to the enamel. In fact, it improves plaque-stained teeth and bad breath.
You may have also heard that lemon juice causes cavities. Yikes! Not true. I even checked with my own holistic-focused dentist (who I recommend in a heartbeat – Dr. Ross Gorrell in Tsawwassen, B.C., Canada). No matter if someone takes a lot of lemon juice in their diet, if they have relatively more sugar (processed foods, pastries, candy, pop, cakes, breads, chocolate, etc.), then it’s the comparatively higher amount of sugar intake that leads to cavities. When metabolized in the bloodstream, sugar is highly acidic, and because blood is the body’s amazing superhighway, this leads to the breakdown of teeth, among many other symptoms of unbalanced health.
Simply put, outside the body lemon juice is acidic; inside the body after its minerals dissociate, its effect is alkalizing. So in fact, lemon juice is both acidic and alkalizing.
Now what are its long-term benefits, indicators of general pH level in the body, and exceptions for those who would not be recommended to take it?
10 BENEFITS of Drinking Warm Lemon-Water (i.e. not claimed to be a “cure” for the following conditions)
- Decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol
- Cut through and reduce phlegm congesting the lungs and sinuses, or phlegm expressed externally as pus (ex. acne, boils, shingles)
- Cut through adipose (fat) and cellulite tissue to assist weight loss, especially when taken first thing in the morning before breakfast
- Decrease “fatty” liver
- Astringe body fluid to help prevent abnormal fluid discharge (ex. night sweats, spontaneous daytime sweats, seminal leakage, urine incontinence, bedwetting) – this is based on over 4000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which each flavour in food is understood to have a therapeutic purpose, and “sour” flavoured foods are used in herbal medicine to help astringe unwanted leakage of body fluids
- Maintain teeth and mouth health
- Reduce sweet, pastry and gluten cravings (which all cause acidic environments in the body)
- Detoxify and alkalize acidic conditions seen in many diseases ailing people today (ex. rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, gout, diabetes type II, multiple sclerosis, digestive disorders, allergies, chronic fatigue)
- Nourish and relax tight fascia tissue – ligaments, tendons and connective tissue
- Maintain glowing, moisturized healthy skin and boost immunity
General pH Level Indicator
Keeping your dosage of lemon juice per 1 cup water consistent, a simple indicator of whether your body is more acidic or alkaline is whether lemon juice in hot or warm water tastes sour or not. If the sour taste is strong, your body is very acidic. If it’s not sour at all and even tastes like lemonade to you (without the sugar), your body is in a healthier, more alkaline state.
Depending on a) your ratio of lemon juice to water; b) body’s level of acidity; and c) consistency in daily intake, the taste of lemon-water should eventually not taste very sour at all.
Those who would not be recommended to regularly take lemon-water (or might start with very weak doses) are those who have particularly strong acid reflux (heartburn) or ulcers (known or unknown) – mouth, esophageal or stomach ulcers. In these cases, lemon juice may cause an irritating “burning” sensation, because it has not yet been metabolized by the body and is still in its acidic state when passing these areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, other remedies would be suggested.
Recreation Programmer Fitness/Rock Climbing
1 cup old fashion oats (raw)
½ cup peanut butter or other nut butter
1/3 cup organic honey
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (toasted)
½ cup ground flaxseed
¼ cup dark chocolate mini chips
1 tsp vanilla
Mix ingredients together and chill until firmer and easy to work. Roll into bite size balls.
Refrigerate in an air tight container and enjoy!
(these can easily be frozen in individual serving sizes for future use)
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup nonfat plain Greek style yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion, garlic and celery in oil until soft, about 5 minutes
- Add sweet potatoes, squash, broth, curry powder and turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sweet potato and squash are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes
- Remove from heat, cool slightly and transfer mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
- Stir in lemon juice and serve with 2 tbsp yogurt and 1 tbsp cilantro
Nutrients per 1 ¾ cup serving: Calories 250; Total fat 4g; Sat fat 1g; carbs 46g; fiber 8g; sugars 12g; protein 6g; sodium 319mg; cholesterol 0mg.
“Yes, Mornings can be very hectic… But, if you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this!”
February is heart month……. a perfect opportunity to talk about Yoga and the Heart. For me, Yoga is all about the breath and how my breath
creates space. It creates space in my joints, space in my mind, space in my day and space in my heart.
As you breathe for the rest of the day or the rest of the month, feel……….
- The heart being gently massaged by your the diaphragm as the diaphragm releases down and draws up on each breath
- The space around the heart as you inhale and feel the softening around the heart as you exhale
- Gratitude – think of something that you are grateful for and feel your heart fill with gratitude
Enjoy the feeling that this creates and pay it forward during Heart Month.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
2/3 cup gluten free oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 cup Almond Butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
** Mix together in a small bowl oats, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon.
** Beat Almond Butter, brown sugar, eggs, & vanilla in separate bowl until smooth.
** Add dry ingredients on low speed, then add chocolate chips.
Using two teaspoons round cookie dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes.
Sherry Morton Jibb
All endings bring beginnings some of which we embrace and others we resist. If we become the observer of our thoughts we can often see the clinging or resistance to change within ourselves. Change is always constant, every day we wake up in a new body even if it doesn’t look different on the outside. “Change promotes growth “has always been a mantra of mine. Change happens at so many levels in our body, mind & spirit as well as the world around us and it often brings new beginnings if we choose to look at it that way. The same translates into our Yoga & Meditation practice. There is always an ebb & flow to our practice, sometimes we are strong and sometimes we are just tired. No matter what we are feeling, showing up for a vigorous or restorative practice is still showing up and learning to work with our bodies and mind through the every changing cycles of life. Meeting ourselves on the mat and getting to know ourselves at a deep level is often the key to navigating change. For me Yoga is stillness, and in stillness change happens and change promotes growth
Sherry Morton-Jibb is a co-owner of Balanced Motion Pilates & Yoga and a Registered Yoga Teacher since 2000.
Chickpea Berry Salad
2/3 cup Slivered Almonds (toasted)
1 – 19oz can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 – 10oz Mandarin oranges – drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries or goji berries
1 small red onion – diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 inch fresh minced ginger
1 small jalapeno pepper (seeded and minced)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
4oz crumbled feta cheese
Mix 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and fresh ground pepper to taste…. Pour over top on mixed ingredients