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Alkaline Diet~ Did You Know?

Alkaline Diet

By Sonya Collins

The Promise

It’s a pitch Hollywood celebs love: that the alkaline diet — also known as the alkaline ash diet or alkaline acid diet — can help you lose weight and avoid problems like arthritis and cancer. The theory is that some foods, like meat, wheat, refined sugar, and processed foods, cause your body to produce acid, which is bad for you.

So, according to the “science” behind this diet, eating specific foods that make your body more alkaline can protect against those conditions as well as shed pounds. The alkaline diet really rocketed into the news when Victoria Beckham tweeted about an alkaline diet cookbook in January 2013.

What You Can and Can’t Eat

Most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-promoting foods, so they’re fair game.

Dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, like canned and packaged snacks and convenience foods, fall on the acid side and are not allowed.

Most books that tout the alkaline diet say you shouldn’t have alcohol or caffeine, either.

Level of Effort: High

You’ll be cutting out a lot of foods you may be used to eating.

Limitations: Many foods are off-limits, and so are alcohol and caffeine.

Cooking and shopping: You can get fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. It may take a while to learn how to prep and cook your meals when you use fresh foods.

Does It Allow for Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarians and vegans: This diet is mostly to completely vegetarian. It also works for vegans, in that dairy is off-limits.

Gluten-free: The diet excludes wheat, but to avoid gluten completely, you’ll need to check food labels carefully, as gluten is not just in wheat.

Besides wheat, the diet nixes most of the other major triggers for food allergies, including milk, eggs, peanuts, walnuts, fish, and shellfish. It’s also good for people who are trying to avoid fat and sugar.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: Many web sites with information about the alkaline diet also sell courses, books, supplements, and alkaline-infused water, food, and drinks. You do not need to buy these things to follow the alkaline diet. There are many free alkaline food charts online that list foods you can buy at the grocery store.

What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:

Does It Work?

Maybe, but not for the reasons it claims.

First, a little chemistry: A pH level measures how acid or alkaline something is. A pH of 0 is totally acidic, while a pH of 14 is completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Those levels vary throughout your body. Your blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Your stomach is very acidic, with a pH of 3.5 or below, so it can break down food. And your urine changes, depending on what you eat — that’s how your body keeps the level in your blood steady.

The alkaline diet claims to help your body maintain its blood pH level. In fact, nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.

But the foods you’re supposed to eat on the alkaline diet are good for you and will support a healthy weight loss: lots of fruits and vegetables, and lots of water. Avoiding sugar, alcohol, and processed foods is healthy weight-loss advice, too.

As to the other health claims, there’s some early evidence that a diet low in acid-producing foods like animal protein (such as meat and cheese) and bread and high in fruits and veggies could help prevent kidney stones, keep bones and muscles strong, improve heart health and brain function, reduce low back pain, and lower risk for type 2 diabetes. But researchers aren’t sure of some of these claims yet.

People who believe in the alkaline diet say that though acid-producing foods shift our pH balance for only a little while, if you keep shifting your blood pH over and over, you can cause long-lasting acidity.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?’

Following an alkaline diet means choosing fruits and vegetables over higher-calorie, higher-fat choices. You will also shun prepared foods, which often have a lot of sodium.

That’s great news for heart health because these steps help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which are big risk factors for heart disease.

Getting to a healthy weight is also important in preventing and treating diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Some studies have found that an alkaline environment may make certain chemotherapy drugs more effective or less toxic. But it has not been shown that an alkaline diet can do this or help prevent cancer. If you have cancer, talk to your doctor or dietitian about your nutritional needs before starting any type of diet.

The Final Word

The emphasis on fruits and vegetables that is at the core of alkaline diets offers the promise of healthy weight loss. No special gear or supplements are required.

You’ll have the best success with it if you like to choose and experiment with new foods and love to cook.

But following an alkaline diet will be tough for many people.

A lot of favorite foods that are allowed in moderation in other plans (including lean meat, low-fat dairy, bread, and sweets) are forbidden here. Protein is limited to plant-based sources such as beans and tofu. This means you will have to make sure you get enough protein and calcium.

Eating out also can be a challenge. If you travel a lot for work or have a busy schedule, you might feel bogged down by all the food selection and prep.

Finally, many alkaline diets fail to address a major factor in weight loss and wellness success: exercise. You should include fitness in any healthy eating plan that you choose. The American Heart Association and the CDC recommend getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. If you have any medical problems or are out of shape, talk to your doctor first.

Sources

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Did You Know?

Slide 2 of 79: Potatoes supply a big splurge of fast-releasing carbs that rapidly raise blood sugar levels and insulin in an unhealthy way, and could increase your diabetes risk. But vinegar has the effect of lowering the glycemic index (GI) of fries, which means those carbs get released over a more prolonged period, making them just that little bit healthier.

