By Deb Gleason
Feeling sluggish or run down? Having a hard time recovering from your last workout in time to get to the next one? It might have something to do with low pH levels in your body (pH measures how acidic or alkaline your body is). Maintaining a balanced pH is important for good health and athletic recovery.
A diet filled with processed and animal-based foods, including dairy, artificial sweeteners, synthetic vitamins and pharmaceuticals, will lead to a low pH, making your body acidic. When the body is acidic it’s affected at a cellular level, often leading to fatigue and disease.
Of special concern to athletes, low pH can result in a reduction of natural human growth hormone (HGH). Without a steady supply of HGH, the body starts producing fat instead of lean muscle mass.
To recover from the stresses they endure through training and competition athletes require alkalizing foods more than most people. Highly alkalizing foods are like magic for athletes. They help the body recover faster because they are anti-inflammatory and keep the body’s pH balanced, which gives it the opportunity to grow lean muscle mass. Eating whole, plant-based foods, especially those that are high in minerals and chlorophyll, helps achieve pH balance.
How do you start eating a more alkaline-rich diet? There is an easy and delicious solution. Top alkalizing marks go to green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, romaine etc), sprouts and sea vegetables. Hemp seeds are a whole food that is also alkalizing and anti-inflammatory, and it’s a much better choice than isolated soy or whey protein. Eating these foods after working out will speed up recovery, reduce inflammation and improve muscle efficiency.
Below is a recovery smoothie recipe containing all of these alkalizing powerhouses. Make this ahead of time and have it handy in a water bottle so you can consume it within 45 minutes of a tough workout.
Perfect Recovery Smoothie
1 handful of leafy greens (kale, collards, swiss chard, romaine, spinach, parsley etc.)
1 small handful sunflower sprouts or pea shoots (if available)
1/2 cup sweet fruit (mango, orange, pineapple etc)
1/2 -1 cup water (depending on how thin you’d like it)
3 TBSP hemp seeds (also known as Hemp Hearts)
1 tsp dulse flakes (a sea vegetable)
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for one minute or until smooth.
This recipe contains approximately 56g carbs and 14g protein for a 4:1 carbs to protein ratio, which is ideal for recovering.
Refueling after a workout with high-quality, alkalizing food is the best way to rebuild your cells. Remember, when inflammation goes down, muscle efficiency goes up. This can make a big difference in your performance in the long run.
Deb Gleason is the author of Plant Powered Success, The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Health and the Co-Founder of Wellness Warrior Coaching, an innovative company that inspires people to ignite the fire within through nutrition, fitness and personal development.
Deb is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and an expert in vegan nutrition. When not empowering people to take control of their own health through their diet she is busy teaching yoga, training for triathlon races and following her dogs around in beautiful spaces.
As a former Homicide Detective she now knows that cheeseburgers are more deadly than bullets and she’s chosen to dedicate her life to helping people secure their health through a clean and powerful diet.
Deb offers a 30 Day Health Tune Up program in Ottawa which empowers people to investigate a whole foods, plant-based diet for 30 days. She sets participants up for success with simple strategies and delicious recipes. Through the group learning environment vibrant health is achieved easily.
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