Vinegar on your fries makes them better for you

Potatoes supply a big splurge of fast-releasing carbs that rapidly raise blood sugar levels and insulin in an unhealthy way, and could increase your diabetes risk. But vinegar has the effect of lowering the glycemic index (GI) of fries, which means those carbs get released over a more prolonged period, making them just that little bit healthier.

Slide 3 of 79: As long as the honey has been heat pasteurized (and virtually all honey in the grocery store or supermarket has), and is sealed properly so moisture cannot be absorbed, it stays pretty much the same forever. In fact, 3,000-year-old pots of the sweet stuff have been found in the Egyptian pyramids.

Honey pretty much never goes off

As long as the honey has been heat pasteurized (and virtually all honey in the grocery store or supermarket has), and is sealed properly so moisture cannot be absorbed, it stays pretty much the same forever. In fact, 3,000-year-old pots of the sweet stuff have been found in the Egyptian pyramids.

Slide 4 of 79: Both contain around 10% sugar give or take a little bit. Obviously the juice is heathier as it’s a good source of vitamin C, which is important for healthy gums, skin and your immune system, plus folate, which helps make red blood cells and can fight tiredness and fatigue. Sticking to just one 150ml (5 fl oz) glass per day of the juice is recommended by nutritionists.

A glass of orange juice is almost as sugary as a glass of cola

Both contain around 10% sugar give or take a little bit. Obviously the juice is heathier as it’s a good source of vitamin C, which is important for healthy gums, skin and your immune system, plus folate, which helps make red blood cells and can fight tiredness and fatigue. Sticking to just one 150ml (5 fl oz) glass per day of the juice is recommended by nutritionists.

Slide 5 of 79: Gram for gram this is absolutely true – McCance and Widdowson's Composition of Foods (the official guide to the nutrients in food used in the UK), shows that 100g of almonds have 240mg of bone-building calcium, while semi-skimmed (2%) milk has 120mg per 100g (3.5oz). That said, we tend to drink milk in bigger quantities than we eat almonds (and the calcium from milk is easily absorbed), so the dairy option is a better source day-to-day.

Almonds have twice as much calcium as milk

Gram for gram this is absolutely true – McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods (the official guide to the nutrients in food used in the UK), shows that 100g of almonds have 240mg of bone-building calcium, while semi-skimmed (2%) milk has 120mg per 100g (3.5oz). That said, we tend to drink milk in bigger quantities than we eat almonds (and the calcium from milk is easily absorbed), so the dairy option is a better source day-to-day.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Hanukkah, What Do You Know?

Hanukkah

Judaism Written By:

  • The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

See Article HistoryAlternative Titles: Ḥanukka, Chanukah, Chanukkah, Feast of Dedication, Feast of the Maccabees, Festival of Lights

  • Hanukkah Overview of Hanukkah.Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz
  • Hanukkah Learn about the history of Hanukkah.Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz

Hanukkah, (Hebrew: “Dedication”)also spelled Ḥanukka, Chanukah, or Chanukkah, also called Feast of Dedication, Festival of Lights, or Feast of the Maccabees, Jewish festival that begins on Kislev 25 (in December, according to the Gregorian calendar) and is celebrated for eight days. Hanukkah reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates in particular the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival. Although not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, Hanukkah came to be widely celebrated and remains one of the most popular Jewish religious observances.

Hanukkah lamp
Hanukkah lampHanukkah lamp, silver with enamel inlays on copper alloy by Johann Adam Boller (1679–1732), German, from Frankfurt am Main, 1706–32; in the Jewish Museum, New York City.Photograph by Katie Chao. The Jewish Museum, New York City, gift of Frieda Schiff Warburg, S 563

According to I Maccabees, the celebration of Hanukkah was instituted by Judas Maccabeus in 165 bce to celebrate his victory over Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid king who had invaded Judaea, tried to Hellenize the Jews, and desecrated the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Following his victory in a three-year struggle against Antiochus, Judas ordered the cleansing and restoration of the Temple. After it was purified, a new altar was installed and dedicated on Kislev 25. Judas then proclaimed that the dedication of the restored Temple should be celebrated every year for eight days beginning on that date. In II Maccabees the celebration is compared to the festival of Sukkoth (the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths), which the Jews were unable to celebrate because of the invasion of Antiochus. Hanukkah, therefore, emerged as a celebration of the dedication, as the word itself suggests.Advertisement

Although the traditional practice of lighting candles at Hanukkah was not established in the books of the Maccabees, the custom most likely started relatively early. The practice is enshrined in the Talmud, which describes the miracle of the oil in the Temple. According to the Talmud, when Judas Maccabeus entered the Temple, he found only a small jar of oil that had not been defiled by Antiochus. The jar contained only enough oil to burn for one day, but miraculously the oil burned for eight days until new consecrated oil could be found, establishing the precedent that the festival should last eight days. The early date for this story or at least the practice of lighting eight candles is confirmed by the debate of the 1st-century-ce scholars Hillel and Shammai. Hillel and his school taught that one candle should be lit on the first night of Hanukkah and one more each night of the festival. Shammai held that all eight candles should be lit the first night, with the number decreasing by one each night thereafter. NEXT360p720pHD1080pHDAuto (360p)About ConnatixV678About ConnatixV678

The celebration of Hanukkah includes a variety of religious and nonreligious customs. The most important of all is the lighting of the menorah, a candelabra with eight branches plus a holder for the shammash (“servant”) candle that is used to light the other eight candles. Olive oil was traditionally used for lighting the menorah, but it was replaced by candles, which are inserted in the menorah incrementally each night of the festival from right to left but are lit from left to right. A blessing is also offered while the candles are lit each night. The menorah was originally kindled outside the home, but it was brought inside in ancient times to guard against offending neighbours.

Hannukah menorah
Hannukah menorahHanukkah menorah, New York, 1919; in the Jewish Museum, New York City.Graphic House/Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

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In contemporary Israel, Hanukkah is a national holiday, and students present plays, sing holiday songs, and have parties. Schools are closed, and menorahs are displayed atop such prominent buildings as the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. A highlight of the eight-day festival is an annual relay from Modiʿin to Jerusalem. Runners carry burning torches through the streets beginning in Modiʿin. The runners continue until the final torchbearer arrives at the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Temple. The torchbearer hands the torch to the chief rabbi, who uses it to light the first candle of a giant menorah. The Hanukkah observance is also characterized by the daily reading of Scripture, recitation of some of the Psalms, almsgiving, and singing of a special hymn. Along with the daily prayers, thanks are offered to God for delivering the strong into the hands of the weak and the evil into the hands of the good.

Hanukkah lamp
Hanukkah lampHanukkah lamp from Brody, Galicia (now in Ukraine), 1787; in the Jewish Museum, New York City.Graphic House/Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

There are also a number of nonreligious customs associated with Hanukkah. Potato pancakes (latkes), doughnuts (sufganiyot), and other treats fried in oil, which recall the miracle of the oil, are popular. Children receive presents and gifts of money (Hanukkah gelt), which is sometimes distributed in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Card playing is common, and children play a game with a four-sided top called a dreidel (Hebrew sevivon). On each side of the top is a Hebrew letter, which forms the initials of the words in the phrase nes gadol haya sham, meaning “a great miracle happened there.” In modern Israel the letters of the dreidel were changed to reflect the translation “a great miracle happened here.”

In countries where Christmas rituals are widespread, some echoes of those rituals appear in Hanukkah celebrations. Some families, for example, exchange gifts or decorate their homes. The word Hanukkah in Hebrew also means “education,” and rabbis and Jewish educators try to instill in their congregants and students the notion that the holiday celebrates Jewish strengths, perseverance, and continuity.The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

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Did You Know?

St. Nicholas of Myra is a popular Christian Saint among children across Europe because of his reputation as a bringer of gifts. Both the North American Santa Claus and the British Father Christmas are legendary figures whose attributes derive from the myths surrounding St. Nicholas.

St. Nicholas is known to be a bringer of gifts.©iStockphoto.com/Dejan Ristovski

What Do People Do?

St. Nicholas Day is a popular occasion for children in many parts of Europe because children usually receive gifts on this day. Some European cities such as Bari, Italy recognize St. Nicholas as the patron saint and celebrate with different activities such as gift-giving, parades, feasts and festivals.

St. Nicholas is referred to by many names throughout Europe such as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands or Nikolaus in Germany. In the days leading up to December 6, children throughout Europe put their shoes or a special St. Nicholas boot in front of the fireplace or the front door at night to find them filled with small presents the next morning. A larger amount of gifts is usually brought on the eve of St. Nicholas Day or December 5.

Public Life

St. Nicholas Day is a religious observance but not a nationwide public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Background

The legendary figure of St. Nicholas is derived from Nicholas of Myra who officiated as a bishop in 4th century Greece. During his lifetime he developed a reputation for gift-giving by putting coins in other people’s shoes, which accounts for many of today’s Christmas traditions that involve leaving gifts in shoes or boots.

Having inspired both the figure of the North American Santa Claus and the British Father Christmas, St. Nicholas has in some countries been more recently joined on his visits to children’s homes by an evil companion who punishes the naughty ones: in Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and northern Italy, this personification of evil is called Krampus, in Germany Knecht Ruprecht, and in the Netherlands Zwarte Piet.

Other Names and Languages

EnglishSaint Nicholas DayFrenchSaint-NicolasGermanNikolaustagHungarianTélapó MikulásSpanishDía de San Nicolás

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